Prologue: Career Changes
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This first chapter is sort of the teaser - we've arrived at this point. How we got here we'll have to learn, later.Chapter 1: Career Changes
Minhet walked down the gold painted hallway, dragging the limp body of a man behind her by a leg. Two guards with zat’nik’tels saluted with arms to their chests as she walked into the main throne room. Pausing briefly, she returned their salute with her free arm, and then continued in.
The throne room was lavish – overly so. If anyone had told her that there existed rooms that had walls painted with actual gold she would have laughed. Here she felt no need to laugh. This was the main meeting place, one designed in a calculating manner to humble any guest who appeared. Statuary made of precious metals lined the walls at regular intervals, inset jewels sparkling in the light. The main run of the room was carpeted with some kind of fur, from something huge and Minhet was certain either extinct or extremely endangered.
At the opposite end of the room was the one piece of furniture that was out of place – a futuristic looking metal desk, also gold or gold plated, but covered with displays and full of information that she didn't understand. Behind the desk sat the being she had come to see – Anhur. He was shirtless, wearing only a blue and gold shendyt kilt and a gold bracer inset with pieces of jade and ruby on his left arm. The bracer itself was connected to the device on his hand, which she had seen him use both to protect himself and to attack others. Anhur himself was not tall, shorter than many of his warriors, but he was still a foot taller than her. As she approached he looked up from the reports he had been reading, focusing his black eyes on her, and then to the man she was dragging behind her. Minhet approached to a respectful distance, and then knelt down on one knee keeping her head bowed and looking at the floor. She said nothing while he finished what he was doing, waiting to be acknowledged.
“Minhet, what have you brought me?”
“A spy, my lord. I caught him sending a message on a small communications device, detailing the location and number of many of your forces. He knew many of your plans. I’m not sure I was in time to stop him from sending it.”
Anhur rose from behind the desk and approached her. “Rise. You have done well.” He looked at the prisoner, noting the heavy bruising, and the missing teeth; all of the prisoner’s teeth, apparently. “He had a suicide device in a false tooth?”
Minhet rose slowly but kept her head down, looking at Anhur’s feet. “Could be. After I knocked him out I remembered that the Tok’ra spies have suicide devices, so I knocked out all of his teeth and put them in a bag.” She reached into a hidden pocket on her Egyptian-style dress and brought out the small bag filled with bloody teeth. “I’ve searched him for other devices, but I don’t see any. He could have something implanted that I can’t find.”
Anhur laughed low in the strange voice that he sometimes had, a sound that resonated through her, giving her the shivers. She didn’t know whether it was from fear or excitement. “I do so love your enthusiasm, Minhet. The Jaffa can be enthusiastic, but they aren’t quite as efficient at it.” Anhur held his hand over the spy, tapping on stones on his bracer. The stones lit up in strange and mysterious sequences, which she couldn’t decipher. Anhur loved his toys and she had to admit they worked. “He has some sort of device in his neck. We will have it removed, and then tomorrow we will question him, you and I.”
“Yes my Lord. I have never questioned anyone, though. I don’t know how.”
“I will teach you, something we will both enjoy. I will direct, and you will be my hand. By the time we are finished everyone in the universe will acknowledge you a master of interrogation.”
Minhet nodded. “My lord.”
“Jaffa! Take this scum to medical to have whatever it is he has in his neck removed. Then throw him in a cell.” Two heavily muscled men came into the room, bowed to Anhur, lifted the prisoner between them, and left. “Now, my dear, I believe it is time for us to go to bed?”