Behind Yellow Eyes: Chapter 2

Story by rhenthar on SoFurry

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Chapter 2.

Jack isn't a slaver technician director because of the sense of power he often feels. He doesn't mind the collar Ingen Corp requires him to wear for the duration of his employment. The constant struggle to treat other species, especially his own: Rhenthar, as mere property, while at the same time giving various employees the professional respect they deserve, it neither bothers him overly much, nor does it ever vanish, as the years tick by.

Jack is in this for the money. The pay is excellent.

He's also in this field for the social and political connections; people who buy slaves are usually well to do. And they remember where said slaves came from. They'll come back for more. Jack lives for the callbacks, the re-acquaintance of previously satisfied customers. The casual credit bursts that come his way from those seeking "something special" or rather, someone. They ask for the ones not everyone else might get to see.

Jack always has special ones ready for viewing.

The ship containing the operation, because of aforementioned customers, is never caught. Some say it's full of the ghosts from slaves who have died on board. Others will swear it provides peacekeeping supplies to areas in need. We only know of it as The Clarkson. It routinely completes a circuit in the gamma quadrant, bringing common cargo from worlds that sell it cheaply, to other planets interested in buying. Occasionally, it stops to pick-up and deliver less-common cargo, and that's where the real money is made.

Today, two dozen buyers are viewing three dozen products comprised of several different species. Human, Kzinti, Terellian, and Rhenthar. The ones most commonly sought. These products have all been prepped externally, and doped up on designer drugs that make the process rather enjoyable, yet they can still answer questions truthfully and competently. If Jack had it his way, his products would stay on these drugs for the rest of their lives, but it isn't up to him.

He wants transactions to go smoothly, and doesn't want anyone to come bitching to him later, claiming they didn't get what they paid for. That almost never happens. Almost.

The day started out normal; they're groundside on Tatchit's largest starport, the air scrubbers have been cleaned, and there is no scent of fear anywhere in the ship. Customers are flowing in at designated reservation times, and happy customers are leaving, taking products with them. Everything is in order.

But then it isn't, the high threat alarm starts blaring in his office, auxiliary security teams pile out of their standby quarters. Data pumps into his wetware, critical problem, interview room sixteen, hostage situation .

Jack stands up and runs out of his office, swearing, hoping like fuck that this problem doesn't pan out like last year. Two customers were killed by an explosive device hidden in a slave's chest. That sort of contraband could never get past their new body cavity scanners, though. This has to be something else.

He hears someone yelling up ahead, IR16 is only ten meters away, his feet pound on the high friction surface, security all recognizes him as the one in charge, nimbly stepping out of the way. They're armed with laser pulse rifles and heavy ceremastic body armor. The kind of equipment needed to discourage less-savory customers from deciding they can get things for free, and also to instill a feeling of safety and security with the more normal buyers.

People expect to see armed security, though none of his slaves or customers are ever really any threat to each other, not while aboard this ship.

He doesn't have to lean around the corner of the doorway in order to see what's going on. The hallways are very wide, offering an open, spacious environment intended to mask the sensation of confinement. Through eyecams in the interview room, he sees a slave known as Rhino, a mostly-black Alaskan Malamute Rhenthar with a white star running up his forehead.

He doesn't look like he's under the influence of Erasmus at all. His teeth are showing wide, he's holding a customer against his chest with his muscular arm around his neck, and in his other hand is a laser pistol, pointed at the customer's head, a slender Terellian he recognizes from his itinerary that morning. Seesham is his name. The feline has clearly ripped a few bloody slashes into Rhino's side, but he doesn't seem to notice. He's rolling his eyes around from a lack of oxygen, and Jack wonders if his windpipe is crushed. That would be bad.

Additional windows in Jack's wetware show various customers standing near airlocks, apparently trying to leave. As soon as the alarm went off, those doors shut, and they won't open until the problem is resolved. Not all customers are attempting to leave; some are nearby, trying to see inside the interview room.

Jack knows just what to do.

He broadcasts to every person on the ship, including all the products, especially Rhino. Everyone has wetware these days. If a product arrives without it, a top quality set is installed with no charge to his or her future buyer.

"If I can have everyone's attention for a moment, please." He's staring up at an eyecam on the ceiling. "This is not a disaster; on the contrary, allow me to use this as an opportunity to demonstrate some of our accessories, available for purchase with every product we have to offer."

"I want a ship!" Rhino screams. "Or I'll blow his fucking head off!"

Already the ship's sentient AI has evaluated the situation and determined that the product is wearing a Mark 3 collar, and its security has been compromised via wetware intrusion. Mark 3's were always buggy and susceptible to hacking, and they're visually identical to a Mark 4, which was the collar documented as worn when the product transferred aboard. When and where the mistake occurred has already been determined, and Jack files that info away for later reconciliation.

The AI informs him that Rhino was almost able to gain full control over the collar, but before he could get it unlocked, the AI scrambled the unlock codes. Rhino then managed to eject the power supply, and all further collar functions became disabled. Several blast scars mark the ceiling, where he had tried using the small handheld weapon to cut through the cable trailing from the ceiling to his collar. The AI predicts an 84% likelihood that the blaster is now non-functional from blast-back eventuating from the mirror surface of the tritanium cable. Power is still flowing to the supermagnet, keeping it attached to the collar.

Rhino isn't going anywhere.

Jack instructs the AI to dart him. A tiny granule of metal whispers from one of several discrete launchers hidden in the walls. Rhino doesn't feel a thing.

"Ten seconds ago," he announces. "A dart carrying five micrograms of Freeze-12 landed in his thigh. It affects the extremities first, now he won't be able to pull that trigger." Jack leans into the room. "You want a ship, Rhino?" he asks. "Fine, I'll make sure you leave on one."

Rhino leans forward, trying to inspect his thighs.

Their eyes meet.

"You!" Rhino yells. "I know you, you're Jack! I've bought from you before. I've been on the other side of these doors." Jack's ears go sideways; the situation feels like it just jumped a track. Come to think of it, he does look familiar. The recognition unsettles his stomach, and the prime rib he ate earlier shifts around uncomfortably.

Jack sends an identification request to the AI, cross-referencing it to all previous customers. The response comes back immediately, no prior attendance on this vessel. But the feeling of familiarity remains...

"I was one of you!" Rhino yells. "You can't do this to me," he says, now much quieter. Jack sees customers nearby glancing at each other, and the air handlers labor to suck up the scent of discomfort. Rhino looks down at the blaster and holds it away from the terrified Terellian; he must be noticing the paralysis as it sets in further.

"What the fuck?" Rhino asks, with plenty of whine in his voice.

Security teams rush in at the same time the maglock on Rhino's collar cuts current. He falls to the floor, barely able to catch himself on his hands and knees. His movements are slow, he's weak as a puppy. The team has no problem snapping magnetic cuffs around his wrists and ankles, pulling his wrists behind his back while he screams, "No! No-no, stop!" His voice has risen in pitch, his breathing is unaffected by the drug.

Jack thinks that hearing any more words from Rhino might unsettle the other customers considerably. He makes an executive decision and directs the security team to muzzle him, using one of the new Mouthguard v2's they have in stock. He subsidizes most of the cost, only raising the price of the product by a fraction. He hopes it will make him more appealing to a prospective buyer.

One of his techs approaches from the end of the hallway, swiftly passing Jack with some chrome hardware and a long yellow tube in his paws. Rhino's ankles are locked together, and his wrists are now secure behind him. Jack makes sure the AI is monitoring that bound position; it carries a maximum of four hours before product damage can occur.

Rhino is still shouting "Stop!" while a loop of steel wire is drawn up around his jaws, it's pulled tight to force them shut, reducing his words to mere whimpers. The chrome mouthguard is then pushed up against his muzzle, sliding over his nose. Slick hollow prongs enter his nostrils, the outer shell is pushed the rest of the way on. The tech twists a removable knob at the end, and it sets temporary tabs between Rhino's teeth, spreading his jaws apart and into the padding on the inside, allowing room for the anchor to pass through.

"This is our new Mouthguard version 2. In addition to being the perfect delivery mechanism for aerosolized and orally consumed drugs, it can also provide nutrients and fluids directly into his stomach. The anchor is semi-permanent, and the outer shell is removable to allow for washing and sterilizing. Speaking is impossible, and so is biting, of course."

His whimpering grows loud as the tech pushes the slippery tube Jack saw earlier into the port below his nose, where it travels into the back of his throat. His chest heaves and his whimpers fall silent while he gags repeatedly.

"The oral anchor is 90% likely to reach his stomach versus his lungs, which we want to avoid," Jack announces. "The nasal version is a hundred percent, but it will disable his olfactory senses, we've chosen the oral for now. It can be swapped at a later time."

Rhino's eyes go wide, his whimpers start back up, long and drawn out after the tube bottoms out, clicking into place. The tech pulls on it with a ratcheting snap, simultaneously tightening down the muzzle and removing the locating tabs. His chest heaves while tears leak from his eyes, a puddle of drool forms on the floor.

"Get him back up on his feet, there's less nausea that way." Jack watches his teams comply, noting that none of his customers have shown any inclination of buying this slave. That's disappointing, because he really wants to move him.

A thick cutter removes the dead Mark 3, and a Mark 6 takes its place. The clear plastic cover on it is stripped off and its internal methane-nickel fuel cell emits a piercing whine when it's activated. The price of procuring Rhino rises incrementally higher. He's leashed to the ceiling again and his ankle cuffs are removed, one at a time. His wrists are left secured behind his back. Jack is about to instruct their release when a voice behind him interrupts his train of thought.

"Why end the show? You should 'site him, too." Jack turns to look at who's speaking, he sees a tall white Husky Rhenthar with black markings, and he recognizes him instantly. Mist. One of his suppliers as well as a repeat buyer.

"I can't authorize that kind of subsidization," Jack explains. "No one will pay that much extra for what is now basically damaged goods."

Mist rubs a paw under his muzzle, thinking. "My treat, then. I think he needs to remember this day for the rest of his life, and with the one thin g that can't be removed.... There is nothing better to use."

Jack sees a very large sum of credits transferred his way, but doesn't dare hold on to any of them. He passes it all straight to the ship's main account, and authorizes a 'site to come out of storage. The tech who was carrying the muzzle a few minutes ago steps out of the room to retrieve it.

"Kind of makes you wonder... the things he said," Mist casually offers, nose twitching. Jack thinks he's fishing for info. He's very careful about what he says in response.

"Lies, as far as I know. Ship's records don't show him ever having been here before." His ears flatten, and he tries to avoid the sudden feeling of anger when the AI informs him that several pending sales have been cancelled.

"He doesn't seem to be under the influence of Erasmus," says Mist, narrowing his eyes. "How intriguing."

"Yeah, well. He got a big dose, I've got it on record." The tech that walked by earlier has returned, holding a clearish plastic orb in his paws. He enters the room and Rhino's whimpers double in volume once he sees. He starts to panic, straining against his bonds, pulling on his wrists. The Freeze-12 should be fully worn off by now.

"Maybe he's got a tolerance... it is quite recreational." Mist turns to watch.

"Too expensive for a slave to end up with, like that..." Jack trails off, realizing the implication. He glances at Mist, their eyes meet, and then Mist resumes watching. Something is very wrong here.

The paper bonded plastic cover is torn open, and Rhino watches the 'site come alive in the tech's hands, stasis fluid spills onto the floor. Rhino then does the worst possible thing he can do, for sure, and it's the last time he'll ever do it. A thin trickle of urine leaks from his sheath; it runs down his legs and onto the floor. The tech holds the squirming creature up between his legs. A 'site hurts much more going in right after urinating, it will produce a strong burning sensation that lingers for hours, until it's reabsorbed.

A 'site has no visible eyes, but its long tongue does have photoreceptors, it's able to spot its new home and rushes to twist around his sheath, near the tip. It plunges its long tapered end inside, searching for his urethra, it pulls out a few centimeters, and then pushes in further, it must have found it. Rhino is trying to scream, but it's all muffled through the muzzle. He occasionally goes quiet to cough and choke on the anchor lodged in his stomach.

The tech lets go, and the big end of the 'site dangles the air between Rhino's legs while it draws the rest of itself into his body. It finally squeezes into his sheath, pulling itself around his penis, thick and greasy black in appearance. Like a shiny condom, one that can never be taken off. Rhino's body jerks, he arches his back as it draws past and behind his knot, cinching down its bony mouth behind it. The 'sites body compresses, squeezing out an air pocket, it exits his sheath with a wet belch.

Rhino's quiet now, his eyes are shut tightly. He's not in that much pain, but the fresh awareness of his situation has probably settled fully into his mind, Jack thinks. He now has a quick means of suicide, between his legs, 'sites kill their host if they're severely injured. Jack instructs the AI to program his collar with special instructions that will prevent him from ever reaching it with his teeth or claws.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to open bidding on this special slave," Jack announces. "He comes with a 'site at no additional cost." Murmurs surge around him. "Thanks to a generous donation by one of our premier members..." He's cut short, though; a black hand with extended claws grips his shoulder. Jack turns to face imploring green feline eyes. The buyer held hostage only moments ago.

"I want him," he says, rubbing his neck. Someone from security hands him his blaster, and he looks closely at its ruined emitter. "I want him bad."

Jack looks up at the eyecam and announces, "I regret to say that he's already sold." There are mutterings of disappointment all around. "Please, people. Keep your weapons in their holsters, use proper DNA safeties, and situations like this can be avoided."

Jack walks away, trying to remember Rhino's face. He'll hopefully forget it again, soon. He shifts the collar around his neck and writes the situation off.

Behind Yellow Eyes: Chapter 3

Chapter 3. "One through four isn't even worth my time," Mist says. "I told you, they can't be infected." He's having difficulty keeping the growl out of his voice; other shoppers are peering at him when they think he isn't looking. Is it really...

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Behind Yellow Eyes: Chapter 1

Chapter 1. Marcus winces as his grandfather sticks a needle into a vein in his arm, the third time this week. At this rate, they'll need to switch locations soon, otherwise he'll start looking like a tetrameth junky. "How are your studies in math...

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Behind Yellow Eyes: Prologue

Prologue The black limo cruises around quietly, maglev holding it a half meter above the road. Silence inside is mingling with the colorful scent of happiness. The fact that it's coming from Sinclair makes it more intoxicating than anything Mist...

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,