tagSci-Fi & FantasyHatchette Ch. 13-14

Hatchette Ch. 13-14


**Non-sex chapters. Skip to Chapter 15 for the next erotic scene. Here for completeness, only.**

13. Cabaret

Roku's life remained very much in this holding pattern for two more months; days at school, nights either at Mei's or with Lady Aru; stolen moments in empty classrooms or storage closets with Pelli; daily reports to Lt. Zee that Roku could sense no one bothered to read. All without a hint of the Dick threat Roku was convinced hid just beneath the surface of the Great Society's dark underbelly.

This all changed one evening when Lady Le-En came to Mei's to call on Roku.

It was a sweltering evening, at the height of the summer heat, and the old south-side building that the brothel occupied was mercilessly non air-conditioned. It was far too hot for sex and business was slow. All the girls were crammed together in the small break-room around a small portable air-conditioning unit, stripped to their skin, just trying to fend of the heat. The door opened, letting in a blast of hot air, and a murmur of unhappy groans.

"Roku..." the Old Matron pushed her head around the door.

"What?" Roku was spread eagle on the floor, her head beside the vidscreen, her legs draped over Ciki's naked stomach.

"A trick," the Old Matron said without editorial comment.

Roku raised her head, "What? In this heat?"

"Paid in advance, or I won't have bothered you..." the Old Matron's head vanished, then reappeared through the door. "She's an old friend..."

That made Roku curious. She stood up and found her dressing gown. She carefully stepped through the minefield of bodies spread across the floor of the break-room and made her way up the backstairs to her room.

Lady Le-En was waiting for Roku, sitting on the bed, testing the tensile strength of a length of rope, when Roku stepped in. She was, as always, in white. This time a short dress with matching shiny, white pumps. She looked up from her rope and gave Roku a warm smile.

"My, haven't we stepped up in the world..." Lady Le-En said, holding her grin, showing Roku the rope.

"I'll just be a second..." Roku held the dressing gown tight around her, looking around for her costume. She was mess... Sweaty, no makeup... She would need a shower and...

"No, no, I'm not here for any of that," Lady Le-En said, gesturing at the stocking Roku had picked up. "Get dressed. Properly dressed, we're going out."

"I-" Roku opened her mouth, then closed it. She hadn't seen Lady Le-En since that night at the Sentinel Tower, when Roku had assumed Lady Le-En's rightful place at Lady Aru's side. The word was that Lady Le-En had been in hospital -- rehab -- after an overdose of Res. If it was true, she looked in phenomenal shape, sitting on Roku's bed. The platinum blond of her hair shined in the dim lights of the Art Deco Boudoir; her skin a soft silkiness to it. "I-I'm working," Roku finished.

"Yes you are," Le-En said, standing up, dropping the rope. "For me. I have you for the evening. Paid in full. We're celebrating." She said with a laugh. At least she seemed sober.

"Last time we celebrated, I got a crack across the mouth..." Roku reminded, still holding her dressing gown tight around her.

"Oh..." Lady Le-En gave a dismissive gesture. "But until then, you were having a good time. I think, a very good time... To find you working here. When did that start?"

Roku didn't answer. Lady Le-En didn't wait for one.

"I've been away, you know..." She began to pace around the room, looking at the Art Deco props. "Too much of the sweet stuff. Hospital, then rehab, then Lady Aru sent me to a clinic in Geneva... They do a new type of genetic resequancing... For addicts... Did you know they can give you allergies now, as well as cure them? Yes, it's true. Lady Aru had them resequance my DNA to give me a fatal allergy to Res. If I ever drink again, I'll die..." She laughed at this, but there was no humor in her cackle. "Can you believe that? That's my loving, dear wife for you..."

"I'm sorry," was all Roku could think to say, but she wasn't. It actually sounded like a good idea to Roku.

"So I'm celebrating!" Le-En said with a theatric whirl. "Life without Res. Lady Aru is letting me out for the evening and told me you were working her. Suggested I come down and have some fun." She said 'fun' like she meant anything but. "So, here I am, and fun we will be having..."

"But not here?"

"No," Le-En said, fanning her face, "it's took fucking hot for fucking. And, besides..." She looked Roku up and down, standing there with the dressing gown around her. "the bud is off the rose, if you know what I mean..."

Roku knew what she meant.

Roku got dressed in a simple, black Art Deco dress from the wardrobe of her room. It was a costume, centuries out of style, but funky enough for Roku to pull off in a chic, hipster sort of fashion. Pumps, a handbag for her burner and Roku was ready to go. She followed Lady Le-En up to street level, where a ubiquitous white town car was waiting. In the back, Roku recognized the leather clad driver -- she was beginning to know the Ober Guards on a first name basis. The town car pulled away and started out off the long, dark alley, turned left into the abandoned, quiet streets of the south-side.

"Dare I ask where we're going?" Roku asked when the car was moving, a small compact out, applying lipstick.

"You don't trust me?" Lady Le-En smiled.


"What do you do when you can't drink and it's too hot to fuck?" she asked.

"What?" Roku was finished with her makeup and put it away.

"Go to the Cabaret..."

Roku waited for the punchline. There wasn't one.

"Seriously?" she asked.

"Seriously." Le-En replied.

Roku couldn't help but smile.

The town car pulled to a halt a few minutes later in front of an massive, but decapitated old marquee. 'Pantages' the sign advertised, but the old theatre looked abandoned. The neon was dead, and one of the a's of the sign was completely missing; but the town car driver stepped out and opened the rear door for Lady Le-En and Roku.

"Here?" Roku said, looking up and the dark sign.

"Here," Le-En said, stepping out on the sidewalk.

"What sort of Cabaret do they have down here?" Roku asked, now out of the car, too.

"Oh, only the very best..." Le-En smiled.

Roku felt a tingle down the back of her spine. The last time her mission had born fruit was the night Lady Le-En had taken her, for the first time, to Mei's... All the time Roku had since wasted sitting on the faces of Sub-Commissars, spanking the asses of Vice Committee Chairs... She'd seen nothing of the seamier side of the Great Society. But ten minutes in the company of Lady Le-En and she was going to some illicit, south-side club... Those ten minutes were worth more than three months of Roku's own investigations. Roku couldn't help feel more than a little foolish.

They walked down the side of the old theatre, coming to a stage door need the back of the building. There was a small line of well dressed women milling around, waiting by the door; but Lady Le-En blew right past them, speaking momentarily with the usher at the door, then taking Roku's hand and stepping inside.

At lest it was air-conditioned, the dry coldness hitting Roku the second she stepped through the door. Everything was dark, but as Roku's eyes adjusted, she became aware of the diameter and width of the large room she had entered. A cluster of twenty or so tables sat before a small stage. It was a small venue, lit only by the hollow candles that cast shadows across the faces of the other patrons, but it seemed busy. Most of the tables already occupied and Lady Le-En strode confidently up to a table directly in front of the stage.

The show was already starting. Flood light caming up and momentarily blinding Roku. When her eyes had adjusted again, a woman was on the stage starting to sing a number. She had short, black hair and was dressed in a pinstriped suit. She had a black mustache pained under her nose and sang her song in a low, droning tone.

It was a drag show.

The singer's song was an old ballad, something about women not loving him and how he might die from loneliness. A subdued titter of laughter came up from the audience. It didn't seem to phase the performer. She carried on with her song undaunted, perhaps exaggerating her male impression even more. When the song was finished, the audience exploded into thunderous applause. The singer took her bow, obviously happy with her performance. Roku clapped as loud as she could, letting herself whistle in appreciation. It was all, obviously, in good fun. Roku was going to enjoy the evening.

When the lights faded, a waitresses came by for drink orders, but Lady Le-En quickly waved her away. A minute later and the lights were come back up onto a full set, made up to look like some sort of store.

It was a comedy skit that soon had the whole room howling with laugher. One woman played the part of the shopkeeper; another was a government official, investigating allegations that the store was selling contraband items. The shopkeeper was playing it innocent, not understanding what she sold that could possibly be interpreted as illegal. The investigator started reading a list of items, each more ridiculous than the next, that could, after a fashion, be interpreted as a phallus. Bananas, turkey basters, compact umbrellas... All produced for comic effect by the shopkeeper and shown to be perfectly harmless -- the umbrella being suddenly opened after a long discussion about where such a shaped item might be shoved. It was enough to make your eyes water...

The skit ended with one final item that the shopkeeper couldn't satisfactorily explain an innocent purpose for; ending with the punch line 'no, it's not for putting in your jane, it's for shoving up your ass...' The room exploded into applause and laughter. Well, perhaps you had to be thre, but Roku could help but enjoy the show. The pair had perfect comic timing and the risky subject matter... The audience was have a great time, too. As the lights dimmed, the waitresses were again moving amongst the tables. Roku was having such a good time, she ordered a drink. It arrived just as the lights were coming up on the next act.

This act was a stripper in feathered boas and long dress. Roku didn't see how it fit with the theme of the other acts, but the crowd was enjoying the spectacle. As the clothes came off, the audience hooted their approval. The dress dropped to reveal the strippers figure and full breasts which she giggled hypnotically. Roku had never seen a real stripper. She understood the concept, had heard girls talking about it in the brothel, but the real thing was far more compelling than she'd realized. She was considering adding something like it to her own repertoire, when the stripper reached the climax of her act: Her panties went down and revealed...

The audience went wild -- applause and screams of approval. Roku was stunned, sitting not two meters away. The stripper was a he. His penis stood up erect, as the applause washed over her -- hairless and pink in the warm stage lights. Roku looked over to see Lady Le-En laughing and clapping. Roku realized she was the only person in the room shocked by the sight. She recovered and started to applaud. Right there, right in front of her, was a man blatantly exhibiting his gender. Roku looked at the hard, swollen penis with wide eyes. The stripper curtsied slightly to the crowd, blew a few kisses, and curtsied off stage.

"By the Holy Matron..." Roku whispered to Lady Le-En. The lights went down, and the waitresses were doing their job.

"Fucking crazy shit, huh?" Lady Le-En said, unthinkingly reaching out for Roku's glass. She had it halfway to her lips before she realized and put it back down on the table.

"That-" Roku started to say too loud, "that was a man..."

"Yeah, fucking crazy!" Le-En was still smiling, "I didn't see that coming!"

"But... That was a man..." Roku emphasized.

"Yes." Lady Le-En punctuated, reminding Roku she was becoming a bore. "I know."

Roku left it alone.

She was flabbergasted. The Nanpa Girls had been one thing, they'd been predictors, but this was a Dick waving his... Well, dick around like it was something he didn't need to hide. Alright, the whole evening was illegal. The drag show, the jokes about Commissariat officials, any of that stuff would get the whole room thrown in prison for more years than they could count. But a man... He had to be backstage as Roku was sitting there, taking to the other performers, discussing how the show was going. They must be treating him like a human being -- like a woman. Roku felt faint. A burning feeling rose inside her like she'd just been slapped in the face. It was insulting, it was disgusting, it was vile. Roku resisted the urge to get up and storm out, though she knew she should.

But what would that accomplish?

She reached down and found her purse. Her hand slipped inside and she made sure her burner was there. Sure enough, the compact burner was, the one that Lt. Zee had given her to replace the one taken into evidence after the killings in that apartment. She could go backstage and put a bolt though that stripper right now and she'd probably get a medal, but that wouldn't accomplish anything. Roku took a sip of her drink. She let herself calm down. As her brain began to work again, she began to realize the potential of the situation she had found herself in. Men moving freely amongst women. She'd found the exposed underbelly of the Great Society she'd been looking for -- she'd found the place where men and women intermingled, the Dick Terrorist and their sympathizers. Her anger began to give way to excitement. If she could just keep her head and not act like a fool and start shooting too soon, she could potentially bust open the whole sleeper cell; uncover the whole nest of Dick Terrorists and their treasonous collaborators that Roku was just now seeing the periphery of. If she could just keep her head and not start shooting, things could turn out very well...

"You want to see more?" Lady Le-En leaned over and asked, bringing Roku out of her musings. "I'm hungry..."

"I want to meet the stripper..." Roku replied, finishing the last of her drink.

"You want to-" Lady Le-En gave Roku a quizzical look. "No, lets go get some dinner..."

"I want to meet that stripper," Roku insisted. "You said we were going to have some fun. I want to talk to that man. I've never talked to one before."

"I said we were celebrating," Le-En reminded, "talking to a Dick doesn't sound like celebrating."

"Fine, I'll go talk to him myself." Roku started to stand.

"Hey, I paid for the whole evening," Le-En said, grabbing Roku's arm.

"You can have a refund," Roku pulled her arm away.

"Okay, okay..." Le-En said quickly, realizing Roku was serious. "If that's what you want to do, let's go talk to the Dick." Lady Le-En stood and began to follow Roku. "Finger the fucking Matron!" Lady Le-En added as they were walking to the door beside the stage. "I liked it better when you were shining my shoes..."

Roku smiled, "It didn't cost you five grand, then..."

Lady Le-En didn't argue.

Le-En stepped first through the door and back stage, Roku following behind. Le-En had a quick word with a stage manager, who nodded knowingly, and pointed back to the rear of the wings. Taking Roku's hand, Lady Le-En led her back until they came to a line of small dressing rooms. At the farthest door from the stage, Lady Le-En stopped and knocked.

"Come in!" a voice said from inside.

Inside the stripper was still half naked. Her panties covered up her groin, but she was toweling off her large, full boobs -- the nipples small and hard.

"Good evening..." Lady Le-En said, stepping into the dressing room. Roku held her purse in her hands and stood silently beside Le-En, staring.

"Are you enjoy the show?" The stripper asked. Her voice was high and pitch perfect, nothing like the low groan of the drag act. Apart from the slight bulge in her panties, there was nothing about the stripper that give Roku any clue that she was anything less than a perfect woman. The breasts, the hips, the thighs...

Lady Le-En elbowed Roku.

"Yes, thank you," Roku blurted out. She had said she wanted to talk to the stripper. "Your act is full of surprises..."

The stripper smiled, slyly, "Nobody ever see it coming..." she winked.

"You don't-" Roku started then stopped.

"Look like the men in the movies?" The stripper was done with the towel and tossed it aside, she sat down at the makeup table and started to pull off her fake eyelashes. "No, we don't anymore, sweetie. That was generations ago."

"But, in school, they say there's only men..." Roku played the ignorant school girl.

"In space?" the stripper looked up from the mirror, only one eyelash on. "Do they really still say that?"

Lady Le-En stifled a giggle. Roku gave her a curious look. Roku knew she was playing stupid, but she didn't know what she said that was funny...

"No, honey, men live right here on earth with all-you-all women, just like it's always been, but we're different now, see?" She held forward her large breasts as if that explained something. "We're like you but not like you... You understand?"

"Not really..." Roku admitted.

"Well, don't worry your pretty little head about it," the stripper said, returning her attention to the makeup mirror. "We ain't terrorists or guerrillas or any sort of shit like that. We're just people living our lives, there ain't nothing nobody needs to fear from us..."

Yeah right, Roku thought, ever meet any Nanpa Girls? but she didn't say anything.

"Come on," Lady Le-En said, taking Roku's arm, "I'm hungry."

14. Moll Flanders

Roku passed the rest of the evening with Lady Le-En. They ate and talked and laughed; and at about midnight, took the town car back out of town. With the heat and the lack of Res, Lady Le-En was in no mood for romance and dropped Roku back on campus, with a terse goodbye.

It'd been a pleasant enough evening, but try as she might, Roku couldn't get that Dick stripper out of her mind. The causal, almost lazy way the Dick had explained away her presence on earth. It was like Roku should expect to see transsexual Dicks wandering the streets everyday... Perhaps she did, and that thought worried Roku. She had, once again, seen a male up close and personal and been unable to tell one apart from a real female. They were perfect facsimiles. Half the population of the planet earth could be male and Roku would have been none the wiser.

Roku's mission was clear.

Roku was a Hatchette. Hatchettes killed men. There were no parameters or limitations to her mission -- no factors that needed to be taken into account. That she'd had a conversation with a male and he'd seemed very reasonable and personable; that men looked and sounded almost exactly like women; that women as powerful and well connected as Lady Le-En seemed to be collaborating with the enemy; all of this was no concern of Roku's. It was Roku's duty to seek out and destroy, exterminate men, and Roku had no intention of failing in her mission.

The next day, Roku requisitioned a ground car from Lt. Zee. There were a number of vehicles set aside for Hatchette use. The Cabaret was over for the week, but the next performance would be that coming Friday. Roku spent her time in preparation -- when not in school or called to the service of Lady Aru. She asked around at the Cabaret and got names and numbers of many of these connected to the show. She called or visited some, asking discreetly about the stripper, but they were all a closed mouth lot, as could be understood. They knew what they were doing was illegal and anyone asking around, even a young girl, arose suspicion. Roku didn't discover much, just that the stripper's real name was Tro.

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