"Aisha?" it was her mother. The ex-Yellow Ranger turned to see what Irene Campbell wanted and was surprised to see her waving a letter in the air. "Aisha, you've got a letter from Angel Grove!"
Surprised, Aisha got up and went over to her mother. She had received a few letters from her friends over the last couple of years, but those had grown somewhat sparse as time passed and the vagaries of life hopped in the way. "Thanks, mom." She wasn't surprised to see it was Rocky's handwriting on the outside; he'd been the one who was most regular about writing to her.
"You and your pen pals," Mrs. Campbell smiled as she headed back to the encampment; she had some cleaning to get done. Their veterinary studio needed to be kept absolutely clean, and she didn't think Aisha was going to be helping for a while.
Aisha smiled to herself as she settled back down with her mail. Pen pals. Not exactly, mom. Due to the twists of time the Zeo Crystal had caused, her parents had no memory of having lived in Angel Grove and Stone Canyon. As far as they were concerned, the letters and packages that were sent back and forth between her and the people of Angel Grove were just pen pals, friends she'd made through various services. I almost wish I'd forgotten, though. It would be less painful than having to live with remembering growing up there...and here.
Quickly she slit open the envelope and pulled out the letter inside. A picture dropped from inside and she picked it up. Older images of friends she'd known quite well looked back at her, some she hadn't seen in years. She smiled softly at it. Thanks, Rocky. I've been wanting these.
She picked up the letter and started to peruse it. Dear Aisha. Been a while, hasn't it? I've finally gotten the last of the therapy for my back done, and I feel great. I've even started up my training again. It's going to take me a while before I'm back to where I used to be, but Jason and Adam are helping me, so it's all good. Oh, you're not going to believe this! Adam and Kim are engaged! Who would have thought, huh?
The letter went on in that manner for quite a while, detailing out various romances that had sprung between the groups, and Aisha didn't find herself at all surprised that most of them wound up falling in love with other Rangers. Once you had that experience, there was nothing like it, nothing at all. The one relationship that utterly floored her was Jason and Tanya. Apparently while he was recovering from the loss of the Gold Ranger powers, she had started to take care of him, finding more interest in healing than in music, and not only had she decided to switch to medical school, the ex-Gold and ex-Yellow Turbo Rangers were now dating seriously.
Then she got down to the last part of the letter, and all the blood drained out of her face. This is some bad news. I thought about not telling you, but then I figured if I didn't, you'd hear about it from someone else and be mad at me for not saying anything. The Power Chamber has been destroyed. The Rangers fought as hard as they could for it, I know, but this was a fight they had about as many odds to win as Bulk and Skull used to have to get a date.
Aisha trembled as the words unfolded before her, then came to the end of them. The last we heard, they were heading for Eltar. What happens there, who knows. We're just going to have to hope for the best. Well, I'd better go now. Write if you find a real job. Who knows, I might even drop in on you one day. See you sometime, Rocky DeSantos.
Slowly she folded the letter and shut her eyes. The images his words had called up in her echoed over and over again in her mind, of the valiant last stand of the Rangers, of the final destruction of a powerful fortress, of four scared and inexperienced teenagers shooting off into the stars to combat who knew what.
I have to go back. I can't do anything...but I'm not staying out of the loop any longer. She jumped up and headed to the village, feeling charged as she never had before, feeling ready, willing, and able to take on anything she had to in order to get home. She was eighteen, she could go where she pleased and do as she wanted.
Right now, though, the only thing she wanted to do was go home.
"Well, the only way up there...is just to go up there." With all the old agility she'd ever had in her ninja days, Aisha started to scale the small cliff. It only took her a few minutes to get up there and as she came to her feet, her jaw dropped almost back down to the foot of the mesa.
Destroyed...doesn't say it. This is just flat out ruined. She shivered as she walked around, trying to recall how the old Command Center had looked. She knew that it had been destroyed the same day she had sent Tanya back with the Zeo Crystal and the Power Chamber had taken it's place, but she was hoping that she could at least get an idea of where the things she had known had been. Billy had included a few technical descriptions in his letters to her after the change, and as near as she could figure out....
"The first aid was over there," she glanced to a particularly thick pile of rubble. "And the Viewing Globe was over there." That was just a bare patch of ground now.
Slowly Aisha walked through the rubble, looking around. Looking at the devastation made her wonder if the fight was really worth it, if this was all that resulted. The Rangers survived though, she thought. That's what's really important, not a base.
As was usual in a desert, it was boiling hot, and Aisha finally sat down, her eyes shut as she rested. "Guess I'd better be getting back." She murmured to herself. She couldn't quite bring herself to get up and leave just yet though; not with everything around her. Despite being as wrecked as it was, it still felt like there was some sense of home around there.
Aisha hardly noticed as her hand dropped down beside her, her fingers stroking against a metallic control panel that had somehow escaped destruction. She did, however, notice almost immediately when a very familiar force seized her, throwing her through space without so much as time for a scream.
"Head to Triforia," she ordered her helmsman. "We're going to pick up some peasants for profit."
"Yes, m'lady," the collared Eltarian bowed his head and quickly set the course. The queen was the only being on the whole ship not collared, conditioned, and trained to serve in some fashion. Her personal slaves, the staff of the ship, had more freedom than the ones in the pens, but they were still slaves.
The queen purred a command to the ship's computer, pulling up a list of just what sort of slaves there was a need for. When she picked up fresh bodies, she considered them in a "neutral" state, untrained and malleable. Training and conditioning made them into anything that was sellable. She had trained warriors, servants, pleasure slaves, combinations, and many different other types.
And to be rather frank about it, she was bored with them all. The various lifeforms of the galaxies she plundered for fresh flesh gave her no real challenge, nothing she could sink her metaphorical teeth into. There was no effort to breaking them. Once they were captured and saw who it was by, they one and all caved in. There was no spirit to them, no effort to anything. They submitted to the training as if born to it.
Well, most of the worlds I go to do have slavery as a part of the natural condition. They're built to accept it. She played with a string of hair and considered trying to get some fresh meat from worlds that had long since banished slavery. Those could be more of a challenge.
She sighed, making a mental note of what she would have the next batch of slaves trained for. What I wouldn't give for someone...strong. Someone who would resist the training and the breaking, a worthy adversary to break down and defeat. If I had any decent enemies I'd try that. She frowned briefly, considering the rather short list of those she considered foes. None of them were really available, despite how juicy it would be to ruin their proud spirits. The obstacles she'd have to overcome, while entertaining enough in themselves, just weren't worth it in the long run, considering all the other problems that would sprout up from her mere chasing of them.
The queen leaped up to her feet, feeling a sudden and irrational surge of anger running through her. "Watch the bridge until I get back. I'm going to the hologram chamber."
Her slaves all murmured obedience and she swept from the room, her heels clicking angrily against the floor. The Triforia run is going to bring in some good money. Maybe enough to hire a troop of Barox bounty hunters. Those almost brought down Trey of Triforia himself, they could easily take down my...other prey.
She was only a moment from entering the hologram chamber, where she would have indulged herself in any number of fantasies where she had enslaved the entire cosmos, when a familiar crackling noise sounded, and the queen had the sudden sense to look up.
From the air above her, the crackling increased, and then a column of pale white light crashed out of the ceiling. The queen stared as the light landed on the floor just an inch from her toes, and faded away to reveal a young human female, dressed in faded jeans, a purple blouse, and boots. The slaver smiled as she recognized the person laying half-unconscious at her feet as Aisha Campbell.
"Well, well, well, I don't have to spend any money looking for one of you after all. You're coming to me!"
The slave queen laughed softly, then pointed one finger at Aisha. A beam of light burst out of her fingertip, and wrapped itself around the young woman's throat, solidifying into a slave's collar. Aisha's eyelids fluttered briefly, then slowly opened all the way. They focused almost at once on the slave queen in front of her, and she gasped.
The slave queen, Scorpina, laughed out loud. "You still haven't forgotten me after only one meeting? I'm quite flattered."
Aisha tried to get up, but as her limbs moved, the collar around her neck sent a painful pulse of energy through her, sending her back down to the floor. "What was that??"
"That was the first taste of your training," Scorpina chuckled. "You move as you are told, when you are told, and not before."
The ex-Ranger stared at her enemy with burning hatred, then cried out as Scorpina lashed out, knocking her flat on the floor with a powerful punch to her chin. "Keep your eyes down, slave."
"I'm not a--urk!" Aisha's defiant cry was halted by another energy pulse that shot through her. Scorpina stepped a little closer, then leaned down, a cold, dark smile on her lips.
"Oh, but you are: now. You are my slave, and I will take the sweetest of pleasures in breaking you to my will." The slave queen seized Aisha by the collar and hauled her to her feet, producing a thin golden chain out of the air and attaching it to the collar. "Follow me. Time for your education to begin."
As Scorpina tried to haul her away, Aisha planted her feet hard in the ground, jerking her head as far back as she could. I'm not giving in to her! The ex-Ranger growled mentally. She didn't know how Scorpina had gotten the collar around her neck; her memory was somewhat vague after she'd so unceremoniously vanished from Earth. The first thing she was positive of after that was seeing Scorpina hovering over her.
"Come along, slave," Scorpina's voice was frost-cold as she turned to see why the chain was tightening. Aisha lifted her head as best she could to stare at her captor. Scorpina didn't look overly impressed, however, and jerked the chain sharply.
Aisha found herself pulled from her spot and almost toppled over into Scorpina's arms. The evil woman chuckled, pushing her back until she could stand on her own feet. "Are you going to behave yourself now? I could truly dispatch you quite easily, and find another one of you ex-Rangers to play with. Do you really want to die that much?"
The former Yellow Ranger stared balefully at her enemy for a moment, then her shoulders slumped and she stepped forward quickly. Scorpina nodded in approval, though she knew that Aisha hadn't broken by a long shot. She's probably just biding her time. Quite a clever adversary she is. Just what I wanted. A true challenge.
Scorpina quickly brought Aisha to a richly appointed suite of rooms and sealed the door behind them. "These are my quarters. They're also where you're going to undergo your training and where I will break you to my will." The evil woman smiled frostily, delivering a cold glare to the ex-Ranger. "Now, I think we need a change of outfit."
Aisha lifted her head proudly. "I'm not changing..especially in front of you!"
Scorpina's only reaction was a motion towards the collar, then Aisha crumpled to the floor, tears coming to her eyes at the agony that lanced into her. The slave queen watched in evil glee as the girl flung herself around in a vain attempt to get away from the pain. Slowly it eased off, and Scorpina smiled. "Now, are you going to put on the outfit I've got for you? I've been saving this thing for a while, and I think it's time that I put it on someone who'll appreciate it."
Aisha shuddered briefly, then bowed her head as best she could. "I...I'll...wear it.." I don't know what she's got in mind, but it's either wear her piece of trash or get electrocuted to death. And I have no intentions of dying.
She looked up as Scorpina opened the lid of a chest and pulled out something that looked vaguely yellowish. Aisha paled when she realized what it was: a ripped and torn copy of the Morphin' Rangers uniform. There was enough material left to decently cover her, but the rips still gave the impression that the wearer had been in a fantastic battle: and lost.
"Put this on," Scorpina snapped harshly, throwing the parody to her. "And be quick about it. Your first lessons will begin in a few minutes."
Aisha glared at her, not even bothering to ask if she could have privacy to change. She knew Scorpina wouldn't give it to her; the first blows in a psychological war had been struck, and so far Aisha knew she was losing. Moving quickly, she skinned out of her comfortable clothing, and squirmed her way into the torn spandex, fitting it around her so she was as well-covered as she could be, given it's state.
"Very well." Scorpina nodded, walking all around her. "You're already learning your first lesson actually."
The ex-Ranger stared at her. "And what might that be?"
Scorpina seized her by the throat and dragged her closer. "Utter, instant, unquestioning, unthinking obedience to your mistress."
And nothing she wouldn't do to get away from it. She had wanted some form of adventure, some reason for living when she had left Africa, something that would make her feel alive again. Instead, she'd stumbled into one of the profoundest slaveries she could have ever imagined.
There was no real way for her to fight back, though she did try to resist, to give her proper credit. Whenever she tried to do something out of line, even if it were just so minor as to rearrange Scorpina's personal items, she received a shock from the collar. At times she thought the thing had a mind of it's own, since even when Scorpina wasn't around it would shock her if she disobeyed.
Scorpina wasn't technically a harsh mistress; Aisha wasn't beaten or starved. Indeed, she was fed quite well, and tasted some foods that she hadn't had since she'd first come to Africa for the first time. It appeared Scorpina had picked up a taste for certain human cuisines while serving Rita and Zedd, and kept them in stock.
However, there was no doubt in mind that Scorpina was trying to break her. She had to wear the demeaning torn Ranger outfit constantly, plus whenever Scorpina was in the room, she spent any moments she wasn't working on her knees by the slavemistress. She was positive that on her dying day she could describe what Scorpina's feet and toes looked like, and was almost forgetting what it was to lift her head in the evil warrior's presence.
It had been a week since she'd been zapped from Earth to the ship, a week since she had awaked almost literally into a life of slavery. The usual beeping that woke her sounded, and she slowly stretched and stood up as the chain automatically unhooked itself from the foot of the bed and retracted into the collar. It would rehook itself when Scorpina sent her to bed at night, or to "cushion", to be properly accurate, since she slept on a cushion placed on the floor. She had limited freedom, which was more painful to her mind than total enslavement would have been, since she could almost see ways to escape, but the moment she took a step towards them, the collar flared up, driving her nearly mad with agony.
Another day, another round of slavery, she sighed as she quietly slipped out of the bedroom and down to the kitchen area. The kitchen slaves would have already been up for a couple of hours, and would have breakfast ready.
"Good morning, Aisha," Kair, the chief of the cooking staff, waved to her as she opened the door and came in. "Everything's ready over there." The captive Edenite pointed to the plate that kept Scorpina's food warm until her personal body slave came for it.
"Good morning, Kair," Aisha checked out the food and felt her stomach rumbling. "Oh, man, this looks great."
She almost reached out to taste a little, then automatically jerked her hand back. She knew better by now; she'd almost electrocuted herself a couple of days earlier doing that. "She's probably awake by now. Better get back in there."
Kair laid a quick hand on Aisha's shoulder as she picked up the food. "Don't give up hope, Aisha." He whispered softly. "Things will turn out all right."
Before she could ask what he meant, the cook turned back to the other necessary tasks, and she was left wondering just what was going on. With a sight, she headed back to Scorpina's quarters. We're almost at Triforia if I remember properly. I wonder what she wants there.
Aisha almost hit herself for thinking that a moment later. She knew perfectly well what it was that Scorpina did for a living these days, and the scuttlebutt on board the ship that she'd managed to overhear was that they were going for a nice large catch on Triforia. I hope we don't run into what's his name...Trey...he could cause trouble if I remember from what Billy was telling me about him.
It took her another moment to realize just what it was she'd thought, and she paused, trembling. No. I want him to cause trouble, I want him to stop this madness.
She recomposed herself quickly and carried the plate of food into Scorpina's chambers. Aisha didn't let herself think about what had just happened, it scared her too much right now. Later, when I'm calm...and don't have something to do.
Scorpina sat up, and smiled as Aisha sank at once to one knee. Breaking her was proving to be every bit as entertaining as the evil slaver had thought it would be. The uniform, the collar, the servitude...all of it was coming together to eat away at Aisha's pride and willpower. Perhaps I should take her with me on this slave-catching run. Yes, I think I will. It should be interesting to see her reaction.
As she started to eat, she glanced over at her kneeling slave. "We arrive on Triforia in two days, Aisha. I'm going to round up some peasants for slave fodder, and you're going to come with me."
Aisha looked surprised, or at least her shoulders twitched a little. It was hard to tell how her face looked since it was turned downwards. "I am?"
"Yes." Scorpina smiled. "It's all part of your training."
The ex-Ranger risked something just then. She looked up at Scorpina with a half-scared, half-curious look. "How long will this training take? Won't you ever let me go?"
Scorpina could have cheered at the despair in the girl's voice. Everything was working out according to plan! "It will take until I tell you it's over with...and no. You are my property, now and forever, and you will learn to not just accept it...but love it!"
Aisha dropped her head, her shoulders shaking in anger and fear. There was a sinister contentment in slavery to Scorpina, as long as she did her tasks and was obedient, things were all right. Aisha had even caught herself almost being happy on a couple of occasions, and she wasn't positive which scared her more: the potential future laid out for her as a slave, or the thought she might grow to be happy and content with it.
Once Scorpina had finished her breakfast and bathed, Aisha was going to take the plate back to the kitchen as was her usual task. She was hoping to be able to talk to Kair about what he'd said earlier, get some sort of insights, but she found herself stopped by Scorpina. "The next step of your training begins today."
Aisha bit her lip, but couldn't resist as Scorpina pulled out her leash and led her through various hallways and corridors down to what looked like a bare room. Scorpina paused just outside of it. "This is where my slaves go for extra training...or discipline if they'd been bad."
The slaver queen smiled, then quickly shoved Aisha inside, slamming and locking the door behind her. Aisha stared at it for a moment, then looked to the rest of the room. Taking an inventory of what was in it took under a second: except for four bare walls, a bare floor, and a bare ceiling, nothing was in it. What's supposed to happen, solitary confinement or something?
No sooner had the thought went through her mind, then the entire room vanished, and was replaced by a dark, windswept plain. Aisha's heart almost stopped as she looked around in shock. This has to be a hologram, an illusion of some type. But it's so real! Every one of her senses was telling her this was real, and it was happening. Her common sense was trying to tell her it wasn't. She didn't know what to listen to.
"Scorpina owns your soul," a voice whispered on the wind. "She owns your body, your mind, your heart. You have nothing of your own, only what she deigns to give you."
Aisha shook her head violently, a shock coming from the collar as she did so. "No! I'm not a slave!"
"She is your mistress. You are her slave." the voice echoed all around her, bouncing back over and over, a thousand times. "You belong to her. You are her property. She is a goddess, you are nothing but a trivial slave, a piece of meat to be bought and sold."
The ex-Ranger screamed, both from the words and from the faint racial memories that it stirred up. Her ancestors had fought a war to escape from this, she would not go back!
More words came, but she was screaming too loudly to hear them, physical pain from the collar and emotional anguish tearing her very soul apart. She tried to walk, hoping distance would make the words go away, but with every step she took, they only grew louder and more insistent. Finally she collapsed into a heap, her face streaked with tears and her heart pounding.
Scorpina smiled from her place of concealment. This was quite fascinating. The hologram chamber could be used to simulate any number of environments and situations; some people used theirs as training rooms for combat. Scorpina used hers for training too: training her slaves. She could tell Aisha's willpower was crumbling already. The first week of training was always the most crucial, since it involved the subject's normal mental will. Having used Aisha as a personal body slave, and with various other humiliation techniques, Scorpina knew just how much will Aisha had left, and judged the current training session accordingly.
I think perhaps another week of daily treatments in here should do it nicely. The feedback emitters will force a feeling of submission on her that gets stronger with every session in here. By the end of the week, she's going to forget she ever was anything else but my slave!
The slave mistress activated another set of controls, which set the environment Aisha saw to spinning. It changed from the windswept plain, to Scorpina's quarters, to her home in Africa, to Angel Grove, to over a thousand different settings. The voices continued to pound into her mind, and Aisha whimpered as they tore into her very soul. Slowly, blackness shut down all over her.
When she recovered, she was on her cushion in Scorpina's chambers, her leash attached to the foot of the bed again. The first thing she saw was a small plate of food just within her reach.
"You may eat, slave," Scorpina purred the words out. "How do you feel?"
Aisha glanced over to the throne-like chair where the slaver queen sat and whispered, "I..it hurts..."
"To be expected. Eat and rest for one hour, then you've got some other duties to perform." Scorpina rose up and nudged Aisha with a booted foot. "I'm quite pleased with how you reacted to the training session. You're a very quick learner. For the next week, you're going to spend five hours a day in the hologram chamber, learning your place beneath me."
With those for last words, Scorpina left Aisha alone. The ex-Ranger trembled, then slowly started to eat, her body craving nourishment the same way her mind was craving rest. Wh..what did she do to me?
Aisha held very few memories of the hologram chamber, more images of blinding pain and shame than anything else. It's going to happen again...and again...and again....until I can't fight her anymore, until there's nothing left of me, until all there is, is just the slave of Scorpina.
"Aisha?" she jumped back at the sound, looking up to see Kair standing there. "Aisha, what....oh." His eyes were wise and kind as he looked at her. "You've been in the hologram chamber for training, haven't you?"
She managed a weak nod, and he sat down next to her. "You get used to it after a few sessions. It won't be so bad once you're done. I know it sounds horrible, and it is....but fate is fate." The Edenite shrugged. "We're meant to be slaves, that's all there is to it. Just accept it."
"No!" Aisha growled the word out. "I won't! It's not right, Kair! How can you just accept it?"
Kair looked confused. "Aisha, on Edenoi, slavery isn't often practiced, but it does exist. It's the way of the world, of many words. I know it isn't the same elsewhere, but our way teaches that some people are simply born slaves. If they're born into it, they grow up knowing it, and wouldn't accept another way. If they're taken into it by something else, like this, they have to be taught to accept it."
"That...that's. ...sick!" The young woman had never felt so disgusted in her entire life. "You've got to be joking!"
Kair shook his head. "I'm not." He glanced around for a moment, then touched Aisha's hand gently. Her eyes widened as his mind-crystal glowed briefly, and she heard his voice in her mind.
Our destiny might be to remain here as slaves, but yours is not. I can't imagine what yours is, but I Saw you in a vision, far from here, in a strange place. You looked happy there, and there was no sign of Scorpina. It looked like this.
An image of what looked like a tavern or a bar of some type, filled with very unusual looking creatures, came into her mind. She saw herself walking through it with a tray of what looked to be drinks, serving them. One of the creatures said something to her, and she laughed and shook her head. She looked perfectly comfortable there, and happy. There was also something else.
I look...older. Not much, maybe a couple of years. But older. Wiser. A faint smile touched her lips as the image faded. She didn't know where it was....but she had the strangest feeling she was not just going to be there one day: she was going to like it there.
"Troops, spread out and capture the village. Those too old to be trained are to be disposed of in the usual fashion," her voice was cold and callous as Scorpina gave her orders. "Bring all the rest back here."
Silently the group of slave warriors bowed and spread out into the dawn light, easily evading and capturing the sentries posted to prevent against this very occurrence. Aisha watched from her position kneeling by Scorpina, trying to maintain her calm.
More slaves to her whims...and the whims of whoever owns them. The day before she'd been "treated" to watching a slave auction as Scorpina sold off a huge chunk of the population of the ship's cargo. Despite her reputation on Earth as an evil warrior, and despite what she was doing to Aisha herself, Scorpina treated the common slaves with a great deal more care than the slaveowners were obviously using. Aisha had seen whips, chains, and more implements of torture in the three hours the auction had lasted than she could remember seeing in her entire time as a Ranger: or the time she'd been imprisoned by Scorpina.
She watched in fascinated horror as the soldiers burst into houses, using nets and stun lasers to snare each of the villagers. They were herded into a semi-circle in front of Scorpina, who watched approvingly. "Quite fascinating, isn't it, Aisha?" she had begun to call the former Ranger by her name more and more over the last day or so, and somehow that felt even more humiliating to the young woman. If she were called "slave", then that meant Scorpina didn't think of her as a person, just an object. But to be called by her name....she was a person: one enslaved to Scorpina's will.
"Yes." That was the only word Aisha let herself say as she watched the people gathering around them. All of them reminded her eerily of how she felt most of the time: scared, tired, and wondering if this was the end of life as they had always known it.
Scorpina smiled darkly, then turned her head as a wild cry came from the ranks of the newly captured villagers. From somewhere in the center of the group there sprang a powerfully built young man, swinging a sword. Scorpina frowned; her troops were supposed to see to it that all the weapons had been stripped from the captives. She raised a hand, preparing to blast the offending peon to ashes, when a second wild battle cry stopped her.
One that came from Aisha.
The slaver queen watched in something like surprise as Aisha exploded out of her kneeling position and leaped towards the sword-wielding maniac. The ex-Ranger slammed a foot hard into the attacker's chest, then twisted around to smash her fist into his face. The Triforian fell hard, and Aisha landed in a crouching position, both of her feet planted firmly on his chest.
"Excellently done," Scorpina reacted as if she'd known this was going to happen all along. Quite excellent. Her training is coming along far faster than I thought if she'll react like this to a threat to me. "Guards, take him on board with the others."
As the would-be assailant was taken away, Aisha returned to kneeling by Scorpina's side. The slaver smiled. "Well done, Aisha. I'm quite proud of you."
Aisha didn't move or speak; she was too busy shaking in shock. W..what did I just do? I attacked him...because he was attacking Scorpina! I should've let him do it, I could've been free...but...I just reacted...
She didn't let herself think about what was going on in the back of her mind: a feeling of pure pleasure at the praises Scorpina was heaping on her. The thought of making her captor happy was making some parts of her mind she'd never dreamed existed very content.
The majority of her mind thought one thing only, though: I have to get out of here before it's too late!
A day had passed since the events on Triforia, and the slaver had noticed some "freedom-wanting" tendencies in her slave. Aisha had been jerking against her leash almost automatically, and she had been seen glaring defiantly at Scorpina when she thought her mistress wasn't looking.
This session should cure her of that, at least. Each time in the hologram room was different, but with the same overall goal: completely converting the subject into whatever the controller of the room wanted. With Scorpina in charge, Aisha's destiny was to be a full out slave. A combination of pleasure slave, body slave, bodyguard, plus a few other things. Everything I ever wanted, including utter obedience to me.
The warrior headed for the bridge of the ship; with this run, she had plenty of new slaves to concentrate on for training, and their simple acceptance of their new lot was going to be quite amusing now. I have all the challenge I ever wanted in Aisha. I think I want some "off time" with these sheep.
As the door slid shut and locked behind her, Aisha slowly forced herself to wakefulness. As she realized she was alone, she crumpled herself into a ball and let herself do something she hadn't done in years: cry her heart out.
Curling up around the only thing that serves you for a bed and crying your eyes out into it is a very exhausting procedure, but a cleansing one at the same time. Once her tears had dried up, Aisha found her thoughts clearing. Slowly she reviewed any mental changes that had occurred. It horrified her to find out that she was beginning to feel the first hints of revulsion at the thought of harm towards Scorpina, and it was all she could do to still keep thinking about escaping.
This is my last chance. If I don't escape now, today, before I have another session, then I will never escape. I'll live out my life as a lapdog to her...or worse.
The decision made, Aisha got down to business. The first thing she examined was the leash and how it was connected both to her and to the foot of the bed. I might be able to unfasten it...unless it's magical in itself and doesn't just respond to Scorpina's commands. She had seen the leash retracting itself at a wave of Scorpina's hand, and by itself, so she couldn't be certain. Slowly, carefully, she raised her hands and started to work at the fastenings, trembling in anticipation of a shock that didn't come.
She must figure I'm too broken now for it to bother me. And she's almost right. Aisha growled mentally as the knot resisted her efforts. This is not going well!
The ninja forced herself to calm down, then looked at the knot from another angle. Another five minutes of picking at it did nothing but break what nails she'd been growing out. All right. Think logically and stay calm, that's how you got out of Zedd's cave that one time. Of course, those chains were a lot easier to deal with than this thing. At least they had a lock to pick!
It took her a couple of minutes, then the most delicious, and simplest solution she'd ever thought of presented itself to her. The leash undid itself by itself whenever it was time for her to carry out one of her tasks. All she had to do was just wait until it was time for her to work, then instead, get to escaping!
A quick check of the near by timepiece told her that she had only five more minutes to wait; then it would be time for her to get Scorpina's evening meal and serve it to her on the bridge. Only I think dinner is going to be a little late this time. Aisha smiled to herself, then went into a lotus position. It had been far too long since she'd meditated, and the inner peace was something she needed badly.
Five minutes later, as the leash retracted into the collar and she was free, she stood up and stretched. She knew she was still in danger if Scorpina could get her to the hologram chamber, but if everything went off right, then she would be free in a very short amount of time.
I wish I could free everyone here, and put a screeching halt to this whole business. But for now, I think I'm going to have to settle for just getting myself off here. Maybe I can come back later: with heavy armaments.
A quick stop by the kitchen area and the pick up of one meal later, Aisha's every nerve was strung tight as she headed for the bridge. She was going to be fighting not only Scorpina herself, but her own implanted instincts to protect, defend, and obey the evil slaver. Well, at least it'll be a challenge. She smiled briefly to herself, then took a focusing breath as she entered the bridge.
"Aisha, my slave," Scorpina looked very satisfied with herself as she turned at the sound of the opening door. "I've been expecting you. You don't look much the worse for wear for today's ...exhausting session."
The young woman said nothing, only knelt beside the slavemistress and offered up the food. Scorpina reached out to take it, enjoying the submissive air around the ex-Ranger. Perhaps I should video some of her duties...and send them to the Rangers back on Earth. I think they'd quite enjoy seeing their dear little Aisha as my slavegirl!
Aisha could sense the time had come to make her move. She still held the plate, and as she felt Scorpina's fingers just touching it, she leaped up quickly, slamming the hot meats and vegetables into the evil woman's face. That was followed by a quick punch to the stomach, then she whipped the plate out and around, smashing it on top of Scorpina's head.
"Where are the teleporter controls?" she snapped, looking at the slaves who were piloting the ship. Like her, they each wore Scorpina's collar, and had each been subjected to intense treatments in the hologram room. She was hoping that somewhere in them, however, was enough humane spirit left to at least help her out this much.
She wasn't disappointed. One of them slowly pointed a hand towards one of the control panels, and Aisha leaped over there. It was beyond hoping that this thing was enough like teleportation out of the old Command Center for her to figure out how to set a teleport, but anywhere had to be better than here!
The voice was quiet and firm, tinged with anger, however. Aisha felt herself wilting at the very sound of it. Must...ob...obey...no!! I...have to be...free...obey....free...
"Turn around, Aisha, and look at me." Against her will, Aisha felt herself turning, and saw Scorpina standing up from her chair and with a reproving expression on her face. "I should have anticipated you would try something like this, but you were doing so well in your training, I hoped I was wrong."
Her voice hardened. "On your knees, slave. Kneel before your mistress."
To her credit, Aisha did resist the command, but even with all her mental discipline, she couldn't stop herself from starting to slide towards the floor, all the free will draining out of her mind at Scorpina's command. No....she mentally whispered, using her hands to support herself against the teleport console even as she drew closer to the floor. If I ...give in....I'll never be free...obey...free....ob..o...obey....
The amazing thing about technology is that it gets more and more advanced with each year. Even in space-faring cultures like those which abound in the universe, there is research, development, and advances. The teleportation system that Aisha was used to was now considered outdated. It had been replaced by much fancier and easier to use touch technology.
Touch: such as what Aisha did by pure accident as her hands slid down the console on her way to kneeling. It would be very difficult to describe who was the more shocked, Scorpina or Aisha, as white light once again enveloped her, and the ex-Ranger teleported once again, heading out to who knew where in the universe.
Scorpina's eyes narrowed coldly. So she has escaped me. Fate must watch over her...for now. You cannot resist me, Aisha. I will find you again...and when I do, you will spend the rest of your life serving me in every way possible.
"Wh...whh..what?" she tried to sit up, only to feel a somewhat leathery hand on her arm.
"Careful there, lady," a gruff voice spoke. She turned to see what looked like a cross between a human and a bat sitting next to her. "You could hurt yourself."
Aisha blinked slowly. "W..who are you?"
"You can call me Klax. Who are you?"
"Aisha...Aisha Campbell. Where am I?"
Klax shrugged. "My tavern. It's on the planet Onyx. I found you unconscious outside of town a few days ago and brought you here. You've been unconscious ever since."
The young girl blinked, then slowly realized something else: she also wasn't wearing the collar around her neck. "The collar...where is it?"
"This thing?" Klax motioned to the heavy silver item where it was perching on a table not far from her. "I took it off you when I got you here. You kept clawing at it and I figured you didn't want it. I've got some clothes you can put on if you feel like it."
Aisha nodded, and Klax reached to a chest at the foot of the bed to pull out a bundle of fabric. "Where are you from?" he asked as she slid out of bed, steadying herself gently and carefully against the head of it.
"Earth originally. And most directly, from Scorpina's slave-ship." Aisha struggled into the clothes, smoothing each item on and adjusting it's fit to her. "That's where I got the collar and outfit from."
Klax nodded. "I'm not surprised. That's her style. We've had a few escapees come through here from her ship. Not many, though. It's not easy to escape from her."
"No kidding." Aisha settled the shirt and glanced down at herself. Though it wasn't exactly her personal style, it felt very right on her. The boots came to her mid-calf, and the brown leather pants were loosely tucked into them. The shirt was of some silk-like fabric, in yellow, and came with an over-vest with various pockets obviously meant to hold things. "Thanks for the clothes."
The creature shrugged. "Not a problem." He looked at her as she turned around. "You probably won't want to stay here," he got down to business. "But you're going to have to for a while, I think. Passage off Onyx, for those who can't teleport, isn't very cheap, and that means you're going to have to get a job."
Aisha bit her lip. Somehow, she wasn't surprised. "Got any openings?" she remembered him saying he ran a tavern. It wasn't the most glamorous thing she could've done, but she knew it could've been a lot worse. I could still be on Scorpina's ship.
"You're lucky." Klax grinned widely, showing a mouthful of teeth that would've sent her fighting in the old days. Right now, though, she was just too tired to move that much. "My last waitress quit on me the other day. Think you're up to it?"
The ex-Ranger glanced at her outfit, then at the collar gleaming on the table. "I don't think I've got a lot of choices," she murmured, then looked Klax in the eyes. "You got a deal."
Klax grinned even wider. "Welcome to my place then, young lady. Welcome to the Onyx Tavern."