On a richly foliated planet yet unknown to humans, Ambassador Naysha sensed a dark object swooshing down as she stepped into a conference room. She dived, streaming her green-streaked hair behind. The shadow dived quicker, though. Her electribox clattered to the floor as a heavy machine thudded into her. She was dazed as her head burst through a heavy skin, and blackness enveloped her. Flesh seeking bands snapped around her appendages and mouth. Sntarian curses coursed through her head. This was no accident – it was a trap.
She could faintly hear the utter confusion in the room, and strained to listen.
“The Ambassador!” one of her attendants shouted. “Let me go, I have to help her!”
Hidden away, Naysha yanked furiously at her bonds, oblivious to the pain it brought. Her supposed hosts were apologetically saying there was nothing that could save their Ambassador now. Firmly they were ordering delegates to clear away from the dangerous vapours, and organising the removal of the wreckage. They must be putting on a pretty good show, she thought cynically. No doubt they had produced real vapours, and it was even possible they really were dangerous.
Her party members were reluctantly complying with the instructions, so she made a last frenzied effort to make herself heard. She struggled like a wild thing, very unlike her normal manner, and managed to make her loudest noise yet. It wasn’t enough. She heard the last of her party being ushered out by staff. Frustration coupled with pain made her wilt and cease her mad struggle.
Alone now with the rival Zvarian island’s “rescue crew,” the Sntarian islander noticed what was causing most of her agony. The half-living straps had caught her photosynthetic hair so that every time she moved, the nerves in the strands sent shockwaves of pain through her.
Her bonds would hold, she knew. She was familiar with the genetically engineered restraints; they were modified natural plants that trapped and fed on small prey. The tough flat vines were attracted to the bipedal sentient beings of her planet, but were unable to feed on them.
There was jostling, and she knew her prison cell was in motion. A weird numbness coursed through her – she couldn’t believe this was happening. The only thing she could imagine was that the baris from Zvar island would take her to some government holding cell where they would demand something of her, or perhaps for her. How dare they?
When the short trip ended, a piece of her prison wall swung open. Her captors teased her bindings away with food, about the only way they could be removed. Keeping careful guard, they motioned for her to get out. It hadn’t seemed like a long ride, but when Naysha tried to get out, her legs buckled under her. A Zvari by the door grabbed her none too gently and yanked her up. Angrily she wrestled out of his grasp, her ferocity surprising them both. Two more promptly restrained her, so she stopped her physical struggling and stood defiantly, waiting for their next move.
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