Holdeck Hell (part 17)



Part one here

Tzara had never been so embarrassed. It had seemed an age since she had been sent to the corner and even the sting in her bottom had eased to a dull roar. However the shame of it was all too real and whenever she began to tune out someone would make a comment or a catcall that would shake her and reinforce just how humiliating it was to be standing at the wall with her skirts pinned up where everyone could see.

Lucinda tried to feel sorry for the woman, but after all no real harm had come to her and maybe it was time that her friends arrogant streak was taken down a notch or two. She was still contemplating Tzara’s very red and very sore exposed bottom when a page bustled in. From his determined and officious manner the concubine sensed something new was happening and she was not alone. As the young man jogged across the room to Lord Galen others had noticed and the room gradually fell silent.

The man coughed and waited until Galen deemed to notice him. After all this was court and protocol had to be observed. Finally Galen put down his wine and smiled.

“What is it?” he said.

“My Lord, there is a lady without. A noble woman from Charis, or so she says: Lady Dancer and her ward,” the man spoke in a manner that suggested the words were beneath him, that or the task of delivering them.

Galen looked at Karl who shrugged and then back at the page. Without words he gestured to admit her and all eyes finally looked away from the hapless Tzara and towards the door.

Lady Dancer was a tall and imposing woman. She had the confidence of one who had seen beyond the very edge of the world and carried herself with an almost military bearing. At her heel was a young blonde woman who had the look of one who had been cajoled into her gown and would have been more comfortable elsewhere.

“You are Lady Dancer?” Galen said politely as he gained his feet.

The rest of the court followed suit until everyone was standing.

“I am,” Lady Dancer replied and executed a courtesy, although her gaze remained level and she held Galen’s eyes. “This is my ward, Lady Danielle Tyler,” she said indicating her companion whose courtesy was atrocious. At least the younger woman had the good grace to blush.

Galen returned with a bow only a hand’s width higher.

In the corner Tzara started and risked a glance round at the visitors. The voice was Ginette’s and indeed the other newcomer was Ensign Tyler.

“I see you have been having some domestic problems,” Lady Dancer said lightly as she ran an amused eye over bare-bottomed Tzara.

“A small matter,” Galen said dismissively.

“Indeed,” Lady Dancer purred, “But in my experience there are no small matters when it comes to firm discipline, especially where young women are concerned.” She had been born for this role and relished it.

When the avatar had explained Tzara’s world she had been shocked, but not because of what had proved to be her shipmate’s secret fantasies, but because how closely they had mirrored her own. It had taken a few hours of subjective time to process what had happened and she had included a trauma block in her preparation for her entry into the world. Then with some detailed research it had been a simple matter to insert herself a few months before Tzara’s return and furnish herself with wealth and position to exploit the situation.

At some point she would exact some retribution on Tzara, but first she had to find her feet.

Tyler had been more confused and her best suggestion had been that they could get a farm somewhere with horses. In the end Ginette had shaped the ensign’s destiny for her. That had been interesting and their relationship had taken an unusual turn.

“You know something of discipline?” Galen asked.

“I hold an imperial warrant as Justicar, and I am Lady High Governess and Grand Mother Superior of the Order of the Steel Rose,” she said proudly.

“The Order of the Steel Rose… they have a series of… how can I put it… houses for young women who have erred?” Galen said, understating things rather. Such things were not usually spoken of.

“You have it My Lord,” Lady Dancer agreed and gave him a small bow. “It has been brought to my attention that there are some irregularities concerning… certain indentured ladies at this court.”

Galen followed her gaze to Tzara and winced. What had she heard? He turned back, “You are welcome,” he said, not knowing what else he could say just then.


“Ginette… what are you doing here?” Tzara hissed once she had been released from the corner. Her face burned to her ears at the thought that both her crew mates had seen her punished like a child.

“I am here because you led us here,” Ginette hissed back, “And don’t call me Ginette, I am Lady Dancer to you.” The opportunity to talk had been afforded them as the members of the court were milling around with most people too nervous of the newcomers to come near. Galen and Karl had slipped away to discuss the matter and what, if any, authority Lady Dancer might have there.

“My Lady then, what the hell is the Order of the Steel Rose and how did you…?” Tzara shot back not intimidated by her former shipmate.

“This is a remarkable world, real in almost every detail; you merely set its creation in motion, but it was not and is not yet quite fully formed. The Order was a product of some of your darker fantasies I merely appropriated and made it take shape with myself at its head. There were many such lose ends left to sort themselves out while you were otherwise engaged. He is handsome,” she shot back.

“But why are you here, with a whole world to… I don’t know… shape?” Tzara asked, but she felt increasingly uneasy.

“All the shaping I can do stopped once I entered this place, all I could do was prepare more fully than you for the world it will become. As to why I am here… you most probably killed our ship and our captain. If the holodeck survives the crash then in a few hundred thousand years you will go to gaol. Until then I intend to hold you to account myself,” Lady Dancer whispered icily through a gritted smile.

Tzara gulped, “But…” What could this woman do? Galen might protect her, but would he live forever here like her? Could even stop someone with imperial authority?

“Oh be afraid, very afraid,” Ginette hissed, “But I will probably get bored with you in a decade or so, probably.”

“Look I know… I know I screwed up…”

“Understatement much,” Ginette blurted, breaking character for a moment.

Tzara closed her eyes. “Please, you said this place is real, really real now. I love him and he…”

“Oh don’t worry, I have not come to whisk you off to total hell, not yet anyway. For now I am in the grit in the oyster, a foretaste if you will of your next life or two in this place,” Lady Dancer circled her like a cat with a mouse.

To be continued

2 Responses to “Holdeck Hell (part 17)”

  1. Fantastic turn of events!
    Love this development.
    Great writing and super imagines always

    Thank you GentBB

  2. 2 DJ

    Thanks Gent 🙂

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