The Asseylum Estate - The Forest
The Asseylum Estate. Once a biodome from the original colonization of Mars, now a massive pleasure dome that dominates central Arcadia. Within its dome lies several different microbiomes, maintained and cultured explicitly for comfort and enjoyment, as well as the central-lying manse itself.
Saturnina being of the eccentric sort, had invited a great deal of people to one of her ever-increasingly strange party premises; A picnic, hosted in the artificial forest of her very own estate. The debacle resembled a picnic only in that people were dressed casually- for the upper class, that is- and that everyone was subjected to lounging about on the ground. Everything else was, as people would remark sociably the next day, delightfully Saturnina.
Drinks flowed freely, food was plentiful, music was had, and many a game were played at Saturnina's whim- the kind of whim that a nymph might possess in such an environment, a dainty and playful coyness that danced through an evening and carried an event along interesting endeavors.
Though by the time the party came to a close, Saturnina herself found her mind slipping- even her nanomachine hives incapable of handling the full brunt of the toxins she pumped into her body.
And so when she awoke a few hours later, on the bank of the river going through her artificial forest- a river she is quite proud of, mind you; setting up a recycling water system was an expensive endeavor for something of this scale!- she was in for a rather mild surprise.
Saturnina Asseylum - The Queen
The first thing Saturnina was aware of was the distinct warmth she felt, as well as the mild chill she paradoxically experienced. She lingered there, unmoving, in that hypnotic state, falling and rising, cooling and heating, that beautiful state of flux that held her mind in awe, for several long moments.
Then the nanomachines purged the last of the Trance out of her system and the chill faded, leaving that warmth... And, now that her mind was thoroughly cleaned of her inebriation, she could even feel the weight of a human pressed into her back.
A small writhe clued her in to the sex of her presumed conquest- a woman. A very curvaceous one, at that, if Saturnina's well experienced tactile senses had anything to say about that. A small smirk filled the woman's face even before she had opened her eyes for the first time that day, and she slid her hands back to get herself a feel of the very nice feeling woman at her back--
She groaned internally, and slowly moved her hands back to her own body. She pulled away, lithely slipping from under an arm, and sat up. She stretched, bare-bodied, in the darkness of a morning so early most people would still call it late night. She dug through her pile of clothes and pulled out her apparently discarded commlink, establishing its rightful place upon her ear before answering the call that had interrupted her waking moment.
"Asseylum speaking." She said in a voice that sounded as awake, alert, and clear as if she'd been awake for a 6 hour work day already, despite having woken up from the first sleep she'd had in a week just a minute ago.
"Mornin' Nina, I've made some progress into--"
"Toby. For the love of God how many times do I have to tell you to-"
"--Call you mistress, yeah, yeah. I don't ever do it, and you don't ever fire me. Why is that?"
Saturnina briefly considered firing him on the spot just for his insolence, but eliminated her womanly vindication as swiftly as it arose. Tobias was very...very...good at his job, and she liked having the best of the best on her staff.
"You know why I don't fire you Toby, now will you please tell me why you're calling me at three AM." She could feel his smug grin rather than see it, and it pulled her emotions towards annoyance just by thinking about it.
"Well first off I knew you'd be awake. The party last night was only about halfway towards the trouble caused by You Know What, and that only knocked you out for about six hours. So I did basic math, Nina. Secondly, I'm partially through the digging you asked me to do into Osi's web... Well you were right about one thing- money's being shifted something fierce, and the red tape is so thick on these deals that I'm having trouble keeping up with where it's all going."
Saturnina dressed as she listened, her mild annoyance shifting into mild curiosity. Tobias was good, almost as good as Saturnina herself, but unlike her he could dedicate himself to the job while she had to wield every thread at once. One of her many useful pawns.
Scratch that, Tobias was a Bishop.
"You? Having trouble?" She teased coyly as she wriggled herself into the faux-denim retro shorts she had been wearing the night before. "If you need an assistant I'm sure I can find-"
"God, Nina, no. I work alone, or with you, and that's it. Anyone else and I'd literally be holding their hand." His voice came through the call almost as annoyed as he made Saturnina feel, and that made her feel very good about herself as she pulled on the loose-fitting nylon-mesh overshirt atop her sports bra.
"Point taken, proceed Tobias."
"Right. Anyway, yeah. I said 'trouble'. Not 'can't do it'. They've made it rough on purpose- you can tell just by looking at how the money flows. You definitely need to get up here and take a look at this yourself, Nina, I can't put it into words how beautiful of a job they've done. It's almost like something you'd pull, but on the megacorporate scale."
His words made Saturnina eager to get going, but a stray thought pulled at her mind as she took her first step.
"I'll be right the--" She paused and turned her head back to gaze at the woman who lay nude beside the riverbank...and her brow furrowed. "Tobias I'll have to call you back, I don't know who the hell I just woke up beside. And I know everyone I invited last night."
"Shit. Need me to call Tombstone?" Tobias offered, only for a consternated snort to be his response. "...Point taken, be careful Nina. I'll keep working either way, I'll call later if I have any significant updates."
When the call ended, Saturnina allowed the surprise to play across her features fully- as if the phone call and the, however limited, social contact had given her an anchor to balance her own reaction upon. As she gazed down at the...well, she had curves. But not much else. A plain woman with high sex appeal. She didn't resemble a single person Saturnina had invited--
"Oh. Ohhhh. I fucked the delivery girl."
She brought a hand to her head and rubbed her forehead idly as she forced her mind to recollect the events of last night.
Tobias "Toby" Baxter - The Bishop
Sipping what had to be his fifth cup of coffee that night- he'd bumped it up to four shots of espresso this time, God bless the Asseylum wealth affording him a near endless stream of caffeine- Toby let his hands fly over the paperwork before him. Tobias Baxter preferred to work with one of the rarest forms of data transference in the 22nd century...
The smell was like Ambrosia to the man. Old or new, paper had a certain air to it that just couldn't be denied. The comm call ending like it did left a sour taste in his mouth, but he knew Saturnina could handle a sleeping woman on her own. Tombstone wouldn't be needed.
His fingers plucked up a sheet of paper, and eyes fueled by caffeine rather than energy pored over every piece of information on the sheet.
"...Nusynth, reduction... Optiwave, increase. Optiwave under Genefix, Genefix reports reduction...Bless the Asseylums and their expansive portfolio, this is the most fun I've had in years!" He laughed wildly as he kicked against the desk and slid his chair back across the room, where he circled 'Nusynth' in red with a pen and tacked it to a wall-
a wall covered in other sheets of paper just like the portfolio record he had just placed there. The lanky, almost starved-looking, man rose out of his chair, red pen in hand like a gladiator holding a sword, and he began to make over-exaggerated connections with the pen, drawing straight across the sheets of paper to create a literal web of ink that only Tobias Baxter- and, by proxy, Saturnina Asseylum- could read... Nusynth was a shell for- Who was a parent of- who was partnered with-
Saturnina's hunch about Osi-corp being spooked was right, they were shifting their money around. But there were layers upon layers to this story, and every shell he peeled open just revealed a thicker and more opaque one beneath. As the lines crossed, grew thicker, intersected other lines of blue and green, the story of the finances of the biggest corporation on mars began to dance like a marionette before Tobias' eyes.
He stepped back, a full wall of the office- a rather large wall, at that- covered with sheets of paper and ink marks.
"....Fuck, I might need to scan this all into the computer after all. I'm running out of wall space."
The man rubbed his eyes and slid back to his desk, where he picked up a pair of goggles and strapped them to his head.
"Alright Nina, you win this time. I'll get digital for you." he mumbled to himself as he adjusted the focus of the headpiece manually, before letting it read the data and amalgamate his connections into a more concise and pleasant digital format. The man then turned to his computer terminal and let his fingers fly.
Augmented Reality established, welcome to your mind palace Toby the androgynous synthetic voice welcomed him in its usual fashion. It has been six months since you've last been here.
"Six months, damn. Thought I'd make it longer than that before needing this crutch."
his vision flooded with the augmented perception of the office- walls falling away, cubicles disappearing, even the other staff fading from his sight. Once everything was cleared away, Tobias inserted his data- and referenced the formal digital file of Saturnina's stock portfolio to create easy digitized cross references.
He then overlaid the data atop a representation of Arcadia and the relevant corporate headquarters. The intricate web of ink on the wall became an elaborate and, in a sense, gorgeous spiderweb over the city. Tobias Baxter was a man of paper, but above all else he was a wizard of money. Following it was what he did best.
And he had a long way to go- this intricate web was just a fraction of the mountain of records and data he had to go through.
"All roads lead to Rome, Osi-corp. Once I find the end of this trail, I suspect I'll find your ghosts. If that disc is real, you'll have all the spooks on its trail...And Nina'll be right. Again. As usual."
Tobias Baxter got to work.
Vivian "Sunflower" - The Delivery Girl
The ground felt softer than it usually did- and warmer. The incredibly dull in her mind alerted her to the fact she probably passed out after the delivery last night, and probably from taking Trance.
Ugh. Florist's gon' wreck me for sampling the product. She thought painfully as she rolled onto her back and scratched her thigh. She paused and frowned-- ughhhh where are m' clothes? Frag...If I open up me eyes I better not be in the mud of Ghajotia next to a Neanderthal again.
But then a scent wafted over her- the smell of Lavender and lilac, and she felt at peace. Safe. Like she was back at home, back when Mom wore perfume, back when dad was still around to pay the bills, back when the upstairs bed didn't creak every night as mom earned the next week's rent. The smell of Lavender and Lilac made her feel like a little girl again, safe, warm.
She smiled at the scent as it flooded her senses, and because of that smell she didn't scream when a hand caressed her face. She opened her eyes and peered up at the--
"Chrissake yer a beaut, aincha?" She blurted as she stared upwards at the blue/pink halo'd angel kneeling over her. She didn't have a shred of shame in her voice, even at being woken up by this visage of youth and beauty in such a vulnerable state. "...Wait, wait, wait, I cog ye. Yer that Asseylum lass- the one I was supposed to-- Ughhhh Flores is gon' wreck m'." She lifted a hand to her sore head, rubbing the throbbing veins in the base of her skull. She looked up at the smiling face of Saturnina and couldn't help but smile back.
"...We shacked up, din't we?" Still no shame in her voice, though mild surprise had managed to creep into her features as she considered the situation; she, a slums gal straight from Ghajotia, bagged the highest class bitch in Arcadia? Some party.
"I wouldn't know, last night's a blackout, but I woke up pinned beneath those arms of yours so I imagine we did. Not complaining, you're far from the ugliest person who I've woken up next to."
Vivian found her clothes pushed into her arms, and the girl didn't need any further prodding to begin dressing; the rough hewn industrial clothes she wore were a long way away from the gorgeous athleisure wear that Saturnina wore. Once she finished dressing she ran a hand through her long brunette hair, letting it flow down her back and to her waist.
"Ehhh… Not a word to th' bossman, hear? He'd be none too happy hearin' I ended up in bed with a customer. E-Especially not with you missus-"
"Mistress." Saturnina's interjection was clear and concise. "I prefer that address, if you please."
"...Er, right. Mistress." That one seemed to have reached through the girl's boldness, as a pink flare flushed onto her cheeks. This seemed to please Saturnina, whose smile shifted ever so slightly into a smug smirk. The woman stepped closer to Vivian and that intoxicating scent grew ever so much stronger.
"And who might you be? I'm at... a conversational disadvantage." God, the woman's words made Vivian's skin crawl. She couldn't help but let her gaze wander down over the see-through top and ogle Saturnina's body, even as her skull wanted nothing but to be driven through by an ice pick.
"Viv. Er, Vivian-- but erryone calls me Sunflower. On account of m' sunny disposition, ye see." She rambled awkwardly as she shuffled back a step. She found the woman's attractiveness and disarming scent suddenly intimidating, part of her mind- dulled by the Trance, still- screamed at her that this bitch was a Viper in a goddess' body. Something about the way her eyes looked at Vivian like a slab of meat to be appraised. Part of her liked it, and she hated that it was the part that showed.
Saturnina's giggle drove her back another step, then the woman spoke;
"Well I can't send you back to 'the boss'..." She rolled her eyes as she spoke of Flores, clearly respecting the man but mocking the title Vivian used. "...All dirtied up. Come, I'll get you cleaned up...And this time I want to taste you while I can keep my head."
"---Eh you wot-"
Vivian's words were halted by the soft press of Saturnina's lips against her own, the shorter woman having to go up on tiptoe to perform this action. Vivian's protests and thoughts of resistance melted, and she wrapped her arms around Saturnina and lifted her up into a tight embrace as she bent the woman in her arms and returned the kiss in no gentle manner. After a few seconds she broke it and set the estranged near-noble down.
"A'ight I'm game. Lead the way, er… Mistress."
And a few hours later, Sunflower found herself gifted a dress she knew she couldn't afford with a year's pay. Her own outfit was folded up and packed away into her messenger's satchel, and she stared at herself in a full body mirror as Saturnina stood a few feet to the side, wearing a similar dress. Vivian's was bright blue, hugged her hips, showed off her curves, and billowed out into a frilly skirt that reached her thighs. It was made for the shorter Saturnina, but on Vivian it made her plain features stand out and seem...more. Saturnina's was a little red scandal that Vivian imagined had caused more than one head to turn.
"Eh...Y'sure? Jus gon' give me this cos I was a good tumble?"
"And polite company. I can't have my guests leaving my home looking like Ghajotia gutter trash. Even if that's what they are." Saturnina's words didn't bite as they might have from anyone else, and Sunflower grinned at the woman.
"A'ight. Thanks then, Mistress. I gotta be goin', the boss'll be right mad wi' me for being so damn late. I prolly got another shipment to get goin'." Vivian began to walk away as if that ended the conversation- only to find herself grabbed by Saturnina's surprisingly strong grip. That petite frame hid an athleticism that Vivian wasn't going to forget anytime soon- not after some of the tricks the Asseylum woman had pulled in that shower, at least. She turned her head back and down to look at the woman.
"...eh, I'm not really the sentimental type..." Vivian complained as she leaned down to kiss Saturnina again.
"Well I am. I like that mushy crap. Even for one night flings." Saturnina sighed happily after the kiss. "Now tell Flores that I want you to be the one delivering all my orders from now on."
The way she said it wasn't a request. It was a demand. Vivian quirked an eyebrow up and rubber her nose- that damnable scent of lavender and lilac twisting her thoughts. The boss won't like being ordered. Vivian'd have to make it sound like a request.
"Really now? Fine by me, it is. I'll put the word in. Can I get goin' now, mistress? Boss really might geek me at this rate."
"Fineeee." Saturnina sighed and leaned on the wall. "Get out of here. The peacekeepers nearly impounded your truck twice already due to it lacking a parking pass. I'll be sure to have it registered in my system by the time you come back."
Vivian shook her head and tugged at the skirt of her new dress as she walked away. She really wasn't one for goodbyes- especially not goodbyes to crazy snakes like this one. Still, though... she had to admit she was excited about the idea of coming back. The lavender scent lingered in her nostrils and made her smile as she left.
Saturnina Asseylum - The Queen
Saturnina watched 'Sunflower' leave and licked her lips slowly.
"...Pawn. Definitely a pawn." She said to herself as she shut her eyes and made a sound of delight, the sound rising up out of her throat softly. "...But that's the fun of the day done, time to get back to work." She opened her eyes once more and began to walk briskly. Almost as an afterthought she lifted a set of fashionable glasses from her pocket and placed them onto her nose, gazing through them into the augmented-reality visual feeds she had prepared.
Workout - Complete for the day. Primary exercise:
She paused for a moment, wondering what to list it as.
Gardening. She submitted with a shrug. She thought the morning deserved a flower joke, all things considered.
Saturnina brushed out her skirt, the scandalous little red dress fitting her frame perfectly. She ran through her schedule on her augmented feed. She disliked this part of her day, but understood it as a necessity.
Meet with Tombstone was penned for an indeterminate amount of time in the midafternoon. Her security chief required much time and privacy, and his concerns often stretched into the realm of near-impossible rather than just improbable... but he was an extremely good soldier, she was lucky to have him. Lucky the militia could spare him.
But she also knew he was there to keep tabs on her. She was a critical piece in the Militia system, and they wanted to both protect and watch her. It was the price she payed for wielding the power she did, and for dancing with this particular devil. It was worth it. She felt safe. And if the price for that safety was the Militia themselves being the guns that stood on her metaphorical walls, then so be it.
She looked through her feeds as Tombstone entered the underground chamber- the very same one used to broadcast the Vox Populi. They were alone, he always made sure of that. The petite woman removed her glasses and folded them away, her eyes taking in Tombstone's hulking frame as he approached her.
Tombstone's real name was Antonio Ramirez, and he was a massive man. He was a mine worker before he was a Militia man. A lot of the mining on Mars was machine assisted, and some of it outright automated, but Tombstone had hauled the heavy drilling equipment back and forth underground for much of his life. Nearly seven feet tall, over two hundred and fifty pounds, a clean shaven bald head, and a beard that would make a lumberjack jealous... Muscle and testosterone embodied, our Tombstone. His body twitched every few steps, a telltale mark of the wired system augmenting his reflexes. Saturnina had seen first hand how impossibly fast that slab of meat could move, and she loathed to imagine being up against him with anything less than a one hundred yard advantage and a rifle in her hands.
The thing that frayed Saturnina's nerves more than anything in this world? Tombstone would never tell her what she smelled like, and the curiosity killed her every time they met and spoke.
"Mistress." He struck a Militia salute, a fist over the heart, as he approached.
"At ease, Sergeant." She said easily. The man relaxed and dropped his salute at those words, but still stood at attention. "What's the situation today?"
"Another squad is overseeing a pickup of a weapons shipment. An actual one this time. Through yakuza channels. The Militia has requested the use of the Vox's network to move the supplies."
"Granted." Saturnina said easily. "It's what I'm here for. Is that all?"
"No. In light of the Golden Disc's surfacing, Command has expressed a concern for your safety--"
"That's why you're here Tombstone." She interjected. "Take care of the concerns." Tombstone fell silent at her fast words. He silently appraised her, before speaking;
"Understood. Nothing to worry yourself over. I will handle Command's requests, mistress. The security budget will swell slightly, but I'll keep the costs down." Saturnina smiled at him. Tombstone was the one person she could trust to get the job done for cheap. Even Tobias had his expensive habits, but Tombstone was all business. The one thing she appreciated about him above all else.
"Lastly, I've dug up that old record you wanted. Before the coup." Tombstone continued, his professionalism not wavering even as he spoke of an event that made all Militia angry. "Ardur Sage. If I didn't know who you were, I'd be surprised you remembered him."
"It's always a good idea to keep assets in mind. Especially ones capable of rallying so many like he did." Saturnina said simply, holding her hand out to Tombstone as he extended the file to her. "I'll be stepping out tonight, following up on this file personally. You are to accompany me, Tombstone. No questions, just keep me safe. I don't want a full entourage, just bring a fire team. If things go loud, I'll be the fourth member."
Tombstone saluted immediately, no hesitation; "Yes, mistress. I'll make preparations for the excursion."
Saturnina smiled sweetly. She'd be seeing an old face tonight.