LeTrent was so pleased to be Security Chief, he was practically glowing.
Never mind that a ferocious skyscraper-sized Venus flytrap somehow infiltrated headquarters on his watch and very nearly destroyed this fledgling Empire before it had even begun.
Everyone has bad days. And, besides, those security breaches weren't his fault. That could've happened to anybody.
When the next threat to Imperial security came, LT would be on top of it. He would be ready. He would not be caught off guard. So it was time to move on!
A strut would be the best term to describe LeTrent's stride. There was a particularly proud and self-pleased demeanor to his swagger. Behind the chief, shuffled the sullen, allegedly time-traveling detainee, Lorma Doom. She was cuffed and escorted by two Imperial guards.
This odd quartet reached the end of the corridor. LeTrent's arm jutted out to shove open a door and ran smack into a crowd of WOMEN laughing, chatting, and adjusting their sexy outfits.
The seemingly confident Security Chief might have thought himself ready for any threat. He was sorely mistaken.
On his best day, the prospect of facing a solitary female was enough to send LT into the sweats. An entire mob of misses might cause a complete panic.
At the sight of all those deep cuts and high lines, the strut came to a sharp, screeching stop. Behind him Lorma Doom and her two guards plowed right into him.
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? Lorma was not just a prisoner of the Empire; she was a prisoner of Physics.
They smashed into the gaggle of girls. The resulting pileup rendered the crowd of chicks to Chaos.
Handcuffed, Lorma tried to break her fall with one of the girls, but was knocked to the hard floor instead. She swore upon impact, causing several of the surrounding girls to blush.
The writhing Whorde was all around her and on top of her, arms and legs entangled and supine bodies intertwined. Lorma struggled to right herself. This was her chance to break free.
For a second, she thought she recognized one of the damsels. But then someone fell on Lorma's face, obscuring her view.
The tangle of women was a hot mess! It took Security Chief LeTrent quite a few minutes to sort it all out, especially since he had difficulty looking the ladies in the eye.
Or talking to them.
in the scorched Theatre
The cuffs cut into Lorma wrists, she could already feel her shoulders aching, and her fingertips tingled from poor circulation. She shifted awkwardly in her chair, unable to sit comfortably.
She was again onstage in the auditorium, but the table and chairs told her she was there to be interrogated. Well, she wasn't going to sing, that was for sure. She set her jaw, ready for tough questions, extensive persuasion, and possibly torture.
"Hello, my dear."
Lorma lifted her head to see who was speaking to her in such an erudite voice.
"I'm Harem Supervisor Doyle," the man said, "naturally." All sophisticated charm, he sat down across the table.
"And according to this, your name is Lorma Doom," he continued, opening a file folder and skimming it. "Lorma Doom, huh, funny...."
"Yes," she sighed. "Like the cookie." A tired old joke.
"Cookie?" Doyle asked, then nodded. "Oh, yes. I suppose. I was alluding to the phonologic Blackmoore novel and its iconic Irish heroine." He looked up from her file. "But the cookie is good, too."
"Why am I here?" she said sourly.
"On my personal recommendation, His Grace has seen fit to reactivate the harem protocols. This interview is to review your application and determine your aptitude and ------."
"Harem?" Lorma recognized that word. "Is this some kind of punishment?"
"Punishment? Hardly," Doyle almost scoffed. "As harem supervisor, I can personally assure you will receive the greatest care and attention. You and your welfare will be in my very capable hands."
None of this made any sense to Lorma Doom. Was this how they always treated prisoners? Or was it just her perpetual bad luck with men? Even in the Past, she couldn't escape her bad fortunes.
"Now, there isn't much info in your file here, which is odd," Doyle noted. "What kind of experience do you have?"
"Experience?" Lorma asked.
"Yes," Doyle answered.
She was terrible at lying, so why not try the truth? Couldn't hurt. "Before I worked on the Brute Squad--" Lorma began.
"The what?" Doyle interjected.
"Brute Squad," repeated Lorma.
"Oh my," Doyle said, and made a note in the file.
"I attended an all-girls school," Lorma continued.
"I don't think you're following," he stopped her. "How many boyfriends would you say you've had?"
"Boyfriends? Let's see," Lorma looked at the ceiling, as if doing the math in her head, "counting high school, college, and my time in the Empire, I'd have to say ... none."
"None?" Doyle asked. "So you're a ...?"
"Yes?" Lorma was confused.
"Excellent," Doyle said, taking her question for an answer. "Surprisingly, not very much of that around here."
He made some more notes in the file.
Great. Just great, Lorma thought. I'm here to witness my File get created, and it's already mucked up.
In the Interrogation Room
(formerly the music library)
The two guards shoved her roughly down into the chair. "Hey, careful I'm a delicate flower," she said. The guards left the room.
She counted the ceiling tiles. That accomplished, she fiddled with the new dress she'd made.
How long were they going to make her wait?
After cooling her heels for what seemed like an hour, Keena jumped and clutched at her heart when LeTrent finally burst through the door.
"I'm Security Chief LeTrent," he said, and pulled out the chair opposite Keena.
"I know who you are," Keena said. "Why are you here?"
"Don't play dumb with me," he sneered back at her. "We know all about you and your friends," LeTrent said, tossing her file down on the table. "So start talking."
Striking a pose, one foot up on the chair and a hand on his hip, he leaned down to stare at her. "Tell me something good and maybe I won't feed you to the triceratopses."
"Triceratops," Keena corrected him. "And they're herbivores. Hey, is that my file?" she reached out to the file folder and lifted up the edge to peer in.
"No one looks at their own file!" LeTrent slapped the folder shut and snatched it back across the table. "That'd be a terrible breach of protocol."
"Kind of thick, isn't it?" Keena noticed. "I've only been here a year."
"Exactly," LT sneered, leafing through the folder. "We've got a lot on you. It'd be in your best interest to cooperate."
"Oh, I'm a team player," Keena said, helpfully, with a wink, "if you know what I mean."
This went right over LT's head. "Why are you here?" he demanded.
"The harem auditions," Keena said, a bit mystified, "just like the other girls."
"You really expect me to believe that?" LT scoffed.
"Um," Keena said, "yes?"
"Tell me about the time machine," LeTrent insisted.
"The Time Machine?" Keena hesitated, but replied: "It's a novel by H. G. Wells."
LeTrent frowned, looking at some papers in his hand, and said, "Kenna, is it?"
"Keena," Keena recognized the document as her harem application and résumé.
"Riiiiight," LT held the application up in the florescent light as if it might hold some secrets. "Tell me, Kenna, how many time travelers are there? Are you a lone agent? The vanguard of a larger temporal invasion?"
"I don't know what you're talking about," Keena stammered. "Is this some kind of obscure role-play?"
"If it were, I'd be the first to know," LeTrent shook his head. "No, I'm afraid this is no game. Now ---"
"Wait," Keena interrupted, "why aren't you looking me in the eye?"
"I'm asking the questions here!" LeTrent said. "Did you really think you could infiltrate us so easily? You stick out like a sore thumb."
"This is discrimination!" Keena was starting to get red in the face.
"Krenim nation?" LeTrent tried to control the alarm in his voice. Aliens from the future??
Keena continued as if she had not heard this remark, "It's because of my scooter isn't it?
"Scooter?" LeTrent seized on the idea, "yes, the scooter, that's your time machine isn't it? Your time cycle!"
"I admit it does resemble Wells' time machine, but believe me - it has only two speeds: Turtle and Rabbit. There's no Time-Travel mode."
"If you're not a time traveler, why do you keep denying it?" LT insisted.
"What? That doesn't even make any sense," Keena sputtered.
"Another denial!" LT huffed.
"I'm not a time traveler!" she cried.
"That’s exactly what a time traveler would say," LeTrent thumped the table triumphantly.
Oh, he had her now.
Back in the Interview Room / onstage
"You are familiar with the Concubine Rebellion, of course," Doyle said,
"Um, not as much as I'd like to be," Lorma was completely out of her element and winging it.
"It's my job to ensure we don't have an uprising like that again," Doyle pontificated. Happy to tell a story, his eyes lit up. "Mistakes were made, petitions ignored. But all that is in the past. Today is a new day."
It was only then he took notice of how she was sitting. "I see you brought your own handcuffs," he commented. "Very kinky. That'll help on your score."
"What? Look, I've seen the filmstrips. This is sexual harassment, and I don't have to take it."
"You might be in the wrong line of work," observed Doyle.
"Tell me something I don't know," Lorma sighed.