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Aberrant: StarGate Atlantis - S1: E5 - Inflitration

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The choking sobs became quivers and mere tears as Bannon slowly rode out the hysterics. Finally Eleodoranna was quiet as she leaned against him, only moving when the occasional hiccup jerked her. “Now,” Bannon said in something approaching kind but still really close to demanding, “what did you mean by what you just said?”

,,

The young woman paused before admitting, “It’s my wedding night. I was trying to lose my… chastity.”

,,

Bannon’s eyebrow quirked. “That would be an odd custom on my world. Normally women preserve themselves for their husband. Well, that is changing some. But others still hold to that.”

,,

“My world… they do it too.” Big brown eyes, still liquid with tears, gazed up at him sadly. “And I’m engaged to the Prince. But he… none of his wives survive their wedding night.” The tears threatened to spill again as she whispered, “I thought that here I could save myself by making myself unable to pass the Examination of Womanliness tomorrow… I’m just afraid! Afraid to give myself to a stranger and afraid to die. You just seemed… so gentle and soft-looking.”

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“M-m-m-my brother. They’ve taken him to a sooka bar!” The words made no sense to Ayato, but the girl’s distress was genuine. “He’ll be killed!”

,,

“What’s a sooka bar and why will he be killed?” Ayato asked, still with half-an-eye on the surroundings.

,,

“Because he’s an idiot! He won’t last ten minutes on the sooka tables, not without losing all his organs to a Theisan! Mister, you have to help him! No one else in this place will!” As she’d spoken, Ayato realized she was older than he thought. Malnutrition had stunted her growth and development, but she was probably closer to twelve than six.

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Shocking Evana was well and good, but this was getting a bit too out of hand. As far as Curtis was concerned actively engaging in a great deal of sex with a complete stranger hadn't still be intended on his planning list. In moments, though, with him apparently trapped by his own words, Curtis decided to see if Joran - the unknowing man ignorant of homosexuality in the bed sack - could be put out... euphorically enough, with what would be categorized as foreplay.

,,

Actual intercourse, would be the projected limit. Curtis hoped so. Keeping up appearances, he leaned into Joran and let his arm curl around the others' waistline, moving ever so subtly. "Your place sounds perfectly good enough."

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It's a setup. That thought plagued Ayato's thoughts, though his features remained impassive. Still the soldier in him wouldn't allow him to ignore a child. "Show me where he's gone, and remain outside, nearby, out of sight, until I return. I will need a description of your brother, If I am to find him and bring him out to you in one piece." He looked at her coolly. This was arguably a very bad idea, but there was nothing against it. he was liable to be taken for a ride, but he was confident he could handle what he would need to.

,,

He waited for her to do as he asked, Information was ammunition in all situations, and he wanted as much as he could get.

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Evana

Sylia blushed at the attention, the last of her hesitation fading as she soaked up Evana’s regard. “C’mon,” she said with a giggle, grabbing Evana’s hand and pulling her into the crowd. In short order, they were entering a cheaply constructed buildings. Sylia didn’t pause as she walked past the man behind the desk and he only glanced at her before returning to the scroll he was reading. The blue-haired vixen snuck a look back at it, but it was some kind of complex mathematical equation and in another language.

,,

The room that Sylia had chosen was clearly for meaningless sex. The bed dominated most of the room and the source of light came from soft candlelight around the room. The air was filled with an unknown soft fragrance that reminded Evana of sensual nights on the beach—without the sand, of course. After a second, the SG member spotted a haze of smoke rising from a brazier.

,,

Sylia went to the brazier and drew a pinch of something out of a pouch on the table. She dropped it into the brazier and leaned into the resulting smoke. When she turned to Evana, the soldier could see her pupils were dialated. “Come here, beautiful,” Sylia said in a husky voice. “Come and enjoy my sedja and then we can enjoy each other.”

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Yseult

Tolend sighed at her departure and ordered another drink. Yseult waited patiently until he finished—she thrilled and a little disturbed that she could hear the liquid sloshing in the cup and his swallows as clearly as if she’d had her ear against him or his cup. When he set the empty glass down and rose, she was ready, following him at a sedate distance.

,,

After a moment, another man joined him. “Hmm, so you missed the rock?”

,,

“She wasn’t willing.” Tolend shrugged, the rise and fall of his shoulders clear to Yseult even at this distance. “Was rather offended actually.”

,,

“I’m just glad she didn’t hurt you.” His companion patted him on the shoulder. “You’ll convince the next one.”

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Tolend nodded. “I hope so. I’ve yet to make quota this cycle, and I never feel comfortable until I’ve reached it.”

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The other man snorted loudly. “Tell me about it. I got my wages docked last cycle, and I only missed quota by a thousand.”

,,

“Agh, that’s rough.” Tolend straightened up and peered into the crowd, then said, “I see the Satedans I’ve been courting. I’ll catch up with you later.”

,,

His friend nodded. “Orten mehi terora.

,,

Terora mehi.” With that, Tolend was working his way deeper into the crowd.

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Moira

“Oh, I know that you say that now, but you don’t know me!” The man persisted as she backed away, following her on his knees. “I know that you don’t see value in that, but I do have something to offer you!”

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“Money?” Moira peered down her nose at him haughtily. “I assure you, I have no interest in that.”

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“No, my soul-and-heart! No, I offer you the greatest gift of all: happiness.” He beamed up at her as if he expected that his happy words would instantly transform her. When the transformation was less than forthcoming, he quickly added, “I would devote my life to your joy!”

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“Then start by leaving me alone.” Moira felt her patience disappearing faster than the cultural treasures of Afghanistan under Taliban rule. When he opened his mouth to beg more, she snapped, “This is not going to happen! You are not my type! I want nothing to do with you! Take your stylistic representation of my external reproductive organs and find someone else to throw them at!”

,,

He deflated before her eyes. Moira grimly reflected that this was where a woman who was under the influence of Western social norms would feel bad and try to soften the blow. She felt only relief as he turned and walked away, his head down. Before the crowd blocked her vision, she saw his shoulders start to shake and still she was merely relieved that he’d left her alone, finally.

,,

“That was interesting,” a masculine voice to her right said. Moira turned to see a tall man walking toward her. He wore a gray suit that reminded her of some of the ultra-modern men’s business wear she’d seen before leaving Earth. His dark hair was turning gray and he possessed a few wrinkles, but his posture and overall health hinted that he was still in the prime of his life. It was his eyes that caught most of her attention; they were a warm hazel color and filled with intelligence. “Did you realize that his culture requires, in the face of his soulmate’s rejection, that he ritually castrate himself?”

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Inoae

“No!” Bates emphatically cut off that thought before it could worm deeper into Inoae’s damaged mind. That was the last thing he needed. “We are not having sex here.”

,,

“Yes, sir.” Inoae nodded in simple acceptance.

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Gabrell smiled at both of them and pulled gently on Bates’s arm. The human allowed himself to be drawn along, and Inoae trailed them like a blonde duckling as their hostess began to draw them toward the bar. Lobelia moved from Gabrell’s flank to Bates’s other side. “Sir, may this familiaris ask a question?”

,,

It was too close to how Inoae used to speak and Bates had to shrug off a shiver of unease. It’s just an act, he reminded himself, mostly to make himself feel better about the whole thing. Bates glanced at Gabrell, who merely nodded. “Sure, knock yourself out.” At their confusion, he clarified, “Yes, you can ask the question.”

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“What is your world like, sir?” the submissive asked, her dark eyes full of innocence.

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Bates picked his words carefully before he said, “It’s not as advanced as Kastar.” That was mostly true; Earth had in-door toilets, but he was supposed to be Altosian.

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“But… I heard that Altosians were driven off their world by the Wraith. Weren’t they all killed?” Lobelia tilted her head at him with a confused smile but only for a second for Gabrell moved.

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The dominant grabbed Lobelia and shoved her over a table, her ass in the air. A long, narrow stick materialized in Gabrell’s hand from under her clothing and was pressed across the back of Lobelia’s neck. Bates checked his reaction at the violence, but only just, as Gabrell hissed, “You are being punished, familiaris, for questioning a guest’s word at my theatre. I thought I’d taught you better than that. And you asked your question – you did not ask permission to ask a second!” The stick came up in the air and paused. Gabrell glanced at Bates and said, “She offended you.” The woman handed the narrow stick to him. “Please, honor me by punishing her.”

,, ,,

“I can decide when I’ve been offended.” Bates tried to return the stick, which was about as small and supple as a riding crop. When Gabrell wouldn't take it, he put it on the table. “I think we’ll just look around for a while.”

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Joran’s grin was a little more self-assured as Curtis sidled closer to him. “I have to confess,” he murmured as they maneuvered through the crowds, “that I’d never really given thought to fucking a man.”

,,

“It is taboo on your world?” Curtis asked, finding himself curious about the state of LGBT rights on another world. The thought made him want to giggle with only a slight edge of hysterics.

,,

“It’s… unheard of, is a better word.” Joran’s smile became shy. “My people view sex as only for procreation. Sylia is the one who opened my eyes to a new way of viewing the Sacred Union.”

,,

Might as well keep asking. “Is that some slang for sex?”

,,

Joran laughed. “It’s not slang. It’s what her people call sex. They’re a very free people. It was all I could do to get her to agree to our life-bonding. My people wouldn’t recognize her until we did, and I wanted her to have my family’s protection. But I’ve allowed her to keep her covenant with her beliefs and even come to embrace them myself. Here.” The place he indicated was nicer than Curtis was expecting; the building appeared to be a solid structure.

,,

Joran parted the beads that served as a door and led him into a hallway. There was a curtained window, like a ticket-taker’s window, and Joran slid something through the curtain. Curtis assumed it was a token of some kind, because no one stopped them from walking down the hall and entering a room. It was plushly furnished with a raised dais topped with a mattress and pillows and a padded bench on opposite walls. The colors were red and the lighting was dim. “It’s designed to appeal more to a woman… sorry,” Joran admitted. “I’m sure that I can make up for that shortcoming, though.” As he finished talking, he planted his hand on Curtis’s ass.

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Ayato

The girl looked at him with so much cynical world-weariness that Ayato blinked. It was the look of an adult who had been poorly used by the world, not a child. After a moment, she rose and headed into the market, her expression resigned.

,,

They wove through the area, the stalls and buildings becoming more and more run down and the people hanging around looking more and more shady. Ayato was not a looming, large man; he knew that he could take care of himself but didn’t always look like he could. So he stared anyone who looked at him too long in the eye, his dark gaze telling them to not make an issue.

,,

The girl stopped in front of a tent and pointed. “He’s in there.” It was like a circus tent whose colors had faded over time. The young man in the thong and the young woman wearing even less looked just as faded, their smiles empty. Ayato had found the dark side of Kastar.

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"Really?" She studied this new stranger for a moment, and was briefly surprised at the small tug of primal desire she felt. Wow. He is really.. quite attractive. She pushed it to the back of her mind, in that small place she reserved for emotions she didn't feel like dealing with at the moment. "How very unusual."

She turned and glanced back in the direction of the retreating figure, and a little frown furrowed her brow, as if she were considering something. "Such drastic measures rarely develop in cultures without a good reason for them. Do you know their male-to-female birth ratio?"

He arched a brow, and nodded slightly. "Yes, I believe it's approximately sixty-five percent male to thirty-five percent female."

"Ah.. that probably explains it. The significantly higher male population probably resulted in violent outbreaks over mating rights, so they've developed a cultural device to take less appealing men out of the breeding pool altogether, reducing the risk of cultural stagnation due to constant mating disputes." She glanced back with a little sigh at the handsome man with the silver-streaked hair. "You don't suppose he'd listen to reason, do you? I could try to suggest some alternatives."

He shook his head slightly. "No, I strongly doubt you could convince him otherwise."

She glanced back after the man, but he was gone, having disappeared utterly into the crowd. She wasn't entirely without heart, and sighed again, a little sadly, as her eyes scanned the heads of revelers and she considered the barbarism of the upcoming ritual. "It's too bad, really.. but you're probably right."

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Yseult paused in the middle of a pedestrian boulevard, frowning as the press of bodies eddied around her tall and solid figure. With her basic Ancient, she couldn't quite catch what Tolend said at the end, but did get the gist that her promising lead on who was digging for info on Atlantis was a red herring. They were just a bunch of creeps hunting better eggs to replace those of their defective women. Though a thousand did seem excessive...

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Whatever, it is not being my problem, unless another of these fucks want to harvest my eggs, then I will be their problem. I am hoping the others are having better luck than me...

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There was nothing to it, but to head back into the everlasting party of Kastar, playing the part of a rustic Athosian. It wasn't entirely an act, this place was more wild than New Orleans at Mardi Gras, yet it was an every day thing. Yseult's lips curled into a smirk, she was sure she could find something to occupy her time.

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In the meantime, her hearing was still tuned to that preternatural acuity, picking up sounds as if they were a hundred times closer, as well as being able to selectively filter the sounds. If nothing else, she might be able to pick some mention of Atlantis. Not an entirely random process, let's call it... canvassing... With beer.

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Apparently, you really could meet any kind of person on Kastar. Including those who were asking about Atlantis and possible threats. Curtis was only half on that, since long surpressed memories and hormones were pushing at the established mental limits of foreplay only. The prospect of full sexual engagement became more and more appealing.

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But he had a mission... to hell with it. If Joran knew anything, he might very well be much more loose-lipped over pillow talk. Curtis turned around and shrugged, before pulling Joran into a tight rubbing embrace and a deep kiss. They stumbled over to the mattress, and hands moving about gave way to Curtis on his knees.

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Joran was going to get the sucking of his life, and then banged like a top-notch drum. After all, Curtis wasn't the one who needed teaching, right?

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Moira

“I spent two seasons among his people, the H’kariandi.” The alien word flowed easily off his tongue. “Their gender imbalance resulted in the males catering to the women. The females were quite demanding and many in other cultures view them as quite spoiled.” He smiled at fond memories, adding, “It was a refreshing change from the high number of patriarchal and patrilineal cultures that exist in our galaxy.”

,,

“Is it unusually high?” Moira asked before thinking that she was showing a definite lack of knowledge that was not congruent with her obvious training and intellect.

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Indeed, the man gave her a sharp, assessing look but did not remark on her displayed inconsistencies. “My father’s death-thesis reflected on that fact and postulated that it meant that many cultures in this galaxy had a common ‘ancestor-culture’ from which all others have developed. Even my own culture pandered to the ridiculousness of patriarchy in our dark ages.”

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“Are you a matriarchy now? Or egalitarian?” Moira felt excitement drumming through her body—he sounded as if he had so much information about the Pegasus Galaxy!

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“Egalitarian. It is foolish to restrict or disregard half our population’s assessments, ideas and theories.” Those quick eyes studied her a second. “I am Kalen Terranken and it would be culturally appropriate for you to call me Kalen. Might I have the pleasure of your proper salutation?”

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Yseult

“You know, usually Athosian women don’t study men like they’re a sweet candy.” The casual statement blocked out the other conversation that Yseult had been listening to between two women. They’d been talking about Atlantis, but only as storytellers who were working on a tale together. It was easy to abandon the conversation and turn to the tall broad-shouldered man who was staring at her. He was dark-hued, close to Bates in color, but where her commanding officer possessed the regulation haircut and uniform, this man had long braids. His clothing was nondescript leather of some sort, well-cut and styled but handmade.

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“Oh? How do Athosian women stare at men?” Yseult asked, leaning back against the bar and staring at him with disguised lust. He had a body she’d love to test herself against, in or out of bed. Though the Canadian woman was fairly certain that she could take him, with her new abilities. Of course, it wasn’t proving that you were better that was the fun part – it was the testing.

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“Not like a tasty treat. They tend to have more decorum than that.” Her conversational partner smiled and Yseult got the feeling he didn’t mind her lack of decorum. He took a deep drink of his mug and asked, “So who are you and what are you looking for? I can help you find it – for a price.”

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Yseult's lips curled in a smirk, bold, cold eyes sparkling. "Me, what I am looking for, I have never paid for and never will." The muscular woman arched a brow, giving the handsome man a frank once-over he didn't seem to mind. "You can be calling me Yssa." That sounds Athosian enough, doesn't it? "And I, what do I call you?"

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"Kell."

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Kell's tone was curt and tight, his dark eyes intent but unflinching. Yseult got the sense that there was supposed to be something significant about the name, something that he wasn't entirely proud of. Since Yseult didn't have the slightest clue what it could be, she decided to let it go with a nod, and hoped Kell would reciprocate by not questioning her Athosian credentials. They both had something to hide, but as long as it didn't impact either of them, they could leave it in the background for the sake of mutual attraction.

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Besides, focusing her attention and senses on Kell, she liked the way he smelled.

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"Well, Kell," Yseult murmured, finishing her own drink and slapping the mug down on the bar with a thump. "Beyond looking for a toy to play with - like everyone it is seeming on Kastar - there is something else you can be helping me find. Like most, we Athosians come here to relax and have fun. Lately, some of th- my kin, they are being harassed with questions about myths - Atlantis and the like. I simply want to find these fellows and ask them to stop. Respectfully of course."

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Yseult's tone was full of Athosian decorum, but her slight grin was teasing, and the way hard muscle rolled and rippled beneath her tanned flesh was more ominous than respectful. "Thinking you can be helping me with such? I'm sure we can find a way to spend the rest of my time here afterwards."

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Bates and Inoae

The odd couple exited the theatre, having seen that there was nothing useful in it for them. Bates remained grumpy that it all turned into a massive waste of time. Inoae was following him closely, her attention split between the crowds, as he’d taught her, and her unwilling master.

,,

“I hope everyone else had more luck,” Bates grumbled as he headed back for the area where the team had split apart. “Amara, you hungry?”

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“No, sir.” As always, the Lantan choose to not show weakness. He’d given her a choice and so she choose to not be hungry.

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Bates grunted in acknowledgement and sidled up to a vendor to get something to eat. A few beads went to purchase some kind of meat on a wooden skewer, the Kastari version of fast food. Ripping into the meat, he began to search the constant party-crowd for his team.

,,

“Can I help you find something?” The voice set Bates on guard immediately and his expression was suspicious as he turned to the man who’d spoken.

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“No. Wait. Maybe.” Bates was tired of making no progress on the mission and opted for a frontal approach. “We’re Athosians, and there’s been-”

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He didn’t get to finish as sudden movement behind him put him on guard. Inoae was attacked, a hood dropping over her head from behind; as Bates turned to assist her, the man he’d been talking to smacked him across the back of the skull--hard.

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Curtis

Now that was a hell of a way to spend a mission. Curtis grinned to himself as he flopped naked onto the bed next to Joran. The computer tech was pleased to note that his partner looked dazed--in a good way. “So. Was that experimentation worth your time?”

,,

“Uh… yes.” Joran roused himself a little, turning his head to look at Curtis. “I mean, I’m not sure I’d want to do that every time, but it was enjoyable.”

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“Good.” Curtis stretched on the bed, feeling a desire to curl up and nap. He shook off the desire and instead rose to his feet, grabbing his clothing.

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“You going already?” Joran sounded disappointed, another ego boost to Curtis.

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“Yes, I should find Evana and see if she’s done yet,” Curtis replied as he finished pulling his pants on.

,,

“Good thought. I should see if Slvia is done, then.” Joran rose and pulled on his own clothing.

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He hadn’t made a lot of progress on his mission, but Curtis felt good. It might have been the release of endorphins that prompted his brain to consider the best possible way to get what he needed. “Joran, if someone was looking for information on Kastar, where should they go?”

,,

“That’d be Hiram. He’s the one who knows everything going on around here.” Joran raised an eyebrow at Curtis. “You’re not just here to have fun?”

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“I’m mostly here to have fun.” Curtis played off the question with a grin, then seeded it with a lie. “I was looking for more information about businesses here on Kastar, to see if there’s a business opportunity here. But I knew that I wanted to see what pleasure I could find.”

,,

“Well, if you need to know something, he’s your guy.” Joran tilted his head. “Do you want me to point you to his building?”

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Yseult

Kell blatantly eyed her but was silent on the subject of future fornication. Instead, he drained his drink and said, “Yes, the rumors that the Athosians have found Atlantis have been all over the galaxy. I’m not surprised your people are getting bothered over them.”

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“So do you know who’s asking?” Yseult asked.

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“A better question is, who isn’t asking?” Kell tapped his mug on the corner of the table for a moment, his dark eyes contemplative.

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“Yes, but who is asking on Kastar?” Yseult pressed.

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“No one important.” Kell’s somber expression broke into a wide grin as he leaned forward, his tone conspiratorial. “The important ones are asking about the other people rumored to have found Atlantis. The ones that have gotten the Wraith and the Genii ready to go to war with them, not that they seem bothered by either. Anyone in the know is asking about those people, who they are, where they’re from and what the hell they want with the rest of us.”

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With her description given, he nodded, and set off into the sooka bar. he had no idea what he was getting into here, and resolved to get out quickly. This was not part of the mission, and more and more felt like a trap.

,,

He began scanning the crowds for a young man who looked like she did, out of his depth in this place, and found himself wishing more that he'd not chosen this route. the child had picked him out, they could easily see what adults blinded themselves to.

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Inoae froze for a half second as her mind reeled at the sudden darkness and then the realization that she was being taken again, most likely by Gabrell's theatre-hive. She did not want to be taken. She wanted to stay with the Atlantis Expedition hive. The desire, the loyalty, though she didn't know to call it that yet, burned through her and she moved, the weeks of training with her Yseult Moreau and then her commanding officer Bates giving her body direction.

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She didn't bother with the cloth covering her head. She'd spent most of her life in dark places and the someone that had put it on her and was grabbing at her shoulders was far more dangerous than not being able to see. Her elbow struck back, looking for the soft spot just beneath the ribs to connect with, but content with making any sort of painful contact.

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Mechanics
Not sure if you want them or not, so I rolled them up:

Initiative: Malachite *rolls* 1d10: 2: 2 = 9 total

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Brawl:

Malachite *rolls* 6d10: 9+1+6+10+4+9: 39

Malachite *rolls* 1d10: 7: 7 (Athletic quality for Strength)

,,

Damage: Dunno Soak. It would be 9 dice to start from what I've rolled. I'll let you handle that if you do want to do it via mechanics.

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Ayato

The crowds in this bar were mostly grouped around tables or rugs. Those at tables were gambling; though Ayato didn’t know the game, he recognized the universe give and take—or take and take—of a gambling game. Beads, jewelry, and other items of value changed hands in rapid succession, though as always happened, more flowed to the house than to the players. The people on the rugs were taking turns sucking green smoke through a hose attached to a glass vase. A tiny flame danced inside the vase, the source of the smoke. When Ayato wandered too close to one of the green plumes, it smelled sweet and herbal but wasn’t too strong; he didn’t feel anything after passing through the cloud.

,,

While the girl had been starved to the point of stunting her growth, the boy that Ayato finally spotted was the exact opposite. He was tall, taller than anyone on the expedition but he had the same facial structure and build as the girl. When Ayato saw him, he was bent over a table, staring at the wooden markers in front of him and looking like a man seeing his doom.

,,

The girl was right to worry, based on that expression alone.

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Inoae

Bates went down to his hands and knees, mostly out of conditioning. When someone hit you in the back of the head with something that felt like a metal pipe, you were on the ground. It was only when his brain processed the sensations coming from the back of his skull as without pain that he realized that the cudgel-like item hadn’t really hurt.

,,

In the next beat, he was back on his feet, his expression somewhere between gleeful and annoyed. He hated being beset like this and having to delay his mission, but damned if it didn’t feel good to take a bar to the back of the head and not really feel it. As he turned and glared at his assailant, two things occurred to him. First, he probably should act a little bit hurt, just to not blow his cover. Second, he processed the fact that they were trying to bag Inoae as well. A protective surge rose in him, even as he realized that her elbow to the man’s chest was more than adequate to take him down. He’d trained her, but Bates thought of Inoae as the member of his team least able to care for herself. That meant that despite his best efforts, he didn’t always see her as capable of protecting her own person.

,,

As her assailant doubled over, holding his side and gasping for air, Bates took two steps and punched the man in the face. Given his angle, it was awkward, and Bates was pulling the blow quite a bit, but it was still enough to send him sprawling.

,,

Another blow connected to the back of his head but Bates didn’t fall down. He just turned and spat, “Anyone tell you that you hit like a scientist?” right before punching the man and sending him to the ground.

,,

Three men stepped out of the gathering crowd. One of them swung at Bates, who let it land with a cocky sneer. To his shock, this blow had power behind it, and he joined the first two assailants on the ground.

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Inoae pulled the hood off just in time to see a large, densely muscled man punch her commanding officer to the ground. Rage and fear built inside her again, like the night with the strange food that could hold the members of the hive without touching them. This one could not do that and Inoae took advantage by launching herself at him.

,,

She barreled into him; the man barely budged, giving only an amused grunt when her slight weight slammed against his steady bulk. He wrapped his arms around her, pinning her to his chest. She struggled against him but he might as well have been made of steel for all the good it did her. She opened her mouth to say something, but before the little blonde could scream and call more attention to them, he clamped a hand over her mouth.

,,

Her eyes went wide as anger gave way to terror, and like that night only a few weeks ago, she pulled on the power welling within her. Bates came to to a flash of light and a startled cuss from the man who’d put him on the ground. He caught sight of a trail of blonde hair in the air and felt his blood boil as Inoae landed a good twenty feet away on top of a large tent. The tent folded in under the impact, collapsing around the Lantean and onto the heads of a half-dozen patrons of the small café it had housed.

,,

He surged to his feet, all caution of playing nice or blending in lost in the thought of one of his teammates being tossed around like a rag doll. The large man had turned his back to Bates, frowning at Inoae’s fall and gesturing for his two cohorts to go retrieve her. The Marine took one moment to aim, then punched the other man’s kidneys with the force of semi-truck. Another body fell to the ground and Bates strode over him with focused malice, managing to pull his punches enough to probably not have killed them. Probably.

,,

Inoae had finally managed to extricate herself from the tangle of canvas, rope, spilled drinks and tumbled patrons when a phalanx of Kastari Guards trotted down the street. Natives and visitors alike scattered in front of the uniformed group of men and women. One man, his uniform several shades darker than the others, stepped into the area cleared by the fighting, positioning himself across from Bates.

,,

“Malik of the Kastari Guards,” he announced himself. “You will come with us.” His eyes slid behind Bates and widened at the sight of Inoae, still a little dazed but determinedly making her way back to Bates’ side. “Both of you. Guards, gather the unconscious ones.”

,,

His tone was authoritative, but Bates could read the ready set of his shoulders and the trained stance of his feet. The Guards were ready to make a fight of it if he resisted.

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Yseult leaned forward to match Kell in circumspect closeness, and not incidentally giving him a better view of firm breasts under her tightly laced, leather vest to distract him from her evasions and lies. But her interested grin was a real as his appeared to be.

,,

"We know that the Wraith are more active these days, but we have heard only the vaguest rumours that there are strangers about who have found fabled Atlantis." Yseult furrowed her dark brows in an attempt to seem quizzical, though not as if she doubted Kell - after all, she knew they were more than rumours.

,, ,,

"You mean, the stories are true? And what about the Genii? We never had issue trading with them." Yseult stifled a growl - she still wanted to gut the fuckers. Her dark blue eyes glittered as she glanced around, as if concerned someone might listen in on them. "Who are the important ones here who wish to know of these strangers? Perhaps we-"

,,

Yseult cut off as several men in uniforms hustled down the street. No matter the city, country, or galaxy, law enforcement was always easy to pick out. A party planet like Kastar would need someone to rustle the drunks and break up fights. Yseult nodded as Kell said as much.

,,

"Perhaps I will keep my ears and eyes open for information on these strangers and we can strike a deal and share the profits, yes?"

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Inoae

The leader of the Atlantan team stared at the guards, as if assessing them. The burly captain believed that he could take the entire team, but he knew that he couldn’t do so without revealing his powers. So he relaxed his shoulders and nodded. “Fine. Inoae.” He held his hand out to her and she took it, letting him draw her to his side. He released her hand, but kept her close to him as the guards patted them down and relieved them of their weapons. He tensed when the guards found and examined his communicator, but they didn’t seem to recognize it and let it be. Thank god for Earth tech, he thought, just before the guards pushed him and Inoae into motion.

,,

Yseult

“Well, if you want information on these strangers, you can start with Hiriam.” Kell smirked as he noticed the slight increase in Yseult’s interest.

,,

When he didn’t say anymore, Yseult said, “You’re going to make me ask.”

,,

That sexy grin, mixed with boyish mischievousness, deepened. “I am.”

,,

“What if I won’t?” Yseult fought to give away her enjoyment of the banter.

,,

“Then I won’t tell you.” Kell’s eyes dipped a touch lower, back to her breasts and up again. “You’re the one who seems more interested in talking about them than talking about me.”

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Ayato made his way to the young man, and laid a hand on his shoulder. "Come with me friend. There's someone who requests your presence, immediately." His tone was clipped, and he didn't look particularly intimidating but his grip was strong, like a steel vise, and his dark scowl showed compliance was the only correct response.

,,

His other hand was down at his side, seemingly at ease, but his entire body was wound tight. He wanted this over with as soon as possible.

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When on the job, Yse considered herself a consummate professional (at least most the time). But Kell's mischievous banter and teasing, the scent of his pheromones conveying his interest, was stoking her even-more-active libido with a fury, her nipples stiffening under her leather vest.

,,

She was a Goddamned supersoldier! Stronger, faster, tougher than anything human, She had a lead, she could take a little 'me-time'. The worst thing she had to worry about was if she left Kell in any condition to answer questions later, or if she completely wrecked him.

,,

Let us find out...

,,

"Me? I am being just the good Athosian girl, wanting to get at the source of those troubling her people." Her raised brows and faint smile was supposed to look coy, if feigned, but come across as more of challenging - and hungry - smirk. "But you are right-"

,,

Before Kell could blink, he found himself flat on his back on the table, their mugs scattered to the floor and the muscular and unusual woman looming above him, but only for a moment. Strong hands pinning him to the table, Yseult bent at the waist and kissed him, almost painfully hard, her tongue probing, insistent and aggressive.

,,

"I am being more interested in you, now," Yseult agreed, after giving Kell a chance to get a breath of air before blacking out. "Hiriam, he can be waiting for later." Not letting Kell get up, Yseult arched a brow, smirk amused and teasing rather than challenging, as she made a show of glancing around them. "You have someplace where we can... talk privately, or is here being acceptable to you?"

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Curtis had enjoyed this a great deal after all, apparently he had needed this for some time. Tension gone for now, he reflected that it be best to have Evana on hand as soon as possible. "Once we catch up with the girls, yes, thank you." And people said don't mix business with pleasure... this worked out quite well.

,,

Wonder how Evana's going to react when she finds out? If her eyes bugged out, Curtis would regret not being able to have a camera around to capture the moment. The sounds of the street washed over them as the two men exited the building. "Hiram knows everything about Kastar, eh? What about off-world?"

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Evana

Sedja?” the blue-haired vixen purred. “It that the smoke?”


“Yes.” Sylia stepped unsteadily forward, reaching for Evana. The soldier casually used her own momentum to tumble her drugged partner onto the bed. “Oh!” Despite her surprise at landing on the bed instead of drawing Evana into the smoke, Sylia didn’t seem displeased, especially not when Evana straddled her and began to tease open the ties on her shirt.


“So… you were going to tell me all about you,” Evana prompted as pulled a loop of string out of its eyehole, baring another inch of skin.


“I was,” Sylia agreed. Without hardly drawing a breath, she started to talk about herself and her life story. It was a standard swinger’s story - a girl from a culture without marriage bonds of any kind met a man who was raised in a prudish culture. To Sylia, sex was sacred and she managed to convince (Evana suspected that it wasn’t too hard a sell) her new husband to try the lifestyle. Since then, they’d come to Kastar to find new partners regularly.

By the time she was done talking, Sylia was naked and Evana was reasonably sure that the drug she’d inhaled opened her to suggestion--or Sylia was one of those people who shared everything about their life easily. Sylia reached up to tug at Evana’s clothing. “So, are you going to get undressed too?”

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Yseult

For a moment, Kell was surprised. Then he grinned widely and relaxed into the table, tucking his hands behind his head. “Why does a nice little Athosian girl like you want to go somewhere private?”


Yseult blinked once at him and then grinned. “I don’t.” She grabbed his shirt and sundered it with a single heave of her muscled arms. The heavy fabric tore like paper; Yseult was pleased to see the uncertain look in Kell’s eyes. However, the act of stripping him to his bare chest left her hornier than before and she began to work on his pants.


What followed was some of the best sex she’s had in a while. Kell was stronger and tougher than a human, though he still wasn’t a match for her. He was a welcome change from the fragile humans and Athosians. Even the watchers who gathered as they gained speed couldn’t reduce Yseult’s satisfaction; they may have added an element of wantonness that only made it hotter.

When they were both done, it was in the wreckage of the table, cups and chairs that they’d used earlier. Kell was still on his back; he’d never had a chance to get on top. “That was… something I’ll never forget,” he said, reaching under himself to pull out the table leg digging into his ribs. “I wonder what it’d be like on a bed.”

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Curtis

Joran nodded. “He know many things off-world, too. Kastar is a hub of people and information, and most of the knowledge passes through Hiriam at one point or another. And if people were asking questions, especially questions he didn’t know the answer to, he’d start looking into it himself. If others have been asking after your people for quite a while, then Hiriam will know something.”

“Good,” Curtis said, nodding. The two men walked in silence for a little while, drawing no attention in the chaos and cacophony around them.

“Curtis?”

“Yes?”

Joran looked at him for a moment before asking, “Have you done that before? I mean, sex with men, and in quantity. You knew what you were doing, certainly. Do you come to Kastar a lot?”

“Not a lot.” Curtis said. “Things have been tense lately, though, and I needed a bit of release.”

“Oh.” Joran smiled. “Then I have been blessed, for offering comfort through the sacred communion of sex is to be a conduit of Elau.”

Before Curtis could think of an answer to that, Joran stopped in front of a stone building, one of the first that Curtis had seen on Kastar. “This is Hiriam’s building. Wait! I almost forgot - do you have a gift? He doesn’t take payment for his information; he is granted a gift and then gifts you in return.”

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Ayato

“He’s not going anywhere.” The purple-haired man sitting directly across from the boy spoke, idly petting the thigh of the naked woman leaning against him. Her eyes were bored and empty and she stared through Ayato instead of at him. The two men--fully dressed--who began to saunter over to flank the SGU member were far more attentive. Purple-hair clarified, “He has to finish his lay.”


The others playing looked annoyed that the game had been interrupted; the man to the right kept tapping the green rod in his hands, while the woman on the kid’s left heaved a deep, long-suffering sigh through her nose. “I’m getting a drink,” she announced, rising to her feet. As she did, she snapped her fingers and the collared nearly-naked man crouching at her feet slinked up into the chair and stared at her pieces watchfully.


The man tapping the rod said, “Why does he need to finish? He can’t win now.” His red eyes, a brilliant hue that Ayato had never seen before, narrowed in his dark face. “Kid, break your rod, man up and pay the cost. You’re done.”

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Ayato nodded, resignation on his face. He could already tell the boy was done for. Still he had hope that whatever the rules of the game, the boy could pull a win, if only because taking him by force would cause a scene he wished to avoid.

,,

He leaned over to the boys' left ear. "She's very worried about you, so finish this now so I can take you to her, or let her know how you meet your end."

,,

Maybe the kid could win, he'd been holding out for higher stakes, but now it was the last play. If it failed, he'd have to pay, because as it stands,Ayato looked at those around him, and wondered just how far he'd get having to disable them all non-fatally.

,,

His mask of impassivity dropped back into place, knowing that this was liable to go bad quickly. Whatever happens, happens, now. Make your play. It seemed he was speaking to everyone there, the fates, and himself, knowing nothing of what went on with the others on this mission A small portion wondered if they too had been so sidetracked by happenstance. Surely at least one of us is responsible.

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Still straddling Kell over the barroom wreckage, Yseult let out a satisfied moan, inhaling the intoxicating scent of sweat, exertion, and sex, lingering around and on them, clear to her nose. More than human, if not more than her, she tried to detect if there was anything in Kell's scent to give it away.

,,

Kell could obviously tell she was more than just an Athosian as well, and Yseult found she didn't give a single fuck. Being associated with them should still be enough for her purposes. But after having a romp with Kell, she was certainly curious how Bates would measure up.

,,

The muscular woman climbed to her feet, dismissing the onlookers as she got dressed - who were already looking elsewhere for the next bit of action - doing what she could to deal with the torn lacings. Her pale blue eyes glittered as she watched Kell do the same, satiated smirk on her lips.

,,

"Tell you what," Yseult said, her vest barely preserving her modesty, "tell me where to find this Hiriam, and while me, I am seeing what he is wanting with the Athosians and these 'strangers', you can be finding us a bed, and we can see how well it endures when I am done with Hiriam." Her expression was ... hungry. "This is being acceptable?"

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"I heard some people in that line of work did it that way, but I wasn't sure." Curtis lied, mind working through the requirements put before him. "What's Hiram's preference?" "Information," Joran replied, in that 'this of course' way, "but he also likes wealth. Gold, a little jewelry. But secrets about other people are his favorites anyway."

,,

Information - giving anything of merit away was completely the opposite of what the mission profile was for, and Curtis didn't think making something up would work. Buying something with his bead currency, now that could work. There was a violet canopy of awnings over stalls in the western road, cobblestones where vendors at rough glance seemed to be hawking precious materials and jewelry.

,,

"Well, let's see." Curtis said, smiling and pointing over Joran to the small market spot. "Maybe Sylia would like a present," he cooed to the other man as they walked in.

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Ayato
Ayato realized that the boy was paralyzed with fear. The purple-haired man drew the same conclusion, leaned over the table and slammed his hand down on the kid’s. The boy yelped and jerked back, revealing a broken rod. Among the shards of color plastic were two silver pellets among a pile of white sand. The kid whimpered, and Ayato doubted it was because his hand was bleeding.

The woman came back and hissed a curse in something that sounded like Russian to Ayato. “You couldn’t wait for me to get back to the table?” She slapped her collared man’s shoulder and he slipped out of her seat and back to crouching on the floor. “You’re a yetilov, D’bwud.”

“You say yetilov, I say ‘fuck you’. The kid was pissing himself too much to make his lay.” D’bwud leaned across the table, his purple hair shining in the overhead light. “You played a good game, Conn. But you’re done.” He jerked his head and the goons muscled past Ayato to grab the kid under the arms and lift him out of the chair. “Thanks for playing.”

The woman at the table started to break her rod, her face still screwed up in a moue of irritation.

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Yseult

Kell didn’t look happy about it for a second but then he grinned. “Sure. Sounds good to me.” He gave her ass a hardy slap before adding, “But if I give you directions to Hiriam before getting a room, how will you find me? Or were you planning on making promises and then ditching me?”

Yseult smirked, grabbing his crotch as a return favor for the ass slap. “Non, no plans to ditch you. Tell me where your hotel is, first.”

Kell pressed his groin into her hand and said, “I don’t know what a hotel is, but I and some others from my planet are staying nearby. Here.” Kell pulled up a bit of board from the shattered table and scored a hole in one end. “We are here. Here-” He scored another mark. “Is the Broken Coin, where we stay. And here!” A third mark was pressed into the wood, making an isosceles triangle with the furthest point being the Broken Coin. “Here is Hiriam. Stone house. People going in and out and not stinking of whoring. You can’t miss it.”

“Good. I will be finding you later, at the Broken Coin?” Yseult caressed him and released her hold on him.

“Yes you will. I’ll be waiting, so don’t be too long.” Kell stepped back and waved as she left the bar.

Yseult moved quickly through the crowds, the mental image of Kell naked on a bed goading her to move a bit faster. She found her way through the crowds easily; Hiriam’s house wasn’t hard to find. She was about to head through the front doors when she spotted a familiar person in the crowd: Curtis Shane, talking with a local.

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Curtis
Joran smiled. “I’ll stop by Elau’s temple later and leave an offering there. That would make Sylia happier than some trinket. Besides we don’t have much material wealth.” There was no shame as Joran spoke; perhaps his culture didn’t have social stigma regarding speaking about one’s lack of money. “But I can try to help you find something to buy for Hiriam, if you would welcome my help.”

“Sure, suggestions would be great.” Curtis glanced hopefully at him. “Have you used Hiriam before? Personally?”

“No. I have a great-uncle who came to him seeking information about a rival’s shipping business. Hiriam’s information allowed him to gain an edge over the rival.” Joran tilted his head, a ‘take it or leave it’ expression on his face. “He said that the information he bought was the best investment he’d ever made.”

“I hope I feel the same,” Curtis muttered, scanning the stalls for something to buy. It took some time, but he gradually decided on a carved wooden pen and matching wood and glass inkwell. The salesman had a knowing grin on his face as he and Curtis bickered over the price. “He knew… what I’m buying this for, didn’t he?” he asked Joran when they were away from him.

“Likely, yes. The merchants around here cater to that.” Joran was about to say something else when a bellow stopped him.

“Shane!” Yseult stalked through the crowd toward them, looking like a predator on the hunt. She had the expression of a cat that had caught the canary but she also looked like he wouldn’t mind another bird or two. She’d been in some kind of fight; her vest was held together by half the lacings it had previously sported, and she had rumpled hair. As she drew closer, Curtis realized she had swollen lips and a hickey on her clavicle, and he realized she hadn’t been fighting.

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Well, fine timing, Curtis supposed, seeing Yseult Moreau show up. Immediately, he turned and snuggled into Joran, giving him a deep kiss - all the more to spread the surprise around the Atlantis members. "Yseult! Joran, Evana and I came with some friends, meet Yseult."

,,

He unwound himself from the other man, whom the amazonian soldier was internally stunned to observe seemed to have that dazed expression common to some of her own bed companions with regard to Curtis. "Joran and his wife Sylia came to experiment as well. She and Evana are enjoying themselves at the moment. Now, I know you too were looking for Hiriam, and Joran pointed it out nearby."

,,

Even though he didn't know Yseult had gotten the name of their target information dealer as well, Curtis smoothly put it in as a hidden message. "But first, you get your gift for him. Apparently, the merchants are very helpful for that."

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