"Watch it, I'm a delicate flower!" shouted Lash as the guard forcefully pushed her into the meeting room. The guard rolled his eyes and started to leave, closing the door behind him.

"I mean one minute you're ignoring my catcalls and the next you're grabbing me all rough-like. It's mixed signals, Guard Number Two!"

Lash had a mischievous expression as she finally turned to acknowledge Sonja and Grit, Sonja sitting in the fold-up chair on the other side of a featureless aluminum table with a large binder sitting in front of her and Grit leaning against the far wall. A second chair sat invitingly in front of her.

"Well, well. I was expecting the scarecrow, but the nerd is a pleasant surprise." She spun the second chair around and sat down, folding her arms on the back rim and resting her chin atop them.

Sonja studied Lash. "A surprise? Other events lead me to believe otherwise."

"Ugh, you're doing it wrong," Lash said. "You're supposed to start with 'how have you been enjoying prison?' and then I go like 'Well it's no Orange Star Islands!' or maybe 'Great! It reminds me a lot of grade school back home, but with worse food and a lot more body hair!' "

"This ain't no feel good movie a'tha week, ya scrawny pig-nosed lout," Grit began, but Sonja cut him off with a gesture. As they'd discussed beforehand, Sonja was fully prepared to attack whatever house of cards Lash had erected with a frontal assault; it would be all the more satisfying when they came crashing down on of her.

"Alright, Lash. How have you been enjoying prison?"

Lash's expression melted from mischievous and brazen to sweet and vulnerable. "Better now that you're here," she said, batting her eyelashes for emphasis.

Sonja's face exploded in scarlet, and she wondered why the temperature had so dramatically risen in the room.

"You think you can throw me off balance with such a silly display?" Sonja meant to say. In reality she sputtered out something closer to "That's...you're...what?" As the words registered in her head as her own she blushed even more fiercely. This wasn't how it was supposed to go at all!

Lash erupted with laughter, her violent fit causing her to fall backwards onto the floor, the chair landing atop her. The collision didn't slow her down. Even Grit couldn't help but chuckle, although he tried his best to hide it with hand and a cough.

"E-enough!" Sonja shouted. "No games, Lash! How have you been giving Flak orders?"

"Orders? To Flakky-poo?" With an unsettling display of flexibility, Lash slid out from under the upturned chair and unfurled herself on top of it, without disturbing it an inch. "Do I look like the ordery-type? I just like to play with my toys. That's what it says in that big intimidating folder of yours, doesn't it?"

"An unusual amount of self-awareness for someone who fiddles with toys, isn't it?"

"I don't know, is it?"

Sonja's eyes narrowed on the girl. Lash's empty (or so it seemed) grin flashed back at her.

"You're wrong, by the way," Sonja said.


Sonja opened the large binder she had in front of her and began to read from the notes.

"Lash, CO of Black Hole. Specializes in defensive positioning and highly skilled in advanced research and development of military technology."

Lash feigned an expression of intense interest. Sonja continued.

"A nearly unmatched tactician, but is prone to overconfidence and flights of fancy. Holds little regard for human life, but shows attachment to devices of her own creation."

Lash's grin finally began to falter. "So is this a new strategy? To boreme to death?"

"So you agree with my assessment then?"

"I don't know. What does 'assessment' mean?" Lash braced her arms on the legs of the up-ended chair and lifted herself off the ground and began to do a series of acrobatic stretches. As Lash opened her legs to do a mid-air split, Sonja found herself struggling to keep her eyes averted from the inner-thighs that Lash's shorts barely covered.

Sonja closed the folder in frustration. "Playing dumb doesn't suit you, Lash, but fine, you win. You didn't have anything to do with Flak's escapades here in Blue Moon or Adder's stand in Green Earth-"

"What? Adder shouldn't be in-" The temporary loss of concentration caused Lash to topple from her precarious position, and the chair toppled over under her weight. She rolled with the fall, avoiding injuring herself, but she ended up in a rather unflattering tangle of limbs and hair sprawled on the floor.

"So where is Adder supposedto be, Lash?" Sonja asked, a smile on her face this time around.

Lash glared at Sonja, but a smile soon graced her lips as well - this one far from empty.

"Hmph," was all Grit had to say.