The voices were in my head again, calling and screaming out. I forced my eyes shut and sat up with a sudden ferociousness that would make even a Klingon blush. My hair was matted to my head with sweat. A shiver ran down my spine and I reached a trembling hand up to run my fingers through it.
My hair was much shorter now. Koval had it cut in the angular, precise fashion of the Romulans. I brought my legs up to my chest and glanced at the tiny room that was my private chamber. It was smaller than a prison cell, but at least it was my own. There were a few nights here and there were Koval didn't want me…
I winced and rested my cheek against my knees. The voices…they are my emotions. The dark side of me was bursting to come out, but I refused to let Koval ever see that side of me again. This time I was not going through my Pon Farr…though, that didn't make my behavior three years ago any less excusable.
His seductive touch, his alluring voice, the dominant way with which had me…I drew a sharp breath. He was wearing me down and he knew it. It would only be a matter of time before I'd just let my emotions show.
A sex slave.
That is what I now was. Why a Romulan as powerful as Koval would take a Vulcan as his consort instead of marrying a Romulan woman was beyond me. I was sick of trying to figure it out. I just wanted to escape and go back to Vulcan… to hide away in the secluded home of my ancestors.
Koval wasn't exactly kind to me, but he wasn't cruel or harsh either. In all honesty, things could have been a lot worse for me. I swung my legs over the tiny cot he had set into the room and ignored the sudden chill from the bare floor. There was no way I was going to get back to sleep after that dream.
I crept across the room and peered out of the open door. He usually heard me and would get up and join me for a late glass of ale. This time, however, I wanted to be alone…not that I had wanted him to find me the other times. The mistrust was always there, set deep into his dark eyes.
I tiptoed down the hallway towards his lavish bedroom. The door was shut. That's unusual. I stopped before it and tapped the control. It opened with a soft swoosh.
Koval's bedchamber was empty.
Not my problem. I turned away from it and headed down to the sitting room.
"—We need more information on their families and interests," a soft voice murmured through the opposite wall. I paused. It was coming from Koval's office across the hall. I crouched and neared his door, hoping that it would not open.
"I've provided you with even the Praetor's pet. Are you ungrateful, human? Was that disappointment in your voice?" Koval's distinct voice was louder than his human counter part. "Are these strategic military specs not good enough for your precious section—Federation?"
Federation!? I held my breath and leaned my head against the wall. Was he selling secrets to the Federation!? The notion was illogical; the head of the Tal Shiar would never do something like that. I waited with baited breath for the human to speak. Koval must think that I'd be in a deep sleep…he'd never be this sloppy otherwise.
"You know we appreciate your service. You are taking a great risk to your own life for the betterment of—"
"Spare me your false, self-satisfying human pity, Sloan."
"You are doing the right thing. The senate had your pregnant wife raped and murder—"
"SILENCE!" Harsh foot steps stormed towards the door.
I stood up and ran back towards my room, not daring to glance back. Only when I was in the safety of my own bed did I allow myself to recount the conversation. So that was it. He had a wife…No wonder he just wanted sex and nothing more from me. …Raped and murdered while pregnant…
"How barbaric," I whispered. I lay back on my pillow and turned on my side, fearful that he might check on me.
Several days had passed, and I had not heard anything of the strange conversation since.
I stirred from a night of fitful sleep. A shadow hovered over me, causing me to open my eyes. I froze and nearly cried out. Koval was standing over my cot, looking down at me.
"I require your services."
"I-I don't feel-" His rough hand grabbed my arm and forced me out of my cot. I tripped over my night dress and fell into his chest.
"I don't care how you feel, Vulcan," he hissed, grabbing my chin with his other hand and forcing me to look into his eyes. "You've been nothing but a disappointment," he paused. "But you still have your pleasurable uses. I will find out, Arath, why you just lay there; why you don't 'play' anymore. Had I known this, I'd have never weaseled you to that conference."
He ran a cold finger down the right side of my face, pressing his groin against my hip as he did so. I fought against the darkness that had been plaguing my dreams and resisted. I froze and put on my impassive face.
"Must we always go through this ridiculous formality?" He let out a sigh and spun me around. His arms wrapped themselves around my waist while he lowered his head to my ear. He gave it a slight bite. Koval ran his hands down the front of my night dress, unfastening it and letting it fall to the ground at my feet.
His fingers went immediately for the area between my legs, where he knew I was my weakest. He pressed his fingertips to the luscious mound there and pinched it. I leaned my head back into him, feeling his breath upon me, and let out a sharp gasp. He moved his mouth to my neck and began kissing along it. My skin tingled at the soft sensation.
"The attempted at appearing Vulcan is already waning, Arath," he whispered. His fingers massaged the moisture forming between my legs, tantalizing my innermost parts with his perfection. I fought hard against the lewd moans that I knew would soon follow. I always fought against the urges calling me.
My neck felt warm as he licked and seduced it with kisses. He shifted one of his hands and sent his fingers deep inside of me while his other hand danced along the outside. My breaths became deep and irregular as the pleasure from it intensified. I found myself thrusting in tune with his movements. His hard groin pressed against my buttocks.
Deep his fingers went. His lips were all over my neck. I shut my eyes and suppressed a moan. He is so good at this. I rasped loudly. Koval moved his mouth away and flung me to my cot. I fell onto my back. He knelt near my knees.
"Koval," I whispered, immediately recoiling from succumbing so easily to him. He ignored me and propped my legs over both of his shoulders. My bare thighs brushed against the course cloth of his tunic. He lowered his head to where his fingers had been. I shut my eyes and clutched my sheets.
His tongue weaved in and out of me. Again, I thrust my pelvis to match his movements. He blanketed me in sensual caresses, licking, pressing, and dancing his moist tongue along my most susceptible parts. I arched my back and murmured something; what? I did not know. I was beside myself and Koval knew it.
I pressed my thighs closer so that they had his head between them. I could feel his dark hair, his ears, his warmth; everything. He continuously lapped his tongue into me, massaging and swirling it around. I exhaled and muttered his name, twisting my fists among my grey sheets.
Koval lifted his head and slid over me. My legs dropped from his shoulders. He unfastened his pants and pressed his hard, waiting member inside of me. He gripped the back of my neck with his right hand and stared into my face as he rocked back and forth. At first his movements were gentle like his tongue.
He slowly went harder, rougher, and deeper. It only made the anticipation and want all the more stronger. My fingers dug deeply into the thick fabric of my cot. I could almost feel the pain from the pressure of it. Koval drove himself faster. Deeper, and deeper he went. I exhaled, moaning his name and bringing my hands to his chest.
He held onto the back of my neck, never relenting and never taking his gaze away from me. Sweat perspired from his forehead after awhile. The cot groaned underneath the rough manner with which he was thrusting. I writhed beneath him, muttering nonsense and whimpering to avoid sounding like a whore.
Koval expelled himself inside of me and promptly lay over me. He shifted and closed his eyes. I wiggled out from under him and sat up. My breath came in deep gasps.
"Koval," I whispered. I lay back, panting. He stirred underneath me and shoved me off of him. I grabbed at my sheets, but it was too late. I fell onto the cold, hard floor.
"Trying to get romantic?" Koval sat up, and for a second, I thought he was smirking at me. His full lips were contorted into a smug, pleat of a line. I looked away. "I don't think so," he said.
I hated it when he was like this. Though he never hit me, Koval could be dreadful at times with the words he'd say. Were I human, I probably would have turned into a pathetic ball of sobs three months ago.
"Just go," I rasped. I coughed and hoped to hide my sudden display of emotion with it.
"Upset?" he said with a sneer. "You are but a thing to me, Vulcan. Don't ever forget that. I suggest you behave how you once did with me if you want to make life pleasant for yourself." He swung his legs over the bed, hitting me with his feet in the process.
The rest of the day fared no better. I hated these sorts of days…he was so mean. At least he doesn't do anything physical, not that this is any better…. I was standing in his courtyard, staring at the fountain in the center of it. I wanted to immerse myself in the water…I wanted to cry, I wanted to sob, and I wanted to scream. The water would hide my tears at least.
"Arath," Koval strode towards me from the house, clad in his grey and black Tal Shiar uniform. "I will be attending an important dinner tonight. I expect you in my bedchamber when I get back. Do yourself a favor and indulge yourself in some ale. I'm sick of your disgusting, Vulcan piety."
"I'm sick of your disgusting, Romulan words!" I snapped. Murdered wife or no, he shouldn't treat me like this!
"What?" He came at me and wrapped a gloved hand around my neck. He glared at me, trying to penetrate my mind with his harsh, stead fast Romulan eyes. "You are a creature. Should you dare speak against me again, Arath…I don't think I need to remind you of who and what I am." He let go and walked away before I could react.
And you, Koval, are a hypocrite on both fronts! He was a traitor to his people, selling secrets to the Federation, yet he was holding a Federation Science officer as his sex slave. Was it harsh for me to hold such judgment on him?
"A murdered loved one doesn't excuse any—" I began, knowing full well that he was long gone. I spun back towards the fountain and stuck my hand into the water. I watched the clear liquid wash over my palm, distorting as it made its decent into the pool beneath it.
I should contact their Senate. I needed to tell someone…Maybe if I gave them proof, they'd release me from his house and let me live on Romulus. I was no fool, I knew I'd never see Federation space again! But living on Romulus as a free woman was certainly better than this.
I shuddered. Koval's words had a way of getting to me. It was illogical and foolish of me to dwell on such things, but I couldn't help it. Who could I tell? Who'd believe me, a Vulcan against him; the head of the Tal Shiar? Senator Cretek! Was she on Romulus, or was she still on Deep Space Nine?
Surely there was a way to somehow contact her…I drew my hand away from the water and began pacing the stone flooring of Koval's large courtyard. She'd at least listen, but she would need solid evidence.
Evidence would be my first step to freedom. I could figure out how to contact her afterward. I hurried back into the house and made my way towards his office. A sigh escaped my lips as I stood before its closed door.
He always kept it locked. There had to be a way in; a vent or something of the like. I crept around the wall and ran my hands over it. I went around the left side and back tracked the length of the house. Surely there was a panel…
A soft click startled me out of my search and I froze. I looked around and dove into the nearest, open room. It was Koval's bedchamber. I slid underneath the bed and waited in the darkness. A soft set of footsteps paused at the doorway. I could see a pair of feet, clad in black boots.
"Koval?" A male voice whispered. "I am from Section 31. I saw your shadow pass through here."
Damn. I thought. If I were any other place other than cowering underneath the bed, I could pull off a fake, raspy voice and lure the human into talking.
"I am Sloan's replacement. He is dead," he paused and stepped into the room. "Section 31 has a mission for you." His boots came daringly close to the bed. I held my breath. "Koval?"
Something shuffled and his knees cracked as though he were bending over.
"I guess I didn't see his shadow." His boots moved away from the bed. I watched as he went out of the room. I didn't dare so much as move until darkness had started to set in. I wasn't sure if he was the type who'd wait.
I emerged from my hiding place and slowly brought myself to a standing position. In the dim lighting from outside, I could make out a black, rectangular object on Koval's bed. I grabbed it. It was a simple Federation PADD.
I almost smiled at that notion. Instead, my fingers worked quickly to tap its flat face so that I cold read Koval's "mission." Section 31, whoever they were, wanted the same, detailed information about the families and interests of prominent Romulans that Sloan had been fishing for one week ago.
"This is it," I breathed. "My ticket out of here."
I looked around and hurried towards my room.
"Arath!" Koval's voice boomed throughout the house. "I still have four bottles of Romulan ale! I thought I told you I wanted you drunk!"
From the sound of his voice, it was clear that he had indulged himself a little too much at his precious little dinner. I scowled and went into my room anyway.
"Arath!" he shouted. I panicked and shoved the PADD into my dresser drawer. "I thought I told you to be in my room!"
He stood at the doorway. His hair was slightly disheveled.
"I was just going there, Koval," I said. "I was going to grab a bottle on my way."
"I have one," he hissed. "My room. Now."
I had no choice but to comply. As I neared him, I could smell that Koval's breath was drenched in Romulan ale. He lifted me from my feet and smiled—he smiled.
"What, did you poison your Praetor?" I hissed. He didn't hear me, or he didn't care; either way, he dropped me onto his bed and proceeded to kiss me…it was actually passionate. Koval moved his face away and rested his head onto his pillow. A moment later, his eyes were closed and his breath came in steadfast wisps. I rolled over and allowed myself to sleep.
"Arath." I sat up. Koval had pulled up a chair to the side of his bed. He was dressed in his full fledged Tal Shiar uniform, black-belt harness and all. Any trace that he had been drunk the night before was gone.
"Care to explain?" He held up a black, rectangular PADD.
"Explain what?" I asked with an impassive gaze. The PADD I hid in my room…I fought against the sense of hopelessness creeping within me.
"Don't play ignorant with me, my dear. I found this stowed away in your room."
"I didn't put it there."
"You lie, but no matter. I have several means at my disposal to find the truth." He produced two small, circular instruments.
"I will know everything you know." I froze. Romulan mind probes…I was done for. He'd have me killed because I knew his terrible, treacherous secret.
"In that case," I started. "I believe a deal between us would be the logical thing to do."
"A deal? What on this plane of existence could you possibly offer me?"
"For one, you are a traitor, Koval. Quite clever and cliché, if you ask me. But it's none of my business. Let me go, and you have my silence." Koval shot me a sidelong glance.
"I know of the rape, the murder, and how she was pregnant at the time," I said. "My freedom, Koval, and I give you my word that you have my silence."
"You hate me that much?" He arched an eyebrow. "Amusing, Arath." He stood up, tucked the mind probes away, and set the PADD on his chair. "You Federation types are so weak. It is the same for all of you, no matter how cunning you try to appear. Human, Vulcan….it does not matter.
"Pity. Pity is and always has been the Federation's biggest weakness." He folded his arms behind his back and looked at me. "There is no deal to be had, Arath. A simple fabrication was all it took, and I was in. Oh-I gave them evidence too damaged for them to verify, but it did not matter. My emotional act completed the rest."
I blinked and rested my head against his headboard.
"They pitied you and believed your story...It couldn't have been that simple," I said.
"It wasn't. But that, Arath, you will never know." I closed my eyes. The crispness of Koval's uniform rustled and I felt the bed shift underneath his weight as he sat on it. He crawled over me. My eyes shot open.
"I am not going to be much tolerant of your cold shoulder anymore."
"And what happens when I just lay there?" I asked, allowing my shoulders to slump slightly.
"Hmm," he ran his finger down the length of my nose. "It seems that my insults have no effect on you." I hid my surprise underneath my guise of Vulcan apathy. Oh, if only he knew…if only he knew how much his words did hurt me.
"So what are you going to do? Torture me? Beat me? Kill me, Koval?"
"No," he said after a moment. He slid his fingers over my lips and leaned his head close to my face. He brushed his mouth over mine. I turned my face away from him.
"Why have you changed? Answer me that, Arath. Am I so repulsive?"
I shifted underneath his weight and looked into his eyes. Repulsive? That was so unlike Koval to ever admit something that would deem himself less than perfect. It was so out of character for him to ask something so personal…his eyes were not the harsh, dark orbs I had grown so accustomed to. Instead, they were creased with lines of worry.
"Because I should have never behaved that way three years ago. The Federation abhors that sort of thing. As do I." I hesitated and drew a sharp breath. My arms yearned to wrap around his neck and my body yearned, as it always has, to be with him. "Koval—I…it is not you who are the repulsive one. It is I."
"You are no longer a part of the Federation," he said, blinking. Any sign of emotional weakness was washed away and replaced by his usual cold sneer.
"I want to enjoy myself! It's just that you want me to be a monster!"
"Don't hide your face from me," he hissed. "They were your true believes, otherwise you wouldn't have allowed yourself to cater to my every whim like that."
I shut my eyes and turned my face away from him. His hand grazed my cheek, letting his fingers linger there.
"I am not going to be so kind much longer. I will put you to work as a slave in the Dilithium mines, Arath, and that is a promise. This is your last chance to save yourself."
"Koval…" I looked at him again. The Dilithium mines…Even I knew of the horrors of the Romulan Dilithium mines on Remus, their sister planet. The slaves were worked to exhaustion and then later death. It was not a fate I would wish on even a Founder. If I complied with him, I could at least have a chance of escaping someday.
"Prepare some ale and I will change into that emerald dress you favor," I said, looking at him. "I will comply."