fuckpalface (whomever) wrote in pinkceptional,

[ star trek xi ] Daughter of the Occupation

For the where_no_woman Intergalactic Woman's Day Mini Fic-a-Thon, the prompt being and we strugglin', fighting to eat. Christ I have so much headcanon for this woman there's no way I could fit it all into one story, but I sure tried!

Title: Daughter of the Occupation
Character: Imvi kol-Doval (not!Gaila)
Rating: R
Summary: She is the product of two worlds and the child of none.

He is the helmsman of another ship. He wears a grey uniform with a bright burgundy sash made of some exotic silk that she doesn’t like. It’s the first thing to go when they clamour into his temporary quarters on Deep Space 6. She may find a use for it later, if he’s not good with his hands.

Bright banners, with their harsh but calculated lettering, wave jagged and rectangle in the slight breeze. They look very out of place against the bulbous spires of Koltaari’s capital city – her culture, in years past, has fancied white marble with silver accents. It seems they were always miners. This is Imvi’s first time on her system’s core planet. She looks around, half admiring and half loathing, but lowers her head at the behest of the phaser barrel at her back. Eyes on the smooth, worn cobbles, she can still see the shadows waving in the wind.

He whispers “tell me what to call you” into her ear. She wasn’t very forthcoming over drinks – she’s rarely ever forthcoming over anything. Like anyone she has a name, but she doesn’t see why it’s important. They’re good for clarification and formal assignment, neither of which have a place here. Who is he going to confuse her with? And if he calls out another woman’s name, well, there’s another possible use for that hideous sash.

“I’m –” he starts, and he’s an interesting enough conversationalist on subjects she actually likes to hear about, but this isn’t one of them. She crushes her gold-painted lips to his rather plain (but delightfully whiskey-soaked) ones, engaging his tongue in something other than conversation. He doesn’t seem to mind, which doesn’t surprise her at all. They never do.

“Doval, Imvi,” reads the heavy voice from the PADD in its heavy hands. She decides wisely not to correct him, though her teeth clench together and fill her head with the awful grit of bone against bone. “Bilitrium processing.” The heavy voice barks, which reminds her of the sparks flying off welded metal, but it’s only a laugh.

She doesn’t know exactly why she’s brought here, but of course she has an inkling. Koltaari brought to their homeworld often stay there, in the mines or in coffins – either way, in the ground. Rationally, she knows they don’t mean to work them to death, that accidents happen, that there are plenty more survivors than there are casualties, but it doesn’t stop her from hating them. The alien clucks over all her possible reassignments, his eyes presumably on the scrolling information as her eyes are on the ground. In a perfect world, she’d get assigned to a lab of some kind, but not on her bannered piece of floating rock. There passes a long silence, in which the weight of decision hangs. Imvi feels it on her shoulders and in her pale, ragged hair.


He’s leading them towards the bed, expecting her to follow with her lips and her hands. She growls and turns them sharply in another direction; his back collides with a wall, rattling a painting there. He gasps, mostly out of inconsequential pain, but a little out of shock, she’s sure. They never expect her to growl, or to hiss, or to scratch. They approach her because she looks Orion (she’s gotten used to that, being mistaken for another race, one she still hasn’t yet decided is more or less tragic), and they continue to hover after they notice the almond eyes and blonde roots because she looks repressed, and so many spacers on shore leave love a challenge.

She’s a challenge, all right. They don’t always want her to stay, once they’ve gotten her alone, and if they do, in the morning, she’s sure they’re relieved when she leaves while they’re asleep, just like she’s sure the first thing they do is tell their crewmen from the night before that she’s like a razorcat in bed. It’s why she’s only once made the mistake of sleeping with a member of her own ship’s crew.

There are more banners here, and less spires. This place was a garden before the occupation. There used to be all manner of flowers and trees Imvi has never seen, and now most likely never will. The paths remain, and they all lead here, a once glorious fountain flattened to a large dirt circle, enclosed by steel. The metal couldn’t have aged more than eleven years, but it looks well-used, with dents, and bolts missing, and smears of blood, both verdant green and muddy red. At the moment, it is empty but for her and her mentor, with no spectators to watch her clumsily try and handle a bat’leth for the first time. Her arms are strong from pushing carts of unrefined rock into and out of cargo bays, but her technique is flimsy. The hard-faced Koltaari man, whose name he hasn’t told her but whom she knows best by the scars cutting swathes through his cheeks, knocks it from her in one effortless swipe. She thinks that is the lesson, but then finds herself very easily on her back, with the tip of it to her throat.

But she is going to learn.

He seems to want some control back, so he reverses their positions, and starts to pull her uniform over her hips, her waist, her chest, her head. She criticises him distantly for choosing such a stupid order – it would have been easier without a wall to her back – but lets him continue, impatiently finishing for him and tossing the vibrant Starfleet blues aside. Now they’re both half-clothed, and she reaches for the hem of his pants as her teeth leave little marks over his throat. There is no artificial scent to his skin, no musk. She knew that before he even offered to buy her a drink, and it is one of the reasons why she chose him. Pomp and abundant civility never agree with her, especially in the bedroom.

He is getting accustomed to her vigour, and rocks his hips into hers, once the messy business of his trousers and boots are through. He’s become just as impatient as her to do away with her skivvies, and slides his fingers under the form-fitting black fabric, to tug it up over her arms. Another annoying pause follows, and she glares heatedly as he takes in the apparently perplexing state of her. It’s a chest binding, not warp chemistry, is what she always thinks, and goes ahead and unfastens it herself. Then his gaze is a lot more awe than shock; the fullness of her naked form tends to knock people on their back foot, and then, of course, their first instinct is to raise their hands to her flesh. At least he bothers to kiss her throat while he maps out the scape of her bare breasts.

She indulges him, because he didn’t draw attention to the stripes of scars on her arms, like so many have before – and because it can be stimulating, having this constantly hidden part of her acknowledged.

Her first fight is with another woman, slightly smaller than her, but with a gaze no less determined. Imvi decides not to underestimate her, which turns out to be needless. Despite her will to win, she is still weaker in the arms and a bit slower than Imvi – probably spent most of her time before this on simple clean-up duty. Imvi wins, to no one’s surprise, standing panting over her the other woman with her weapon pinned under her foot. There is a brief exchange of currency between various sets of hands, of the few spectators surrounding the arena, but no cheers and no applause and no pride.

Her second fight is against a man she recognises from processing. He draws first blood, and while he mutters lamely an apology, she unrepentantly draws second, then third, then fourth. It’s not hard to hate your own people, she primes herself before each battle, if you know how. She earns more scars fighting and winning, and more spectators, and infinitely more anger. She fights so often she begins to notice faces in the crowd, familiar ridges among the skyline of misshapen foreheads. The eyes below one such pinched brow observe her with a keenness that makes her uneasy. The clarity of them once earns her a slash across the hip out of pure, stupid distraction.

As she leaves the arena after a particularly grueling fight, he passes her and tells her his name – the first she’s cared to hear in a very long time, and it gets lost in an eddy of jeers and jovial curses as she is ushered away from the circle of beaten earth that has become her new sun.

He’s taking advantage of her hospitality, so she grates her teeth over his shoulder in annoyance, earning a shudder, and brings his hand to the back of her neck. The nerves of her spine are gloriously attentive, a fact she must teach every new lover. No one this far from her system knows what a Koltaari is, much less what makes one go. But he picks up quickly enough, fingers massaging where her spine meets her skull, and she hisses lowly, urging his hips closer with a winding leg.

There is more hissing and scratching and impatient ordering, and she divests them both of the last of their clothes. He’s reached the decision again that they must orientate themselves to a bed. Imvi, with sensation rippling up her back and at her wit’s end, concedes, but she does all the leading, and once their legs bump against the mattress, she pushes him down and crawls on top of him.

He lets her. This is typically the point where they figure a violent green woman probably needs some control, so they let her win. It’s infuriating, but she can’t change it. She has some marginal, pathetic hope every time that they’re going to fight her, and roll with her, and bite her back. That rather than merely rising to her challenge, they’re going to return it and then some. She knows why this is never so.

There is an air of suspension about the arena, which is unusual, and in this way, very fitting. Her opponent is the largest she’s ever faced, but also the most eager. He even smiles when he jabs at her tauntingly, and laughs when one of her swipes misses his shoulder by two inches. The crowd grows more heated with his ardour and begins to cheer – some of them for him, some of them against. It is more life than she can remember being surrounded by. Her spine buzzes and the air in her chest seems to jump around anxiously, excitedly. They clash, and miss, and when he draws her blood, the crowd claps, but when she draws his, the crowd roars. Ribbons of slick green open on her arms and speckle the ground with virid splashes of stars. Every hit makes her more aware, and unlike him, she doesn’t waste time with minor cuts. She doesn’t care about bruising his ego or revving up the crowd.

She wants to win, so she pulls on old, dead memories. Experiences they’ve never seen and never had. Dancing childishly between the tall crops in Long Summer and bobbing out of her father’s obnoxious embraces. She weaves, though she forgets what it feels like to have a skirt flutter around her legs, and she ducks, though she forgets what it feels like to have someone try to pull her close. And then she slices, upwards at what is generally considered an inadvisable angle, but this near is a fatal chance worth taking.

When her opponent’s back hits the ground, the crowd erupts. Some of them are angry – furious. Some of them are elated to have witnessed such a battle, regardless of the victor. Some of them are ready to tear her apart when she leaves her noisy sanctuary. Imvi hears them all, takes them all in in every way she can - through their sounds and their scents and their sights - and they power the smile on her lips like electricity.

She knows exactly how she’s going to leave in the morning. She knows where all her clothes are scattered throughout the room. It’s not that she does this often – Imvi is an expert at denying herself – but that she does it effectively. Tonight is the last night of shore leave, and she will be far and away by the time the stranger moving underneath her wakes up. She will be a nameless anecdote for him to reflect on, just like he is to her. That is what is most fair, and what is most safe.

In the present, Imvi tells him to dim the lights. She is full of tiny surprises and contradictions – one would think she would have demanded this earlier, rather than in the crux of fucking. He asks if she’s serious and she drags her nails down his chest. That is enough of an answer, and the lights lower to thirty percent. Twenty, she corrects, and so they quickly lower to twenty, and all too he happily tries to lose himself in her again.

Imvi does the same. Losing herself inside herself, mind going to all the places her body won’t. With the lights down, she can imagine his skin is darker. With her eyes closed, she can imagine his hands are rougher; that his voice has the grain of rope and the strength of stone, and that his laugh is quick but in its odd way kind. It’s never perfect. He groans underneath her and perforates her fantasy, but it’s sturdier than most of her reality, so she bricks it up easily.

One of the luxuries of the arena is the shower. She can clean herself after every battle. Her skin is not muted with dust, like most of her people, and for this same reason, a feeling of filthiness has begun to haunt her. Dampness still clinging to her brassy curls (the colour of which she is steadily coming to disdain, and so she wears them back more often than not) she waits to be escorted back to the tiny, cramped cabin she has earned herself in the city.

“That was my chemist you defeated,” comes a voice from the exit. It doesn’t alarm her, exactly. She knows that felling one of them comes with a good chance of punishment – not all of them could be trusted to be honourable.

So she looks up, unafraid and unapologetic. And silent. Always silent. The curve of his brow and the stillicide quality of his eyes are instantly recognisable. The air in her chest, still jittery and warm from the excitement of the arena, at once coldly solidifies.

“He worked with me onboard the IKS
Kel’Tok. It is a science vessel.” He steps in, light gleaming dully off his minimal armour. Perhaps that explains his eyes. Perhaps he is more scientist than warrior. “Thanks to you, he will not be able to serve for some time.”

She blinks. Even that feels like too much movement.

“But I never did care for his attitude.” He smiles, and lifts a PADD she failed to notice in his hand. “Imvi kol-Doval. You have worked with bilitrium for a number of years, I see.” He looks at her again. “Do you wish to die in the arena?”

There is something he knows that she doesn’t, and it’s why she can’t follow his rapidly shifting subjects. Nonetheless, she raises her chin to a proud angle previously unattempted. That could be all, but, for an unknown reason, she decides to speak, and her own voice sounds peculiar to her. “It’s better than working in the mines.”

He laughs. She feels uncomfortable, unmet with the expected sharpness in it.

“I think even a position as an apprenticing chemist is favourable to that.”

She does this because it reminds her that this life of hers was saved. It is easy to forget in the science labs of the Enterprise where she and the other astrochemists work quietly. It is easier to forget each time they disenchant a new wonder of space, and her apathy grows to a debilitating girth. And it is easiest, always, to forget when she spars in the ship gymnasium with other young officers, and lets them win and is mindful not to bruise them, because to display anything else would not be understood. She is not Koltaari. She is not Klingon. At best, she is Imvi kol-Doval, a woman with a hollow name.

He clutches at her, at her arms, his grip loosening a little when he encounters the disruptively hewn scars there. Aggravated, she presses into him harder, breaks his skin with her teeth, and he has no choice but to grab at her painfully and bruise her. It’s all she wants, it’s all she needs, and as her eyes squeeze shut and the illusion she’s created takes full form with her fever, she cries out Qurn’s name – only once, but it echoes in her head with no small hint of self-loathing.



note: the koltaari are a non-canon creation. in the prime universe, the koltaari are a technologically advanced but prewarp race, with no contact with the federation prior to the twenty-fourth century. with the events that lead to the xi timeline, the koltaari instead develop warp technology in order to ally their planet with others and guard against the invasion of the klingon empire, who treat koltaari space as a testing ground of sorts for technology pilfered from the narada and information extracted from her crew at rura penthe.
Tags: challenge: various, character: imvi kol-doval, fandom: star trek xi, genre: drama, genre: smut, length: one-shot, pairing: het, pairing: none, rating: r
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Very, very well done. I had never heard of the Koltaari before, and so was glad of the link though in truth, you really conveyed all we needed to know in this story. I was fascinated by this woman's journey, her rejection of self-identity and her denial of other's identity all in reaction to her past. A sad and yet very understandable reaction, really. Thanks for sharing this.
Thank you very much for reading it! ♥
I am awed by this story. How can it be less than 3000 words, when I've read whole novels with less characterization, vivid description, worldbuilding and complexity?
I was actually super nervous putting it up because A) I admire all the writers (including you!) at where_no_woman so much, and B) I haven't made a concentrated effort to write fiction since August of last year. So thank you, that really, really means a lot! ♥

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Aw, thank you so much, Kat! ♥ It's why I should probably play her more. >>
Fascinating, intense characterization and world-building. I am awed by what you've achieved in such a (relatively) small space. Wonderful work!
Thank you very much! ♥
Fascinating take on the character!
you already know how awesome i think this is, but i wanted to leave a (belated) comment anyway. you've created such a complex character out of someone who was only on screen for a few seconds and this story is so vivid and tells so much about her in a short span of words. fantastic. ♥