On The Dotted Line
Author's Notes: This story is erotic fantasy written by Etaski. I reserve the right to be listed as the author of this story, wherever it is posted. If found posted anywhere except premiummediagroup.ru with this note attached, this story is posted without my permission. © Etaski 2018
This is my Geek Pride Day entry for premiummediagroup.ru! Written with nostalgic appreciation for an obscure, 1993 RPG called "SLA Industries," created by Dave Allsop. Search for the Geek Pride tag for more!
On The Dotted Line
One: Indecent Proposal
James McManus idled in the Sinkhole, a purely drunken sod taking some R&R. The floor was filled with his brethren, Clan tartans curving as wide banners around a central platform, a Frother-only venue for either the band of the week or grudge matches between Clans. The colorful fabric divided up the hard metal space of an otherwise dark and hazy circle that made up the entirety of the fourth level inside The Pit.
The Frothers of SLA earned their name from post-battle interviews. Outside, the public saw mouths stained by froth, sometimes tinged pink; pupils dilated; hands, dreads, and bodies shaking from adrenalin. Here in the Sinkhole, it was usually more drool and half-lidded gazes than froth. Unless a fight broke out, either on the stage or off it.
Moira had just finished his can of Slosh for him, her mouth tasting of apple and alcohol as her hand crept up his thigh, easing under his kilt. No fights, a decent band playing with slightly less screaming than last night. A sensation of floating, hopeful for a blowjob before he had to stand up.
All was set for another glorious night when the Wraith Raider stepped into the Sinkhole from the main lift just off to James' right. The tall, lavender alien drew enough gazes that he heard necks pop nearby. The she-Wraith looked around, sensitive nose wrinkling at the smoke, feline muzzle showing hints of fang. No Clansman escorted her. Moira's hand paused in its quest, her slender fingers not quite wrapped around his half-hard dick. The Frotheress tensed, suspicious, her hair already up in straight, neon yellow spikes. Meanwhile, James' hazel eyes wandered curiously.
The alien's clothing was practical and minimal, nothing flashy here, but common for the Wraiths when they were in the cold temps of the Winter Bar. She wore a half-length, red tank top. Snug, black, exercise shorts. A pair of running shoes, no socks. The fuzzy's midriff was exposed—six-pack and all—and she had tits in the familiar placement, although they were the size and lift one would expect on an athlete. Wraith Raiders were always that, compared to most humans. James had never been close enough to one outside their coolant suit to tell how much was fur and how much was skin. He heard that the texture was somewhere in between, like velvet.
Jonas McGiver was nearest the lift door. He turned in his seat and leered at her with a chuckle. "Are ye lost, pussy?"
The she-Wraith glanced at him, decided not to answer, and walked farther into the Sinkhole.
"Eh eh!" another McGiver jumped in front and blocked her. James didn't recognize him. "Tha's far enough, then, kitty. Tell us, are ye lookin' fer someone?"
"Yes," she replied, straightening up to prove she was taller than the Frother by at least a hand. Not that this intimidated any Clansman when he was sauced, but she was sober and flexed her claws, a clear sign what would happen if the McGiver pushed a brawl so soon.
Hah, great. Incoming.
McGiver's jaw jutted out. "Hope he's expectin' ye an' yer nah here tah claim a BPN on 'im."
"Neither," she said plainly, her red cat's eyes breaking the drunk man's gaze to scan the crowd again.
"Well, then, maybe ye should leave. Go back to the freezer up the lift."
"What, is she stupid?" Moira whispered to him.
James didn't know. He shrugged. The carnivore and the drughead faced off, neither making the first move as others watched. One might through a bottle just to get things started.
The she-Wraith had long, dark purple hair to the middle of her back; it swept back from her forehead like a mane, the black spots at her temples clear to see. All Wraith Raiders had those spots; it was one way you could tell them apart if you knew enough of them, kind of like a Frother's tartan combined with the color and design of his dreads. Or tattoos. James didn't know enough Wraiths to recognize her spots, but he watched the serious face, listened to the brusque voice, and thought that both seemed a little familiar.
Almost at the same time, those predator's eyes settled on him and stopped; his skin prickled a bit as Moira removed her hand. Several others noticed; no one threw anything as the band filled any possible awkward silence. The she-Wraith indicated with one, long-fingered hand her intended direction and pushed past the McGiver, who watched her with a scowl and followed the kitty as she took a seat across the table from James and Moira without asking.
The McGiver was accusing. "Ye invited this Wraith here, McManus?"
"Err." James stared at her.
She stared back. He finally remembered her.
"Fucking right!" he blurted with a grin. "Shiv! Man, I di'n' recognize you wit'out your armor!"
The temporary interest in the Sinkhole disappeared as the onlookers, including Jonas, went back to partying. Guest claimed, and all that. Only the one McGiver still hovered.
"Shiv?" he groused. "Really? What, she just get out of lock-up?"
James shook his head. "Nah, it's her short name. Can't pronounce the full one."
Moira was not happy with the intrusion. Shiv looked at the woman, holding her eyes for several seconds with an unspoken but obvious request for the female Frother to leave. His date didn't want to, understandably.
"James?" his companion said, the tone loaded with warning.
"Erm," he began at a loss, given how much he'd already drunk. He never made the big decisions anyway; that was the Squad Leader's job. "Didja come for a reason, Shiv?"
The Wraith nodded an affirmative. She remained silent.
"An' it can't wait?"
Shiv smiled a little, exposing her sharp teeth. Her voice was low with a distinct accent, but she enunciated well. "You will want to hear me out, McManus."
The Wraith nodded. "Credit benefits for both of us."
James sighed, curiosity and need out-weighing his interest in Moira. He wondered if Shiv knew that; she wasn't being subtle but rapping his dense forehead with opportunity. The Frother looked at his casual friend, his eyes drifting to her blonde mohawk before going back to her deep brown eyes. "Cannae call ye later, sweetheart?"
Moira scowled. "Don't bother. Talk with the cat if you want. I'm leaving."
James stifled another sigh as Moira intentionally jostled him and the table to crawl out of the booth away from the Wraith, just missed putting her knee on his 'nads through the kilt. He glanced mournfully at her flaring hips and that bubble ass in its short, swishing skirt as she left, stomping in combat boots, then looked at Shiv watching him. She hadn't taken her eyes off him, and he had no idea was she was thinking about.
This had better be worth it, he thought.
"So, Shiv...would y'mind telling me why you scared off my date? I mean, wasn't expectin' to see ye again. Jus' the one Red Op together, right? When you freelanced tah bail me an' Cage out of that fiasco, what..." He thought about it. "Three months ago?"
"Four," she said. "And yes, McManus, you are correct."
"So, what's up?"
Since it wouldn't be anything under his kilt tonight.
Shiv tapped a few claws on the table, thinking what to say first. "Do you remember any sponsors on my armor, McManus?"
She was probably appraising his sobriety. James nodded. "Uh, yeah. A few. You had some biggies."
"What do you recall?"
One came instantly to mind; he'd tried hard to hide his grin of amusement at the time. He answered with something safer.
"R'member the Winter Bar logo painted on your chest."
This elicited no response whatsoever.
"Uh...there was also Illogic Designs, I think..."
Shiv looked both bored and impatient, which was kind of funny. "And?"
James finally grinned. So what if he got smacked? "The Alien Sex Channel painted on your crotch."
Surprisingly, the humorless kitty looked somewhat pleased. "Good. This would be why I am here."
He stared. "Yer shitting me."
"I am not. I do not shit like that."
James chuffed in surprise and put a bottle to his lips to stifle the sound, his leg bouncing to expel the rush of humor somewhere. Shiv didn't react but glanced around for listeners, and so did he, the glass rim still glued to his lips. There were curious peekers but no listeners over the live band thrashing their instruments center-circle. The lead, slurring singer bellowed the newest battle ballad into the mic, gripping the dinged and scraped stand so he wouldn't topple over into the hopping mass of raised bottles in front of him. Shiv leaned forward kept her voice low, and James had to lean in, too, straining to hear her.
"I am in contract for a...scene," she said. "I do not wish to do it, but I have no choice. I require a partner. The contract stipulates male, and he cannot be Wraith Raider. Preferably human or Ebon. I do not trust Ebons, so I would take human."
James stared, his inebriated inner voice turning her bluntness over like a ruined omelet. "Uh. Wait. You mean a sex scene for the ASC? Like, porn?"
"That is accurate, James."
"And you need a partner." He tried not to swallow in front of her. "Me?"
Shiv clicked her claws again on the metal table and narrowed her eyes. Her tolerance of his slowness was only just. "Yes, McManus. You."
He fumbled a response. "Nah really human. I'm a Frother."
She shook her head. "Like the Brain Wasters are no longer Ebons. You are close enough to breed offspring. It counts."
"Why me? I don'ebben know ye. I've seen y'bleed an' come out of a shitstorm with a Manchine. Tha's it."
Granted, that was sometimes all he knew about some of his Clanmates, too, but none of them were asking to put his dick on camera.
The she-Wraith sighed, as if explaining his question should be unnecessary. "McManus, if I do not suggest a choice to my sponsor, they will choose one for me. I would prefer an Operative I know over a less acceptable actor."
"But you've gotta know a lot of other Ops better than me."
"You assume I wish to know my partner well."
James blinked. "'K, point."
Abruptly he realized all his flings were with Clan girls in the dormitories. This was a business transaction. Sex for money. Recorded sex.
I've never done it. Can I even get it up? Am I big enough not to be laughable on screen? They say TeeVee adds ten pounds but shrinks cleavage and codpieces...
James shook his head, tried to collect himself. "Okay, what's in it for me?"
"Pay and increased recognition by the masses," she replied, as if he should have known. She didn't sound like a salesman. "These are why you are an Operative in the first place, yes?"
"Well..." James smiled lopsidedly. "An' access t'the best drugs an' weapons."
She shrugged. "But you lack the first two more."
His smile faded. "Maybe."
"Three years, still alive," she added. "This is impressive for your kind. But still poor, no fame. You have reason to want more."
"Been lookin' in tah me?" he asked, raising a black eyebrow and trying not to sound resentful. He already knew that's what suits did.
"You are not suicidal yet," she said. "You still wish to aid your human family in Downtown."
"Shh!" James glanced around, making sure no one heard that. He lowered his voice even more and she tilted her head to aim one, knife-shaped ear to catch it. "Someone feed you that?"
Shiv wasn't apologetic in the least. "My financier might have suggested you on this account."
Of course. And by Slayer, had they nailed it.
Help Ma and Seana get out of Downtown.
That had been the plan when he joined SLA Industries. He'd been there; he had gotten out, said he'd come back for them. So far, the drugs and action had distracted him from that. Three years and still alive but, at some point, it would be too late. He'd have let them both down, let them die in that Hellhole.
Fuck me... Heh. Exactly what she's asking.
James squared his gaze with Shiv, trying to focus. "Okay, fuzzy. How much?"
"The Channel pays my partner two hundred credits."
He snorted and instantly regretted even biting. "That's fuckin' nothin' fer screwing an alien on camera. I 'ave friends who might see that, y'know."
Shiv nodded as if she expected that response. "I shall also give you my entire pay for this scene, on the condition that it is such that there will be no more."
James frowned. "What do you mean? Don't unnerstand, no more?"
For once, Shiv showed him some emotion. It was anger. "I have been trapped into five scenes, McManus. Fine print in these 'contracts' that I do not understand. I have tried since coming from Polo to understand this...corporate mentality, but I cannot. I hate being used so blatantly. If you agree to do the scene, you also agree to help me understand the fine print, that I might avoid this 'breach of contract' they have used these many times to force me to do another scene. The Channel is a sponsor I will release; I do not want to be sponsored by them any longer. But I cannot release if they continually redraft my contract. I will gladly give you all my pay to be free of this."
James tilted his head, one electric-blue dreadlock slipping over his eye. "And how much is that?"
The Frother nearly choked on his own saliva. It would take a whole squad doing a Black BPN way above his security clearance level to earn that!
"How in CS1 did you get a sum inna porn contract?"
She frowned. "This has nothing to do with the cannibal sectors, McManus."
He wiped his sweaty face with a grimy hand. "I mean why they payin' ye so much? They want Wraith sex that bad? The kitties ain't so hard as getting' a Shaktar in bed, I hear."
Shiv's upper lip curled to show a fang, and there might have been a soft hiss. "You do not watch the Channel, I see. That is in your favor. I have become very popular among a certain 'fetish' sect, though I never wished it. My financer knows I comply only because I do not want my Operative status revoked or modified as a Contract Killer. He could not help me with breach of contract as that was my own failing, but he could negotiate higher sums for each scene. This is the highest yet, because the negotiation of the species and the conditions are more...specialized."
James narrowed his eyes. An alarm bell under water sounded in his skull. "Specialized?"
"I cannot discuss it if you are merely curious. In any case, the Channel would debrief you before you signed any contract."
That's a line gotta been fed to her.
He shook his head, remembering her condition to get that ten grand. "If yer hotshot financier can't help you see through th' fine print, what makes y'think I could?"
The Wraith fell silent although she didn't look to reconsider anything. Finally, "I need your body, McManus, not your mind. The fine print can be satisfied by your actions. That is all I can say."
He almost felt insulted by that answer, but only "almost." No one had ever hired him for his brains; they'd needed his power claymore and his berserker style.
Shiv tilted her head, her ears attentive even as they were tilted back with the sweep of her mane. "What say you? Will you meet the ASC representative to discuss this sponsorship deal?"
He thought about the offer, the scary vagueness, the enriching enticements.
Do an alien porno? Nah, sure I can get fame in some other way...
Yet, some nights he was sober, he knew the drugs were starting to take their toll. If he didn't die in battle, the drugs would kill him in due time. He didn't have that much time left to help his mother and sister and, if he was going to do it at all, this seemed like an easy way to make enough in one shot to get them out of Downtown. Plus gain some fame for other deals to come his way.
An easy way. That was what scared him. What should scare him.
"Okay, Shiv. I'll meet yer rep."
The Wraith Raider smiled for once, showing too many sharp teeth. "Good. The Channel will contact you. This is set for recording next month."
"Only stay alive until then, McManus. I will see you then."
Two: Preying Mantis
His Oyster alarm went off, shrill and maximum volume. James' arm shot out, he grappled with the blaring device, fumbled it, and somehow fell out of bed chasing it. Fortunately the dorm bed's frame was low and close to the floor; he didn't break his nose again, although the thin carpet smelled of old vomit.
"What th' fuck, Jamz?" grumbled the redhead as she pressed her hand to her pounding head. She still wore that distinct, fingerless glove, now torn from whatever they'd gotten into. He tried to remember her name.
"Erm. Sorry, babe, gotta meeting. Gotta get up."
"Ye sound like a suit."
"I dunno. Could be a good deal." He stumbled toward the bathroom to get some cold water on his face. "I'll call ye later."
A quick body shower, a cleaner shirt, and his usual black-yellow-night-blue kilt and heavy, armored boots in place, James reapplied a fresh coat of electric blue paint to his dreadlocks without looking in a mirror. He grabbed his Oyster, made sure he had his credit chit in the slot—empty as it was—and his bag of "supplies" secure at his waist.
On the Gauss ride over, the Frother gave in and gave himself a prick of Flip to stay calm. The ASC executive who had called him to set up a meeting had been, from what he looked up later, kind of high-ranking. Nobody that high had ever noticed him before, and he'd been too comfortable among his Clan the past years, letting their particular flavor of Clan-admins do these meetings unless he was with a squad. Now he kind of wished he had watched a couple of these meetings, but this was on the down low. He was on his own.
"Mr. McManus, you made it! Excellent."
The suit looked clean-cut and shaven baby-smooth like any rep he'd ever seen or met, and they all looked alike to him. Dark brown hair, pale skin, seemed to always be either blue or dark eyes. The guy didn't offer to clasp forearms but shook hands instead.
"Franc Bouvard, level C representing the Alien Sex Channel."
"James Callgarhy of Clan McManus. And yeah, I remember."
The suit smiled and looked creepy doing it. "Do you? Well, then, we're ahead of schedule. Have a seat."
Franc ordered a form of complicated coffee that James couldn't imagine what it tasted like, and he almost ordered an ale or a Slosh, then thought better of it.
"Premium Polo or Ultra New Paris, sir?"
Shit. They didn't serve from the filter, and that off-world, sealed stuff was expensive. James heard the tone of "sir." The waiter didn't think he could pay for it, and the exec didn't offer. Good thing the Flip was still working, his heart thudding slow and steady in his chest, or he might have made a snide comment.
"Never mind, a Slosh is fine," he said.
The waiter paused but nodded and left. Franc Bouvard smiled almost with approval.
"It's perfectly fine to take pride in what you are," he said, opening a file he had already retrieved from his briefcase on the floor. "That's why the crowds love you."
"Sure," James said, looking at the papers. Suits always seemed to have the same, light grey stacks of files even though they could probably hold it all on their fancy Oysters. Maybe it makes them look official.