What Does Honor Really Mean?
They were watching. But then they were always watching. Never had they stopped. Never would they stop. Both day and night, they watched constantly. Never once leaving the subject of their intense scrutiny even so much as a single instant in which there was no observation. One some rare occasions they would shed their white coverings and scamper madly about as they became excited about something or other. What they didn't realize, what the men and women of this place couldn't begin to fathom, was that they were also being watched.
Dark pitch-black pupils that seemed to reach into the depths of a soul that may or may not exist were set within green eyes that were the color of the finest emeralds that money could only rarely buy. The long and narrow pupils might have been felinoid in origin, but then they could just have easily been derived from some form of reptile. No one could say for certain, and not even any of the research scientists knew. Those large and impossibly bright green eyes were set wide in a small angular face with honey colored skin. High prominent cheekbones graced features that could almost pass for human. Almost.
The eyes weren't the only facial feature that gave away the fact that the creature under observation wasn't entirely human. There were also the teeth to consider. Long and extremely sharp canines were highly reminiscent of those belonging to the mythical vampire, but that wasn't the only disturbing aspect about them, because they were the color of polished steel. Lengthy golden hair with more than a tint of orange graced the head of the creature being studied. Hair that had never been cut or trimmed, and reached down to just past the creature's waist.
If one were to finally tear one's eyes away from the striking, and penetrating gaze of the creature to travel downward taking note of the skin, one would instantly see that not only was the creature obviously female, but all too naked as well. That same golden honey color extended almost throughout the body of the creature, but was broken by numerous small spots of brown that were only slightly darker than the rest of the skin. Then along the back of the creature were the black stripes like those of the tiger to consider. The belly of the strange creature was a much lighter cream color, and only served to further separate the creature from human. The hands had five fingers each, along with opposable thumbs, but that was where their resemblance to a human ended. Jet black claw shaped nails nearly an inch and a half in length tipped each of the fingers and thumbs. Even those on the toes of the creature were nearly half an inch long. The breasts of the creature were small sized, and sat well on the chest of the rather thin, but athletically muscled body. Those women who were members of the staff observing and studying the creature were incredibly jealous of the fact that no bra was needed to maintain the prominent firmness of those breasts, and that even without exercise, the creature seemed to maintain a very thin but muscular tone. The overall effect of the creature's appearance was one of beauty. A wild untamable and exquisitely feminine beauty that screamed power, grace, agility, and speed.
But then, if one were to somehow ignore the general attractiveness of the creature to examine it more thoroughly, one would note the numerous and various scars embedded in the skin of the creature. The listless and seemingly lifeless uncaring gaze from those green eyes. To the casual observer, it would seem apparent that the spirit of the creature had been completely broken by long captivity and study. That assumption couldn't be further from the truth.
She sat in one corner of the completely transparent room that was raised off the floor of the much larger room where the scientists worked. Her knees were drawn up against her chest, and her hands rested next to her feet. With an unwavering gaze, she watched them. The hated ones. That was how she thought of them. Hated. The hatred that she felt towards each and every one of those creatures who were so similar, and yet so different, was so strong that it was actually painful in its intensity. Her eyes never seemed to shift from their lock on the transparent floor of the room she was in, but that didn't stop her from using her peripheral vision to take note of almost everything that went on down below her.
She hated them. She hated them for many reasons. The constant gnawing hunger and thirst that tore at her, begging to be curbed, but food and water were doled out in meager portions that did little to nothing to satisfy her needs. She hated them for the pain they always caused. She could look down at the numerous scars on her body, and remember the entire process of gaining each one from the hands and knives of those below. She had always been here. Well, in this room or another. It made no difference really. All the rooms were the same in that she was always hurt by some method in each one.
She remembered being smaller. The hated ones had been much less cautious then, and she had learned how to understand their speech. Not that she could readily duplicate it. It hurt her throat terribly to try to speak like them, and she had long ago stopped trying after it had proved ineffectual. Besides, they only cared about what they could do next, not caring at all about how much it hurt. Feeling tired, she closed her eyes and slept. A restless and uneasy sleep filled with dreams in which she was constantly hurt by those who always watched her. Dreams that were no different at all, from the grim and horrible reality in which she lived.
She woke to the familiar sound of the room being moved by the machines the hated ones used. But what was strange was that this time, there was no sense of motion to go with the sound. Opening her eyes, she surreptitiously looked around, and saw a second transparent room being lifted near hers. That was when she noticed that there was something contained inside.
Whatever it was, lay on its stomach, face down. Her head tilted to her right in curiosity as she looked over at the form lying on the floor of the other room. A medium grayish green color that seemed to get lighter towards the stomach and inside the limbs, it too had a covering like the hated ones, but this covering was much, much smaller, and only went at the base of the legs and stomach. Claws similar to those on her toes tipped the fingers of the form lying there, and a quick look at the feet showed her some form of foot covering that went almost to the knee. Looking towards the head, she saw long black fleshy strands that emerged from the head of the still form. Strands that held some type of bands near the tips of them.
As soon as she saw it lying there, tears filled her green eyes, and though she didn't know the words for pity or sorrow because they had never been used in her presence, it didn't stop her from feeling those emotions. The tears fell gently down her face as she looked at the motionless form in the other room, because she knew that the hated ones were going to start hurting it just like they did her. She didn't want that to happen, but she knew that she was powerless to prevent it. She couldn't get the hated ones to stop hurting her, so how could she hope to keep them from hurting another? Then the form moved. It rose to its feet in a smooth graceful motion that told of strength she didn't have. Strength that she knew she should have, but which had been robbed from her.
When he came to, Takaa rose to his feet. He could still feel the effects of the drugs these oomans had used to capture him, but he wasn't going to allow them to know that he was still weakened by those drugs. He instantly took stock of what was left to him. He still had his boots, his loincloth, and surprisingly his battle mask. Looking down at his wrists, he saw that his right wrist was bare, but his left still had his wrist comp, although there was now an additional band of metal around it preventing him from accessing any of the functions. The mesh suit that had once adorned his body had been removed, rendering him unable to cloak, and leaving him susceptible to any temperature variations. He knew instantly that his medical kit and every last one of his many weapons had been taken from him by the cowardly oomans. At least they had left his bands of prowess on his tendrils, and his mask. That was something at least.
Looking around, Takaa saw nearly a hundred of the oomans below observing him, and he clicked his mandibles in annoyance. There was an alcove that seemed to be another room. In it, he could see several oomans tinkering with some of his gear, as well as the body of the bad blood that he'd killed. Remembering the location of the room, he looked around to see what else was nearby. That was when he saw it. Another cage like the one he was in, except this one held something that he instantly knew was not an ooman. It looked ooman in shape, but the brilliant white coloration detected by his heat sensing eyes told him that the creature had a body temperature that was even higher than his own. Such a high temperature might be caused by some form of sickness though. He saw the creature looking at him, and noticed the yellow coloring of the fluid that was draining from its eyes. Tears. That's what the fluid was, but he didn't know what had caused those tears, and more, he didn't care. He knew that oomans shed them because of pain, whether physical or emotional, they were still caused by pain. The creature continued to watch him with those tears running down its face, and he irritably wondered why it couldn't think of something better to do.
With a shake of his head, he looked back at the oomans. In spite of their caution, he knew that eventually, these oomans would make a mistake, and when they did; they would learn the reason why he was considered to be one of the most dangerous Arbitrators in existence.
Much like the occupant of the other cage, Takaa knew that there wasn't anything to do except bide his time and wait. That was what he did. Then, after several ooman hours as measured by his mask, the two cages were lowered and food was pushed into the cages by a mechanical arm. A small bowl of water, and a small pile of raw meat sat on a thick heavy tray. He tried to lift the tray to see if it could possibly be used as a weapon to escape, but it was set in tracked grooves in the floor. The bowl of water was secured to the tray by a thick strong cable, so he couldn't use that either. Frustrated, but deciding to maintain his strength and bide his time, he consumed the meat and water. He noticed as he ate that the creature, now revealed as a female of some type, was ravenously devouring the food that had been provided. A short while after he ate he became sleepy, and promptly realized that the food and water had been drugged. A look at the female in the other cage showed that hers had been similarly contaminated. Helpless rage filled his mind as his body succumbed to the ooman drugs before he slipped into unconsciousness.
He awoke in a new room. This one was adjoined to that of the female he'd seen earlier by a transparent wall of some type, and now he was able to get a better look at her. 'Definitely not ooman.' He thought as he took note of the deadly claws on the tips of the fingers and toes, along with the incredible number of surgical scars and strange color patterns on the skin that showed up even to his heat sensitive eyes. The female stirred and rose to a sitting position before looking around. The eyes of the female widened upon spotting him, and the creature stood to better observe him.
'Definitely female.' Takaa thought as he noted the complete lack of clothing on the body of the creature looking him over. The computer in his mask told him that the female was only about four nok in height. Small though the female was, the oomans obviously wanted her for something or she wouldn't be a prisoner like himself. He noticed then, that the female was still staring at him. He was about to growl in irritation at being studied in such a manner when a slight noise from one wall of the female's cage caught his attention. A small door had opened, and something was entering her cage.
Takaa felt his blood run cold as he saw the large slime encrusted oval shape that was being moved in with the female by another of those mechanical arms. He issued a mental command to his mask to begin recording as he recognized the egg from a Kainde Amedha. Then, to his horror, he realized that the room, which served as a cage, was too small to allow the female to avoid triggering it. A glance at the female showed that she had merely tilted her head in seeming confusion. He watched in raging silence as four petal-like flaps opened in the top of the egg, and the creature inside climbed up to rest briefly on one of them. Almost as fast as he could blink, the face hugger launched itself through the air and attached itself to the female. It seemed to take forever before the female finally faltered and fell to the floor as the face hugger began its infestation of the female's body. The face hugger didn't stay attached to the female for very long, and that alone told him of the strength possessed by the small female. Face huggers only took a long time with weaker hosts, but with a strong one, they were able to perform their life's purpose much more quickly.
With its sole purpose complete, the face hugger detached from the female and crawled off to die. It was still twitching in the midst of its death throws when the female began to regain her consciousness. Takaa gaped in disbelief when he saw this. Truly, this female had very impressive strength in order to regain consciousness so quickly. He watched with mounting anger as the female moved quickly, but cautiously away from the still twitching face hugger. Then, the females attention was on the corners of the ceiling and floor of the room, and she was obviously tensed and ready for something. Within a brief moment what seemed like hundreds of small doors less than half a nok wide opened up before the same tranquilizer darts that had enabled the cowardly oomans to capture him where coming in a crossfire from both the corners of the floor and the ceiling of the room. The female had obviously encountered this before because although she tried to avoid the countless darts by jumping towards one of the walls, she was still hit by more than a few of the darts. That was when he noticed that she had protected her eyes and face from being hit.
Takaa growled in anger at the treatment that this strange female was facing. Somehow, the creature had heard his growl and quickly moved away from him even though her hands were busy plucking more than a dozen of the darts out of her body and limbs. The female's movements were rapidly growing sluggish and uncoordinated from the drug contained in the darts, and Takaa knew that she would soon be helpless for whatever these pauk-de oomans planned.
To the female's credit, Takaa watched her valiant but futile efforts to continue to fight the effects of the drug. He uttered soft words of encouragement to the female, and he was sure that she had heard some of them, but he was all too aware that she'd been hit by even more of those cowardly darts than the oomans had used on him during his capture! Watching in a near blind rage, Takaa was powerless to intervene with what was taking place in the cell next to his. The female sagged against the far wall as she struggled to stay on her feet. Even though he'd never met this female, and knew almost nothing about her, the Yautja Arbitrator couldn't help but feel his chest swell with pride, as he became a witness to the heroic defiance against impossible odds and an inevitable outcome. Then, he knew that the drugs had taken full effect, and that the female had somehow managed to stay on her feet while propped against the corner of her cell. Takaa nearly started laughing at the ingenuity of the female when a door opened along one wall and several oomans entered with a long table, a small table, and some wrapped bundles of equipment.
As old as he was, Takaa knew the ooman language of this area fairly well, and as an Arbitrator, his mask could translate anything that he didn't understand. This turned out to be of enormous benefit as the oomans proceeded with what they were doing.
"You… get that dead bug out of here! The rest of you get Specimen 2313 on the table. I'm not sure how much time we've got before that little bug is ready, and I want it harvested long before then."
"What if she wakes up, Doctor?"
"It's already awake you idiot! Those darts are filled with a nerve toxin that only paralyzes volitional movement. Specimen 2313 is fully aware of everything that's going on in here. Not that it matters to an animal anyway. Now, get that thing on the table so I can start the harvesting procedure."
Takaa wasn't sure if he understood the ooman correctly, so he settled himself down to watch what they were doing. Two of the oomans placed the female on the table, and another made a quick wipe of the female's chest and abdomen with some type of cleansing solution. Almost immediately, the ooman in charge was cutting the female open. He watched in mounting anger as the flesh of the females chest was deliberately cut open, with blood pouring from the resulting wound. Then another of the tools was picked up. Takaa didn't know what that thing was, but it most certainly didn't look pleasant.
Suddenly, the Arbitrator was staring in disgusted fascination even while he cringed at the loud cracking and snapping sound that was made as the female's ribcage was forcibly broken open by the strange tool. He glanced at the female's face, which was turned towards him. He wasn't sure what drew his attention, but he thought that it might have been some sound. That was when he became aware of the soft whimpering sound emerging from the mouth of the female. His mandibles went slack beneath his mask, his blood ran cold, and he staggered some as he realized in horror that the female was completely aware of what was being done to her, and was even able to feel it!
That was when he felt a hot deadly rage such as he'd never experienced before fill his soul even as every fiber of his very being was flooded with it. Takaa roared in a pure hellish rage that would have given Cetanu himself pause to consider his actions. The oomans on the other side of the transparent wall were undaunted by his unearthly roars and growls.
"Just wait your turn, ugly. We'll be getting to you soon enough." One of the oomans told him as he continued to rail at them for the dishonor they were heaping upon a helpless female. Takaa swore then, that when he finally escaped this place that he would return with many Arbitrators to exact a full measure of justice upon these cowards.
The oomans continued to cut and tear at the flesh of the hapless female while he could do nothing but watch. He could see the pain and torment in the expression of the female's face while the cowardly oomans did this to her. Then, he was staring in a strange mixture of rage and relief as the ooman in charge pulled an immature chest buster from the female and encased it in a cage of its own.
He was more than half convinced that these oomans were just going to let the female die from what they had so cowardly wreaked upon her. That was why he was surprised to see that they were actually closing her up. The ooman in charge left two of the others to perform the suturing, while he and the others left with the still living hard meat.
"Don't get any ideas. Just keep your hands to yourself. You don't want to know what happened to the last guy that got a bright idea involving this Specimen."
"Yeah? What'd they do? Use him as a host for one of the bugs?"
"Nope, he got the bright idea of using the darts to paralyze her, then he came in and sodomized her. What he didn't realize was that the whole damned place is under video surveillance constantly. The higher ups began starving her while they added appetite stimulants to her water. Lots of appetite stimulants. After a couple weeks, they stripped him down; broke his arms and legs, and then they cut him a couple of times to make sure he was bleeding really good, before they threw him in with her."
"Huh? What do you mean?"
"Simple. After starving under those conditions for that long, well... she was damned hungry, and the only thing they've ever fed her is raw bloody meat, so guess how she thought of him then? It was more than an hour before he finally died screaming."
"Took her that long to kill him? With those claws?"
"Nope. It took him that long to die while she ate him alive. But then, you or me would have done the same thing under those circumstances. Some of our tests have proven that as well."
"So why'd he butt fuck her? Why not just get a regular piece of ass if he was going to do it that way?"
"Easy, he thought they'd never know. Her hymen is intact, and that gets checked regularly. Apparently, someone high up has something special in mind for it. Hell, it might even involve old big dumb and double ugly over there."
Takaa growled and lunged at the cowardly oomans after being insulted in such a blatant fashion. He was pleased to see that in spite of the transparent wall that he couldn't break, that both of the pathetic oomans jumped in alarm. With a satisfied and smirky set to his mandibles, he stood and watched as the oomans began behaving nervously. Once they were done closing the female's chest, they did something else that enraged the Yautja Arbitrator. They simply dumped the paralyzed but still very alert female on the floor of the cell to leave her in the large puddle of her own blood before they left.