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Guest Laarell

"An Orion and Vampire Walk Into a Bar"

For the second time in a single week, Victria found herself venturing into the science labs, though this time with little less trepidation. She was slightly early, but she was anxious to begin this mission if only to remove herself from the ship for a short while and avoid certain unpleasant situations. Changing into something 'non-uniform' had not taken long. She wore her usual black, close-fitting pants and tunic that cleverly concealed most of her gear and weaponry. Laarell hadn't mentioned any specifics of what to bring, so she had added a few trifles that she thought my come in handy. Looking paler than normal, she paused at the open door of the Orion's office and cleared her throat. If she wasn't ready, Victria thought she could always have another look at that furry arachnid of which Laarell was so fond.


Laarell strolled out, dressed in a tight-fitting, plunge-necked leather corset and attached, studded skirt that showed far more leg than it covered. Luckily for any prudes, the thigh-high boots she'd chosen covered most of that -- and also managed to define every muscle far more than Victria ever wanted to see. She also had knives strapped to each hip, a sheath at the shin, and probably more weapons hidden than shown.


The Orion stopped in the doorway to her office, staring. "Lieutenant Victria," she started, clearly trying not to smirk, "have you never gone to a bar before? We're going to be outdrinking and seducing every male we see until we find something about the crownstone. You hardly look fit to flirt."


Victria blinked at the state of Laarell's clothing (or lack thereof) and seemed at a loss for words. Blue eyes drifted as she inspected every small detail of the Orion's chosen costume along with the weaponry she'd selected, and her head tilted in curiosity. "I do not flirt. I take what I desire. And I had no idea that we would be 'whoring it up' on this mission. I have absolutely nothing even close to resembling that style..."


"That's quite all right. I do. All for you." She smirked. "In my office, too -- I picked some things out already. Figured you'd have a lack of fashion sense." She laughed outright at Victria's expression. "Now now, don't look so glum... they're not mine. I could never fit something for someone as tall and lanky as you are -- and you'd never fill out mine." She retrieved a parcel. "It's a catsuit. Not as much leg -- but the back's a cutout. And it's tight -- just like you wear your clothing now -- so you should feel right at home in it." Laarell handed it to her. "You can go in my office and change. I promise I won't look."


She looked dubiously at the package of clothing, then peered back at Laarell with something akin to distaste. "Are you certain that this is entirely necessary? I hardly think that my choice of clothing will impact my information-gathering techniques."


"You're wearing it, Lieutenant," she answered, a little harshly. "Believe me -- the people we're going for are going to notice the difference between your shapeless things and... that."


Her nose wrinkled, but she did not argue further. Slipping into Laarell's office, she was gone for only a few minutes before she reemerged in the chosen outfit and she looked less than happy at what the green-skinned woman had selected. Tight was an understatement. It fit like a second skin. The neckline of the catsuit plunged past her breasts and disappeared into the blood-red bodice that encircled her waist. Long sleeves billowed slightly from the elbow and were gathered at her wrists by wide bands of metallic crimson. The back of the suit was virtually nonexistent and left much of her pale skin bare. The bottom portion ended at mid-thigh and clung to her toned muscles. Also provided were knee-high boots that proved to be serviceable despite their height. The weapons she'd carried were neatly tucked away into the bodice and boots, though Victria still felt exposed and uneasy in the garments.


Laarell grinned when the Al-Ucard made her reappearance, looking her over visibly. "Gorgeous, honey," she flattered, smacking her lips together. "Now, I think we have drinks -- and information -- to go collect."


"We have to walk through the ship like this," Victria said sourly as she mentally recounted how far they would have to travel. She threw a glance at one of the specimen cases in the lab and inspected her reflection with a frown. The effect was striking, she had to admit, but she still was not comfortable with exposing so much of her skin. Perhaps the ingrained fear of being burnt by ultraviolet was the root of her fear.


Laarell smirked. "Maybe you'll get a new boyfriend," she teased, and it was somewhere between cruel and playful; Victria couldn't tell which. "And maybe I'll get another."


Definitely cruel.


Victria remained stoic, despite the barbed comments. "Let us get on with it, then. The faster we leave, the faster we can work on extracting as much as possible from the locals."


"And drinks," Laarell reminded. "Never forget the drinks -- there's no point going bar-hopping unless you gather all the alcohol from as many men as possible." She made her way through the ship, smirking the whole way.


"I am mostly immune to the effects of alcohol. It would take large quantities of it to impact my system." She threw a sidelong glance at Laarell as they walked, ignoring the looks they were getting from passing crew members. "Shall I take my cues from you and feign inebriation?"


"Just drink a lot, then," she answered, giving a smirk over her shoulder at a cute-looking lieutenant from engineering.


They arrived quickly enough even for the vampire's tastes at the transporter room (though clearly too soon for the Orion), and Laarell smiled. "Just relax. We look fantastic together," she assured, the smile spreading to a grin.


"As you say," she replied before they transported.


They arrived in a foul-smelling area of the station -- dark and seedy; loud and raucous. Something was crouching in a corner, some unrecognizable glowing eyes watching the pair, though it made no advance.


"Ah, the lovely smell of Drunk in the evening," Laarell sighed, but wrinkled her nose regardless. "So which bar do you want? One, Two, Three, or Four?" she asked, motioning to four equally-ill-looking establishments.


"Number two is less noisy than the others," she pointed out, though not knowing if that would be an advantage of disadvantage to what Laarell wished to accomplish. "One has a higher ratio of females. Two and Four of males."


"Let's go with two, then -- we can hear better and there are more males. Better for us." She smirked, then snagged Victria's hand, interlacing their fingers. "Believe me -- we'll be doubly appealing if men think we're a two-for-one deal."


"Two-for-one what?" Surprised by the contact, Victria found herself yanked along towards the bar.


The interior of the establishment was nothing that Victria had previously experienced. A dim haze obscured the darkened recesses of the perimeter. A live band was performing on a minuscule stage in the rear, though the patrons seemed only half-interested in the music. The real action was surrounding the bar where the multi-limbed tender was busy providing liquid refreshment and collecting payment. She arched a brow at the wide assortment of species gathered.


"Did you bring any currency?" she asked quietly.


"You don't need it if you're dressed like us," Laarell reminded, "but yes, some. A little latinum, and a few trinkets." She spotted a pair of seats near the edge of the bar, tugging the Al-Ucard along with her. "There -- good spot. And good view of the door, too."


Victria was slightly confused at how their mode of dress would bring them free drinks, but their first few moments at the bar provided the answer. As they took a seat, she watched as several of the males approached. They were all exuding higher levels of pheromones than normal, though an average female would not be able to detect them. Reminding herself that friendly contact was the point of the mission, she refrained from breaking the wrist of the male that caressed her arm in passing.


Laarell on the other hand had no such desires -- she was completely in her element. And soon -- and a good four scotch on the rocks later -- she had a fairly good cover story, too. She and her "friend" (with lots of winking) were looking to fetch a certain item for a private artifact collection, and had the charming man they were drinking courtesy of heard anything about a crownstone? No? Oh, that's too bad, but he was sweet anyway.


This repeated about six times.


Then, finally, one shrugged, nodded. "Oh yeah -- I heard of it."


"How about another drink?" she said to the tender, who deposited another round in front of them. Victria's attention shifted to the male keeping Laarell company as she caught the tail end of the conversation. Her own companion was lying face-down on the counter, unconscious. A few moments earlier when no one had been paying attention, she had given his chair a subtle shove to knock him off balance and rid herself of his annoying propositions.


Laarell gave Victria a little, surreptitious nudge. "Heard of it?" she continued glibly. "What about it?"


"Oh, nothing really fun... a few buddies and I were in the area and one of the local card players was talking about trying to get it. I told him he was crazy, going into Wort's..."


Laarell smiled, the expression clipped. "Wort's?"


"You know... Wort..." He shrugged, reaching for his drink. "There's nobody here that doesn't know about Wort -- no one intelligent, that is."


"We are not from this area," Victria offered in explanation. "If there is some place we should avoid, we would appreciate the information. Greatly appreciate it," she added, putting emphasis to suggest more than what was actually said, having noted Laarell using that tactic more than once. She leaned toward the man, propping herself up on the Orion's shoulder.


He looked mesmerized by the pair, and shrugged, finishing his drink and signaling for another. "Wort's important in the Boganary. Got a whole world to herself and her little stooges -- and it's... gods... the snakes..."


"Snakes?" Laarell repeated.


"The place... whole world crawls, you know what I mean? I had to go once, just for a drop-off..." He shuddered. "It's swamp, and it feels like it. The disgusting kind of swamp, not just humid -- it ain't got anything clean. But yeah. Wort's got the crownstone."


"So your... card-playing friend... didn't get it?" Laarell pressed, brushing a finger distractingly across his arm.


The trader, or whatever he was, laughed. "I'd be surprised if he got the chance to try. Only the stupid go into the Auntie's lair."


Laarell glanced at Victria with an expression that suggested that she was quite close to losing patience. "Where is this lair?" she asked, frowning when he started to laugh again.


"You think I'm telling you girls?" he chuckled, incredulous. "I'd get you killed. While... appetizing... neither of you looks like the type who can start raids on the seat of the Boganary."


The Orion visibly tensed, about to toss off a sharp reply when Victria interrupted (and likely headed off an interstellar incident).


"You might be surprised," the Al-Ucardian said, smiling with fangs slightly bared. "We can handle ourselves fairly well."


"Maybe if you're buying pretty shoes, but I doubt you know which end of a phaser to hold," the man said with a grin, knocking back his next shot. The drink proved to be his last as he overbalanced and fell backward onto the floor, completely passed out.


Frowning, Victria leaned back to peer down at him and then glanced back to Laarell. "I trust that was not the intended result. He seemed suitably impressed by your choice of clothing, so much so that he thought we perfectly fit the part: brainless."


"Oh, shut up, Victria," she answered, her words just a little bit slurred. "We got a name, at least. Better than you could have done by coming in here threatening to bite the poor man." With alcohol went her inhibitions, and Laarell smiled, rather content to have for once said exactly what she thought to the Al-Ucard. "I suggest, though, unless you want me to stick around to net more men for interrogation... we get back to Excalibur?"


"The sooner I am out of this ridiculous costume, the better," Victria replied darkly. "Come, my drunken Orion. You had better be able to walk because I am certainly not carrying you."


"I see the rumors I've spread are true. You really are a bitch."

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