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datatime: 2022-09-29 21:34:02 Author:YFBXINFN

You all right, Brett?she said, without looking around

The Spider Harps let their hands fall away from the neuron-studded strands, and the music stopped, though the echoes seemed to linger unnaturally long on the still air. Brett slowly took his hands away from his ears. There were smears of blood on his palms. Rose hauled him to his feet again with one hand, while still keeping her disrupter carefully trained on her target

I don't know. My head hurts. Makes a change. Didn't that music do anything to you?

Brett finally broke. He turned and ran, plunging back through the tunnel in the webbing, past the great open door, and out into the corridor beyond. Rose backed slowly out, holding her disrupter on the Spider Harps all the way. But even after they'd both left that room, that chamber, that living Hell, even after the door had slammed shut again, the dry rustling laughter of the Spider Harps followed Brett and Rose all the way to the surface

Hellfire Club meetings always began with an orgy. Satisfy the body and its appetites, to clear the mind. Indulge your every need and whim, so that the mind is free to concentrate on other matters. So that the subtler joys of plotting and treason are not overshadowed by the more immediate pleasures of the flesh. The devils of the Hellfire Club made it a point of principle to deny themselves nothing

Hellfire Club meetings always began with an orgy. Satisfy the body and its appetites, to clear the mind. Indulge your every need and whim, so that the mind is free to concentrate on other matters. So that the subtler joys of plotting and treason are not overshadowed by the more immediate pleasures of the flesh. The devils of the Hellfire Club made it a point of principle to deny themselves nothing

We agree. Tell your master that the ELFs will work with the Durandal, on this occasion, to destroy the Paragons once and for all You may leave now. But do come again. Your minds fascinate us. We can't wait to get our teeth into them

You both have very interesting minds, said one of the Spider Harps, or perhaps both, unmoved either by Brett's threat or the gun in Rose's hand. You have strong shields, Brett Random. And we can't make sense of you at all, Rose Constantine. You're just too . . . different. We had planned to possess you both, make you ours, take the Durandal's location from your minds, and then ride you back to him, and have you kill him slowly. For our pleasure. But since that isn't possible, we will hear your proposal What do you have to offer us?

Figures. Bless the Lord for his small mercies and pass the ammunition.Brett glared at the Spider Harps.I ought to let her shoot you.

You all right, Brett?she said, without looking around

You both have very interesting minds, said one of the Spider Harps, or perhaps both, unmoved either by Brett's threat or the gun in Rose's hand. You have strong shields, Brett Random. And we can't make sense of you at all, Rose Constantine. You're just too . . . different. We had planned to possess you both, make you ours, take the Durandal's location from your minds, and then ride you back to him, and have you kill him slowly. For our pleasure. But since that isn't possible, we will hear your proposal What do you have to offer us?

Figures. Bless the Lord for his small mercies and pass the ammunition.Brett glared at the Spider Harps.I ought to let her shoot you.

Luckily, these days Markham was such an established Member of Parliament that he only needed to make the occasional personal appearance, for the most important of debates. The rest of the time a low-level AI ran his holo for him, and took notes for his staff to study later. They took care of the day-to-day business. That was what staff was for. Attending Hellfire Club meetings messed him about more than most, though, because the Club's inner circle insisted on deciding a new location for every get-together, announced only hours in advance, thus protecting themselves from gatecrashers and infiltrators

Hellfire Club meetings always began with an orgy. Satisfy the body and its appetites, to clear the mind. Indulge your every need and whim, so that the mind is free to concentrate on other matters. So that the subtler joys of plotting and treason are not overshadowed by the more immediate pleasures of the flesh. The devils of the Hellfire Club made it a point of principle to deny themselves nothing

You both have very interesting minds, said one of the Spider Harps, or perhaps both, unmoved either by Brett's threat or the gun in Rose's hand. You have strong shields, Brett Random. And we can't make sense of you at all, Rose Constantine. You're just too . . . different. We had planned to possess you both, make you ours, take the Durandal's location from your minds, and then ride you back to him, and have you kill him slowly. For our pleasure. But since that isn't possible, we will hear your proposal What do you have to offer us?

Afterwards, they all lay nakedly together, sitting or reclining as the sweat cooled and their breathing slowed, while the more subservient members moved among them with refreshing drinks and the more obscure and unpleasant forms of finger food; smiling happily as they were beaten and abused. The hundred or so members of the Hellfire Club who'd been able to make it to this meeting had gathered together to consider the troublesome matter of Finn Durandal. It promised to be a long meeting, but then, they always were. Everyone was determined to be heard. Tel Markham lay stretched out with his head cradled on an accommodating belly, and looked thoughtfully about him

The Spider Harps let their hands fall away from the neuron-studded strands, and the music stopped, though the echoes seemed to linger unnaturally long on the still air. Brett slowly took his hands away from his ears. There were smears of blood on his palms. Rose hauled him to his feet again with one hand, while still keeping her disrupter carefully trained on her target

Brett finally broke. He turned and ran, plunging back through the tunnel in the webbing, past the great open door, and out into the corridor beyond. Rose backed slowly out, holding her disrupter on the Spider Harps all the way. But even after they'd both left that room, that chamber, that living Hell, even after the door had slammed shut again, the dry rustling laughter of the Spider Harps followed Brett and Rose all the way to the surface

Brett told them. There was a long pause, and then there was a new sound in the chamber, a ragged sighing. The Spider Harps were laughing

Why the corpses?Rose said to the Spider Harps, with her customary bluntness

Brett finally broke. He turned and ran, plunging back through the tunnel in the webbing, past the great open door, and out into the corridor beyond. Rose backed slowly out, holding her disrupter on the Spider Harps all the way. But even after they'd both left that room, that chamber, that living Hell, even after the door had slammed shut again, the dry rustling laughter of the Spider Harps followed Brett and Rose all the way to the surface

The two figures slowly raised their outer arms, with loud creaking noises, until their long bony fingers could reach the delicate strands fruiting from their opened heads. And then they plucked at the taut strands of the webbing, and note after perfect note rang in the underground cavern, forming an awful, entirely inhuman music, played on the outgrowths of centuries-old minds. Brett slapped both his hands to his ears to keep the terrible music out, but the sound invaded his mind, harsh and strident and full of terrible significances. Brett dropped to his knees, his eyes squeezed tightly shut. He tried to shout something, but his voice wouldn't work. It was too small, too human, too sane. Rose moved in beside him, put a comforting hand on his shoulder, lifted her disrupter and pointed it directly at the head of the figure on the left

I don't know. My head hurts. Makes a change. Didn't that music do anything to you?

Afterwards, they all lay nakedly together, sitting or reclining as the sweat cooled and their breathing slowed, while the more subservient members moved among them with refreshing drinks and the more obscure and unpleasant forms of finger food; smiling happily as they were beaten and abused. The hundred or so members of the Hellfire Club who'd been able to make it to this meeting had gathered together to consider the troublesome matter of Finn Durandal. It promised to be a long meeting, but then, they always were. Everyone was determined to be heard. Tel Markham lay stretched out with his head cradled on an accommodating belly, and looked thoughtfully about him

Rose shrugged.I've never understood music

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