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Public Club Euphoria

Ayreon

HRD Blues
Character

Euphoria, Zeltros
A blonde woman wearing a short green dress entered the nightclub. It was already a busy evening, and all new patrons were immediately assaulted by a fog of pheromones and perfume, as well as the throbbing vibrations of the sound system as it blared loud music. However, the blonde didn't seem affected by all this stimuli. She mingled with the crowd, observing the bustling activity around her, but it was clear that she was seeking out something—or someone—in particular.

To her right, a wingless S'kytri was crammed into a booth. With her lute resting limply on her lap, the green nymph looked like the very portrait of tragedy. As the blonde continued her trek across the club, a Garhoon walked past her, tugging an obviously hypnotized man toward the lift. Her victim followed along with a dopey smile on his face, either blissfully unaware or perfectly willing to be enslaved.

The blonde did a double take as she caught sight of what looked like a Ghostling woman floating among the patrons, humming quietly to herself as she darted away from hands that grabbed and jabbed at her. Their shots usually missed, except for one that made the blonde cringe—but the Ghostling merely shimmered faintly and continued on her way. She was only a hologram of a Ghostling, not a real one.

Finally, the blonde made her way to the bar. In one corner, a crowd of people were all focused on the same thing. It took some maneuvering, but she was finally able to see what it was they were so enamored with: a bespectacled blue Twi’lek was sitting at a table, surrounded by ardent admirers of her... knitting? She wasn’t sure what the fascination with the Rutian was, but she didn't have time to stay and find out.

Her attention was drawn to a man standing nearby. He wore a semi-formal suit and tie, and his dark brown locks were perfectly combed with not a hair out of place. Catching her eye, he looked back at her. His gaze had a curious vacancy to it.

Not one to be deterred by a slightly creepy stare, she sauntered over to him and bluntly asked, “What’s your story?”

“I am an Advanced HRD, or human replica droid,” he replied. “I am the property of the owners of this establishment.”

“Wow.” She looked him up and down. “Don’t think I’ve ever met an HRD before. May I touch you?”

“If you like.”

Cautiously, she reached out and touched his shoulder, then gave it a playful nudge. “You feel real. And you certainly are a handsome fellow, with those big brown eyes...”

“Thank you,” he replied politely. “But if you intend to purchase my services, I must inform you that I do not work here in that capacity.”

She smirked. “Pity. What is it that you do here, then?”

“I function as a club bouncer.”

“Do you enjoy it?”

“I am not programmed to discriminate in that area.” The HRD inclined his head. “If you meant to ask if I would rather participate in certain scenarios over others, I have only one preference—that I am not damaged in the process.”

Though he didn’t emote much, she got the impression that it was something he had dealt with recently. Her gaze softened. “Of course. Everyone is programmed to survive.”

“Sentient beings are not programmed.”

“Well, maybe not by software makers in a lab somewhere—” She sighed. “Never mind. It’s only a turn of phrase, not literal.” She took a step closer. “Do you have a name?”

“I am called Ayreon,” he replied.

She raised an eyebrow, studying him closely. A smile crossed her lips once more. “Well, Ayreon, I’m actually looking for someone, and I was wondering if you could help me. She just started working here about a month ago—perhaps you know her. Her name is Inanna Hoole Inanna Hoole .”
 
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The Red Witch; Emperor's Hand
Writer
Ingrid L’lerim
The Red Witch; Emperor's hand; Director of Blackwatch; Baroness of Vengard, Head of the House L’lerim
Location: Club Euphoria, Zeltros
Equipment: Dress | make-up
Tag: Open

Ingrid and Adrian Vandiir Adrian Vandiir have been at Zeltros for some time. The other issue is that they almost never left the Sith Lord’s apartment because they had been dealing with each other for most of the days. However, Ingrid finally managed to get her lover to start practicing as well, so they started training. Since they still couldn’t spend a significant portion of their time in Adrian's bedroom, Ingrid figured out to go out to have fun together in the evening, but that was not so easy. Since the man still had something to do with some company business, or something like that, Ingrid went forward to Club Euphoria, part of Gildenleaf Inc., so that the Sith Lord would hopefully join her later. At least she hoped that.

It was no secret at all that they were lovers, but so far there has been no time to show up somewhere together. Here it was a great opportunity as it was an independent territory. Ingrid hoped the Sith Lord’s case wouldn't drag on all night and she wouldn't have to spend the whole evening here alone. Although she wasn’t worried if that happened, she could still tie herself down to something. After preparing for the evening at home, she even went to the club. She got out of the vehicle in front of the main entrance. When she went to a place like this, she didn’t care how tall she could be, her husband and lover were both two meter tall or above, so it wasn’t a problem if she was also over 190cm now because of her stiletto shoes. It just made it look even more elegant and airy than usual.

Of course she came in the right clothes and makeup, maybe her elegance was what stood out from the crowd. But she was still alone now, and that was when she always seemed like a distant, cold person. After all, there was no man or woman beside her because of whom she could relax. Relax by not just playing it. But there were very few such people in the galaxy, and one she had just left at home in the Sith Lord's residence. As she walked along the road to the entrance she surveyed everything and everyone in the area. Occupational harm; she could never go anywhere without doing so.

There were crowded lines in front of the entrance, she just walked past them. Some then said how she imagined this, how she could afford it. But Ingrid didn't deal with them. At the entrance, the appropriate card was shown to be a guest of the business owner, so she was admitted without a word. As she got in, she looked through those who were here. She was looking for a competent person who could direct her to the booked VIP section. Although, she wasn't in a hurry yet, so for the time being she just wanted to remember the authorities, and otherwise she walked to the bar counter.

”I'd like a glass of champagne from the best of the house!” she placed her order.


 

Ayreon

HRD Blues
Character
Inanna Hoole had not been employed at the club for more than a few hours before she saved the HRD from destruction. All because she decided to open a locked door.

The HRD’s vision had been blurry and filled with static, but he managed to hone in on the figure that stood in the doorway. He didn’t recognize her then—they had yet to be introduced. Her eyes widened and her mouth fell open as she observed the macabre scene before her. The HRD had been handcuffed to the bed, partially flayed and vivisected, his mechanical organs exposed.

The
Mirialan woman who had performed this gruesome operation whirled around at the intrusion. “Who the hell are you? I paid for thirty minutes alone with it!” she exclaimed, waving her blue-stained blade in Inanna’s direction. “You better get—”

Inanna cut her off with a left hook to the jaw. The power behind her punch was far greater than her slender form suggested; the Mirialan went sailing across the room and slammed into the wall, falling to the floor in a heap. She got back up again, of course—Mirialans always do—but rather than using tact, she charged forward in a blind rage. Inanna dodged, grabbed her by the back of her dress, lifted her over her head and threw her out into the hallway like a ragdoll.

Immediately after, she slammed the door in the Mirialan’s face and locked it. The HRD lay still on the bed, watching as she slowly approached him. Bright blue coolant leaked from where the Mirialan had severed a rubbery artery, exposed wires dangled and sparked where she had cut them, and various metallic panels that she had pried away with her knife lay strewn about the floor.

“Can you still talk?” she’d asked, gesturing to his mouth. All the synthskin from his lower lip down had been peeled away.

“Yes,” he had replied.

“Then I need you to tell me what to do.”

Inanna stretched out her hand. At her command, the pieces of metal floated up onto the bed beside his mangled form. Was she a Jedi?...

Unable to move, he gave her verbal directions, telling her where to put which part and how to stop the bleeding. She not only stanched the wound, but drew as much of the blue fluid back into his body as she could. When everything had been put back in place, she’d turned her attention to the strips of synthskin scattered about.

“I’m afraid you’re going to have to have all this replaced,” she said, her expression grim. “And I’m sorry they let this happen to you. I overheard them talking about it—they told me that green schutta asked for someone who couldn’t feel pain and paid extra for permission to dismember you.”

The HRD had no reaction to this news. He did have a sense of self-preservation, but his programming didn’t allow him to feel anger or resentment toward his employers. “I am the property of the company,” he said. “They can do with me as they please.”

“Well, it just so happens that I am part of the new management,” she replied. “Today is my first day on the job, and I am definitely not going to tolerate this sort of thing. She could have killed you!”

“I can’t be killed. I’m not alive.”

“Fine—she could have
destroyed you. The laserbrains in charge here almost permitted the wanton destruction of company property. No wonder why they’re being replaced.”

The HRD tilted his head. She did have a point—unless he was no longer considered a useful employee, there was no reason he should suffer costly damages or complete destruction at the hands of a customer. The former management’s actions were illogical, or at the very least not a good business decision. “You may get in trouble for this.”

“Oh, please. I only got this job because I did a favor for somebody high up the company ladder. And as for that hulking green broad, she can go to hell for all I care.” She held out her hand. “My name’s Inanna Hoole.”

He shook her hand, but said nothing. “What’s your name?” she prompted.

“Ayreon.”

“Nice to meet you, Ayreon. I wish the circumstances were better.” She stood up and walked over to the door. “I should go and see if that sick woman is still here, probably giving the bouncer an earful. Once she’s gone, I’ll have somebody come and fix you up...”


”I'd like a glass of champagne from the best of the house!”
The HRD blinked, jolted back to the present by the voice of a red-haired woman beside him calling to the bartender. In front of him, the blonde’s smirk had widened. “What’s the matter, hon? Glitch in your programming?”

“I was just checking to see if Ms. Hoole was listed in our records,” he replied, his tone as calm and polite as ever. “She is not an escort.”

Her smile faltered. “I know that. She’s one of the managers, right?”

“She is the assistant manager,” he clarified.

“Is she here tonight?”

Though he showed no emotion, the metaphorical cogs in Ayreon’s machine brain were whirling. His examination of the blonde’s behavior had yielded strange results. He couldn’t tell if she was being sincere or not. But more than that, he didn’t want Inanna to get into trouble. Even as a mere assistant, she was a far better manager of the club than his previous employers. If this woman had bad intentions, he would do his best to prevent them from crossing paths. But in order to determine the stranger’s motives, he would have to analyze the situation further, and from a different angle.

“I could tell her you’re looking to get in touch,” he said, his charisma programming kicking into high gear. “But you’d have to tell me your name and what you’re trying to get a hold of her for.”

The woman blinked in surprise at his sudden shift in tone and body language. “My name is Ishtar Mina. And it’s none of your business what I want with her.”

“Personal business, then?” He leaned casually against the bar. “You don’t seem like her type.”

Ishtar’s green eyes narrowed. “Strictly business.”

“You’ll have to be more specific than that. If Ms. Hoole thinks it's important she meet with you, she’ll come out here and speak to you in person. Otherwise, guests are not allowed inside the manager’s office.”

“Fine. Tell Ms. Hoole that I’m here to deliver a message from Red.”

Once again, he had a hard time getting a read on her. Ishtar showed no signs of lying, nor did she show any sign of telling the truth. “Certainly,” he said. Gesturing to an empty chair at the bar, he added, “In the meantime, why don’t you have a seat? I'll get you a free drink for your trouble.”

Overhearing this, the Zeltron bartender cast a puzzled glance Ayreon’s way. The HRD merely nodded to him before turning his back, heading for the office.

Inside he was greeted by the sight of a female figure slumped across the desk, her head down and her white hair hiding her face. Her slender hand was still gripping a half-full bottle of liquor. The label on the bottle read Absinthe. Approaching her, he gently shook her shoulder. “Ms. Hoole?”

She sat up slowly. “I was just thinking,” she mumbled. There was a dark cast to her eyes, and her lower lip trembled as she spoke. “What do you need, Ayreon?”

He tilted his head. “A woman is here asking for you. She says her name is Ishtar Mina, and she’s come to deliver a message from Red.”

Startled, Inanna leaped to her feet. “Red? I haven’t heard anything from him in months! I was afraid something had happened…” A complete change rapidly came over her. The cloudiness around her eyes disappeared, her hair smoothed, and her mouth stilled. She looked as untouchable as a marble sculpture, her visage unmarred by sorrow or drink. “I’ll go and see her right away.”

Releasing her hold on the bottle of absinthe, she opened the door and headed out. But as soon as she rounded the corner, coming into view of the club proper, she gave a sudden gasp and darted back inside. “Oh chit."

“Is something wrong?” Ayreon asked.

Inanna pressed her back against the divider wall. “That woman over there, I recognize her.”

“The blonde in the green dress?”

“No, no,” she hissed. “Ingrid L’lerim. The redhead in the black dress.”

Ayreon peered around the corner. Spotting her, he identified Ingrid L’lerim as the one who had asked for champagne earlier. The bartender had since complied with her request, giving her a glass of the best they had.

“What about her is upsetting to you?” Ayreon asked, turning back to Inanna.

“I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know me, or if she does, she wouldn’t recognize me in this form,” she explained, gesturing to herself. “But if Ingrid L’lerim is here, then there’s a pretty high likelihood Adrian Vandiir Adrian Vandiir is here. And I do not want to see him.” At Ayreon’s bewildered, innocent look, she smiled kindly and patted his cheeks. “Oh, you sweet little tin man...”

“I am not made out of tin,” he replied, not understanding the reference. “I am made out of durasteel, high strength polymers, and—”

“It was just a figure of speech.” She sighed. “Would you mind going out there and talking to Ms. L’lerim for me? Ask her if she’s here alone, or if she’s waiting for someone. If she says no, you can give me a signal.” She gestured behind her back. “That way I’ll know it’s safe to come out.”

"If it turns out Mr. Vandiir is here, would you like me to find him and throw him out?"

Wide-eyed, she shook her head vigorously. "That'll just make them suspicious. If he's here, I'm sneaking out the back, and you'll just have to tell this Ishtar Mina woman that we'll have to meet up somewhere else. Can you do that?"

Nodding his head, the HRD stepped out of the office and made his way over to the bar alone. Ishtar Mina eyed him as he drew near. “Well? Is she coming?”

“She needs some time to get ready,” he replied. “She should be out shortly.” Before she could ask any more questions, he turned his attention to the redhead. “Would you mind if I sat here?” he asked her. “Unless you’re holding it for someone else…”
 
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The Red Witch; Emperor's Hand
Writer
Ingrid L’lerim
The Red Witch; Emperor's hand; Director of Blackwatch; Baroness of Vengard, Head of the House L’lerim
Location: Club Euphoria, Zeltros
Equipment: Dress | make-up
Tag: Ayreon Ayreon | Open

Ingrid soon received her drink, a glass of very expensive champagne. Although it was a drink she shouldn’t really have drunk alone, but she was still alone. In any case, maybe it will loosen her mood a bit. As soon as she had the glass in her hand, she looked for a table for herself and sat down there. For now, for lack of a better one, she had to get in by surveying the club’s guests and observing them. Slowly, it was timely to bounce back to her usual way of life.

Given that she also has to go home. She would actually have been very happy if they hadn’t been members of two hostile factions with Adrian and not lived at both ends of the galaxy. Even with her marriage, this was the problem that Darth Tacitus Darth Tacitus ruined. But no, she didn’t want to think about such troubles today, when she should be celebrated in principle. Because of this, she even remembered that she would have to visit Scherezade deWinter Scherezade deWinter sometime since she had last met her a long time ago. Underwater… it was also at least “a thousand years ago”.

Ingrid looked through those inside and then saw a man heading for her. She didn’t feel like he was doing that or that someone was coming towards her. She didn't even have to reach the Force to know it was a droid. So at a glance, it’s about a very well-made HRD. She had seen him talk to others before and his attire wasn't exactly like someone who came here to an amusement. She rightly assumed that one could be an “employee”.

”Is the owner so attentive to all the guests?” she asked. ”Please take a seat, I don't know, it's possible. And if you're already here, would you check later to see where I can find my VIP reservation? The reservation was made under the name Vandiir.”

While she waited for an answer, she took another sip of her drink. If nothing else, she hoped to find out where she had to go from here if she was tired of being here. She was curious, it wasn’t too typical - based on her experience so far - for an employee to visit her unless they knew who she was and something was wrong. She hoped there would be no problem with her first such evening in Zeltros.


 

Ayreon

HRD Blues
Character
Ayreon promptly sat down next to Ingrid, though there was a moment’s hesitation before he said anything more to her. He had to make sure the chair would hold his weight—his particular model was known for being much heavier than they looked, and he had suffered some incidents in the past where chairs buckled underneath him.

He blinked slowly. His mind was connected to the club’s system, allowing him to look up her information. “There is one reservation under the name Vandiir, for the rooftop penthouse,” he replied. It was the most expensive space available for renting they had. Curiosity prompted the HRD to do a quick search of Vandiir through all the club’s records. He wasn’t quite a regular yet, but he had made several recent visits to Euphoria, and…

Ayreon’s head jerked as he was met by a digital wall preventing him from investigating the matter further. Recovering quickly, a crease formed between his eyebrows, but he let the matter go. For now.

Turning back to Ingrid, he decided to be more direct. “This Vandiir person, are you waiting for him tonight?” he asked. “If you aren’t sure whether he’ll show up or not, we can push your reservation to a later date, or get you a less expensive room.” Some people made extravagant reservations, only for the person they expected to pay for it to ditch them at the last minute. It was a common enough occurrence that the club had a free "return" policy, despite the unrefundable nature of the services they provided.

Before he could hear Ingrid’s reply, Ayreon saw movement out of the corner of his eye. He turned just as Ishtar Mina stood up. “Where are you going? I told you Ms. Hoole would be out shortly.”

She shrugged. “I’m just going to the ‘fresher. I’ll be back in three minutes.”

Ayreon watched her walk away, then turned back to Ingrid. “Sorry. We’re a bit short-staffed tonight. Otherwise, I'd be standing guard in the corner, not dealing with guests directly.”

Ingrid L'lerim Ingrid L'lerim
 

Inanna Hoole

I'm Every Woman
Character
Inanna sat at the desk in the manager’s office, observing the club via the surveillance camera feed. She watched Ayreon take a seat next to Ingrid without giving the signal. “Damn,” she muttered under her breath. She wasn’t in the clear, at least not yet.

For a moment, her eyes flicked to the half-full bottle of absinthe still sitting in the corner of the desk. She wasn’t much in the mood for excitement, anyway. Maybe she’d be better off drinking and crying alone in here. Have Ayreon tell this Ishtar Mina woman to come back later...

But then Ishtar stood up, said something to Ayreon, and walked away from the bar. Inanna didn’t hesitate to switch cameras, following her movements as she rounded the corner and headed down the dimly lit hallway that led to the ‘fresher facilities. But rather than entering the ladies’ room, the blonde opened the back door at the far end of the hall and left the club altogether.

Inanna assumed this was Ayreon giving her a way out. She leaped to her feet, unlocked the door, checked the area, then ran down the dark hallway, following the path Ishtar had taken.

She emerged in a grimy back alley behind the club that opened into a parking lot. Looking around, she saw no sign of the mysterious blonde woman. Absinthe had dulled her senses considerably, and she struggled to summon the Force to her aid even just to feel for other presences nearby. She drew a blank. There was nobody out here.

That was when she heard it. A strange wet scrabbling sound, like someone was whipping a damp rag against a sheet of metal. Hesitantly, she approached a large mobile trash compactor, behind which the noise seemed to be coming from…
 
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The Red Witch; Emperor's Hand
Writer
Ingrid L’lerim
The Red Witch; Emperor's hand; Director of Blackwatch; Baroness of Vengard, Head of the House L’lerim
Location: Club Euphoria, Zeltros
Equipment: Dress | make-up
Tag: Ayreon Ayreon | Open

Ingrid sat a little further away with her chair so that the droid could have plenty of room. She knew how such droids work in a similar - or different - places, so she waited patiently for the other to get the data from the system so he could respond to her. Until then, she drank another sip of champagne, then set the glass down on the table in front of her. Although she endured drinking well, she didn’t want to drink too much. At least on her own, she never saw the point.

In the rooftop penthouse, it seemed that Adrian Vandiir Adrian Vandiir had not shredded things. She knew her lover was probably not here for the first time, as she knew the Sith Lord liked going to Zeltros and annoying the local faction. So more of a question, was it always renting that penthouse, or did that change? It wasn’t really an important issue, it just came up in her.

”Thank you for your answer!” she said to the droid.

Though there was only one droid that Ingrid recognized for maximum combat or work, but in a place like this, decency was important, so it gave respect, even if it was just one machine was the other. After all, she was a noble and Adrian's guest, she had to and should behave accordingly. “This Vandiir person” the droid should improve on communication because Ingrid didn’t find this to be a very nice wording.

”From your words, I interpret that it is customary for the club to cancel a reservation at the last minute. But it's really not necessary. I hope he finishes what he was already dealing with when I left him alone. But if he doesn’t and I won’t need it either, or might someone would need that penthouse, let me know, in which case, of course, I’ll pass it on to that person.” she promised.

If Adrian wasn’t going to be able to come, it was nothing. And the cheaper room was unnecessary, both of whom could afford to take out the most expensive penthouse. She didn't know if Adrian was coming in his own form or experimenting with something else, so there was even the possibility that he would arrive in a female form, purely for experimentation, and then Ingrid would go up to the reserved penthouse with a woman. Ingrid didn't say anything about the little interlude, the name Ms. Hoole wasn't familiar to her, she might be the manager of the place. That’s how she left this topic. When the droid returned to her, she nodded in response.

”Outside, the guests stood in crowded rows. I think you will look forward to a busy evening during this day. You mentioned Ms. Hoole, she is the manager?”


 

Ayreon

HRD Blues
Character
Ayreon observed Ingrid’s reactions, analyzing her behavior. There were many subtle things he noticed about her just from watching the slightest ticks in body language and expression. She didn’t seem to enjoy alcohol all that much, drinking only the obligatory amount of champagne from her glass. Perhaps it was because she was drinking alone. He also picked up on the slight frown that turned her lips downward when he mentioned Vandiir—a sign of mild distaste or disapproval. He had admittedly been somewhat careless in how he worded his sentence. The HRD was also annoyed by the block keeping him from learning more about Adrian Vandiir, but he would never admit to that. No, the poor phrasing had to be just a mistake, a brief glitch in his programming.

After the interlude with Ishtar Mina disappearing, Ayreon took stock of Ingrid’s tone and inflection as she inquired about Ms. Hoole. No obvious signs of recognition or heightened interest. She was just making small talk.

“She is the assistant manager,” he clarified. “The club’s main manager is currently occupied.” Main Manager Martin Hyde was in fact occupying one of the club’s suites at that moment, but Ayreon could not reveal that to a guest. “The woman who just left wanted to speak to Ms. Hoole about some urgent business, but there was a delay...”

He hesitated for only a split second before making the decision to lie. Being a machine with a computer brain, there was no risk of him getting nervous or forgetting the details of his concocted story.

“...We had an unruly guest,” he began, his tone somewhat quieter to avoid being overheard by other patrons. “A Mirialan woman. She became violent once she was left alone with one of our escorts. Luckily, the employee involved was able to press the alarm button in the suite, summoning security, but they were unable to restrain the belligerent guest. Ms. Hoole then arrived and took care of the issue.” He permitted himself a small smirk of triumph. “Such incidents are not a common occurrence at this establishment, but unfortunately they can and do happen. So far Ms. Hoole has been able to deal with them accordingly.”

Ingrid L'lerim Ingrid L'lerim
 

Inanna Hoole

I'm Every Woman
Character

Oh no.

How long Inanna stared at the thing crouched behind the trash compactor, she didn’t know. It held her in some strange hypnotic fascination, even as every instinct screamed at her to get away from it.

The thing was some sort of shapeshifting biot, and it had hidden itself here as it transformed. She registered the presence of Ishtar Mina’s discarded green dress lying on the ground beside the machine, as well as a bag containing something she couldn’t see…

While the mass of bubbling pale flesh continued to wriggle over the metallic skeleton, Inanna reached for the bag, pulled it toward her, and tore it open. Inside were dozens of different types of weapons, along with several sets of clothing and light armor. She picked out a vibroblade hilt, activating the weapon. The blade was soundless and sharp enough to cut through flesh like butter.

“Those don’t belong to you.”

Inanna rose to her feet, holding the sword at the ready. The creature had taken on a woman’s shape. Short black hair had sprouted from a head that had developed distinct facial features, gray eyes and an athletic physique clad in black light armor. Had Inanna not seen it in the midst of a horrific transformation only moments ago, she would never have guessed it wasn’t a real human woman. Or perhaps not—despite its lifelike appearance, there was something unnatural and unnerving about the biot, enough that it triggered Inanna’s danger sense despite it being entirely Force Dead.

The creature reached out with one gloved hand. “I need my gear back,” it said. There was nothing mechanical about its voice—it spoke with far more range, inflection, and emotion than Ayreon did. A very advanced machine indeed.

Inanna didn’t dare to blink. She didn’t trust this woman… thing… not to bite her head off if she let it come any closer.

After a few more nerve-wracking moments passed, the biot smiled in what was probably supposed to be a friendly, disarming gesture. But the sight of it sent shivers down Inanna’s spine. “That bag has everything I own in it, including my credentials and money. I need it.” Her smile faded. “You’re not some sort of thief, are you?”

“No. I’m just very, very confused. Who are you?” Inanna asked, eyeing the green dress lying on the ground. It was probably still Ishtar Mina, just in a different form, but who knew—maybe the biot had eaten the blonde, then spat her clothes back out.

The biot didn’t respond at first, but continued to reach for the bag. Inanna held it back in one trembling hand, the vibroblade clutched in the other.

“My name is Ishtar Mina,” the biot replied, realizing it was better to just answer the question. “Although my current configuration is called Daphne. I’m here looking for someone named Inanna Hoole. She’s in terrible danger.”

So it doesn’t know who I am, Inanna thought, with some hope. Maybe I can sneak out of here. It won’t know I’ve already left...

“I came back here for a smoke,” Inanna said, doing her best to sound like an ordinary local who had stumbled upon the biot in mid-transformation purely by accident. “Why’d you have to come out here and… get all wriggly and gross?”

“So that I could protect Inanna Hoole,” the biot explained. “This form I’m in now is designed for combat. I can defend her much better this way. But I still need weapons—” She reached for the bag again. “Please, there isn’t much time.”

Reluctantly, Inanna handed her the bag. “Daphne” took it, slung it over her shoulder, then reached for the vibroblade. Inanna handed that to her too.

“Well, er, good luck with your quest, or whatever.” She started to back away slowly, her empty hands held up in surrender.

The biot folded the vibroblade back up, attached it to her hip, tucked the bag away back in its hiding place—then suddenly lunged forward with incredible speed. Evidently, it couldn’t afford to leave any witnesses to its true nature.

Inanna yelped as superhumanly strong hands clamped down on her shoulders, the biot’s mouth opening wide. Neon light reflected off metallic black fangs as the biot sank its teeth into her neck—only for the fangs to meet mere air. Inanna had melted into a mortified puddle on the ground and was now in the process of crawling toward the back door of the club, desperate to escape.

Daphne” snarled and charged after her. Inanna barely managed to get the door open and slip inside, half-formed, the biot hot on her heels.
 
The Red Witch; Emperor's Hand
Writer
Ingrid L’lerim
The Red Witch; Emperor's hand; Director of Blackwatch; Baroness of Vengard, Head of the House L’lerim
Location: Club Euphoria, Zeltros
Equipment: Dress | make-up
Tag: Ayreon Ayreon | Open

Once the droid came back, Ingrid could find out who Inanna Hoole Inanna Hoole really was. Nodded that she understood this. She really didn’t want to talk to the owner or this woman, just inquired. Information was power, especially in her profession. So it didn’t hurt to be aware of everything, especially if she might still have a chance to visit the place at other times.

Ingrid turned back to the HRD with an interested look as he began to speak, in more detail; he told a story quite accurately. Yes, the woman knew these types of guests, too, from a different perspective, of course. She was more familiar with these types of people who think they can get everything while not. As decency and the situation required, she nodded sympathetically and approvingly. It wasn’t that hard to play, an amateur agent also needed to know that, not just her.

She even allowed herself a smile when the droid smiled, apparently proud to work for a woman like Ms. Hoole. He looked quite human, clever programming. Ingrid was always amazed that Hyrsi was never tired of programming and making HRDs. Although knowing the woman what is late does not depend.

”Ms. Hoole can be a really…”

She would have begun to say, but as she felt the events in the back area, in the Force, her face and whole body tensed completely in an instant. Now neither her body language nor her face revealed anything about what she was thinking. She looked in the right direction with her cold gaze. She felt the fear perfectly even among so many people, especially that it was so intense. Ingrid didn't know what had happened in the back, but she did know that something had happened there.

”Call a guard! Something happened in the back, around the back exit. Do it fast!”

Her voice was now completely emotionless, not urgent, just telling the fact. And if the HRD didn't stop her, got up from her seat and headed for the back, trying to pull Ayreon with her so the droid wouldn't fall behind.


 

Ayreon

HRD Blues
Character
The biot had not known it was speaking to Inanna Hoole. The silver-haired woman holding her bag had seemed like a shocked and frightened local at first, someone it would have fed upon and erased all memories of the encounter. But when she evaded the biot’s fangs by melting into a puddle, that was when things clicked into place for “Daphne”. Despite the odd prevalence of shapeshifters in this particular story, Shi'ido were exceedingly rare in the galaxy, especially this far from home. This one had to be Inanna Hoole, the one it had been seeking ever since it was dropped off on Nar Shaddaa with a new mission to complete.

If only I had known, the biot thought bitterly as it turned to chase the shifting pile of grayish slime trying to escape.

The back door of the club opened at Inanna’s frantic button-pressing. Half-formed and still-growing, Inanna staggered inside just in time to collide with Ingrid and Ayreon.

Cold steel eyes met Ayreon’s dark brown. The biot registered the presence of the red-haired sorceress as well, but Ayreon was the one who came barreling toward Inanna’s attacker, shooting down the hall and out the door like a bullet. It veered away from him, reaching for the vibroblade at its hip, but he slammed into it, knocking it to the ground before it could draw the weapon.

“You have assaulted a club employee. Security has been notified,” the HRD announced matter-of-factly and without any shortness of breath, the full bulk of his weight pinning the other machine to the pavement. “Don’t make any sudden movements—”

With superhuman strength the biot hurled him away. The HRD slammed into the wall, and though his face didn’t change expression, his body crumpled in such a way that it was obvious he had been damaged by the impact. He was still functioning, but it was a struggle for him to rise to his feet.

Inanna wasn’t faring much better. The Shi’ido was back in her human form, but instead of hiding among the crowds inside the nightclub, she had hesitated, unwilling to leave Ayreon at the mercy of her attacker. The biot, having dealt with Ayreon for the moment, had immediately turned its attention back to her. It swung its vibroblade, forcing Inanna to dart out of the way, then spun to face her again each time she escaped the arc of the weapon.

"You said you had come to protect Inanna Hoole! I am Inanna Hoole!" she exclaimed, abandoning the charade in an effort to reason with it. When the biot continued to chase her around the alley, she cried out, "What the hell do you want from me?! I told you the truth!"

"I lied. I'm not here—to protect you," the biot replied, punctuating its sentence with a jabbing thrust that Inanna narrowly avoided. Its voice was curiously absent of any trace of malice or cruelty. It was simply doing a job, something it had no doubt been programmed to do. "I am here—to kill you."

Panicking, Inanna stretched out with the Force and managed to summon various pieces of trash, rocks, and debris lying around to her aid, pelting the biot with them. But the machine ignored these distractions and kept coming after her relentlessly. It was only a matter of time before she slipped up and was caught by the flashing metal blade.

Ingrid L'lerim Ingrid L'lerim
 
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The Red Witch; Emperor's Hand
Writer
Ingrid L’lerim
The Red Witch; Emperor's hand; Director of Blackwatch; Baroness of Vengard, Head of the House L’lerim
Location: Club Euphoria, Zeltros
Equipment: Dress | make-up
Tag: Ayreon Ayreon | Inanna Hoole Inanna Hoole | Open

Luckily, the HRD followed Ingrid, so they soon arrived outside, where they weren’t exactly greeted by the most pleasant sight. She had seen shapeshifters before - albeit mostly sithspawns - but she immediately learned what she was facing. Although the biot provided a pretty weird sight. For now, she didn't seem to be cared for by the robotic creature. It was a huge mistake. The HRD “ended up” in the wall after the attack and Hoole tried to escape and the biot afterwards.

Ingrid loved not being noticed when it was needed. She was able to achieve this as easily as to be the center of attention when needed. As a spy and agent, this was one of the very first tasks she learned to accomplish. However, she didn’t want to reveal what she was actually capable of, so couldn’t use quite a few of his abilities. She would have been glad to have brought a weapon with herself, as she could not be nearly as effective against a machine with a bare hand as against a living being.

And the biot started after Ms. Hoole, and Ingrid was willing to wait so far. How much easier it would have been if it were a living creature, because then, getting behind it, it could have broken its neck in a single motion. Now, however, she wasn't even sure how much the biot withstood any Force lightning attacks. This left the other solution so as not to harm the environment and others.

”If you want to escape, do it now Ms. Hoole!”

She shouted at the woman, then at that moment reached out to the Force and concentrated the Force around the biot, then with telekinetics tried to grab every part of the biot and pull it back from Ms. Hoole. If she was successful, she would pull their opponent back into the alley and all he had to do in this case was keep it afloat until the security service arrived. With that, the minimal chance was over that she might have a relaxed date with Adrian Vandiir Adrian Vandiir .

She had a feeling that unlike Adrian, she wasn't going to love Zeltros…


 

Inanna Hoole

I'm Every Woman
Character
”If you want to escape, do it now Ms. Hoole!”
Inanna heard Ingrid shout the words as she continued to evade the biot’s strikes. At that point she was already trying to make her way back to the still-open door.

The biot was largely unaffected by Ingrid’s attempts to restrain it, though she did succeed in wrenching the vibroblade from its hand. Annoyed, it abandoned its weapon in favor of chasing Inanna, speeding through the doorway after her as she took advantage of the delay.

The club’s security team was waiting for them both. Inanna found herself seized by the arms, a man dressed in black holding her firmly in place. “Stop,” he ordered. “Are you the one who got attacked, or the one attacking?”

Rather than answering, Inanna wrenched herself free of his grip and darted behind him—only to look back and find nothing there. The biot had disappeared.

Looking around frantically, she grabbed the man by the shoulders in much the same way he had done to her. “It’s gone—you’ve got to find it!”

“Calm down,” he said, startled by the strength of her grip. She had come close to lifting him up off the floor. “I take it the thing doesn’t like crowds. Seriously, relax. We have surveillance video of it, we’ll track it down.”

“It can shapeshift! I saw it transform right there in the alleyway!” she snapped, shock and fear shortening her temper. “And it’s Force Dead—no Jedi or Sith can stop it!”

The contractor frowned. “And this shapeshifting, Force-resistant, murderous being is some sort of machine?”

“It’s not a machine, or not a traditional one anyway…” Inanna’s thoughts were scrambled, terror and excitement preventing her from thinking straight. She shook her head and released the poor confused security contractor. “Look, it’s only after me. I have to get the hell out of here. Can you get me out safely?”

“Sure. Where do you want to go?”

“The nearest starport,” she replied.

“I see... Do you need us to retrieve anything else for you?”

“How about we talk about it on the way there?” she replied, nudging him toward the front entrance. Inanna deliberately placed herself between the other members of the security team, not wanting to take any chances.

Ingrid L'lerim Ingrid L'lerim
 

Ayreon

HRD Blues
Character
///INTERNAL DAMAGE SUSTAINED
//RUN DIAGNOSTIC
///DIAGNOSTIC RUNNING...
/////////////////////
///SPINAL COLUMN FRACTURED
///ARCHANGEL REPAIR CENTER CONTACTED
///LOCKDOWN UNTIL ARRIVAL
//LOCKDOWN IMPOSSIBLE AT THIS TIME
///ACKNOWLEDGED
///AVOID SUDDEN MOVEMENT UNTIL ARRIVAL
////////////

Ayreon supported himself against the wall as he pulled himself into a seated position. When he attempted to rise to his feet, warnings flashed across his vision. The fracture was located in his lower back; placing weight on it could result in further damage. So he remained where he was, sitting on the ground with his back against the bricks.

Reports from club security came flooding in. Inanna was safe and being escorted out. The biot had not been found, though a search of the premises was underway. He obtained a copy of the surveillance footage of the alley and played it back.

Ishtar Mina left the club and moved out of sight of the camera, followed shortly after by Inanna. Inanna moved in and out of frame, holding a bag in her hands that she must have picked up. Around three minutes after Ishtar initially went out Inanna could be seen backing away from the dark-haired, armor-clad biot. She was still holding the bag, though at some point she handed it over to the biot, who placed it somewhere else...

Moments later, a couple of mercenaries arrived on the scene, accompanied by a security droid. Paying Ayreon no heed, they instead went immediately to Ingrid L’lerim.

“Are you injured? Did you see what happened?”

While they spoke to her, trying to get her side of the story, Ayreon tried once again to move. Ignoring the warnings, he crawled forward, moving in the same direction Ishtar and Inanna had gone, outside the bounds of the camera.

The sound of his useless lower body dragging across the ground drew the attention of the two men. “Hey, tin man!” one of them called. “Give it a rest, will ya?”

Ayreon continued to pull himself along, eventually reaching the other side of the trash compactor. He began to scan the area, only to hear footsteps approaching.

“What are you doing over here?” the contractor asked.

“The biot left behind a bag,” the HRD replied. “It may still be hidden somewhere in this vicinity.”

“Like where? Inside the trash compactor?”

“If it contained valuable items, that is unlikely. Check nearby. It is roughly the size of a duffel bag.”

Smirking, the man joined in the search. A few seconds passed, then the man called out, “I think I found something.” He pulled on the edge of cloth visible on a high perch, and the bag came tumbling down, smacking him in the shoulder in the process. “Ow! Damn it, that thing’s heavy! Good thing it didn’t knock me on the head...”

Ayreon scrambled over to the bag and unzipped it. Inside were weapons, clothing, armor, credits, and credentials—everything the biot owned, indeed.

“Holy chit,” the contractor murmured. “Does it have an ID?”

Already rifling through the contents, Ayreon handed him the credentials, then turned his attention to the clothing. He pulled out Ishtar Mina’s green dress and began scanning it.

“These have got to be fake,” the man muttered, looking through the biot’s identification documents. Seeing the HRD fingering women’s clothing at his feet, the contractor’s brow furrowed. “Uh, what are you doing now?”

“Locating samples,” Ayreon replied without looking up. He finally found what he was hoping for: a strand of hair. As the bewildered contractor watched, the HRD gathered the strand of hair together, then placed it on his tongue.

//ANALYZE COMPOSITION
///ORGANIC MATTER
//RUN DNA SEQUENCER
///RUNNING…
////////////////////
///!COMPOSITE DNA DETECTED!
///TRACES OF SHI’IDO GENOME
///TRACES OF UNKNOWN GENOME
///TRACES OF VONG MASQUER GENOME
///STORE FOR LATER COMPARISON?
//YES
////////////////
///STORAGE CONFIRMED

Ingrid L'lerim Ingrid L'lerim Adrian Vandiir Adrian Vandiir
 
The Red Witch; Emperor's Hand
Writer
Ingrid L’lerim
The Red Witch; Emperor's hand; Director of Blackwatch; Baroness of Vengard, Head of the House L’lerim
Location: Club Euphoria, Zeltros
Equipment: Dress | make-up
Tag: Ayreon Ayreon | Inanna Hoole Inanna Hoole | Open

So far, Ingrid hasn't really met an opponent who hasn't been affected by the Force using. She knew of a few species that could not be mentally influenced, but that was different. It was a completely new thing and very unpleasant. The woman has read about these, but reading is different than to experience. Luckily, however, she managed to get the vibroblade out of the biot’s hand, though that didn’t really make her feel any better.

Hoole at least fled and Ingrid won him some time. Running in stiletto heels wasn’t exactly the most pleasant and comfortable, but she tried to go after biot and Hoole because apparently the HRD wasn’t really functional yet. Picked up the dropped vibroblade from the ground, at least she was no longer unarmed and thus had a better chance of fighting their opponent.

But before she could reach the door, the mercenaries arrived, apparently not dealing with the droid, but immediately addressing their questions to her. Felt the first question was pretty unnecessary, as there wasn’t a single scratch on her. She glanced at the blade, then put the folder down, she didn't need it anymore at least she hoped that. Shook her head before she starts speaking.

”No, I wasn't injured. The droid, on the other hand, might need a repair. When we arrived with the HRD, Ms. Hoole was trying to escape from a shape-shifting biotechnology “weapon”. The HRD and I tried to gain time for her and help her, but it got into the building in the footsteps of Ms. Hoole. Unfortunately, I didn't see more than that.”

Told me everything she knew. In the meantime, she stayed the same, didn't go any closer, because she was a civilian at the moment, no matter how strange it sounded. Apparently the mercenaries weren't exactly at the height of the situation either. And the HRD fixed itself and maybe got a result. No matter how much she didn't want to get involved in it, her curiosity was greater, she didn't like it if she didn't know something, if it affected her.

”What did you get with the analysis?” she asked the HRD. ”If I may find out, what evidence and data were found?”


 
The Mercy Giver
Character
Objective: Family time/ investigate reprogrammed copy

With: Laertia Io Laertia Io / Moya Virtu Moya Virtu

Wearing: Io Sister's Garb (Crimson Armorweave Catsuit)

Current Configuration: Melissa / Meleena / Melinda

Laertia had been deeply disturbed and traumatized since Kattada, yet remained unable to remember the trauma. She had been quiet and low energy the past few days, not even practicing her lightsaber combat. Both Melissa and Moya had been deeply worried about a now near silent Laertia, who found comfort in her rabbits and her pseudo-mother and sister, but little else.

A private communique from her Mother Nine Lives had ordered an increase in the guard around Laertia at Melissa's insistence: Analysis of Laertia's psych profile indicated she would happily accept more sisters and given both her and Moya's respective limitations as well as Laertia's current depressive state Nine had agreed and sent a package ahead. Melissa had picked it up on Coruscant and brought it with her aboard the Blessing of Loste, a Dynamic Class Freighter replica for their journey to Zeltros.

Moya was the one who required convincing but in the end her psychology AND strategic programs and those of The Biot called Westenra everywhere else were in accordance: Laertia needed multiple sisters to protect her and to confide in. Moya had gone with it also because she knew Melissa sincerely loved Laertia and would never willingly put her at risk.

Melissa had unpacked her own mother's gift. Moya was busy helping Laertia get ready to enjoy herself. Moya was starting to trust her more but Melissa took it slow: Moya held a special place in Laertia's heart and Melissa didn't want Moya to think she was attempting to usurp her fellow Biot's place on the ship, which was clearly Queen Bee. She merely wanted to be in her adopted sister's life as much as possible.

The tall, leggy blonde Android in her black dress pulled out three different sets of crimson, armorweave metallic bodysuits with exposed neck and shoulders as well as Data Cylinders for her new programming and configurations.

Melissa took out the programming needle and inserted it into the back of her neck, triggering the download. Her flesh shuddered as her brain absorbed the new data, briefly shifting to each of her new guises before resetting to her current one, removing the needle.

Shifting to the first of her new guises over the course of a five minute transformation, that of a curvy blond athlete with golden skin and hair, she immediately used a vibroknife to sever a finger, watching as the finger fell, her hand leaking glowing red blood for a second as it grew back over the course of ten minutes, then triggered another transformation, bubbling, wriggling skin shifting into a slightly younger woman with hair just as blond, but skin much more golden, a finger from whom was also severed before retaking her guise as Melissa. She got out a gamma ray lamp included in the package and exposed both severed fingers to it, both of which broke down into a rapidly expanding mollasses like tissue, both pieces growing into a copy of one of the new forms she had taken. They both opened their eyes, looked around, spotted their copy and smiled. Melissa smiled back at her copies and tossed them both their equipment.

(Plasmid Acquisition Theme Plays)

(Westenra obtained new Configurations!)

Configuration: MELEENA IO

Take the form of an aggressive, high speed warrior with a more aggressive psychic loadout than standard, but burns out quicker and requires more feeding if psy abilities are used heavily. Runtime differences render Meleena more level headed and this configuration is coded to behave like an older Sister to Laertia.

Configuration: MELINDA IO

Takes the form of a beautiful young athlete with access to lethal, psychic energy attacks in the form of psychic lightning, psychic pyrokinetics, and psychic cryokinetics, along with Form Two skill. Moderate expenditure of powers leads to more requirements to feed to sustain itself. Run time differences make Melinda more paranoid about security. This configuration is coded to behave like a younger sister to Io

"Hurry up. We're almost ready to leave. The Sail Barge will be here in fifteen." Melissa ordered Laertia's new 'Sisters' Meleena and Melinda.

"Are you sure Laertia will enjoy Zeltros?" The youngest looking one, Melinda asked. This was due to a difference in run times in configurations. Copies could be of completely different minds on the same subject.

Meleena, not missing a beat despite having just been brought into existence shrugged as she slipped on the catsuit.

"She's never been able to really party, Sister." Meleena reminded her, her voice a lower pitch than Melinda's. "You can only find so much entertainment aboard this ship."

"Its just really exposed on Zeltros." Melinda argued back, finished dressing.

"She has us and Moya. It's enough." Meleena assured.

"Sith Assassins don't give two feths if you're vacationing on Zeltros: they'll take nearly any chance to punch your ticket." Melinda asserted.

"Then we punch theirs first." Melissa asserted. "C'mon. Laertia will be so excited..."

The two new copies of Westenra squeed in delight in unison as they followed Melissa out of the cargo hold.

Three minutes later...

"You look beautiful." Moya said to her Pseudo-Daughter in their quarters.

Laertia stared at herself in the mirror. She was wearing a blue, short sleeve and shin-length dress of a relatively simple make and cut, her hair styled in a traditional Atrisian manner, with crimson hairpins fastening raven hair in place. The tombstone skinned Jedi smiled faintly but in an uncertain manner in the confines of her pink and polka dot private quarters, Moya, in her pilot guise of a tall, curvy woman with dark skin and long copper hair was wearing a black armored leather catsuit, two pistols strapped to her thighs, hugged Laertia gently.

"We're gonna have a lot of fun on Zeltros. The dancing alone will be worth it." Moya told her.

"Mmmm.." Laertia mumbled, staring at herself in the mirror. She should have worn the kimono. But it wasn't like she was going to a formal event. Hardly anything on Zeltros was formal.

She still couldn't remember what happened on Kattada. What had freaked her out so much she didn't want to pick up any lightsabers at the moment, content with only her sword cane.

It had been remarkably easy, convincing her to take day off. But Laertia had been so burnt out after Yurb and Kattada she genuinely wanted to unwind for a change, risks to herself be damned. Melissa had made the necessary arrangements, purchasing a private sail barge to watch the whole planetary celebration from above while enjoying the finest dancing and music (Laertia considered most forms of entertainment especially on Zeltros too gaudy for her liking and excessive. But dancing and music were definitely plusses.).

A knock on her quarters was followed by her new Sister Melissa...being followed in by two different but both equally beautiful blond women with golden skin and hair walked in, all wearing matching catsuits.

"Melissa? Whooze arr dheze?" The currently highly psychologically vulnerable killing machine asked.

"We wanted to surprise you with new additions to our family..." Moya explained. "Melissa took the time to grow and program new copies of herself to serve as new sisters."

Laertia blinked, staring at Melissa and the other smiling blondes.

"So...dhey're allz yooz?" Laertia asked in fascination. She didn't know Westenra/Melissa could do that.

Force, just what were Westenra's exact limits in potential? Laertia was slowly becoming in awe of her designer. How had she done it? How had she crafted possibly the most advanced droid in The Galaxy?

"Yes. Technically." Melissa admitted. "But they both love you because they are essentially me."

"You look gorgeous, Sister." Melinda assured.

"You simply must go shopping with me at some point for weapons. How do you feel about poisoning blades?" Meleena asked.

"Besst uzed onn dagguhz. Wutt aboutz yooz?" Laertia asked Meleena.

"Oh, put enough venom on any of my edges and I'm happy." Meleena answered with a wry smile.

"Well of course you'd be happy..." Melinda joked. "I think we should go sky diving.

"I've allwayz wanntedz tuh triez dhat..." Laertia trailed quietly, liking their smiles, trusting them, heart melting at what Melissa had brought into her life. She didn't deserve her or Moya, she thought grimly in the back of her mind.

But she had them and she was greatful, and greatful also for more family.

"Oh...dhis...dhis iz duh besst suhprize I cudda gottinz..." Laertia trailed, smiling a glowing smile as all three of her sisters and Moya hugged her...it was a revelation, feeling completely safe for once.

Fifteen minutes later...

The rabbits had gone with them, of course, to the barge. Laertia wasn't leaving her pets alone on this planet and had patiently loaded them herself aboard the barge before letting it set sail. It was an elegant, high class interior...Melissa had paid a pretty cred for it. Laertia could feel the high security defense measures in its structure. Orchestral music played as she and her family walked together holding hands as they arrived at the massive wide open lounge area. Laertia smiled as servant droids prepared vegetarian Sushi. She picked the largest sofa and sat right in the middle, Meleena and Melinda joining her on either side so she could get used to them. Melissa smiled a bit as it looked like the three immediately launched into gossip talk about the Jedi Temple.

"I have to admit..." Moya said from behind Melissa as she watched Laertia giggle as Melinda started making faces. "Its been a long time since I've seen Laertia that happy. Even I can't make her smile like that."

"We'll never try and take your place, Moya. All we want is to be a family."

"It's testament to Laertia's trust. I trust her judgement for the most part..." Moya replied. "I even trust you to the extent I am able to trust a fellow deadly Android proclaiming a Sister's love for my charge. There's no faking the emotion I sense in you. That said...Don't make me regret it."

Melissa nodded respectfully to Moya, who nodded back just as respectfully and went to sit and relax on a nearby chair as the Barge prepared to lift and take off.

"Excuse me, Madame Io?" said one of the servant droids as Melissa was just about to join the couch Laertia was currently being hugged on. The Melinda copy seemed to have grown especially attached to Laertia, constantly trying to make her laugh while Meleena played along, throwing in the occasional dirty joke of her own.

"What is it?"

"Priority Message from Atrisia, addressed to you alone."

"Moya! I gotta take this call okay?" Melissa called out.

Moya nodded watching with a small grin as Melinda tried to do an impression of Princess Leia that made Laertia double over when Melinda deliberately flubbed the line about being on a diplomatic mission to Alderaan, replacing 'Alderaan' with 'Cheap Liquor Store'

"You are a part of the Rebel Alliance and an Alcoholic. Take her away!" Meleena mocked.

Laertia doubled over with laughter as her sisters laughed and hugged her also.

Melissa in the meantime had taken the call in the conference room.

Nine Lives appeared as a blue white, life sized hologram. She was still very much the imposing figure the original Westenra had first become acquainted with. The Arch Psy-Pyre, clad in a hooded kimono with white rose print on green fabric stared at Melissa, her eyes glowing under the hood.

"Mother! So nice to hear from you!"

"It is always a pleasure to talk to any version of you, Daughter." Nine Lives said in her deep contralto. "Has the guard been increased around Laertia?"

"My new variants are entertaining her as we speak."

"Good. Listen daughter, this isn't exactly a social call. I've got a real problem that I just found out happens to be on Zeltros. You know that copy of you that went missing a while's back? I just got out of the most interesting conference call with one of my spies on Zeltros. Apparently someone encountered tech very similar to yours but with none of your guises. I'm positive its the missing copy, reprogrammed."

"Orders?"

"Go to Club Euphoria. Investigate. See if you can locate the compromised copy."

"When I do?"

"Determine the extent of the damage done to the copy. If salvageable, disable and retrieve it."

"If not salvageable?"

"Destroy it. I will not tolerate my tech in the hands of a potential rival." Nine said. "They dare to reprogram one of MY children?! They shall be killed using knives and Horse Manure from the Five Sacred Islands of Chinn!"

"Is that a very disgusting form of murder, Mother?" Melissa asked innocently.

"Oh yes, Daughter. The most disgusting. I can't even describe it, its so disgusting. You know that one movie where they sowed everybody together because the dude was insane?"

"Oh yes. That was a very disgusting film."

"Well, the form of murder I am contemplating is a hundred times more fethed up than anything you see in that film."

Melissa widened her eyes.

"It's that awful!?"

"Holy chit yes." Nine answered. "Ta, Daughter! I leave it in your capable hands."

Melissa smiled, cut transmission, and headed to a bedroom. She took out a vibroknife, severed a finger, washed the blood off in the sink and then exposed it to a gamma ray lamp she had brought aboard. In seconds it had grown into another Melissa. The original Melissa handed the nude one a black cocktail dress, undergarments, and Stiletto heels, along with her lightsaber, which the new copy swallowed whole to smuggle it into the club.

"Good luck." She told the new her, who marched off the ship as it took off, hailing a taxi to head to the club...

Ingrid L'lerim Ingrid L'lerim

Ayreon Ayreon

Inanna Hoole Inanna Hoole
 
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Ayreon

HRD Blues
Character
Ayreon glanced at Ingrid, prepared to explain that he could only reveal sensitive information either to Gildenleaf personnel or the proper authorities. But before he could speak, his programming was unexpectedly overridden. Ms. L’lerim had temporarily been registered as a VIP, and therefore was privy to anything she wished to know…

“This bag was in the biot’s possession,” he replied. “It contains weapons, armor, clothing, money, and credentials.”

“Fake credentials,” the contractor added. “Very good fakes. Maybe there’s a real person named ‘Ishtar Mina’ whose identity is being used...”

“That is unlikely,” Ayreon said. “Convincing fakes are surprisingly easy to come by.” Turning back to Ingrid, he continued, “I was able to obtain a DNA sample from an article of clothing. It appears to be a composite of three different genomes: Shi’ido, Vong Masquer, and an unknown species. I have stored the sample for later testing, should the biot evade capture.”

The contractor shuddered. “I’d hate to think what would happen if that thing was turned loose on the city.”

“Most likely nothing. It is a machine with specific programming, fulfilling the orders of whoever programmed it. Based on what I have observed, the biot only wants to kill Inanna Hoole. So far it has avoided harming any other living beings.”

“What about you, tin man?”

“I’m not alive. Its sensors probably picked up on that.” He gestured to the bag. “It may have other caches hidden around the premises. I wouldn’t count on it being unarmed. Even then, it is extremely fast, strong, and agile. Hardly defenseless on its own.”

***

Martin Hyde, main manager of Euphoria, begrudgingly left his bed in order to answer the insistent knock on his suite door. He was greeted by the sight of a much younger man wearing a black turtleneck and carrying an ion pistol. “Yeah, uh, what’s up?” he blurted, running a hand through his messy hair.

“We got a situation,” the young man said. “An intruder…”

Hyde listened as the officer regaled him with the tale of the biot. Then he scratched his head. “What the hell do you need me for? Find the fethin’ thing before it attacks anyone else! I can’t do anything about it, I’m just a manager!”

Shooing the officer away, he closed the door and latched it, heaving a sigh of annoyance. Turning, he faced the two other occupants of the room. One was lying unconscious on the other side of the bed, while the other—the biot, having undergone a third transformation into a persona it called “Lydia”—sat in a nearby armchair.

“All right, honey,” Hyde said. “You better get a move on. They’re already sniffing around looking for you.”

Rising from the chair, the biot approached him as if to shake his hand. When he didn’t clasp its outstretched arm, it said, “Thank you.”

“Yeah, yeah,” he muttered, swallowing as he remembered the scene he had walked in on after returning from the bathroom. The biot had made a meal out of his bedmate, then reassured him she was perfectly fine, only temporarily paralyzed. “Listen, uh, try and make sure nobody sees you come out of my room, okay? Let’s keep this whole encounter a secret between you and me. I don’t wanna lose my job.”

“Of course,” it replied, smiling kindly. “You’ve been a great help. I found out things from you I never would have discovered on my own.”

“Mmmhmm. Well, I can’t resist a good sob story. Not that this isn’t a very serious matter.” Leaning forward, he reduced his voice to a whisper even though the walls were soundproofed. “To be honest, I always had a bad feeling about Inanna. Then again, I never could trust a shapeshifter. We used to have a Clawdite working here, and I hated their guts too. I just never would’ve thought that schutta had ties to the Sith…” He raised his eyebrows to emphasize his surprise. “I hope you can fulfill your mission.”

“I intend to do just that. Better not waste any more time.” With that, the biot opened the door, made sure the coast was clear, then headed out. Turning the corner at the end of the hallway, it deftly evaded two more guards before making its way to the lift and beginning to descend.

Once the cloud of pheromones dissipated, Hyde wondered at how convincing the biot had been, her story of chasing an undercover Sith agent so easy to believe. But it was too late to turn back now.

Westenra Mina Westenra Mina Ingrid L'lerim Ingrid L'lerim
 
The Mercy Giver
Character
The Melissa aboard the Sail Barge could hardly believe this was the same Laertia she had fought alongside at Atrisia. No signs of the broken, terrified woman they had recovered on the beaches of Kattada.

There was no sign of that woman here. She was just a friendly woman spending time with her family here.

Laertia's head rested on Moya's shoulder as she petted Laertia's favorite rabbit Cortosis. Melinda's head was resting on Laertia's shoulder as she petted her own rabbit, watching Meleena and Melissa play the harp. Laertia loved harp music. The sweet notes played over the air as the barge floated above the city, the well insulated walls drowning out the sounds of raucious celebration outside. The shutters were closed as there were fireworks and those bursts freaked Laertia out by reminding her of artillery bombardment. They were slowly sailing to a place in the city designated a fireworks free zone and soon Laertia would be able to enjoy the city scape for all its glory.

Melissa played perfectly, having downloaded it as her first ever music program. Meleena, being merely a copy in a different guise, had naturally possessed the same knowledge. Meleena played darker notes to Melissa's lighter ones and these seemed to be extremely hypnotic to the scarred Jedi who seemed to be in a daze as she petted Pyronium, a gray rabbit nestled in her lap.

"Daughter?" Moya asked Laertia as she petted Cortosis, not even bothering with their normal hesitances and pretense in such a relaxed environment. "What's your real name?"

Laertia was given pause for a few seconds.

"Crownwraithe. Julia Crownwraithe."

(Clip of Bond Theme plays)

Everyone besides Laertia was just unnatural enough to notice the OOC music.

"What the feth was that?" Moya asked darting around for the source.

"High pitch frequency?" Melinda suggested, eyes closed as she rested on Laertia's shoulder, her bunny's head bumping her wrist occasionally so she would pet it more.

"The rabbits would have heard it as well..." Meleena pointed out.

"Ohh, I'mm surrez itz nuthinz..." Laertia said softly, entranced by their beautiful playing.

"Probably." Moya agreed, almost entranced herself. "You have a very beautiful name, Daughter."

"Thannx."

"How come you don't use your actual name, Sister?" Meleena inquired as she stroked a deep series of notes that made Laertia's damaged brain hum in glee.

Laertia paused a bit before saying more.

"I wuzz warrnnedz..."

"How?" Melissa, now deeply curious.

"Duzzint mattuh. Duh pointz iz, I buhleevedz duh warrnyngz." Laertia answered, still bewitched by the lovely music.

"What was the warning?" Melinda asked, opening her eyes.

"Dhat I shud nevuh evuh tellz myy reel naymez tuh anny exxcept dhose I knowwz I cannz trusst beyonndz kweschunn."

Moya felt Laertia's organic hand clasp around hers. Laertia felt so safe apparently that she had shocked both Moya and all her sisters by removing her illegal weapon filled cybernetic arm. That normally never happened except during medical treatment or maintenance of the arm. Laertia was literally always armed otherwise.

She had literally disarmed herself around them.

"Itt wuzzint purrsunnelz, Muthur. I swearz ittz." she said quietly to her, eyes closed.

"I know, Sweetie. No one's mad at you. Rest."

Laertia began to mildly doze off to the harp music as the barge sailed to its destination.

Meanwhile...

The Melissa that had been deployed to Club Euphoria had not taken long in getting there.

The Zeltrons had interesting reactions to her. They could not read her. Her Taxi Driver had even commented that it felt like no one was in the back seat on the way to the club.

When the Taxi came to a stop out stepped a woman who turned every head she walked past, igniting lust in people as her slender figure glided to the front entrance. The Bouncers didn't even bother trying to stop her, the military grade chemicals her pheremones were composed of befuddling them at close range. She walked into glitz and nightclub beats, shutting the pheremone production down in her body as she entered, her X-Ray mode scanning for tell tale signs of the chemical signature of her pheremones. She spotted it in the air but it was difficult to make out, mixed and corrupted with all the other pheremones. She turned more heads as she slinked through the club, skintight black dress moving with every muscle. She finally spotted it, noticed with alarm the vast difference in guises, moving down a lift. She waited, waited to see what it would do as she went to a nearby bar counter and ordered a drink...

Ayreon Ayreon

Inanna Hoole Inanna Hoole

Ingrid L'lerim Ingrid L'lerim
 
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The Red Witch; Emperor's Hand
Writer
Ingrid L’lerim
The Red Witch; Emperor's hand; Director of Blackwatch; Baroness of Vengard, Head of the House L’lerim
Location: Club Euphoria, Zeltros
Equipment: Dress | make-up
Tag: Ayreon Ayreon | Inanna Hoole Inanna Hoole | Westenra Mina Westenra Mina | Open

Ingrid was prepared that she would not receive a response because she was aware of how corporate security systems work. She would probably personally kick out or kill the person who would give out information about a company she owns to a stranger here if they weren’t inside the Eternal Empire. So it was quite a surprise. Did Adrian Vandiir Adrian Vandiir arrange this for her? She couldn't think of another person. Listened to the beginning of the conversation between the mercenary and the droid, and then she intervened.

”I agree with the HRD, in such a case it is easier to steal the data and take the shape of the person and kill the original. Thus, the ID is almost certainly original.”

She knew this exactly because Kessia - her shape-shifter bodyguard - worked that way too. She never left a trace of whose identity she had stolen, always killed the person and got rid of the body. Unfortunately, she had nowhere to put the DNA samples, although she thought from the mixture that maybe a sithspawn might be the biot, or it might have come from some bioengineering lab.

After that, as the two people talked, Ingrid thought very quickly, with multiple lines of thought at once, as she used to. She had to hold himself back at the end so as not to give orders - as she would in any case - but only to make a suggestion, for here she was only a guest and had no authority.

”Anyway, I hate to say that, but it’s probably still in the building. I would suggest closing the building unless you want it to escape. If the biot gets out of here, it'll almost never be caught and it doesn't turn out who wanted to kill Ms. Hoole with it. If you need help… I am familiar with this field and offer my help.”


 
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Ayreon

HRD Blues
Character
Ayreon pondered his options. Given his current state, he wasn’t going anywhere until he could be repaired. “You’re welcome to do whatever you want,” he replied. “The club is yours. If you can capture the biot, it may be possible to find out who sent it. Otherwise, it will have to be destroyed.”

The other mercenary looked at Ingrid and frowned. “Are you some kind of VIP?”

“She is listed as such in the club records,” Ayreon said.

The mercenary considered this fact for a moment, then shrugged in acceptance. “All right. You say you’ve got experience? What should we do, besides locking down the club?”

“I doubt the biot can make extreme alterations to its form,” Ayreon offered. “It probably still keeps the form of a human or near-human female. A person who is Force sensitive should also be unable to sense them, since they are a machine. Look for a woman who can’t be sensed through the Force, and is probably looking for a way out—” Ayreon cut himself off, then said, “Excuse me, I am receiving a call."

***​

Sitting in the backseat of a speeder on its way to the nearest starport, Inanna held her comm up to her ear, waiting impatiently for Ayreon to pick up. She wasn’t sure if he was still operational, and even though he was just a machine, she felt awful for leaving him like that. She also had some important information to share.

As soon as Ayreon answered, she blurted, “Are you okay?”

“I am still operational,” he replied. “But in need of significant repairs. A droid mechanic is en route to my location.”

She breathed a sigh of relief. “Good. Tell them they can take it out of my paycheck. Listen, I think I know who sent that biot thing after me.”

“Can you provide a name to the authorities?”

“It’s more complicated than that,” she said. “Remember how the biot told you she was bringing me a message from someone named Red? Did she mention anything else about him?”

“Negative. The biot gave very little information. It was clearly just a ruse to lure you away.”

Inanna hesitated. Lowering her voice, she asked, “Can anyone else hear our conversation?”

“They can hear my responses, but not yours. If you would prefer, we can switch to text messages.”

“No. Just choose your words carefully.”

“Acknowledged. Proceed.”

“Red is a friend of mine,” she said, still speaking softly. “He’s a Jedi Knight who moonlights as a private investigator. He and I have been looking for a woman named Thetis Suzerain, and… let’s just say she has ties to the Sith Empire. Anyway, I lost contact with Red a few months ago. As far as I know, the last place he was seen alive was on Lao-mon, where he talked to my parents and a… a friend of mine, who we thought might have some information.” She paused, clutching her head as bad memories resurfaced. “I don’t know what exactly went on there, but no one has heard from him since. If the biot knew about him, I’m afraid he might be dead, and whoever killed him is trying to kill me too.”

There was a moment’s pause before Ayreon said, “You are absolutely convinced of this?”

“I’m never convinced of anything, but I don’t know anyone else who would have access to this kind of technology and be trying to kill me.” She pinched the bridge of her nose between two fingers. “If I’m right, then it won’t matter where I go. Even if you manage to stop the biot, he’ll send something even worse after me.”

“To whom are you referring?”

Despite her best efforts to hold it together, Inanna's voice sounded weak and trembling. “Thetis Suzerain’s master. He’s some kind of Sith Lord.” She rubbed her eyes and sniffed. “I’m an idiot, Ayreon. I never should have gotten myself or anyone else involved. But now I’m in too deep, and I’m all that’s left.”

“If you continue on your present course, I may be able to help you.”

“Don’t try to follow me,” she protested. “I don’t know what you’re thinking in that robo-brain of yours, but do not throw your life away.”

Something subtle in his tone made it sound like he was smirking. “You keep forgetting that I’m not alive. Besides, I’m in no condition to go anywhere at the moment, and once you leave Zeltros, I will be unable to help you. My priorities lie with my current owner.”

“Good. Keep being a club bouncer, it’s much safer.”

“I would prefer not to.”

She blinked. “I thought you didn’t have preferences!”

“I don’t. Except where my continued existence is concerned,” Ayreon continued. “Club policy prevents me from possessing weapons. If I had been armed, I wouldn’t have been so easily incapacitated, and the biot may not have escaped. Clearly, this job is much more dangerous and foolhardy than you think. My programming and capabilities would be better put to use elsewhere, especially in a detective role.”

“... Are you asking me to buy you from the club?”

“I am incapable of suggesting such a thing. But if you were willing and able to purchase me, now would be an excellent time to do so, seeing as I am severely damaged and the cost of repairs will no doubt be high.”

Without letting him say another word, she hung up. After staring at her comm for a few moments, she heaved a sigh and began dialing Martin Hyde’s number.

***​

Back at Euphoria, the lift doors slid open and out stepped the biot. Shutting off its pheromones, it still drew attention to itself due to its appearance. The configuration called “Lydia” was that of a young woman of Atrisian descent with olive skin, straight dark hair, and light brown eyes. It had donned the semi-transparent clothing worn by the prostitute it had fed upon in Martin Hyde’s room, and for all intents and purposes looked like any other club escort.

As it started walking among the crowds, however, the biot covered itself with its arms, its shoulders hunched as though it were embarrassed by the sheer fabric that barely covered its nakedness. This shift in body language seemed as natural as if it were a real human forced by circumstance to walk around scantily clad in public. Potential clients saw how uncomfortable this one was acting and thought twice about approaching the strange woman.

It watched as security closed off the entrance, an event heralded by the angry shouts and arguments of those who were still waiting to get in. As for those who were wanting to leave, they were told they could have any service free of charge for the rest of the night. This did little to quell their grumblings. A small group of patrons was now congregated near the exit, composed mostly of exhausted people who just wanted to go home.

The biot started to approach them, prepared to use its pheromones to incite a riot if necessary, when something made it halt in its tracks. It felt like it was being watched. Turning, it looked over its shoulder toward the bar, then began to back away into the crowd again, hoping to lose the observer.

Westenra Mina Westenra Mina Ingrid L'lerim Ingrid L'lerim
 
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