Vitun gasped as her guard pushed her roughly into a sterile metallic
room. Six metal slabs sat above floor level with a bewildering array
of objects. Most of these seemed to be medical in use, though others
showed evidence of a darker purpose. Her frightened expression drew a
chuffing laugh from the guard that had been manhandling her.

Silent tears started to fall once more. Vitun was separated from all
she knew. As a captive of the Iush, she knew that she should be
dead… or dead soon. Instead she had been shown here. Perhaps the
Commander of this ship planned on having her tortured for her knowledge
of the Alliance Naval dispositions. If that were the case, she
reasoned, the pain would be over quickly. She knew nothing of how the
fleet was deployed.

Ahead and to her right, a door hissed open and two more Iush stepped
through. Unlike the guard, both of these were not wearing armor. The
elder Iush wore a crimson robe, belted at the waist by gold. The set
of his eyes was not cruel, rather they were dispassionate and cold.

The younger Iush was a study in contrast with his elder. Garbed in a
simple gray robe, belted with silver, his eyes shone with excitement,
curiosity, and something Vitun recognized from months ago when she had
first boarded the Rhyzan’s Fury. Something that could only be called
‘newness’. The gaze leveled at her spoke volumes. Before him he saw
one called ‘enemy’, called ‘inferior’, yet looked not unlike his own
people. It also spoke of a desire to understand.

At length, the elder Iush looked at the guard and spoke, his voice
grating like an emery board across flesh. “Täzh, äv shoa-ri.”

The guard stiffened, but crossed his arms across his armored chest,
bowed his head, then bowed at his waist. “Mrrurr-on, iv rrle.” With a
warning glance at Vitun, the guard turned and stepped out of the door.

With the guard gone, the cold glance turned back to her. Abruptly,
the elder stretched out his hand and tapped one of the metal slabs.
His voice grated out once more, this time addressing her. “Zha, hur
eti.” She sat silently, unsure of what the strange words meant. A low
growl emanated from the throat of the elder Iush and he once more
tapped the metal slab, “Zha, hur eti!”

When she still sat, puzzled, the elder Iush became very agitated and
started to advance on her, his claws unsheathing from the tips of his
fingers. Quickly, the younger Iush interposed himself with a bow to
the elder, then turned to regard Vitun. Thinking a moment, he spoke
haltingly. “Priest-Senior tell, sit you there.” His rich voice, a
high baritone, suprised Vitun. Though he did not speak with due
clarity, he was making an effort for her to understand. “Hurry you, or
angry more become he.” Behind him, the elder Iush flexed his hands,
causing the claws to retract and express once more. The words and the
actions caused Vitun to blanch under her fur, and scurry up onto the

“Wha.. what are you going to do to me?” Vitun trembled visibly, she
did not know what to expect. The crimson robed Iush started to growl
once more, and cocked his hand back, only to find the younger in his
way again.

“Mrrurr-on, zha tege. So zha näne rrit.” Bowing again, the younger
Iush turned back to Vitun. “Speak you not. Teth are you. Slave.”
Turning back, the gray robed Iush waited for his instructions.

“So-khezhrr zha äre. So satezh äshä äv aezh ätheke.” Vitun could
not see the wince that the crimson robed Iush’s words caused on the
face of the younger. The elder did, and held his eyes until the gray
robed one bowed slightly.

“Iv gälezh one.” The elder Iush nodded at the younger’s words, and
turned to start to set up some of the medical equipment. The younger
turned and stepped to Vitun’s side. For a moment, she saw doubt and
compassion in his eyes, then a dispassion similar to that of the other
crept into them. Reaching without looking, he picked up a knife, and
reached for her. Instinctively she tried to retreat, but she was not
fast enough in her weakened condition.

The claws of the younger Iush caught in her duty tunic, and pulled
her forward. With simple, quick movements, the Iush cut away her
uniform, leaving her huddling on the cold metal surface without a trace
of clothing to conceal herself. Together, the two Iush strapped her to
the surface of the table, and then the elder took over.

The examination was not at all gentle, but it was very thorough.
Every part of her was subject to scans, probes, and tests. The elder
seemed most concerned with her reproductive state, and that scared her
more than she would ever care to admit. Throughout the whole thing,
the younger of the two could not meet her eyes, though he aided the
elder as little as he could.

Finally, it was over. The crimson robed Iush stepped back out the
way they had both entered, leaving Vitun with the younger Iush. Tears
streamed down her face as she turned an accusing glare at him. Her jaw
worked slowly, and she was finally able to choke out one word around
her terror and shame. “Why?”

The Iush, for his part, turned back to look at her. Distress was
faint on his features, but his voice was steady. “Desire Captain, you.
Slave you are. What want he, give you. His are you now.”

Slowly he moved to her side to start to undo her bonds. “Mrrurr-ur,
I am. Priest-Junior. Kave be name.” His touch, unlike that of his
elder was fairly gentle. He seemed to treat her more like a prize
specimen rather than a simple object to examine and test. “Quarters
Captain take I you.”

Swallowing hard, Vitun tried to sit up and speak at the same time.
“I am….” Her words were stopped by his hand closing her mouth
suddenly. By luck alone she avoided biting her tongue.

“Name have you not. Teth be name… slave. Pleasure Captain, live
do you. Pleasure not, live not.” Carefully he helped her to a sitting
position, then reached for an object. Bracing, she waited for the pain
to start. Rather, instead of pain she saw that the device was sealing
her wounds, healing her though not regrowing the lost portion of her

Kave worked in silence, his hands deft with the dermal regenerator.
His basic medical training was all that was needed at this point.
Finishing with speed, he helped Vitun to stand on the metal decking.
Once he was sure she was steady, he started to lead her towards the
door, though she still wore nothing.

Embarrassed, but not wanting to find out what would happen if she
disobeyed, Vitun followed Kave outwards. Few of the Iush crew were
wandering about. What she did see showed that they also went about
with mixed male/female crews. Reaching an intersection, she saw Kave
start to head in one direction then stop. Looking down at her, she
could see him considering something, then head down another corridor.

Minutes later, they stopped at a door, and she was ushered in. It
was a small room, spartan in decoration, a simple bed across from her.
Her mind suddenly registering fully what she had been told caused her
to start to panic, and try to back up. Instead she ran into Kave’s
solid form. Her only thought was to try to get away before he started
to sample what the Captain would be getting.

Hissing a reproach, Kave took her shoulder and shook her. “Still be
you. Harm not you, I. You Captain’s are.” Releasing her, but still
keeping an eye on her, he moved to a closet, and withdrew a gray cloak
and wrapped it around her shoulders.

Surprised at his generosity, Vitun clutched the fabric to her. Her
eyes spoke of shameless gratitude to the young priest. “Now yours,
cloak is. Away take, Captain might. Now for, yours is.” Cocking his
head slightly, Kave’s ears twiched a bit, then turned her around to
face the door, and lead her out into the hallway once more. They
returned to the intersection, and he lead her down the direction he had
started to go in the first place.

They reached a lift, and joined it with five other Iush. She could
feel the eyes on her, and a part of her just wanted to curl up and
hide, but she knew there was no way that could happen while she was
trapped on this ship. She could not even read the strange symbols to
know where she was on the ship. All she knew was at a certain symbol,
Kave lead her from the lift down another corridor. This one had even
less personnel in it.

Once more, she was lead to a door and ushered in. This time, she
entered a grand room, easily five times the size of Kave’s room. All
around she saw gold and platinum, gems inset in simple things. “Home
you now, Teth. Serve well Captain, live shall you.”

Vitun swallowed hard, and nodded, tears threatening to well up once
more as the only being she knew on the ship started to leave. Her hand
raised in mute supplication towards him. Seeing this, he stopped and
looked at her. “You Captain’s are. Him talk I shall… perhaps you
teacher be?” His ears flicking once more, he stepped out into the
hall, leaving her to her fate.