Undercover AssignmentBy Hera
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|I watched as Blake extracted the data card from his terminal. He's going to
his cabin now, I thought, as Blake, on cue, made his way up the stairs
exiting the flight deck. He's going to look at it on his own, and lock it
away in that damned box with all the other cards and who knows what else.|
There were three different locks keeping the contents secure from prying eyes - so much for open and honest communication. The last lock was a pre-atomic tumbler device requiring the use of a metallic key with protrusions at various heights to rotate a pin mechanism. I couldn't open it.
Correction. I had to date proved incapable of opening it in the hour while Blake was performing his morning systems checks, given the amount of time it took me to break into his room and open the first two locks, and allowing sufficient leeway to re-secure the box and the door.
The only person who could, perhaps, open the box within that time frame was Vila. I could not possibly ask him to.
Curiosity has always been my downfall.
Possibly I could.
Vila is renowned on Liberator for his ability to hold his drink while remaining capable of making reasoned decisions. He does not drink as often as he, with his desire to create a 'wild man of space' reputation, would like us to think. Nor does his occasional lapse into drunken stupidity when faced with danger, or more commonly work, deceive me. However, as the burden of compensating for his shortfalls seldom falls upon myself, it is not a habit I find myself taking issue with. I have chosen to conserve my resources for other, more crucial battles.
However. It would be impossible for me not to concede that I may have made an error of judgement. I may have overestimated my own tolerance for alcohol. While, as a student, I could hold my ale with the worst of them, perhaps the cause of my downfall on this occasion was vanity. If not downfall, then a fall from grace. A refusal to acknowledge that I am no longer a young man. That the years of relative sobriety have been many.
That, in essence, Vila could drink me under the table.
I had hoped, estimated, that a little lubrication would make Vila less suspicious of my request for his assistance. That he would share my concerns regarding Blake's secret plans. That he would find my proposition reasonable. That flattery of his abilities, followed by a measure of scathing doubt, would spur him to action. And he is usually an honourable man; once he has given his word, he will honour it. Throw in the promise of an engineered leave to the pleasure planet of his choice, and we would be shaking hands on the bargain.
As I recall - and the exact dialogue may not be faithfully recollected - the exchange was not dissimilar to...
'Vila, you know I have alwaysh.. alwaysz respected your lock picking talent.' As I remember it, I was by this stage not in complete control of my facial muscles.
'Thank you. Have another drink.'
He helped myself to another large soma rich solution.
'Avon.' He was disturbingly coherent, and I felt, perhaps, a little mocking. Or perhaps my disorientation was making me paranoid. This prompted me to let him see exactly how intelligent a man I was, by immediately soliciting his help for my brilliant plan.
'Vila. I need your help.'
'Need a steady hand to guide you up the corridor?' He was at ease and feeling brave. Good. All was running to schedule, or so I thought.
'In a metaphor..orical sense. Yes. I need access to Blake's box.'
Perhaps I could have phrased that a little more precisely. Vila was unsure if the phrase was laden with anything .. well, sexual. His eyes were mischievous. I had to correct him. 'What I mean is.. in his room. Blake has something. I need to shee it. He won't let me look at it.' Not the best amendment I have ever made.
Vila coloured slightly around the edges of his now blurred face. 'Well he hasn't let me see it either. Not that I've asked.'
'You know he has it?'
'Umm... I thought we all had one. Well, except the girls.'
He was making fun of me. I think. 'You have a secret things box?' Enlightenment dawned in my distorted brain. 'Oh!'
'No. What does he keep in it?'
'Well if I knew that it wouldn't be schee... se-cret, would it?' I made pathetic wide eyes at him. I am not proud of my pleading. Although I do, on occassion, acheive excellent results with it. This was not to be one of those occassions. 'Please, Vila? Pretty please? Will you open it for me?'
I had anticipated his response. 'What's in it for me?'
My planned speech had, as I have said, revolved around discussions of access to leadership information, in order that we, as a team, could make democratic, educated decisions. Blake, I would have said, has kept us in the dark too many times. He expects us to follow him in unknown directions, to surrender ourselves, martyr ourselves on the cross of his cause, with no regard to our personal safety. If he has a masterplan, I would have continued, then we will all be expected to play our parts, Vila. Knowledge is power. I may have thrown in an 'old friend' for good measure if I had felt things were going particularly well. Then the bribe of time on the pleasure planet of his choice, which would have been all that he was waiting for, but without some moral justification for it, he would have felt cheated out of the illusion of protestation.
'Vila,' I slurred. 'I'll be your besht friend.'
'Hmm,' he pondered, and I could see his brain functioning but was powerless to stop it. 'I have a better idea.'
I do not recall how I got back to my cabin.
On waking, my mouth was completely dry, save for a noxious coating of something most unpleasant which pooled in front of my teeth as I dragged them over my tongue; almost syrup like in texture, and on swallowing, an acrid, nauseating taste.
My head pounded. My sheets were drenched in sweat, cold and clammy, and yet my body burnt with the heat of fever. My eyes were dry, salt traces at the rims. My body shook as I fought to raise it and stagger the ten steps to the wall mounted communicator.
I patched through to Vila, and moaned his name into the unit.
'You've surfaced then?' a disgustingly cheerful voice sang back at me.
'Water. Please.' I made a mental note to install a dispenser in my quarters. Or move quarters. He laughed. He actually had the audacity to laugh at the situation he had inflicted upon me.
Although he was, in all probability, laughing at something else. Which I did not know at the time.
He arrived bearing a litre pitcher of water and pain killers, the latter of which I immediately washed down with some of the former. I waited for him to stop smirking and leave. And waited.
I was too tired to launch into my usual volley of abuse. As good a measure of the severity of my condition as any.
'Well?' I managed.
He produced a small bag from behind his back. He had no intention of explaining its contents or their purpose. I stared at him until he partially relented.
'For our agreement, Avon.' Then, nervously. 'Look at it when you feel better.'
An excellent idea. I got back into bed.
When the pounding in my head had subsided, I awoke again, still tired, but a stimulant solution took care of that.
I showered, then sat at my desk to investigate the contents of the bag. A chill ran through me. It may have been alcoho withdrawal, but more probably it was the recollection of the absurd act I had agreed to.
There was only one word dominating my thoughts.
Vila had been meticulous in his requisitions. Everything to meet the agreement was there.
Ridiculously high heeled shoes with narrow pointed toes. Black patent. Size eleven. I fleetingly questioned how he knew my shoe size, but perhaps he found out from Zen.
Basque. Red satin, overlaid in black lace. 6 suspender straps. Matching.. I am not familiar with the exact term. Ladies undergarments have always been of more interest to me as an admirer, rather than an occupant. If I were forced to classify them, I suspect I would describe them as a thong. A triangle of fabric at the front, and very little at the back.
High sheen black stockings. Long black.. I suppose evening gloves.
And, for good measure, a feather boa.
Oh, bravo, Vila.
I was royally stitched up.
The rest of the conversation returned to me. Or rather, Vila's monologue, for by that juncture, I was simply nodding my acquiescence.
'What I need is a distraction for Blake. Something to keep him occupied, you know. And you know he's very fond of you. It all depends how curious you are about that box, Avon. Now... what could we do? Well, what could you do, I'll be in his room. Something to keep him out of my way for a good two or three hours. If only I could think of something...'
He planted the seeds in my mind. I let him convince me it was all my idea. And the bigger and more absurd it grew, the more I was convinced.
The previous evening, it had not seemed to be a significant imposition on my time. Or, indeed, my body. In honestly, part of the plan appealed. And if Blake didn't want to... well, he would be occupied enough with the state of my mental health to keep him in my quarters.
That was the deal. And Vila was an honourable man. And knowing Vila, damned if he would do it under any other circumstances now.
All right. Perhaps it still appealed to me in some ways. I have never relished the constraints of convention.
I checked my chronometer. We had agreed that the events would take place two hours from now.
So I returned to my bathroom. This was not a day for a five o'clock shadow.
Blake's reaction was... interesting. At first he was annoyed.
'Are you going to tell me why you have called me to your cabin?'
I smiled, possibly more maniacally than usual, and removed my robe. If he had been paying attention, instead of preparing to give me the standard verbal abuse, perhaps my sudden four inch growth in height would have given him a clue. His response was perfectly eloquent.
'Bloody hell,' he said.
Gratifyingly, given the efforts I had gone to, and the pain of the shoes, the discomfort of the undergarments, he appeared to be interested. Very interested. And the devil's advocate in my head asked, 'Why not?'
He is a remarkably talented kisser, which was a surprise. Very fond of the delicate touch of feathers. And his lovemaking abilities... suffice to say, I do not believe it to have been his first time with a man.
The next morning, I may have felt a twinge of guilt at my subterfuge. Especially when Vila's voice over the intercom awoke me.
'Avon. I've done it, but I don't think it's what you expected.'
That makes two of us, I thought, extracting myself quickly from Blake's embrace and dashing over to the comms unit. 'Vila, this is not the best time. I'll talk to you later.'
I swear, the man could sleep through anything. He barely stirred. Perhaps it was the result of his physical exertion. He had earned his rest. Then again, he had not just experienced a mass flood of adrenaline through his body as a reaction to fear. It was only to be expected that I would be the more alert.
I did not want him to find out.
I wanted to repeat the experience. Was that wrong? Perhaps.
He did, however, notice the chill. I had removed half of the bedclothes in my lightening sprint. He rubbed the back of his hand across his eyes and blurrily looked at me. He unwound the boa from his neck, and smiled lazily. 'Come back to bed,' he said.
I found myself compelled. And later, he invited me for dinner in his room that evening.
'I have some.. artwork you may find interesting.'
'Oh?' I was intrigued. 'Only me?' And somewhat flattered, truth be told.
He blushed, barely perceptibly. Most endearing.
'It's .. umm.. specialist. I wasn't sure anyone else shared my interests.'
'You know,' and his hand ensnared my waist. He looked meaningfully into my eyes with a desperate plea for understanding. 'Specialist. The kind of thing you keep.. you know. Away from prying eyes.'
Realisation dawned. 'Under lock and key, I suppose.'
He nodded. Then a new concern occupied him. 'Do you think we should tell anyone about.. you know.'
I stroked his cheek. I thought, yes, I could become rather fond of him. He was certainly an interesting diversion, and if nothing else, it would take some of his energies away from the revolution. I have always said, sometimes out loud, that there was nothing wrong with Blake a good fuck wouldn't cure. And I have no false modesty in that arena.
I thought of Vila's discovery in Blake's cabin the previous night. By now, he was certain to have worked out that Blake had spent the evening in my quarters. And by now, the rest of the crew would have been fully informed.
I playfully pinged his suspender strap. Who would have guessed he wore them beneath his clothes habitually? Who would have guessed that I would find it so arousing myself? I smiled as I entwined myself around him and whispered, 'Why not?'
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