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 To Weaken the Hinges of the Enemy's Fort (Nom/Viqi) [cmplt] 

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Title: To Weaken the Hinges of the Enemy’s Fort
Rating: PG
Genere: Drama, implied romance, other.
Summary: Upon returning to her new offices after a heated sentate meeting, Viqi Shesh finds out that the very people she has been trying to contact, have come to her.

Authors note: Apologies in advance for the slight brain-breakage you may suffer in reading my fic. Rated very PG.
Inspiration came to me for this little fic after getting stuck somewhere with someone very annoying. That’s where the similarities end Wink
This was originally a two part story, but I have merged the two chapters as a revised version.
Viqi Shesh / Nom Anor

Bruk Tukken nom Canbin-tu – To Weaken the Hinges of the Enemy’s Fort.

Nom Anor, Executor of the Yuuzhan Vong, stared out of the tall transparasteel windows into the traffic strewn airways of Coruscant’s night sky. An expression of bewilderment beset his features.
For all his time spent in this galaxy, it never ceased to confuse him how untouchable the infidels considered their ‘grand’ capital.
The Yuuzhan Vong invasion was beginning to pick up momentum now, and with the arrival of Warmaster Tsavong Lah, this would only perpetuate further. Like a bolt of molten plasma continuously picking up speed, he thought idly to himself.

Before him, standing behind an overly ornate – and quite grotesque – desk, stood the infidel female, Viqi Shesh. A truly despicable example of a human, who’s face bore such an symmetry to it, Nom Anor noted had she lost that ridiculous nose and gained a few festering wounds, she could perhaps be passed off as a shamed one.

He had come here, to her new private offices in upper class Coruscant, in the guise of Pedric Cuf – a supposed defector not unlike Shesh herself – to strike up a deal regarding information that this senator might be willing to aid the Yuuzhan Vong on a more permanent basis. She would have no idea who she was conversing with of course, though Nom Anor suspected she already knew with ‘what’.
His suspicions had been readily confirmed when the Kuati senator had commented on his choice in suit.

“Yes, fits me like a glove, wouldn’t you say? Masks all my imperfections…” he had responded with renewed interest.

Negotiations had not gone too well up to this point, Shesh had denied having any sort of hand in the Elan affair – during which a plan had been hatched by none other than himself and another, to secrete a faux defector in the new republic. An attempt to assassinate the Jedi no less.
Nom Anor was all too familiar with the workings of the political mind, and had opted for playing the injured party – much to his sickened disgust.
Now the discussion had progressed into how they could indeed conduct business together, with Shesh conceding that she had always preferred it to politics. Nom Anor could only agree with that little statement and Shesh would no doubt be rewarded for her efforts. That, however, depended entirely on how well such efforts were put to use.

It was decided upon, with little hesitation he might add, that Viqi Shesh would serve as their eyes and ears in the New Republic senate. Her job and title got her into many places that a Yuuzhan Vong infiltrator would find near impossible to get to.
Even infidels had their uses.
He quashed that thought in the blink of his one good eye. He had so despised remaining in this galaxy initially, that he had been concerned that his time here would taint him. Perhaps it already had?

Business concluded a little later than he had hoped for, with an arrangement to make contact a full 48 hours later.

Senator Viqi Shesh rose elegantly from the chair she had been seated in, her elaborately stylish robes falling in an arrangement that flattered her otherwise gaunt and severe features.
Rounding the desk, she crossed the container littered space between herself and Pedric Cuf. She regretted that she was still in the final stages of a move from a less desirable office. Hardly a time to be receiving such…unusual a guest.
But things were looking up for Viqi Shesh, and if she played her hand right, incredibly so.

At such close proximity, the Kuati senator found herself analysing Cuf’s visage as if to find flaws in that all too human face.
Or was it? Subtle differences in the set of such a defined jaw and cheekbone structure, unmistakably different in an unexplainable way. He was tall, though not to the extremes she had heard in reports of other Yuuzhan Vong, well styled and he spoke with an accent that had an undeniable hint of core accented basic.
This was no mere go between she thought as she continued to place him within the sights of her analytical stare.

A slight motion from one of his hands, sent her gaze flittering downwards. In one hand, he held what she could only discern as being a thermal detonator sized blob. The surface of the object – so clearly alive- was leathery in texture and coloured a dull, organic brown.
Viqi Shesh had indeed seen these biots before, they were villips, the Yuuzhan Vong equivalent of a comm. Though she had never encountered one in the flesh, she had gleaned enough information from a few scant sources to know how one went about utilizing one of these…things.

“We will contact you,” Pedric Cuf was saying, “Until then, no word of this passes between us.” There was no leeway in this one’s statements, it betrayed a sense of power behind the notion of non negotiation. And that sent a shiver up Viqi’s spine.
A shiver she had grown accustomed to throughout her adult life.

He placed the villip in her palm, his skin surprisingly warm to the touch. Something which she had, for some reason, not expected.
And he had noticed the look of surprise in her eyes, despite her best efforts to conceal it

“The Ooglith masquer, it is a living biot that feeds off both the secretions of its host and more so on the particles in the air around it. It is quite literally a second skin.” Cuf furnished somewhat poetically.

The Kuati senator refrained from asking exactly how the creature attached it’s self to its host, she was more than certain she would find that out soon enough.
“Interesting, though you must forgive my naivety, the knowledge among the new republic is still somewhat in its infancy when it comes to your biotechnology.” She returned.

Nom Anor smiled ever so slightly, feeling the masquer move with the motion, tugging at the corners of his mouth. So eager was this one, did she not know she supplied him with scant facts even now? But of course she did, she may have been an infidel but he had spent enough time among their kind to know their ways.
She was effectively his equal in terms of the jobs they were born to do, but Nom Anor would never have directly voiced as much, she was still only an infidel. Perhaps they were not too dissimilar in their own personal quests for power either. The main difference being that Shesh would not succeed in hers.

“I am certain that in the cycles to follow that you will be – how do you say? “ He paused, searching for the correct saying, before adding, “ Brought up to speed on such relevant subjects.”

This seemed to satisfy the human female enough for her to conceal the anamorphous blob within the folds of her own elegant robes, then motion with one hand toward the exit.
“I will accompany you to the main lobby, I am sure you could not fail to notice the small gathering of holonet reporters? My speech caused quite a stir, it is a wonder you made your way here unhindered –“

“-I have my ways” Nom Anor interjected, causing an almost sarcastic smirk to form on the lips of Viqi Shesh,

“Yes, I am sure you do.” She paused for barely a heartbeat, changing the subject soon after,
“My appearance will distract them long enough for you to slip away relatively unseen, unhindered.”

How thoughtful of you, the executor thought condescendingly, but he refrained from voicing those particular thoughts. He considered himself somewhat of an expert on such situations, and he knew all too well that their arrangement could still hang in the balance.
But, banter was her forte, if her self confessed stirring speech was anything to go by.

“If you consider that wise,” he responded at last, playing along with her little game a while longer, “Lead the way.”

With little more than a word to the secretary, who waited outside, the Kuati senator lead her new associate toward the turbolift. It, like everything else in this building seemed to be, was overly extravagant.
Nom Anor waited, regarding the mode-thing structure with a deep rooted and festering disdain. He did more than regret that he must use such mechanized blasphemies – especially considering the work he had done in ‘preparing’ the battle field. The executor preferred to describe it as, sewing the seeds of destruction beneath the feet of the very infidels he had secreted himself among.
For 20 years he had been in this galaxy, and the time for his elevation was long since overdue!

If he could but prove his worth again, the Warmaster may perhaps learn to forget his involvement in the incidents at Helska 4 and with the faux defector, Elan.
Indeed, word had not escaped his scrupulous attention, that Elan’s father, none other than High Priest Jakan, was more than displeased at hearing her death had been as a result of another of Nom Anor’s ill fated plans.

An almost sickly sounding chime sounded in the lobby, indicating that the turbolift car had arrived. Its melodic sound firmly snapped the executor from his disturbing thoughts of what fate awaited him if he failed yet again.
Senator Viqi Shesh looked perplexingly pleased when he had motioned for her to go first – another strange infidel custom- when really he had asked her to do so for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, so he could be sure he would not find a blaster pointed at his back, and secondly…he was not entirely sure. Something had changed in the senator’s manner, her tone and her body language. When she had cast that dark eyed gaze back over her shoulder…
Nom Anor resisted the urge to frown, it did not matter so long as she kept to her side of the arrangement. She was his to deal with for now – though she might think otherwise- and he had never paid dues to a subordinate’s quirks before now. Never would he, especially if that subordinate was a mere infidel.

He stepped into the lift and the doors closed about them, sealing out the hum and conversations emanating from the reception area. More poignantly sealing them in.

The car was completely transparent on three sides, allowing the occupants spectacular views of the Coruscant skyline. Lanes of speeder traffic blurred into a flurry of fluorescent light, the night sky barely visible for all the artificial light that assaulted it. A sight that Nom Anor suspected was more suited to infidel tastes than his own.

Apparently confident that they were alone and that there were no listening devices secreted within the walls, Viqi Shesh leaned back against the hand-rail that ran around the edge of the transparasteel walls. She tiredly mussed up her own dark hair, perhaps in some attempt to relieve tension – it had been, after all, quite a long day.
“I believe that we have established that this – “ she motioned towards him appreciating “-is not the real you, I am intrigued to know exactly how these mask….”

“-Ooglith Masquers,” Cuf had interjected

“-Yes…how do they work, exactly?”

Nom Anor studied the question inwardly at first, before selecting an appropriate answer at will. One that would give the Kuati aristocrat enough of the information she sought, without giving her the answer she desired.
“It is a rather simple yet effective and exquisite technique, my agents will be certain to demonstrate it to you before supplying you with your own.” He replied.

A look of minor triumph glittered in Viqi’s eyes, this Pedric Cuf was no mere messenger, others answered to his call then. He held power over others, question was, just how much?

“Is there any pain involved?” She queried curiously.
Cuf steepled his fingers, his voice gaining a slight accented edge to it as he responded to her question,
“Of course, that is why it is simple yet, exquisite.”
Shesh nodded once, but was apparently dissatisfied,

“Would there be any chance per say, or a pre-demonstration?”


Shesh seemed to recoil at the blunt response, both eyes widening for a second, but not out of fear. Good, it would have been a most irksome trait. When next Nom Anor turned his gaze to her, she had once again taken up a slightly over confident, but provocative pose against the guard rail. Her over-robe was made of schiffon-esque material, designed to show off and accentuate the complementing garments beneath. This consisted of a long flowing dress of dusky-purple shimmersilk, low cut enough at the front to display the slight rise and fall of her chest as she took measured breaths. Upon one side of the garment, a slit that travelled up to just short of upper-thigh level.

Nom Anor supposed that this was what infidel males might find attractive.
Indeed, if she broke that hideously symmetrical nose out of alignment and acquired a few useful coral implants, perhaps even he could learn to appreciate the view. Perhaps.
As it was though, even the slight pout she wore as she spoke filled him with revulsion enough to want to send her from his sight, until she had gained a few more scars. Honourably or not.

“I see you are wise to my intentions then?” She spoke almost sounding amused. “You must be well versed in the consular arts.”

He tensed noticeably. The plaeryin bol in his left eye socket twitched perceptively in anticipation.
“You would do well to remember your – “
A screech of cables and brakes, followed by a tremendous jolt from the lift car coming to an abrupt, grinding halt, cut him off mid threat.
Someone shrieked in fright, and it was most certainly not Nom Anor.
The artificial lights flickered ominously before suddenly plunging the car into a sparked darkness.
After several awkward moments of silence, the executor was the first to speak.
“If this is some form of a trick engineered by you, I’ll – “

“You think I did this?!” Shesh exclaimed, now wildly hammering at the control panel with one hand in an attempt to coax life into it. The panel responded in kind with a flurry of short sharp sparks which caused the senator to jump back as the smell of burnt solder filled the air.

“A little convenient is it not?” He was quick to reply, paying no notice to the cowardly actions playing out before him.

“I assure you, if I was going to try anything, I would not place myself in the thick of it!” she said, a slight edge of mock-hurt to her voice.

Nom Anor smiled incredulously, “I did not get that impression before,” he quipped over the sound of her resumed frantic switch pushing.
Infidels and their technological monstrosities! This would never have happened aboard a Yuuzhan Vong worldship.
If it had, the shaper responsible would have met a grisly end.

Senator Shesh issued a short sharp sigh,
“Power short, we will have to wait for the alarm to be answered…and this being a new building.” She left the rest unsaid, unlike him,

“We could be stuck here for hours!” He hissed, clearly annoyed at the prospect. Strangely, this did not seem to bother the Kuati Senator much at all. What was her game?

Eyes adjusting to the dim light – cast by the flow of night traffic – they regarded each other for a moment or two. She had seen holos of masked Yuuzhan Vong before, but never in the flesh and never up so close.
She told herself that she could identify them, if only by their tall and gaunt appearance alone. But truthfully, she would not have given Pedric Cuf a second glance if it were not for one thing. The power he seemed to display an inkling of holding in his grasp. Regardless of how the situation had gone, one thing had remained clear throughout, he was in charge here.
There was little more alluring to her than power, and these Yuuzhan Vong appeared to have it in droves.
Times were changing, even Viqi Shesh would need to adapt. She eyed him again dubiously,
Adapt? Yes, she could live with that.
Truth be told, she was not accustomed to being told what to do, and especially not by a male of any species. This by no means meant she would not endeavour to please her new acquaintances with her work, supply them with the information they desired. As she desired much in return.

Talk of suitable rewards had been scant, only mentioned in brief when they had conducted business together earlier. As a politician, business and pleasure could often be mixed, if one knew how to go about it the right way. Shesh saw not, why now should be any different.

A spark of amusing inspiration struck the Kuati woman like a flare streaking the night. Making the best of a bad situation would not always come easy, but it seemed like a fantastic way to spend her time before tedium or tension got to either of them first.

“I believe,” She began, voice lowering to a level and tone that most men seemed to take interest in, “you were about to tell me my place?”
The comment sounded innocent enough in pitch, but the question? So blatantly otherwise. Viqi had also taken care to readopt the rather provocative pose she had taken up before their minor mishap here. Though this time, she leaned in towards Cuf.
The threat of death was not overlooked by her meticulous thought processes, of course. That was what made this all the more exciting, that and she had never been refused in the past.

Pedric Cuf deigned to narrow his eyes slightly with what she could only assume was distrust. She allowed no hint of her amusement to show it’s self in her expression, no hint of a smile laced with satisfaction to play across her lips when she caught him, eyes wandering over her lithe form.

Viqi did, however, lean back slightly, propping one leg back, foot pressed flat to the wall for balance – as if to get a better view for herself. In doing so, the shimmersilk fabric of her dress, slid effortlessly away from her thigh, revealing the smooth, unmarred flesh the fabric had concealed.
Nom Anor’s gaze snapped up to meet her’s in an instant, and he quirked an eyebrow in question.

The Kuati senator appeared to take this as her cue, “Your superiors suggested that we became better acquainted, did they not?” She purred seductively, “I can think of a few ways we could do so, I would hate to disappoint them…wouldn’t you?”

This was like a scene from one of those abominably awful holo movies that the infidels sought to saturate their filth laden minds with. What was she thinking? He didn’t know weather to openly express his outrage or to simply laugh aloud.
And then again, Nom Anor was almost certain he knew the answer to his previous question. Sleeping your way to gain favour and rank was a favoured practice among some of his own kind. The intendant caste was rife with such practices, and while he professed he would use almost any means necessary to gain all he aimed for, even Nom Anor had his limits. The very thought that this simpering infidel would try such a tactic on him and expect it to work was an insult beyond means of explanation!

Still, this was an opportunity that had presented it’s self here, he made no mistake there. If she wished to walk a vine above a maw lurr, he would indulge her for a while. A short while.
Leaning back onto the ball of each heel, expression one of idle wonder, he allowed his gaze to travel over her contours once more.
All too readily he offered his response, “ Indeed? And what, prey tell, did you have in mind?”
While Nom Anor’s tone of voice may have been unreadable, the look in his eye and his posture spoke volumes. At least, that was what Viqi Shesh thought.

Shesh’s eyes had narrowed then, barely perceptively, but Nom Anor had seen no ill intent in that gaze. Even as he closed the gap between them in one easy stride, he didn’t so much as see a flicker of change in those dark eyes of hers.
Mere centimetres must have separated them now and he was certain he could feel the heated anticipation almost roll off her in waves with every measured breath she took.
Nom Anor derived some mild amusement from what she must have been thinking was another successful plan.

“Beg my pardon for saying so, but I think you know exactly what I have in mind.”

He allowed her words to fall from her mouth, feeling her breath fall onto the outer skin of his ooglith masquer, for he had no lips of his own to speak of.
Leaning in toward her, he barely saw her tilt her head for reasons only she suspected were true. But he bypassed her lips, his masquers own stopping within a hairs breadth of her ear, into which he whispered –
“You may beg for nothing.”

Gone was the mild manner in which he had spoken seconds earlier, replaced by a rasping harshness that was so alien to her, she would have recoiled if she had been given the chance.
Viqi’s eyes went wide, but the look of surprise went unseen by Nom Anor’s singular true eye. She made as if to speak, but the executor had no desire to hear what wretched babble she would concoct. Instead, he grasped her right forearm, spinning the Kuati Senator around, face first against the transparasteel walls, capturing her arm in a vice-like tnsarii hold.

Pain blossomed in her shoulder joint and curled up her spine with hot precision, and through blurred vision, she could only just about see his reflection in the double-plated, glassy surface of the lift car wall. His right eye burned brightly with rage, his face set in a permanent sneer.
His voice came harsher than last time as he twisted her arm at an almost impossible angle, no doubt trying to press his point.
“Discussion over, infidel!”

He released her then, stepping back and away from her disgusting form – as if he had not been tainted enough already.
Resuming his position, back turned insultingly to her, he ignored her nursing her discomfort, treating it with the contempt it deserved
Wisely, Shesh chose to remain where she was in silence, a brooding frown knitting her pencil thin eyebrows.
It would not do to mention this little incident to the warmaster, Nom Anor thought, his virulent temper and fanatical rage would only see her dead within seconds, if the two ever met. Never mind what it would do to his already tarnished reputation.
Good insiders were hard to come by.
She was, irritably so, more useful to the Yuuzhan Vong, alive for now.

Approximately one standard hour later, saw the engineers fix the technical issues that had caused the turbolift to stall as it had, and the lift made a gentle, safe descent.
Sickly melodical chimes indicated their arrival, and as the doors whooshed open,

Nom Anor was quick to offer Viqi Shesh some parting words.
Façade firmly in place, he uttered,
“I will contact you soon senator, it’s been a pleasure.” His voice, though mostly lost among the noise of the crowd outside, was all too pleasant.

Shesh returned his warm, but oh so false smile with one of her own,
“I look forward to it.” She responded coolly.

Arm aching in painful sympathy, she strode from the lift car as elegantly as she could manage, breezing past him with an air of superiority about her,
“ Now if you will excuse me, I have matters to attend to.”

He watched her go, holonet news reporters hurrying after her in hope of catching a quick word for their evening reports.
Confident that he had made his point, he wasted no time in exiting the building also.
It always was wise to nip these irritating issues in the bud.

"You can run, but you'll only die tired."
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