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"Rogue in Velvet", part 5

Part 5! Just a short little bit for now. Follows on from Part Four
“Rogue in Velvet” (part 5). Comfortable prisoners are still prisoners, right? But what IS going to happen to her...? (I'm happy to accept guesses. )

Rogue in Velvet
(-- part five --)

     It had started snowing, a light sprinkling of fine flakes, just before their taxi pulled up at the gates to the Civic Spacedock, a large, flat parking space for small privately owned stellar vessels.

     Eri’s heart sank, gazing out of the taxi window at the quiet fleet of small ships and waiting while Iios paid the driver. She’d been hoping he was taking her to a city apartment, or a house, or maybe even just a hotel room, and once she’d recovered her wits she could have attempted an escape, but if he was planning on taking her offworld altogether, that would make things a lot more complicated. Couldn’t very easily make a run for it, for one! Couldn’t even so much as lean out of the window and yell for help.

     His ship, parked in the near corner near a bright floodlight, was a sleek, elegant little silvery-blue yacht named Auspice. It was probably big enough to comfortably house four or five individuals, and she couldn’t help but wonder what he might be keeping stashed aboard. He spoke a command that she didn’t understand into a small handheld communications beacon, and Auspice’s main atmosphere door slid open, a short, broad ramp extending to the ground beneath it. Eri contemplated making a break for it, while they waited, but she guessed he was probably as fast as he was strong, and making him chase her would quite possibly make her position worse.

     Instead, Eri remained where she was, her unprotected toes aching from the frosting ground. She gave a start at feeling his stiffened fingers poked into her spine, coaxing her along in front of him, up the ramp, and she felt another of those clutches of dismay as she passed through the heavy atmosphere door, over the threshold, and into the ship’s atrium. You’re in his territory now, she reminded herself. You’ve stepped into the monster’s den. You’ll be lucky if it doesn’t eat you for your impudence.

     “What do you plan on doing with me now?” she asked, softly, as he whistled an unnecessarily complex Ve-hei’yan keycode to the computer and all the lights came up to ambient. “You, um… you can’t just keep me here.”

     “Why not?” he looked up from his computer, fastening the door closed against the winter weather, and smiled that beautiful and chilling smile of his. “I have food and accommodation for you, and bathing amenities, and it’s warm and sheltered. You’ll be the most excellently looked-after prisoner in the history of hostage-taking.”

     “Until you get bored of having to look after me, and kill me?” she wondered, quietly, as his fingers closed on her upper arm and coaxed her away down the main corridor. The carpet was pleasantly thick, and soft against her cold toes, but she barely felt it.

     “Oh, come now, remember our bargain?” he patted her shoulder, tenderly, and led her up a shallow curving staircase towards the upper floor. “If I didn’t kill you, you in turn wouldn’t squeak about my nature. You may not have anyone to squeak to, but I have every intention of honouring my end of the bargain. I won’t harm a single hair on that fluffy head.” He petted her ears, amusedly, as one might stroke a pet.

     She had to work hard to disguise a shudder at his uninvited touch. Having him manhandle her about was one thing, but having his affections was incomprehensible.

     “Here we are,” he paused by a closed door, and released her arm while he unlocked it. “Your new home. I’ll bring you some supper later.” He gave her a push, stumbling her into the room, and the door sliced shut behind her, almost catching her tail.

     “Wait-!” she turned to face the pale cream panel, but there was predictably no reply when she banged her flattened palms against it. “Goddess damn it, Iios,” she muttered under her breath, and spent a perfunctory five minutes looking for the lock, until the realisation she’d have nowhere to go even if she got out of this room sank in. There was no way she’d ever be able to replicate that warbling keycode for the main door.

     She sighed, and turned back to examine her new (hopefully temporary) home. The room itself was pleasant, if fairly sparsely decorated – the walls were a plain cream, the carpet a soft red-brown, the bed a single mattress dressed with layers of beige and cream blankets. The fact it was a bedroom concerned her a little, but then he’d implied a deep distaste for anything remotely sexual and in a strange way it gave her confidence that he wasn’t going to jump on her, wasn’t going to molest her, and wasn’t going to impale her on the huge synthetic penis she imagined down his trousers. She was just a prisoner, not a sex-slave to a crazy machine.

     Grimly, she went over to the window, wondering if there’d be anyone outside she could wave frantically at, maybe attract a rescue party. The viewport was large – it even had curtains! – and would have a panoramic view of the stars once they got underway. For now, it just looked out over the silent, deserted spaceport, pools of brightness beneath the floodlights highlighted by the flurries of snow that were sprinkling from the sky in greater earnest, now. There was no-one out there, though – not in the cold outdoors, and nowhere she could see in the ships, either. A few vessels had inner lights turned on, but they all had privacy screens up, frosting the lights into soft blurs. For all she knew, the outside of her own window might have one-way silvering, so even if there had been anyone out there, she could have waved until she collapsed of exhaustion and still not been seen.

     She sighed, pressed her fingers against the thickened, insulated window, and watched snowflakes stick and melt against the glass. It felt odd, to be unable to feel the winter chill through the diamond-hard crystal pane.


Part 6 follows

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