tagSci-Fi & FantasyNos Faux Ratu Ch. 05

Nos Faux Ratu Ch. 05

byEvil Alpaca©

This story is a bit wordy and fairly long, so if you are looking for immediate gratification, you might want to look elsewhere.

The following story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between these character and events and any real person or events is strictly coincidental . . . and pretty darn impressive seeing as it is a science fiction story. Do not reproduce or copy this story without the consent of the author.

In my magical, mixed-up world, characters don't worry about STDs or unwanted pregnancies except occasionally as a plot device. The author encourages the practice of safe (and hopefully satisfying) sex.

While this is a science-fiction story, it may at different points contain sexual behavior that might fall into other categories. You can rest assured however that there will be NO depictions of Non-Consent, Mind Control, or Incest for any purpose other than as plot devices, and certainly not for sexual arousal. Anything else is fair game.

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Garon Pegg was not a happy werewolf. He had been searching futilely around town to discover the new base of operations for the Nightwalkers, a group of government-created, bioengineered vampires build to act as the government's commandos in a fucked up world mostly run by corporations.

Unfortunately for them, there were real vampires in the world who did not want to bring the spotlight of attention on themselves or the other Night Breeds, the myriad of races that lived on the outskirts of human vision but buried within their societies. Garon had quickly realized that the local sheriff, a vampire in heat named Nessa, was not up to the task of putting down the impostors, so he had brought in his werewolves to take care of the problem. It had turned out that the vampire wannabes were more resilient and more resourceful than anyone had anticipated. Of course, having the backing of the last free government on the planet had granted them substantial resources.

"Sir, we've got a solid lead on their location," Simon Glicker said as he approached. Pegg's lieutenant was the local pack leader for Atlanta and a good man, loyal to a fault and someone who knew his place.

"And this is different than the rest our our leads how?"

"This came from one of our own. Turns out that all the Nightwalker bases were hoaxes. It was like a shell game where someone had palmed the pea. They actually moved less than two miles from their original location. We identified a perimeter patrol and kept the spot under observation."

"Excellent work," Garon replied. "Any side of the bloodsucker or her people?"

"No. No identification of McGowan's 'companion' either."

"It is no matter. I'll claim her as spoils when I complete this task for the council. They would not deny me this after cleaning up McGowan's mess."

"Speaking of McGowan," Glicker said, "perhaps we might want to enlist her aid in quelling the problem."

Garon raised an eyebrow. He waited for his second to make his case. Glicker had no aspirations outside of Atlanta, but he was in line to be local sheriff under Garon when the regime changed. So more than likely, he had a point.

"Sir, accidents happen in conflict. Call it an act of 'friendly fire' if you like."

Garon Pegg looked thoughtful. "A good idea, but the vampire is no fool. She would never accept any gifts from me. But . . . but if she were to find out about through a third party, she would probably show up just to keep her position."

"I could arrange for some of our less 'dependable' patrols to lead her people right to it, assuming that they haven't found it themselves."

"As long as we let it slip as to when and where the raid is going to happen, they'll show up. Good work, Mr. Glickler. You're ingenuity will be remembered."

"Thank you sir."

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At the Nightwalker base . . .

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Death was on sentry duty when the courier arrived. DoD couriers were an incredibly pretentious lot with delusions of their own significance, and this one tried to stare Death down as if the glorified messenger boy was an equal or, worse yet, a subordinate. Death ignored the man. It was the package he was worried about. He was sure that this was his friend Jenna's file. The one that told about her ordeal as a child. It was the one that would tell the Fool that Jenna had a son.

Death understood his commander well enough to know that he would do anything to ensure victory. If that meant kidnapping a fifteen year old boy and holding him hostage to get the Empress back into the fold, so be it.

And the Fool was up to something else. He and the Hanged Man had been holed up for days. Death did not ask questions. He never had before, so starting now would raise suspicions. As it was, he was certain he was being watched, though there were no obvious cameras. He got on his communicator.

"Fool, a package has arrived for you. Do you want me to secure it in your office?"

*No, bring it up to the holding cells. I'll meeting you at the security station.*

It was as Death had expected. He knew that he only had a minute to figure out some way to help Jenna keep her secret, the secret that would be exposed in file. He had to give the Fool something, since this file had been hard to come by and that would not happen if the information were not damaging. So the Fool would find out that the Empress had once been the victim of one of the most evil serial murderers of all time. He would know that a young Jenna Owen had been forced to watch her family suffer and die . . . that she had been raped and tortured for almost two months before being rescued, and that her broken young body and soul had been faced with a pregnancy she was not prepared to deal with.

'The best diversions and lies are the simplest ones,' he reminded himself. Once he reached the doorway that led to the stairs, he booted up the tablet. He would only have a few minutes to do what he was going to do before he was back in an area that was under surveillance. He knew he had to leave the morbid story of Jenna's capture in there, but when he got to the birth certificate . . . William Owen . . . he had an idea. And it was beyond simple. A simple override of the read-only field, and then a quick checkbox activated, then a short descriptor --

'There,' he thought. He had just adjusted the record so that for all intents and purposes, William Owen had died at birth, born prematurely to a girl who's body was still recovering from her ordeal. Simple, believable . . . the perfect lie.

The tablet had just clicked off when Death arrived at the security desk, where the Fool sat waiting patiently for me.

"Thank you Death," the Fool said. "I am most pleased with your attitude as of late."

"How so, sir?"

"You were the Empress's friend. Surely you were tempted to help her in her rebellion."

"Sir, my loyalty is to the United States Government and the people it represents. If the Empress has proven herself to be a threat to either body, then she becomes my enemy." He did not mention that she was no threat to neither and therefor was not an enemy, but the Fool could interpret it however he wanted.

"Excellent. I need you to keep an eye on the others. There have been grumblings of discontent which could well boil over to mutiny."

"Sir, any grumblings are merely concern. The Empress was one of ours, and the other happenings of late have been so mysterious that everyone is on edge." Death knew exactly who the discontented ones were. Several of the Major Arcana a few of the Minor Arcana did not like this secrecy from their leaders, nor did they understand why the Empress had been incarcerated in the first place. Death was keeping track of where the battle lines were likely to be drawn come fight time.

"True. Meet me here at 24 hundred hours tomorrow. I'll have a job for you."

"Yes sir," Death replied, then turned and left.

The Fool stared after the assassin for a moment, then booted up the tablet. He walked slowly down the hall to the last cell, reading the reports on Jenna Owen, formerly known as the Empress, and searched for weaknesses. He begrudgingly respected her for surviving all that she did, and it certainly explained her stand-offish nature. There were certainly some psychological ploys he could use on her when next they met.

"It's a shame," he muttered as he stood outside the cell door.

"Sir, what's a shame?" came a voice from inside, floating from the darkness like a bat. It was a harsh, feral voice that spoke of blood and bones and the other things it hungered for.

The Fool read off the findings, then got to the end. "Seems she had a son who died during the birth. He would have made a good negotiating tool. Still, I think there's something to work with." He looked through the viewing window. "How are you feeling?"

"Hungry, sir. And good. Very good."

The Fool smiled. 'Oh, if those pompous white-coated scientists could only see what I've done, they'd wet themselves with envy.' "The bait has been set. The werewolves know where we are. Now all we have to do is wait."

"And the vampires?"

"I don't want to start a war on two fronts. The werewolves are a homogenous mix, so we deal with them first. Then we go after this vampire mistress, finish off the Empress one way or another, and then we put such a fear in the Corporations that they're begging for the United States to come to their aid."

Inside the cell was a rumbling that sounded like pure, vicious pleasure. The Hanged Man was ready for what was to come, and the Fool was practically salivating at the thought of watching.

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That afternoon . . .

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"Thank you," Jenna said.

Nigel sighed and looked his friend in the eye. "I wish I could have done more. If had just deleted it --"

"The Fool would have known something was wrong. He has no reason to go looking for William, so he should be safe."

"You don't look reassured."

She sipped her coffee. "Safe for now, was what I was thinking. You're playing a dangerous game, you know that? If the Fool finds you out --"

"Let me deal worry about me."

"I have to worry about you. It's a 'friend' thing, or so I'm told." Jenna saw Nigel crack a rare smile. "What?"

"You . . . making jokes. It takes some getting used to."

She smiled back. "It's strange saying them." She looked at her friends solemnly for a moment. "I'd like you to meet Nessa."

"Jenna, I don't think that's wise."

"Why not? You're already consorting with me, which is grounds for treason. Why not meet Nessa? You're right to be cautious, but you'll never be able to trust her if you don't at least meet her."

"To what end, Jenna?"

"There are those in the Major Arcana you said would listen to you. If the Fool lost their support, he might have to rethink his plans."

"The Fool has lost his mind. He's on a crusade now, and losing a few Nightwalkers isn't going to change that. And assuming that they'd follow me is a stretch. Most of them would not even believe what is truly going on."

"But . . . but I want YOU to meet her." Jenna emphasized.

"How badly?"

Jenna looked confused. "What?"

"I said, how badly do you want me to meet her?"

"Fairly badly, I guess."

"Well, April has been bugging me about you. She feels bad about setting you up on that double-date, but wants to do it again. My condition for meeting Nessa is that you two meet April and I for dinner. She sees you with a date, she stops bugging me to help fix you up."

Jenna blinked. "Huh? What . . . huh? Nigel, I'm not joking."

"Neither am I. You help me get April off of my back, and I'll meet this woman of yours."

"First, she's not a 'woman' of mine. Secondly, do you really want April getting mixed up in this? Thirdly, we really don't have time to play games --"

Nigel held up his hand. "Firstly, there's something between the two of you that is not just an employee / employer thing. You look so much . . . well, lighter when you're talking about her. She got you to open up, which is something I hadn't been able to do in the years that I've known you. Secondly, April knows the score. I told her everything."

"You what?!"

"I wasn't worried about treason charges with her. Her father is a four-star general, so I figured that even the Fool would be stupid enough to use her as leverage. When I realized that I was serious about her, I decided to tell her everything. She's been surprisingly understanding."

"You . . . Wait, you said that you weren't willing to risk your career to help me, but you would for her?" Jenna was not sure why she was offended, but she was. A little bit.

Nigel smirked. "You and I aren't intimately involved. That changes things." Her raised one hand and displayed three fingers. "Thirdly, you're right. This isn't a game, but right now everyone is marshaling their forces. If we're going to establish trust, you're running out of time."

"You're a jerk, you know that?" Jenna actually wanted to pout, but that was when she saw William coming out of the gate with a few friends, including the young woman that he was taking to the winter dance. Jenna's heart caught in her throat, just like it always did, and she gazed at a son who would never know her, despite how badly she wanted to go speak to him . . . to make amends for abandoning him fifteen years earlier.

"He's a handsome young man," Nigel whispered, respecting his friend's momentary distraction. Now that he knew why they really came to this same coffee shop every day, he would do better at giving her a moment of peace while she took in the sight of her child.

"He is. He needs to pay more attention in his history class though." Jenna made a note to do something about that. Maybe an anonymous tip to his teachers?

"For what it's worth, I think you made the right choice with him," Nigel said earnestly. "And I believe that you would make a wonderful mother."

Jenna's heart skipped a little. "Really?"

"Really. You've already got the parental thing where you're far too nosy and overprotective going."

"Thanks," Jenna replied absently, paying him virtually no attention until the young man that had caught her attention was out of sight. "Sorry, what?"

Nigel just smiled and said, "Never mind."

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That night . . .

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"This is really not a good time for this," Jenna said. "Do you realize I've been out to dinner and . . . dressed up . . . more in the last week than I have in the last year? Does anyone besides me remember that there's a fight going on? This is a war, not a tea party."

"Yes, you keep saying that. And no matter how many times you say it, I still want you to try on at least three dresses before I work on your makeup."

"I don't want makeup."

"Just a little peach gloss and maybe some eyeshadow. You're eyes are gorgeous, and it'll help emphasize them. Trust me."

"She is pretty good with that sorta stuff," Anabella agreed, looking on. The blonde banshee was already dressed to the nines in a green blouse and billowy skirt. Jenna had noticed Avery noticing Anabella, and was wondering why he simply did not proposition her. Nessa seemed to have no problems making her desires toward someone known, so Jenna had simply figured the entire group would be like that.

"Don't even start," Nessa whispered. "I've been trying to figure those two out for years."

Jenna simply shrugged. It was not her business. "Okay, I guess I'll just wear that one," she said, pointing at the dress nearest on the hanger.

Avery rolled his eyes, Anabella made her "I can't believe you just said that" face, and Nessa made a sighing motion.

"The notion of 'trying on' is somewhat lost on you isn't it? Even that amazing body of yours will eventually run out of things that it can make look good, and I won't have that happen on my watch. For crying out loud, you make battle-armor sexy."

"I didn't make the battle-armor at all. I --"

"Not what I meant. Now try on the first outfit. This is a double-date, and we want to impress the competition."

"They're not competition. They're an assassin and school teacher."

"Young lady, dating is all about competition. So much to learn," Nessa said wistfully.

Jenna chewed her bottom lip, trying to find the right way to ask her question, as well as the courage to ask it at all. "Hey guys," she started, looking from Avery to Anabella, "could you give us a sec?"

"Absolutely," Avery said, looking interested but willing to give the woman some space. He offered his arm to Anabella. The banshee just looked at him, grunted something less than flattering, then took his arm and walked over to the lift.

"They are so weird," Nessa said. "So, what did you want to talk to me about?"

"What are we?" Jenna blurted.

"I'm a vampire. You're a genetically altered super-soldier pretending to be a vampire."

"I'm . . . that's not what I meant. Our relationship. What do I tell April? Death already seems to think that we're involved, but I know that I'm just another in a long string of people you've taken to your bed. Is this just the way you treat your employees or --"

"Sweetheart, if I slept with all of my employees, I wouldn't need an HR department."

"You have an HR department?"

"Yes. They sleep with everyone that I can't get to."

Jenna narrowed her eyes a bit. On things like this, she could not quite tell if Nessa was joking.

The vampire laughed that rich, genuine laugh of hers. "I like sex, with all its variety. I've had enough lovers in my life to fill a sports stadium, and I take no shame in it. It's different with all of them. You are first and foremost my friend. No matter what else happens, we have that. Tonight is a date, but I don't see us as dating, or what usually constitutes dating for me."

"Which is?"

"Sex with one partner more often than the others. The reason why I don't see us as dating is that you still don't know who you really are yet. We're intimate because we both want it, or at least I think we both do."

Jenna nodded.

"Good. I enjoy being with you, and I think I can help you achieve some happiness in your life. So just tell them that we're friends that are trying to figure out if there might be something more."

"Sounds like a plausible cover," Jenna said, slipping back into work mode.

'It's not a cover,' Nessa thought, but kept it to herself.

"At least I don't have to pretend to be a security official now. I don't know why he didn't just tell her who I was, since he already told her who HE was."

"Your secrets are yours to tell. Maybe he understood that. Now stop stalling and try on some clothes."

An hour later, they were at the Stone Table, towards the back of the restaurant where they were protected from prying eyes by half-walls decorated with flowers and by some pretty impressive spells. All of this was lost on April, who was simply gawking at everything.

"I've never even been in here," she whispered to Nigel, despite the fact that everyone could hear her. "The waiting list for this place is insane! It takes months to have a shot, and you have to put down a deposit."

"I'll have the maitre d' put you on the 'preferred' list," Nessa said, raising her glass and savoring some wine. At least, she said it was wine, but Jenna knew better.

"I can't believe you own this place! Jenna, why didn't you tell me you knew the owner?"

"I didn't know she owned it a week ago," Jenna replied softly, her eyes on her hands. She was uncomfortable in a dress. She was uncomfortable without a weapon. She was very uncomfortable attempting to be a girl on a date. She did not know how. She realized that it bothered her now that she knew where she stood with Nessa. They were just friends, making Jenna feel like even more of a fake than usual.

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