The Galaxy just got a whole lot sexier.
Not So Long Ago in a Bar Far, Far Away…
The bar was predictably seedy, hugging the outskirts of a town that boasted more dust than amenities. Meragan Prime was planet, after all, that not even the Goa'uld could be bothered to conquer. A mark of much distinction, indeed.
The planet probably would have continued along its path of destined inconsequentiality if not for the ultimate defeat of those indifferent Goa'uld. In the aftermath of such radical change, the Galaxy was swept with a burgeoning spirit of free enterprise that provided this rather ignominious, shady planet a new place in the larger scheme of things. It became a planet of commerce. Of a sort.
The Lucian Alliance hardly considered the place worth marking on a map, let alone going to the trouble of controlling. No Jaffa had ever set foot on the planet and the lack of a Stargate ensured that the meddlesome Tau'ri, self-proclaimed Peace Marshals of the Universe, left the citizens to their own devices. As for the Tok'ra, even had they not been a dying race, the average inhabitant of Meragan Prime had never even heard of The Resistance. Resistance wasn't a word commonly used in the grimy backwater. "Get rich any way you can and keep your yap shut," could arguably be the community's motto, if anyone had given enough of a crap to come up with one.
Clichés, after all, exist for a reason. Because if you travel the universe enough, you are bound to stumble upon one now and again.
As a living cliché, the aforementioned bar offered what you might typically expect: booze, games of chance, and companionship, if one proved fluid enough to afford such entertainments. The drinks were watered down, the games rigged, and the ladies dated, but the establishment still boasted a varied and active clientele.
Most of them were smugglers, men trying to get by any way they could in the harsh new galaxy suddenly free of slavery, and for some, purpose. Not that they were all princes among thieves or something similarly trite, rather they were just symptomatic of the larger growing pains of a new, chaotic galaxy.
For Vala Mal Doran, the New Galaxy Order was not so much a big change for her, as simply an even greater opportunity for profit. She was alternatively smuggler, thief, courtesan, or con artist as she needed to be, a chameleon in the truest sense. She consciously drew eyes everywhere she ventured and could distract the most entrenched man from his course with a well practiced flash of deeply corseted cleavage and a sultry smile.
She oozed a sort of overpowering sensuality that robbed men of their senses. It was a talent she learned from her former master, the Goa'uld Qetesh, a fact that would undoubtedly dim the most ardent desire if such knowledge were public. But since it was not, her powers remained undisputed. At that very moment, for example, seated in a seedy bar on a wretched planet, she was delicately sucking on a bright red maraschino cherry (whose very presence on a planet so far from Earth was quite a tale of vast travel and barter in itself). Her tongue rolled the exotic fruit gently across her lips, sucking gently to savor the sweet, if not chemical, flavor.
Now Boyd, the gruff man seated across from Vala, would like to consider himself a man above such blatant displays of sexual manipulation, but that didn't stop him from gawking. Nor did it stop Vala's gently exploring fingers from deftly inching forward unnoticed to relieve him of his rapidly dwindling stack of credits.
In fact, the only thing that saved the befuddled man from being robbed blind was the hand that descended to Vala's thigh, squeezing her hard enough to cause the would-be-thief to almost spit her precious cherry onto the table in front of her.
Once convinced that Vala's sticky fingers were no longer a threat to their contact's finances, Samantha Bliss, Vala's companion and cousin by marriage as they informed anyone who asked, removed her hand from Vala's thigh and turned back to Boyd, the man they had come to make a deal with, not rob.
Vala sighed dramatically and abruptly snapped her mouth shut on the delicate cherry, somewhat boorishly masticating the fruit with enough force to cause the man watching her to flinch and surreptitiously cross his legs.
"Boyd," Samantha drawled, drawing the man's attention. "We've traveled a long way to this backwater hellhole. Tell me it wasn't for nothing."
Though Samantha Bliss was, in most obvious ways, the complete opposite of her cousin, she was in no way without her own indomitable resources. Fair where Vala was dark, Samantha boasted none of the overt sexuality or over the top dramatics so successfully employed by Vala. Samantha was beautiful, yes, but most men with half a brain were not foolish enough to be distracted by that, for if they were convinced that Vala could make any man feel like the center of the Universe if she would just let them into her bed, it was equally clear that Samantha could quite effectively dispatch any of them without so much as misplacing a single strand from her golden coiffure.
Samantha exuded a sharp intelligence and a sort of casual ease that spoke to her utmost surety in her physical prowess. If one looked very closely, they would more than likely detect the faint tinge of recklessness that she kept loosely reigned, ready to be released in the right circumstance. It seemed clear that part of Samantha wanted someone to try something, just so she could let it out to play. It was rare that she came across anyone quite that stupid, though, much to her secret regret.
Boyd, being of moderate intelligence, knew well enough not to mess with Samantha Bliss (even if he was weak minded enough to let his libido do the thinking when it came to Vala). He quickly struggled to pull a small pouch out from around his neck, trying to simultaneously pull together his wits, reminding himself that he was here to check out potential buyers and not the other way around. He was the one in a position of power in this situation. Or so he rather foolishly told himself.
Boyd dropped the pouch to the table with little flourish and an audible clunk.
"A sample," he said, determinedly keeping his eyes off of Vala and attempting to lean casually back in his chair.
Samantha poured the contents onto the table, a single silver curl of metal spilling out with greater gravity than one would expect from so small a shaving. Pulling out a handheld machine, Samantha proceeded to test the metal for purity while Vala continued to ply her trade, now carefully tying the cherry stem into a knot using nothing but her tongue.
"The sample is pure," Samantha confirmed after a few minutes, nodding to her companion.
"Good," Vala said with a smirk. "We'll be needing six bars. Think you can handle that, love?"
Boyd's face betrayed surprise, though whether that was due to the huge amount of naquadah the order represented or the generous swath of cleavage Vala displayed as she leaned in to pat the man's shoulder wasn't clear.
"I don't have that sort of inventory," Boyd eventually sputtered honestly, not wanting to be accused of leading these two on.
"Hmm…," Vala drew out contemplatively. "I suppose you know someone who does, though."
Suddenly Vala no longer looked even remotely beguiling to Boyd. The sex kitten seemed to rapidly turn rather feral and he felt the deal begin to spiral out of his control. Not that it ever had been, poor man.
"Perhaps," Boyd qualified. "But even if I do, what do you have to offer in payment for such a cargo?"
As previously noted, Boyd was not completely without wit. He knew his place in the galactic food chain and there was no way he would risk stepping out of line to contact upper management without proof of a sizable prize.
Smoothly and with the same deliberate calm with which Samantha did everything, she pulled a thin display screen out of her inner vest and placed it softly on the table.
"We offer this in trade."
The screen flickered on to display the schematics of an impressive spacecraft, something well worth six bars of weapons grade naquadah. Boyd's mouth watered at the thought of such a craft, but quickly came back to his senses, knowing that such things were far out of his reach and that he was well out of his league.
"I'll contact my employers," Boyd said.
"Yes," Samantha replied with a smile that lacked any true warmth. "You will."
Collecting their things, the two women pushed back from the table, leaving Boyd to pick up the tab.
Just as they were about to disappear out the door, Boyd pulled his wits together enough to ask, "How do you plan to get your hands on that ship?"
Vala turned and flashed him a devastating smile. "We have our ways, darling."
Of that, Boyd had no doubt.