Star Wars Roleplay: Chaos

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The Slave idled in the cruiser he was aboard, led astray from his usual path by not only his master’s command but whatever chauffeur carried him today. He was getting bored, legs crossed while a soft and careless song play over the speakers of the small transport. They were cruising across the surface of Dosuun extremely quickly, as far as atmospheric travel went, to one of Imperia’s notable friends.

Likely meant to show off The Slave to her, he supposed.

It meant little to him, only that he hoped she’d offer some interest for him. He was dragged away from his pet projects on the other side of the Galaxy on her command after all under the guise of ‘vacation’ or ‘business’... Something. He couldn’t really remember at this point, and honestly cared not to. The Council of Lorrd that was under his thumb were the ones who did the work, not him; at least not in this instance.

Afterall, he listened to his Master more than he did anyone. Likely the only person he’d listen to, in all honest truth.

A moment of silence as he glanced out the window, watching the horizon pass and mountains come into clear vision. This Baroness, this First Order member that he was to go become a gift to, he was told almost nothing of her. Not her name, nor her rank, nor where they were even going besides the planet. To him, she was as much a surprise as he would be; as he assumed Imperia didn’t have a tendency to tell people before sending a slave off as a housewarming gift.

Almost here, Sir.

His words were cold, for some reason. It made him feel odd, sitting in the back in a suit of finely woven fabric, a black box next to him carrying an unknown present for his would be companion. It was something Imperia sent with him, as though it’d be something just as important or as nice as a gift as he was. Sorta made him jealous in the grand scheme of things, which he himself thought was a bit silly considering it was no more a sentient object than the shoes he wore on his feet.

Petty thoughts, he supposed.

The ship came to a halt soon thereafter, a door opening upwards as the Slave took his first steps onto the Blackwater Reach Estate. It was well kept, compared to most things Imperia forced the Slave towards. Elegantly cut grass, carefully trimmed hedges, anda beautifully aged and proud manor that sat stoic across a small garden.

He could get used to a place like this. For a while at least.

And so he made his way to the front door, dropping a heavy hand on the door as a sign of his arrival.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

│ [member="Irajah Ven"] │
As if someone had been waiting, the large double doors opened before he even fully retracted his hand. Bowing neatly at the waist, a slender man of middle years greeted [member="The Slave"]. Hair a shade between brown and blonde, he was neat to the point of fussiness. His most compelling feature was his nose that jutted like a dagger leading the attack. But in this case, the only attack was one of reserved politeness.

"Welcome to Blackwater Reach, sir," Terin, the manor's seneschal, murmured. His voice was soft, but equally trim as his appearance. "Please, come in."

He stepped to the side, pale blue eyes clearly studying the man, though nothing beyond that seemed to break the expression of polite welcome on his face.

"You are here, I presume, to speak to the Baroness?"


Irajah was upstairs, in her private study. Staring, not for the first, or even a hundredth time, at the holographic projection of a virus. Though she had pulled it up over the desk, she lay sprawled on the divan across the room, a frown on her lips.


Her frown deepened as the projection doubled in size.

"Zoom- tegument. No. Zoom and cut, to the nucleocapsid."

The system complied, showing the capsid and the tracings of the DNA strands just beneath. She had done this so many times. And yet she must be missing *something*.

"Rotate ten degrees. Fifteen. Twenty."

With each rotation, nothing new occurred to her. Nothing changed.

Making a frustrated sound deep in her throat, Irajah surged up from her seat. Her voice snapped out, "End simulation."

But growing angry at a computer had little effect, on either the machine or her mood. The glowing presence of Gideon winked out of her study, plunging the room into near darkness. But even without the visual reminder, Irajah was never free of the weight of the virus inside of her. It coiled and clawed, drawing farther and farther- taking more and more.

A knock on the study door.

"What is it?"

She immediately regretted the tone in her voice, but she couldn't take it back.

"Someone is here.... with a gift from the Lady Imperia," the woman's voice called through the door.

Standing in the darkness of her study, Irajah blinked in surprise. Of all of the people she might have expected to send her a house warming gift, [member="Darth Imperia"] was someone she hadn't even considered.

"Have them leave it. I'll be down later."

"With all respect my lady, he.... he says he is to deliver it to you directly."

Irajah sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose.

"Very well. Send him to the library then. I will be down momentarily."

​"Of course my lady. Terin has already sent for a tray of drinks to be brought for you and your guest."


Reaching to the hook on the wall, she drew down the high collared, long sleeved tunic she had hung there earlier upon her arrival. In the darkness, she almost couldn't see the bruises that covered her arms- that she knew covered her neck and torso. Almost. Slowly, she shrugged the overtunic on, buttoning it up all the way to her chin and snugging the sleeves down to the middle of the back of her hands.

"I can always count on Terin to do what is needed," she murmured, but she could already feel that the other side of the door was empty.

With a sigh, she opened the door.
The Slave heard the harshness in her voice, the scintilla of annoyance, atomized aggression in the form of verbal communication. He wouldn’t call himself an empath directly, but he certainly enjoyed dissecting what people said, did, and expressed in the very underlying details of their microexpressions. The subtle movements of the face that defined a personality, the quiver of the lip during a lie, the itch of a nose when you grew stressed; all things that drew his attention.

He sighed as he realized he was letting his mind wander once more. Right now, he was on official business as per his Master’s instruction. She was the be all end all of who he was, is, or ever could be. There wasn’t time to consider the careless subtleties of conversation as he was being led through the grand manor that was Blackreach.

A hand moved to brush his alabaster hair back, its silver locks finding a place behind him as golden amber eyes watched the walls around him carefully. His suit was a dark coloration, something given to him by Imperia for just the occasion. Perhaps she thought Irijah would enjoy it, if not outright take it for herself.

Honestly, he still wasn’t sure what he was doing here.

Another sigh as the man who led him around the manor opened a door to the library. It was a warm room, double storied, dark wash spruce like wood lining the walls. There was a well kept beauty to it all, yet no matter where the eyes wandered there was always some information to take in. From the line of medical books, that may or may not have peeked his interest slightly, or the various fictional novels of unbeknownst cultures across the galaxy. The Slave never had a formal education, not in the traditional sense, but he was extremely intelligent. An eidetic memory perhaps was the cause, or a substantial presence in the force; whatever the reason he couldn’t help but find his curiosity met with a challenge wherever he watched.

Please, wait here, Sir., Terin spoke in his carefully polite tone.

Better than the chauffeur. At least he seemed authentic.

The Baroness will be with you soon.

The Slave simply nodded, taking a seat and crossing his legs once more. The black box he carried found its way to rest on the table before him, a hand moved to rest on his chin as the seneschal moved back from the room; leaving him alone in the strange environment.

Something teased him however, a nearby book on foreign viruses. It was littered with bookmarks, likely a study tool utilized by a doctor he supposed. Readjusting, he leaned forward to finger through the pages, studying the various notes of the types of viruses it spoke of.

One “Supervirus” seemed to catch his attention the most, its bulbous nature able to conquer fellow cells and turn them into a factory of its choosing. He began humming a small tone as his fingers flipped through the pages, idly waiting for the enigmatic figure to appear.

│ [member="Irajah Ven"] │
A beverage cart would arrive a few minutes before she would. With the Baroness home, it would always include a silver pot of piping hot caf. Other choices included wine, iced water, and tea. Terin was thorough, and made certain that the kitchen staff was as well. Irajah never had to be concerned about any guests, not when they were in his hands. In truth, she didn't think Blackwater Reach would run with anything resembling its current smoothness without the seneschal's careful eye.

Moving down the stairs, Irajah absently brushed dark curls more solidly over her forehead. It was a nervous tick, one she barely registered. The mark of the sith hexagram, an unwanted 'gift' from a certain someone, had faded from an angry red to raised white scar tissue, but she still preferred it to be covered. It was a series of movements that she had subconsciously perfected- check that her hair covered her forehead, that her sleeves were pushed all the way down her arms, that the collar of her tunic snugged fully up beneath her chin- every time she prepared to meet with someone. So few people had seen the marks, the constantly reforming bruises, the scars. And while part of her, desperately, wanted the feeling of the breeze on her skin, too much more of her needed to keep that wall of fabric as an armor.

Of course, no subconscious armor could do anything for the next moment.

Irajah stepped into the library, a polite but distant smile on her lips. Then she froze, hazel eyes widening ever so slightly.

Her trip to Zeltros had been..... strange. And nothing had been stranger than the situation she'd seen this young man in. Irajah was fairly certain he hadn't noticed her that night- after all, he'd been a little preoccupied with a red head. At least until the bounty hunter had darted him in the neck.

But then what in the name of the Maw was he doing here.... with a gift from Imperia no less?

Resisting the urge to pinch the bridge of her nose, she breathed in deeply and cleared her throat before stepping into the room.

"Welcome to Blackwater," she said, trying to retreat behind the persona of 'Baroness of the Reach'. Unlike the one she could put on like a second skin, that of 'Doctor Ven, however, this one was not comfortable. Or even particularly familiar yet.

"I'm Irajah-" And there it went already. Nice job. The title still felt ridiculous, and there was no hiding the awkwardness. After all, most of the time when she ended up drawing on it, she felt like a child playing dress up, rather than any sort of nobility. "Baroness of Blackwater Reach. I believe you have something for me?"

[member="The Slave"]
The Slave glanced back towards the ‘Baroness of Blackwater’, a soft gaze that forced a slight arch of his brow. As she suspected, he didn’t recognize her a bit; what between a heavy drug binge that lasted days before the event, a renowned nightclub owner he was flirting up, and a blow dart to the neck, it wasn’t outright odd to say he might have entirely forgot everything but a few graceful details of that night.

With his full attention given to her now in an entirely sober state (probably), he gazed her from head to toe. She wasn’t much in regards to height, but somehow there was a faint authority she held; even if she didn’t know it. Still, her words were riddled with self doubt. She was putting on an act, and it wasn’t hard to tell; but today wasn’t the day for The Slave to surgically dissect anybody.

Instead, he offered her a wide grin, alabaster hair finding faint strands falling over golden eyes as he moved to stand. He was fully decked in a formal suit, from the shoes to the undershirt, all the way to the jacket. All he was missing was a tie, but it was something more casual considering the circumstances.

He offered her a bow; something subordinate to show his respect. Not for her, in reality, but the will of Imperia.

I’m afraid I don’t have a name, Baroness.

Looking back up, a coyness fell over his expression before his tone complemented it wholeheartedly;

They call me The Slave however.

Not standing on the moment however, he quickly turned and handed her the black box. It looked like a rose box, but only the size of a single flower perhaps. It was a matte black, with a glossy shadow of a color lining the entirety of it in the form of a bow wrapping.

Indeed I do have something for you. From my Master herself; Darth Imperia sends her regards.

As soon as she’d take it, he’d fall silent. He was a tall and pale stranger in comparison to her, nearly a foot taller than her and a substantially heavier persona; but he’d do little to impart this knowledge on the situation, simply standing by and awaiting for whatever response she had.

In all honesty, he was just as interested in whatever gift she sent; considering how little information she even gave to him about the whole situation.

│ [member="Irajah Ven"] │
Bemused would best describe the expression that flickered across her face. She inclined her head to him when he bowed, not really knowing what else to do. Other than her servants, no one really bowed to her- and if she had her way, they would stop to. [member="Samson"]? He didn't bow. He KNELT, and she'd be damned if she couldn't figure out a way to get him to stop that one day.

"You- don't have a name?" She blinked, looking at him, really looking at him, for the first time.

No denying he was easy on the eyes. She'd noticed that in the club that night. She wasn't blind after all. But where she was an open book, he was closed, and short of prying with the Force (which seemed rude, given the circumstances), there were far more secrets beneath the surface of those golden eyes than anything else.

She wasn't about to call him 'The Slave' however. Anyway, it wasn't like he was going to be hanging around long enough for it to be a problem. Little bit of a pity, that.

Her cheeks coloured slightly.

She accepted the box, shaking her head and smiling despite herself.

"Well, that is.... surprisingly kind of her, and you can tell her I said so," she said with a slight chuckle.

Irajah was accustomed to being the shortest person in the room, so his presence that close didn't particularly alarm her. At least, not because of his height. But the coyness hadn't been entirely lost on her. For the moment, she brushed it off as her imagination, and focused instead on the box.

"Please, help yourself to something on the tray if you like," she said, a little absently.

Gingerly she perched on the edge of one of the chairs as slender fingers drew the dark satin ribbon. Her curiosity, as usual, got the best of her. What in the world would Imperia have sent her? They were friendly, if not particularly close- and they both knew they had wildly differing interests..... and aesthetics. So what could be in the box?

She pulled the top off and for a moment a small frown flickered across her lips. A folded slip of white paper, red ink marking Imperia's hand. She opened the note, hazel eyes on it as her other hand went to pluck out the item within without really looking at it. She read-



The confusion was writ clear across her face. She looked up at [member="The Slave"], perplexed and then down at the item in her hands. And immediately changed her grip on it. Dangling (now gingerly between thumb and middle finger) was a leather flogger.

At her command, The Slave meandered towards the tray; keeping an ever idle hand behind his back as the other perused the assortment of foods and drinks. After a quick consideration, he pulled a glass filled to the brim with wine and took it in slow gulps before setting it back down atop a small platter. If anything, Imperia beat into him manners.

Dainty fingers ran over the rest of the pleasantries before he brought his golden gaze back towards Irijah and her soft features. He could appreciate her, the subtle form she took; the curves of her cheek to her shoulder. Watching her open the gift, he rested an almost slanderous thumb on his lips; waiting for whatever was to come.

As she took out the switch, a brow cocked.

Is this really what Imperia sent him here for? Why was he dressed so nicely then?

Didn’t matter now, he supposed.

In short order, while the Baroness read the note, he quickly began to remove his coat; setting it aside on the couch before moving to unbutton the ivory shirt he wore underneath. Button by button, from the collar to his navel; he separated each button in slow order. Something careful, craftily revealing more and more pale skin, a rather large abundance of scars lining his otherwise well sculpted form.

He paused however, with the confusion on Irijah’s face he couldn’t help but mirror her perplexed gaze. Although it was obvious was Imperia meant, why did she seem to lost to the idea? Was he supposed to flog her?

Out of a mixture of confusion, and tension, he let out a soft and arched noise;


│ [member="Irajah Ven"] │
At the soft 'eep' she finally looked up at him.

And promptly dropped the note and the flogger.

No one in the galaxy could claim that Doctor Irajah Ven was a prude. The farthest from it. She enjoyed certain joint (and occasionally group) exercises. As thoroughly and as often as time and events permitted. But this wasn't usually- wasn't ever how those sorts of events unfolded for the dark haired woman.

Any possible confusion about what Imperia had intended was completely dashed against that slender, pale chest and the questioning look in those golden eyes.

Unfortunately, this situation wasn't working for Irajah *whatsoever*.


She had a hard enough time convincing [member="Samson"] to wear pants if he didn't feel like it- one would think she'd be more accustomed to this sort of thing, yet, here she was, face entirely scarlet and words running together.

There were a number of ways for this situation to be less awkward. If she didn't think he was attractive, for one. Or if the suggestion along with the gift was entirely in the wrong direction for her tastes. Or any other number of things that boiled down to the look on his face.

Eep indeed.

Her elbow dropped to her knee, followed swiftly by her face into her open palm.

"Thisisveryawkward," she mumbled into her hand.

[member="The Slave"]
Unlike Irajah, The Slave didn’t exactly get embarrassed. At least not at situations like this; as he had probably been in it more than once. That being him half naked ,and someone slightly upset that he was; in crowds and otherwise.

The Slave offered her a light chuckle, slowly bringing the buttons of his shirt back up to mid chest to at least make himself presentable. Not to him, he preferred being outright naked; but to what he thought might make her more comfortable. He took a quiet stride towards her, kneeling slightly before resting a hand on the side of her head;

Instead of comforting words however, he offered little more than what some would call no help at all.

You need more wine.”, he teased, moving to take a seat next to her in his own comfortable sprawl.

He made some sense of it now, Imperia was one for cruel jokes; and what more complicated of a prank then send a human candy gram to an all but unexpecting stranger. What was she to do but freeze in place and wonder just what in the netherworld he was doing? Still, he couldn’t help but think the complexity of it all, the beauty of the joke was found in his mind’s eye. It was funny to him.

A hand moved to rest on her shoulder as she recovered from the event.

Apologies, uh, Baroness. I didn’t think Imperia meant something like this to happen.”, he said with what sincerity he could conjure up in the moment.

He searched for something to drag the topic away for a moment, almost desperately, before his eye fell upon the book he witnessed before -

... So you like diseases?

│ [member="Irajah Ven"] │

Smooth operator, like usual.
So wrapped up in her own personal mortification, she didn't actually hear his step- so when his hand rested on the side of her face she physically startled, head flashing up. Her eyes were wide, and for a moment she just stared at him while the words sank in.

"I. What?"

Actually a glass of wine seemed like an entirely suitable idea right now.

It took her a moment to parse that fact, and by that time he'd already sprawled beside her, hand on her shoulder. She stood up, somewhat faster than she'd really intended to, and took the two quick steps over to the beverage cart. One tiny little ball of nerves. She hadn't been paying attention to him before (after all, the 'gift' had been a perplexing distraction), so she didn't realize the mostly full glass of wine had been his.

If she'd taken a moment to think about it, it would have been obvious.

But she was more than a little off balance by the whole situation and found herself mimicking his actions of a few moments before- taking a long drink from the already poured glass before setting it down and turning back to him.

"Do I like..... what?"

Blink blink.

The complete and utter change of topic was worse than whiplash. But it was something to grab hold of- at least, something that wasn't him.

Maw curse it Irajah, stop that.

"I'm. Um. I study them. I'm a doctor, actually. And please, just Irajah is fine. I.... you don't need to call me that. Viruses. Um. Yes."

Her hand reached behind her and she plucked the wine glass back up and brought it back to her lips, closing her eyes for a moment.

Very nice. Get a grip.

"It's a professional interest," she said after a moment and another gulp. Professional, she said. The word 'personal' lingered, a ghost behind that more acceptable explanation.

[member="The Slave"]
Irajah. Nice name.

The Slave offered her a smile as he stood, seemingly floating towards her with a quiet walk. His fingers wrapped around the glass she held, taking it slowly but firmly before sipping from it himself. With wine glass still in hand, he walked back to sit where he had prior; idly watching her before crossing his legs.

Amber eyes watched a pale figure; his every ubiquitous gaze nothing short of piercing to the otherwise gratuitous form that Irajah was. He was the underling here, the lesser figure so long as Imperia demanded it. She was his leash, and with her command to send him here, he’d make sure he remained the slave he knew he was.

A slave to sex, a slave to inebriation, and a slave to his master.

So you’re a doctor? A professional engineer of some sort?”, his tone arched with his brow, both giving her an obvious curious nature.

Something biology related. Pathology perhaps?

He brought the wine to his lips once more as he watched her. Perhaps he didn’t seem the scholarly type, but he certainly was. From his tutorships on the notable acedemic planet of Lorrd to Imperia’s own teachings. Even Vrak Nasharr and Bestia had taught him much in the time it took him to get where he was. In all aspects, he was no longer a slave in knowledge, but somehow his proverbial chains remained.

An odd question, but you wouldn’t happen be to perverse to immoral behavior would you?

… That didn’t sound right. Well, he was curious, but that wasn’t what he wanted to ask.

In the sense of bioengineering, actually.”, he quickly added with a furrow of his brow.

│ [member="Irajah Ven"] │
She stayed completely, almost unnaturally, still as he moved toward her, just watching him. Irajah had gotten fairly good at reading people in the last few months- or at least, she *thought* she had. Clearly, she'd been mistaken, because she had no idea whatsoever as to what he was about to do. He plucked the wineglass from unresisting fingers, and she just blinked.

Shaken and not knowing why Irajah turned back to the cart, pouring another glass for herself as he sat back down.

This subject however? This was easy. She didn't turn back to him, letting herself fall into a familiar, comfortable place. Not Baroness of Blackwater. Not even Irajah. But Doctor Ven. Where before she had been clearly wearing a façade of control and calm, and then insecurity, now when she spoke it was with an easier confidence. This was where she was master in truth. She tilted her head up, eyes scanning over the books on the walls absently, rather than at [member="The Slave"].

"Medical doctor, actually. Currently I am studying.... manufactured viruses." In truth, just one in particular. "So, engineered pathology, yes. My laboratory is on Maena- incidentally where I met Imperia." She frowned, ever so slightly, sipping from the glass in her hand.

Still so much to do- She knew Gideon, better than she knew her own genetic code. She could recite it from heart, if she had a desire to, she had looked it over so many times. Over a year studying it, and she was no closer to a cure. If anything, she was finally starting to accept that, with the rapid and rampant mutations, that there was no true hope for a-

An odd question, but you wouldn’t happen be to perverse to immoral behavior would you?


She turned then, mouth opening and closing again with a snap before he clarified. Any sense of aplomb, of comfort, of the professionalism of Doctor Ven vanished in a heartbeat.

"Oh! Um. That's-"

She blinked, cheeks red again.

"Sometimes," she said slowly, trying to regroup, "Sometimes, the needs of study- of scientific progress.... sometimes it demands things of us that we would..... prefer it didn't. But if I have learned anything, it's that certain end results are more important than the.... morality..... of the means."

So he could talk about his own habits and ideas within reason for her. A soft draw of the wine to his rose pale lips marked the beginning of his readjustment, leaning forward to her before speaking something almost sultry in nature; but entirely professional in wording.

Then you won’t mind me saying I know a bit on the subject from my own research.

He set the wine glass down near one of his feet before speaking, his hands becoming a part of his speech; each making a symbol and concurrent flurry with every passing word and syllable. All the while, his tone was light, but his eyes seemed to watch her with a gilded danger to them, an almost violent gaze that challenged her in the most subtle of ways.

A manufactured virus. Is there one in mind, in particular? Or are you simply studying them all? -

A pause, a moment to let her speak before he returned with the end of his thought;

- Because I’ve been experimenting with their creation, and subsequent destruction. Everything from standard antibiotics poisons, to killing cells producing corrupted ribonucleic acid, and even miniaturized polygonal structures that work to pierce the lipid bilayer and induce apoptosis.

He paused; The training the Council of Lorrd had bestowed upon him was paying off. He couldn’t help but grin as he watched her, hoping for once he could openly speak of such topics in full disclosure instead of the usual silence of his laboratory. There were already so many unspeakable abominations he had created, a dark genesis formed by a false god in the darkness of his lamp light.

Also, what did the note Imperia sent say?”, he said with a sudden cock of his brow.

He almost entirely forgot about it, but he only just realized that the note she had sent may include some further instruction as to how he was supposed to act around Irajah. What if she specifically asked he not speak as he had just done? Could he suddenly play dumb?

Not likely she’d buy it, but it was a thought at least. Somehow, he was too preoccupied to notice her nervous behavior, letting it fester while he continued to ask questions that couldn’t be answered simply by the shy waif.

│ [member="Irajah Ven"] │
Normally, when speaking of her research, it was easy to retreat into the cool, collected professionalism of her work. Then again, normally, when she was talking about microphages and retroviruses, someone wasn't looking at her like that.

His words were perfectly in line with the topic. But his eyes said something entirely different.

Irajah took a very, very long drink.

"I. Um."

Slowly, with the utmost control, she turned her back on him again and refilled her glass. Much better. It was hard to have a normal conversation with someone who was looking at you like they were wondering what you tasted like. Predatory. And doubly so when one happened to like being looked at like that.

"My research has followed those and others, but one in particular," she said steadily, her attention ostensibly on the glass and wine carafe.

"A conglomerate virus, built from multiple mutations of the same base. It is... overblown. Each individual virion bloated. But the amount of information packed into the nucleocapsid? Utterly astounding. The continued and rapid mutation it allows has made finding a survivable treatment.... a challenge."

Her voice had gotten quiet, almost distant before she paused, swallowing thickly and then downing half of her glass. The warmth expanded in her stomach.

She glanced over her shoulder when he asked the last, taking a moment to switch gears- again.

"The note is on the floor, you are welcome to read it."

​Turning away again, he could hear the frown in her voice.

"I appreciate her.... intentions. But I have no desire to mistreat her....." whatever you are "... you. I don't suspect it would make me 'feel better.' Imperia is a dear, but we have..... vastly different tastes."

[member="The Slave"]
A forced evolution virus that finds itself the maker of its own path. Does it have any rhyme or reason to the transitions, or are they simply randomized?

He watched her, slowly turn and coil at his gaze. It forced a grin out of him, because no matter the science jargon he spoke, nor the scholarly discussion at hand; he was still nothing more than the predatory Imperia made. He was sin personified, the mortal coil of malice, lust, even greed in one; and he enjoyed every second of it.

What of the capsid? Does it show signs of organic reinforcement via lipids?

The corner of his lips turned up dangerously as he spoke, while he words said one thing, his demeanor said something else. Something far worse.

It must contain some sort of base nucleotide pairing that allows for the rest to know when to exhibit their individual traits. Utilizing a second megavirus to inject a specialized RNA sample with a spacer sequence could allow other cells of the body to recognize and cut exogenous DNA, or even foreign RNA; effectively creating a genetic alteration technique for fighting viruses with that specific identity.

And then he paused. The gaze he gave her, the predator watching its prey left in the same second his gaze turned to read the letter Imperia left for her. Her handwriting was recognizable, and the words brought back fond memories of their many weekends together.

"I appreciate her.... intentions. But I have no desire to mistreat her... you. I don't suspect it would make me 'feel better.' Imperia is a dear, but we have..... vastly different tastes."

His focus came back to her, a cock of his head making him seem a bit more harmless than he really was; while a tone that stank of sweet proverbial honey moved to meet her ears -

Would you prefer me to mistreat you? In all honesty, I actually enjoy both.

A hand moved to bring the wine back to his lips from the floor.


│ [member="Irajah Ven"] │
She had been reaching to refill the glass when-

Would you prefer me to mistreat you? In all honesty, I actually enjoy both.

A hand moved to bring the wine back to his lips from the floor.


Irajah would have loved to respond with something smooth or witty. Really, she would have. Even something stern and prim, while not her usual instinct, would have done in a pinch.

Instead, she knocked over the water pitcher.

"Maw take it all," she muttered.

Plucking it up and grabbing a towel (not the sort of thing someone supposed to be a Baroness would normally think of first) she started to mop up the mess.

"I hardly know you," she stammered. "And that is entirely none of your business. When I said that we had different tastes, I only meant that- I mean- That's- a very personal question."

Her hands were shaking. But not in fear.

"The lipid coat is indeed reinforced, nearly ten times thicker than expected," she barely avoided knocking over the sugar bowl.
"And the continued, um, the continued..." she closed her eyes for a moment, the word escaping her and then- "mutations seem completely randomized. Most infected don't live long enough to see the full spectrum however, so my sample size is depressingly small."

​Despite the response to his more personal question, and rapidly changing back to a comfortable topic.... she hadn't kicked him out of the manor yet, surprisingly enough.

[member="The Slave"]
A slight hum filled his throat, a cheerful tone that gave signs to the jubilance he felt deep in his stomach. Nerves racking her, stuttering, tripping over her words and thoughts; she was somewhat smitten with him. If only slightly; and like a cat who came for a kill -

He’s play with it first.

I hardly know you -

I’m hardly worth knowing.

That is entirely none of your business.

Imperia would disagree.

That’s a very personal question.

That's because I’m trying to get personal.

The Slave moved to stand, bringing a towel down from the rack himself and moving to soak up the water. At their proximity, the soft scent of lilacs wafted off him in droves; and something odd seemed to place itself in her metaphysical vicinity. A careless pass of force energy that darted at the edge of her vision, the dark shadow she could never place.

Yet it reeked of abysmal darkness.

Perhaps moving the virus groupings between healthy bundles of cells would allow the synthesized colony to be studied somewhat; and after a larger spectrum is made you could find which pairings remain, and which change. It must have a basis to its changings somewhere.

I’d recommend checking the 53rd protein.

He said with as he looked up to her, his grin still wide while the ever careful gaze of his sith corrupted amber eyes cast themselves across her soft features. His features were hard and defined, from jaw line to brow; but his skin was a pale grey that almost seemed to match the subtle alabaster hues of his hair.

Just who, and what, was he?

│ [member="Irajah Ven"] │
At least she hadn't knocked over the wine?

Irajah's time on Panatha and Maena hadn't inured her to the call of the dark. If anything, it was a familiar weight around her shoulders. Something that she knew, at least subconsciously- instead of unsettling her further, it actually grounded her.

Despite the weight of his presence beside her, well, at least her hands weren't shaking any worse now, were they?

"The fifty-third protein is a dead end," she muttered. "And that's what I have been doing- for almost a year now. I've gotten all of the permeations of the virus to cycle through three times- it's also added a half dozen new variations that weren't originally coded in- reacting to pressures in-" she paused, about to say the patient, and instead said "In the system. I don't believe the original creators had ever dreamed of the virus being kept in corpus for so long. It's usual span is only several days...."

She made an irritated sound in her throat, dropping the sodden mess onto the tray and giving up on that front. Finally turning to look at him, she folded her arms over her chest, chewing on her lower lip absently.

"Look. Imperia's not here, okay? So she doesn't really get a vote. And if your... um.... name.... is any indication whatsoever, and she sent you here with..... that," she gestured vaguely in the direction of where she'd dropped the switch, "Well. Look. I-"

She reached up, pinching the bridge of her nose.

"This isn't how I do things, alright? Not with people who don't have a choice, or who are a.... what did she say.... a 'token'. Whatever Imperia wants to do? Fine. Not my business. But I don't truck with the idea of owning someone. Even if it's just for an afternoon. Okay?"

​[member="The Slave"]
It's hard to believe something like that was so well crafted.

He said with an idle phrasing as he finished cleaning what he could. There was the ever continuous tone he offered before moving to stand and offer her a smile. At the very least, her words were genuine; she didn’t like that he was what he was. A Slave, and that was perhaps what he’ll always be.

I’ve been a slave for the entirety of my life, Irajah. If anything, Imperia treats me better than any of those prior.

His tone was colder than before; every word foreign to whom he had been up to now. Between each syllable, a scintilla of relief riddled with anger fell; a firm tone that almost hinted at something else on his mind.

I have no name because I have not earned it.

He interjected it as he sat down where he had prior, lifting the glass to his lips; taking long and drawn out sips before resting the nearly empty glass on the nearby end table.

Then consider me free, if even for the afternoon. What should I be called today?

Everything about what he said seemed wrong; from the watchful gaze he gave her, lids hung low like a man watching the sun to the way each word slid off his silvery tongue. There was no doubting he was as social as one could be, but with every sentence he spoke he seemed closer and closer to who she wanted him to be; even if she didn’t know she wanted him to be that in the first place.

│ [member="Irajah Ven"] │
This was almost as frustrating as trying to talk to Samson. Almost. At least with him, she didn't have anyone to blame but herself for the whole situation.

Maw curse it Imperia, you couldn't have sent tea towels or throw pillows or something?

"You don't have to earn a name to deserve one," she said, her tone a little exasperated.

"And somehow I doubt it's as easy as saying 'okay, so I'm free for a couple hours, how's that local sportsball team?'"

Grimacing, she picked up the carafe. It was a little wet on the outside, but inside there was still about two glasses of wine left. Carrying it and her own glass over to the couch, she perched very lightly on the edge next to him. Reaching over, she poured him a glass before tipping the remainder into her own.

"You're here because Imperia sent you here," she said, taking a sip of the wine. Either the first couple of glasses were starting to get to her, or the room was warmer than it ought to be. "And, bless her shriveled black heart, but that's not what I want. From anyone. For any reason. So, if you are going to declare yourself free for the afternoon? You have my hearty approval, but then do whatever you want to do. I'm not going to give you a name, even for a couple of hours. That's not mine to give, it's yours to chose, if you want to. Whatever works for you and Imperia.... well, that's between you two. But. I'm not buying. If you want to stay and chat about viruses, that's fine. If you want to wander the grounds or take a swim in the lake by yourself, you are more than welcome. Hell, if you all you want to do is take a nap, I can make arrangements. I'll make sure I tell Imperia I was very happy with your services so you don't get in trouble. But. You're under no obligation. For anything. Understand?"

She searched his face, trying to figure out just what the hell was going on in his head. Of course, what she found, wasn't exactly what she'd been expecting.

[member="The Slave"]

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