Lady On A Box
Part Three: Cool, Tall, Confident and Luscious

Rating: NC-17 / Slash
Diana DeRiggs

Erisi breathed carefully, remembering the calming techniques Imperial Intelligence had taught her to keep her real mission a closely guarded secret. They had given her information about Rogue Squadron's members, and warned her that humans and aliens might have talents she would not recognize and see her as a traitor among them. She indulged in an arrogant smirk, knowing that among them all, she was the only one who was not a traitor!

It had gone much better than she'd hoped. Thanks to the hours of simwork with Captain Hotok and the personal tutelage of Ysanne Isard, Erisi qualified for the elite Rebel squadron immediately. Bror Jace was even nice enough to come over and congratulate her; he even welcomed her into the squadron and introduced her to the commanding officers. Her stomach dropped when she saw him, He really is good looking in orange!, but she stuck out her chin and remained aloof. Isard had told her that an aloof personality would cover many inconsistencies in her treatment of people, should she prove to be flakey, after all. Erisi was determined to do well — she would not fail! — but she understood the value of this "safety net."

Hobbie Klivian clucked his tongue as they walked away from the new recruit, "Wow, Bror ... you say you went to school with the ice princess? How could you stand to fuck her with that snotty attitude??"

Bror looked straight ahead, "I never fucked her. She was all over me like a rash, I can't deal with girls like that."

Wes Janson yawned, "So fuck her and dump her, what's the big deal? If a lady wants it, give it to her, even if you have to gift-wrap the box. She's not bad looking, though you're right, she might be really bad in bed."

Hobbie nodded, "Yeah those cold queens tend to be firecrackers in bed, or they are even colder and deader, the odds are about even for either option. Those odds suck."

"I'm sure she's hot, though I'd never heard of her fucking anyone else while we were in school, come to think of it," Bror was used to the patter of inane sexual talk between the two officers. He'd known them since Hoth. "But she's the Xucphra scion's daughter, and I was sure they put her on me for some dumb political reason. The Zaltin entity can be just as bad about alliances and potential matings--"

"Ooh, Bror! How romantic!" Wes affected his best romantic, moist-eyed look, "You're like a prince and princess in a fairy tale! Pushed by your families to marry, you find eternal happine--"

"I don't care if you are my commanding officer," growled Bror, "one more word and I swear you'll be back in bacta and remember I brought the good stuff with me. And I know how to make it into really, really bad stuff!"

Both Hobbie and Wes shrieked and ran down the corridor like 5-year old princesses. Or what they thought young princesses would look like running and shrieking, Which is nothing like what they really look like, fumed Bror after them.

* * * * *

Erisi tiptoed after the men to eavesdrop and heard Bror refer to her as a "rash" ... how dare he! He knew all along what she was up to — so why didn't he just play along? He was in the same position as her, surely he could have understood the pressure she was under. Why did he let her return home and hang??

She was so not in control of her feelings that she ran in an almost-blind rage toward the barracks, hoping no one else would be there. That bastard! I'll get back at him, I'll find a way to get back at him, I have to, the Empire and Xucphra be damned!

* * * * *

The tears in Erisi's eyes were not faked, though she'd been taught how to squeeze out crocodile tears as needed; she was in an honest panic this time. "Please don't tell the Commander, please! It's not what it looks like!"

She was pleading with her squadmate, Lujayne Forge, with whom she was assigned to bunk at the end of their training exercises. They were getting ready to move on to Talasea in an effort to dissuade the Imperial Remnant from attempting a march on Coruscant. It would be a strategic first step toward taking over Coruscant themselves, and the Rebels had plotted carefully. This planet was in the Morobe System, near the core, and had been abandoned since Darth Vader had discovered the farming population had been harboring a Jedi Knight, so it would be perfect as a launch point.

In the packing and moving, the torn Imperial flightsuit Erisi had stolen had tumbled out of the bottom of her footlocker. She'd honestly forgotten it was there, having hauled the generically issued footlocker from her home in Thyferra to Coruscant, then back again before taking it with her to Folor to try out for Rogue Squadron. Perhaps it was that she was so used to servants doing mean tasks like packing for her; or perhaps she'd been sloppy?

How long ago had Captain Hotok torn the back of the suit in an effort to fuck her? Had it really been months now? The tears came spontaneously, as Erisi remembered the humiliation of that aborted attempt. She feared that her assignment as Imperial moll had been discovered and she had no trouble dropping to her knees in front of her roommate to beg for mercy.

"I know I never told this to the New Republic, I know ... I didn't think it was important! It's not mine ... it was a guy's I knew ... I was trying to lose my virginity, but we got caught trying ... I panicked and ran off with his suit ... I had nothing else to wear, I couldn't find my clothes! I swear, I was never an Imp!" Erisi was clutching at Lujaynne's baggy suit, begging piteously. She started to sob, "It was just a souvenir ... I don't know why I kept it, except I couldn't bear to face up to my embarassment! Please believe me!" The sobbing woman wrapped her arms around the other woman's knees and buried her face in Lujayne's thighs. She wailed pitifully in desperation.

Lujayne Forge's father was a corrections officer on Kessel and her mother was a former inmate. She had been taught by her parents that all people deserved compassion, and that everyone was ultimately redeemable. She had some serious doubts about these words; her sister Inyri was a spice cutter for the reviled criminal lord, Zekka Thyne, who used Lujayne's younger sister's inferiority complexes to basically enslave her to him. But for the love of her sister, she kept her feelings to herself and had faith that Inyri would soon see the light about Thyne.

Should she believe Erisi Dlarit? Lujayne had spotted a bundle of clothing falling out of the upended footlocker labeled with her bunkmate's name, and she froze when she picked it up. Having grown up on the Kessel penal colony, she recognized the Imperial flight training uniform immediately and was going to run off immediately to tell Wedge Antilles, but was stopped when Erisi showed up at that moment at their door.

Essentially trapped by the sobbing woman, Lujayne thought about what she knew about Erisi Dlarit. She was the heir to a bacta-producing cartel, and she'd acted like a snob the whole time they'd been training. No one really liked Erisi it seemed; Bror Jace seemed to really abhor her, though he never said it out loud. Perhaps the rich girl had inferiority complexes, too. And Lujayne thought about what Erisi had confesed, about trying to lose her virginity and failing ... did that mean Erisi was still ... intact? Hard to believe, especially if she had been trying to lose her virginity. To an Imp, no less! Then Lujayne remembered her sister Inyri's choice of a bad man, too. Looking down at the sobbing, tear-stained face of her roommate, Lujayne found compassion.

"Okay, Erisi, stop crying ... I won't tell the commander," Lujayne's voice was very low, and she moved to pry the other girl off her legs. "But YOU have to see him, Erisi. YOU have to be the one to confess! That's my condition for my silence, and it's not negotiable. If you refuse, I'm going to him right now."

Erisi felt the large weight lift off her chest, for this was the opening she was seeking! "Thank you, Lujayne! Yes, yes, of course, you're right! I'll see him, I promise ... I'll see him and I'll tell him about that rotten guy ... thank you, Lujayne!"

Embarassed at Erisi's sobbing and gushing, Lujayne turned her back to her and started picking up her own things in preparation for the move to Talasea.

Ice-blue eyes bore into Lujayne's back. That's the last mistake you'll ever make, bitch! Erisi's thoughts were not at all in keeping with what her mouth had been saying.

* * * * *

Kirtan Loor, the Imperial head of what was formerly Corellian Security, had received a re-specification of his orders. Not only was he to have his stormtroopers invade the Rogue Squadron compound on Talasea, but they were to find and kill the human female called Lujayne Forge. It seemed their moll within Rogue Squadron had made a mistake and revealed her connections to the Empire to this Forge woman, but had managed to contain the damage. But time was running out and the woman had to be killed to preserve the integrity of the operation. Reading between the lines, he knew that Director Isard would be furious as this breach, and he wondered what punishment would be meted out to the careless agent.

When the reports came back, he was surprised to see in the holos a man who looked very much like a former CorSec agent whom he'd coincidentally been hunting for several years now. Corran Horn had managed to escape the tightened Imperial net designed to capture traitors, and Loor considered it a quest to capture the former CorSec agent and his colleagues. He had eventually managed to track down former CorSec boss Gil Bastra, but had accidentally killed him during interrogation and so had not managed to get any useful information out of him. He'd managed to snare Diric Wessiri almost by accident in a standard sweep for Rebel sympathizers. But Wessiri's wife, Iella, and her partner, Horn, were still at large.

He regretted having to let Isard know about the significance of this man. Loor would have to admit that he would consider it a great accomplishment if this Imperial agent within Rogue Squadron could "neutralize" Corran Horn, and to admit his failure to harvest Horn on his own. For another, Isard might realize that Loor was terrified of Horn — the man was a loose canon, a "shoot first, ask later" type of lawman. Loor knew of no man with a sharper, keener desire to be "on the right side of the law" — whichever side his own code of ethics defined as "right" — at any cost than this former CorSec officer.

But if this moll could snare Horn, it would be worth any humiliation at Ysanne Isard's feet.

* * * * *

Erisi was surprised and fascinated at how trusting these Rebels were. Director Isard had promised they would be apallingly innocent, and Erisi had to agree with the assessment. They had made no effort to hide the fact that Bror Jace would take part in a mission to use Noquivzor as a potential staging planet toward their occupation of Borleais. She was almost gleeful as she sent the plans to Imperial Intelligence! And now Wedge had announced to the squadron that an Imperial Interdictor — the Black Asp — had ambushed the mission and Bror's body had not been recovered ...

Erisi could not hide the smug satisfaction on her face at the short memorial service for her fellow Thyferran, and she opted to look down at her feet and cover her face. She had gotten back at Bror Jace, as she'd promised herself. Missing in action meant dead in space; a human in a starfighter could no more survive his vehicle being cracked up than a prostitute could pass up a paying customer ...

Why did I just make that analogy?

* * * * *

Back in her bunk, Erisi was still giddy at her success. This feeling — she liked it! More and more, it filled her and she felt invincible in her confidence. She was in control! By simply letting her desires be known, two of her enemiese were dead, never to bother her again. How intoxicating!

She felt in control of herself and the things that went on around her. She was cool, she walked tall. Erisi felt more attractive; she thought she understood how Director Isard became so strong and so feared. It's all about confidence! As Erisi allowed herself to step into her role, she actually believed many of the things about her persona were true. I always had it in me, she was firm in her conviction, this is the real me!

That pathetic creature who allowed the Xucphra Directorate to order her around, the one who let Bror Jace define her life — that creature was not the real me. She was told by Isard that Erisi was competent, luscious, desirable, but only if she knew it herself. Erisi felt, at last, that the key she'd been given allowed her to unlock her soul from the prison created by men she'd known. Having tasted it now, this freedom was one she never wanted to lose.

She'd seduce Corran Horn, all right! She'd do it because Bror hated him — they were clearly rivals — and because Madame Isard had ordered her to do it. And also, Erisi would do it because she knew she could!

What's the worst that could happen? Erisi smiled herself to sleep, knowing the worst that could happen, Corran Horn would die if he didn't do as she wanted him to do!

Erisi nodded off to a dream-filled sleep as she decided that for practice she'd seduce her roommate first. It'll be fun, too!

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