Her spine found the solid bulkhead and bashed itself against it. Instead of clamping her eyes shut, they flew open as her jaw dropped into a hollow scream with no sound. She bounced off, her knees finding the floor and her hands finding it a moment later. She panted against the pain that surged up her alloy backbone as voices in her head screamed at her to quit while she could and beg for mercy. She pushed up, resting upon her lower legs and feeling her bodyweight upon them. It had only been about five minutes of being knocked around like a pingpong ball and already her durable body was feeling the strain. Vexus was only playing with her. She would remain defiant against her. She winced but was smiling. The pain only really lasted a moment before it receded to a dull ache. A smile came to her face and she chuckled darkly. It'd take much more than that. Much more. But her body might break before her resolve.
The skeletal shadow of the monstrous insect Queen towered over her, shadowed by the light from the observation panels on the far wall behind her. It was going to be dawn, soon. "Come, come, my little breadwinner! Tired yet?"
Barasia huffed, shaking her head, "You... you need to... you're just... you get the point..."
Vexus tilted her head, glaring down, "Do you ENJOY being punished?"
Barasia raised her hand, finger pointing outward at Vexus's face, "Only when I know I can do the same to you." From the finger came the attack Vexus had been expecting. For a moment her eyesight was blinded by a laser-green flash as her audio receptors received a screeching wail she had not heard in some time. She did not bother to evade or even move. Instead, she returned the chuckle of confidence Barasia had given. The wash of green was met with a similar glow, this one of a purplish-blue. She wasn't even commanding her mechanisms to defend. It was part of her design. A second skin that never broke. Barasia's face fell as Vexus' shield, projected from the ovoid orb, blocked the blaster as though the hellish light was just a spray of water.
"Now now, Princess..." she drawled, "Did you expect it to be that easy?" Her hand snaked out, seizing Barasia's hand as it was still firing, jerking its aim upward so that it fired into the ceiling. Something above sparked, damaged by the blaster as it started to shut off. Barasia winced, Vexus' giant hand squeezing her entire arm like a tube of toothpaste. She wrenched her up, dangling her by the arm. Barasia squealed a little at the odd sensation of hanging by her limb. Her shoulder began to strain. Vexus' jaws clacked together in disgust as she growled to her, "You can't do the same to me. But feel free to keep enjoying." With a quick toss she threw Barasia upward into a corkscrew flip. She seized her leg and, without moving anything other than her arm, snapped her back into the wall with a resounding thud. Barasia's shoulder jarred itself as it collided with the immovable steel, making her cry out. "Heh, you enjoy that, do you?" Vexus asked, before tossing Barasia over her shoulder whimsically. Barasia cartwheeled through the air, smacking into the floor jaw-first and skidding to a stop before rolling on her back. She gave a worn-out groan. Playing with tiny targets was such fun. Vexus spun, her head turning around before the rest of her body. "If you like that, then try a full-body experience!" she cackled. Her knees crouched before she sprung like a grasshopper, pouncing skyward and nearly scraping the ceiling as her towering form took on the agility of a flea. Barasia narrowed her eyes. She would not become a smear on anyone's floor.
Kicking her legs up, she flipped backwards onto her feet. Her left leg buckled slightly, making her wince. Something in there was broken, probably a support rivet. If Vexus didn't know it, then she would be ok. But if the Queen took advantage of any damage and worked over it, she'd be in trouble. But there was something about Vexus that Barasia knew and was aware of from the moment her blaster demonstrated its ineffectiveness. Vexus plummeted down, her giant feet positioned to pancake the gynoid. Barasia scooted backward as the Queen's enormous thin frame crashed down, shooting herself through the air and rebounding off the wall as though playing a different kind of 'squash'. Bouncing back with her deep violet streak behind her, she spun herself just a little so as to test her theory. That shield of Vexus' would stop any energy weapons she threw at it, and that shield, projected from the orb on Vexus' breastplate, would defend her front. So one had to simpl yget by it. But first, the theory. She rocketed toward the unprepared Queen, extending a part of her that she had rarely, if ever, used as a weapon. Her elbow.
With a blunt whack, she drove her elbow into the centre of Vexus' eye, knocking the monolithic matriarch backwards and coaxing from her a screech of agony. Barasia looped over the Queen's head, careful to avoid snagging her dirtied dress on Vexus' antennae. She dropped down between her wings, finding the floor but failing to remember her weakened leg. She staggered a little, chewing her lower lip and moving away from the distracted royal. Then, with a grin, she raised that important finger again. The orb was on the wrong side, now. Block this! ZHWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! That blissful and haunting light filled her eyes again as her finger became a corona of cadaverous coalescence. It speared itself into Vexus' back less than a quarter of a second later, intense green shimmering across the Queen's body. But again, the light never reached that horrid skeletal body. Again, the thin, filmy blue shield was barricading the Queen from harm from particle weaponry. But how? The shield projector was on the OTHER side!
Vexus chuckled, "My my, Barasia... don't you look?" her hands gestured at the tips of her upper wings. When Barasia noticed them, she groaned deeply. Perched upon each tip like a serene and royal jewel were sapphire globes, the same kind as on the Queen's sternum. From whatever angle necessary, the Queen would be shielded. Barasia dropped her arm, a wash of defeat cascading over her. At least four fifths of her good ideas had just been ruined. This was the kind of thing Tento had tried to train her to do: fight an enemy that left her unable to harm them with her weapons. Vexus turned upon her, giant compound eyes gleaming in the pre-dawn dullness, "That's what disappoints me about you. You give yourself such a grand opportunity, and yet you just..." she shrugged, shoulderguards bopping like buoys on a rough tide, "throw it away..."
Barasia clenched her fists, "I'm not so stupid as to give up when that happens, though! I learn!"
Vexus' hand slithered toward her with ferocious speed, its forearm stretching like elastic. Casually, her crimson fingers flicked Barasia across the floor, the girl bouncing against the polished surface and skidding to a halt. The gynoid gave another beseeching moan. Vexus simpered, "Learn THAT!" Barasia pulled herself to a sitting position, one hand holding her head. A bit of pain hurt nobody, especially herself. At almost the moment she sat up, though, Vexus' flexible arm slipped under her leg and with a jerk, threw her into the air again. Like tossing pizza dough, the hand caught her again and slammed her back down onto the floor, face-down, facing away from her highness. Barasia was growling between her teeth. It was getting ridiculous now. "I've researched Earth's criminal punishment systems. I've seen so much variety in my archives, dear. It's a shame you never took advantage of what you could learn. Then perhaps you could own your own clump of rock instead of coming after mine."
"I don't WANT YOUR DAMN PLANET!" Barasia screamed, still pinned by the hand.
Vexus huffed, "Be that as it may, you pulled an enormous coup d'etat upon me, young lady. I sifted through my collection of history notes and found a punishment I deem particularly fitting. Perhaps, little by little, I might be able to sway you into submission rather than dragging this out. Besides, the longer you resist, the longer I chip away at you." she pulled her hand away and as expected, the traitorous robogirl tried to pull herself to her feet. "Now!" she flung her second arm outwards, cracking its elastic segment forward like a ringmaster's whip, "BEG for my leniency!"
Barasia was about to push up to her hands and knees, but one resounding CRACK later and she fell back onto her stomach as a localised burst of searing pain tore through her back. She gasped, wretched and grit her teeth. She could feel her synthetic flesh tear. Her jaw clenched up as she tried to get up again, by another whiplike CRACK tore into her back again, forcing her again back down. Vexus drew her arm back, coiling up the clawed deadweight at the end, before throwing it back outward a third time with just her index finger extended. Another CRACK and the razor edge tore into Barasia's dense mesh dress and into her elastomer skin. The skin was torn open, but nothing leaked out or made a mess. To a human, this would hurt, bleed and agonise. To a gynoid, it would do the same but without the red liquid mess to go with it. Whipping Barasia like a disobedient peasant, Vexus cackled in delight as Barasia squirmed, her hand snapping out a third time to deal Barasia another painful blow of the lash. It only needed to graze for a moment, and tear the skin for only a couple of inches. The smaller the source of the pain, the harder it hit home. For humans, this was a form of torture. For Vexus, however, she was both torturing Barasia and having a hell of a time, herself. She drew back and battered the girl again, once more cutting a swath right through the dress' backing and into her scapula region. She cried in expected, obvious agony but Vexus did not relent, again drawing her arm back. Barasia was moaning through clenched teeth, too harrowed to even try to get up. "I-Is that the BEST you can do!?"
Vexus chuckled, "You are inviting something you do not want."
"Show me your worst!" Barasia scathed.
Vexus sighed, "Very well then... foolish girl..." she drew her arm back and then rawhided her again, this time aiming lower. Instead of slicing through where the dress covered the girl's smooth back, the barb instead tore through the white cotton of her sock, dissecting the skin beneath at the point behind her knee. Barasia let loose an enormous screaming wail as Vexus worked over her sensitive hamstring area, tearing away at the synthetic flesh bit by bit as the artificial nerve receptors within her legs went crazy, delivering an armada of excruciating sensations to Barasia's head. The girl pounded her fists against the floor, tears leaking from her eyes. Vexus doubted the girl would be able to walk too well should she get up again, if at all. She crawled along the floor, her left leg limp after being torn at. She tried pushing off the floor with her right, but Vexus' giant eyes missed nothing. CRACK!
"YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!" screamed Barasia, banging her forehead against the floor a couple of times as the back of her other knee was skinned. Vexus was not using all five fingers at once like a cat-o'-nine-tails, as that would be clumsy. Besides, it drew out the torture and made every single laceration count. Barasia's skin severed and peeled, old paint that flaked and detached from the wall. The girl sniffled, tears dripping down her face and her nose starting to run. Her skinless fingers clawed at the frictionless floor, no rubbery coating left on them to provide any sort of grip. She was pinned down under the merciless lash of Vexus' sadistic strike. Another crack of Vexus' ropelike reach made Barasia cry almost convulsively as another gash tore itself into her thigh. She wanted it to stop. She wanted a way out. But all this time, it in no way compared to what she had felt when that hand had touched her face all those days ago onboard her doomed starship. Through the blackness she saw with her eyes closed, the image of that bloodied face and those hollow white eyes manifested to her. Unable to escape the Queen and unable to escape... her... Barasia's fists balled and she shrieked in terror before clutching her head and trying once more to shut it all out.
"You could have let me love you!" roared Vexus, "We could have been the family we both so desire! We could have ruled hand-in-hand, side by side! Don't you see? What you seek is what you would have had anyway! You don't understand that you wouldn't have had to start this pathetic campaign against me to get what you seek!" she snapped her arm and another crack tore through Barasia's upper thigh, shredding the skin and making the girl scream, "Barasia! I loved you! But you turned your back on me! NOBODY TURNS THEIR BACK ON ME!"
"I DON'T WANT YOUR THRONE!" Barasia screamed, even louder, tears spilling onto the floor. She was helpless and scared. And she hated it.
Despite the girl's sincere admission, Vexus struck her once again, tearing into her inner thighs with the one stroke and lacerating the skin to the point at which it simply hung off like bandages. The Queen roared, infuriated, "I DON'T CARE IF YOU WANTED THE WHOLE GALAXY, BARASIA!" she recoiled her arm, snarling, "That's the problem with people like you and Vega! You're just CHILDREN with big dreams! Dreams bigger than your immature minds! Always coming up with some brand new way to be a hero, save the day or take charge from someone you think is not worthy of position! I wasn't handed this position, Barasia, I EARNED it! And now I have no choice but to watch you die at my hands because crimes like yours cannot go unpunished! You have no idea how hard this-" CRACK went her whiplike arm. Barasia started screaming again, "-is for me."
"Stop!" Barasia screamed, pounding the floor with her fists like a child having a tantrum, "PLEASE STOP!"
"I can't do that!" Vexus rebuked, still speaking very loudly as though in a shouting contest with her prey, "Unless you bend to my wishes, you'll stay there until I cleave you so much that the synthetic slides off your alloy bones! Did you come in here expecting a serenade? Foolish child!" she cracked her whipping arm again, and fabric flew off Barasia's back as her abdominal 'flesh' was assaulted. The girl was almost choking. "I wouldn't be surprised if this will be too much for you, my dear. After all, you seem to be only able to bend so far before you start to break!"
Barasia cursed under her breath. This had to stop. Now.
"There's one thing about Vega that actually manages to outshine you, dear." Vexus chuckled.
Her fists were clenched tightly, devoid of synthetic and resembling steely gloves. She grit her teeth and seethed, "What might that be?"
Vexus' tone was deathly, "At least that girl spared me the hassle of killing her myself." she threw her arm out again.
To be continued...