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bright_ephemera
06.19.2012 , 02:42 PM | #78
42. In which Nalenne catches Quinn conspiring

Our comms may inform and amuse,
Correspondents may gladly enthuse.
But behind that bright glow,
The cynical know
that the holo is rarely good news.



Nalenne woke up early and ravenous. She pulled on her dressing gown and headed out to the mess by way of the holo room.

The holo was active, and Quinn was there, standing before Servants One and Two.

Rage rarely swelled this high this fast. “Quinn! What happened to ‘I will be no one’s spy this time’?” she demanded.

He turned to face her. She raised her hand and tried to apply a Force choke.

She felt nothing in her mind’s grip, and Quinn was not physically affected. Only his eyes changed. Yeah, you remember what this felt like. Jack***.

“Release him,” said Servant One.

Nalenne dropped her effort and turned to the holo. “Five seconds. Explain. Or I will destroy you.”

Servant One looked meaningfully at ghost-Quinn. “Truly, I’m trembling,” he said dryly.

“My lord,” said Quinn, “all they do is give me the strategic guidance for our work. Since you are less than willing to take direction from them yourself.”

“The captain has more than septupled the Wrath’s productivity,” intoned Servant Two.

Not enough to wipe the thought of Quinn reporting to Baras. “There’s more. What have you been doing behind my back?”

“Only what is necessary,” said Servant One, “for you to actually earn that stipend of yours.”

“And you couldn’t have done this in front of my back?”

“You’re impossible to manage,” said Servant One. “You’re infinitely more docile when the orders come from the captain.”

“I’m not certain ‘docile’ is the most accurate term,” said Quinn.

“Comparatively speaking,” said Servant One, “it really is.”

“The Wrath if left to her own devices would be a worthless layabout and disgraceful drain on society,” said Servant Two.

“The Wrath is not amused!” said Nalenne. “This will stop!”

Servants One and Two exchanged looks. “Do you really want to be the one doing the weekly discussions of the optimal strategic stress points in the coreward Ilum sector?” said Servant One.

Nalenne looked at Quinn. He shrugged, ever so slightly, with a bland innocent look on his face.

“The complete and utter boring-ness of the work isn’t the part that matters,” she said. “This kind of stunt is practically calculated to piss me off.”

“I still serve you,” he said quietly.

“The Wrath pretty much hates you right now,” announced Servant Two.

“Would you stop stating the obvious?” said Nalenne.

“You may cooperate today, Wrath,” said Servant One. “But if we call again next week you will defy us. Quinn is a considerably more stable conduit for the Emperor’s will.”

“He’s supposed to be my conduit! Get your own!”

“You’ve been enjoying the work, have you not, my lord?” said Quinn.

She eyed him cautiously. “I suppose.”

“Then trust me to keep directing your efforts where you can do the most good for the Empire.”

“You’ll understand if I never accept ‘Trust me’ out of your mouth again.”

“Optimal stress points in strategically critical systems,” Servant One reminded her. “Mind-bogglingly boring conversations.”

“You’re really just saving me from the mission planning?”

“I promise, my lord.”

“Fine, then. Have your chats. But I’ll kill you all if you gang up on me.”

“You’re planning to kill me anyway, my lord.”

“Keep your logic to yourself! I hate you, I hate your secret making-me-do-work conspiracy, and you will BEHAVE YOURSELF OR I WILL MAKE YOUR UNLIFE HELL.”

“And you wonder why we don’t want to talk to you,” said Servant One.
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