sci-fi

Disclaimer: All right, this story is not real. NOT REAL! Not to be read by anyone under the age of 18/21 yadda yadda yadda! I’d love to hear some feedback as per usual. please feel free to leave me a comment in the COMMENT Box at the end of the page. You see those big empty stars too? Maybe bump those up to five full ones? We wouldn’t want them to be empty now would we? All alone like that? You’re not a monster are you?



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Newly appointed Captain, Amanda Thatcher surveyed her new vessel the U.S.S. Starjumper from the docking window of Deep Space Nine, a Cardassian space station now occupied by the federation. She had seen the diagrams forwarded to her by Starfleet command but there was nothing quite like seeing it first hand.



She let out a heavy sigh and folded her arms, only to unfold them again.



She was nervous.



This always happened when she was assigned to a new ship. The warp nacelle at the back of the ship whirred to life and was coloured with blue and red as the teams prepared to beam aboard civilians and their belongings.



It was a smaller ship, a Dakota class, rather than the two standard nacelles it had four thinner nacelles compared to the standard Excalibur class, a ship she had previously served on. The hull and saucer section were one and the same in the ship of a capital ‘D’. Looking at the side, it hadn’t struck her before but the bottom pair of nacelle were actually in front of the top two and were partly protected by the hull.



She had received a commendation as Captain after she took control of the U.S.S. Hastings, an Oslo-class Escort in a tangle with some rouge Gorn.



Thinking back to that dark day, the Captain had beamed over to personally aid the Gorn after they had engaged some Romulans. It turns out that the entire thing was a trap concocted by a disgraced Klingon general and his Reman ally. He had only just let out a warning before he, and the away team was killed. She had raised the shields and fought off the Gorn ship.



She had been summoned to Vice Admiral Norton’s office on Starbase 64 and was then promoted to Captain along with the Christopher Pike medal. To say she was overwhelmed would have been an understatement.



She smiled at the thought of how lost she was back then and now she had her own ship. Running a hand through her short golden hair, she was about to turn when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Looking over at the hand, she saw it was her Commander, Zorah.



He was a muscular Andorian standing at a mean six foot five, he hadn’t shaven and was sporting a goatee that wrapped neatly around his mouth.



“Captain.” He said with a goofy smile.



“Hello Zorah.” She replied, extending a hand. He shook it warmly as they exchanged pleasantries. His hair was combed backwards, giving it a spiky look. Zorah was clad in the newest uniform styling with the grey shoulder pads, a black base and the department appropriate colouring under shirt. As Zorah was Commander and second in command, his under shirt was red, the same as Thatcher’s.



“How’s the loading going?” She asked as they walked along the catwalk towards the cargo and personnel elevator.



“Good. All of the families are on board and now the crew are getting on. All the equipment’s good and our chief engineer is just running a few diagnostics.”



“Good, good. We’ll have to say our goodbyes to Kira and the team here. They’ve been very hospitable.”



“Indeed. Promenade.” Zorah said out loud, as the elevator whirred to life and brought them down one level. As they stepped out, Zorah quickly turned on one heel and was about to leave when Thatcher tugged on his arm.



“Commander Zorah! What’s the matter with you?”



“Nothing sir, it’s just… Oh by the spirits she’s seen me…”



With that a glass tore through the air, narrowly missing Zorah and Thatcher, smashing into a thousand pieces against the gun metal grey wall. Turning to see who the hell threw it, Thatcher was greeted with Zorah getting a slap in the face.



“You ungrateful son of a!” It was a shorter Bajoran woman with long brown hair that wrapped around her neck and rested on her right shoulder. She slapped him again and then rained down blows until Thatcher pulled her off.



“Easy now!” Thatcher warned as the Bajoran huffed and tossed her hair back. “And just who are you? His latest victory?”



“His Captain. Now can you explain yourself?”



“Oh it’s easy. This guy comes into Quarks last night and starts crying. I ask him what’s wrong and he says he’s dying!”



“Zorah?” Thatcher said, turning to face the blue skinned, white haired Commander.



“Don’t let him deny it! He said he was dying and only had a few more weeks to live! So I feel sorry for him and take him back to my quarters then… Well…”



Last night…



Zorah was tugged through the door by Rano Drake, a Bajoran waitress who was wearing very little. She tugged at her hair and it fell loose running over her shoulders. She looked like a Goddess as she pushed Zorah to her bed. Unzipping the top, she drew it over her sexy figure to reveal her… What was the human word for them? Breasts, that was it. He had always had trouble remembering human words as was the problem with being an Andorian. Their words were long and troublesome so everything had to be shortened. He had always believed that if something was worth saying it was appropriate to call it by the correct name. But that was neither here nor there, he was about to have sex.



Rano’s breasts were a sizeable 34C, ripe for sucking as she climbed onto his lap. Zorah sat up and took the left breast into his mouth, sucking on the skin, flicking his tongue against her hardening nub.



Rano moaned aloud as she hooked her legs around his waist and put her hands on his shoulders. Leaning back, she moaned to the sky, as he ran his hands up and down her back, admiring her soft skin. Swapping to her right breast, Zorah left the faintest saliva trail as he tasted her other mountain.



All the while, she had been grinding her lap on his and his penis had been hardening… Or rather his ‘dick’ had been hardening as one of the human ensigns had taught him. Breaking his lip lock with her tits, they shared a kiss as her hands worked their magic. Undoing his shirt and pants, she had reached inside and exposed his member to the room. It stood at seven inches tall and was proportionatly thick.



Moaning into the kiss, Rano stroked his shaft up and down, the skin creased and straightened as she tugged at it. Reaching down, she parted her lower lips and let the shaft invade her. It pushed past her lips and went deep inside her making both lovers moan with happiness. Lifting herself upwards, she let herself drop again taking all of his dick.



“Oh! You’re so big!” She moaned, complimenting him on his size. Zorah had enough sexual encounters to know that she wasn’t lying. Smiling to himself, he wrapped his arms around her back and pulled her down so she was lying on the bed. Taking control, he started to fuck her at a more steady rate. Sliding his shaft in and out of her, he put one hand over her to steady himself and used the other to play with her tits.



Zorah grunted at how tight her vaginal walls felt. They squeezed at his dick with each thrust, pulsing with life as they were together. He aimed to mix his thrusts, taking long strokes to completely fill her, then switching to short, swift stabs making her moan accordingly.



They kissed again, his hand removed from her breast and now cupping her chin, holding it upwards. Their tongues wrestled together as the sound of skin-on-skin action filled the room. His blue ball sac slapped against her toned, tight ass cheeks as they fucked.



Breaking the kiss slowly, they stared into each others eyes. Zorah leant in and playfully kissed her nose’s ridges, which made her giggle playfully. She ran her hands through his hair and eventually past his two antenna which bobbed as she brushed past them. This caused Zorah to laugh, the antenna were a particularly ticklish part to him and it always made him laugh.



“Sorry, I’m ticklish there.” He said, almost bashfully.



“It’s fine… Let me go on top now.” Rano breathed sexily. Unhooking her legs, she regretfully pulled out and let him roll over. Sitting down on his lap again, she parted her lips and slowly teased him. Running the dick over her exposed flesh before slowly letting it enter her again.



“Oh…” She moaned, her voice climbed higher as she was invaded again. She smiled as Zorah put his hands on her breasts and squeezed them. Zorah sat up and sucked on the nipples, pushing the two spongy masses together. Flicking his tongue over the nubs, he playfully moved them together, making the two nubs rub up against each other, which in turn made Rano moan.



Rano wrapped her arms around his head and pulled him closer to her cleavage. She started to pant more and more as sweat poured off the both of them. She ran her forearm across her head, to wipe away the stinging liquid. She let her head fall back as she moaned to the sky. Her liquids ran from her vagina and onto his legs as she orgasmed all over him.



Smiling to himself, Zorah decided to push the boundaries.



“Can I go in your rear?” He asked, referring to Rano’s ass.



“Oh… Oh my yes!” She panted, coming down from the high.



Resisting the urge to punch the sky in excitement, Zorah nodded and removed himself from her ‘pussy’ as the human’s call it. He was ready to place himself behind her, when she simply lay on her back and fell backwards even further so her legs were up by her head and exposed her extra hole.



Crooking an eyebrow at the sight, he smiled and nodded. Sliding his slick shaft inside her, they both moaned at the tightness. He grunted and held her hand tightly as he fucked this hole as well. He shut his eyes as the skin tightened around him. Feeling the urge to cum as well, Zorah tried to think of something else but was out of luck.



His shaft spasmed and he unleashed his load deep inside her. Grunting as he came, they both let out curse words. Regretfully, he pulled at his shaft and let it come out of her. The hole closed up after him, as his cum dripped out onto the bed sheets.



Rano fell on the sheets, collapsing after the orgasm and high of sex.



“Are you going to stay the night?” She asked as Zorah lay next to her.



“I should get back soon… My carer will wonder where I am.” He said reluctantly. “I’m going to Vulcan tomorrow to see what can be done about my condition.”



“Right… I really enjoyed this. If… No, when you get better, come and find me. Rano Drake, I’m a waitress at Quark’s. If you can’t find me, ask Morn.”



“If I can get a word in that is.” Zorah said with a smile, tugging on his clothing he stood up and walked over to the door. “Thank you Rano Drake. Waitress of Quark’s.” He smiled at her and left as she fell asleep.



Present Day…



“… I see…” Thatcher said. Letting it all sink in. “Do you intend to press charges?”



Rano thought about it for a second but quickly shook her head. “He’s not worth it!” With a huff, she tossed her hair over her shoulder and walked away.



“Well, I can promise you if that sort of thing happens again you will be dead. Are we understood?” Thatcher said sternly.



“Yes sir.”



“Alright. Let’s go and find Kira.”



After saying their goodbyes, Amanda Thatcher and Zorah Vashton Buckcherry stepped onto the tansporter pad to send them over to the ship.



“Energize.” Thatcher said with a warm smile. The blue light swarmed over the two commanding officers and soon their particles were taken away and rearranged into the shuttle bay of the U.S.S. Starjumper.



As they stepped forward, a young blonde ensign stepped forward and announced the captain was on deck. The entire crew was assembled in the shuttle bay and they stood to attention. Clearing her throat, Amanda stepped up to the microphone on the podium. “Captain Amanda Thatcher by order of Starfleet Command you are required to take command of the U.S.S. Starjumper. As of star date 56844.9 signed, Vice Admiral Norton. Thank you very much, now take your posts. We’re leaving in the hour.”



With that, the crew nodded and dispersed.



“Nicely done. Should we head to the bridge?” Zorah asked as they shared a quick smile.



“Absolutely. This way yes?” Thatcher asked, gesturing towards the left most corridor. Zorah nodded and they walked down the hall towards a turbo lift. Stepping inside, Amanda spoke and ordered the lift towards the bridge. Within seconds, the doors opened and they stepped out onto the bridge.



“Captain on the bridge!” A young ensign said, while working on her computer screen.



“Enough of that ensign. That’s not necessary with me.” Captain Thatcher said with a smile as she walked onto the elevated plateau for the Captain’s chair. The bridge itself was a wide room, it ran in a ‘V’ shape with it widening out at the front of the bridge. There was two tactical consoles at the very front, behind them and to the left side of the captain’s chair were four engineering stations and on the right of the captain’s chair was a science station.



Sitting down in the chair, Amanda smiled as she rested in the chair. Turning her head, she surveyed all of her bridge.



“Alright then… Are we ready?” Amanda said, turning to Zorah who was fumbling with the monitor in front of him.



“All stations report ready Sir.” Zorah said, looking up from the screen with a big smile.



“Very good. Helm, take us out. One quarter impulse… Engage.” She punctuated the engage with a point of her finger towards the screen. The tractor beam released from the Starjumper and they fell free from Deep Space Nine’s docking corridor. Turning away from the station, the male Vulcan Turock, the pilot of the ship slid the impulse bar up to one quarter full. The ship whirred with life and eventually they were free of the station and free to explore.



“Alright then. We’re required to enter a transwarp portal near Risa to take us through to the Gamma Quadrant. Helm, how long would that take at full impluse?”



“That would take us three days at full impulse.” Turock said, turning to face her. Amanda thought it over and nodded.



“Alright. Do it. “Zorah, you have the bridge.” Amanda said with a smile. Pushing herself up off of the chair, she walked over to the ready room at the side of the bridge. The doors slid open and she walked in. Admiring the room, it was a moderately sized room with her desk to the left most side of the room. Opposite the desk, there was a large cabinet that was currently empty. Peeking in, she saw that it was for her medals. Smiling, she opened it up and stroked the velvet-ey fabric coating the inside.



Walking over to her desk, she tugged at the seat and sat down. Drawing herself closer to the desk, she picked up an electronic pad that flashed to life. Looking at it, she smiled and saw both her and her best friend and the Doctor of the ship, Dijj Eetal Cam’Ra. She was a very beautiful Betazoid with long blonde hair that ran to the top of her back. It was a picture of them from the Starfleet Academy wearing their cadet’s uniforms, they had just passed their exams and were ready to go on their latest assignments.



Smiling, she put the pad down when there was someone at the door.



“Come in.” Amanda said aloud.



The doors wished open and in walked Dijj. She smiled warmly and shook Amanda’s hand greatly.



“Captain Thatcher eh?” She said with a big grin.



“Doctor Cam’Ra eh?” The Captain said, matching her grin.



“Please, have a seat.” Amanda said, gesturing to the seat opposite the desk.



The two old friends sat down and started to discuss the mission.



“So, what is the mission exactly? It’s something to do with the Gamma Quadrant isn’t it?”



“That’s right. With the newly assembled transwarp corridor we can be there in a manner of days rather than the years it would typically take. We’re going over there to assess the new planets over there and possibly colonise them. Also, engage any alien forces over there too.”



“Are we expecting any?”



“Well… A lot of factions are gunning for new space. The chess game of the Alpha Quadrant has become far more interesting with this corridor. Reman rebels, the Klingons, the Undine, the Borg and the newly reformed Cardassian Empire are all after this area. So… It’s our job to make sure it’s for us.” Amanda said grimly, looking into her now steepled hands.



“Well, I can’t think of a better Captain to lead us in there.” Dijj said with a smile.



“Anyway, enough about the mission. How’s sick bay for you?” Amanda said, changing the subject.



“It’s great. It’s got everything I could possibly need and more. All of the ensigns are well trained. Hell, I’m almost looking forward to some danger to try it out!” Dijj said with a warm smile.



“Well, don’t speak too soon Dijj. I hate to say this but I need to carry on with the staff assessments.” Amanda said, frowning lightly.



“No, that’s absolutely fine. Should I come back later or does this count as mine?”



“You won’t get out of it that easily Cam’Ra!” Amanda said with a smile as the Dr stuck her tongue out at the Captain. Shaking her head lightly, Amanda went back to work at her desk.



Slapping her combadge, she asked for the Science officer, Legion.



Legion was a unique member of the team. During a fire fight with the Borg, Ensign Jennifer West was KIA but also fell victim to a new Borg weapon. Her body was destroyed but her nervous system was still alive. Starfleet Intelligence theorized that this was so the newly assimilated victim could be moved into a more powerful body. However, West was saved and taken back to Starbase 66 and was repaired with an android body.



She was connected to Starfleet’s medical database and can now access any details needed at the time making her a prime candidate for a Science officer.



“Captain Thatcher to Lieutenant Legion. Can you see me in my ready room please?” Legion walked through the corridors of the Starjumper. The crewmen, busy at work seemed to completely ignore her.



This was unusual.



Legion was fully aware that she looked like a human, but ultimately she wasn’t She was a mixture of synthetic skin, pipes and a nervous system that may as well have been built with beer mats based on the way it felt inside her. She knew she wasn’t human, no matter what the Doctor’s said.



She had originally been Jennifer West. A very pretty Ensign, serving on the U.S.S. Shibuya, a tactical escort that was part of Starfleet’s Borg task force. They had encountered a Borg Sphere just south of an obscure Starfleet observatory. Engaging them at the observatory they had managed to disable its engines. Jennifer, part of the away team beamed over with her commanding officer Steven Turner, was engaged in a fire fight all the way to the core of the sphere.



With what seemed to be the last of the drones dead, the team went to work on stopping the Sphere and letting it go to waste. Turning her back, Jennifer thought she head a noise, heading over to investigate it, something hit her in the stomach. Looking down, she saw a large burning hole where her guts should have been. Stumbling backwards and clutching at the hole trying to keep her insides in, she groaned in agony as orange beams of her team’s phasers fired back at the Borg.



Wincing in pain, the hole seemed to burn even more so as she was dragged to cover. Propped up against the wall, she could see the hole almost repair itself but with a sick black colouring. Its webbing weaved from the bottom of the wound all the way to the top, like a spider catching its prey. The pain was too intense for her and she lost conciousness, the last thing she saw was her body becoming Borg.



The next time she opened her eyes, she was stuck inside a glass tube with water coating her. Looking around, she saw two scientists arguing over her, there was two of them. A male and a female, both in Starfleet medical uniforms. The female smiled warmly and put her hand on the tank as if to say it was all OK. She then turned and faced the male Doctor throwing a data pad at him. A new sensation washed over her and what could be taken as sleep flushed into her body.

Sorry this has taken so long. it is not a stroke story. it is an exposition of what happened to Kirk and his family after the invaders took over, and how they eventually drive them out. knowing the last chapter left some with a bad taste, i hope this makes up for it. jb7



Fever 07



Kirk surveyed the field before him. Once it had been a wheat field; now, it was not much more than weeds and wildflowers. On the other side, nearly a half-mile to the west, just barely visible, he could see the remnants of the alien invaders. At the northern edge, the field was limited by a thick hedgerow of gorse running along the highway; the southern edge, a bluff overlooking the Missouri River.



It had taken nearly four years of forced attrition, but they had slowly whittled the invaders in this hemisphere down to this last force of roughly 300 aliens: officers, troops and breeding drones, plus nearly a thousand fighting drones. Similar results had been achieved in the rest of the world following his game plan.



The invaders had initially come in twelve ships, each with 24 officers and 288 ‘soldiers,’ supported by 600 fighting drones. On each of the ships, there were 12 selective breeding drones, genetically altered so they could breed with up to five human females at a time, producing a viable drone in as little as four earth-months.



Based on their experience in other, similar, invasions, they counted on being able to fertilize a hatch of women every half hour, to produce up to 240 fighting drones every day. Once a week, barring interference from the female, they expected each breeder to produce another breeding drone.



In the years following the Vietnam conflict, the aliens had covertly landed advance scouts, surgically altered to resemble humans, who had insinuated themselves into positions of power and influence, where they could identify people with ESP abilities, hoping to breed the trait into the fighting drones. They had also seduced several hundred natives with false promises of wealth and status when they took over.



Erica’s advisor had been one such quisling, not only identifying her to the invaders, but also participating in her capture. It had taken Kirk a bit over a year to find her, but he had finally been able to rescue Erica and eliminate the traitor during her third delivery of a drone.



That night, Orion Jones, PhD, her advisor, was serving as midwife, delivering the night’s hatch of drones and placing them in the incubators where they would finish their fetal development. Jones had just caught Erica’s latest delivery and was carrying it to the mechanical incubator when Kirk and his team suddenly materialized in the hatchery. The quisling opened his mouth to scream, but found his voice cut off by a thought from Kirk. The other members of the team released the women from the cribs where they were kept during their pregnancies, and readied them for their escape, aborting the unborn drones.



Kirk, with a mental shove, pushed Jones up against the wall and started a telepathic interrogation, gathering information about the drones and their masters. When he was done with the turncoat, Kirk slowly and methodically destroyed the mechanical incubators and their contents. He then sent a mental blast, similar to the blast Sonny had tried to use on him, at the collaborator, incinerating him, leaving only a pile of cinders.



He rushed to Erica, to assure himself she was okay. As he hugged her, one of his team sent him a silent alarm. A second later, two breeding drones walked into the hatchery. One was obviously older, adult. The other, developmentally, appeared to be an adolescent. Kirk felt Erica shrink in his arms, moving closer to him. Reflexively, he sent his killing blast at the two breeders. Seconds later, the hatchery was empty, Kirk, his team, and the rescued women, safe, somewhere in Central Illinois.



Erica still had her arms around Kirk. “Thank you,” she sobbed. “Oh, god, thank you. I don’t know how much more of that I could have taken.” She tightened her grip on his neck, pulling him to her for a kiss of gratitude.



He gently disengaged and stepped back. With a wry grin, he said, “Careful, girl. Those bastards seem able to follow the smell of sex and track down recent participants without any problem. Let’s get all of you somewhere safe, then you can tell us about what you’ve been through.”



“Scan us first. Make sure they haven’t implanted any kind of tracking devices; especially the non-telepaths, to make sure none of them were cooperating with those bastards. It seemed like some of them had easier times than the two or three telepaths who were caged with me.”



“Thanks. I hadn’t thought of that. Seeing what they’ve done to the men, I can’t imagine anyone collaborating, but I guess, if conditions are bad enough…” Kirk called two of his team mentally and gave them some instructions. He turned back to Erica.



“This war has brought out all sorts of latent abilities and strengths. Before the aliens showed up, I wouldn’t have bet a quarter that any of the people who traveled with Lorenz’s troupe had any ability to teleport, or to blast an enemy, or exert any kind of mental control on an individual. Now, it’s rare to find anyone who’s been in a battle who can’t do all three.”



He had been running his hands up and down her sides and over her back and shoulders. “I don’t…wait, what’s this?” he asked, running his hands over her lower abdomen. “It looks like they left something in your uterus. Hold on, this may hurt a little.”



“Just get rid of it, then tell the others where to look. I knew there would be something. Can you teleport them all to the Great Lakes or the Gulf? The drones don’t like large bodies of water; anything over an acre in size, they try to avoid. When they moved us from New York, they could have gone along the coast, but they moved inland and traveled through Pennsylvania. It must have taken them at least a day longer.”



At that moment, one of the members of the rescue team came up to them. “Kirk, all the women have some sort of chip in their abdomen, apparently in the uterus. Two of the women are giving off an aura of anger, like they don’t want to be with us. None of us can get through the anger. Will you try? And what should we do about the chips?”



“Remember that subterranean lake up on the Wisconsin border? Send the chips to the large rock in the middle. I’ll be over in a moment to check the women.” He looked at Erica. “I’m sorry, sweets.”



She felt a brief burst of pain, causing her to emit a gasping scream, echoed by all the women who had been rescued. “Oooh, shit!” she moaned. “Thanks, I think. I don’t suppose there was another way, but, god!”



“We could have taken them out the same way they were inserted, but by then, they’d have found us. This way, they’ll be walking into a pitch black cave with no outside light, and a large, deep lake, with no warning. One of the traits we’ve noticed is they have no sense of danger unless they can see the source, and with their eyes so deep set, they practically can’t see what is in front of their toes.



“Come along and help me with these women.” The five members of the rescue team were comforting and consoling seven of the ten women they rescued. Erica was number eight. The two remaining women, apparently of Slavic descent, were standing slightly apart from the others, arms crossed across their breasts, looking angry. Average in size and brunette in coloring, on a beauty scale from 1 to 5 (bulldog ugly to kitten cute), neither would have quite made it to 3. Calling them plain was being kind.



Kirk and Erica quickly scanned them, looking for evidence of either outright collaboration or sympathetic feelings for the aliens. What they found was manifest resentment at being removed from the best situation either woman had ever found herself in.



It appeared that they were one time prostitutes. Getting fucked two or three times a year was, to them, better than the ten to fifteen tricks a night they had to turn to avoid getting a beating from their pimp. They were warm, dry, and relatively well fed. So they had to deliver a baby every six months, and have their breasts milked every day. To them, it was a small price to pay for security.



Kirk scanned first one, then the other. He looked at Erica as he finished the second woman. She had the same puzzled look on her face he was sure was on his. Telepathically, he sent her a query. “Do you sense something odd here?”



“Mmhmm. They are both presenting the same information about themselves. And, frankly, I don’t ever remember seeing them in the rape rack. Hang on a minute.” She looked at the crowd of rescued women, focusing on the other telepaths. “Were any of you in the rack with either of these two women?”



One of the women, an older brunette,responded. “They didn’t get racked with any of us. That bastard, Orion, saved them for him and that hogfaced squid to play with. I heard him hypnotizing them one night, and later saw them with Orion and his buddy. That freak had three of his snakes in one of them and two in the other while she sucked Orion off.”



“Yeah,” a second telepath added, “and did you see them the night Squido ran that snaky tongue of his up, I think her name is Shirley, her ass while Orion was screwing her. When she started to come, he pulled his tongue out of her ass and slid it in alongside Orion’s cock.” She laughed. “Big O pulled out in a hurry, with Squido’s tongue wrapped around his thing; and O squirting cum all over Shirley’s belly. They almost caught me watching, I laughed so hard.”



Kirk chuckled. “Okay, ladies, thank you. That helps explain what we found.” He turned to Erica. “Hypnotism. They’ve been programmed to respond a certain way in this situation. Think you can reprogram one of them, or should we just send them back?”



“We have to reprogram them. I wouldn’t send my worst enemy’s mother back there, even if it meant they wouldn’t be born. Imagine if you can… remember the glass marbles you played with as a kid, the aggies, about a half or five-eighths of an inch? Okay, now imagine you have a hard on and someone is pushing one of those into your cock through your piss hole, all the way back into your sack. That’s sort of what it was like to be fucked by, what did Minnie call him, Squido.



“Knock ‘em out, or whatever you need to do to make them unaware of where we’re going, but we’re not sending them back. We can find out who they really are later, and put them to work as nurses or something.



“Now, let’s get the hell out of here before we’re traced.”



They teleported to the same field Kirk and Lorenz had landed in a few years before, to approach the farm stealthily, on foot. Using some equipment stolen, errr…acquired from the invaders, one of the old travelers, an optical engineer, had cobbled together a holograph generator they were able to use to hide the farm house.



It wasn’t totally foolproof if you knew what you were looking for, but Lorenz and his followers were well liked in the area, and had been able to keep the aliens out of the neighborhood.



Kirk cautiously approached the top of the rise. He could see the top of the barn and the silo. He hesitated, scanning the site mentally and visually, using binoculars, looking for anything out of place. He received a welcoming thought from his mother and rose up to run to the house. The other people with him saw his actions and followed suit.



Two shots rang out. One kicked up dust a few feet ahead and to the side of Kirk. The other was intercepted by the woman identified as Shirley. Two of the male members of Kirk’s team used their mental skill and quickly located and immobilized the snipers. Kirk ran back to see if anything could be done for the wounded woman.



“Kirk,” she gasped, as he approached. “I want to thank you for trying to help…I know it wasn’t…your choice…to bring us along. Please, take care of…Susie…my sister-in-law…Our husbands…were killed…when the invaders…first got to…our town…She’s a good girl…a little rigid… sometimes …but she…does what’s…right…when…she knows…who…to lis…ten to…Tell her…I said…” With a final gasp, Shirley joined her brother. Kirk bowed his head, and slowly shook it with remorse, recalling how he had prejudged the women based on no evidence. The sound of someone approaching brought him back to the current situation.



The two team members who had immobilized the snipers were approaching him with two men who were struggling to get free. When they saw Kirk stand, they immediately froze.



“But, I saw you go down; I got you! I know I got you!” shouted the younger of he two men.



“Sonny! You fucking sonuvabitch! And you, Ron! Godammit! As if it weren’t hard enough to deal with the friggin’ hogfaces, I have to worry about bastards like you! Tom, Rick, Jim! Move out and back about a hundred yards or so and do a mental search, Make sure these fuckers didn’t lead any of the hogfaced bastards to us.”



“See, Sonny,” sneered Ron. “I tol’ you he’d come back here. The hogfaces will pay us good for this…” He stopped, seeing the expression on Kirk’s face.



The three men trotted off in different directions and returned a quarter of an hour later. They each shook their head. “Nothing, Kirk,” said the one identified as Rick. I went back about a quarter of a mile. Noone behind us.”



“Good. I contacted the farmhouse. Lorenz is there. He said to deal with them as I saw fit.”



He turned to the would be killers. “Sonny, Ron, your own words when you got here indicated your intent was to kill me. At the very least, you are guilty of assault with a deadly weapon. The fact that you killed an innocent bystander elevates that to first degree murder in any state in the world. Nobody would blame me for executing you summarily.



“As much as you deserve it, I’m unable to deliberately kill a relative. Rick, take my cousins’ rifles back about ten, twelve yards and drop ‘em on the ground.” Rick picked up one of the rifles and began to eject the unspent cartridges. “No, leave ‘em loaded and charged,” Kirk ordered him.



“Ron, Sonny. Here’s the deal. You can go, but your rifles stay where they are. If you stop to pick them up, you’ll be fried to a crisp. Now, get your traitorous asses outta here,” he said turning away.



“C’mon,” he said gesturing to his companions, “let’s go.”



As soon as he had turned, Ron motioned to Sonny and they ran back to pick up their guns. They straightened up, turned and were aiming at Kirk when the blast of mental energy consumed them. All that remained were two lumps of steaming, misshapen globs of metal.



“Damn, Kirk,” said Jim, “I’ve seen you do that a half dozen times, and it’s still scary as all hell. How come we don’t feel the heat? Look at those fuckin’ guns!”



“The mental power acts as an energy shield, absorbing all the heat energy and reflecting it back to the target, elevating the temperatures, aiding the process.”



“You knew they’d try for the rifles?”



“Yeah. While you were scouting, I explored Ron’s head. There’s an alien outpost in Ruthorford. There are wanted posters up for me and Lorenz, dead, alive or information leading to capture. He planned to kill me to be able to convince the invaders he could produce Lorenz, to get more money for his information.



“We’ll have to do something about that outpost. It’s too close for comfort. We can’t be too obvious about it; that would just advertise our presence and get them to send more drones. We’ll kick around some ideas at the house.” As he turned to walk to the farmhouse, he teleported the still hot remnants of the rifles back to the hatchery.



Lorenz was waiting on the porch when the group arrived at the farm house. “They’re gone?” was all he asked.



“Like we should have done two years ago.” Anger and weariness were evident in Kirk’s voice.



“Well, it’s done now. The woman was unfortunate, but her death was not something anyone could have foreseen. How is her sister-in-law taking it?”



“Talk about bizarre! Just after Shirley died, her sister, Susie, walked up, looked at the body and said, “Shirley’s gone? Are you the boss? Tell me what to do.” Since then, she’s only been two or three steps away from me.”



Lorenz gave a short laugh. “The burdens of leadership. Assign her to someone. You can’t be a babysitter.”



“We were going to send both of them down to the troop hospital in Joplin. Still seems like a good idea. A couple of the other non-telepaths have had nursing experience. She could be paired with them.



“But first, she may have some information for us about the breeders. I got to see a couple up close, but had to nuke them before I could get a real close look. Susie and Shirley were toys for one of the breeders and their human caretaker. One of the telepaths observed them one night and described it for me. Some freaky shit.



“Also, Erica wants to talk about what happened to her, too. Mostly just to get it off her taboo memory banks. You don’t need to hear it unless you want to.”



“Of course I’ll be there, if she wants me to be.”



They turned and entered the house, going to the living room where Erica and the other rescued telepaths, Minnie, Ruth, Anita, and T’sahn were talking with Susie.



She was saying, “I know I can’t communicate like you guys do, but I have some information about the breeders I bet you don’t have, and about how the eggs are started, and how the drones from that hatchery will be different from ones produced at other sites around the country.”



“What do you mean, Susie?” Lorenz asked, alerting the women to their presence.



Susie blushed. “I guess it’s no secret that Dr. Jones and Harr-1used Shirley and me for recreational sex, especially Dr. Jones. When we were captured, he told me, the aliens somehow cauterized our uteruses, or something, so we couldn’t get pregnant, by anyone. I think it was the first time they raped us.



“One night he explained the whole process to me, and how our hatchery was different. That was the night I learned Harr-1, the one you all called Squido, was a hermaphrodite, with that aggregation of penicles, as he called them, and a vulva, just like ours.



“He could suck his penicles up into his abdomen, revealing the vulva, exposing it for penetration. That night I saw Dr. Jones…” she shuddered, “I’ll say it, it’s the only word. Dr. Jones fucked that creature, stimulating it to produce more eggs, but eggs with a human component, from Dr. Jones semen.



“Our part of the hatchery was to see how they developed and performed. I got the impression from Dr. Jones the aliens weren’t very pleased with the results. The human-alien drones developed slower, and were harder to train and supervise in the field.



Kirk laughed. “Good! Erica, does any of this mesh with what you experienced?”



“Pretty much. I didn’t know about the hermaphrodite, but it doesn’t surprise me. The fertilized eggs had to come from somewhere and be stored in his body, err…her, oh, shit! Its body.”



Kirk interrupted. “How did you get caught, Erica. When we talked, just after the alarm, you were packing to leave. You said they were at least a day away.”



“Good ol’ Doc Jones, that bastard! Right after you disengaged, he knocked on my apartment door and said he had a mini van and offered me a ride to campus where he said I could catch a bus home. I didn’t have any reason not to trust him, so I didn’t bother to scan him. I followed him downstairs, to the parking lot.



“There was a minivan with the side door open. I climbed in and everything went black. It was some sort of gas. When I woke up, I was chained in a crib, naked except for my panties. Jones was there, with Squido…sorry, Susie, but that’s the way I think of h…it. It was telling the good doctor they had captured a pair or women for him, that he could not have sex with the breeding stock. They were reserved for him and the new breeders when they arrived.”

“What else can you tell us, Susie, that will help us defeat them?”



“I don’t know; they hate human men, think they’re weak because they only have one…uh, thing; they like mating with human women because we can do it so often. They can smell us when we ovulate or have our periods. They especially like to mate with us during our period; the flow helps lubricate us for them. My husband wasn’t much for foreplay, but next to them, he was Casanova.



“With Shirley and me, for their recreational sex, it wasn’t that different from what I saw happening with the women who were tied up in the rack. They told us what position they wanted, then forced their way into us. They would start out skinny, and then enlarge themselves when we were full. There were times it felt like a softball on the end of a fire hose being pushed around inside me.”



“What do you know about the drones which were produced?”



“There’s not an awful lot to know. From what Harr-1 told Orion, the ones bred by the aliens are quite frail, subject to damage from exposure to moisture, to, what did he call it, our fucking sand? Yes! They can’t stand to walk across a patch of ground with sharp stones or crushed gravel; he said one hatchling of his was destroyed by brushing up against a plant which had teeth on its stem. He said it had a red blossom and smelled so sweet it was sickening.”



“Roses!” exclaimed Kirk. “Thank you, Susie! You’ve been a bigger help than you can imagine. If I can ever do anything for you, just ask.” He turned to Lorenz.



“I think we have enough information now to start planning our takeback campaign. We need to find out what kind of firepower they have access to, and how we can counter them.”



Susie spoke up. “The night Harr-1 told all this to Orion, he seemed to be a little drunk, so I’m not sure how truthful it was, but he said because the drones were so expendable, they weren’t trusted with anything except what he called ‘muskets.’ They sounded like shotguns from the way he described them. Even the soldiers, the leaders of the drones, carry only rapid fire pistols, something like an Uzi. The working commanders, officers, carry what looks like a 9mm automatic, similar to a WWI Mauser, but with the clip in the handle.”



She paused and looked at her audience. They were gaping at her, as if they couldn’t believe what she was saying. “My husband was a hunter and a gun nut. He talked guns; I listened and paid attention.



“The biggest worry you will have is their artillery. They have several of what they call compact field pieces. He told Orion they were laser guided explosive rounds, about five to eight kilograms each, which produced upwards of a thousand shards of shrapnel each. But they are still only projectile rounds. They should be easy to sabotage if you can get to them.”



Almost unconsciously, both Lorenz and Kirk scanned the woman as she stopped talking. There was no sign of subterfuge; she was telling the truth as she knew it. They looked at each other and nodded. They would accept her account, until it was somehow proven wrong.



“Thank you, Susie. You’ve made our work easier, immensely. We owe you again.” Kirk looked at Lorenz. “It’s been a long day, and I’m beat. Can we pick this up tomorrow?” Lorenz nodded and stood to leave.



He looked at Tiffany and held out his hand. “Coming, Tiff?”



“If you do your part right,” she grinned and got one in return. Kirk laughed and stood up.



“Ladies, as much as I missed you all, I must bid you a good night. Erica, if you want, you are at the top of my list.”



She smiled, and patted Susie on the shoulder. “Second, Kirk. I think there is someone who needs you more than I do.”



Susie flashed her a smile which almost made the plain woman pretty. She then looked at Kirk. “Can I speak to you privately for a few minutes?”



He nodded, puzzled. In his bedroom, he closed the door behind them. “What…” he started.



“Please, just let me talk. I heard that you want to send me to work in a hospital in Missouri. Is that because you don’t trust me? Because of the relationship I had with Harr -1?”



“No, not at all. With the exception of you and some of the other women who were rescued from the hatchery, everyone here is a telepath. We communicate that way much of the time. Especially over distances, from several yards to a few thousand miles. At the hospital, you would be with normals, non-telepaths. We thought you’d be more comfortable there.”



“You’re going to establish some kind of resistance, a guerilla war, aren’t you? I can help. I can shoot. Give me a .22 with a scope and I can drive a ten-penny nail at 300 yards. I can do espionage. Women can walk around the towns. From the other women I talked to at the hatcheries I was at, men aren’t allowed in towns; you’d be either seized or shot on the spot. I could walk around all day, right along their fences. They might shove their snouts up my skirt, but they wouldn’t hurt me. Only the breeders seem to want sex with human women, and since I can’t breed, they wouldn’t be interested in me. Let me help, Kirk! I know I can.”



Kirk looked at the earnest 40-something in front of him. There was something in her eyes. He asked if there was something else she wanted.



She blushed and lowered her head. With a deep breath, she raised her eyes and looked at him. “You said if there was anything I wanted or needed, just ask. As soon as you can, I want you to fuck me. It won’t be making love because we’re strangers, but I don’t want to die knowing that the last time I had sex it was with one of them.



“I know I’m not pretty. Shit, I have to put on make-up to get to plain. When this is all over, women will outnumber men by a lot. A man will be able to have his choice or choices, more likely. In the Old West, they used to have wagons which would carry whores around to line camps, cattle drive camps, mines, places where there were men who wouldn’t be choosey about who he was banging. That’s what I’m looking forward to as far as sex is concerned; that or an empty bed.



“I’ve seen how you react to women and how they all react to you. I would like to have that feeling, even if it’s only for a single time. If you’re too tired, let me sleep in your bed tonight, and take me in the morning. Please.”



“You know, it might be dangerous work,” he said, reaching for the buttons on her shirt.



“Which?” she asked, with a grin. “Spying, or getting fucked by you?”



“Both,” he answered, smiling, as he pulled her shirt out of her skirt.



“Oh, gawd, I hope so,” she laughed, throwing her arms around his neck, capturing his lips with hers.



Kirk was wakened by the bright afternoon sun coming in the windows. From the shadows, he correctly guessed it was a bit past one. His movement to get up disturbed the warm body pressed against his back. “Nooo, not yet. Please. Don’t go.” Her arms tightened around his chest.



“It’s that or a very smelly shower,” he laughed.



“Promise to come right back?”



He turned over in her arms and gave her a kiss full of tongue in answer. “Unless the enemy’s at the door when I’m done, I’ll be back in five minutes.”



“That’s an awful long time; I’ll come with you. Maybe I can help.” She kicked off the bed covers and stretched. Kirk groaned, looking at her body in the light. She may not have had a pretty face, but the forty year old body was nearly perfect–36B breasts, a 23-inch waist, 34-inch hips on a five foot seven frame. Her untrimmed, coal black pubic nest was a few shades darker than the hair surrounding her face. Only the visible ribs and hip bones attested to her recent ordeal with the aliens.



He stood up and extended his hand to help her out of the bed. Instead, she leaned forward and slipped her lips over the crown of his prick. “Damn, Susie! You keep that up and you’ll get a double mouthful–cum and piss. Let’s go do our bathroom thing, then I promise, it’ll be better than last night.”



“Don’t make any promise you can’t keep. Last night was probably the best time I’ve ever had,” she said with a grin. “But I’ll be glad to let you try.”



Ten minutes later, they were back in bed. With a pillow under her shoulders, her head on the bed, she was in perfect position to entertain the cock buried in her throat. Kirk had her legs behind his arms as he probed her pussy with his tongue. Their mutual moans of pleasure filled the room and were easily heard by the people in the hall who had come up to rouse them.



Lorenz looked at Erica and Mary. “Sounds like they need some more time. I’ll come back up in a half hour or so.”



Mary laughed. “Meg always said you were an optimist.” The three of them grinned as the sounds changed from moans to bedsprings and slaps of flesh on flesh. “From my experience, better make it an hour.” she continued.



Susie lay sprawled on the bed, lightly gasping for breath, cum seeping out of her quim, as Kirk pulled on his pants. “Remind me not to doubt you when you make a promise. Harr-1 was able to make me feel full up, and he hit all the right places. It was better in some ways than with my husband, especially toward the end. But this morning and last night—god, you took me places I never even dreamed about. Thank you. I will treasure this memory as long as I live.”



“Susie, one of the things I’ve learned about sex is that unless both people are trying to make it good, it will never be more than mediocre. If this was good for you, it’s because you made it good for me. It has been a long time since I enjoyed casual sex as much as I did this morning. Normally, there would have to be some strong emotional connection on both sides. Thank you.”



“Well, that explains part of it. I think I love you.” When Kirk opened his mouth to object, she put her fingers over his mouth. “Hush. I have no illusions about us. I’m at least fifteen years older than you are; you can have your pick of any woman within a hundred miles. Without putting too fine a point on it, this was a mercy fuck, only because I asked for it, and you felt obligated because of your promise. But it was the best I can remember. For rescuing us and for this, I am allowed to love you, and I will.



“Just, don’t send me away. I have several reasons to seek revenge, besides the nightly rape. They killed my brother, my husband, and my son in front of me. They were responsible for the murder of my sister-in-law, the only family I had left. Let me help you.”



Lorenz’s knock and entry precluded Kirk’s answer. “Didn’t hear any activity, and I sensed you were talking,” Lorenz said as he entered. Kirk quickly teleported a gown from the closet to cover Susie’s nudeness, sensing her embarrassment at being caught nude with a naked man sitting on the side of her bed. “Hope it wasn’t anything important. Kirk, we need you downstairs to discuss what we’re going to do about the aliens in Ruthorford.”



“Okay, Lorenz. I’ll be right down. Susie, why don’t you join us? You might have some information about them which might help.”



“Be glad to. Thank you.” she answered, her smile lighting up her face.



The major decision to come out of the meeting was that they needed some intel about the situation in Ruthorford–how many troops were there; how were they deployed; where were the weapons; how were they guarded; where were their weak points; how could they exploit them? Susie came up with the scheme to determine the answers to their questions.



The aliens had landed a bit over eighteen months earlier at this point in time. After a bloody six months during which they had mercilessly shot, on sight, any man or woman who appeared to be 55 or older( too old to father or bear children, they claimed); during which they would challenge any adult male to produce and sustain an erection within four minutes or be shot; during which they seized pregnant women and carried them off to the hatcheries which were being set up to produce the fighting drones, where their pregnancies were terminated and they were ‘re-seeded’ with alien eggs.



Any show of resistance was immediately met by an withering blast of return fire. If any number of others in the vicinity were also killed, the aliens did not seem to care. A squad could invade a home at any time of day. If any of the family resisted, the entire family was dispatched and the home burned to the ground. By the end of the first six months, it seemed that the natives of Earth were thoroughly cowed, the will to resist frightened out of them.



So sure were the aliens that Earth was too scared to resist, they had attributed the destruction of the hatchery by Kirk to faulty electrical wiring. In their minds, resistance was futile, therefore, unimaginable.



Lorenz and some of the men stayed at the farm. Kirk and half a dozen other men were hidden in a grove of trees near the University golf course. Utilizing Lorenz’s slow teleport technique, the women teleported, in pairs, into the downtown area, to streets or alleys where they could materialize without being noticed. Each of the women was monitored by one of the men with Kirk; the monitor would be aware of everything she heard and saw, or physically felt.



Each man was responsible for monitoring two women, not in the same pair. Pairs were paired–during their walkabout, they had to keep their companion pair in sight. One of each pair of women, the bait, was either ovulating or menstruating. If they were stopped by one of the roving teams of aliens, the companion team was to stop and observe from a distance.



The man monitoring the bait would release his hold on the observer and concentrate all his attention on the bait during the stop. When the aliens were done with their harassment, the bait would visually locate the companion pair so the monitor could re-join with the observer.



Kirk was monitoring Erica and Susie. Back at the farm, he had experimented with having Susie touch one of the other non-telepath women while he monitored her, to see if he could read the other woman through her. He was unsure, until he had the woman silently read an article while she was in physical contact with Susie. He was able to grasp the meaning from Susie as it was read.



Since the women who had been captive all had a small working knowledge of the alien language, they might be able to glean the answers to their questions from the alien soldiers they encountered. At least, that was the hope.



Susie and T’sahn were the first pair placed on Elmwood Street, the main street connecting the campus with the town. Erica and Anita were next, placed in an alley off the main drag, about a block from the first pair. As soon as each pair was clear of the alley, another pair was placed, until there were six pairs in town, all blending into the late morning crowds, comprised mostly of college age and slightly older women.



Simultaneously scanning both Erica and Susie, Kirk soon identified a pair of alien soldiers swaggering along the street, not far from Susie and T’sahn. He alerted the women and felt Susie increase her breathing rate, along with adding a little extra oomph to her hip sway. Her display accomplished her goal. Kirk sensed the soldier’s hand grab her shoulder.



Kirk was immediately aware of the division which occurred in Susie. Part of her brain remained cool and calm, analytical. The rest assumed a fearful attitude, showing extreme anxiety at being singled out by the soldier.



“You, Earth bitch! Stop!” ordered the obviously older one of the pair.



“Wh–wh–what? I’m n-not d-doing anything wrong, s-s-sir.”



“Show me you papers! Wait! What’s that I smell? Is that you?” he laughed. “Can you smell her, Grog-3?” The alien dropped to one knee and lowered his nose to the hem of Susie’s skirt. In his native tongue, he continued, “By Ariadne’s sweet sweet, this bitch smells just like home,” he said, pushing his snout up between Susie’s thighs to her mound. She gave a shiver and pushed her hands down on his head, as if to push him away.



“Take your hands…”



“Don’t bother, Grog-3; she isn’t pushing hard enough to block a desert worm.”



“Still, to think an Earth bitch would have the nerve to put their hands on a Dhogian soldier.”



“Fear gives strength otherwise lacking. Remember your training, and I can smell her fear nearly as strong as I smell her moon blood.” he tapped Susie’s vulva a couple of times with his snout, laughing when he felt her flinch. He pulled his head out from under her skirt. “You should have a sniff, Grog-3. It’s nearly as good as a furlough to the imag-i-hold,” he said, standing up.



The other soldier gave his friend a cautionary look, reminding him not to talk about their technology. “What, you think this fearful bitch is going to understand what we’re saying?” questioned the senior soldier. “Have a whiff of that moon blood and clear your thinking.”



The younger alien looked at the pavement, understanding the older soldier’s thinking. He bent over and pushed his nose in between Susie’s thighs and followed them up to her vulva, where he took a huge inhalation.



“Unnngh,” he growled. “You’re right; she does smell like Naihars Sands. Reminds me of the first…but you don’t need to know about her,” he grinned. He even tolerated Susie’s attempt to keep his head away from her crotch.



The old soldier laughed and playfully slapped the younger one on the back of his head. “Let’s get back to the base and see if we can wrangle some imag-i-hold time,” he growled, pushing his companion back the way they had come.



The whole exchange, less than five minutes, had been rich in information. The old soldier was the equivalent of a Master Sergeant; the younger, a lance corporal. Their companionship that day was based on a familial relationship.



Between the two of them Kirk had learned that there was only about the equivalent of an army company (roughly a hundred troops and officers) stationed in Ruthorford, to guard the weapons depot located inside the college football stadium.



The troops were also housed inside the arena. At night, they were usually all sleeping, except for two teams of four guards who manned the entrances to the arena and the football field.



None of the alien soldiers wanted nighttime guard duty. It lasted from 8:00PM to 8:00AM, switching every two hours, usually following a day of normal duty. This meant that by 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, the on-duty guards were probably falling asleep.



Falling asleep on guard duty was considered a breach of etiquette, not a failure to perform one’s duty. As long as two of the four guards were awake and alert, sleeping on duty was tolerated, if not condoned. Informally, the nap times were staggered so each guard managed a four hour ‘nap’ while on duty.



Now they had to find the cannons and inspect them to determine the best way to disable them without alerting the invaders to their presence so close to an outpost.



Kirk had one of the scouting pairs, Minnie and Ruth, make their way to the football stadium to reconnoiter the area. They found the streets blocked a hundred yards from the stadium, all the way around it. As they strolled around the large structure they were frequently stopped and examined by invader patrols.



One of the patrols comprised their equivalent of a young first lieutenant and an older top sergeant. When they stopped the human women, Minnie recognized the ranks and correctly guessed it was the first command for the young officer, and the older non-com was teaching him the ropes.



While the two soldiers were examining their papers, she managed to turn her ankle and fell into the older veteran, creating a large area of bodily contact, giving her monitor enormous access to his storehouse of memories and knowledge.



As soon as her monitor realized her intention, he had alerted Kirk, who had tapped into the monitor, using him as a conduit for the information he ‘downloaded’ from the sergeant. One of the first things Kirk sensed was that the sergeant was not at all pleased at the contact with the earth woman, and started to draw his pistol but was stopped by the lieutenant, who cautioned him that if they shot all the women, they would run out of brood stock, and they would have to use the soldiers and officers in the hatcheries.

The old sergeant growled his acquiescence, and stepped away from Minnie, breaking her hold and letting her drop to the pavement. As she started to get up, he placed his foot on her ass and pushed, sending her face first into the street.



Kirk immediately put a damper on the telepaths’ flare of anger, letting them know that the sergeant would be near the top of the list of those who received a lesson in interplanetary relations. He told the team they had all the information they needed for the present and to prepare to return.



The old sergeant had been a treasure trove of intelligence. Coupled with what they had learned from Susie’s encounter earlier, they now knew that the stadium housed six of the compact field pieces, one of the largest concentrations of firepower on the two continents in the Western Hemisphere; that at any time during the night, the odds were that there would only be two guards awake; that the artillery was kept in the end zone, furthest from the street.



A major reason for the security precautions was the extremely highly polished surface on the projectiles and the inner surface of the barrel. Both were machined and polished to +/- 30 nanometers (3 ten-thousandths of a micron). Any imperfection on the surface of the shell or the barrel larger than 30 nanometers rendered both useless.



The artillery pieces were constructed of extremely hard metal, generally corrosive resistant. At least they had been on other invasion sites. Something in Earth’s atmosphere, in the acid rain, threatened to corrode the inside of the barrels, so they were kept under special tarpaulins, to filter the corrosive ions from the air. The invaders had learned as little as three hours exposure to the unfiltered atmosphere was enough to disable the compact field pieces.



More importantly, Kirk had learned, this invasion had come with another set of problems not foreseen by the invaders. His destruction of the hatchery, and of the three breeders assigned to it that night, had destroyed two percent of the breeders mature enough to be productive. The breeders ‘grown from earthly seed,’ so to speak, were taking exceptionally long to mature.



On other planets, native hybrids were ready in a few as nine months from implantation in their native hosts. On Earth, the officers overseeing that part of the invasion, estimated that new breeders would not be productive for over five years after implantation.



The genetic code in the human DNA they absorbed from their hosts which controlled the rate of sexual development, necessary to enable impregnation and successful implantation, was interfering with the maturational process of the hybrids.



In addition, it seemed, some human women were able to differentiate between the fighting drones which were implanted in them and the breeding drones. Statistically, some spontaneous miscarriages were to be expected. Breeding drones, which represented about two out of a thousand implantations, were being rejected at a rate where they represented 10 percent of the unsuccessful pregnancies, some twenty times the expected rate of miscarriage for breeding drone fetuses.



While most of the breeders were relatively young, because of the demands on their bodies to produce viable drones, and to satisfy the sexual needs of the officers, their reproductive life was only about five or six years. Kirk realized that if the alien breeders were destroyed, the supply of fighting drones could be exhausted before the hybrids were productive.



He called his advisors together and reviewed what he had learned, and they made their plans. First, the directive went out to all telepaths: Eliminate the hatcheries and the breeding drones, especially the breeders. The best way to identify them– they had two extra penicles. Plus, it was suspected that they were hermaphroditic.



Next, the information about the artillery pieces was sent to the other telepaths, along with the recommendation that the special tarps be removed during nights when it was raining. Kirk reasoned that the hogfaced invaders didn’t like the rain any more than they liked other running water, and would not be likely to walk out and inspect the artillery pieces in wet weather.



The lightly corrosive rain, over time, would deteriorate the barrels, and the shells, making them useless. With such tight tolerances for the surfaces, refacing the projectiles or the barrels was out of the question, even if the invaders had the equipment to do so, since it would require the removal of material, opening the gap between shell and cannon, exceeding the necessary tolerance limits.



Kirk and his team planned a war of attrition–slowly eating away at the strength and morale of the invaders. Over the next few years, they would teleport into a post and kidnap a soldier or officer, using mind control to keep them quiet and compliant.



Once away from the compound, the invader was either killed outright, or used as bait, to lure the aliens or their drones into a lake or river, where they were immediately disabled and destroyed. Dead bodies, with no visual wounds, were left to be found by garrisons several hundred miles distant.



Invaders in the more arid atmospheres would suffer similar fates as the fighting drones attempted to march across the sharp sands of the deserts, cutting open their feet, and quickly dehydrating and dying.



It was slow, but it was guaranteed to be successful. Invaders who responded by attacking non-combatants found themselves being used as bait the next day, a lesson which was quickly learned by the officers and soldiers. A lesson taught by the old sergeant who had pushed Minnie to the street.



After the planning session, Kirk went to find Minnie, to see how badly hurt she was. She was lying on a bed with Mary and Tiffany working on resetting her broken nose, and cleaning the dirt from the scrapes on her forehead and cheeks. “Hey, Min, how you doing?”



“I’m alright, Kirk. I just wish I could have fried that bastard.”



“I understand. If you hadn’t been so close to their barracks, I might have let you. It would have caused some suspicion, but without a body, I don’t know what they would do. I came to let you know, he is going to be their first casualty in our war. Ron and I are going in tonight to start to raise some hell. If you want to tune in on Ron, you’ll be able to watch what happens.”



She smiled her thanks, then winced with the pain caused by the scrapes on her cheeks and the multiple fractures in the bridge of her nose. She grabbed Kirk’s hand and pulled it to her breast. “Promise me,” she demanded, “promise me that they’ll suffer.



“Not just for what he did to me; I’ll heal, but for what they have done to the others, like Susie and her family. Make them afraid, Kirk. They feel fear; I sensed it in that old fart when I fell on him. He was afraid of something in me. Do whatever you have planned, but scare the shit out of them!”



“I don’t know if it’ll scare the shit out of them, but before we’re done, they’ll believe in ghosts. That I can promise,” he replied.



After dinner, Kirk and Ron met in the barn. There were some supplies they needed to gather. After reviewing their plans, they slow teleported to a grove of trees just outside of Ruthorford. They were a few hundred yards from the stadium. Ron swore when he landed in what seemed to be a large puddle, except that it hadn’t rained in several days.



A light went off in Kirk’s head. “Perfect,” he whispered to Ron. “This is one of the few remnants of the last Ice Age. Around the Midwest, there are three or four bottomless bogs, left when the ice melted, some thirteen thousand years ago. This part of the country, east of the Mississippi, was a large inland sea. Over time, it has dried up, leaving up to ten feet of topsoil and these swampy areas.



“Be careful, most of the areas that look like water are really quicksand. These hogfaced bastards don’t like water? After tonight, they’ll fear it.”



Kirk explained his new plan while they waited for the remnants of the sunlight to fade. During his contact with the old sergeant, Kirk had learned that when he was on guard duty, he liked to take the midnight watch. A few minutes before the midnight hour, he and Ron teleported into the center of the stadium.



Staying in the shadows, they made their way to the artillery storage area. They pulled the protective tarps from the weapons. Kirk had brought enough nitric and hydrochloric acids to make up six pints of aqua regia, the acid compound used to dissolve the so-called noble metals. Highly corrosive, it was sure to oxidize any ferrous compounds in the artillery pieces.



He and Ron poured a pint down the barrel of each of the pieces. With a grin, Kirk then teleported enough water from the swamp to fill each of the pieces to the bottom lip of the barrel. By morning, they would all be pitted so badly they would be unuseable.



They found the laser guided projectiles, stored in cases of twenty, a few yards from the cannons. Ron whispered a suggestion to Kirk, who nodded. The next time anyone opened a case of projectiles, they would find them packed, like sardines, in salt water.



They had just finished replacing the tarps when they heard someone approaching. Kirk grabbed Ron and teleported them to just above the sergeant’s head. Kirk entered the alien’s mind and seized control of his voice. He instructed Ron to grab one of the alien’s arms while he took the other one.



From the point where they seized him, they forced the old soldier to walk to the edge of the bog with a lurching gait, making it look like he was drunk.



This bog, situated on the campus of a major university, was the object of study by many departments of the school. It appeared to be a large pond, or small lake, dotted by several small grass covered islets. In truth, these islets were small floating clumps of a grass which grew in water, completely unconnected to any soil, but firm enough to support a man.



While they floated, they didn’t appear to travel about the lake. They were stationary enough that some students had connected several by plank bridges, and would often visit some of the larger ones for picnics and other student activities.



When the sergeant saw their destination, he began to struggle against the invisible forces compelling him toward the water. He had not been garrisoned in Ruthorford long, but he had been there long enough to hear stories about patrols not returning from the lake with the grassy islands. Water, running or not, concealed a number of unseen dangers.



But in his case, it was the unseen danger he had to fear. Suddenly he found himself floating above the water, unable to use his arms, or his voice. Without warning, his uniform disappeared from his body. He saw it land on one of the small hillocks accessed by the plank bridge while he continued to float over the water, to the center of the bog.



He felt the block on his voice release. His howl was a combination of bravado, fright and alarm. As soon as the sound emanated from his mouth, his arms were released and he dropped twenty feet into the bog.



Fortunately, or unfortunately, the water was only about a foot deep. Under it was a bottomless pit of the colloidal mixture of dirt, decomposed vegetation and microscopic stones known as quicksand. The greater density of the colloid slowed and stopped his descent by the time it reached his waist, but by then it was too late.



Unable to swim, or to move his legs, other than up and down, since he had no leverage, his struggles just drove him deeper into the material which would prove to be his grave. His howls of alarm turned to pure fright.



They were loud enough to alert the other guards on duty, one of whom immediately alerted the young lieutenant. A quick glance into the interior of the stadium revealed nothing wrong there. It did not take long for the search party to find the sergeant’s lurching footprints, and some empty bottles along the path, suggesting that the sergeant had succumbed to the Earthly demon rum.



One of the members of the search party went to tell the Lieutenant what they had found while the others went ahead, laughing, to see what had frightened the old veteran.



The young officer caught up with them at the edge of the bog. The yowling had stopped, with an audible gurgle. There was no sign of the missing non-com. The Lieutenant played his torch over the grassy islets, looking for a sign of what had happened to his friend and mentor.



He saw a glint of light reflected back from one of the islets not too far out in the pond. Moving his torch around, he discovered the plank bridges connecting the clumps. He moved closer to shore and pointed his torch back where he had seen the reflection. This time he could make out what looked like a uniform.



He pointed to two still unranked foot soldiers and ordered them to stay on shore. Gesturing to the others to follow, he set off at a rapid trot across the first plank bridge. He cleared the first plank just as the last member of the search party took his second step from shore.



Perhaps it was all the weight; maybe the rhythmic pounding of the four aliens running on the plank; maybe it was Kirk and Ron, but the plank lost its purchase on shore and slipped into the water, taking the search party with it.



The splash and commotion distracted the young Lieutenant, who missed his footing on the second plank bridge. The two young soldiers on shore were unable to give coherent descriptions of what they saw, only able to relate that some monster had come up out of the water and sucked their comrades under the surface. No alien ever voluntarily approached the bog again.



The field pieces were scheduled for routine maintenance two days after Kirk and Ron’s ‘raid.’ The soldier’s cry of alarm quickly turned to one of pain as the acid filled water spilled out of the breech and onto his feet, quickly eating through his footwear and flesh. A second soldier was rendered unfit for further field duty when he rashly stuck his Dhog nose in a second piece of artillery and discovered it, too, was filled with acidified water.



With the six field pieces no longer useable, the sealed cases of munitions were returned to the Central Supply Depot in Virginia, where they were opened for inspection. Several fighting drones and soldiers were injured or killed opening the seawater filled containers. Unfortunately, even the explosives had been rendered useless.



Unable to come up with any other explanation, the alien High Command began to consider sabotage, but by whom? Humans had been thoroughly cowed, they believed. There had been no resistance in over an Earth year. Could one of their advance scouts have turned on them? A team of inquiry was sent to Ruthorford.



To the amusement of Kirk and the others at the farm, the officers in charge of the outpost were charged with dereliction of duty, and reduced in rank from the equivalent of a colonel to first and second lieutenants.



To protect the farm and the people living there, the holograph projector was beefed up so the camouflage covered the entire farm with a hologram of a large swamp. Kirk and several members of his team left the farm, traveling by teleportation, to other states to organize resistance groups to carry out the random attacks Kirk planned.



Bitsy, Doreen and Marilee, and their surviving husbands, the men who had planned on raping Nell, were moved to the farm as a precautionary measure. Jim and Butch were not the brightest bulbs in the pack, and it was not certain they would remain silent about their experiences if questioned by the Dhogs. Susie and some of the female telepaths who had stayed moved into town to monitor the comings and goings of the Dhogian patrols.



It must be pointed out here that the Dhogians had stolen their technology. Like many, they could use machines and technical apparatus without fully understanding the theories governing their performance (think of cars and computers). As they had moved through the Universe, they had adopted and adapted the technologies of the races they had surprised and overcome.



Because of its lack of significant space-going technology, Earth had seemed like it would be an easy victory, but the flight from their last conquest, and the dog-fights with Earth’s various aviation powers during the brief resistance had expended more fuel than expected.



Their ships utilized the gamma ray emissions from an alloy of promethium and ytterbium for power. However, at any given time, in the accessible Earth crust, there exists only a total of about twenty ounces of promethium.



The Dhogians did not view this as a problem. On other planets they had conquered, technicians (engineers, scientists, etc) had been able to produce the five pounds they needed by fractionating other radioactive heavy metals (radium, uranium, plutonium) using particle accelerator colliders.



Shortly after subduing Earth, they had identified the small one in Chicago, a slightly larger one under Indiana, and the super accelerator in Central Europe. They immediately ordered the scientists working with the accelerators to begin producing the promethium they needed.



The maximum output of the three colliders when the aliens landed was five grams a month of the radioactive promethium isotope desired, a situation entirely unsatisfactory to the Dhogians, who commanded the technicians to find ways to increase production, regardless of cost or safety concerns.



At each of the three sites, there were at least two telepaths, who kept in touch with either Lorenz or Kirk. Aware of Kirk’s plans, and in agreement with them, the telepaths worked to subtly sabotage fuel production.



The two years following Kirk’s initial raid were years of irritation to the Dhogians. In addition to the problems with fuel production, around the world they were in a constant state of battling random ‘brush fires,’ chasing an enemy which seemed able to disappear in the mist.



There were occasional pitched battles with what appeared to be militiamen, battles which used up the fighting drones faster than they could be replaced, and claimed more than a few of the soldiers who commanded them, plus any officers involved in the foray. What was truly disheartening to the aliens was the total absence of native bodies, or any sign they had suffered any injuries.



It also became obvious to the alien command that the breeding drones, specifically, were being targeted. They were ordered to remain indoors, and away from windows, unless accompanied by a patrol of not less than six fighting drones and two soldiers of at least non-com rank. Still the number of breeders continued to shrink relatively faster than any other type of alien. After two years of hunting them, the telepaths had reduced the original number of breeders from 144 to thirty, world wide.



With the miscarriage problem, only about a dozen hybrids had been produced to replace them. Because of the human component, they were not yet ready to breed. One of the older hybrids was captured and transported to Kirk and Lorenz for evaluation. Both of them hoped that the human DNA would also be reflected in the psycho-emotional makeup of the hybrids.



However, at the end of two weeks, when the hybrid attacked Lorenz and attempted to kill him with its bare hands, they reluctantly agreed that the young cross-breeds also needed to be destroyed.



When the aliens had first landed on Earth, they had had the manpower and equipment roughly equivalent to an Army brigade. Under Kirk’s leadership, they had been reduced to a force about the size of a battalion, with a severely depleted officer corps. Instantly recognizable, and universally hated for their initial brutality, the entire human populace was against the Dhogs.



As their numbers had dwindled, the Dhogians had consolidated their Western Hemisphere forces into the American Great Plains, having commandeered Ft. Leaven worth early in establishing their control. It seemed to offer the best location for centrality and convenience.

Kirk had not been back to the farm in nearly two and a half years, not since they had dropped the old sergeant in the quicksand. He had been on the move constantly, recruiting and organizing small units to harass the aliens. He would find out where the aliens had established a base and locate someone with telepathic ability nearby.



It was almost like the aliens had acted as a catalyst, turning on latent abilities in people who often wondered about their ability to know what others were thinking; to guess correctly about what was going to happen; to always get their way in arguments and discussions. Kirk found them, indoctrinated them, trained them and found them committed people to lead. Generally, after a few skirmishes, more telepaths emerged.



From these, he would choose a few for specialized training–to monitor the officers of the local alien garrison. When the individual was ready, Kirk would take them into their officer’s quarters at night to establish the necessary bodily contact to effect the comm link.



In this way, they were able to keep track of troop movements, and plans to try to locate and identify resistance troops, enabling them to remain hidden. So successful was this strategy, that, in the two years he was gone, nationwide, the resistance had lost fewer than forty soldiers in battle.



Kirk had returned to the farm to recuperate from injuries sustained in a fierce fire fight with the aliens. Kirk’s team had ambushed a patrol in Central Colorado. After the initial surprise, the aliens had responded with more fire power than expected, momentarily disorienting the telepaths.



They had dived for cover behind some rocks. In doing so, Kirk had hit his head, knocking him unconscious. He had fallen on his left arm, breaking his forearm and dislocating his shoulder. The other telepaths had regrouped and returned fire, destroying several fighting drones, and killing the sergeant and lieutenant leading the patrol.



As they usually did, the telepaths had then teleported out of the area, leaving Kirk lying unconscious, unseen behind a boulder. It was not until they were safely back at their base that he was missed. Three of them immediately returned to the site of the conflict.



In the meantime, sensing a lull in the return fire, one of the more authoritative soldiers had deployed a robotic bomb sniffer, mounted with a camera. It was guided into the hot zone to take a look around. When the aliens saw Kirk’s body, the first ever to be recovered, they abandoned their caution and the entire patrol ran to retrieve the body, each wanting to be the first to capture one of the elusive enemy.



They had covered about half the distance between their vehicles and Kirk’s unconscious body when they ran into a wall of bullets from the assault rifles of the returning telepaths. None of the aliens survived.



The telepaths took advantage of the annihilation of the patrol and recovered several of their weapons and pieces of equipment, including the mobile camera and its control unit.



The commander of the local outpost noted these facts, and reported that there had been an escalation in resistance tactics to the Central Command in Kansas. They responded by abandoning their perimeter outposts and pulling all the North American troops back to Leaven worth to begin planning how to handle this latest expansion in tactics by the resistance.



Kirk’s arm had been treated by a doctor at the base camp of the resistance fighters in Colorado. The doctor firmly suggested he take a month off to let it heal sufficiently so he could get by without a sling or brace. Albeit reluctantly, Kirk had agreed, recognizing the wisdom, and his need for a more psychical, or spiritual, recovery period.



With the exception of a short visit to see Erica in Seattle last December, he had been in the hot zone of combat most of the last two and a half years. He contacted the farm and let them know he was on his way. He planned to stop and see some of his contacts on the way.



It took him three days to get home. On the way he heard the news that the aliens had abandoned their inland perimeter outposts and retreated to Leaven worth. The small resistance units were celebrating the retreat as a victory. Inwardly, Kirk was shaking his head, wondering where and when the aliens would break out and resume their brutality.



At the farm, he was greeted by his mother and his four year old son/brother, by Tiffany and their five year old son, by Mary and their five year old triplets, and by Erica, and her six month baby bump. Lorenz, Nell, Eva, and Estee were waiting in the living room. They all greeted him warmly, even the children who had been told stories of his exploits against the aliens.



The afternoon was taken up with catching up. After dinner, over coffee, the two men, sitting on the verandah, discussed the aliens and their latest action. “So, you don’t think they’re getting ready to leave the planet.”



“No. From what the engineers at the colliders tell us, if they combine the output from the three colliders and all the fuel reserves they have left, they might get two ships to Uranus, and then, maybe drift to Pluto’s orbit, but they’d be dead by the time they got there.



“No, I think they plan on making some sort of last stand. I’ve warned our guys around Kansas City and St Joe to be on the alert for a recurrence of their initial brutality. They have a few breeders left, and we weren’t able to wreck all the incubators. I think they’ll beef up the fighting drone supply and attack some time in late Fall.



“I’ve been thinking, maybe we should attack them, or show a threat of attacking. Maybe we could draw them out to a place we choose, to give us an advantage.”



“Do we have enough people to do that? And weapons? The blast is good, but how many can do that, and how often?” Lorenz asked his son, the de facto leader of the resistance.



“People? A couple of hundred, enough, if we discount the fighting drones. We need to find a way to neutralize those, then we can destroy the Dhogs.



“It’s strange. In all my studies, especially in history, and even in my personal confrontations with Big Dick, when I was a kid, I could always find something to appreciate, if not admire, in all the people and sides involved. But not the Dhogs.



“I’ve been in personal contact with their top officers and their lowest private. And pretty much everything in between. I haven’t noticed a single redeeming feature. They’re brutal and ferocious, but not especially brave, or altruistic.” He paused a moment. “They remind me of pirates… or pimps.”



He drained his coffee cup. “Can we put up a dozen or so folks for a few days. I want to gather the resistance leaders and discuss this. If we’re going to move, we need to do it before they get too many of the fighting fuckers made.”



“Yeah, you’re probably right, Lorenz replied. ” Whoever we can’t accommodate here, we can find room in the village, now the patrols have stopped. Or we can move Bitsy and her entourage back into town for a week. Food’ll be the bind, and cooking.”



“That shouldn’t be a problem. I’ll speak with Mom and Estee…”



“Speak with Meg and Estee about what?” Tiffany interrupted, coming through the screen door.



“A bunch of visitors, to come up with a plan to get rid of the aliens.” Kirk stood up. “But that can wait until tomorrow. I’m bushed and need to get some sleep. Want to join me?” he asked, cocking his head and looking at Tiffany.



“I been hoping you’d ask. Even got you a little surprise,” she teased, wagging her butt at him as she walked back into the house.



Lorenz laughed, shaking his head at Kirk. “Be careful with her,” he warned, “she’ll ride you until you cry uncle.”



“You be still, old man. You comin’, vanilla?” She held the screen door for him. She slipped her arm through his as he passed her, and walked with him, hip to hip. “I need a favor, if you’ll do it. I suppose I could get someone else, but, since you did it once, I thought I’d ask you first.” They were at the door to the bedroom he usually used when at the farm.



He cocked his head, looking at her. He sensed her block was up. With what he had learned in the past few years, he could have easily slipped past it, but telepath etiquette proscribed that except in cases of emergency. “Of course, Tiff, if it’s something I can do, you just have to ask. You know that.”



“I’d like our son, Joshua, to have a brother and sister, full sibs, who look like him. I know there are other black telepaths, but those friggin’ sapphire eyes you gave him make him stand out like a sore thumb. With a full brother and sister, he won’t seem so alone.”



Kirk grinned. “I wish all the requests for help I get were so simple, and so pleasurable to fulfill. Is it close to your fertile time?”



She smiled back. “Can’t get much closer. Can you make it twins?”



He opened the door to his bedroom and led her in. “Are you sure you want twins? I remember how worried you were about Mary when she was carrying the triplets.”



“Twins won’t be so bad. Besides, I’m bigger than she is; plus, I’m running out of time for having kids. As it is, I’ll be fifty before they’re out of high school. You just do your jobs; I’ll worry about the babies and getting them into this world safely.”



“My jobs?”



“Knocking me up, and getting rid of the hogfaces.” She surprised him by removing his shirt and pants, telekinetically, one article at a time, then her own clothes, the same way. “How’s your arm? How long has it been?”



“The cast is about a week old. I broke it about ten days ago. They said it was a clean break and should heal without any problem.”



Their underwear disappeared. “I guess I’ll have to take it easy on you, then,” she grinned, standing there, naked, before him, letting him examine her. It had been nearly three years since they had been together like this.



Overall, she was a little thinner, like most of Earth’s natives, due to the privations of war. The farm had a good sized garden, still some foods were often hard to come by, especially good quality protein.



Even with the slight weight loss, there was a bit of sag, and enlargement, in her breasts. Maybe half a cup size, enough to be noticed. The sag, just enough, with the additional extra, to make the bottom of the breasts balloon slightly.



The weight loss was most notable in her hips and the lovely ass she no longer had. Although she still had a bit of a bubble butt, it seemed to sag, and didn’t have the firmness he remembered. Nor, he noticed, did she trim her pubes anymore. They were covered by a thick blanket of coal black curls.



Looking at her, standing there, waiting for him to move, he had the characteristic male response. Tiffany grinned, an uncertain look in her eyes. “I’m glad to see I can still have that effect on you. I was worried you… you…” she faltered.



He took the two steps to her and pulled her to him with his good arm. “Tiffany, that is something you never need to worry about. When this is all over, we’ll go back to Lone Pine Island, and fuck ourselves silly in the moonlight and say to hell with the rangers.”



She threw her arms around his neck and caught his lips in hers. “Can we take a mattress this time?” she whispered. “Those rocks can get pretty uncomfortable, and cold, even in late summer.”



Kirk grinned and led her to the bed. She lay down on her back, legs parted, offering herself to him. He got on the bed and stretched out on his side, beside her, head to foot, his face by her hips. She sucked in her breath in a hiss when his tongue touched her labia, then found her opening. She turned on her side to face him, taking him in her mouth with a small moan.



Kirk’s good hand found her breast and began to fondle her nipple, eliciting more pleasure sounds. Of her own choice, it had been over a year since Tiffany had engaged in sex other than self pleasure. Since she had made the decision to have another child by Kirk, she had abstained, to make sure he was the father of her next child.



The abstinence was having its effect, as was Kirk’s skill and love for his partner, and her feelings for him. Her climax began almost with the first touch of his tongue. It built quickly and spread through her body like fire through tinder. When it passed, they both became aware that Kirk’s cock was buried in her throat, her nose pressed against his sack.



It was all the stimulus he needed. Tiff hummed in pleasure when she felt his prick spasm in her throat, pumping his sperm into her stomach. Kirk groaned as his climax peaked and passed, his tongue doing its best to reach her cervix, tickling the walls of her love tunnel.



When the final spasms of pleasure had passed, they fell apart and lay on their backs, side by side, holding hands. “Christ, Tiffany, that was intense. Nobody’s deep throated me like that in a while. Thank you.”



“You’re welcome, but it wasn’t me. I’ve never been able to do that to a guy. It was the suddenness of the climax. But I have to say, it was kinda fun, especially feeling you come like that.” She lifted her head and looked at him, discovering he was still erect. She got up on her knees and straddled him, positioning her quim directly over his staff.



“Much as I enjoyed that, oral ain’t gonna get the job done. I hope you still got some of that baby juice, ’cause we ain’t leaving this bed until I’m sure I got a brother and sister for Josh.”



“Uhh, what about potty breaks?”



“Erica tells me you have a way of handling those. And we can have food delivered. Anything else?”



“There are some meetings I really have to attend, and people I have to see.”



“One of the things living here has done for, or to, me–I ain’t the least bit bashful. You can meet whoever you need to meet with right here.”



“Woman, you are shameless!”



“You can betcherfugginass about that,” she laughed, and began to move on his cock. Kirk scanned her body and identified two ripe eggs. He gave them a nudge and watched them move to the entrance of Tiff’s tubes. With a broad grin which lighted her face, she changed her hip motion so she was moving in a circle, centered on the root of his cock. “Well, I’ve made my contribution, vanilla boy; now it’s up to you.”



He pulled her down on his chest, engaging her in a loving lip lock as he began to thrust up into her. She broke the kiss and began to mutter, “ohgodyes, more, do it, vanilla man, fug me, go go yes yes uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh.” Soon he felt her sheath tighten on his cock. “Yessssss,” she hissed when she felt the sexplosion of warmth against her interior sheath walls. In seconds, she was asleep.



Kirk rolled her to the side and scanned her body a second time; this time examining his spend. He identified several y-bearers and a few x-bearers at the head of her cervix, being sucked up by the orgasmic spasms of that orifice. He did some sorting and moved the two groups to the areas where they would meet their respective target. He then joined her in Orpheus’s sweet arms.



The early morning summer sunlight was just beginning to filter trough the curtained window when Kirk’s bladder made its need for attention known. He carefully disengaged from Tiffany, eliciting a moan of objection, and, still nude, made his way into the hall to go to the bathroom. Coming out of his destination, he saw a sight which confused him. He had just left Tiffany in his bed, and here she was coming out of the bathroom.



He shook his head to clear it and looked again. Just then, the confusing apparition laughed, letting him know it wasn’t his partner from last night. “Hi there, vanilla boy! I haven’t seen you in forever.”



“Jasmine! My god! How are you? How’s your mom? Damn, you’re looking good. What have you been up to?” They stood there in the hallway, both buck naked, talking as if they had just run into each other at the mall, until Jasmine looked down at his piss hard and laughed.



“Is that all for me, or does Ma Nature have a hand in it?”



“I’m afraid it’s mostly nature. Give me a minute, then we can go to my room and talk,” he replied and hurried past her. She grinned at the sound of his stream hitting the center of the water in the bowl, and turned to move to his room. Kirk caught up with her at the door.



Tiffany was still asleep, sprawled on the bed. With a saucy smile, Jasmine looked at the man who had taken her virginity. Feeling a strong twinge in her quim at the memory, she asked him, “So, vanilla man, tell me, which is it? Do you have a thing for dark girls, sisters, or dark sisters?”



Kirk grinned. “It’s not all that complicated. I have a thing for pretty women, no matter what color they are.” Under her mocha colored complexion, Jasmine blushed. She knew, from the reaction of the boys she had been dating before the invasion, that she was attractive, and they had told her she was pretty, but she had less than half believed them, thinking it was to get in her pants. But from Kirk, a man who had nothing to gain from telling her that, a man she knew could have had anyone he wanted, including her and her mother, it was almost enough to make her cry.



She threw her arms around his neck and hugged him. Only then did the fact he was wearing a cast on his arm register. She loosened her grip slightly and leaned back to look at the plaster cast, from his palm to one third of the way up his bicep, with a right angle bend at the elbow. “You’re hurt. How…”



“It’s nothing. I fell and landed badly. Come, sit; tell me what you’ve been up to. How did you get here? The farm is under pretty strict orders, no outside communication by wire or radio.”



“You left out telepathy,” came the thought.



He glanced at Tiffany, still asleep, eliciting a laugh from her sister. “About a year after the invasion, I woke up and heard the soldiers in the street. I could not only hear them talking, but I was aware that one was being very critical of one of the others. I peeked out and there were only two, but I could see one was trying very hard not to loose his temper. What was surprising, I could understand them.



“I tried looking for Mama and was able to identify her and the man she was with, that guy you sent to her that day. It’s a good thing you did. After the invaders came, they took his wife and he kinda fell apart. If they questioned him then, he would have told them all about you. Instead, he came looking for Mama, ‘n’ she’s kept him sorta stable.”



Kirk frowned. He had forgotten about Dick, his former boss. He wasn’t worried about the women he had interacted with, who might have been able to tell the aliens about him. Most of them had been given a hypnotic block where he was concerned, but there were a few men, like Ron and Sonny, who would not be above sacrificing him it they thought it might gain them some favor or freedom.



Jasmine broke into his reverie. “Do you have any idea where they would have taken his wife, Sally? Or if there’s a way to find out if she’s even still alive. There are some awful stories out there about what they do to the women they take.”



“I doubt if any of them are as bad as the reality. We can look for Dick’s wife later. How did you get here?”



“When I found out what I could do, I tried looking for Tiffany, to find out what happened to her. I found some other telepaths, some of them resistance fighters. I joined them, and was able to use my ability to help them plan raids and escape or avoid traps. We even tried feeding some of the soldiers false information. That was funny; we made them march a couple of hundred of the fighting drones right into Lake Michigan.”



“You’re Jamie! Goddam! I’ve been wanting to meet you for a couple of years, but it was always too …”



“You know who I…”



“I’m Little Corporal.”



“Oh, shit! No! You’re the one who’s responsible…Goddam, vanilla! And to think you fucked me when…” She laughed. “Mama isn’t going to believe any of this when she finds out. When she learns what all you did, have been doing, she might gold plate her pussy and put it on display.” She finished laughing and continued.

“When I got to Chicago, like I always did when I got to a new city, I did a mental search for Tiff. I was able to just pick up a trace. I volunteered for a mission to Springfield, and was able to contact her. That was about six months ago.



“When the aliens vacated the area a couple of days ago, I drove down to see her. She said I should stick around because you were due back from out West. The snot didn’t tell me who you were.”



She glanced at her sister. “How come she’s still asleep? That isn’t like her, no matter how tired she is.”



“I put a block on her so we could talk.”



“Is that all you want to do? Looks to me like there might be something else on your mind,” she said, glancing at his crotch.



All the time they had been talking, Kirk had been taking in the sight of the beautiful twenty-something before him; her mocha colored skin, high-lighted with dark chocolate colored nipples and pubic hair, cut short, but covering the whole area. Her nipples were tilted toward the ceiling on BB sized breasts. At her comment, he became aware of the faint odor of arousal.



He looked up to her face and saw the desire in her eyes. “Where have you been sleeping?” he asked her.



“At the end of the hall, over the kitchen. There are two single beds; mine was the one next to the window.”



In a flash, Tiffany was moved to her sister’s bed. Kirk stood up and pulled Jasmine to standing. As he slid his hands down over her ass cheeks, he bent his knees and pushed them between her legs, lowering himself far enough so his cock nestled between her pussy lips. He straightened up, lifting her by her butt. When he was up straight, he gently lowered her onto his rod.



She moaned as he entered her, and wrapped her arms and legs around him, pulling him into her until their pubes were mashed against one another. They began to rock against each other, lips and tongues fully entwined. Kirk lifted them and positioned them directly over the bed he and Tiffany had shared last night. Gently, he lowered her sister and himself into the bed, sawing into her all the way down.



As they hit the bed, he attempted the mind link that Erica had taught him so long ago, it now seemed. However, there was a barrier in Jasmine’s mind, one he recognized from the night he had rescued Erica from the aliens.



Jasmine didn’t react at all to his attempt to probe her mind. He scanned her body and found what he expected, in the same place Erica and the other women had borne them.



He broke the kiss and leaned down to capture a nipple between his lips. Her guttural response was accompanied by an increase in the speed of her hips as they drummed against him. His hand searched for and found her puckered hole. With no warning, he thrust his middle finger into her rear passage as far as he could. The sudden intrusion was enough to trigger her climax, signaled by her rigor and scream.



Her arms and legs pulled Kirk to her so tightly he couldn’t move, in spite of the thrusting of her hips against him. He lowered his weight on to her, pressing her into the bed, holding her down until she was quiet, his finger still buried in her ass.



“You sneaky son of a bitch,” she laughed, when she was able to talk. “You can take it out now,” she added, lifting the cheek which held down the invading hand. He pulled the offending digit out, having satisfied himself the chip was in the same area as it had been with the other women. Now to find out why.



He pulled his hand free and rolled off the young black woman, to sit up.”Are you okay? Did I hurt you?”



“Other than surprised as hell, I’m fine. I can’t say it’s my favorite way to come, but I’ll have to remember it for times I’m having difficulty getting off,” she answered, smiling, lying back and stretching, showing off her breasts.



Kirk looked at her, an uneasy feeling creeping into his psyche. “Why are you here, Jasmine?” His voice and face reflecting some distrust.



“I came to see you and Tiffany.” Tears began to form in her eyes as she began to sense the mistrust.



“No, you wouldn’t have known I was here, and Tiffany has no need to use her powers here. Not enough to send signals as far as Chicago. Why are you here? Let me in.”



“No, I can’t,” she began to sob. “They have Mama and that guy. If I can’t deliver you, they’ll kill them.”



“Where are they being held?” He reached out and took her hand, comforting her and monitoring her for lies at the same time.



“In a salt mine, near Piffard, close to Buffalo. There’s a group of soldiers waiting for you there. They told me they hope you try to rescue Mama. You could teleport in, but not back out, not with passengers.”



“We’ll see. How did they involve you in this?”



“At first, when I discovered I could understand them, I was in Syracuse, at Uni. I had a great time, just walking around and listening to their conversations. I guess I got careless.



“They had their headquarters on campus. One day, through a window, I heard one of them talking to an earth guy, talking about a black witch named Tiffany. Tiff had told me about the night you two got together and what you did to that guy in the bar. I wondered if it was him, and stopped to listen.



“When he mentioned your name, I sort of gasped, letting them know someone was listening. Before I knew it, they had grabbed me. I remember they gave me some kind of shot. When I woke up, they had Mama and Dick.



“They knew you were in Illinois, so an officer named Crag-3 told me to join the resistance and feed them information, good enough so I’d become a trusted source, and could look for you. They seemed to know who you were, and didn’t care about their losses if it meant capturing you…



“I’m sorry. Kirk; it’s just…they threatened to torture and kill her.”



“Do they know where you are?” he asked, looking into her eyes.



“No, when they all moved to Leavenworth, Crag-3 went back to New York, to Piffard. He said he’d wait for you there. Like he knew you’d try to get them.”



Kirk ran his hands over her body, concentrating. As they ran over her abdomen, he smiled. “No fucking originality. Hang on, this is gonna hurt.” Jasmine winced at the sharp pain in her belly as the tracking chip was removed and sent to the lake in Wisconsin. “Now, you are no longer being tracked by them, but they do have an idea where you are. They think, I hope, that you’re sitting in the middle of a swamp.



“We have some damage control to do. Go get Tiffany for me while I make some plans.”



As soon as she left the room, Kirk relaxed on the bed and sent his mental probes out, searching for Rose. It took him several minutes to locate and fix on her.



” Rose, this is your friend, vanilla boy.”



“Friend, shit! It’s your fault I’m in this friggin place! When are you gonna git me the hell out of here?”



“I don’t know if I can. Is Dick there with you?”



“We’re together during the day, but he’s kept in another part of the cave at night. When we’re together, there’s always a guard or two, and they don’t let us talk unless they can hear us.”



“Anyone else?”



She hesitated. “Just the guards.”



“How many guards all together?”



“We’ve been able to identify a dozen regulars, plus whatever officers there are.”



“Any physical restraints? Handcuffs, ankle chains?”



“No, just the threat of force and injury. And there’s some kind of webbing across the entrance to the cave.”



“Hmmm. Do you have any idea how deep you are, or what level you’re on?”



“We’re about a half mile from the entrance, on the ground level. They don’t like to go into the caves. The guards always locate themselves so they can see out the entrance.”



“Good. I’ll be there as soon as I can, but it’ll be a couple of weeks before I can get there. They’re expecting me to teleport in. That means they have some sort of trap set up. We’re going to need to make a ground assault. That’ll take a bit of setting up. Just relax and don’t tell Dick I’ve been in touch.



“And Rose, I love you.”



“Go to hell, vanilla boy,” she replied with a smile.



Tiffany and Jasmine entered his room just as he disengaged from Rose. “Good, you’re awake. Get ready for a quick trip to upstate New York; we’re going to go fetch your mother and my old boss, and a couple of others.”



“You talked to her? Is she okay? How about Dick?” Jasmine threw the questions at him rapidly, not waiting for the answers.



“She’s fine, just uncomfortable, and yes, Dick is there, too. And if I’m right, the guy that turned us in. Tiff, we’re going to need two strong guys to go along. Physically, and telepathically. Who’s here?”



“Not Lorenz? There’s Roy; he’s a bit of a cowboy, but he gets the job done. And Eli, kinda quiet, but good in a fight. I’ve heard some of the guys he’s served with talking about him taking on three or four Dhogians at once.”



“Fine; call them and have them meet us in the barn in twenty minutes. You both are going along.”



“Kirk, I’ve never…”



“Then it’s time you did, Jasmine. There’s nothing like a little fire fight to bring our all your powers. I need you along to point out the officer who sent you after Tiff and me.” He smiled. “If I’m right, we’ll have a little surprise for him before the day’s done.”



Before going to the barn, he stopped by Lorenz’s room and explained where he was going, and why. He asked the older man to make some preparations for their return.



At the barn, he explained the mission to the two men whom had been added. “Hi, Roy, Eli. We’re going to take a quick trip to a salt mine near Buffalo. The hogfaces are holding Tiff and Jasmine’s mother and a friend of mine there. I know there’s at least one other man, maybe more. We will be bringing Rose and my friend back here, along with a hogface and the other guy, if he’s who I think he is.



“Getting there will be easiest if you all just piggyback on me. Once we’re there, you’ll be able to get back without problem.



“They are expecting us, but hopefully not for a week or so. Are you guys familiar with the neuronal net the Dhogs use. I’ve run into small applications, across pathways, or blocking doors.



“The friggin’ stuff will let you go through one way, but if you try to go back through, it sticks like a web and begins to spread over your body, tightening as it spreads. If you don’t cut it away from its supports in a few seconds, it will immobilize you.



“From what Rose told me, they’ve sealed the entrance to the mine with it. They must have a separate entrance near the main one to let them go in and out. We’ll go in that way, then we can teleport out through the net.”



“Won’t the mind blast handle it?” Eli wanted to know.



“No, if anything, it makes it stickier. The only thing we’ve found to defeat it is a good sharp machete. Eli, that will be your job; can you do it without materializing?”



“Yeah, that’s no problem.”



“Girls, you get your Mom and Dick, again, without materializing. As soon as Eli lets you know the net is down, get your asses back here. Jasmine, can you do that?”



“I…I’m not sure about the distance. Can I piggyback on Tiffany?”



“Sure, little Sis, but you’ll be surprised how easy it is.”



“What’s my job, Kirk?” asked Roy.



“When we get there, Jasmine will identify a certain Dhog officer. Your job is to capture him, alive, and relatively uninjured. I expect he is the commander of the troops at the mine.



“I will bring the last prisoner. One last thing, no Dhog is to survive, except for the officer returning with us. Any questions?” There were head shakes all around. “Okay, grab what you think you’ll need, and grab hands, everyone.”



Three hundred million years ago, give or take a year or so, the Great Lakes region was covered by a huge inland sea. North America was crashing into Europe, forming the Appalachian mountains in North America, and the Atlas, Pyrenees and Alps in Europe. The collision tilted up the East Coast of North America, isolating the inland sea. Over a few million years, the sea evaporated, leaving huge salt deposits from southern New York to southern Ontario, from Vermont to Michigan.



Early settlers discovered them, and by the time of the War of 1812, New York was supplying salt to most of the country. The salt industry was one of the major factors in the creation of the Erie Canal, known in Central New York as the ‘ditch salt built.’ It was in one of those early mines the Dhogs held their bait.



Kirk and his crew materialized in a field about 750 yards from the cave. Between them and the mine opening were several clumps of scrub brush and a patch of light woods, screening their arrival. Quickly, and quietly, they made their way to a spot roughly 150 yards from the Dhogs, who, apparently, were just finishing their midday meal.



One, an officer, was making his way toward what was obviously a latrine. Jasmine poked Roy and pointed. He nodded and disappeared. A few minutes later, there was a frightened stir in the camp. The officer, Crag-3, appeared out of nowhere, trussed up like a package–hands and feet bound together, his mouth gagged.



Suddenly, the neuronal web began to visibly separate from the structures holding it over the mouth to the mine. Kirk and the girls immediately teleported into the cavity and found the prisoners. Seizing them, Kirk signaled the two men and the group quickly assembled outside the mine.



A quick pair of salvos of the mind blast served to remove the alien soldiers. A final blast from Kirk collapsed the mine entrance and the side passage the Dhogians had used, trapping inside any soldier who might have escaped the mind blasts. A minute later, the nine were back at the farm.



Kirk had Roy tie Crag-3 to some hay rolls which had been stacked on poles. The officer growled and gnashed his teeth, shouting imprecations at them in his native language. Kirk looked at him and shrugged. He turned his attention to the other man, Kirk’s ‘passenger.’ Eli had fastened him with some of the neuronal net he had retrieved at Kirk ‘s request.



“Kirk Reynolds! Goddam! Am I glad to see you! Let me loose so I can thank you. Damn, those fuckers have kept me holed up in that friggin’ cave for nearly six months.”



“Six months, Big Dick? That’s amazing. Most human men I’ve encountered who’ve spent more than a week in their company were dead. Why did they keep you alive? Were you selling them something?”



Just then, from the farm house, there was a chorus of screams. “That’s him; he’s the one who was talking to that officer.”



“What’s he doing here? Why’d you bring that cowardly son of a bitch along? That bastard ate with the Dhogs two or three times a week. I think he was informing on us. They always seemed to know what was going on, and he could always go where he wanted, not like Dick and me.”



“I know, Rose. Don’t worry; he’s going to pay. First, I want you and Jasmine to meet Susie. Here she comes.”



Kirk turned to greet the older woman. “Susie, as much as you have done for us, I hate to ask this of you, but Rose and Jasmine have to know what happened to you. Jasmine is a telepath and will be able to read you, and pass the information on to Rose, her mother.



“Susie, I need you to remember, to relive your experiences with Harr-1 and Orion. Even though you relive them, and experience the feelings again, distressing as they are, you are no longer in danger. And tonight, if you want, you will share my bed. Can you do this awful thing for me?” With tears running down her cheeks, she nodded.



“Jasmine, hold her hand and your mother’s. Everything you sense from Susie, pass on to her. Don’t filter anything. Tiff, do you know Susie’s story? No? Then you should participate, too.”



The four women joined hands. In a few seconds, tears were flowing freely from all their eyes. Kirk felt a tap on his shoulder. “Dick, how are you?”



“Christ, Kirk! I don’t know. How the fuck did all this happen? One day I’m sitting at my desk having a cup of coffee, and the next four years are chaos. I have a strange sense that just knowing you saved my life. That officer out there, for the first three or four months, after he learned you had worked for me, he’d grill me for hours every other day…”



He was interrupted by a scream, “You fucking bastard! That’s what you had planned for me! And you, you motherfucking cocksucker; you knew what they were going to do to us!” Suddenly, rocks, sticks, and animal waste arose from the ground, anything that was not firmly attached to the soil, flew through the air to pelt and assail the tied and bound prisoners.



“Easy, Rose. You can have them for target practice in a little bit. I thought you might be able to do that. It would really be strange for both sisters to have the ability if you don’t. Where in Susie’s story are you?”



“She was being examined for use as a breeder.”



“There’s more, and I’ll warn you, it’s worse.”



“How could it…” She saw his face, and Susie’s, and fell silent. “Ohmigod,” she whispered. She rejoined her hands with her daughters. In less than a minute, Rose’s face was livid with rage. While her daughters comforted Susie, Rose turned toward the captives.



Suddenly a large ball of flame seemed to emanate from her and consume them. Before Kirk could react, Big Dick, Crag-3, the hay and the wooden poles which anchored the hay bales, were all cinders. Rose collapsed, sobbing. “Those bastards. Those fucking…animals, that’s all they are, animals!” She turned to Kirk. “I want to help you get rid of them. What can I do?”



Mentally, he made the suggestion, “Comfort Susie. Besides what they did to her, they murdered her family, and were responsible for the death of her sister-in-law. She is going to need some friends when this is all done.



“And Rose, please don’t get angry with me.”



“Fuck you, vanilla boy. Just don’t make me angry,” she replied, the smile glowing in her eyes.



He turned back to Dick. “Well, that sure stops our interrogation. I do have some good news for you. Sally is safe. She is working down in St Louis, at a hospital, treating wounded resistance fighters and civilians who got hurt. I hear she and Monty have become good friends. Don’t look so worried. That may well work to your advantage.



“We won’t know for sure, but when this is done, we’re estimating women will outnumber men two or three to one. Polygamy will be encouraged until there’s a more even balance. There has even been some discussion of requiring men to supply sperm to sperm banks each week for women who decide to create their own family units.



“I heard of one eighteen year old who was thinking of setting up a fertilization function. For a small fee, women would attend daily until they were impregnated. He thought he was brilliant, until someone remarked it sounded a lot like a male brothel.” Kirk laughed.



They had reached the house. “I’ll arrange transportation for you to St Louis in the morning. It’s about a six hour drive from here. We try not to teleport there, especially now they’ve located their continental headquarters at Leavenworth. Maybe you could help them get organized and move. It was suggested they use one of the underground nuclear waste storage facilities near Denver.”



“Any idea how much longer this will go on? That officer said they had all but wiped out the resistance, and that it was ridiculous for us to hope to be rescued. I have to admit, I was losing hope.”



“I’m sorry, Dick; I just learned this morning you and Rose were being held captive.”



“Don’t be sorry! I just don’t have any idea how I’ll ever repay you.”



“You could always fix me up for a night with Monty.” Kirk said, with a grin.



“What? Are you serious? I counted, what, nine women in that farm house…” He looked at Kirk, who had a wide smile. “You’re shittin’ me, aren’t you?” He looked at his rescuer, at the lecherous grin. “Aren’t you?”



The planning/strategy conference went off without a hitch. Bitsy, her studs and their wives were glad to get back into the village, even for a short time. The dozen or so telepaths, male and female, were glad to get together away from the constant stress vigilance imposed. With the aliens holed up in Leavenworth, their vigilance could be relaxed, but not abandoned.

They all arrived within a day of each other and sleeping arrangements took care of themselves as the mentalists chose their bed partners and preferred quarters. Meals were pitch-in affairs, with everyone contributing as they could. Instead of an epic battle planning meeting, there was an air of a ribald Chatauqua meeting about the farm. Except in the planning sessions.



Anyone who was not familiar with the group would have thought they were all involved in some sort of group meditation exercise. All the communication was by telepathy. Besides the twelve resistance group leaders, there were Kirk, Lorenz, Ron (Kirk’s second in command in his resistance group), Susie, T’sahn (Susie’s link to the other telepaths), Rose, and Jasmine, the last two because of their recent interactions with the aliens, and a radiochemist from each of the two larger colliders.



Most of the first morning was taken up listing and specifying all the weaknesses members of the group had become aware of in the alien forces, from their inability to see danger physically underfoot, to the lack of fuel for their air forces and space ships.



The next three and a half days were an extended brainstorming session as each weakness which had been identified was examined and ways to exploit it considered and debated. The fifth day, strategies were chosen and assignments made. On the sixth day small groups were formed and methods chosen to carry out the strategies. New assignments were made and the battle site and date chosen. They had six weeks to get ready.



The collider engineers announced a procedural breakthrough. They were now able to produce approximately 25 grams of the fuel mixture each day, a rate which would allow the aliens to leave in mid-August. Fuel rods would be delivered weekly. To allow safe handling, the rods were to be encased in a lead alloy.



Other teams scouted the chosen battle site under the cover of darkness and reformed the landscape to conceal the ‘booby traps’ they had planned during the strategy sessions. In Missouri, northeast of Kansas City, there is a stretch of state highway 201 which runs pretty much east and west along the Missouri River. That was the chosen site.



They predicted the route the aliens would take, and constructed what looked like a comfortable place to stop for the night at the western edge of the battlefield. A series of unfortunate mishaps would help to lead them there.



When everything was in place, a narrowly focused radio beam was aimed at the space ship occupied by Central Command. It triggered a melt down of the lead alloy covering the rods in the fuel cells, resulting in a series of small explosions in the engineering deck, wiping out propulsion, navigational, and weapon systems. In short order, the other space ships reported similar occurrences.



As soon as radio reports confirming the explosions were received, all available resistance units in North America relocated to North Central Missouri, to a field along the Missouri River. The camp was large enough to be seen at night from space.



Shortly after they were assembled, Kirk and Lorenz called their special team together to start sending mental blasts toward the Central Command ship, nudging it out of orbit, toward the sun. Calls for immediate action were sent to the Commander of the troops at Ft Leavenworth.



This resulted in a bit of an argument about how best to attack a foe over a hundred miles away immediately. The result was that the alien troops were loaded onto a convoy of several trucks, which set out as soon as the last troop sat down in the back of the last truck, just before dawn.



As predicted, they followed the interstates toward KC. Along the way, they were subject to continuing sniper fire, not only from resistance fighters, but also from the men and women whose farms and businesses they had to pass.



Approaching one of the bridges crossing the Missouri at mid morning, the Commander, in the lead truck, was horrified to see it collapse in front of them. When he ordered the convoy to turn around, to return to the last exit, the driver in the last truck reported that the last three bridges they had passed over had also collapsed just as the convoy cleared them, isolating them. A quick glance at the median area between the interstate lanes showed it was not an option.



The Commander recognized a trap when he saw one. He contacted his superior at Central Command. Before he could say anything, the Admiral began shouting at him (roughly translated), “What the fuck are you doing. Do you realize those fucking Earthmen have just about knocked us out of our fucking orbit. If you don’t get your fucking ass on the way right now, we’ll be headed for their puny fucking Sun with no fucking way to stop ourselves. Do I have to fucking come down there and assume command or are you going to fucking do something?”



The Commander, as we said, was no fool. He realized at that point he was destined to die on this planet. That was of little consequence to him. He had no idea if there was any of his family still living on his home planet. The only memories of that far off place were adulterated by his time in the image-I-holds, room sized holograms which tapped into the user’s memories to recreate scenes and experiences from their past.



“Perhaps, Sir, it would be better if you came down and assumed command,” he replied.



There was a stunned silence at the other end. “Do you realize what you are saying, Kmar-2?” came the Admiral’s reply after several seconds.”



“Yes, Sir.”



“Who is your second in command?”



“I am the only officer remaining in this command, Sir. My two remaining officers were killed by sniper fire this morning. My next, currently, is a Staff Sergeant, with three campaigns experience. He’s a bit young, and rash; not really officer quality, but there was no one else of rank. Still, he will be useful moving the troops around this highway bridge which has collapsed.”



“Where is Crag-3?”



“I fear he is lost, Sir. He did not report in when the troops were ordered to this place, Leavenworth. According to some of the officers from the inland Seas contingent, he moved toward the salt water, to a place not far from the easternmost Inland Sea.



“They said he planned to wait for the leader of the resistance there, to trap him. That was two moon periods ago. He has not responded to any radio or view screen hails.” There was a grumbling noise from the Admiral as he assimilated this information.



“Can you establish a receiving shell?”



“No, Sir. We had to leave the post without most of our supplemental equipment. You will have to target our position using this radio link. It should be safe enough,” the Commander answered, the last comment a dig at the Admiral’s well known ‘caution.’



“Very well, Kmar-2.” the Admiral responded, the hard tone in his voice conveying the message that he didn’t appreciate his subordinate’s remark about safety. “Get the troops ready to proceed on foot. Send out scouts to find a way across the divide the bridge collapse created.



“We have located the source of the energy forcing us out of orbit. It is about 65 magetermes (approximately 40 miles) east of your current position, on the North side of the river you seem to be following. I’ll be down to assume command directly.”



It was nearly forty-five minutes before the Admiral was down in a transportation pod, a specialized container which could move an individual through space using a special form of radio wave. Ideally, the target location would have a shell matched to the ship’s radio frequency in which the individual, or object, would materialize upon arrival. He seemed to simply appear next to the lead truck, dressed in full battle gear, like the troops.



Kirk had chosen his battle site well. A major characteristic of the American Interstate system is an almost total lack of trees shading the highways, or, indeed, the entire right of way. In Kansas, in August, it is not unheard of for daytime temperatures, in the heat of the day, to exceed 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Dhogian battle dress was flat black, reflecting zero light, or heat. The 40-mile forced march would challenge even their strongest troops.



The Admiral had barely finished formally assuming command when a frantic signal was received from the space ship he had just left.



If you have studied basic physics, you may remember the definition of a dyne, the basic unit of energy, as the force imparted by a mosquito’s fart. You may also remember Newton’s Third Law of Motion: For each action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.



In transporting the Admiral across the fifty miles from his space ship to Earth, the transporter exerted the minuscule force of three hundred dynes, normally not enough to be considered. Given the constant bombardment of the ship by Kirk and his crew, however, it was enough to nudge the ship on its way to the Sun, and to oblivion.



The alien officers bade their comrades farewell.



Over the past two years, Kirk had spent enough time in the Kansas and Nebraska area to learn to hate one of its denizens, an obnoxious insect identified to him simply as the corn bug. About an inch long, and a quarter of that in diameter, it seemed to be constantly expelling its waste, a thick syrupy liquid which tended to raise blisters or welts when it came in contact with human skin.



They seemed to land on any thing which moved, and would seek any opening to crawl into and explore: gloves, breathing apertures, eye holes, ear holes, rips, ventilation openings. And they bit; and when they bit, they shit. The resulting blisters, in a few minutes began to itch. It was a sensation unlike anything the Doghians had ever previously encountered.



The more you scratched, the harder or faster you scratched, the more /harder/faster scratching the itch seemed to require. Before they had gone a thousand yards, the entire troop of 1300 was in severe disorder because of the bug.



The only saving grace was that, physically, the discomfort passed in about an hour, if left alone; otherwise, it could take from two to four hours of agonized scratching before the pain was reduced to a tolerable level.



However, they had to keep any opening in their uniforms closed, allowing the heat of the day to elevate the heat in their uniforms to nearly unbearable temperatures. By noon, the troop could barely move they were so exhausted. The Admiral called for a halt to rest, but there was no shade, and no one was inclined to take advantage of the coolly beckoning river.



They made a little over four miles in that hour, and lost nearly a hundred fighting drones, and five troopers, all unranked, first campaigners, to heat stroke.



Around two in the afternoon, the Admiral confessed to himself that he no longer had the stamina he had possessed as a young man, and gave up battling the heat. He had Kmar-2 order one of the non-coms to take another trooper and confiscate a vehicle of some sort for him to ride in.



With a baleful look at their revered leader, the non-com and one of the unranked troopers set off to find a vehicle. They had hardly cleared the expressway when they came to a fueling station with several of the short bedded trucks the natives referred to as pick-ups parked nearby.



Brandishing their weapons, they inspected the pick-ups and found one with a key in the ignition. As soon as they determined that the engine started, both of the aliens piled into the cab and returned to their column. The Admiral was pleased and appointed the non-com as his driver.



The radio, which had been salvaged from the troop truck, was mounted in the bed of the truck, improving both the broadcast and receiving capabilities. When the troop was finally able to move on, the Admiral was talking to the space ships which had been flanking his flag ship when it commenced its final, fatal, journey.



Both ships reported seeing the flag ship ‘tumble’ out of orbit and begin its trip to the Sun. It was probably about half way to the lunar orbit by now. They also reported they were still under attack, and that the severity of the attacks had increased since the flag ship had succumbed.



The Admiral was about to choose one as his new flagship when, first one, then the other, calmly reported their orbits had failed, and they were following the flagship, on their final voyages. The Admiral switched to visual mode and saluted his long time companions, wished them well and promised to meet them in whatever version of Paradise they might find in this ‘Godforsaken corner of the Universe.’



He had barely finished when calls from the remaining ships came in, reporting their orbits also were failing. Only one ship remained in stable orbit, but without fuel or control.



He climbed into the pick-up’s cab and ordered the driver to catch up with the troops. It only took them about five minutes to reach the head of the column. They passed it and went on a hundred yards or so to assume the lead. When the non-com pulled into line, he felt the steering freeze and seize up. He was unable to straighten the front wheels, and drove over the bank and down the bankside toward the river.



A little more than halfway down, the truck struck a large, man sized boulder, throwing the Admiral clear. The truck began tumbling end over end, landing upside down in the river shoals.



The Commander, feeling more and more like they were walking into a massive trap, quickly ordered a half dozen troopers to grab some ropes and run ahead to effect whatever rescue they could, not expecting anyone to have survived.



By the time he got to the crash site, two of the troopers had reached the Admiral and were assisting him up over the bank, to the road surface. Badly shaken, he had suffered no physical injury. He looked at the Commander.



“What kind of enemy are we dealing with? When my great great grandfather retired from the Army, he used to tell us folk tales of fighting invisible spirits who seemed to ride the wind; they could coax boulders and trees out of the ground to fly at their enemy and seemed to be immune to injury. Have we found their home?”



The Commander, nodding his head slowly, replied, “That may be. About two lunar cycles past, there was a cryptic report from a patrol in the Southern Mountain region that they had captured one of the native guerillas. When they didn’t return within the expected time, another patrol was sent to find them.



“It was plain they were lying where they had fallen, each with a dozen fatal wounds. Their weapons and all the supplemental gear was taken. Only their transport remained, drained of fuel. There was no sign any of their attackers had even been injured.”



“I am beginning to think we are being led into an elaborate ambush, Kmar. Is that why you called me down here?”



The Dhogian Commander’s face displayed as much of a smile as it could. “I thought you would rather die facing your enemy, than tumbling through space to be consumed by a star with no way to retaliate. This way, we have the possibility of helping them relieve their over-population problem.”



The Admiral laughed, a frightful sound, similar to the braying of a mule. “Right you were, Kmar! Well, if we are to suffer a warrior’s death, then let us go forth to the battle. If my calculations are correct, we are about 15 magetremes from the camp we saw from the flagship last night.



“Judging from the sun, even if we double time, it will be too late to engage in battle. And I sense the troops are in no shape to attempt that speed. Change to hiking mode, Kmar; have them walk at their own pace. Let them relax their armor. I do not think our enemy plans to attack us in force tonight. But I hate to think what our troops might face tomorrow.”



The road they were following paralleled the river. With all its twists and turns, Kirk was closer to 20 magetremes away. It took the column, moving at its relaxed pace, close to six hours to reach the swale the resistance had prepared for them.



Between the highway and the river, there was an open grassy area, covering about five acres. There were several large oaks scattered through the field, enough so the lea was littered with acorns. There was not a square foot without at least a half dozen of the pebble-like fruits.



A clear, babbling brook ran through the center, from the highway to the river, terminating in a picturesque ribbon waterfall. The long march in the hot sun overcame the fear of running water for the first arrivals.



Hearing and seeing the clear water, they ran to the brook, discarding their helmets, to drink deeply of what turned out to be brackish water. They had barely swallowed their first mouthfuls when the swampy water was forcibly rejected by their bodies.



Immediately, the Commander and the Admiral suspected some sort of trickery or sabotage, but those fears were quickly put to rest when the first scouting party crossed the highway, along the north end of the meadow, and walked into a quicksand bog.



Kmar-2, uncharacteristically, lost his temper when he heard that a breeder and three fighting drones had mistaken some grassy islands near the highway as solid ground and fallen into the dreaded sucking waters. He released a string of epithets similar in character to the tirade the Admiral had unleashed on him the day before, ending with the Dhog equivalent of ‘this fucking hell hole of an asteroid.’



When he finished, he turned around to see several troopers looking at him, a combination of fear and concern in their eyes, as well as the Admiral, who was doing his best not to laugh.



“Are you okay, Kmar-2? Do you need anything? A drink? A furlough?” he asked, his eyes laughing and wary at the same time.



From a family which prided itself on not showing emotion, Kmar-2 was viewed as a paragon. Where we might say cool as a cucumber, on the Dhog’s home planet, they said cool as Kmar.



Struggling to regain control of himself, Kmar-2 replied. “I’m fine, Sir. Forgive my outburst; it shan’t happen again. It’s just those… those…those cursed sucking waters, as the troops refer to them. We must have lost the equivalent of a company of men to them. Many by carelessness, some by accident, but most either by trickery or..or…or the guerillas forcing or dropping prisoners into the ponds. It’s as if the planet itself is fighting us.”



Just then, one of the troopers who had been out scouting the area approached them. “Sirs?”



“What is it, corporal?” asked the Admiral.



“Sirs, there is a camp, about two magetremes ahead, with a few hundred Earthmen. Two of them intercepted me and escorted me to the one they call Kirk, whom we believe to be their general.” The Admiral looked to Kmar, who nodded.



“We’ve been hearing his name for several months, being talked about by the humans in the cities and towns. He is the one Crag-3 hoped to trap. Go on, Corporal. I assume there is a message.”



“Yessir, I mean, Yes, Sir. He suggested you and the Admiral meet him near the twin boulders on the highway. He suggested in an hour, himself and you two, no aides or guards. He promised safe conduct for you to and from the meeting site.”



“Weapons?” asked the Admiral.



“He didn’t mention them,” answered the non-com.



“Don’t even think about treachery, Sir. These pre-battle discussions on the field are under the flag of truce. To violate that is to invite wholesale slaughter.”



“Just a thought, Kmar, just a thought.”



As the Dhogian officers approached the twin boulders resting on the north side of the roadway, a single figure rose from sitting on the guardrail to wait for them.



The Dhogs saw a tall man, a few centimetres short of two metres, with black curly hair beginning to fade from being in the sun for the past two years. His dark skin attested to that. His bright blue eyes conveyed a sense of openness and frankness. Both officers immediately felt a sense of kinship, of shared professionalism.

“Admiral Gorp-5; Commander Kmar-2, I’m pleased you decided to meet with me. With your assistance, we can avoid, or at least decrease, the carnage tomorrow.



“I am here to offer you the opportunity to surrender and return to your families on the planet Gaoye, in what we call the Sirius system.”



The officers were as stunned by Kirk’s knowledge of their names and origins as they were by his proposal that they surrender.



He went on. “I’m pleased that you are almost weapon free. That knife in the back of your belt won’t do you any good, Admiral, and normally would get you killed.” He willed the knife and its sheath to his hand, to the wonder and fright of the Dhogs.



“How…”



“It’s hard to explain. Just know I am not the only one of the Earthmen who can do it.” He unsheathed the knife and drew it across the muscle of his forearm, drawing blood.



As the officers watched, the blood stopped and the cut could be seen knitting itself closed. They drew their breaths in with a hiss. “Admiral, there are five trees on the south side of the road. Choose one without naming it. Fix its image in your brain.”



The Admiral did so, wondering to what purpose. Suddenly, the tree he had chosen cracked and broke about two feet above the ground. Instead of falling, it rose in the air and flew across the road, nearly brushing their heads.



They heard Kirk begin to speak again. “Here is my only proposition.” With a start, they realized that, although they heard him, his lips weren’t moving, and he was speaking in their language.



“If you surrender before the battle begins, all the officers and troopers remaining on Earth will be spared and returned to the surviving spaceship, with enough fuel to get you within hailing distance of your home planet. The drones, both your battle drones and the breeders, will be destroyed.



“Should you decide to fight, by the time the Sun reaches its zenith, there will not be a Dhog left in this solar system.” He returned the knife to the Admiral. “We will begin our attack at first light.”



“If we decide to accept your offer, how should we let you know?” inquired the Commander.



“Strip your uniforms of insignia, leave your weapons in the meadow and withdraw two miles, three and a quarter magetremes. There is another force approaching you from behind. They will meet you there and hold you until we have finished with the drones.



“I would warn you and your men to be cooperative with that force. It contains several survivors of your first six months of blood bath tactics.”



“General Kirk, it may well be the case that the troops will be of differing opinions regarding surrender.”



“That, Admiral, is your problem…I take that back. A man, especially a soldier, should be able to choose his manner of dying. If your troopers would rather die here than return to their families, so be it. We will be happy to oblige them.”



“Brave talk, coming from a race still fairly technologically naive.”



Kirk looked at the Admiral, his face blank. Suddenly, the Admiral felt himself being picked up and turned around, to face the tree which had been broken and removed. As he hovered there, in mid-air, he felt a warm gust of wind, then saw the tree flame and reduce to cinders in less than a second. He was then turned back to face Kirk. “Questions?”



“Our legends tell of a long, bitter, bloody war with a race which had no need of weapons. It is said they were destroyed only because they were scattered across the galaxies. Are we to believe you are their descendants?”



“Believe what you wish, Kmar-2. Until your attack five years ago, our offensive powers didn’t exist, or were possessed by few, and in truncated forms. There are relatively few of us, still, but they have provided the bulk of those you refer to as guerillas.”



“You would send us home, knowing we might return to seek vengeance for this defeat, and to finish what we started eons ago?”



“We will send you home with you knowing that if you decide to try and return to take vengeance, every Dhog in the known Universe will be eradicated when you cross the orbit of the mini-planet, Pluto. Whether or not you decide to return for that purpose is up you. If you return in peace, for our mutual non-military benefit, well, we’ll have to see what happens.”



The Admiral broke in. “Such speculation is useless. We are a warrior race. To be returned in a damaged vessel, obviously defeated, would destroy our honor and reduce us to objects of ridicule and scorn. We thank you for your offer, but we must reject it. We will meet you in battle at dawn.”



Kirk looked to the Commander, who was nodding, with a sad face. “I agree, sadly. I wish…under other circumstances, General, I think we could have been friends. As we wish our comrades before battle, happy death.”



The Admiral nodded. “Happy Death.”



Kirk offered his hand to the alien officers. “I am truly sorry for you both. Happy Death.”



As the Sun crested the eastern horizon the next morning, the resistance began their pre-battle cannonade, using the exploding shells they had salvaged from the aliens’ supplies. A brief fifteen minutes of continuous fire accounted for nearly a quarter of the invaders, clustered as they were in the meadow.



In an effort to flank the humans and interrupt or divide their fire, the Admiral sent fifty fighting drones to proceed down the highway to attack the guerillas. The small force encountered some invisible obstacle which forced them northward, into the bog which was the source of the brackish water which had sickened the early arrivals at the meadow. None of the group returned to inform the two officers of their fate.



During the bombardment, the two alien officers consulted, then ordered the battle drones and breeders, acting as non-commissioned officers, to mass at the eastern edge of the meadow, ready to attack as soon as the shelling ceased.



Looking eastward, they saw an open space, extending eastward about a tenth of a magetreme, terminated by a hedgerow of a mix of brambles, climbing roses and hawthorns. Nearly invisible, a dozen metres beyond the hedgerow, was a gully, easily ten metres deep, with a rapidly moving stream at the bottom.



At the first break in the shelling, the drones were given the signal to advance. They were wearing their body armor and carrying the weapons Susie had called muskets, similar to magazine fed shotguns.



At the signal, the first rank of drones stepped over a split rail fence, into the open area. They had hardly advanced five metres when the first sign something was wrong was noticed. Bloody footprints began to be seen. The first drones entering the battlefield began to drop, woozy with the loss of blood and other body fluids.



The ranks behind them, programmed to advance, regardless of what the forward ranks were doing, simply marched over their fallen comrades, grinding them into the broken glass littering the area. Within a few feet, they, too, began to drop. By the time the drones got to the hedgerow, between a quarter and a third of them had succumbed to the broken glass.



Pressure from the advancing rear ranks pushed the leading drones into the thorn filled hedgerow, tattering armor and skin beneath it. If a drone hesitated, or stopped to release a tatter of armor caught up on a thorn, or to pluck a thorn from its skin, the drone behind simply walked up and over it, sometimes to fall into a nest of brambles, to serve as a walkway for those following; sometimes to present a barrier, forcing drones in the rear to deviate from their path, crowding those to the side into unbroken pathways of thicker, denser thorns. Traversing the hedgerow cost the aliens another three to four hundred drones.



The final two feet of the hedgerow, the brambles, hawthorns and roses were so thickly packed and intergrown they were like a thick net. The vegetation was so thick there was no room to swing their machetes to chop a way through the wall of thorns. The only thing to do was to allow oneself to be pushed, hoping to break a pathway for the drones and troops behind.



When the break finally occurred, it usually resulted with several drones spilling through the opening, uncontrollably plummeting across the last few yards to the gully, and over the bank, to be swept into the river by the fast moving stream. By the time the Dhogian troopers got through the bramble barrier, there were fewer than twenty of the battle drones left, none of the breeders.



As the troopers watched, a series of fireballs seemed to speed toward them from the guerilla camp, to engulf each of the battle drones, incinerating them. When the last fireball had consumed its drone, the troops heard the command to lay down their arms and return to their base on the other side of the hedgerow.



Of the three hundred troopers the aliens had arrived with, there were twenty-five or thirty who had not been fit for duty that morning. Fully a third of the remainder had been eliminated by the ‘environmental booby traps’ the resistance had put in place. As they fought their way through the hedgerow, and broke free of the entangling thorns, they stumbled into their fellow troopers, waiting on the edge of the gully, knocking them down.



Those who were knocked down, and those who missed their fellow troops and careened toward the gully were surprised to find their fall into the stream blocked by an invisible wall, more surprising and frightening than comforting.



While they briefly contemplated the order to lay down their weapons and return through the hedgerow to the camp, many turned to look at the hedgerow, as if considering returning. They saw an open line of hawthorns, interspersed with some climbing roses. The brambles had disappeared. Again, the action of the guerillas added more to the fright page of the emotion ledger than to the comfort page.



The aliens turned back toward their foe, and as if on signal, raised their weapons and brandished them toward the resistance fighters’ camp. The gesture seemed to serve as a signal. Immediately, on the other side of the gully, nearly two hundred men appeared, apparently weaponless.



As soon as they appeared, the non-coms in command of the troopers along the gully issued the command to hold fire. Through the hedgerow, Kirk and his command team could be seen driving into the aliens’ camp. In a few minutes, the troopers heard Kirk making them an offer similar to one he proposed to the Admiral and the Commander.



“Troopers have two choices. “The first is to die here, now. The second is to join the crew of the last remaining space ship and accompany them on their final trip into the Sun, a journey of roughly seven Earthly rotations.



“If you choose to die now, it will be quick and painless. If you choose to join the space ship, lay down your weapons and return to the camp. You have ninety seconds to decide.”



To their credit, no trooper still on his feet chose to delay death. On the tick of the 95th second, a wall of flame swept across the gully, eliminating the alien troopers.



The same thing happened to those unfit for duty remaining in the camp, and to troopers around the world. By second number 100, only the Admiral and the Commander were left from the invasion force nearly five years ago.



Kirk turned to the officers and was just about to tell them that, as officers, they merited their own firing squad, when Susie called to him, “Wait, Kirk, I know that sadistic son of a sow. He’s the bastard who murdered my family, forcing Shirley and I to watch after he raped us in front of our men.”



Kirk looked at her, puzzled. From all they had learned, only the breeders seemed interested in having any kind of sexual experience with the Earth women. When he voiced his belief, Susie told him her story.



“My family lived in Detroit, well, one of the suburbs. It was the weekend after they crashed into the towers. You remember, they spent the next two days attacking and dispersing the Earth’s armies and navies. They literally cut the legs off the air forces by pellet bombing the runways and fuel depots, making the planes useless…”



It was a beautiful September day, except for the pall hanging over the nation from the attack. Susan and her husband had invited his brother and his family over for a cookout. Susan was in the kitchen, preparing a salad with the help of Shirley, her sister-in-law, while the men, her husband, Steve, brother-in-law, Gary, and Shirley’s dad, Chet, were out back doing the steaks. Timmy, Susan’s son, was up in his bedroom packing to leave for college that weekend.



Crag-3 had just been promoted to Captain and put in charge of imposing martial law in one of the states in the north-central part of the richest country on the planet they had just invaded. He was out with his troops, conducting what the manual referred to as ‘shock and awe’ raids. The object was simply to instill fear and the belief that the invaders were capable of the utmost in depravity and cruelty, if not immediately obeyed.



They were patrolling one of the large suburbs of an industrial city in his state. Crag-3 pointed to a house at random, saying, “That looks like a good one. Let’s go have some fun.”



Just as Susan and Shirley finished putting the finishing touches on the salad, there was a loud crash in the living room, followed by some shouting in a language she couldn’t identify. She heard the pounding of feet running up the stairs to the second floor.



When she glanced out the window to the patio, she saw a half dozen of what had to be alien soldiers. Two more came storming into the kitchen, to grab the two women and drag them to the living room.



Susie and Shirley were clinging to each other, kneeling on the floor. Susie heard noise on the stairs and looked up in time to see two aliens dragging Timmy down the steps. Before she could react, the soldiers she had seen outside pushed the older men into the room, to line them up against the wall.



Crag-3 stepped forward, and in heavily accented English, introduced himself. “I am Crag-3, Dhogian Capitan in charge of this province, which is now under our military rule. We are here seeking volunteers to service the native inhabitants who aided us in our invasion.



“Females, stand up!” he shouted, gesturing at the women. They scrambled to their feet, still huddled together. Crag-3 approached them and pulled them apart. He seemed to sniff the air around them.



His long thick nose and mouth, which, with the lack of a chin, typical of the invaders, was the source of their nickname, showed just the hint of a smile where his nose blended into his cheeks.



He could just detect an odor of fear from one of the women, but couldn’t, just yet, tell which one. Bending over, he ran his snout up Susie’s thighs, pushing her skirt up, until he bumped her panty-clad vulva. He tapped it a few times with his snout, making her jump. Laughing, he did the same to Shirley, discovering she had come visiting sans panties. She was the source of the odor.



Taking hold of her skirt, he turned her to face the men, exposing her pubes to them. “To whom does this whore belong?” he asked.



My daughter is no whore,” shouted Chet, earning him a gun barrel across the skull, knocking him to the floor.



“She’s my wife,” answered Gary.



“And the other one belongs to you?” Crag-3 asked, pointing at Steve, who nodded in return. “Who do you belong with, then?” he asked, looking at Timmy.



“He’s my son,” replied Steve, eliciting an evil smile from the alien Capitan.



“All you males, strip, now! Remove all your clothing!” he shouted. Several of the soldiers pushed forward, their hands on the hilts of some ugly looking knives. Hesitantly, the men obeyed.



When the four of them finally were naked, the alien invaders began to snicker and laugh, pulling the men’s hands away from their genitals, and rewarding any tendency to replace them with blows to the abdomen and/or head.



Crag-3 turned to look at a young alien, in a similar, less showy uniform, whom the women would learn was a junior officer, and in their foreign tongue ordered him to come forward and take command of Shirley.



The troops moved to form a ring around the back of the men, making sure they paid full attention to the officers, who were standing between the women so neither could see what was happening to the other.



Susie felt Crag-3′s right hand begin to lightly rub her belly, while his left slid over her shoulder and into the neck of her blouse. When she closed her eyes in embarrassment, she received a nasty pinch on the upper slope of her breast.



The only one she was ashamed to have watch as she was abused was her son. Chet had taken her virginity when she had gone to a slumber party for Shirley’s eighteenth birthday. She and Shirley often traded partners when the couples visited without children around.



Crag-3 had reached her nipple, and his right hand was now stroking her vulva through her skirt. He stopped and pushed his hand into the row of buttons and pulled her blouse open, then off. He did roughly the same with her skirt, so she was standing in front of the men naked except for her panties.



“Remove them,” he ordered her, leaving no doubt about what he meant. Sobbing softly, she complied. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the young officer frigging Shirley.



When she took too long stepping out of her panties, Crag-3 began to explore Susie’s rosebud with his finger. She quickly stood up straight, only to have him continue his exploration, widening it to include her pussy.



She heard the two officers and some of the troops begin to snicker and looked around to see why. The reason was obvious. The men were beginning to become erect, watching the aliens abuse the wives.



Crag-3 put some pressure on her shoulders, pushing her to the floor. When she was on her knees, he pushed her to lie on her back, legs up and parted, revealing her most secret parts to the view of everyone in the room, except for Shirley, who was in the same position.



Crag-3 straddled her head. Looking up, Susie shuddered. He had removed his trousers, exposing a weird tri-budded growth where human males sported their penis and testicles. As she watched, each of the growths began to elongate and thicken, the center one, thicker and longer than the other two. He squatted slightly, and commanded, “Open!”



When she did not immediately comply, he barked an order at one of the troops who quickly came and knelt by her side and forced her mouth open far enough for Crag-3′s center cock to enter and reach the back of her throat.



With an evil grin, he flexed his snake-like cock, moving it around the inside of her mouth, so she could watch as the rest of it seemed to dance, moving back and forth, and circling, very much like an Indian music charmer’s cobra.



After amusing themselves in the women’s mouths for several minutes, the alien officers moved between the women’s legs and began to explore their vaginas.



Susie learned that Crag-3 had the ability to vary, not only the length of his main cock, but also the thickness. He used that ability to test her capacity, both for volume of cock, and for pain, as he stretched her vagina to its limits. Her screams of pain seemed to both amuse and arouse him.



His curiosity satisfied, he pushed all three of his snakes into her sheath and began to fuck her in earnest, each cock moving at differing speeds, and to varying depths. In spite of herself, partly in response to hearing Shirley’s scream of release, Susie began to climax, triggering Crag-3′s first emission of alien seed.



The alien discharge burned in Susie’s cunt, not just from the body heat , but it caused a stinging feeling, very much like an acidic sap. It also left her cervix permanently scarred, impassable for human sperm. But this she wouldn’t know for several months.



After coming in her quim, and stirring his emission so it coated her walls, Crag-3 withdrew one of his side cocks and presented it to Susie’s mouth to clean. When it was done to his satisfaction, he pushed it into her rosebud, as far as he could push it.

Val woke up feeling cold and horny. She couldn’t remember the details of her dream, but it had been sexy, and her crotch was dripping wet. That had been happening more, of late. Shaking off the haze of sleep and arousal, she thumbed the intercom. “What?”



“Got a ship hailing us, Cap. It’s military, looks like UNSDF. They’re asking to speak with the captain.”



“Be right up.” Val slipped off her soaked panties, then decided against putting on a fresh pair. She had every intention of continuing where the dream had left off once she dealt with whatever it was the UNSDF wanted. They may be pains in the ass, but at least they were usually brief.



Val pulled her utility jumpsuit over her legs, making sure not to tangle her pubes in the zipper as she pulled it from the crotch up. She could feel the moistness of her crotch against the rough fabric of the jumpsuit, but luckily the jumpsuit was grimy enough that it would not be visible. The jumpsuit was a little short around the limbs and not particularly comfortable, but it helped her fit in with her crew.



After zipping up, Val gathered her hand back into a ponytail. In the small mirror above the stainless steel sink, her cheeks were still slightly flushed. Luckily, splashing some cold water on her face made her seem less aroused than she felt.



God, she needed to get laid. She had been a sheltered girl growing up on the Olympus orbital base, so she had been a virgin when her father had given her a freighter to run, but that hadn’t lasted long. She lost her virginity to her first mate, another Orbital, on her first payday. When you’re piloting a small metal can through the vast expanse of vacuum with a bunch of people for weeks on end, stodgy upper-middle-class repressed sexuality starts to seem silly. Still, they had both been drunk, and had agreed that it was a bad idea afterwards. When he was promoted to captain a freighter of his own, that was the end of that.



That had been two years ago. She hadn’t gotten laid since then. It wasn’t that she was a prude. She’d definitely fantasized about the more attractive men in her crew before. But there was a pretty strong taboo (for good reason) against sexual relations between crew members of different rank. Since there was only one captain per freighter, this meant a lot of lonely nights in her bunk with only her fingers and a bottle of Mare Nectaris wine for company. Lately, with the big shipment of perishable luxury foods she was hauling, her entire energy had been devoted to keeping inventory and making sure they didn’t spoil.



Val yawned, and felt the knots of fatigue around her body. She checked herself in the small mirror again, and pushed a stray strand of dark hair out of her eyes. Her appearance would never have passed muster back home, but it was acceptable for a ship captain.



Val bumped her head against the bulkhead coming out of her quarters and cursed her carelessness. Having grown up in the low gravity of an orbital base, she had always towered over most people. This was never a problem on wealthy Olympus, where corridors were broad and spacious. In an industry where square footage was at a premium, wide corridors were the ultimate display of ostentatiousness. Elsewhere, as she had learned in the past couple of years, she was forever bumping into bulkheads and low ceilings.



Her pilot was lounging back in the comm seat on the bridge when she strode in. “Bring the UNSDF on, Brett.” He nodded and vacated the seat. A grizzled-looking meathead of a man winked into existence on the screen. Every inch of him screamed ‘military’.



“UNSDF corvette Basilisk, this is Captain Valerie Saroyan of the Vaspurkan speaking. How may we help you?”



There was a pause. “They let teenagers captain ships now?”



Val felt annoyance flare up inside her. She had agreed to take this job so that people would stop treating her like a teenager. So much for that plan. “I’m twenty-two. What do you want?”



“Please transmit your cargo and crew manifest for inspection.” A pause before the intercom crackled again. “This is just a routine check. Nothing to worry about. M’am.”



So they had woken her up from her very torrid dream for something they could have pulled directly from the ship computer. “Typical military jagoffs,” she muttered under her breath, punching the transmit button harder than was needed.



Aloud, she said, “If there’s anything else I can do for you boys, please let me know.” She winced as she said it. She had meant it as a sarcastic parting shot, but instead it came out a sultry drawl. Dammit, Val. Pull yourself together. A veteran captain would not let her sexual frustration get in the way of her job. She cleared her throat and thumbed the intercom again, then thought better of it. Trying to qualify it would make the situation even more awkward than it already was.



The corvette captain’s lip curled in contempt. He glanced at a datapad someone handed him and made a few signals to his subordinates off-screen. After a few seconds he turned back to the screen. “Vaspurkan, stand by for docking.”



Beside her, Brett cleared his throat uneasily. “Captain, uh, you want to see this.”



Val went over to the side workstation Brett was occupying. He had a display open. The window said “Victory flyover at Deimos: SDF Austerlitz, Basilisk, Qianlong“, and showed a recent newsreel of three imposing battleships looming over Mars’ asymmetrical moonlet.



Val felt a sudden pang of uneasiness. “The Basilisk is not a corvette.”



“No.” Brett shook his head. “I knew there was something fishy about this.”



“Can we hightail it out of here?”



“Not now, we can’t. The engines are powered down. They’d blast us to stardust before the engines even warm up.”



Before Val could think of a plan, a thump and hiss announced that the corvette that wasn’t Basilisk had docked onto her ship. Brett had produced a wrench from under his workstation, but Val shot him a look and shook her head. “Alert the rest of the crew, then follow me.”



Licking her lips in apprehension, Val made her way down into the crew docking bay. Before Brett caught up with her, she tugged the switchblade from inside her boot and slid it in a thigh pocket, where it could quickly be reached in a scuffle. It probably wouldn’t do much good against pirates with any sort of firearms, but the shape of it pressed against her thigh made her feel braver.



When they reached the crew docking bay, there was a burly man in combat armor on the other side of the bay hatch. He tapped impatiently at the glass of the bay hatch when he saw them. Throwing Brett a wordless glance, she spun the hydraulic hand wheel on the hatch and it opened with a faint hiss. A dozen men with different assault rifles and combat armor streamed through the hatch. Their military precision worried Val. They may not be who they said they were, but they were certainly professionals.



The man who strode in last was an imposing man, towering over the rest by at least half a head. Though only slightly taller than her, he stocky Earth-bred build meant that he looked like he would have no trouble breaking Val in half with his bare hands. His bearing clearly indicated that he was the ranking officer. He nodded at the men on his left, who stomped off into her ship, before turning his attention on her. “Are you Captain Saroyan?”



Val eyed him suspiciously. So he wanted to carry on the charade. That was fine by Val. With care, she and the Vaspurkan might even get out of this in one piece. “I am she.” She shook his proffered hand.



“I am Captain Laurence Parry, commander of the Basilisk.”



“I’m sure you are aware, Captain Parry,” Val said, looking him straight in his blue eyes, “that the Vaspurkan is registered to Saroyan Mercantile at Olympus, and comes under the jurisdiction and protection of the United Nations.”



Captain Parry stepped closer to Val. Behind her she could feel Brett suck in a tense breath. “That’s what your electronic license said.”



Val licked her lips. Time to try a different tack. “Saroyan Mercantile insures all active freighters and their cargo. Should you decide to… requisition our cargo, my crew will not resist in any way.” There is no need for violence. It was on the tip of her tongue, but she held back at the last moment.



The captain gestured at his men, and three of them stepped forward. “Your man here will show us to the cargo hold. I assume a freighter this size has a separate cargo bay.”



Brett glanced over at her with a furrowed brow. She nodded at him. “Do as Captain Parry says.” Don’t do anything stupid, she wanted to add. His curt nod said he understood.



As the grunts practically frogmarched Brett out of the bay, the captain said, “You’re quite astute for a spoiled little trust fund bitch.”



Val felt her face reddening. “I’m not-”



“What? You’re telling me that you aren’t related to the owners of Saroyan Mercantile? That you don’t have a trust fund and rich parents back home? That they didn’t pull strings to get you this appointment, Miss Saroyan?”



“Fuck you.”



“I’d like that, yes.”



The knot in Val’s stomach tightened. She couldn’t say for sure if it was from anger, fear or something else. “That wasn’t what I- you’re mocking me.”



The grunts behind the captain snickered.



Val jumped as a few sudden sharp snaps of gunfire reverberated through the ship. “That would be your crew,” Parry said, his piercing eyes never leaving hers, “resisting arrest.”



An intercom crackled, and the captain thumbed on one of the external hull monitors on a control panel. Val’s heart skipped a beat as she saw the unmistakably human-shaped silhouettes drift past in the inky dark of vacuum. “You fuck,” Val hissed, barely keeping the tremble out of her voice. “You killed them.” The hell with this. In a split second Val made up her mind that, if she was to die, she was going to at least take one of the fuckers with her. When the captain turned away slightly to look at the control panel, she lifted the switchblade out of her thigh pocket, flicked it open, and slammed it down into the base of his exposed neck in one fluid motion. The world went black as she pulled the switchblade back out for a second strike.



***



Val awoke feeling sore all over.



Opening her eyes, Val realized that she was sprawled on the floor of a living compartment. Its furnishings were spartan, but the size of the compartment spoke volumes about the importance of its occupant. It wasn’t large by objective standards, but was practically a penthouse suite for a spaceship. And from the faint but unmistakable thrum of engines and life support, she was definitely on a ship. She hadn’t been spaced after all.



When she tried to move her arms, Val discovered that her hands were cuffed to a pipe above her. Pulling on the pipe only served to cut deeper welts into her wrists, and she slumped back onto the floor, winded.



There was a strangely oppressive feel to the atmosphere. It took Val a moment to recognize it as high gravity. She had never been to Earth, or indeed lived in a place that ran on more than .6 G. Most orbital stations rotated to .5.



“Fuck,” she muttered to herself. “Fuck, fuck.”



As she was still considering what to do, the hatch opened and Captain Parry stepped through it. He had shed his battle armor, and was wearing casual fatigues that somehow made him look even more imposing. Through her fear she could not help but notice the pecs straining through his sleeveless fatigues. Broad-shouldered men had always made her weak in the knees. She pushed the shameful thought to the back of her mind, and told herself that her quickening heartbeat was due entirely to panic, and nothing else.



“Hello, captain,” he said with a crooked smile when he saw that she was awake. “Well, captains have ships, and since your ship has mysteriously vanished, I don’t suppose it’d be appropriate to call you ‘captain’.”



Bastard. Val ignored the pit in her stomach and took a conciliatory tone. “Look, you know my family is wealthy. You could ransom me. My parents will pay you a fortune for me.”




Parry chuckled. “I could… but then I’d spend the next decade hiding and running while bounty hunters take potshots at me.”



“That won’t happen! I- I promise!”



He shook his head. “I don’t think so.”



Val felt her heart sink to her stomach. Not a stupid pirate then. She should have known it wouldn’t work, but she had to try.



“What the fuck do you want from me?” Her mouth was dry with fear, but she wasn’t about to give him the satisfaction of hearing her beg.



“You’re a clever girl.” He crouched down in front of Val, just beyond biting range. His hand went to the zipper of her jumpsuit and started pulling it down, past her breasts, and smirked when he saw that Val had no bra beneath her jumpsuit. He stopped at her belly button, teasing the depression it lightly with a finger, and Val suppressed a shiver. “I think you know.”



“Fuck off.” Val shot her foot out at him, but she was unused to the gravity and the kick was feeble.



Parry laughed. “You must have felt the difference in the gravity by now. As you may have guessed, this ship runs on one gee. But with you I’m not taking any chances.”



The pirate captain took something out of a holster and pointed it at her. Val’s eyes widened as she recognized the device. It was called a PAX, a relatively new device originally developed for law enforcement. But around the docks Val had heard it referred to more often by its common nickname: the ‘rape ray’. On higher settings a blast could render a victim instantly unconscious, but on the lowest it merely-



“Paralyzes you, but leaves you fully conscious. Science is a wonder, isn’t it? But I see you know what this is.” Parry cupper her chin in his hand and tilted her head up to look straight into her eyes. To her horror, when she tried to turn away she found that she could not.



“I like you, Valerie. Can I call you Valerie? You’re feisty. But that just makes breaking you so much more entertaining.”



Her biting retort came out a furious but wordless groan as she could not move her mouth more than fractionally.



Parry laughed and reached for her restraints, uncuffing her. Her arms slumped bonelessly down onto the floor, and Val could only glare at him as he carried her over to his bunk bed.



Val tried desperately to move her limbs, to struggle even a little bit, but though she could feel her body, it was as though she had been physically restrained. She could only suck in a sharp breath in apprehension as Parry clambered onto the bunk bed, his large Earther frame looming over her.



He unzipped her jumpsuit the rest of the way down, revealing her dark thatch of pubic hair. “No panties? Naughty girl.” Absurdly, Val felt a stab of irritation at being spoken down to. The youngest sibling in a family of six, she had been babied all her life. She’d hoped that captaining a vessel through the inky vacuum of space would- Her train of thought was interrupted by a sudden involuntary shiver of electric pleasure when Parry reached down her jumpsuit to fondle her sensitive slit, his fingers brushing against her clit on the upstroke.



He’s good, Val realized with dismay. All her arousal from her interrupted wet dream flooded back with a vengeance, and she felt a rush of wetness in her crotch. The rape ray, apparently, did not numb sensation. He smirked when he felt her moisture, and began stroking in such a way that his fingers caressed around her clit but denied her the pleasure of directly stimulating the swollen nub.



After a few minutes of teasing Parry removed his hand from her crotch, and her first instinct was to buck her hips upwards. Ashamed that her captor and soon-to-be rapist was making her horny, she was momentarily thankful that she was paralyzed.



He did not, however, fail to notice that Val’s eyes trailed his fingers hungrily, and he laughed. “You’re enjoying this, I see. I knew you were a bitch in heat the moment I heard you speak.”



Val felt a blush heating her cheeks. She groaned in protest, though at that point she wasn’t quite sure what she was protesting.



With a knowing smile, the Earther pirate peeled the unzipped jumpsuit off her shoulders with deliberate slowness, savoring the mounting panic in her eyes as her breasts were fully exposed. He dipped his head down to her chest, and Val felt her stomach tighten with desire as his wet mouth engulfed her areola. His sandpaper tongue slid over and around her hard nipple, sending exquisite pleasure shooting through her paralyzed body, while his hand cupped her other breast, flicking over the nipple with his thumb.



Val fought the moan rising in her throat, but it slipped out, despite her best efforts. Even to her ears it sounded wanton and inviting.



“Let me help you out,” Parry said with a chuckle, a twinkle of mischief in his eye. He pulled the rest of her jumpsuit off, then closed his meaty hand over hers, moving it like a marionette to her crotch and positioning it so that the first knuckle of her middle finger slid into her pussy. Then he only had to push the back of her hand slightly and her finger moved deeper into her pussy, lubricated by her the juices of her arousal. The slow friction of her own palm on her inflamed clit sent stabs of pleasure through her entire body, the sensation all the more intense for not being able to move.



Tears filled Val’s eyes as she realized, humiliated, that she was getting off on being raped with her own hand. She felt her clit pulse with a faint heartbeat against her palm, mirroring the helpless pounding in her chest.



While she was preoccupied with her own hand, Parry had undressed, shedding his pants and tee with surprising agility, even his bulk. Val’s eyes widened when she saw his erect cock, jutting out aggressively from his crotch. She had seen her share of Earther porn, but seeing the length and girth of one in person, up close, was a revelation.



“You like what you see. I can tell,” he said smugly. “I’ve always wanted to fuck an Orbital cunt. So tall, so haughty. So cold.” He gathered her wrists in one large hand and drew her arms up above her head, her fingers slipping out of her slippery snatch with little friction. Val flinched inwardly when a droplet of her pussy juices landed on her cheek.



“But women are women.” He pushed her legs apart with his knees and positioned the head of his cock between the folds of her labia, teasing her wet pussy with gentle prods. With her raised arms hanging slackly over her head, Val glared daggers at him through tear-blurred vision. Just do it already, you fucking coward.



Smirking, the pirate obliged, his thick cock slid in without much resistance until her pussy bottomed out. Without giving her a chance to adjust to the feeling of his girth in her, he began moving his hips, his enthusiastic thrusting lubricated by the juices of her arousal. His hands mauled her pert breasts, rolling and pinching her nipples between his thumb and forefinger and sending flashes of mingled pain and pleasure darting through her slack body.



Her pussy clenched reflexively around his huge shaft in panic when a meaty hand clamped down over her throat, partially restricting her airflow. This seemed to stoke his animal passion, and his pistoning took on a more savage nature. His vigorous pumping shook her entire small frame, causing her head to loll to one side, drool leaking out the corner of her mouth. It was just beginning to stain the rough linen bedsheet when a hand on her chin yanked her face upright again to look at the face of her rapist. Try as she did she could not move her face even fractionally, and she was powerless to resist as his lips engulfed hers in a rough kiss, his tongue exploring her mouth forcefully.

Hiiiiii my lovelies! I’m so, so sorry for the delay. I hope none of you guys wandered off in the meantime. That said, the chapter is here. It’s not as long as I would have liked it to be, and perhaps it won’t be what most of you expected it would, but…oh, I’ll shut up now. Happy readings.



CHAPTER VI — FIRE AND ICE: PART II



In which…oh, you know. It’s that chapter.



Valerie woke up. One of the few upsides of having done that so often in the past days was that there was no lag in her mental processes or confusion about where she was. She immediately knew what was going on, resented it just as quickly, and went on with her reassessment of status and surroundings without missing a beat. Cold — biting, all-encompassing cold — was the first thing her senses registered. The second was that she wasn’t standing but lying down in a depression on the floor, which was a relief, but she quickly understood that giving her a minor reprieve wasn’t the reason why they had positioned her like that.



There had to have been more buckets while she was unconscious because she was lying in water. Not covered in it — it went past her ears and hugged her temples, but her nose and mouth were well above it, so she could still breathe. Seeing was a bit more taxing because of the freezing mist that wafted through the cell. It floated down on her, settling on her eyes and making them water. She quickly closed them, not wanting the cold to burn them out.



The water was also freezing. She could see the beginnings of what would undoubtedly be a layer of ice in an hour or so form around her paralyzed limbs. They had given her something, some poison that kept her from moving and prevented her from reusing her previous method of knocking herself unconscious. As much as it irked her, it seemed she would have to withstand it until she fell asleep naturally. She couldn’t imagine it would be too hard. In the past seventy years, her body had been submitted to more physical torment than anyone alive, and beaten up more often than half a thousand piñatas. It wasn’t even the first time she had to face temperatures below zero. There had been that thing in Norway, and that other when she had been locked in a freezer, and Siberia, and…



When she was little, Valerie had been prone to daydreaming. She was friendless, and life was dull, so she would sit in her father’s library and look upon the map of the many worlds that covered the western wall in its entirety. Then, she would focus on one part of it, one place and name of a place, and relocate herself. Her body would remain seated at the table, and she would blink and breathe and give monosyllabic answers if anybody happened to pass by, but in her mind, she would be far away, unshackled from flesh, running over purple and yellow plains and swimming in seas of foam.



She didn’t need to know much about the places she journeyed to, only their names and locations and what those suggested, but had strived to learn. The fact that she would be found hunched over a thick geography book just as often as she was staring into space had been the only reason why nobody had thought her simple in addition to crippled. Then, she had grown up a little, made a friend, and suddenly life outside the dream world had turned out to be just as fun as her travels, so she had stopped visiting it as often. However, the ability, the compulsion to detach herself from her form, had never gone away. It had remained at the back of her mind, ready to be summoned.



She was doing it now.



There were rules, of course. Even when she was away, her body still held some power, so there had to be parallels between reality and dream. She couldn’t imagine herself in a desert or on a tropical beach because her senses would betray her lie. So she thought about a place where it was freezing but that wasn’t her freezing cell, where she was just as uncomfortable but never helpless, where…



She was lying in water, and her body felt numb. Before, it had felt as if a million billion spears were piercing it, but no more. She had gone beyond the edge of coldness and into the limbo where it was freezing so badly that the water was like a warm blanket. A wave went over her head, and if her tongue were able to discern flavors in its frozen state, she would have tasted salt. Her fingers were so stiff she believed they’d break if she attempted to flex them. Her legs two useless weights.



She looked up and squinted at the bulwark of the ship she was clinging to by a rope. Something moved on the upper deck — she could see its shade in the water, dancing around the floating blocks of ice. Then, she heard it. A scream — loud, piercing, and frightened — the sound of heavy boots stamping on wood, sharp words exchanged in barashnik, a gunshot…and that was her cue to go up, so she did, trusting that the heat of the upcoming fight would banish the cold for good.



It was the fifth of September of ’73. She was on a slave ship headed for the gate of the Barents Sea, and that was a memory, not a construct of her feeble mind. She had won then. She had returned more than two hundred souls to shore and fed their jailers to the depths of the arctic after a short battle. This time around, she forced the fighting to go on. One of the sailors would be thrown overboard, and another would emerge to engage her, and she would battle that one too, never tiring, never giving up, feeling as alive and happy as she’d ever been.



Far below the clouds, in a cell as chilly as her dream, a tear remained captured in the corner of her eye and slowly began to freeze.



*************



Nick had said he had business in town, so Jack had dropped him off at the end of the boulevard and watched him stagger towards the nearest club with no regrets at all. At least, that would get him out of his hair for the time being. Nick had emptied half of the bottle of wine they’d left in the car, allegedly because he needed to relax after all the ‘freakiness’ they had experienced, and had already been halfway to the point where his drunken antics stopped being even mildly amusing.



The business that required his attendance would be remarkably less pleasant but nonetheless unavoidable. He drove through the sprawling network of roads until he reached the main entrance of his aunt’s home — his now, he supposed. It blended in well with the French-colonial architecture that surrounded it although it had been built only a few decades ago. The security cameras poised on the walls and the fingerprint-sensitive lock were both very XXII century though. He spotted Axis leaning on the gate, parked the car, and approached him. He steeled himself for what he knew could only be bad news. The building stood where he’d left it, so it wouldn’t be too serious, but still.



“She wants to talk to you.” Was the first thing out of the man’s mouth, and the first thought to enter his mind was ‘It’s a scheme of some kind’ because that was all it could be. It had barely been half a day, which was nowhere near enough to convince someone like Valeriana to capitulate unless there happened to be a catch. “Says there are important matters you two need to discuss.”



Of course there are. Have you checked her dampeners every hour?” Axis gave him a sharp nod. “And monitored her cell nonstop?” He started to nod again, but stopped midway and frowned.



“Cell? But she’s in a…ah, wait. I’m not talking about Redmont. I’m talking about your aunt.”



“Her? What does she want?” Aunt Briseis was about the last person on the planet he would expect to want to say anything to him. Despite being family, he could only recall meeting her in person once or twice in a non-combative context, which was no fertile breeding ground for closeness. On top of that, she had slaughtered a relative he did care about –



Still alive, dears, still alive…



- and been paramount in making Valeriana disregard years of shared memories in favor of a life of endless fighting for a species that did not deserve her efforts. One of those would suffice to ensure she had his dislike, but together they coalesced into something which hatred was too kind a word for. Wanting to beg for her life would also not be the reason why she had called for him, that would be a show of weakness. If both of his aunts shared a quirk of character, it would be that extracting blood from a stone would be easier than convincing them to cast aside their pride.



“She didn’t say.” Shaking his head, he went inside. Aunt Briseis was being kept in the basement. It being the basement of a place that had belonged to his other aunt, escaping from it wasn’t a task to take lightly. There were armed sentinels stationed around each corner, thick crisscrossing iron bars covering every window and wall, and almost as many security cameras.



Still, he was under the impression all that was a waste of resources when it came to containing the woman. So far, she hadn’t tried to escape once or exhibited resistance that didn’t reek of affectation. If anything, she seemed satisfied with her current predicament, something which he would have found more puzzling if he weren’t aware of her history and beliefs. If she was willing to be sentenced and lose her head because she wished to make a point, so be it. He doubted anyone besides her pet humans would miss her much.



Well, Valeriana would. She had become unreasonably attached to the old cow, but that too would change soon enough.



“Aunt Briseis.” The woman looked up, not the slightest bit startled by his sudden appearance, although he had taken care to not make his approach audible. She straightened herself and ambled towards the front of the cage. “I’m told you wished to speak to me?”



“I do.” How she managed to sound so high and mighty even with half of her face smashed was beyond him.



“And?” He waited while she paused as if to compose her thoughts. Another needless affectation, to be sure. She would have researched her speech at least a dozen times even before asking for him.



“It’s about Valerie.” That wasn’t entirely unexpected, since it usually was. It was the only subject they had in common, seeing as she wasn’t prone to wasting words on complaints about him looking pale and needing to eat better or other aunt-like things. “I’ve heard you managed to capture her.”



“Yes.”



“I hope you know that I happen to love that girl as if she were my own, and I will be extremely disappointed in you if you treat her poorly.” Damn her if she didn’t sound like an aunt just now. One of those annoyingly overbearing aunts who made sure everybody’s business was their business and never refused a chance to stick their noses into it. He was half expecting her to start tsking him as if he were three years old or complain about her cat’s flatulence. “Don’t hurt her, Jack. I mean it.”



“I have no intention of hurting her unless she presses the issue.” Which she would. It never ceased to irritate him how unable she was of looking at two options and picking the reasonable, painless one. Still, in a way, he was grateful for aunt Briseis’ influence on her. He too had changed in the last century or so, and although he would always remember her fondly, he doubted that the person Valeriana had been would hold much interest for him now. The thing he had loved the most about her back then was her potential to do, to be so much more, and having seen that potential realized, there was no way of not looking at that girl in his past as an inferior, incomplete model. Of course, the current one had some kinks that needed to be ironed out, but he had every intention of keeping her as intact as possible. “So far, she has been nothing but spiteful and difficult.”



“She is entitled to be both. You haven’t exactly been a gentleman to her, my dear nephew.”



“Only because she seems to have forgotten how to be a lady.” And that had come naturally to her, while he had needed to teach himself to be less than correct.



It had started with their first fight, which he could recall with perfect clarity. Back then, he was still set on being reasonable — on talking and trying to subdue her with words instead of violence. She either hadn’t been able to or refused to understand and kept pushing back until he had snapped and hit her. He hadn’t made a conscious decision to do it. She had challenged him, and his hand had reacted before the rest of him did. But then something had seemed to flip in his brain, and suddenly they were fighting in earnest, all pretenses of civility put aside, every instinct that told him he needed to protect her restrained.



After that, it had become…easier. Easier to look at her and have the proper responses to facing an enemy superimpose what would have been his usual ones. Easier to punch her in the face or kick her off a building and resist the temptation of running towards her and comforting her as soon as he registered that she’d been hurt. Easier to not care if she cried or screamed and cursed him.



And then more time had passed, and it hadn’t become easier, but easy, period.



“You love her too, don’t you?” his aunt asked, interrupting his train of thought. He scowled, because that was a low shot, even if it had missed the target in that particular instance. True, he loved her, and he knew it was the real thing because, like Nick had been kind enough to remind him, there had been so many women after her but not a single one that came close to replacing her. He had also loved her for so long that the flames inside him now burned cold and blue, allowing him to be pragmatic about his feelings. Since they currently interfered with his goal — possessing the person to which they applied — bottling them up was the logical thing to do. He shook his head and told his aunt exactly that. “So you will destroy her so that you can have her. I can’t help but think that sounds counterproductive.”



“I wouldn’t destroy her. She’s stronger than that,” he replied, with absolute conviction. Even in her weakest moments, he had always thought her strong, but only after seeing what time and having a cause to fight for did with her had he realized just how much. That was one of the parts he intended to keep. The masochistic self-righteousness he could do without. “I don’t even intend to change her. Just the way she thinks about some things.” Things he had tried to explain to her in the past, only to have his words thrown back with venom. This time, he’d make her listen. Understand.



“Your thoughts are what you are, Jack. You can’t change one part without changing the whole.”



“Very philosophical. Is that everything you wished to say, or is there more?” She said nothing, only stared at him with disgusted reproach. It irked him because it was exactly the same look that Valeriana would direct at him in the first stages of their budding enmity. He supposed that answered the question of where she had learned it. “This is partially your fault too, you know? I wouldn’t have to be so rough with her if you hadn’t brainwashed her into thinking your way.”



“Oh,” she said quietly, “it is my fault, yes. More than you know. But I’ll never apologize for guiding her when she discovered the light — because yes, she managed that on her own, and guide was all I did. The fact that she’s hurting…that she’s been hurting for so long…the blame of that rests squarely on your shoulders. She truly loved you, you know? And you were such a disappointment.



Jack took another step towards the cage before he could stop himself, his eyes narrowed to slits. He could spot no insincerity, no wavering in her tone, but he knew she was lying with every tooth she had. Not about Valeriana being disappointed in him, for he also knew full well that not being able to give her what she had wanted was by far the worst thing he’d ever done to her. Undoubtedly she had been hurt by his refusal, just as he had bled internally the hundred thousand times he had asked her to stand by his side and she had called him insane and repeated no, no, no. But she had never loved him. Even when they were younger and at peace with each other, she had never given him a sign that she felt more for him than friendliness mixed with filial affection.



“Jack,” his aunt said, her voice suddenly growing soft. He sensed another deception coming. “After what happened in Riverside, she couldn’t keep her eyes dry for a month because she missed you. Because losing what you two had, what you can still have, crushed her, so be kind to that girl. It’s the best shot you will get at having her in any way that matters.



“Kindness never got me anywhere with her,” he spat, because it was true. He had been nice, and the gods knew how hard that was for him, but somehow she had made it seem like the simplest thing in the world. He had supported her the best he could and laughed at her jokes even though back then she had yet to master wit. He’d even tolerated her shrewish sisters and boor of a father. He had been her best friend, and the fact that he had been her only friend didn’t detract from that. In the end, she had still spurned him for the most inane reason of all. “And I will have her no matter what.”



“Then you will disappoint her again and hurt her more than you ever did before, and before you know it, every one of your hopes will turn into impossibility.” That was when Jack knew he had enough of the woman for the rest of his lifetime. “I’m begging you. Think this through before you…”



“Goodbye, Aunt Briseis. I’ll see you at the trial.”



*************



“This, girl, is a Mauser. You hold it like this, and then you shoot it like this.” The loud bang came close to making Valeriana fall backwards in shock. Instead she let out a loud, startled ‘Eeep!” and jumped away from the woman. Not far enough for her to not be able to throw her the weapon, though, which she did with an idle gesture. “Try it yourself, now. Doesn’t matter where you point it, as long it’s not at you or me, I just want you to get used to the sound and feel of it. We can’t have you acting like a scalded cat every single time you hear a gunshot.”



“Al…alright.” She picked the thing up gingerly and examined it, being careful to keep her fingers away from the trigger. Firearms weren’t uncommon in her world, but most of them were designed to be used when you were in your true form, and as such, looked nothing like the one she held. She mentioned it to the woman while she turned it this way or another, gaining herself time to amass the courage she required to actually fire it. Jack’s aunt nodded in agreement.



“True. You won’t be using those a lot, I’m afraid. Switching to your true form when you are not fighting or behind closed doors may be frowned upon back in the homelands, but up here, it’s downright dangerous. I don’t know how familiar you are with the workings of the Great Divide, but nowadays it only prevents the discovery of artifacts or texts relating to our kind, and even so, only of those that existed in the time it was cast. The general mind wipe was done only once and never intended to be something maintained through the centuries. If you call attention to us, let a human see you in your true form…well, nobody else may take him seriously, but it still isn’t worth the risk. In other words, don’t do it unless you absolutely have no other choice.”



Valeriana gave her a faint, embarrassed smile. So she didn’t know. She shouldn’t be too surprised, of course. If the woman hadn’t been in contact with others from Barashi, if she had even showed confusion upon being told about her own nephew, then it was unlikely that she’d be aware of it.



“That…well, that won’t be a problem. See, I don’t have a true form.”



“What do you mean, you don’t? You are Tsikalayan.”



“Yes, I…I know. But I still don’t have one. Or just can’t switch to it. Same thing, really. ” The woman frowned at her, seemed to be about to say something, seemed to change her mind and seemed to change it back. After a play’s worth of emotions had traveled over her face, she asked at last:

“I don’t wish to pry or be offending, but this can be important. Are you full-blooded?”



“Full-blooded?” She frowned at the term, not quite comprehending it. “As opposed to what?”



“As opposed to mixed with something else. I know your last name is Lazur, so…is your mother Barashi-born, or anything of the like?”



“What? No! She is…was Tsikalayan. Just like I am.”



“Was she in the habit of taking lovers not of her own kind?” That one nearly made her sputter with indignation. What? Nobody with any sense of self-respect would do that, though that probably wasn’t a wise thing to say in her present company, and she knew from things Tessalia had told her that her mother had always been faithful and without fault. Suggesting otherwise was just preposterous, and ridiculous, considering she looked just like the twins and both of them were their father’s spitting image. But of course, the woman couldn’t know that either. “I take it the answer is no. And as I said, I am not deliberately trying to be insulting. It’s just that my Chloe lacked a true form too, and that could be a possible explanation for…” No. That train of thought had to be stopped.



“I can shift some things. My teeth. My nails. I can make them sharper if I want to. Could your daughter do that?” The woman slowly shook her head. “There is that, then.”



“It could also be some kind of shape-lock. Sometimes they aren’t strong enough to hold everything back. But since those are impossible to undo, I suppose it’s useless to wonder.” She gave her a stiff nod, still seething a little. “Valerie, I had to ask. You could be half Skara for all I know, and it pays off to be aware of these things in advance.” Valeriana sighed, defeated by logic but still angry. It was all very well and understandable, but nobody could expect to just accept having his or her parentage put in doubt. And then there was the name thing. It was the second time the woman called her that.



“Fine. And, uhm, my name is Valeriana. Not Valerie.”



“Yes, I do know that. It’s a shortening. What’s wrong with it?”



“Nothing, I just…”



“Besides, Valeriana sounds like the name of a somber old matron who spends all her time drinking absinthe and pretending she is too above it all to care about other people’s lives. Or perhaps that was just that other Valeriana I knew. Though she could have been a Victoria, now that I think about it.”



“I thought it sounded like a poisonous herb,” she said, not caring if she sounded sulky.



“Oh yes, it sounds like that too. That’s just twice as much reason why you should change it to something that fits you better, now that you will have to drop your surname one way or another.” Valeriana blinked, wondering what the woman was talking about now. She took notice of her confusion and slapped her forehead. “Oh, of course you wouldn’t know, this being your first banishment and such. Still, I would have expected it to be common sense. Things may have changed since my time, but I don’t believe it has become possible to kill the mate your father chose for you and flee the bloody world without ending up disowned in the process. By law — if you care to obey it, that is — you have lost the right to use your family’s name.”



“Oh,” she said, her voice tiny and weak. Yes, that was indeed what her father would do, and having to hear it like that hurt more than expected. “I guess I’ll have to think about something, then.”



“Useful tip: if you pick something with a ‘ch’ sound in it, replace it with a k. If you chose something with an s, replace with x. It just sounds so much more intimidating that way. And you will want to seem intimidating when dealing with some of the people we will be dealing with.”



“Uhm. Alright.”



“You will also be wanting to drop the uhming. It makes you sound insecure.”



“But I, uhm…sorry…I am insecure. Well, often. Most of the time.” The woman heaved a sigh.



“That’s no reason to let other people see it. Now, are you going to shoot today or not?”



Valeriana nodded, and aimed clumsily at one of the metal canisters in front of her. She sneaked a look at the woman through the corner of her eye and saw her lips pursed in disapproval. Realizing what her mistake had been, she pointed the handgun at the pile of wood and debris instead. That way there was no chance of the bullet ricocheting, she reasoned. This time the woman seemed to approve of her choice of target. Taking a long, deep breath, she pressed the trigger.



“Eeeek!” she exclaimed, dropping the gun at once and covering her ears before the bullet was even out of the barrel. “Sorry, sorry, sorry, let me try again.”



“Take your time,” the woman said, quietly adding: “We have a long, long day ahead of us.”



*************



The cell door opened with a creak. Even though he had checked the security cams before coming down, Jack took a step backwards because there was always the chance that Valeriana had managed to pull something with them. There were very few things he would put past her after everything that had happened in Westmont. Underestimating her and treating her as if she were anything less than armed to her teeth at all times was a mistake he would be loath to commit again.



He scanned the cell with his eyes before walking in, determining if she was still where he had left her the last time he had doused her with water. The air inside the cramped space looked as if it were covered with a white film, and the heat of his breath condensed when he exhaled, fogging his vision. Nevertheless, he was still able to make out the contours of her shape, lying in the shallow depression. She wasn’t moving, not that he had counted on her being capable of that after the first few hours.



He closed the door and kneeled next to her, grimacing. She didn’t seem to be conscious, but seeming guaranteed nothing. He used his fists to break the layer or ice that encased her, hitting the cold water underneath, and lifted her up to examine the damage that had been done so far. Her skin felt both unnaturally rigid and worryingly tender. He had counted on the first, but not the later. The purple and blue blotches that covered her face and arms were even more disturbing to him. They couldn’t have all formed in the past few seconds, and if they were any older, her healing factor should have taken care of them by now.



If her state and the low temperature were retarding the healing somehow — which he had never known to happen, but with her, anything was possible — then he ought to put a stop to the whole thing before he harmed her irreparably. He wouldn’t actually do it until he knew for sure that something was wrong, though. The chance of it being a trick was still too high to rule out. So he kept holding her, occasionally stopping to rub the side of her neck and searching her face for any sign of life. When he found nothing — not that that meant a thing, she was quite capable of putting on a façade of being asleep — he checked her pulse to see if its racing betrayed what her features refused to express, and stopped dead.



There was nothing. No blood beating under his thumb, no quickening of the flow when he pressed down. He stared at her again, refusing to acknowledge what reality was telling him. No. No, it couldn’t be. He hadn’t gone through so much trouble to finally get her, only to lose her like this. The only thing stopping him from switching to full-blown panic was the sense of familiarity the whole situation had. He still had the image of her sputtering blood and twitching on the floor of her home etched in his brain. This could be nothing but a more elaborate version of the same ploy.



There was only one way to know for sure.



He had brought the askara dagger he had taken from her with him, because he had counted on waking her and using it as a means to intimidate her. Now he was using it to slice his palm from side to side because Valeriana believed herself to be much more creative and far better at keeping secrets than she was, and because he’d be damned if he allowed her to trick him into removing the dampeners again. He cut her too, although a little more artfully — askara was one of the very few things capable of leaving a mark that could only be healed by time, and he had no wish of ruining her skin with sloppy slashes — and pressed his hand down on her shoulder.



She jolted forward at the contact and Jack grinned, convinced that he’d exposed her attempt for what it was, but there was no sign of life in her eyes. They weren’t even staring ahead, just open and looking at nothing. He brought his hand down again, and again she jerked at the contact. This time it was obvious that wherever her mind had wandered too, the body he held wasn’t currently hosting it. It simply responded to the change in pressure, though that made him wonder why the dagger hadn’t brought forth a similar reaction, until it hit him. It wasn’t the pain he had to be causing her — she would be so used to that that any impulse to react to it would be either burned out or too subdued to come forward — but the temperature. She was cold, freezing, so the warmth of his hand would feel like a scorching iron in contrast.



Still, hurting her was a necessary evil that he was more than prepared to commit. He pressed harder. There was a trick to it, he knew. It wasn’t simply a matter of willing her body to heal, otherwise the technique would have been discovered a whole lot sooner. It was about inclusion, everyone being equal and part of a whole, and other soppy new age nonsense that no other Tsikalayan in his right mind would have thought about. Still, once something became known as possible, it became just as easy to imitate if you put your own personal spin on it.



You are mine, he told her in thoughts, wondering if she would be able to understand him now that they were connected. You are mine, and I will never allow you to die. Never.



When he started feeling her pulse again, it didn’t came as a surprise, but he was relieved all the same.



*************



Valerie woke up, and it was like resurrecting because for a while that stretched into forever, she felt as if she were dead. Even the pain that came with consciousness was blissful because it was real and tangible and proved that she was still connected to her body, although that connection seemed to be made out of strings as thin as cobwebs. It was also all that it could do at the moment, feel. Her remaining four senses were giving her no input whatsoever, and movement was impossible, lest she have that peaceful bliss turn into complete agony. Her eyelids felt too heavy to lift, her eyes too fixed to move around. There was no sound, though someone was tapping her arm as if to catch her attention, and presumably saying things to which she was supposed to listen. Her nose was obstructed and felt as if it had been broken twenty times over, and she couldn’t find her tongue or the will and words to speak.



The soft tapping became insufferable after a while — her body seemed bigger, bloated and swollen like a sponge, which in turn magnified sensation until every little tap felt like a forceful blow. Then it stopped. She exhaled, but carefully, having no wish to turn the newfound relief into more pain. Something popped in her ears, causing her to wince, and after a while, she felt water splashing inside them. Someone lifted her head and turned it to the side, slowly, giving her more than enough time to adjust to the new position. Liquid trickled out of her ear and onto the side of her neck. She could hear, now, though there wasn’t much said. Only cooing, shushing noises, possibly in answer to a whimpering that she found was coming out of her own lips. She was turned to the other side, and the process repeated before she was allowed to lay back and rest.



“Can you hear me? Valerie?” Well of course it would be him, she thought, but there was no anger rising in her chest, no defiance in the realization. That would just be a waste of energy, and she needed every smidgen of that to stay awake. “Don’t talk. Just nod if you do.” That would also be a waste of energy. Besides, she wasn’t sure she could obey even if she so desired since her head was as heavy as her eyelids, and moving it only a little made her feel nauseous enough to nearly pass out again. Instead she retched, and choked on what came up — water, only more water, and that too was to be expected, considering she couldn’t remember her last meal anymore.



Coughing, she expelled what was left of it and curled over her empty stomach in a futile attempt to make the pain stop and conserve warmth, completely forgetting that she wasn’t alone. She wanted to sleep. Sleep was good. Perhaps she would have a dream in which she wasn’t freezing. Hands were ghosting all over her body — Was she wearing anything? Did she care? — occasionally stopping and massaging when they found her too stiff. She made a sound like a small wounded animal and tried to scoot to the other side of the bed.



Bed, she was in a bed, and then not, because she had miscalculated where it ended and tumbled onto the floor in a tangle of blankets that were too thin to help with the coldness. Despite her body screaming at her not to, she wrenched her eyes open and waited for the room to stop spinning. She was seeing red, which was strange, since that only happened literally when she was deep into berserk mode, and then there was never any pain, because adrenaline and rage washed it all away.



“Come here.” Her head darted towards the sound of his voice and was shaken even more rapidly, although that hurt so much she wanted to cry. Jack stood up and walked around the bed, slowly, giving her ample opportunity to retreat. Which she did, but then she hit the wall and there was no more space to go to. He crouched down. His face looked askew among all the red, as if she were watching him through a wall of running blood and a dozen distorted lenses.



Blood. She blinked twice and lifted a shaking hand to her eyelids. They came away wet and crimson.



“My eyes. What’s wrong with my eyes?” It came out as a terrified, distorted ‘Mwuhuhu?’, but he seemed to get her meaning. She was too freaked out to not try to fight when he touched her again, so he had to use both his hands to restrain her while he shifted to his true form.



Two tentacles ripped through the back of his shirt and wrapped around her shoulders, not tightly, just enough to restrain her while he used his now unoccupied hands to reach for one of the vials aligned on the nightstand. Feeling she had nothing to lose and her agony was about to become meaningless, Valerie fought like a cat, clawing him and trying to do to his face what he had done to hers. At last he managed to immobilize her head long enough to drip a few drops of clear liquid in the corners of her eyes. It burned. Not enough to make her miss the cold, which didn’t seem to go away no matter what, but so much that it tore a scream from her.



“Calm down. It’s medicine.” He was lying. Had to be. Nothing meant to heal could hurt so much.



“What…” She meant to say more, but nothing intelligible came out beyond: “Can’t…I…think…”



“I had to drug you after all, so yes, you are bound to not be able to think clearly for a while. Now lay still.” Something broke through her hazy, panicked thoughts. Drugs and nakedness and being asked to lay still. She didn’t need much in the way of lucidity to draw conclusions about what that meant.



Half-mad with desperation, she bit him and tried to get away once more. Instead of backing off, he lifted her effortlessly and positioned her on the bed. She clung to the blankets and wrapped herself in them the best she could. Jack made no move to stop her. His eyes — perhaps he hadn’t been lying about the drops after all because hers were starting to see clearly — twinkled with amusement. He sat down next to her, and she tried to kick him away. Drugs or no drugs, she would defend herself to her last breath rather than submit to him. She would fight because otherwise she was nothing.



“Do you know what’s the fastest way of ensuring someone’s continued obedience and loyalty, Valerie?” he asked, after a solid minute of unbroken eye contact and quietness.



“Yes,” she murmured, but either she had been too inarticulate this time, or he was choosing to ignore her — the later, no doubt — because he went on as if he hadn’t heard.



“Satisfying all of that person’s needs. And if you happen to come across someone who needs for nothing…well, you can always create some. It’s the easiest thing in the world if you have the means.” They were heading there, the mostly sane voice in the back of her thoughts said. She could still hear it, but faintly, as if it were being filtered through a layer of thick honey. It went hand in hand with the deprivation/creating dependence thing she had called him out on what seemed to be eons ago. “And you need a lot of things right now, don’t you?”



Yes. Reason. Having her head stop feeling as if it were filled with fuzz and dust bunnies and needles. Clothes. Him away from her. Warmth — no, not that, she needed that but couldn’t need that because it was exactly what he wanted her to need. Strength, yes, that was…



“Feeling a bit nippy, aren’t you?” She scowled and hoped that was a rhetorical question, though her barely suppressed shivers were probably answer enough. “Maybe you should let me take care of that. After all, I did promise I’d make you melt, and you certainly seem to want to.” Another one she wouldn’t dignify with a reply. Strangely, her head felt more disarrayed now that she had stopped moving than when she’d been fighting him. She took that as a sign to keep it up. “Valerie. Stop that, or we are going to have problems.” He would. Her being in trouble quotient was already so high that adding anything else to it was likely to overload it.



Suddenly, Valerie was lifted up again. Usually she would have attempt to kick him for even daring to make physical contact, but he was taking her off and away from the bed, and she wasn’t so out of it that she couldn’t recognize that as good, desirable. Beds were bad when she was in his vicinity. The change of position allowed her a better view of where she was being kept. Not a cell — no, wait, that was wrong, she was in it when she didn’t want to be and had no way of getting out, so it was a cell even if it was more reminiscent of a hastily assembled hospital room. There were two doors. Jack was carrying her towards the one on the left, and somehow, she didn’t think that one would be the exit. Her suspicions were confirmed when he opened it, revealing a small bathroom. He deposited her on the rug in front of the shower and walked towards the counter under the sink, turning his back to her. Seeing her chance, Valerie bolted towards the door.



“No,” he said, shooting a tentacle in front of her and causing her to trip. “I don’t think you will be going anywhere soon. Here, take this.” She barely heard him because she was too busy with keeping her head from spinning, but did react when he pulled her up by her hair and tipped her head back. She tried to knee him, but he caught her leg before it connected with his groin. “Quit being stubborn. It’s just more medicine.”



She eyed the green and blue pill warily. Even if she half believed him to be telling the truth, she’d be damned if she let him put something in her mouth without concrete evidence of what it was. She gritted her teeth and pressed her lips together, so tightly that it took them only a few seconds to start feeling unresponsive and numb but had to part them almost immediately when he slapped her cheek.



The blow was strong enough to knock her head back and nearly make her pass out again. Jack used the opening to slip his thumb and index finger between her lips and pry her mouth open. She tried to bite, but the improvised plier was far stronger than her jaw. He pushed the pill in, all the way to the back of her throat, and poured water in her mouth while keeping her head still. Caught between swallowing and choking, she chose to choke, but the contractions sent the pill down all the same. He released her head, and nodded in satisfaction when she made no further movements.

“Much better. Now come here. You are shaking like a leaf, and a bit of warm water will do you good.” She flinched at the word water but perked up at the mention of warmth. Perhaps thinking she hadn’t heard him, he gestured towards the tub. Still, she made no move to get into it. With a resigned, grumbling noise, he picked her up and pulled the curtain aside. She was laid down on the bottom and fought to not flinch again when the hard, cold surface touched her back. Jack pulled the curtain back so that he was out of her sight, but the shadow he projected on it allowed her to remain aware of his whereabouts, and the sounds she heard — a zipper being pulled down, clothes hitting the floor — were far too enlightening about what he was up to. Since he wasn’t looking at her, she didn’t bother to suppress a shudder.



The only silver lining she could see in the whole situation was that the drugs he had given her seemed to be on its way out of her system, either naturally or because whatever he had forced down her throat was expelling them. The mess in her mind was slowly tidying itself up, allowing her some much needed space to think.



Pain, cold and the prospect of what was coming; those were the things keeping her trapped in a loop of scatterbrained hysteria. Now that she felt sane and grounded once more, she could ignore the first ones and focus on avoiding the later. Her circumstances remained what they had been back in the cell, sans chains and plus an emergency ward worth of bruises. The fact that she knew she didn’t stand a chance of winning wouldn’t keep her from fighting him, of course, but it wouldn’t help any.



That he was going back on his declaration of not wanting to do anything sexual to her for now also didn’t come as a surprise to her. If she had a penny for every ‘I lied!’ she had ever heard from him, she would have a dollar and a quarter. She knew exactly how much because she had been counting.



Valerie eyed the edge of the tub. No bottles of shampoo, no shaving knives or anything she could spray in his eyes to gain herself some time. Maybe if she shoved the bar of soap down his throat?



“Once again, no.” Jack stepped in the tub and wrenched the shower head she had just grabbed out of her hands before she could attempt to strangle him with it. Without missing a beat, she switched back to her initial plan and went for the soap. He caught her from behind, trapping her arms tightly against her sides, and she stiffened. Not because he had been brutal in doing so — that was a given — but because she was suddenly acutely aware of his cock, pressed threateningly against her bare bottom. He leaned in, his breath hot against her ear. “One more move, one more, and I swear I’ll shove it up your ass just the way you are now. Is that what you want?”



“Yes,” was her dry reply, because she knew a bluff when she heard one. Luckily, he did too because he chuckled and turned her around instead of taking her at her word. “Come on, say it. You know you want to.”



“Say what?” Valerie shrugged, and immediately recoiled when she realized that the gesture had made her breasts bounce, calling his attention to them. She looked away quickly, not wanting to face his appraising eyes, and felt almost grateful when he laid a hand on the small of her back and pressed her against him, obscuring his view from her front. This time he nibbled at the shell of her ear instead of whispering into it. “Ah yes, that. If you insist…I have you now, my pretty.”



“Not that, the other…”Oh gods, who cared. She closed her eyes and tried to think, which was now even harder than when she had been drugged out of her mind, in part because she couldn’t focus on anything but his closeness and lack of clothing, in part because she was starting to see that there could truly be no way out.



For all that it was said to be one of the major moments of any girl’s life, she had never given much thought to how she would lose her virginity. When she’d been younger she had just assumed that it would happen during her mating ceremony, as it was supposed to, and she had never thought too much about that because she saw no use in fretting about something that might never happen. Then, she had left Barashi and discovered that though humans were certainly worthy of consideration and rights equal to her own, they didn’t attract her in the slightest. Then again, she couldn’t recall ever feeling attracted to one of her own kind, so it could be that the problem was with her and not them.



Sex in general held no appeal to her, one way or another. She had witnessed it being used as a weapon to break and dominate too often to want to try it out. Even knowing her experience was biased and that there was pleasure to be had in it, she didn’t think it could hope to compare to the things that were actually important. To the feeling of returning somebody home, of having done her job and having done it well. If she were willing to be even more ferociously honest with herself, she would also add that an orgasm probably had nothing on closing in for a kill, on that moment right before eyes were closed forever, on the rush that came with the knowledge that that life that had been someone else’s was now hers to take.



One thing was certain: in no way, no world, no circumstances whatsoever, had she ever considered nor wanted Jack to be her first. Her choice on the matter could be about to be taken out of her hands, but that still didn’t mean that she would surrender easily. She refused to give him the satisfaction.



Slowly, deliberately, she looked down. Up until then she had been avoiding it, both because averting her eyes from his would be showing weakness, and because she knew what she would see and had no wish to lay her sights upon it. But now she needed to know what she would be dealing with.



“Like what you see?” he asked, seeming genuinely interested. She kept a perfect poker face on for a few seconds before looking up again and rolling her eyes at him. “Or does it…how was it again? Not fit the bill?“She fought with her throat and won, managing not to gulp. Her intention had been to follow up with a demeaning comment about his size, because it was the obvious comment to make if your intent was to emasculate someone, but after taking a peek, she found out that was off the table. He would call her out on it immediately, for one. It hadn’t…it hadn’t seemed that large when she’d felt it against her ass.



It didn’t matter that much, she told herself. She had nothing to fear but a little pain and humiliation, and she wasn’t worried about pain. Pain was unpleasant but familiar, known. Even if he tried to fit that inside her, even if he ripped her, whatever she felt would still be a far cry from the things that had already been done to her, that she had done to herself in other circumstances. As for the humiliation, that would fade once she got the drop on him. Tides changed and so did winds and people’s positions in life, and tearing someone’s eyes out and filling his entrails with living beetles had a way of erasing all torment and trauma that managed to nestle in one’s mind.



And yet, even after having carefully broken apart everything that could be rationalized about her predicament, she was still shaking and praying that he would just assume it was because of the cold.



“And suddenly she has gone mute.” Jack remarked, compelling her to glare at him. “What’s troubling you, Val? Are you scared that it won’t fit?”



“Why Jack, I am. Would you appease my maidenly fears and cut half of it off? I won’t be afraid then.”



“And suddenly I am missing the muteness.” He heaved an exaggerated, theatrical sigh and reached for the shelf above her head with one of his tentacles. Valerie cursed herself for not having spotted it before, and cursed twice more when she saw what he was picking up. “I think it’s time to take a page out of aunt Marabeth’s handbook. Are you familiar with rule number one?”



“Gagging me won’t help. I can be acerbic with my nostrils if I try hard enough.”



“We will see about that.” At least it wasn’t a ball gag, she thought. Just a roll of thick grey duct tape. The downside was that he wouldn’t have to force her to open her mouth to silence her with it. She tried to retreat, but his hand pressed her back against him, informing her that she wasn’t going anywhere. He plastered the tape over her mouth and wrapped it around her head a couple of times more, so that she wouldn’t be able to get rid of it with ease. True to her word, she rolled her eyes and glared at him the whole time. When he was done, he brought her face closer and stroked it for what felt like the millionth time. “It’s not that I don’t want to listen to you, but I know better than anyone that talking can be the best defense you can have in any given situation, and I need you helpless.



That much she had gathered already. What was left was the question of what he was going to do now. Would he take her right there? He could have done it on the bed, but she had barfed sour water all over it, so perhaps not.



She had her answer pretty much immediately. Without a word, he pulled her down so that they were both lying in the tub, he underneath her and she trapped on top of him, her head against his chest, her legs entangled with his. Getting up was impossible — as soon as he had her where he wanted her, he locked his arms around her back and bound her legs to his with the two tentacles he still had out. It wasn’t the most ideal of positions to be in, but she extracted some comfort from the fact that his cock was brushing against her belly instead of her mound, and that there was no way he could possibly penetrate her from that angle. Instead, he seemed content in draping her over himself and stroking her shoulders soothingly.



His hand traveled to the nape of her neck and settled there, over the dampener. He flicked it thrice, his brow wrinkled in concentration, and she felt something — a humming that started in her spine and slowly made its way up until it filled her head. It stopped then. She tried to breathe out in relief, but the duct tape trapped the air inside her mouth, increasing her dizziness. She felt something else, too, her healing factor, restarting itself, assessing damage and starting to work on fixing it. At the same time, Jack opened the tap. More water — warm, this time, so she couldn’t complain — fell on his shoulder and ran towards her face. She resisted the temptation to soak it in, understanding at once what he was aiming for. He was allowing her to drive the pain and cold away now that they were lying pressed together, with the intended result of having her start associating his physical closeness to relief and not being cold, and other positive emotions.



She sought to make eye contact. Jack could rob her of her voice all he wanted, but she still intended to let him know he would get nowhere with that. She remembered all too well how feeling safe with him, trusting him to please her and protect her, had felt. She had battled those cloying emotions once already, and won. This time around, she wouldn’t even allow them to stick in the first place.



Jack grabbed a sponge and squeezed a glob of liquid soap on it. He held her gaze while he pushed it against her back, rubbing soapy circles on her wet skin. A million billion ‘I know you know I know‘s passed between them, looping around into infinity. Satisfied with that small acknowledgement of her not-being-about-to-surrender-ness, she allowed the warmth to seep into her body. She felt tired, brittle, as if she had been broken down and glued together a hundred times over. Now that the pain and cold were subsiding, those other feelings were pushing themselves forward, begging for attention. She was now at loss about what he intended to achieve. Her first thought had been rape not only because he had implied it, but because she believed that assuming the worst was an excellent way of never having to deal with unpleasant surprises. All evils were expected, and therefore, easier to deal with and prepare for.



What he was doing now went against that hypothesis. He couldn’t very well expect her body to come to associate him to positive things if he was planning to ram his cock into her after he was done washing her back. Unless he thought that she’d likethat, and personally, she wanted to believe that his connection to reality wasn’t so shaky. She’d feel a lot more embarrassed about him capturing her if it turned out he was actually that crazy. Of course, her not knowing how she had been captured in the first place probably helped.



She held on to that thought. It was something to mull over that would help her ignore what was being done to her. Unfortunately, she never got the chance to start on it.



“Back is done. Turn over.” Was he…honestly talking to her as if he fully expected her to obey?



Apparently not, since he didn’t wait long before grabbing her shoulders and flipping her over. Her first instinct was to twist to cover herself as well as her bound arms allowed, but she reasoned that it was too late to care about modesty at that point. Instead, she used the fact that the top of her head was now level with his chin to do what she did best. To her disappointment, it didn’t even draw a groan from him, only an annoyed snort.



“Don’t fight it. Just allow yourself to calm down.”



She shook her head vehemently. If looks could kill, hers would be facing multiple charges of manslaughter. Stop fighting? He could just as well have asked her to stop breathing.



“Do you have any guesses as to what I’m doing?” She rolled her eyes in answer. He had abandoned the sponge for the time being and was busying himself with spraying her thighs and belly with water. She would be lying if she said that getting those parts unfrozen wasn’t a relief, but she refused to mistake the seemingly caring gesture for anything other than blatant manipulation. “No, you don’t. Because right now…you are only thinking what I want you to think.” Before she had time to puzzle out his meaning, his free hand dove between her thighs and squeezed the fleshy insides.



The duct tape muffled her yelp, but she was sure he had heard it all the same.



“Your problem, Valerie, is that you overthink things too often. Any other girl in your situation would have gone for the obvious. Male, female, no clothes…the math is really not that hard to do. You had to add other variables because you are so used to them being there, but sometimes…” She wouldn’t flinch. She wouldn’t flinch. And then his hand travelled up, settling between her legs and parting her folds, and she was true to her word, but inside her head, she was screaming. “Sometimes there are no layers, and the most obvious answer is the right one. I am not trying to play mind games with you this time. I just want you clean and relaxed so that I can fuck you. Is that clear?”



Crystal. She had known that, hadn’t she? Assumed it would happen sooner or later? It wasn’t surprising. It wouldn’t be impossible to deal with. She would endure it bravely and live on to conquer her freedom and have her revenge, which would involve many disgusting, agonizing and physically unlikely things, and she would set him on fire and laugh at his screams. That was the image she had to hold in her head, not the one she now presented to him: that of a helpless, frightened girl, bared to his roving eyes and futilely fighting a battle she knew she had lost already.



However, it was difficult. Difficult to focus when she was being touched so intimately, when his thumb was exerting pressure on her sensitive nub and starting to move, intent on drawing a reaction, and his cock rock-hard against her ass. And then it occurred to her that if he wanted to do what he said, it would have been much easier in the position she had previously been in. Which meant that…



Oh gods. No.



“Now, I know you are smart, Valerie,” he went on. His thumb was starting to work in circles, sometimes stopping so that he could add another finger and tweak her clit lightly. His scent — her own scent, because her body was starting to respond to his slow teasing, and she wasn’t bothering with trying to stop it from acting up because outwardly signs of arousal were meaningless, and perhaps it would hurt less if she were wet for him, except that it wouldn’t, he wasn’t planning to take her there — filled her nostrils, making her heady. She refused to escape to some distant part of her dream world, though. That would be a display of weakness, of inability to deal, that she’d hate herself for until the end of her days. “So you know that this time, there is nowhere to run. This will happen. You will still fight it because you are stubborn as anything, and it would hurt your self-respect if you gave in without a peep.”



Yes. She didn’t nod, but her answer was clear in her eyes. He smiled and ran his open palm over her stomach, sending goosebumps trailing all the way down. Shame and mortification were gnawing at her, and she had to force them to stop with some hasty, half-baked rationalizations. It wasn’t her fault. He was forcing himself on her. She shouldn’t feel ashamed. If spending a human lifetime freeing slaves had taught her anything, it was how dangerous shame could be. Some of the women she had encountered had never truly become free again, although she had broken their chains and returned them to what was left of their lives. Shame — because sometimes their masters had managed to extract moans and passionate responses from them, which surely meant they liked it, that they were destined to submit and serve — had kept them shackled.



She had given each one of them an earful of her personal mantra and sent them on their way, unable to do much else. She had told them that pleasure was a fleeting, hollow thing, that meant nothing and revealed nothing about the soul whose body experienced it. Pleasure was pain’s sickeningly sweet twin, and resisting the right stimuli for it was as feasible as not pulling your hand away when touching a hot stove. She didn’t think any of them had bought it, even if they had tried to mimic smiles and thanked her for her words. Right now, she was having trouble buying it herself.



“You know what else would hurt you, Miss Redmont?” If it weren’t for that last mocking addition and for the fact that he had brought his mouth so close to her ear, she wouldn’t have known he was still talking to her. Her attention was focused solely on what he was doing with his hands and on keeping a treacherous redness out of her cheeks. “Being taken dry — trust me, the water won’t help you any — and being left to bleed out for as long as I want you to, before I heal you and start over. That’s what will happen if you refuse to cooperate. Would you like it, I wonder?”



If his intention was to distract her from his ministrations and have her double over with mad, half-hysterical laughter — which she doubted it was, but still — it worked perfectly. He had been doing so well, she thought, what with succeeding in extracting a few reluctant responses from her body and making her doubt her capacity to endure what was to come. Then he had to ruin everything by being thoughtless enough to threaten her with pain. It wasn’t as if she had flat out told him she’d rather be tortured than forced to enjoy his attentions, or anything. She was having trouble in dealing with something that felt good in a physical sense because she was so unused to it, but agony was an aggravating neighbor she saw every day and had learned to tolerate.



He had just lost any hope of gaining a hold on her and didn’t even know it. At least she thought so, until she heard him chuckle.



“On second thought, you probably would. I guess I’ll just have to prevent you from fighting at all.” Valerie twisted her face into a mighty scowl, though it went unseen and unappreciated on account of being covered by the tape. All shreds of frenzied mirth gone, she fought to prevent him from preventing her from fighting and lost miserably when he summoned three other tentacles. He encased her upper body within them and twisted her so that she was seated on his lap instead of lying on him.

Ilia had sat at the bar, watching her lover talking with the fierce-looking redhead. Her wife. The word still stung her heart. She felt like the biggest fool in Skyrim. While the married couple’s meeting didn’t seem to be proceeding particularly happily, Ilia found herself not caring about the particulars of their relationship. The fact that Myrna hadn’t mentioned her marriage at all was enough to fill the young conjurer with a mixture of sadness and anger. As Myrna and Aela seemed to fall into deeper conversation, as the minutes dragged by without even a sidelong glance from Myrna toward the bar, Ilia decided that, as she had feared so often already in the short time they’d been lovers, that indeed it had been too good to be true, that the Dragonborn cared nothing for her, that she was merely being used toward some greater end of which she had no understanding. She finished her wine and stepped out into the cool night air of Solitude.



When Myrna awoke the next morning, her body sore from the transition she had undergone as well as from the endless series of orgasms her werewolf lover had given her, she wondered for a moment where she was, until the shock of red hair that lay across her breasts brought back the memory of the previous night. Aela, she thought, feeling equal parts tenderness and remorse. Well, whatever her misgivings, whatever her feelings for the woman beside, Myrna had already made up her mind. A night of lust and passion wasn’t going to undo that. As stealthily as she could, and few in Tamriel were stealthier, she slipped her shoulder from beneath Aela’s head and rolled silently out of bed. She could feel flickers of pleasure from her still-swollen clit as she moved. Looking at the beautiful form prone before her, she pinched her labia together briefly, until, her resolve finally solidified, she began to dress in the tavern clothes she’d come to favor in recent days. The Nightengale armor she usually wore, she’d realized, was not necessary for everyday living. Her skills had been honed such that she was confident in her ability to quickly kill anyone who threatened her with harm before any damage could be inflicted upon her.



She’d just about packed everything when she heard Aela’s voice behind her.



“Running out on me again?”



Myrna stiffened and cursed softly to herself under her breath. She turned to see Aela sitting naked on the foot of the bed.



“Aela, I love you, and I respect you, and I care about you, and I have learned so much from you. But I cannot be with you. I cannot stay with you at Jorrvaskr, and I cannot ask you to abandon the Companions for me. I know you would willingly do so, but I also know, as do you, that it is with them that you belong. I have nothing else to say on the matter.”



Aela hung her head, not because of the sense of loss she felt but because she knew her wife spoke the truth.



“You are right, my love. They are my shield-brothers and sisters, and my oath to them goes beyond whatever vows we took before Mara. I wish that you would stay with us, but your choices are not beholden to my desires.”



“They’re closer to doing so than you know,” said Myrna, well aware from the tingling that still coursed through her groin that the sexual bliss she experienced with the gorgeous redhead was beyond anything she’d felt before. But sex was not her only passion. And then there was Ilia. Ilia needed her. Aela needed only the honor of battle, the thrill of the hunt. She was complete. Ilia, wounded, fragile, alone, was a battered soul. Myrna had almost marveled at the ways the former witch had healed and grown in their short time together, her confidence and capabilities increasing almost by the day.



Myrna walked to the edge of the bed and reached out for Aela’s hand. The Huntress took it and rose. The two lovers locked eyes, exchanging feelings beyond words. Myrna leaned in and kissed the redhead tenderly, then turned, hoisted her large pack and bow onto her back, and was gone.



The morning air, still shrouded in shadow from Solitude’s tall walls and towers, had lost little of its chill. Myrna hurried to Proudspire Manor, her house in the city, in hopes that Ilia would have returned there. Her housecarl, whose name escaped Myrna, opened the door.



“My thane,” said the young blonde, whose girlish appearance belied her skill with a sword.



“Jordan, is it?”



“Jordis, my thane.”



“Sorry. I haven’t spent as much time here as I would like to. I hope your duties haven’t been too…uneventful.”



“It’s been my pleasure. To not have to endure the barracks? This is more than a treat, even if I haven’t been able to really serve you.”



“Yet. Your time may come. My friend, Ilia. Did she return last night?”



“I did not see or hear her if she did. And I would have.”



“That’s what I was afraid of. Well, in that case, I must be off.”



“Can I help you find her?” Jordis asked eagerly.



“No. Thank you, but no. Please continue to enjoy the run of the manor. I hope you’re using the big bed upstairs, not the cot in the basement.”



“I did not think it was my place to do so, thane.”



“Well, it is now. I hope we can get to know each other better when next I’m in Solitude. Until then.”



“Until then, my thane.”



What a sweet little thing, thought Myrna as she headed for the city gates. Gods, I’m a slut. She smiled, chagrined at how easily a pretty face triggered that sparkly feeling in her nether regions. Well, she would have to wait until she found Ilia to satisfy her.



The guards hadn’t seen anyone fitting Ilia’s description leave the city since they’d come on duty at dawn, which meant she’d left in the night, and so had something like an eight-hour advantage on Myrna. The Dragonborn tried to put herself in Ilia’s place, no doubt angry, confused, and heartbroken. Not particularly social even when she was in a good state of mind, Ilia did not strike Myrna as one who would head toward another city or town. But nor, Myrna thought, would she seek refuge in a cave, for, despite her ability to handle herself, her confidence at the moment was probably shattered. Myrna paused at the crossroads, one path heading downhill toward the docks, the other west, to Dragonbridge and, further on, Markarth. Dragonbridge had a little inn that Ilia could have reached with just a couple hours’ quick march. But she would never head to Markarth. Myrna wished she had Aela with her; the Huntress could track almost anyone. Not that Myrna’s skills lacked much in that area, but they were of no use here. It was a rare moment of indecision for the intrepid Imperial maiden. She cursed herself for the way she’d handled Aela’s unexpected appearance the night before.



Unbeknownst to the Dragonborn, Ilia had not gone far. She’d paused in the night at the very spot where Myrna stood, wondering where to go. The plaintive toll of a bell from the docks below had given her the answer: as far away as possible, as quickly as possible. Though late, the busiest docks in Skyrim still showed some signs of life. Three ships were berthed; four more sat at anchorage further out. The first ship Ilia approached seemed deserted. At the next, a surly Nord guarding the gangway accosted her.



“Shouldn’t be down here alone at night, missy,” he grunted, the ample quantities of mead he’d consumed weighing heavy on his tongue.



“Because of drunken idiots like you?”



“What’s going on down there, Grund?” called another voice from the deck.



“A sharp-tongued wench is what,” the Nord replied. A sinister-looking Argonian, more sinister than most even, peered over the rail.



“We could use a wench,” the Argonian hissed.



“That’s what I was thinking,” Grund said, moving toward Ilia at the same moment the Argonian swung over the rail and landed gracefully on the dock behind her. Before she could react, the cool-skinned reptilian had pinned her arms behind her. Grund walked up to her and pulled her hood back, exposing her face to the moonlight. He smiled none too pleasantly.



“Aye, she’ll do us nicely for a spell,” he said. They were the last words his lips would utter. A bolt of electricity leapt from Ilia’s hand, blasting the Argonian behind her into the air. Grund, in his drunken state, fumbled for his sword. He’d had just enough time to get a good grip on its hilt when the blade of Ilia’s axe sliced into the side of his neck. The Nord would have died in a minute from blood loss; as it was, his nearly-severed spinal column ended his suffering even more quickly. He was dead before he landed on the planks of the dock with a thud, almost at the moment the Argonian splashed into the water. The whole thing had taken perhaps two seconds.



“I don’t have enough crewmembers to be sparing them like that,” said a woman’s voice from the ship up above. Ilia looked up to see a Redguard, a bow drawn tautly in her hands, the arrow aimed right at Ilia’s throat.



“I don’t think this one will be hard to replace,” said Ilia, gesturing contemptuously toward the corpse at her feet. “The Argonian’s probably still alive.” Indeed he was, for almost at that instant he clambered up a piling onto the dock and drew his sword.



“Shall I kill her, Kalissah?” he hissed.



“No,” said the Reguard quietly, loosing her arrow. Ilia froze in terror, waiting for the split second before her death, realizing only after it had happened that the arrow had whizzed past her head and buried itself in the Argonian’s forehead.



“Never trusted that one anyway,” Kalissah said, her bow now lowered.



“Well, if it’s crew you need, I’m available,” Ilia said, hoping her voice didn’t betray the pounding in her heart.



“You have any experience on a ship?” Kalissah asked.



“No.”



“What can you offer?”



“Magicka. Destruction and healing especially.”



“Not bad with an axe, either.”



“No, not bad,” said Ilia, suddenly thinking of the woman who’d taught her how to use it, wondering if Myrna had even noticed if she was gone yet.



“What makes you want to get on a ship?”



“I need a change of scenery,” Ilia said.



“Well, we’re a fair-sized ship with a small crew. That means we work both hard and smart. We’re honest traders. Doesn’t seem like anyone else is. Between the East Empire Company and Gods knows how many pirates out there, there’s plenty of trouble. The Morning Star’s a quick one, though. Haven’t been run down too often and whoever’s managed it lived just long enough to regret it. I expect you’ll be handy if it comes to that. We’re heading for High Rock with the tide. Life on the seas isn’t for everyone. My money says you’ll want off by the time we get there. If not, you’re welcome to stay. Come aboard.”



“My name’s Ilia,” the Nord woman said as she stepped onto the deck.



“Kalissah,” replied the Redguard. “Pleasure.”



“I hope so,” said Ilia, almost without thinking. She looked away as the Redguard’s glance caught her eyes.



“Come,” Kalissah said, and led Ilia below decks. “Those two shared a berth. I guess it’s yours now.”



Ilia, naturally shy and reserved, was suddenly overcome with a boldness driven by her anger towards Myrna.



“Kalissah,” she said tenderly, vulnerably, reaching out and stroking the Redguard’s arm. “I’d rather not be alone tonight.”



Kalissah laughed. “It’s not so bad as all that, is it?” she asked in a playful tone. “Well, I’m always up for a romp. I’m sure my husband won’t mind. If you’re…amenable.”



Ilia hadn’t counted on that, but it made it all the sweeter as far as she was concerned. She only wished Myrna could somehow watch, to see how easily Ilia could move on. “Of course,” said Ilia with a smile that betrayed none of the sudden nervousness she felt creeping over her. The continued a few doors down until Kalissah threw open a door into a decently-sized room. A large Redguard man slept soundly on the bed. Kalissah kicked his leg roughly. “Wake up, Bergin,” she said. “Meet Ilia. New crewmember.”



Bergin rose groggily, his eyes struggling to focus through the sleep that still clouded his brain. When they finally did, he saw his wife kissing a beautiful, pale Nord girl. He could feel his member begin to swell instantly.



At the touch of Kalissah’s lips, Ilia felt a rush of remorse. She wanted to pull away, to run, off the ship, back up the hill to Solitude, to Myrna. What was she doing here? As the Redguard woman’s tongue darted into her mouth, she felt another mouth on her neck, strong hands wrapping around her upper arms. In a moment, she wasn’t quite sure how, her robes were on the floor around her ankles. Bergin’s enormous hands grasped her breasts roughly, pinching the nipples through the thin fabric that still covered them. Still kissing her with what felt to Ilia like an especially warm and wet mouth, Kalissah slipped her hand down the waistline of Ilia’s panties and slid a finger effortlessly into Ilia’s already-wet and hungry cunt.



Ilia felt as if she wasn’t really there; that what was happening was happening only to her body, that she herself was somewhere else in the room, watching these two coffee-skinned warriors explore their new crewmember.



Bergin, already mostly nude, quickly shed the loose trousers that covered his lower half. Ilia could feel his rock-hard prick press between his stomach and her back as he continued to fondle her breasts. Two sets of hands began to push her down toward the floor, slowly but firmly. She dropped to her knees, breaking the lock Kalissah’s lips had on her own. Kalissah stepped back and began to strip out of her leather armor while Bergin slid around into her place, his cock right in Ilia’s face. Knowing it was too late to turn back now, Ilia simply abandoned whatever inhibitions her growing lust had left to her, and wrapped her lips around the head of what by any measure was an enormous phallus, and was much the biggest the young Nord had ever seen in her limited experience with men. Bergin thrust forward, and Ilia could feel her lips stretch tautly to accommodate his massive girth. He was not even halfway inside her mouth when she gagged and pulled back. Kalissah now joined her on the floor in front of Bergin. She chuckled and licked at the thick saliva that clung to Ilia’s chin.



“Go easy, my husband. She’s no doubt unused to such a magnificent specimen,” she said, and then easily sunk the erect cock deep down her throat in one steady, gradual movement. She moaned in ecstasy as Bergin grabbed the back of head, pushing his shaft even further into her mouth and holding her there until she began to struggle for breath. As he released his grip, she looked over at the astonished Nord and smiled.



“See, my dear? It’s not so big as all that.” The two women took turns sucking on the massive erection, Kalissah swallowing every inch, Ilia trying to make up for her shortcomings with vigorous ministrations of her tongue on the underside of the head. After several minutes, Bergin moved toward the bed and lay on his back. Kalissah straddled him and let her own weight fall onto the rigid shaft of her husband’s dick. She gasped as he filled her, then started to slowly grind onto him, moving her hips in a circular manner. She reached out for Ilia’s hand and then gently pulled her around so that she was standing next to Bergin’s head, facing Kalissah. Ilia hesitantly climbed onto the bed, straddling Bergin’s face while Kalissah began to rub her erect nipples. Suddenly Bergin’s strong arms pulled her down onto him and his powerful tongue mashed against Ilia’s clit. The joint stimulation on her pussy and breasts brought her to climax within a minute, Kalissah kissing her just as her moans turned to cries that disappeared into the Redguard woman’s mouth.



“Switch places with me,” Kalissah said as Ilia’s orgasm subsided. “I want him to see which of us tastes sweeter.”



“Be gentle,” said Ilia, as she positioned the head of Bergin’s shaft into her sopping hole.



Bergin smiled. “I’m not sure who’s gonna be sweeter, but I know she’s gonna be tighter, my love,” he said. In response, Kalissah lowered her asshole onto his mouth instead of her pussy, giving him no choice but to lick it. Her didn’t seem to mind too much, distracted as he was by the way Ilia’s pussy gripped his cock as he slowly slid inside her. Ilia felt herself stretch to accommodate his monster cock; painful at first, she found that if she controlled the movements and lowered herself onto him, bit by bit, it gave her a very pleasant sensation of fullness. Only when Bergin tried to push upwards did the pain become too much, and then Ilia would lift herself up. After a few of these instances, Bergin let the Nord go at her own pace. Kalissah began to rub her pussy as her husband’s tongue swirled around her asshole, and she kept her eyes focused on the pretty face of the pale girl before her, enjoying the contrast between her husband’s dark skin and Ilia’s whiteness. She could see the pleasure and pain intermingling in Ilia’s expressions, and envied the girl her first experience with Bergin’s massive member. She smiled as she recalled her own first time, remembering how small her hand had seemed wrapped around the smooth, dark shaft, how she had come even before he was all the way inside her.



As Ilia began to slide up and down, her cunt greedily expanding to accept this new, enormous visitor, Kalissah reached behind her head and pulled the Nord toward her, their mouths meeting eagerly. The two women kissed passionately as each ground down on the man underneath them. Kalissah’s hands alternated between Ilia’s breasts and her own pussy, until Ilia began to moan more loudly. Then Kalissah concentrated on the Nord girl’s nipples, pinching and rubbing them, occasionally gripping her whole breasts and kneading them roughly. As Ilia began to feel another orgasm building inside her she started to buck her hips wildly, moving herself around the giant cock that impaled her. When she screamed, Kalissah pinched her nipples viscously, the pain distracting Ilia just enough that her orgasm didn’t quite reach its peak, but instead kept lashing her with waves of agonizing pleasure as Bergin thrust upwards into her still more deeply.



Exhausted, Ilia climbed off the giant cock. Bergin grabbed his wife and roughly threw her to the bed, entering her from behind with long and rapid strokes. For Kalissah, the sensation, as always when her husband’s cock really got going, was intense. She came quickly without any additional stimulation. Ilia watched for a few moments, admiring the muscular frame of the Redguard man, enjoying the clinching of his buttocks as he pounded his cock deep into the eager black pussy in front of him. Rubbing her own cunt, Ilia crawled between Bergin’s legs and lay on her back. First she held her tongue against the base of his cock, enjoying the salty taste of Kalissah’s juices that coated the rigid shaft. Then she eased herself a few inches further onto the bed, and began to lap hungrily at Kalissah’s throbbing clit. This threw the Redguard woman over the edge, and she writhed and cried out with another, even more intense, climax. Just as hers subsided, her husband let loose with a violent ejaculation deep into Kalissah. As his spurts began to let up, he pulled out, dripping the last of his cum onto Ilia’s waiting tongue. Her appetite whetted, the Nord buried herself into Kalissah’s open hole, reveling in the salty mixture of semen and pussy juice that flowed into her mouth.



She swallowed what she could, her hand still working her clit. Bergin, still mostly hard, slid his cock into Ilia’s cunt and gave several hard thrusts until the Nord came one more time. She looked up to see the two Redguards kissing passionately. Suddenly Kalissah’s wet slit was on Ilia’s mouth again, while Kalissah’s went to all fours to take her husband into her mouth. Bergin, already close to coming again, slammed away at his wife’s throat, treating it as roughly as he had treated her pussy a few minutes before. With the massive cock pounding at her throat and the Nord girl’s tongue slurping back and forth from her pussy to her clit, Kalissah came again, her throat opening up even more as she did. Feeling his wife’s convulsions, Bergin drove his cock as deep as it could go, his wife’s lips straining against his waist and his scrotum as he felt hot jets of semen escape into his wife’s willing throat. Kalissah swung around and began to kiss Ilia, dripping what cum she hadn’t already swallowed into the Nord’s mouth. Bergin, sated, tumbled over them both and lay down heavily on the far side of the bed. Kalissah and Ilia kissed wetly for several more minutes, neither wanting the revelry to end but both sore and satisfied. Finally, Kalissah tumbled into her husband’s arms, her ass pressed into his crotch. Ilia in turn lay on her side facing Kalissah, their breasts mashed together, their lips still locking from time to time. But soon all three were asleep, the warmth of their bodies and the lingering pleasure of their orgasms lulling them into the dream world.

Lynk sat on an unfamiliar bed in an unfamiliar room. Kneeling between his legs was the beautiful, dark skinned man he had met and subsequently fucked last week. Both naked — whenever Lynk conjured Stephen he was naked — and both enjoying an exquisite session of some of the best oral Lynk had received in a long time.



Stephen’s hands rested on the joints where Lynk’s parted legs met his hips. Teasing thumbs rubbed the tender skin either side of Lynk’s balls. An expert tongue wrapped around the underside of his cock and a mouth sucked on it hard, taking in the whole length until it hit the back of Stephen’s throat.



Lynk hissed through his teeth, “Fuck! That’s good.”



With a wet slurp Stephen released Lynk’s cock, “You’re welcome.”



Always so fucking polite. “Don’t stop.” Lynk breathed.



Stephen’s brow furrowed, “What’s that beeping?”



“What?”



“Can’t you hear it?”



Lynk frowned getting impatient, “I can’t hear anything.” He guided Stephen’s mouth back to his cock. Stephen swallowed him down to the root once more. Lynk grunted and fisted a handful of Stephen’s hair.



He heard it then, the beeping. He tried to ignore it, but it was getting louder and faster. He was losing the feeling of Stephen’s soft hair between his fingers. The wet warmth around his cock was less intense. The beeping continued to rise in tempo until it was all that filled his head.



Lynk woke with a beastly growl and slammed his fist down onto his ID screen. His alarm died and he quickly tried to chase his dream but he was too awake. Reaching sleepily for his groin with one hand, he threw off his top sheet with the other and made a tight fist around his morning stiffness. Already slick with sweat and pre-come, it took less than a minute for him to shoot and spray his load over his chest.



Maybe he should call Stephen, Lynk thought as he struggled to rise from his bed. The idea didn’t appeal. Lynk was not one for pursuing, especially after someone he’d already fucked. Stephen would call. Lynk was sure. Remembering the thoroughly fucked Stephen lying spread eagle atop his own desk gave him more than a little confidence. He would call. Suddenly disgusted with himself, Lynk shook his head, clearing the desperate thoughts away and headed for the shower.



With only enough time for a coffee breakfast, Lynk made his way to court. He usually jogged to the office then showered and changed at work, but today he had to look pretty for court. The pre-ordered taxi was waiting outside his apartment complex and would ensure his sharp suit remained so. Lynk checked the automated route mapped out on the screen, voiced his okay and was off.



‘Please ensure that seat belts are worn at all times. In the unlikely event of a crash, sudden power surge or derailment the wearing of a seat belt will increase the likelihood of your survival by-’



“Mute.” Lynk extended his ID screen and read through the case files. Defendant: Alastair Chiden — accused of harbouring information deemed illegal under England 2.0 law. In Lynk’s opinion it was an open and shut case, all evidence pointed to Chiden’s guilt, but his vast amount of well-paid lawyers called for Lynk’s presence.



Lynk wouldn’t be leading the prosecution, not his department, but the newbie at the office was distantly related to one of the higher ups and Lynk’s excellent reputation had got him stuck playing as the kid’s chaperone. Luckily the higher ups hadn’t heard of Lynk’s less well known, promiscuous reputation. Lynk didn’t think they would take it well to hear that the on the first day the kid had been on his knees eagerly sucking Lynk’s cock and jerking himself off in Lynk’s office.



The kid was sharp and pretty enough for Lynk to abuse his position. Not like the kid had repelled Lynk’s attentions, encouraged them was more accurate. He didn’t really need Lynk’s experience or guidance, but Lynk wanted this case won and over with. Lynk could report of the kid’s genius and have him shipped back to his own department.



Fortunately, not only was Lynk very good at his job, but the supreme bitch judge, Judge Bertha Marriot was presiding over today’s proceedings and the horny old girl never hid the fact she wanted to get inside Lynk’s pants.



Lynk was interrupted in his revision when a new contact code blinked in the corner of his screen. S. Jurek? He pressed the name and his screen was filled with Stephen’s face.



“Hey.”



“Hey.” Lynk answered simply, shutting his gaping mouth. Lynk wasn’t sure if it was the lack of alcohol or the fact he hadn’t seen the man in a week, but Stephen seemed more fuckable than before.



Stephen was more spiffy and polished than Lynk, wearing a pale grey suit over a black polo-neck, emphasising his olive skin. His dark, lightly curled hair had been swept back off his face, leaving a single stray curl hanging down just above his right eye.



This morning’s dream flashed in Lynk’s mind making him shift in his seat.



“Due to unforeseen circumstances I find myself free this evening and wondered if you would like to meet me for a drink tonight, perhaps dinner.” Perhaps a fuck, Lynk thought. Stephen was all business just like his smart attire.



Lynk didn’t like to think he was Stephen’s second choice after work, but his dick didn’t seem to care, which started to fill out in his suddenly tight suit trousers.



“It shouldn’t be a problem if I can wrap work up quickly.”



“Wonderful.” Stephen said with no indication of Lynk’s response being wonderful, remaining stoic and professional, “I’ll send you the name and location of a restaurant I think you’ll like.”



Restaurant? It sounded too much like a date, but Lynk was never one to turn down a free meal and no doubt it would be as swanky as the bar last week.



Stephen hadn’t given a time to meet, Lynk realised. Did Stephen think he wouldn’t show? Maybe he’d find someone else if Lynk didn’t come. The thought made Lynk uneasy. Stephen broke the contact link without saying another word. Lynk returned his thoughts to the case, ignoring Stephen’s obvious challenge.



The taxi stopped outside the Halls of Justice minutes later. Lynk stood and straightened his suit, checked his hair in his ID screen then swiped it over the reader recording his journey and taking money from his account. The price for impressing Bitch Bertha.



“Lynk! What are you doing here my handsome boy?”



‘Boy’ at thirty-two years old. It could only be one person. Lynk’s suspicion was confirmed when Bitch Bertha herself clasped his shoulders and kissed each of his cheeks.



Lynk barely had time to reciprocate the greeting, “My Lady it is good to see you.” he said with a charming smile. She had told him on numerous occasions that they were on first name terms, but he saw the twinkle in her eyes when he used her superior title. “I am here to watch over young Mr Gralce, leading the prosecution in the case today.”



“Always taking care of others.” She said in a motherly tone that made Lynk cringe internally.



“I hope you will not be too hard on him for my sake.” Lynk laughed lightly which she all but swooned at, rubbing his biceps under his fine suit.



“Naughty boy, trying to sway me with your charming smile.”



Lynk took hold of her hands, clasped them between his and looked straight into her eyes, dropping his voice to a seductive growl, “You see right through me don’t you my Lady.”



He watched the minute muscles twitch in her face. Her eyes lowered to Lynk’s lips.



“Forgive me, my Lady, but I must leave you now and see to my charge.” He kissed the back of her hands lightly before turning away. Once out of sight Lynk stretched and ground his aching jaw.



*



Not half bad, Lynk thought as he appraised the defendant. Chiden’s image had been the only thing his entourage of lawyers had managed to exclude from the case files. Blond hair with natural red streaks fell to his shoulders, framing his sharp cheekbones on his almost translucent pale face, which he attempted to shape a confident expression but failed.



From an old family, descending from before the war, Lynk had discovered in his research. Married to Joshua Malik for three years. No children. One application for artificial reproduction rights denied. Adoption rights application pending. Too bad he wanted to be a breeder.



Lynk looked over to Malik waiting in the stands. He and Chiden were well suited. Malik was Chiden’s opposite, as dark as Chiden was light. Had they been allowed to reproduce their children would be beautiful.



Lynk was only half listening to the case summary, sending a charming smile Judge Marriot’s way every now and again, which she returned.



She resided high above all the mere mortals, flanked by her handpicked High Council, ten men and women, five either side.



Lynk yawned pointedly covering his mouth.



“Mr Larkin,” Marriot interrupted Chiden’s head representative, “your opening statement if you please.”



“My Lady?”



“We all know why we’re here. Get on with it.”



“Y-yes my Lady.”



Lynk threw her another boyish grin. She looked rather pleased with herself and turned back to the court.



Chiden’s lawyer equivocated for a good ten minutes about the man’s amiable and charitable character, a family man, having never shown any sign of anti-England 2.0 reform activity and the fact that he had in his possession a piece of religious war propaganda was nothing more than the habit of an avert collector. What he didn’t say was that he was not registered to own such material, nor was it inherited by him, nor did he have any evidence of how it came into his possession.



Judge Marriot was staring down at the Defence, her wrinkled brow becoming even more so and Lynk shook his head backing her dislike of the poor man.



“Mr Larkin, we are all aware of the defendant’s work and character, but the fact remains that he possessed, in secret, illegal and ultimately harmful documents, which in itself is a serious crime. It also indicates that he is a member of a religious order from which the documents belonged. Unless you have any evidence proving his innocence I have no other alternative but to pronounce his guilt.”



Larkin stammered a moment before a message flashed on his ID screen, “My lady, I have just received word that our expert has arrived.”



“Expert? What are you talking about Mr Larkin?”



“This is simple stalling, my lady,” Gralce overrode the Defence, “but I’ll humour him if you wish.”



Lynk groaned internally. Maybe this wasn’t going to be as quick and simple as he had hoped. The guard closest to the door went to fetch this surprise expert.



Marriot held Lynk gaze, smiling sweetly at him and leaning over her plinth, pressing her still ample breasts against it.



He could still fuck her, time or an excellent cosmetic surgeon had been kind to her, but there would be no challenge in bedding the bitch. She would want him to bend to her will in the bedroom and in the courtroom. Not to mention it would give everyone in his office a good laugh if he finally became her toy boy.



Lynk’s head was filled with the image of him naked over the judge’s plinth and her in her full judgement robes, spanking him and telling him he was a bad boy. The real world suddenly came into sharp focus when the guard re-appeared with the expert trailing him.



Lynk forced himself to not swear aloud. ‘Unforeseen circumstances’ huh, Lynk thought as Stephen made his way to the witness stand.



“Name?” Marriot asked seemingly undisturbed by this lack of protocol.



“Stephen Jurek.”



She entered the information into her ID screen. The guard who had bought him in placed Stephen’s screen on the reader. A 2D hologram of Stephen’s face alongside a long list of his credentials filled the space between the High Council and the rest of the court. A copy appeared on Lynk’s own ID screen and he pretended to read through it along with the Council.



Stephen either didn’t notice Lynk or, more likely, was ignoring his gaze. Lynk ground his teeth, staring at the image on his screen.



“This is all very impressive Dr Jurek, but I fail to see how you are connected to this case.”



“As you can see I am a registered collector of the written word and a restorer of such objects. The article in question was in Mr Chiden’s keeping as a favour to me.”



“Explain.”



“Mr Chiden has recently holidayed in the ruins of Australia. I had purchased, prior to his visit, this document and thought that he could retrieve it for me. As you know the activity of ‘Sky Pirates’, as they call themselves, is still lively in the region and the document is of certain value. The reason for his secrecy and lack of legal documentation was a result of my over protective nature towards such valuable relics. I did not wish to draw attention to it. If anyone should be charged for the crime which he stands accused it is me.



“However, I have prepared a character testimony and also a statement on the piece of war propaganda offering my professional opinion, if my confession does not suffice. If you would,” He sent the documents to Marriot’s screen and only hers.



Marriot briefly examined the documents.



“My lady-” Gralce tried, but Marriot shut him up with a wave of her hand.



Fuck! Now what?



“We shall take an hours recess whilst I examine these documents.” Marriot and her Council retreated to their chambers.



Double fuck!



Lynk tried to catch Stephen’s eye again, but the bastard continued to ignore his existence. Lynk watched Stephen descend from the witness stand to Chiden. He took the paling pale man’s hands in his and kissed his cheek. He spoke rapidly to Chiden, friendly and reassuring. Malik joined them and hugged his husband before doing the same to Stephen. The couple conversed while Stephen slipped away when a sea of lawyers flanked them. Lynk followed.



He was in a rage and not completely sure why. Stephen had lied. Human nature. Stephen hadn’t told Lynk he was going to be here. Lynk hadn’t asked. Stephen’s evidence could screw up Lynk’s chance of getting shot of Gralce.



Stephen headed to the toilet. Lynk followed behind keeping a distance between them. Waiting for the urinal next to Stephen to free up, to amuse himself, Lynk watched for the guys who ‘accidently’ checked out the dick next to them. He moved in, unzipped and summoned a decent stream. He felt Stephen tense and then relax beside him.



“Didn’t think I’d be seeing you until tonight,” Lynk spoke to Stephen’s cock.



Stephen didn’t speak until the others at the urinal had retreated to the sinks. His eyes stared into the tiled wall. “It is indeed a coincidence.”



Bullshit. “‘Unforeseen’ right?”



Stephen cleared his throat before tucking his dark cock back into his trousers. Lynk cut off his flow and followed Stephen to the sinks. Almost alone now, Lynk hugged close to Stephen’s body. He hardened his voice, “Stay here until everyone leaves.”



Stephen swallowed before attempting a mild protest, “Please, Lynk, we have to get back. We’re in public.”



The way Stephen’s voice trembled sent warm waves of pleasure to Lynk’s cock. He leaned in a little closer, “That wasn’t a request.”



Stephen kept his eyes down, mutely obeying. With less than a handful of people left Lynk whispered, “Go into the cubicle closest to the wall.”



Lynk heard Stephen’s sharp intake of breath. He hesitated for only a moment before complying. When they were alone Lynk followed, impressed that Stephen hadn’t locked the door.



Stephen was stood defiantly, but Lynk’s added bulk inside the small cubicle forced him to sit. His eyes held that certain hunger Lynk had seen that first night, that hunger for the risk of the unknown, that lust he’d emitted when Lynk had threatened him. Lynk licked his lips absently.



“Strip.” Lynk ordered.



“Lynk, we don’t have time.”



Lynk kicked out, his foot slammed against the tiled wall, inches away from Stephen’s head. Genuine fear darkened Stephen’s face, his breathing became shallow, but he didn’t fight back.



“You better hurry the fuck up then.” Lynk was already hard and his heart hammered against his rib cage.



Stephen wriggled free from his trousers and underwear and stopped, his cock thickening and rising.



“All of it.”



Stephen met Lynk’s gaze unbelieving but soon submitted, fumbling with his shoes in his haste. Though Lynk would have loved to watch the smaller man struggle in the tight space, the desire to be inside Stephen tipped over his unbalancing sanity scale, “Come here.” he growled.



He pulled Stephen up against his body. His hands struggled to touch, hold and fondle every part of that hard, hot body. Stephen previous reservations seemed forgotten as he reciprocated with matched passion, pulling at Lynk’s shirt and tie. Lynk felt Stephen’s fingernails through his clothes. In a fevered haste he tore off Stephen’s suit jacket, uncaring as the buttons scattered around their feet. It fell to the floor with a thud that Lynk didn’t question. He whipped the shirt over Stephen’s head and turned him, quickly trapping and tying Stephen’s arms in the sleeves behind his back.



“Lynk!”



Stephen cut off his protest when the door swung open and new footsteps sounded on the highly polished tiled floor.



Not one to be interrupted in his favourite past time, Lynk held Stephen’s trembling body against his. Stephen was barely breathing. Lynk reached down between Stephen’s legs, pleased to find him hard. Lynk began to tease him, stroking slow but firm up and down his throbbing cock shaft. Stephen squirmed trying to free his arms. Lynk tightened his grip and Stephen stopped struggling. Lynk quickened his fist, working Stephen into a silent frenzy, his whole body trembling and thrashing.



Pre-come spilt from Stephen’s slit to Lynk’s fingers, slicking the shaft in his palm. Stephen chewed his lips to stifle a whimper. The muffled voices beyond the cubicle stopped abruptly. Lynk clasped his palm over Stephen’s mouth, smothering him. He breathed hard out his nose, heating Lynk’s fingers. The voices started again.



Lynk couldn’t stop the grin shaping his face. He used his free hand to release his own restricted cock, letting out a silent sigh of relief. His button fly was difficult to open one handed, but thankfully quieter than a zip. Lynk cupped and squeezed Stephen’s firm arse cheeks, then trailed his index finger deep along the sensitive, twitching skin between them, telling Stephen silently what he wanted. He probed further into the tight heat and Stephen’s muscles tightened around his fingers. Wanting nothing more but to tear inside of Stephen’s beautiful arse, Lynk paused grudgingly when he heard his name.



“That faggot Lynk is spoon feeding me everything. A bit of cock sucking and he’ll tell you anything.”



A flare of hot anger burnt through Lynk’s gut when he recognised the voice: our young Mr Gralce.



“You better be careful, I hear he sleeps with anyone, don’t think you’re special, just get the job done.” Lynk didn’t know the second voice.



“Don’t worry I know what I’m doing.”



The pair remained quiet as their piss echoed off the porcelain.



What the fuck? That little shit. Lynk wanted to burst out the door and beat the shit out of the little squirt, but he stayed quiet and waited to hear more.



“You just keep working on your end and I’ll see what else I can get out of Lynk.”



“What if he finds out?” The other man’s voice lacked Gralce’s confidence.



“It doesn’t matter. It’s his word against the son of a Governor.”



Stephen squirmed and struggled under Lynk’s hold, bringing his attention to more pressing matters. Lynk sunk his fingers deeper into Stephen’s flesh and he stilled.



The two gossiping bastards left with a bang of the bathroom door closing.



What the hell was that? His sudden rage, mixed with the ominous fear clouded his mind. What had they meant?



Sharp pain radiated from Lynk’s middle finger. Stephen began to thrash. Lynk’s eyes focused on the smaller man. Stephen had sunk his teeth into Lynk’s finger trying to breathe. The hand holding Stephen’s arse had left a perfect white, turning red, hand print. His fingertips would show up black and purple on the olive skin tomorrow.

This saga is set sometime in the not too distant future. A world which has recovered from an apocalyptic disaster brought on by men is now run ruthlessly by women. Small feudal citadels within walled towns are run by despotic females; each town with its own rules. Fortified Manor houses with tiny surrounding hamlets are owned by less ambitious females. The planet has returned to its former rural idyll with swathes of forest and grasslands, though life for the male population is bittersweet at best and short for most.



Once again Nilok found himself up for sale. He stood on the market gallows with six other males, all of them just thankful that the throng of smiling, leering women were there to purchase and not punish on this occasion. The citadel of Ovum Fortis loomed up behind them on this sunny spring morning. The surrounding wooden and brick properties tumbled down in a web of streets and byways, from the hillock on which it stood. This was a thriving community and he had managed to survive in freedom there, pretending to be owned, until he had sampled too much ale and fallen foul of the bounty huntress who would now claim the price she made. She sat behind him, pulling on the chain about his neck frequently, making him tense the muscles in his upper body in an effort to keep upright. She knew this would give the women a chance to view his assets. He was neither Hercules nor Adonis, but would serve one of these women well.



Like all males, Nilok was no stranger to being owned by women. His education was a succession of canings and whippings by women, before women. Collared for as long as he could remember, he had been tugged on a leash from one household to another in the servitude of many women. As soon as he reached puberty, he had learned to serve mistresses in another way and this was the only pleasure he had known at the hands of females. Needless to say, punishment went hand in hand with the meagre relief offered him. He had been a runaway on several occasions; either the cold or hunger forcing him back into servitude under one matriarch or another. As each community was feudal and held its own rules, males from elsewhere were considered the property of the finder.



On his last ‘run’ he had escaped from a particularly vicious female at the northern citadel of Stellar Regina. He had been attending an apothecary and had secured some balm for a whipping which had gone septic. This was close to the very steep boundary wall to the west of the community. As he left with the balm, a landslip took a section of the 25 foot wall down the hillside with it; he and about twelve other males took their leave of that establishment at that time. He picked up a steady pace and did not stop running south for a good two hours. He had vaulted small streams, run through larger ones, zigzagged through countless woodland and sprinted across open glades. He could not help smiling as he plodded up the hills and careered down the valleys. Even going arse over on three occasions did nothing to dampen his spirits.



He had worked his way south over a period of three days. On the second day, his stomach gurgling with hunger, he had been fortunate enough to venture close to a manor and had come across two sword carrying women, with a party of tethered woodsman. They had carelessly left their lunch unattended; he had relieved them of some welcome bread and cheese, and slipped off back into the undergrowth unseen. The woodland was just warm enough to allow him to sleep through most of the darkest hours; he lay looking up at the stars through the canopy above, disturbed only by the snorting of badgers and the odd blood-curdling cry of the vixen. He was soon awake in the half-light though; wracked by cramp in the dewy dampness, he would brush off the moss and leaves and jog on till the dawn sunlight warmed his bones.



On the third day he crossed a sunlit ridge and looked down on a towering citadel. The habitation nestled on a small hill at an apex between two higher sweepingly curved and wooded hills; its position was symbolically feminine, as though it were the place of sensitivity at the nub of that most womanly of female features. This omen made him smile and wary too; it was inviting in more way than one, he would be well and truly within the domain of the female on this occasion. He could see the small plumes of smoke coming from the various little establishments around the citadel; some of these would be bakeries. His stomach growled. Though freedom was the one thing he really relished, he could not live in the woods forever. He had retained the collar about his neck from the last confinement; he had thought of discarding it, but would use it to his advantage. It was after all, a sign of ownership; if he could get in there, he could sham that he belonged to a female and live a life of semi-captivity. It seemed like the best option he had. His damp trousers were hanging by the last notch on his belt, and his feet were perpetually cold and damp in his felt boots. Though the name of this place was not known to him yet, Ovum Fortis looked increasingly inviting. He would be drawn in to the womanly fold before him; its geographical symbolism serving to mimic that eternal trap by which all males are enslaved.



Nilok approached the citadel by way of the fertile valley which led up to the northern entrance. He was careful to duck down low by the stream and ponds which ran parallel to the rudimentary cart track which was elevated close by. As the sun set, the towers cast huge shadows across the valley to his left; and he crept up to the very base of the wall at the north-eastern quarter, out of sight of any possible sentry at the gates around the curve of the wall. As dusk descended, he was preparing for another night in the open, when he saw a portly woman astride a train of carts loaded high with sacks. The horses wallowed out of the gloom of the valley; the woman visible in her white robes. A male slave walked before the leading horse. As Nilok looked back along the line of six carts, he noted a pair of legs hanging from the fifth; whoever it was that was supposed to be minding the tail end was not doing his duty. He had to act fast, and scuttled down and across the open ground to the rear of the train, using the cover of what small bushes there were.



He heard the massive gates being wheeled open as he boldly held on to the rear cart. A cold sweat came over him as there was no time to hide amongst the heavy sacks; as he put his arms over the back of the cart, his hand grabbed something. To his delight, he had found a cattle whip. He now felt bold enough to stand back a yard or so as the tail end of the train passed into the confines of the citadel. The slender female guards with their exposed blades and crossbows smiled lustily at him and he smiled back, whip over shoulder as he passed them by. There was no going back.



He had dodged from pillar to post, poaching pies and convincing some of the older women that he had been sent to help them by his benevolent owner, in the hope that they’d feed him for his charity; some of them were more than glad to see him and allowed him favours which he took great comfort in; so did they, and he was rewarded with a little money. He was just beginning to get into a sort of petty gigolo lifestyle when he became too casual with some ale which a kind lady had made available to him. A pair of eyes had been watching him from afar, and tracked him as he bumbled back to his place of rest. It was patently apparent to the bounty huntress that he was fair game, when she watched him clamber into a makeshift bed in the recesses of an old barn. He awoke to find himself trussed and tethered by a very sharp looking brunette with soft brown eyes. She stroked his hair.



“Having seen you perform, I’d like to keep you for myself, but you know how things are. With the way you’ve been advertising yourself, I expect there will be a fair queue of women making bids for you. I’ll be able to take a month off!” So there he was, on sale again. He looked down at the women there. Some looked so soft and gentle, others carried whips. They all eyed the males with that look of contempt that came so naturally to them when viewing a prospective male slave. The auctioneer lifted her head and licked her lips, looking back at the selling females with their livestock.



“Time to display them!” The women stepped forward and released the lower garments of the males. Nilok’s brunette smiled as she cupped his balls and stroked his member so the ladies might view him. Inevitably, all the males on show soon displayed healthy erections. Though size was not imperative, the demonstration of their arousal was usually a sign that they remained in rude health. Several of the women caught his eye as he stood with the brunette’s delicately gloved small hands, exaggerating the extent of his manhood. He could see she had done this many times before. Their trousers replaced, the bidding began.



The mid-morning sun now made beads of sweat trickle down his cheeks as he concentrated on the crowd of women, hoping his luck would prevail for once. One by one, the softer looking women disappeared; they had either just been for the entertainment or had not the funds required for the males on show. Quite often they just turned up for the ‘display’, and then went home, no doubt choosing a lucky male from the household to sate the arousal which lingered from their brief excitement. Either way, he was not to get lucky with a soft woman today.



The bounty huntress unhitched him and led him down the steps to a large rotund, woman with two younger girls in tow. She grabbed his face by the cheeks and twisted his head one way then the other. Her long blonde hair was plaited in pig tails; she was not exactly ugly, but she had a very stern presence about her, which was magnified by the short mean whip she carried. She smirked at him as she passed the coinage to the pretty huntress. She sneered at him and turned away, displaying her tight prim buttocks as she went; how he wished she’d kept him. The large woman leashed him by the collar he now wished he’d discarded. She smiled wickedly at him.



“Let’s get him home for a bath girls; I want to see what he looks like when he’s clean.” As she pulled him along out of the market place, and toward the eastern side of the hill, he watched her large bottom mince in the thin skirt she wore. The two young girls often turning and discretely eyeing him, they were both very pretty; perhaps it would not be so bad after all. They walked for 15 minutes or so, and then came to a small homestead close to the eastern wall, with a fair sized smallholding which was diversely cultivated. He was taken into the cosy wooden building, and walked through to a large tub set in the stonework of a patio area; this was half full with water. A large hopper with an open fire under it was heating the water within it. He was leashed to a support.



The girls opened a tap from the hopper and hot water gushed down a gulley into the tub. They then undressed him, as his new owner did the same before him. She smiled as her huge breasts and cheeks wobbled as she descended into the tub. One of the girls hurriedly undressed and picked up a large sponge as she joined her mistress; his cock was now more than a little excited on viewing the lithe young woman’s naked body. The other girl had also stripped and she blushed as his member brushed against her as she untethered him. He was now fully aroused as he was led down the steps of the tub by the nubile maiden to greet his new mistress.



She picked her short whip from the side of the tub, and flicked it at him, making him kneel in the warm water between her legs as she sat on the submerged seat.



“My name is Clara; you will call me Mistress Clara. I am your new owner. You will do exactly as you are told, as and when I tell you. You will be worked during the day on my land, and perform other manual duties. You will keep me warm at night and pleasure me when required. You will be whipped for any disobedience whatsoever.” The two girls either side splashed their sponges petulantly, careful to raise their sweet little breasts just above the waterline. His cock pulsed in the luxury of the tepid water. The woman flicked her whip again.



“If I learn that you have so much as looked at my girls when I’m not here, you will find yourself wearing your balls around your neck before the hour is out.” His rectum clenched at the assertive woman’s comment, though he knew he’d be tempted.



“Tonight you will get to know your new mistress intimately, so we’ll have you thoroughly cleaned now.” The young girls dipped their sponges and began to rub him down; this part was exhilarating, but he knew the mistress may require special services; his balls tingled as she toyed with her whip in the water.



To be continued…

This story takes place in the year 2029. America is a very different place. New laws have abolished personal bankruptcies and debtors’ prisons have been revived. Janie, our twentysomething heroine, was about to be sentenced to just such a prison when she was tricked into signing up for a pilot program that keeps her in a kind of chemical captivity. Medicine released within her body causes debilitating nausea and other symptoms every 48 hours, unless she is administered a rescue dose of another medicine. The rescue dose is delivered through the ejaculation of the man for whom she will be a personal domestic servant, a latter-day concubine. In this episode, Janie finally meets her mysterious new master, billionaire industrialist Richard Balfour for whom she will be a Gal-Friday-with-benefits.



Read the earlier chapters if you want to know how Janie got to this point.




***



The next day, about 3 in the afternoon, the invitation came by way of a curt phone call from Mr. Gilpin, the butler: “Janie, Mr. Balfour will see you now. Please attend him in his study on the second floor.”



Not his bedroom, but his study. It looked like it was going to be business before pleasure.



Having heard how much Mr. Balfour values discretion, and knowing how much he wanted me to appear not as a convict out on sexual work-release, but rather as an ordinary employee, I’d decided not to dress provocatively. From the walk-in closet in my room, I’d chosen a simple, navy-blue business suit with white blouse. The skirt was knee-length, and underneath it I wore pantyhose and sensible, low-heeled shoes. Just what I might be expected to wear in an office setting.



Fortunately, that morning I’d done a little recon around the vast, sprawling mansion, so I knew exactly where that second-floor study was located. Walking briskly, I made my way there as quickly as I could go.



My haste was encouraged by a sickly feeling that was slowly growing in the pit of my stomach. My chemical clock was ticking. In a purely physiological sense, I needed what Mr. Balfour had to give me, and I needed it soon.



“No sense appearing over-eager,” I cautioned myself. “If Balfour were like most men, he’d be perfectly happy with a slut, who’d plop down on a swivel chair like Sharon Stone in that old movie, spread her legs and flash her hairy crotch. If that’s what he wanted, he’d already have you walking around the place naked as a jaybird, in high heels.” (That, as any of you who’ve read my earlier chapters know, was the “uniform” I’d grown used to at the training center.) “He had Gilpin read your work resumé before choosing you. You’d better look the part.”



So, I did. An efficient-looking secretary, an older woman, was encamped at the desk in the outer office. Ms. Ingeborg was her name. Her graying blonde hair and nordic features made her look like some Swedish ice-maiden. She looked up as I entered the room. Her eyes met mine. They betrayed nothing of what she might or might not know about my real purpose for being there.



“Proceed,” was all she said, motioning me towards a blank section of paneled wall. At that instant, perhaps because she’d pressed some hidden button, the section of wall silently slid to one side. “Mr. Balfour has directed that the two of you are not to be disturbed during the course of your interview.” The door slid shut behind me.



“So that’s the way it is,” I thought to myself. “Good. I’ve never met this guy, but my body’s telling me that, if I’m not swallowing his cum in the next half-hour or so, I’ll be in a world of pain. Play it cool, Janie. Don’t let on how desperate you are.”



Balfour was standing behind his desk, looking out through a huge plate-glass window at the rolling waves of the Pacific. He was in his mid-fifties, reasonably trim, balding on top and more than a little gray at the temples. Once I saw him in person, I realized I recognized him from news articles and TV talk-shows. “God, this guy’s bona-fide famous,” I thought to myself.



At the sound of my approach, he turned and smiled, motioning me towards a small seating area off to one side: a small sofa, a couple of chairs and a coffee table.



I sat on the little love-seat (appropriate anme!) and he took a seat in an armchair opposite.



“You know why you’re here, of course,” he said to me, with all the detachment of a businessman reading a resumé (which, it so happened, he was). “I’ve reached the point in my life where I’ve grown tired of chasing after the fairer sex. As my attorney will tell you, I’m shelling out millions each year in alimony to my ex-wives, even after the most detailed pre-nups you can imagine. I look on those monthly payments as insurance premiums, to keep my name out of the tabloids. I don’t think I’m a bad sort, but anyone who knows me is well aware I’m married to my work. I make no apologies for that. I’ve spent my life building these companies up from nothing. I can’t have a relationship dissolve again – not because I can’t afford the money (I can), but because I’m tired of the whole skirt-chasing thing.”



He looked — with some longing, I thought — at my navy-blue skirt, and at my crossed legs emerging from underneath its fabric, before continuing. Not so tired as all that, it would seem. But then again, he knows that — unlike any other woman he’s ever bedded — I don’t need to be chased.



“Back in the last century, there was an author names Erica Jong, who created controversial headlines with a book called Fear of Flying. She’s the one who coined the phrase, ‘zipless fuck.’ What attracts me about the unique correctional program you’re involved in is that it promises something very close to that. Janie, I’m impressed that you have skills as a researcher and project manager. We’ll make use of those talents — not because I don’t have others in my organization who can do such things, but because it’s important to me that, to all appearances, our relationship be thoroughly professional, that of a personal assistant who works very closely with her boss. That’s the cover story we’ll use to explain why you travel with me — while you and I know it’s because your body has certain physical needs, now, that only mine can provide.”



I felt a sudden gush of wetness between my legs, at the mere suggestion.



“It’s also important to me that you be on the payroll — something I realize is by no means required by the contract I’ve signed with Halliburton, the government’s agent — but it’s part of the cover story. You’ll draw 25 grand a month, which I trust you’ll find more than generous. On your way out, Ms. Ingeborg will have you sign a contract that provides for that entire amount to be deposited in an offshore account, in your name only. As long as you work for me in this intensely personal way, you will lack for nothing. You’ll have no need of spending money for any purpose. Think of these payments as contributions towards a retirement fund. By the way, the contract does include a non-disclosure agreement, so that, if you should ever be so foolish as to leak anything to the media about the nature of what you and I do behind closed doors, you’ll lose out, big-time. Just a word to the wise.”



There was a long pause, before he looked me full in the face. Our eyes locked. “Janie, do you see that low coffee table between us? It’s very sturdy. Please step up onto it, and, one item at a time, remove every article of clothing you’ve got on.”



God, I felt sexy. Stepping up on the table, I unbuttoned my blouse and let it fall to the floor. I saw him staring hungrily at my cleavage.



Next came the bra. Unbuckling that, I let it, too, fall the floor.



My tits now hung free. They’re not as firm as they used to be, but they’re still firm enough. At this moment, my nipples had become so hard, it was almost painful. I gave the ol’ bazoongas a little shake. He smiled.



Next came the skirt. Undoing the buttons securing it on one side, it too joined the swiftly-growing puddle of discarded clothing at my feet.



Slipping my fingers into the waistband of my pantyhose, I pulled them downwards. I watched his eyes track the descent.



Kicking off my shoes and finishing the panthose-removal operation, I now stood naked before Richard Balfour as he sat there, still fully clothed.



He got up, walking slowly around the coffee table, inspecting me. It occurred to me that this experience had to be something like what slaves used to go through on the auction block, in pre-Civil War days. Years later, they reported feeling humiliated. The effect of the medication on my body made me feel different. I felt exhilarated.



I felt a hand settle on my right buttock, gently caressing me. Then another, reaching up and caressing my left breast. That hand cupped my tit underneath, lifting it up, feeling its heft. Then, the thumb and forefinger of that hand squeezed the nipple — gently at first, then hard. I felt weak in the knees.



The hand resting on my butt moved downward, inserting itself between my upper thighs from behind. Slowly inserting itself through the gap between my legs, it reached upwards, the fingers covering my hairy mound, pressing inward between the lips. There was a brief moment of resistance due to lack of lubrication, before two fingers broke through into the smooth, damp silkiness within.



Then, the caressing hands left me. My Master walked around in front of me, taking his place once again in the armchair where he’d been sitting.



“It’s been a while since you’ve had your medicine, hasn’t it, little girl?” he asked.



Silently, I nodded assent.



“It’s time we did something about that. Janie, you may kneel before me, and take what sustenance you need.”



Doing so, I unbuckled his belt, unzipped his pants, and reached inside. There was no doubt where to look for what I wanted. It was already tenting his trousers in front.



Pulling his rock-hard, six-inch, mushroom-headed dick out of his pants, I opened wide and let it slip slowly across my damp tongue, which curled and wrapped itself around the beautiful veined shaft of its own accord. Deep instincts were now setting in.



It didn’t take him long, this first time. My Master had become so very aroused before my lips even engulfed his erection. A few moments later, uttering a deep sigh, he shot his load deep into my throat.



Feeling his cock lose its hardness and begin to diminish in size, I slowly withdrew my lips, giving the head a final, friendly lick as it went by. Then, I looked into his eyes.



He stared right back at me. Mr. Balfour and I, we had ourselves an understanding.



Opening my mouth, I let him get a good look at the shimmering, ivory-colored pool of cum within. Then, I closed my lips and, still looking deeply into his eyes, slowly and deliberately swallowed every last, precious drop.



Immediately, I began to experience the return of my sense of well-being. I felt normal again.



Reaching down, my Master took my hand, raising me to my feet. Covering my mouth with his lips, he enveloped me in a deep, tongue-probing kiss.



I felt complete.

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