CMDR M. Lehman
Role
Bounty hunter / Space cowboy
Allegiance
Empire
Rank
Elite
Ship
Fer-de-Lance
Power
Arissa Lavigny-Duval
Credit Balance
 
Registered ship name
Inevitable Betrayal
Wing
Inara Writers Guild
Overall assets
 

Logbook entry

20 Mar 3303
M. Lehman /
Announcement: The Serpents and the Skulls

OOC: Hello, everyone! It's been awhile since anything's been posted under this account, but I've got some exciting news. Anyone here who has read both Marra Morgan's and my logs knows that we have at times collaborated. You might also recall that Marra herself announced her retirement from writing, leaving many (we hope! ) wondering what happens next for our favorite pirate queen!

I am happy to announce that you all soon know the answer.

With Marra's permission and guidance, I've been given the green light to pen the next chapter of the goings-on of the whole Black Omega gang! This time, we're getting the perspectives and insights from not only Marra, but from others as well! For those of you in need of catching up, this new arc begins not long after the events of Return to Pegasi. It's recommended that you read that first.  

Huge thanks to Marra for her feedback- and more importantly, her trust in allowing me to continue the tale of the Pirate Queen of Pegasi!

Now- how about we get to the story, huh?





                                                                                             The Serpents and the Skulls, Chapter 1.1
           
                                                                                                                         




My mistress let me sleep in her bed tonight.

Things are different than they were a year ago. Then, I slept on the floor, with nothing but a luxurious rug and my own body heat to keep me warm. Sleeping in the bed above me had been Azalea Constantinestu. Those had been happy days. Azalea had wanted a pet, not a lover. But a lover I was- and also a worshiper, a supplicant who had happily given up her identity in exchange for a fleeting sense of belonging.

But no feeling of affectionate warmth ever lasts. Azalea is no fool, and knew which way the Pegasi winds were blowing. She turned on Jaz Adissa, whoring herself and his entire system to Black Omega in exchange for a seat at their High Council. It was a gamble, but one that paid off- Azalea Constantinestu became one of the most powerful women in the sector. She had an entire system in her pocket and the backing of one of the most feared military firms in Pegasi.

And when someone has that much, they no longer need those who loved them.

In retrospect, the transition between mistresses was almost seamless- I had been sent by Azalea to assist Marrakech of the clan Morgan in undermining Jaz. We succeeded, but the experience left me with a sweeter taste in my mouth than I had expected. Marra’s taste, specifically. It had been a betrayal, of course- I belonged to Azalea. But it hadn’t seemed to matter. Within weeks, she vacated her usual haunts on Dantec Platform and took up residence in Clair Dock, spending hours alone with Degginal DeVerre. When she finally returned to the Velvet Club, it was as a member of the High Council. I had been elated for her, but-

It’s a bigger world, where I am heading, she had said. And some things must be left behind.

In an instant, years of loyal companionship were thrown out like an old shoe. I was alone and adrift.

But not for long.

Before even a week had passed, that black-visored monster of a man Idris tracked me down. I was in a bad way, drunk at the Velvet Club and not knowing who I was without Azalea. So much of my own identity had been sacrificed because doing so had pleased her. I spent my days at the bottom of a bottle, and my nights sleeping wherever I wouldn’t be found. Everything I had been was Azalea, but there had been more to it than that. Everything that she knew had been passed along to me in moments of rage, passion, or eavesdropping.

So when I felt his massive, armored hand spin me around to stare into my own dark reflection, I couldn’t know if I was saved or doomed.

Come, he had said. It was an order, with no room for my inebriation or my shame. Head down and mascara smeared, I followed him to a massive black Python docked on Dantec. He strapped me in and sat across from me the entire flight over, just staring at me. The black-armored brute didn’t say anything, and neither did I.

I didn’t even feel the familiar bump of the ship touching down, and had to be woken up. Again, I was wordlessly led through Clair Dock, struggling to keep up with the enormous bodyguard striding before me. We stepped into a lift, and I felt my eyes bulge as I watched the deck level rise, taking us into the wealthy habitation towers that dotted the surface of the massive space station.

Idris led me down a long, carpeted corridor, the well-dressed denizens turning up their noses but not daring to say anything because of the armored monster leading me. He stopped at a door, keyed in the code, and gestured for me to go inside.

I stepped inside and looked around as the lights turned on. Surrounding me was a well-appointed habitation unit, luxurious without being gaudy and spacious without being ostentatious. I tensed up, fearful of what was to come.

Do you like it? I heard from behind me.

I spun around, already knowing the voice. It was Marra, newly promoted to caporegime and basking in her success. She was beautiful, of course- I had always found her such, even when with Azalea. But now I felt even more her inferior, my pores and my breath stinking of alcohol amid her power and splendor. In such a presence, I could barely mumble that the flat was beautiful.

But she only stepped closer, smiling like she had back on Dantec. Then it’s yours.

I remember gasping, and shaking my head.

Ma cheri! I cannot! I-

She silenced me then, with a kiss. Her tongue ran along mine, and her hands explored my body like before.

The kiss broke, and I could no longer contain my tears. Marra lifted my chin, a piercing gaze boring into everything that I was.

You can, and you will. Azalea is a fool.

I sputtered and gasped like a stupid little girl, not knowing what to say at the unprecedented act of generosity. Marra said nothing, taking me gently by the hand and leading me into the washroom. In it was a large jacuzzi, the bubbly hot water already drawn. I stared dumbfounded at the beauty as Marra undressed me and herself. With careful steps, we lowered ourselves into the steaming bath and into each other’s arms.

Her tongue and the hot water washed away the stink of my rejection and failure. Under the water, her fingers found my most delicate areas. Wet kisses along my neck traveled up and up until her lips were over my ear. It took the last reserves of my free will to ask the simple question:

And what is it you want in return?

I could feel the smile of her lips next to me.

Your loyalty. Loyalty unto death.

I swallowed, turning to face the pirate queen. A few leftover tears were still moistening my cheeks.

Everything I have is yours.

Marra smiled. I’ll never forget that smile.

Good, she said. Again, she leaned forward to kiss me, her fingers moving with purpose. As I gasped in pleasure, the look of cunning returned to her eyes.

Now tell me everything you know about Azalea’s plans…





I looked down at my mistress’s sleeping form. It had only been a year, but seemed like so much longer. My life before her was a fleeting memory, a dream fading into the background as one wakes. She is mine, and I am hers.

Sleep comes deeper and more peacefully when in my mistress’s bed than anywhere else. Despite this, I always wake up a few minutes before her. It was a habit that I developed with Azalea, to be prepared for anything that my mistress might require. But with Marra, it is a pleasure to simply look at her, to have her to myself before the demands of her new role as consigliere devour her time.  

My mistress drew a deep breath and woke with a satisfied smile. She was in a playful mood last night, and I doubtlessly still tasted of her.

“Good morning, ma cheri.”

Her lazy smile spreads as she pulls me in for a kiss. She doesn’t return the salutation, but pushes my head lower. Since she became consigliere, I’ve become fond of kissing the twin Black Omega skulls tattooed on her chest. I hear a satisfied moan as I do so, her fingers running through my hair as my lips traced along the red and black crest.

“Don’t take too long,” she whispered. “Today is an important day.”

I looked up, my curiosity piqued. “Oh?”

A look of anticipation spread over her face. Not so much for my tender affections, but for whatever she had planned. She shifted her body beneath me and looked to the side, as though distracted.  

“Yes. The council is receiving an envoy from the Nijkas Gold Crew.”

I lifted an eyebrow. “To trade with them?”

My lover pushed my head down lower, along her soft, flat belly. “To annex them. They’re a bit zealous with their tribal identity, but there isn't a child in Pegasi who hasn't heard the tales of their savagery. Negotiations will be delicate.”

I kissed a few times around her navel, and whispered. “Then my mistress should take care to be relaxed and clear-headed, qui?

Marra only smiled and pushed my head down lower.  

   





And once again, she was gone.

I laid naked in Marra’s bed, luxuriating in the feeling of her silk sheets against my skin. After making love, we showered and I helped dress her. It had been my pleasure to do so, selecting a form-fitting black leather dress with a thin red stripe down one side. I affixed the Black Omega pendant around her neck and the twin-skulled ring of her office around her finger, kissing it as I slid it on.

With a final, cunning glance and light kiss that wouldn’t ruin her lipstick, Marra spun and disappeared down the corridor of the executive suites. I watched her for a moment, not caring if anyone caught a glimpse of my nudity. I want them to know that I am hers.

I am not allowed at the council meetings, but I do not resent this. Degginal Deverre runs a tight organization, but not so tight that Marra doesn’t divulge a detail of high-level Black Omega business here and there. But it wasn’t my place to pry. No, simply loving and serving my mistress is enough. She’s a busy woman, a passionate woman, filled with purpose after discovering her father’s treasure.

And what a treasure it must have been. Promotion to caporegime, command of a fleet, her finger on the very pulse of Pegasi itself…

I pulled the sheets up to my face, my thoughts deepening. But that isn’t everything. Something followed her back from that primal hellhole. Something dark...

Under the covers, I felt my chest expand as I forced myself to take a deep breath. No, Apollonia. Do not dwell on that. Last night was a beautiful night. Today is a happy day.

Much had happened since Marra became my mistress. She had led fleets into battle, proved herself a cunning political asset, and solidified her position as Degginal’s right-hand woman. Of course, she had also largely manipulated her way into the consiglieri position in the first place. In a moment of inspiration, she called in her estranged warrior mate- sending me to make him an offer he couldn’t refuse- and used him to undermine an entire systemwide invasion.

During that time, my mistress proved that she was truly her father’s daughter. Soldiers, ships, and high-ranking Black Omega leadership had all been sacrificed on the altar of her ambition. Marrakech Morgan had sabotaged an immensely important operation- just so that she could swoop in, save it, and reap the credit.

That brought a smile to my face. Azalea Constantinestu had suffered terrible humiliation during the debacle of HIP 106072. And though I was not present for the council meeting, it was an open secret that Marra had fiercely defended her “friend” and saved her council seat.

Of course, what that had really meant was that Azalea was forever in Marra’s debt. Stupid bitch. So self-congratulatory for her cunning deal to backstab Jaz, only to be rendered a helpless subordinate to the Pirate Queen herself. Marra had been pleased with me, as well. In my years of service to Azalea, I had come to know her and her organization almost better than she herself did. When my mistress asked, I had been happy to lend my expertise to that meddling Imperial she called a husband.

I sat up, taking a bite from one of the fresh peaches that my mistress keeps at her bedside. I couldn’t stay here much longer. As much as I loved being in my lover’s bed, I had things of my own to attend to. Marrakech Morgan was a nexus of power in Black Omega, and it was understood that I alone held her private confidence. No doubt I already had several solicitous messages from the ambitious parasites that women like her attract.

More important than that is anticipating all possible outcomes of the negotiations. So, too, is the possibility that the meeting will not go her way. My mistress is a terror when enraged, and I will need to be prepared for anything. With great effort, I pushed the unpleasant thoughts to the back of my mind. Despite the morning's coital affections, I felt a frown spread across my face as I reached to the floor to retrieve my clothing, hastily discarded in the previous night's carnal euphoria.

It doesn’t matter, I told myself. It doesn’t matter, because you still have her.

My mistress, after all, let me sleep in her bed.
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