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Xora 2 - "Dangerous Game"
by Brandy Dewinter
Chapter 1 - "Rough Duty"
"Damnit, Ti, youre gonna make me late!" I snapped at the image in the mirror.
"Hold still," the voice in my head said.
No, I wasnt crazy, though I did hear a voice in my head. Well, no crazier than might be expected since Id been possessed by an alien. Um, maybe I better start over, that sounded even worse.
I am Lieutenant Commander Xora. Or was. Maybe the right description is that I am indeed Commander Xora, but the Commander Xora that exists now was not the one who had existed a few weeks ago. Did that make any sense? Probably not. It had only been that few weeks since I had been joined with my symbiont, Titania, and we were still working out the details of our relationship. Translation: Titania was still trying to run every detail of my life, and I was trying to, um, what? Retain some sense of my previous life? I had been a sedentary computer technician when the call had come for me to be, well, possessed by one of the mysterious symbionts. Since our joining, I had been assigned as a Federation field agent. That part was all improvement, even though my first mission had been, um, unpleasant at times.
The part of this symbiosis that was not an improvement, though, was that Titania had decided I should have the appearance of a beautiful woman. Whats wrong with that? Well, for starters, I had been born a man. It was still a surprise every time I looked in the mirror and saw something out of my fantasies match each move I made. Several fantasies, in fact. It seemed that Titanias powers included deliberate and extensive control of my body chemistry, as well as a sort of body-suit effect where she could squeeze or expand parts of my body at will. Her will, of course.
She also had the ability to control her own coloration, which was why we were going to be late to our appointment with our boss, Admiral Jones. In the last few moments my apparent clothing had changed from red to black to blue to green in rapid succession as Titania tried out different combinations.
"There," she said in my head, "that should do it." She had stopped with green, shiny and literally skin tight since she actually *was* my skin and had just changed her own coloring.
"I still think the skirt should be longer," I grumbled. "Or better yet, why not give my some pants?"
Titanias voice took on the tones of a mother once more lecturing a slow child, "Now, Xora, you agreed that you needed to get used to wearing womens clothes, since it will be expected on a lot of the planets you might have to visit."
"Womens clothes are not limited to skirts that barely cover my, um, . . . " Then I tried to change the subject and said, "Did you say you were done playing with my outfit?"
"Yes, at least for now," Titania answered.
"Good, lets go," I said, trying to move toward the door. I didnt get very far.
"Damnit, Titania, you promised not to do that lockup thing on me again!"
"Well, I said I wouldnt do it except in emergencies," she said.
"And leaving with your hair looking like that would be a disaster."
"Whats wrong with my hair?" I asked, looking back into the mirror. It cascaded to my waist in tumbling waves, just like always. Since hair is mostly protein, Titania had stored the excess material from my original body (so, all right, I had been fat) as a thick mass of gleaming dark hair.
"It doesnt go with the green, silly," Ti said. Then she showed what she meant by shifting my hair color several notches toward red. I had to admit, it went well with the green outfit which, as I looked a little more closely, set off my green eyes rather well. Hmm, I wonder how many other women could change their outfits to match their eyes.
Oh, God, I did it again. Thinking about "other women". I was still a man, deep down where I lived. I had to remind myself of that more and more often lately.
"Okay, now can we leave?" I asked.
"Just another second," she promised. "Step closer to the mirror."
I did as she said, and looked at the tall, shapely woman I saw there. Very shapely, unfortunately for me. The first really successful symbiont pairing had been between an established Federation field agent, Tryx, and her symbiont, Bee. Tryx had been the one to arrange my own pairing based on my high psi rating, a characteristic she shared. It turned out that Bee and my Titania were members of the symbiont royalty, which was part of the reason Tryx and I were so much more successful than most pairings.
However, Tryx also had some, um, unconventional tastes, including a desire for really tight corsets and absurdly high heels. There was also a bit of competitiveness between Bee and Titania, so when Bee helped Tryx achieve an impossibly spectacular figure, Titania decided to do the same for me. Did I mention that she tried to run every detail of my life? Anyway, the woman in the mirror had one of the most impressive figures I had ever seen (there was only one comparable in fact - Tryx), tiny little waist set off by, uh, well, lets just say that there was ample storage volume, um, volumes for any spare materials Titania needed to work her biochemical magic. Like I said, a fantasy woman. Never mind that I couldnt breathe in the corset and couldnt walk in the heels and couldnt see my feet anyway, because of the, uh, storage volumes. Titania didnt mind, and that seemed to be all that mattered.
"What now?" I asked, when nothing seemed to be happening.
"Look at your face, dummy," Titania said.
I looked at the huge green eyes, well-defined cheekbones, and full lips of the woman in the mirror and tried to figure out what was wrong. Since Titania had to look through my eyes, I usually had at least some insight into what she wanted to do. In a moment, I noticed. She was tinting our eye shadow more toward the copper colors to continue the accent of our green eyes. A subtle shift brought a bit more rose to our cheeks, and a bit less tan.
"There, that should just about work," Titania said smugly. The tawny redhead in the mirror smiled in appreciation, then her long eyelashes drooped and her lips parted just a bit.
"Naughty, naughty," Titania laughed in my ear. "Youre still letting those embedded reflexes from the call girl disk slip out whenever you remember that youre pretty."
"Uh, yeah, I guess youre right," I admitted, but surely it was only because my mane had fallen forward that I tossed all that hair around as we finally made our way to the door. I was moving easily in my own towering heels, thanks to a hypno disk I had absorbed with the requisite skills. Unfortunately, I didnt know what other skills call girls had needed when I chose that training disk. Some of the other, um, specialties had left me with a blatant sensuality that was *not* something I had wanted.
The trip to the Admirals office was reasonably uneventful. Two guys collided and dropped a stack of data disks. One computer tech spilled coffee on himself. Two young women interrupted their conversation to send the most deliciously-jealous glares my way. All in all, about typical when I walked the corridors. At least Titanias continued experimentation with my appearance, along with her admittedly spectacular success to date, kept people from ignoring me like they had ignored the old Xora.
Admiral Jones robosec told me to go right on into his office, but when I entered I found he was on the screen with other business. I let my hips swivel around the corner of his desk and leaned back where I could see who was talking with the Admiral.
It was Commander Tryx. The image behind her showed a beautiful beach with sugar-white sand and tall, cool palms. The water was the richest emerald green I had ever seen and I found myself thinking how nice it would look as a backdrop for my red hair. Damnit, gotta stop that! Ti is the one who wants to look pretty, not me.
Admiral Jones hadnt even looked up when the door whooshed open to admit me, but when I got where I could look over his shoulder at the screen, Tryxs eyes widened at my new appearance. She interrupted herself to ask, "Is that you, Xora?"
"Yep," I said. Admiral Jones swiveled around to look at me, too. Funny thing about the Admiral, when he blushes, it shows as much on his bald head as on his cheeks.
*I told you this skirt was too short,* I snarled mentally at Titania when I saw where his glance had frozen.
She just laughed and said, "Not a bit. It seems about perfect for catching Jonesys interest."
*Were not after a mans interest,* I insisted.
"Well," she said, "it worked pretty well on Tryx, too. And one of these days were going to have a man, if I have to hold your breath until you turn blue to make you."
*You wouldnt dare!* I hissed at her.
Before she replied (and probably good for me that she didnt feel compelled to prove me wrong), Tryx fiddled with her scanner a bit, expanding the image to show more than just her face. She was indeed on a beach. Apparently, her idea of the proper uniform of the day had started out with a teeny little bikini. Which had then shrunk.
Admiral Jones noticed the motion in the screen, and looked back at his other agent, then back at me, then just closed his eyes for a long moment. "Two of them," he muttered. "Whatever did I do to deserve two of them?"
He took a deep breath, then opened his eyes and concentrated on looking into the deep blue of Tryxs eyes. "Tryx, despite this distraction, the basic point still remains. You are spending entirely too many credits on this assignment. And taking too long."
*A distraction, am I? Ill show him distraction,* I thought. Some of Titanias sense of competition with Bee must have been leaking over into my own reactions.
Tryx responded to the admirals comment with a laugh and toss of her own blonde mane, "Why Jonesy, you approved this cover story yourself. The best way to find the jewel smugglers was to act like one of the idle rich. Thats what Ive been doing."
Jonesy was not convinced, "Idle is right. According to your reports, all youve done is lay around the beach during the day, and party every night. And youve been spending a fortune on gowns. Even that, uh, swimsuit cost an unbelievable amount of credits."
"Gee, Jonesy," Tryx said coyly, while taking an impressively large breath, "they dont sell these based on the weight of material, you know."
"Sort of an inverse relationship, it would seem," I murmured, just loud enough for them both to hear.
Tryxs clear soprano caroled out in a laugh and she said, "Im glad you like it, Xora darling. I must say, your new look is quite, um, cute."
Then she laughed even harder as I started to make a sharp reply. She interrupted me and said, "Actually, Xora, it looks really good on you. Im glad you and your symbiont are adapting so well to each other."
Jonesy sighed again as his meeting got even further out of control. He tried to get back on track by asking Tryx, "When do you think youll be done?"
Tryx looked serious for a moment and answered, "Truly, Admiral, I have been making progress. I have spent a bit of time with three of the four candidates we identified as smuggler points of contact. I have a meeting with the last one tonight. Ive dropped enough hints of interest in new and unusual jewelry, along with enough credits on new fashions that Im sure Ill be approached soon."
"Very well," Jonesy concluded, "but Im thinking seriously of having this mission deducted from you vacation allowance."
Tryx snickered, but didnt really argue. Some assignments are definitely tougher than others.
"Enjoy your date," I called as she reached for the cutoff. She blushed, but giggled and nodded to me.
"When are you going to give *me* an assignment like that, Jonesy?" I asked, still leaning on his desk.
He seemed to have a bit of trouble getting his gaze up to meet my eyes. When he did, he found a grin that came right out of the hypno disk. Serves him right, the horny old goat. The blush on the top of his head flared with fresh heat as he tried to push his chair back enough to get a little more distance between us.
Titania whispered to me, "Like I said before, hed be a good choice.
Keep flirting and well find out what sex is like, yet."
*I was NOT flirting with him,* I insisted, but Titanias mental sniff indicated she was not convinced. Well, maybe I wasnt either. Flirting to get his attention back on me was only fair, after that bikini that Tryx was almost wearing. I took an unnecessarily deep breath of my own and I swear that Jonesys eyes crossed.
"Ahem," he said, trying to recover, "actually, this assignment *is* just a bit like Tryxs."
"Oooh, tell me more," I purred.
"It, um, well, the, uh," he stammered to a stop, took a deep breath, and started over. "It seems you have developed a bit of a reputation among certain circles, based on your performance on Machovia."
I stood up and stepped back sharply. "No way! I am NOT going somewhere else to be somebodys bondage toy."
"No, nothing like that," he assured me. "Its because of your athletic prowess, nothing more. The planet Teton has a strong cultural interest in athletics. They share that with Machovia, but not the chauvinistic attitude toward women. Still, they have heard of your race with the Machovian, um, . . "
He paused, looking for the word. I supplied it to him with a sneer at the memory, "Ponygirl."
"Right, ponygirl champion. The Tetons were impressed that a Federation field agent, with no prior training, could win a race like that. Theyre having their annual sports contest next week and asked if you could come as a representative of the Federation Navy."
"To compete?" I asked.
"No, though I imagine there might be some exhibitions or something.
Apparently demonstrating fitness is something of a planetary mania.
Still, only members of their own society actually compete for prizes."
I relaxed a bit and said, "So, all you want me to do is go to this planet for some sort of diplomatic thing? Maybe join in a few friendly games of some sort? There better not be anything demeaning, like Machovia."
He reassured me again, "No, not at all. If anything, it would seem the Tetons place their women, at least the athletic ones, on a bit of a pedestal. Apparently there will be some sort of reception in your honor hosted by a, uh, Kommissar Sstton, and I already made sure you can decline with no loss of face from any contests you dont think youll enjoy."
Titania whispered in my ear, "Theres something else going on, here. At first I thought he was still aroused by your flirting. But thats not it. His respiration and heart rate spike when hes talking, not when hes looking at your assets. I think hes lying to you. Or at least, not telling you the whole truth."
*Thanks, Ti,* I thought to her, then said out loud to Jonesy, "Tell me the rest of it."
Jonesy jerked at my demand, glancing down to avoid my eyes. This didnt really help since "down" had distractions of a different sort. But I just waited, not letting myself become lost in considerations of the other, um, opportunities.
"Very well," he said. "I was going to tell you before you left, but I wanted you to approach this mission with a positive attitude."
"Itd be a lot more positive if I were sure I was told everything I needed to know," I snapped.
"Yes, well," he said, then looked directly at me. "Please believe me when I say that the secondary purpose is not meant to be risky in any way. It seems, though, that there have been a series of disappearances of Teton women. Its an internal crime issue and as such the Federation cannot interfere. However, I have secured an agreement from the investigator in charge, Inspector Darius, that you will get a chance to, uh, observe the investigation while you are there. If you can help them out, it will do a lot to improve our relations the next time we *do* have an official reason for intervening in their planetary business."
"So, in addition to parading around as the Federations star athlete, Im expected to solve some sort of serial murder?"
"No, youre *not* expected to solve it," Jonesy asserted. "Youre just expected to show interest, and support. If you can help at all, that will be a benefit to them and to us."
Titania urged me to, "Ask him if there are any other Federation field agents available, since we havent completed standard training yet."
"Surely there are fully-trained agents available," I said.
Now Jonesy looked uncharacteristically embarrassed. As opposed to the usual embarrassment Tryx and I seemed to cause, that is. He paused, then said, "None that have been invited to attend."
"Hes hiding something again," Titania said. I nodded mentally. It was pretty obvious. Then I realized what it was all about.
"Its specifically *because* Im not trained that you want me to go," I said. "If I embarrass myself by bumbling around uselessly, then you can excuse it because Im not even trained, yet. On the other hand, if I stumble into something, you can crow about how even partially-trained field agents are wonderfully competent. Thats it, isnt it?"
He nodded. Then he stood up, resumed his command demeanor and said, "But that doesnt mean the rest of the invitation is invalid. You will get a chance to be praised, and attend a few nice parties. I honestly think you deserve it after your last assignment. Will you go?"
He was a pretty big man, actually, and not fat despite what would seem to be a job as sedentary as my old assignment. And that command presence was, well, impressive. My body was impressed, at any event.
*Damnit, Ti, not NOW!* I demanded, trying to ignore the hard points that had popped into sharp relief in my skin-tight pseudo-uniform. And the other sensations that were flooding through me.
"Not me, girly," Titania claimed. "Youre doing all of that on your own."
Well, wherever they were coming from, the sensations that I was feeling were certainly distracting.
"Um, yeah, sure, Ill go," I stammered to Jonesy while I tried to get myself back under control. Not that Ti was helping, of course, even if she wasnt actively making things worse.
I took a deep breath, which provoked a small grunt from Jonesy showing that he was not entirely unaffected by *my* presence either, and nodded more confidently. "It should be fun."
Perhaps the swivel in my hips when I walked around the desk was a bit exaggerated, but then I was wearing those silly heels so it *might* have been justified. In any event, I swayed my way toward the door only to be held by Jonesys voice.
"Commander Xora," he said causing me to turn back to look at him.
"Why, Admiral Jones, are we back to being formal again?" I asked, letting a pout form on my lips.
He just sighed again, though the blush was back on the top of his head. Then he said, "Symbiont agents are officially in the Research and Sciences branch. Your uniform needs to be blue."
"Blue?" I repeated stupidly.
"Of course. I expect you to meet uniform regulations, at least when you are officially representing the Federation. Im not rigid on such things here in the base, of course, but this is an official invitation from this High Poobah Sstton."
"Very well," I said, then thought to Titania, *Can you do this right away?*
"Sure," she said. Looking down, I saw my uniform shimmer to a dark blue, though it remained just as painted-on tight.
"Will that do?" I asked, slowly pirouetting so that Jonesy could see all aspects of my new uniform.
He didnt quite drool. Too bad.
(continued in part 2)
© 1999 by Brandy Dewinter. All Rights Reserved. These documents (including, without limitation, all articles, text, images, logos, compilation design) may printed for personal use only. No portion of these documents may be stored electronically, distributed electronically, or otherwise made available without express written consent of the copyright holder.