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Guest Laarell

"Discriminating Conversations"

"I do apologize for that," Kimura said with insincere courtesy. "The demands of business. You're fortunate to be spared them."


"I'm surprised you let your... underlings... interrupt you so readily," Laarell remarked with a slight smirk.


His lips thinned. "When they invoke the Viceroy's name I'm afraid I have little choice," he said curtly. "But in any event, we can return to the matter at hand now."


"Ah yes. Now, what was it you wanted to know, exactly?"


"Let's begin with that intriguing claim you made just before we were so rudely interrupted," Kimura suggested.


Laarell shrugged. "We don't come from this universe. You've apparently mistaken us for our counterparts here."


"An interesting notion," the colonel agreed. "You have proof, I presume?"


"I assume there would be some discrepancies in our bioreadings..."


The look he gave her had a contemptuous flicker to it. "Perhaps at the cellular level," he replied, "but as we do not have your supposed 'counterparts' available for such an investigation..."


"Maybe," she offered, tersely, "you could use all of your imperial might and find them."


"Touchy, aren't you?" He smirked at her through the glimmer of the forcefield.


"Try 'annoyed'."


Kimura merely shook his head. "Unless you can provide better evidence than that, you'll remain prisoners of the Empire. The list of crimes on Mr. Maturin there's sheet are quite extensive."


"The Maturin of this universe. You could put me under a truth-detection device, or if you have telepaths here..."


"We have an excellent truth-detection device," the colonel replied. "We call it the Booth."


There was something uncomfortably familiar about that term, but still... "Would this "Booth" solve this whole mess? If I were found to be indeed not lying?"


"Then I'm sure we could move you to more pleasant surroundings."


"I was expecting to be released."


"If you really are from an alternate universe, there will be a lot of questions to answer."


"Which none of us are under any obligation to answer. We're not criminals." Laarell sighed. "There's really no need for any of this."


"Oh, you don't think so?" He seemed amused by the idea.


"No. And I want to be released, along with the other three."


Kimura shook his head. "Not likely. Now, have you any useful information to volunteer, or shall we begin testing the truth of your story?"


"Like what?" she asked, darkly. "I don't know what you want to know, frankly, beyond the fact that Maturin isn't a smuggler or whatever, and I'm not a slave."


"Well, let's start with this, then -- if you are not, as you claim, a terrorist and his pet, who are you?"


"Scientists." Laarell smirked. "Lieutenant Commander Laarell Teykier; he's a junior lieutenant."


The colonel eyebrows shot upwards. "In what service?"




He almost choked laughing. "Do you seriously expect me to believe that?"


"Yes," she replied, her face deadly serious. "A little frightening, is it, to be forced to think that maybe your 'slaves' aren't as stupid as you'd pegged them for?"


"If such a thing exists in your supposed universe, the standards must be very low," he commented.


"Or maybe," the Orion contradicted, "your universe is just run by racist humans who are afraid of the competition?"


"Hardly, greenie," he answered lazily. "We don't forbid loyal races from joining us, but very few of them ever succeed."


Laarell pursed her lips. "Don't succeed? Or you don't allow them the opportunity before enslaving them, first?"


"I said succeed; I meant it." He turned towards the doorway. "Savirr!"


Almost immediately a large, brindled Caitian male loped through the door and came to a sharp attention. "Colonel?"


Laarell glanced at the Caitian. If Caitians were free here, then why was JoN's in custody?


"Now what?"


Kimura barely glanced at her. "I'm having you moved," he said, "and I thought we might provide an object lesson simultaneously. Sergeant, move the Orion to the Booth!"


Laarell moved a few steps back from the forcefield. There was still a part of her that had a distinctly 'bad' feeling from the sound of 'Booth'. "And after this Booth, Colonel?"


"We'll see what your confessions tell us." He motioned to the Caitian, who dropped the forcefield and advanced on Laarell.


She quickly sized up the cat; with a weapon, fighting wasn't much of an option. "And if they hold true to what I've revealed so far?"


Kimura shrugged. "We'll probably hand you over to the scientists. As I said -- we'll see."


Laarell let the Caitian move her out of the cell, narrowing her eyes at the Marine. "Why don't I trust you very much, Colonel?"


"Because you're wiser than your master there." He motioned to the cell where Dox lay sleeping. "Sergeant, get her warmed up; I'll be along in a moment."


"He doesn't own me," she spat. "And imply I'm a slave again..."


Casually, Kimura backhanded her. "Quiet. You'll have plenty of time to talk in the Booth."


Laarell jerked at the Caitian's hold, eyes fiery on the Marine. "You'll pay for that."


"I think it unlikely." He nodded to Savirr and watched her led away.

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