THAT WHICH GODS DESTROY - Act I - Diedre Macoure
"We have lingered in the chambers of the sea / By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown / Till human voices wake us, and we drown." -- T.S. Eliot
She slept on the way. Deidre wanted nothing to go wrong on Avalon; everything else already went wrong before. First getting gipped, then the run-in with Earth Fleet; no, things were going to go HER way for a change.
An annoying beep from the computer told Deidre that she was at the hyperspace beacon for Avalon. The groggy vampire pulled herself from her secured cot, walked to the pilot console, and slapped the alarm button. "All right, ALL RIGHT! I'm up!"
With a slump, Macoure dropped to her chair. That saccharine computer voice taunted Deidre again. "The Derision is now at jump coordinates specified."
She pointed a finger at the speaker. "Remind me to fix you."
"Recorded and noted."
Deidre growled in frustration and started adjusting the Derision's speed for jump. "Computer, activate jumpgate sequence... NOW!"
What was a mass of reddened swirls coagulated into blackness and stars. In particular, a bluish ball off to her right. Avalon. She had an appointment with some monks.
Setting course for one of the orbital station, Deidre found herself amused by the whole situation. The Cialt Brotherhood was a true religious order; sackcloth, prayers, the total package. However, since St. Cialt himself believe in the use of drug-induced hallucinations, his order possessed them for ceremonies. St. Cialt was also in the Tech Infantry, as were most of his order today, so they believed that continuing training was essential... especially with weapons. So according to the Religious Protection Act of 2237, the Monastic Order of St. Cialt was allowed to possess illicit drugs and modern firearms; a priviledge that most citizens of the Federation were denied.
For one reason or another, the Brotherhood shifted from having drugs, to _selling_ drugs, but they needed someone else to transport it. That's where Deidre Macoure had a gift... well, that and a run-down spacecraft.
Sooner than expected, she found herself at their central abbey. "Our Lady of Junkies," she joked to herself. Even during the darkest night, all the lights were on.
Deidre found her way to the Reverend Father's office. A noviciate was standing guard and she had no qualms about torturing him to death; he was in her way. "Hey, you! Tell his worshipfulness that I want to see him NOW!"
The little twerp was noticeably shaken, but managed to spew out "B... b... but he's in a meeting!"
"I don't care if he's jacking off, I just came in from a three system jump, and I've got a bone to pick with him." Macoure gave him a devilish smile. "Of course, I could just use yours."
The noviciate backed off as Deidre came closer. "Smart boy." she taunted before she burst open the door.
Once she saw the Reverend Father, the vampire started yelling. "A hundred grand you owe me... and DOUBLE the expenses!! Otherwise, maybe the Federation would like to know more about their 'saintly' brethren! Bad business tends to worry the most greased of wheels..."
"Emme Macoure, please! There's really no need..."
"No need?! I've gotten ripped off, shot at, and..." Just then, she noticed the other two gentlemen in the room. "...who the hell is this?!"
"Emme Macoure, could we continue this in my study? In private?" Deidre just threw up her hands, showing her indifference and frustration at the same time. "Very well. Gentlemen, if you'll excuse me." The abbot then led her through a secret panel, then with a wave of his hand, the door closed behind him.
The vampire was ready for anything, but the short hallway led to a bright little office. Smaller than his usual presentation room, with the addition of the cot, you could almost call it a bedroom. "Please, have a seat."
"If this is a trick..."
"No trick, emme. To answer your first question, those gentlemen out there are associates of mine, just as you are."
"Suppliers." the monk corrected, taking a seat on an old oaken chair. Deidre did the same. "Now then, what seems to be the problem?"
Macoure took out a datapad. "You said 'payment on delivery!' So I went to Charbydis. Your abbey there say they have no money, but if I stop by Van Diemen for some fairy lack, that their chapter house there can pay me. So I go to Van Diemen, but guess whay, THEY don't have any money. They DO have Earth Fleet destroyers, though, and I barely get out system before they try to frag me!" Deidre threw her datapad at the Reverend Father, who caught it with ease; hmmm, she thought, probably retired Tech Infantry.
He mumbled through the list for a moment, then replied "Yes, of course. I was afraid that the Charbydis Abbey would be depleted. They've had to deal with lots of immigrants lately."
"Immigrants?! Who gives a shit about immigrants! I want my money!!"
"Yes, of course." the monk logged onto his personal computer and started typing. "The usual accounts, correct?"
She blew at the bangs that drifted into her face. "Sure."
A few more taps and the Reverend Father turned the screen so that she could see it. "Will that suffice?"
Some quick math told Deidre that the figures were 10 grand above what she asked for. "I'll have to confirm it back at my ship."
"Of course. Now, did you get the fairy lace?"
Macoure stood up and moved toward the door. "You'll get it when you pay my repair bill." Then she walked out. As she passed through the office again, the black man kept his eyes focused on her, so intense that she noticed it through his thick sunglasses. His Arabic companion didn't seem to care less.
Deidre raised her eyebrows and stopped in front of the hulk. "See anything you like, tough guy?" Then she laughed, shot a hip at him, and left the room.
The old gal made sure to get back in orbit before the sun came up. At the Archimedes Orbital Station, right next to the Naval Construction Yard, she tapped her feet as the grungy star mechanic looked over her hyperdrive engines. After fifteen minutes of poking and prodding, Deidre was losing her patience. "Well?!"
The mechanic's head popped up like a prairie dog. "Yer flux capacitor needs adjusting, your deuterium injection system is shot, and yer Heisenberg compensator? Whew, don't get me started."
"But can you fix it?"
"Sure, but it's going to cost you."
"I can't do it fer less than 22 grand and a half."
"WHAT?! The parts alone can't be more than eight!"
"Sorry, lady, but that's my lowest offer."
"Fine, I'll just take this to another mechanic. There's only... what, ten of you on this station alone?"
"Yeah lady, ya can do that, but I noticed that a lot of your systems are old and no inspection tage. It'd be a shame if I had to report ya to the Fed... un-regulated vessels are a danger to space travel."
"Oh, you won't do that." Deidre replied, moving closer to the mechanic.
"Yeah? Why not?"
"Because of THIS!" In one swoop, her fangs connected with the mechanic's neck. Deidre happily gurgled the man's blood. As the sweet red liquid oozed down her throat, the mechanic was caught in her erotic embrace, unable and unwilling to leave. Finally, she pulled back, being careful not to kill him. With a lick, the puncture wounds disappeared, leaving Macoure to wipe her face off. "So tell me," Deidre continued, "How much for repairs?"
"Fif... fif... fif..." the weakened mechanic sputtered out.
"Try ten grand... and a full tank of deuterium."
"Te... te... ten grand."
"Good boy." Deidre said as she kissed him on the cheek. "Now I want it done in two days, and by morning, you'll have forgotten my little..." she licked her lips, "...taste."
"I for... forget..."
The next night, she appeared before the Reverend Father with a case and a receipt. "There you are, Father. Fairy base and a bill for twenty grand."
"Twenty grand? A hyperdrive malfunction? What kind of mechanic did you go to?"
"Only the finest. Good help is so hard to find these days." Deidre put her leg up on the chair to adjust the stockings beneath her short skirt. She felt like testing the good father's chastity.
The monk seemed unimpressed. "What _else_ do you want, Emme Macoure?"
"What every girl wants... a nice home, some new clothes... oh, and a new job?"
"So you want another run?"
She smiled with the sarcastic assurance that she had the upper hand. "Gee, that's a thought!"
"There's a problem. The Cialt Brotherhood is lessening out medicinal distribution in favor of other vocations."
"Weaponry. The Frontier Worlds Territory is fighting a war with the bugs. A war that will be lost without adequate armament. The only problem is that the Federation frowns on this venture more than it does drugs. In fact, they've sent out added patrols along the frontier."
"So you want me to run guns?"
"Or if you'd like, we can connect you with others of our associates if you feel that gunrunning is too dangerous for your fragile craft." The monk smiled. "Either way, we are limiting our drug shipments to a fraction of what they were, and that means I have no shipments for you."
Deidre sighed, knowing that she wanted an excuse to get out from underneath the Brotherhood anyway. "You know, I'm not sure about guns."
"Of course, we would compensate you for your added trouble."
Her eyes lit up. "How much compensation."
"Double your normal fee. Of course, the decision is yours."
Double the fee, she thought? Yes, but the Fed usually just shot gunrunners instead of just imprisoning them, like they did to drug dealers. Should she take it or should she strike out on her own? Damn, the future is so clouded!
END OF ACT I
Text Copyright © 2000 by Marcus Johnston. All Rights Reserved.