Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Star Talker: Part 22: Terms and Conditions

In the time I have been gone, I have made some changes to the story, the most significant of which to old readers would be changing Selena's name to Selima to better reflect her ethnicity. I cannot go back and change this in the old segments, but I hope it will not bother you from here on out. When finished, I intend to edit it and publish it in its entirety on Kindle. I know it's been a while, but hopefully there are those still interested in this story. 

Rha’han peered at her for a moment. “Why didn’t you contact CSF when you had the chance?”

Selima frowned, confusion clear on her face. “Because I’m not really interested in losing access to the Archives and, I dunno, starting an intergalactic war?”

“We’re already facing war with the Jin Fai.”

Her confused look deepened. “You don’t have any idea what you’ve done by attacking my facility, do you?”

A tendril of anxiety began to curl into his stomach. “Enlighten me.”

“The research contract included Centauri satellites to give Lo’Rah access to the Archive Database. You let us study. We give you access to the multiple exabytes of research findings that Centauri has been collecting for the last eighty-three years. But each contract comes with a non-aggression clause. If a planet executes hostile action against a Centauri entity, that planet loses access to the Archives.” She shoved uselessly at his thighs, trying to push him off of her. 

“Centauri is non-militant. What’s to stop some other power from taking over the Centauri stations and coopting the servers for themselves?” He said, slapping her hands away.

She huffed. “Enforcement treaties. There are dozens of planetary governments that have signed on to defend Centauri in the case of an attack. Fleets upon fleets of combat units that could converge upon this planet to not only extract captives but utterly devastate this continent.” 
Rha’han shot to his feet and made for the door. This was bad. 
“I must report this. I will be back later.” He turned back toward her and pinned her with a stern glare. “That better still be in your ass when I return.”
Selima met his glare with an equally ferocious one of her own before flipping him off.
Leaving her with a parting shock, he sped out of the apartments, her cursing echoing behind him. 


Selima

I flopped back onto the floor with a sigh as he left. That could have gone worse. My ass hurt, but I was relatively unscathed. The way Rha’han had run out after hearing about the TOS and enforcement treaties was puzzling. How could he not know? That was always one of the most important aspects of contract negotiations with CSF. But that did make the attack make more sense. But he said the Shara had ordered it. How could the Shara not have known about the treaty conditions? 
I sat up finally, squirming at the uncomfortable intrusion of his evil little device. Even though he had interrupted, I should have gotten enough information to do what I wanted. I collected the Arkiv and began poking around the room for the key programmer. After a few minutes of searching, I began to wonder if it was in the safe in the bedroom with the other rings. 
I made my way to the desk, a solid piece made of some dark wood. The top was a mess. Papers, pens, folders, were strewn across it and around it. Pushed out of the way by our clashing bodies. I noticed the drawers to either side had small gold locks inlaid into them. I squatted down beside them and examined them. Electronic locks were relatively easy to break if you had the right equipment or the correct skills. Mechanical locks were harder. I had vague memories of them from living on New Giza, but it had been years since I’d seen one in person. Stations and ships, at least, all the ones I could recall being on were equipped with mag locks and keycodes. Most of my experience with this sort of lock was in old Terran video games I found when I got bored during my secondary education. 
I could figure this out. I just needed something to pick it with. I scanned the room for thin pointed objects but nothing seemed to fit the bill. I squinted at a shape on the pale floor. The hair pins! I darted over and plucked the small gold pins that had fallen when Rha’han and undone my knot and went back to the lock. I took the pin from under my arm as well, causing the top of the dress to fall away from my chest, but I ignored it. The pins were easily bent into the correct shapes and slid easily into the lock. 
Even with the tools, it still took me nearly an hour to get the damned thing open. Apparently, I needed to research lockpicking when I got access to the net again. The drawer slid open, revealing a case made of smooth, jet black plastic. I pushed the chair away from the desk and crawled under the desk with it, hoping to hide from the cameras that were clearly in this room. 
I popped open the case to reveal a small machine with a full keyboard and a holoscreen. The other side held a row of blue and white rings, a dock for said rings, a removable device of some kind, and a compartment full small test strips. I scanned over screenshots of the user manuals I’d managed to get before Rha’han had shut me down. The device was remarkably easy to hack. My programming skills only extended to the minimum requirements for all Centauri personnel, but since this device was clearly designed for household use, the low security wasn’t surprising. 
I inserted my blue ring into the dock. The small removable device was a lancet and the test strips were used to insert the blood sample into the machine, to tailor the keys to specific biometrics. I wonder when Rha’han had taken a sample from me. Fortunately, since the key was already programmed to my bio signature, I didn’t need to repeat that process. I skimmed through the files. It seemed the blue keys were primarily for household slaves, so they couldn’t leave without permission. White keys had the capacity for both private and public access. It appeared, however, that the blue keys did contain the capacity for access upgrades, much to my delight. I had no doubt that if I took one of the white keys, Rha’han would notice. 
When the upgrade finished downloading, I carefully put everything back into the drawer and slid it shut. He might question it when he found it unlocked, but that could always be attributed to a slip of memory. I wasn’t sure what I might accomplish with my new-found freedom, but it gave me options. I clearly couldn’t use Rha’han’s terminal without him knowing, but there was probably a library somewhere in this place with public computers. Perhaps there was a map around here too. 


Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

Dance as Primal Expression


Photo by ZGreatestShowman
Primal has always been a particularly enigmatic type of kink. It's honestly really hard to explain, and often difficult to understand if you yourself are not primal. Primal, as far as my understanding of it goes, is largely nonverbal in its application. It's about physicality, instinct, and exchanges of energy in a way that I have always found difficult to put into words. 

While I identify as a primal, more specifically, primal prey, it is not something that I have been able to engage in very often with others. Primal play is a very intimate thing. I've heard many primals talk about how they are very particular in who they engage in primal play with in the same way they are selective about sexual partners. I'm picky about play partners in general, but I would say primal play falls somewhere on the same level of intimacy as sex for me as well. 

But my discovery of my primal nature had little to do with the play side or sexual encounters. Despite being a rather wordy bitch, I find that I am often a physical communicator within relationships (both platonic and romantic) once a certain degree of intimacy has been reached. But more than that, I just have a hard time giving voice to things. 

Public speaking, talking on the phone, singing in front of anyone besides my cat, are all very difficult for me. I actually have a rather good singing voice, but I've never been able to confidently sing in front of other people. There's something excessively terrifying about that for me. 

So it struck me, and literally every other person who knows me, as odd when I took up dance. Surprisingly, dance is much easier for me. Aside from the first time I ever got on stage, I no longer have issues performing. Unless I'm supposed to be doing a choreography. I can't remember those for shit. But I can improv like a boss. 

Because dance is one of my primary primal expressions. It's all instinct and reaction. There's no talking. There's just listening to the music and letting it speak through your body. It's pure instinct for me at this point. Sometimes I have to make a conscious effort not to move when I hear music, it's that ingrained in me at this point. 

I've never been in a trance that I can really identify, and I don't know that I've ever truly experience subspace. Static meditation is also pretty much impossible for me because there's too much going on in my brain to drown out with silence. But performing is one of the few times I can say I've fallen into a similar state. 

I have often joked that I blackout on stage. The music starts. I go up, and when I come off, I really have no idea what I did until I see the video after. It's almost surreal. I have never been one for wanting the attention in the room. I'm a wallflower of the highest degree. Even at family gatherings, I'll be sitting quietly in a corner scrolling on my phone or reading a book. 

But I've found, for as little as I get to do it, I really enjoy dancing in shows. For those few minutes, the world becomes infinitely simple. There is nothing but music and movement and the exchange of energy between myself and the audience. For me, these moments are the truest expressions of primal space that I have experienced. 

And while I do hope that someday I find someone with whom I can engage in more intimate forms of primalism, dance is always going to be one thing that truly embodies that concept for me.