Tanj's Tales: Gotterdamerung, part 3
The Double-cross Evolves:
It’d been bothering Juan all week. It really was none of
his business; the transactions had all the proper
clearances, and yet it was bugging him. Normally that
would have been fine; watching for unusual things like that
was all part of his job as an accountant in the General
Services Administration. But the kinds of things he kept
an eye out for seldom had the stamp of the President’s
office on them…..
Lunch break came, and almost to a furr, the offices
emptied. The Capital city was still fairly free of
terrorist acts, and it didn’t take much self-delusion to
convince yourself there wasn’t a war on. Lingering in the
male’s washroom, Juan waited a reasonable length of time,
and then slipped back into the accounting office. His
supervisor’s cubicle was vacant, the old Weasel being fond
of starting lunch early and finishing late, and as
expected, his computer was still running, still logged onto
the network….. sitting down, Juan entered a few passwords
he’d picked up here and there, and a few more he’d been
given by a "friend"…. Fingers flying over the keyboard he
did what he did best; searching out graft, and theft…. And
sure enough, there was a trail. They hadn’t even tried to
hide it, at least not from HIS practiced eyes…. The upper
levels of the Elysium government were starting to move
government funds. Investments in major corporations were
being quietly sold off, at a rate that wouldn’t quite panic
the stock markets… A cross check showed "portable"
financial instruments and tangible items were being bought
up. He couldn’t connect the two… not yet. Still, the
coincidence was significant, the conclusion inescapable.
Making careful notes, Juan scrolled through the downloaded
pages, erasing them as he went….
Kenoshi smiled and patted his belly happily. The Thursday
all-you-can-eat lunch buffet was one of his weaknesses, one
his wife would give him endless grief over, if she ever
found out. Settling into his desk chair, the Weasel paused
for a moment… it seemed as if his desk chair was nice and
warm… ever since the war had started they’d turned the
thermostats down in the building, and he was perpetually
cold… but this felt as if someone had just risen from his
chair… Frowning, the Weasel took a careful look around his
office; everything seemed in place, the mouse just where he
liked it, the keyboard just so…. Moving carefully, he told
his computer to review its last dozen actions…. What he
saw made his eyebrows rise so far he thought they were
trying to crawl over the top of his head….
Juan put the disk in an envelope, and calmly walked out of
the building. He’d heard the Weasel’s yelp of surprise,
and didn’t think it was something good. Strolling
casually, he made his way to the "dead letter drop" and
calmly slipped the envelope into the crack in the wall. It
was barely visible there. Turning, he made his way back to
the office. It was risky, but if he were missing, they’d
KNOW he was a… well, not a traitor, but that would
certainly be the way the Government would see it. Smiling,
delighted to be doing his part for the People of Elysium,
he just hoped that the courier found his envelope, and that
the Reds could follow his logic…..
Sebastian worked the ancient manual hedge clippers,
clipping a sprig here, a leaf there. The Hedges were
almost perfect, and he didn’t really need to be working on
them; however, it did allow him to be here, with a good
view in through the Parlor window. His employer, head of
the household, and senior member of the Senate, was inside
carefully wrapping a Ch’ing dynasty vase in bubblewrap.
Laying it very carefully within its suspension harness, he
turned to find the roll of tape. It had become obvious
that the Senator was going to be leaving soon. Some things
might be kept from the public, and some things might be
kept from the press, but it was almost impossible to fool
The evidence had been accruing for weeks. A painting
missing from the upstairs hallway, its now empty and
comparatively worthless frame stacked in the basement. A
rare cloisonné vase was no longer in its display case, and
the master of the house had been acting with increasing
nervousness. His bubble-headed "trophy" wife had been
telling the servants that they were going to store the
valuables until after this unpleasantness with the rebels
was settled, but no one believed her. SHE still thought
they were all going to the beach house in a few months, and
that territory was well behind rebel lines now…
The note was brief, written in a cramped style. Looking
around, the gardener lifted the rock just outside the
servant’s entrance, and slipped the folded piece of paper
underneath. It was the one dead spot the security cameras
couldn’t see. Rising, he picked up his weedwhacker and
made a few desultory passes, just so that no one would
Phoebe sipped her tea and listened to the conversation in
the lunchroom. A table over, just behind her, sat a covey
of "executive secretaries." One, an overly well-endowed
vixen, secretary (and part-time mistress) to the Chairman
of the Board of the Microware corporation, was giggling to
her croneys about the "business trip" she’d be going on
soon…. Seemed there was going to be a conference
somewhere, somewhere with warm sand and tropical skies, and
her boss wanted, absolutely insisted that she accompany
him. Funny thing, though, he couldn’t say just WHEN it
would be. Something about security. She’s to be ready to
leave at a moment’s notice….. Pretending to read her
paper, Phoebe listened, trying to remember names, and what
little information the Vixen had. As lunch ended, she
scribbled a note on a small piece of paper, and slipped it
under her now-empty coffee cup. Leaving the tray on the
table, instead of placing it in recycling, she knew one of
the bussboys would check under the cup for a note…. And
pass it on to the appropriate person in her resistance
The Serval looked at all the scribbled notes and shrugged;
how Intelligence could piece together ANYTHING from all of
this was beyond him; still it was his duty to smuggle such
stuff through the lines, and deliver it to the appropriate
furrs in the Reds organization. Checking to make sure he
had his Reds ID well hidden, and that his pistol was fully
charged, he moved out of the shadow of the building, and
started trotting towards the woods at the edge of town.
This was supposed to be a "thin" spot in the lines, and he
didn’t expect too much trouble sneaking through…..
Xyloff leaned back in his chair and grinned at his
intelligence staff; "you mean you don’t understand what the
pattern means? I’m surprised at you, Comrades!" Looking
at the blank faces the Wolverine grinned; it wasn’t often
that he could out-think this group. "Then again, perhaps I
understand their mindset a bit better, given my background.
The Rats are about to leave what they perceive to be a
sinking ship. When they think that all is lost, the key
government and industry figures will abscond with what
wealth they can carry!" One of the analysts, a Buffalo,
rubbed his chin; "I’m not sure, Comrade. I admit some of
them may be preparing to retreat to a safe haven, such as
the Harbinger mountains. We’ve heard rumors that the hard
core Elysium troops are planning to hold up there. It
would be difficult to force them out, and to pursue them
into that rough terrain would be… near-suicidal." Another
analyst nodded; "And the liquefaction of national wealth
might merely be another attempt to import weapons and
mercenaries….." Xyloff shook his head; "No, While I admit
it could be any, or all of those things, I believe we’re
seeing the approach of the end." Turning to the Operations
staff he grinned; "Now, here’s what I want to do to try
and hasten their departure. When they leave I want them
fully panicked, and moving too fast for caution….."
Marshal Golovko looked at the message flimsy and shook his
head. It was incredible. It was inconceivable and yet the
Reds Party Headquarters had ordered him to ignore his
flanks and drive straight for the Elysium Capital. While
the Elysium forces were in general retreat almost
everywhere, exposing his flanks to their still not-
inconsiderable forces was inviting disaster. Looking up at
his aide, the Bear growled; "Political Objectives my ASS!"
The aide, a much scarred and much decorated Panther, only
shrugged; "Marshal, if you waver in the slightest it WILL
be your ass. We have no choice." Sadly the Bear nodded;
"Very well, lets take a look at the maps and see what we
can do to minimize the damage…."
Senator Delany watched as one of his servants brought the
aircar around. He’d always prided himself on driving
himself wherever he needed to go, not making use of
limousines and chauffeurs…. But recently he’d been
particularly careful about starting the car in the morning.
Politely thanking his butler, Delany slid behind the
controls, glancing in the back seat just to make sure there
were no assassins hiding there. Now that they were so
close to leaving, it wouldn’t do to be killed like poor
Senator Croft. Still the old biddy had been foolish,
taking way too many chances, almost as if she were inviting
the Reds "justice" squads to come for her. Lifting off
smoothly from his residence, Delany debated which of the
several routes to the capital building he should take
Brumm smiled as he saw the blip appear on the traffic
control radar. They’d tapped into the system that the
civil authorities used to control aircar traffic. And of
course as important a personage as the Senator had their
transponder flagged in the supposedly impregnable system.
It made him a whole lot easier to track. And to kill.
Nodding to Grimaldi, the Wolverine sat back, letting his
associate fly their rented van, as they closed the
Making another random turn, Delany smiled. Traffic was
light today. Glancing in his rear-view monitor, he noted a
white delivery van, with a rental company’s logo on it.
Thinking about the transfer of important records from
outlying districts now threatened by those rebel scum, the
Senator made another random turn. The van followed.
Brumm nodded; "Now, Grimaldi, hold it steady…." Reaching
down, the Wolverine lifted the remote control box into his
lap. Flipping a switch, he was rewarded with a set of
glowing indicator lights and a slight vibration beneath his
Delany’s instincts were good. He hadn’t survived in the
Senate for as long as he had without knowing when he was in
trouble. The path of his aircar developed a slight weave,
as if the operator were slightly drunk… and slowing down,
then speeding up, he managed to make a turn and descend a
level, merging into the traffic heading away from the
"He’s on to us" Grimaldi growled. Brumm nodded; "fly
between the eastbound and westbound "paths". Close on him
and I’ll take him out from above and behind." Below the
van, the optics of the strap-on anti-aircraft laser
twitched, as Brumm tried to sight in on the now-fleeing
Delany scanned his dashboard. No tracking radar; that
meant the assassins were going to try for some sort of
passive kill. His car was well stealthed, but that didn’t
mean it was invisible in the infra-red. Glancing in his
rear-view he blinked. The Van was gone…. Craning his head
around, he searched for them, convinced they wouldn’t give
up so easily.
"You know, Brumm, flying here is going to send a strong
signal to every civilian who sees us; flying between the
eastbound and westbound levels is supposed to be reserved
only for the police. And we don’t look like the police."
Brumm shrugged: "When we start shooting, they’ll know it
for sure. Now be quiet, I need to concentrate."
The flicker of laser light licked out, lashing diagonally
across Delany’s car. On either side, it cut downwards,
across city streets. Pedestrians and parked vehicles burst
Delany swore; his car was armored, a reflective layer just
below the paint dispersed most of the beam, and an ablative
layer below that absorbed the rest. Still, he wouldn’t be
able to take much more of that. Horsing the car around,
ignoring the traffic rules, he sought an escape.
"Get behind him, I need a better angle!" Brumm couldn’t
believe the Senator had survived the first hit. He must be
flying something very special. As Grimaldi grunted and
worked the controls, the Wolverine lined up for his next
Delany felt the aircar shudder, and loose power. It didn’t
feel as if he’d lost one of the fans, more like one or more
of the power cells had dropped off line. Frantically, he
looked towards the ground, looking for a good place to
Brumm grinned; his third shot had taken out the right side
fans, slicing from rear to front. The car had spun out of
control. It would have been nice if it had exploded on
impact, but unfortunately things like that only happened in
thriller holos. Telling Grimaldi to hover for a minute,
the Wolverine used the laser to make sure no one could
possibly be left alive in the wreckage.
"THERE THEY ARE!" Sergeant Boggs looked at his rookie
partner and shook his head. Keying his mike, the German
Shepherd growled; "We have the van in sight; they have some
sort of laser weapon. We’re going to hang back and
maintain surveillance until backup arrives. At his young
partner’s "Aw come on, Sarge, we can take ‘em!" the
Shepherd just growled and rolled his eyes.
Brumm grinned and leaned back in his seat. The Senator, in
trying to escape, had flown into a factory district; there
had probably been no living eyes to record his demise. As
Grimaldi calmly flew back towards the main traffic pattern,
the Wolverine wondered what his next assignment might be.
"Police 491, this is Phantom Lead, moving up from your six,
target in sight" "Roger that, Phantom Lead, this is
Sergeant Boggs. Central says these goons are a Reds
"justice squad", and you are cleared for use of deadly
force." "Roger that, 491, we’re rolling hot." Boggs shook
his head; "I wish they’d let them clear the city before
they started using military weapons, but I guess they want
to make a point." The kid in the seat next to him just
watched in awe as two interceptor missiles turned the van
into so much tinfoil. Luckily they still weren’t out of
the factory district…..
In an automated relay station, a small box clicked. One of
Brumm’s contingency plans, should they need help escaping,
was the total incapacitation of the traffic control system.
A last-ditch effort, as it would leave too many clues as to
who’d done it, and probably let the Elysium government know
how to make sure it didn’t happen again, the Wolverine had
set it up on a timer, figuring that if he didn’t
countermand the order, he’d either be in real trouble,
captured, or dead. In two out of three cases, he might be
able to use the assistance….. His gizmos didn’t disable
the system so much as feed it countermanding signals, and
to spoof the backup system into thinking the primary was
functioning correctly. All over the Capital city, signals
went green in three of four directions, speed limits and
altitude designations changed, and in some places the
flight path indicators "drifted" so that opposing streams
of traffic found themselves coming at each other head-on.
Olson sipped his coffee, as he looked over the city
editor’s shoulder. The stories of death and chaos when the
traffic system had been sabotaged were heartbreaking… and
should put their news e-publication in great demand. With
a sigh he shook his head; it just figured. Here he had a
scoop on high level embezzlement that should blow the lid
off the Elysium government, and it’d probably be buried on
the back page. Of the classifieds section. Taking another
sip of his coffee, Olson reflected on his "source"… the
shadowy figure had "Reds Political Wing" written all over
her. She’d fed him tidbits before, but never anything like
this…. That and she was one VERY sexy Ermine, and gave
head like no one he’d ever run across. Or even heard
about. Talk about "deep throat"… that Mink could take ALL
of him….. Hmmmm. Maybe when his editor asked, as he knew
he would, he’d code-name his source "Deep Throat"… that had
a neat ring to it…..
J.T. watched the monitor, as the editor compiled the "front
page" of the latest edition. The report on the sabotage of
the traffic control system, and the shocking assassination
of Senator Delany served the Elysium Government’s purposes
well, but this article about some of the financial
"maneuverings" that were happening would not do at all.
Entering the override code, J.T. quietly rearranged the
appearance of the publication. Then, picking up his
commlink, he quietly arranged so that those that knew of
that particular story would either quietly disappear, or
make their own front page as victims of another "Reds
Erog looked at the sheaf of reports and shook his head;
"This story about our liquidation of certain assets is most
disturbing. Are you sure you were able to squelch it?"
The Wolf nodded; "Yessir. We haven’t caught up with the
"source" yet, but we’ve managed to halt its release on each
occasion so far." Erog nodded. Feeding the reports, one
by one into a shredder, the President of the Government of
Elysium looked up; "we’re going to have to move up our
departure date. Things are progressing faster than we had
anticipated." The Wolf nodded; "Let me talk to the others
to see how we can accelerate the timetable…."
The Ermine purrrred softly, and stretched langourously.
She knew, without looking, that the Wolf’s eyes were on
her. Riveted to her. He was close to drooling. It hadn’t
been difficult at all to pick him up, in the spaceport bar.
What had been difficult had been to fend off all the
interested furrs, both male and female, that frequented the
bar. But she’d been waiting for just this one… not because
he was attractive, although he wasn’t THAT bad. Not
because he was single, although that helped. But because
he was the Executive officer on the Ragnarok, one of the
few remaining cruisers in the Elysium Fleet. The Reds
psychology department had given her a number of possible
candidates, but she liked his profile the best. Despite
his position, his authority, he was a closet submissive,
and that made her job all the more fun…..
It hadn’t taken much to bring him under her spell.
Demanding he fetch her a drink, sending him to fetch her
wrap from the cloak-check ‘bot. Telling him that they’d be
going back to her place. Little touches added at just the
right moment. And bit by bit she’d seen the light of
desire flare in his eyes. She could almost hear him
thinking, wondering if this was the one fem that could give
him what he truly desired….
Once back at her rented apartment, she’d become even more
insistent, more demanding. Of course her demands were
interspersed with kisses, and gentle caresses, mixed among
all the preludes to love. Their first coupling had been
wild, full of primal energy, with the Wolf thinking that he
was leading, his male ego obscuring the signals that she’d
been sending, the subtle directions she’d been giving him.
In time, upon reflection, he’d realized that she had
actually been controlling him, and be all the happier for
it. Normally she’d take her time with him, seeing him a
dozen times before she sunk the hook, but the political
situation just didn’t permit that. She’d have to move
faster. Recklessly fast. As the Wolf’s knot slowly
subsided, she giggled and tilting her head up to whisper in
his ear, she made a suggestion that he may or may not have
been ready for. Such were the needs of the situation, and
of the Party…..
The Wolf knelt on the floor of the Ermine’s apartment
living room, wondering just how he’d gotten himself in this
fix. He was nude, with heavy cuffs around ankles and
wrists, cuffs actually LOCKED on. A heavy collar encircled
his neck, the lock dangling at the back. He could feel it
sway as he moved. Part of him was absolutely aghast at
what he was doing; after all, he’d just MET her. Another
part of him was in ecstasy, as evidenced by his raging
hard-on. This is what he’d dreamed of, longed for, for as
long as he could remember. It was MUCH better than the few
sessions he’d timidly paid for, with a professional
dominatrix. She really knew how to push all his buttons.
Currently she was laying on the couch, on the other side of
the room, seemingly asleep, exhausted by their bouts of
lovemaking. His gaze roamed over her form, longingly.
Dressed only in an amazingly tight corset, which cinched in
her waist to an unbelievable diameter, her bounteous chest
rose and fell with each breath. Even from across the room,
he could still smell her arousal. She’d instructed him to
kneel in the corner, to wait for her command, and
obediently, he had. Now the locks insured he’d remain
there, until released. As he watched her sleep, he
wondered if she’d let him loose in time for him to make it
back from leave on time. Part of him didn’t care.
The Ermine smiled to herself and studied him through
slitted eyes. Feigning sleep, she watched, wondering how
long it would be, before he tried to rouse her. It
wouldn’t be long before he’d have to be back to his ship,
and given his position, it wouldn’t be long until the
military police were looking for him, fearing terrorists.
Stretching again, she purrred and opened her eyes a little
further. "Crawl over here, Slave, and lick me." Shifting
a little, the Ermine, dropped both legs over the side of
the couch, giving him a good look at her still-dripping
The Wolf groaned. With wrists locked to ankles, and ankles
locked together, fulfilling her demands would be hard, and
yet he must. Shifting back and forth, fractionally moving
closer with each movement, drew a frown from her, and he
remembered the riding crop with a shudder of both delight
and fear. Thrusting himself forward, he gained a
‘standing’ position on his knees, and awkwardly, started to
"walk" towards her. When he lost his balance and fell on
his face, she giggled, instead of criticizing him, and
suddenly he felt better about the whole thing; it WAS still
just a game, and not something more… wasn’t it? Struggling
back into a kneeling position and then again rising to his
knees, he shuffled forward, all but falling against the
couch, his muzzle jamming hard against her cleft, making
her squeal in delight.
Later she stroked his head softly; he hadn’t been able to
shift his position much, upper torso laying on the couch,
as he knelt by its side, his muzzle resting on her mons.
She wondered what she looked like from there, as she laid
back against the couch, legs splayed on either side of him.
Grinning down through the valley of her breasts she
purrred, and stroked his head, and talked to him of his
work, of his position. As expected, there was an
undercurrent of annoyance in his voice. Annoyance with the
admirals that were controlling the Fleet, annoyance at the
constant interference from civilian authorities…. Smiling,
the Mink stroked him softly and wondered quietly if perhaps
a change in leadership might not be so bad, for a
patriotic, dedicated warrior. When he didn’t immediately
object, she smiled, knowing she had him.
The Ermine was still nude, the furr of her thighs still wet
and sticky from their lovemaking. The Wolf was back in his
uniform, perhaps standing a little straighter. Not caring
in the least if anyone saw her through the partially open
door, she put her arms around his neck and kissed him.
"Remember what I said; Think it through logically. And if
you agree; if you want to help, to help the people of
Elysium, if you want to help me… if you want to help
YOURSELF, come to the party. Bring your friends. Bring
those you think might help. Tomorrow night. And I
promise, you and I, we’ll sneak off somewhere private, and
play some more. Just the way you know we both like it….."
The Wolf swallowed and nodded, and without a word, turned
to stride off down the corridor. If he moved fast, he
would make the last shuttle back to his ship…
The Ermine closed the door, and smiled. She needed a
shower bad, but that wasn’t the first priority. Moving to
the comm console, she placed a call. The number was a
public comm terminal in the port, and while unsecured, she
thought anyone listening in wouldn’t know what she was
talking about. In any event,k it was something she had to
risk. "Hello, Robert? Yes, it went fine. Please keep an
eye on him for me; if I’m wrong, I’d like to know as soon
as possible. Yes, tomorrow night. Ok, thanks, Dear.
The Stoat broke the connection and turning, walked away
from the public comm. Dressed in an Elysium starfleet
uniform, he attracted very little attention in the port.
The Reds had some agents within the Fleet, but not enough
for what was planned. They needed to recruit key
personnel, and recruit them as quickly as possible.
Preferably at such a pace that by the time the recruits had
time to think over what they’d done, it would be too late.
But then, if anyone could do it, the Ermine could. She was
one of their best Agents Provocateur…
"Maria, I simply don’t want to hear it. You will do as you
have been instructed, without questions, without qualms."
The Ermine stared down at the young Skunkette with a stern
look on her face. The Reds had provided the females she’d
asked for, and while each one was stunningly beautiful,
they were scarcely "enthusiastic volunteers." Most had
been blackmailed into performing as required, some were
here because of threats made against their families. But
all had been briefed on the sexual "kinks" of their
targets, thoroughly trained in how to please the males
they’d been paired with. If none of them lost their nerve,
it should all work. Looking at the Skunkette, the Ermine
softened her "look;" "I know, Dear; I know. I’ve been
through this before, and I do remember. Anal sex can be
painful at first, but if you just relax, it won’t be so
bad. Many actually like it. I know, I’ve come to treasure
the unique sensations it can give you…. Now just calm
down. Remember, this is for the good of the Party, and for
the People of Elysium. Its TERRIBLY important for The
Plan." The Skunkette wiped away a tear and nodded; "you
really DO like it?" The Ermine smiled; "its an acquired
taste, but yes, I’ve come to enjoy it. Give it a chance."
As the Skunkette turned, padding away, back to the bar for
some "liquid courage" the Ermine sighed. The Elysium
Starfleet officer she’d been assigned to had a penchant for
anal sex; problem was, he was a beast, who frequently left
his partners in need of medical attention. The Skunkette
was probably going to me much the worse for wear by
morning. Still, it HAD to be done. The Mission was just
too important to let little things like the desires of one
person, or even a hundred persons interfere…….
The Wolf slid his arms around the Ermine’s waist and
whispered in her ear. She giggled, as if he’d said the
most delightful thing and turned back to whisper in return;
"Go to the end of the hall; last room on the right.
Prepare yourself for me. Be imaginative. I want to find
you naked, bound immobile, unable to escape without my
help, and oh so ready for me. I’ve got to make sure the
party gets off to the right start, but I’ll be along as
SOON as I can!"
The Stoat smiled as his gaze wandered across the monitors.
In each room, fiber optic cameras, thin as a hair, were
recording scenes of debauchery that….. probably wouldn’t
faze the current Elysium society in the least. However,
coupled with the fact that each of the Fleet officers were
with furrs that very soon would be almost universally known
as Reds agents WOULD draw their interest. And insure their
complete, if grudging compliance.
The Wolf blinked as the door closed behind him. The room
was dark, save for a single spotlight; in the spotlight was
a large wooden "X" with shackles dangling at the ends of
the arms. And in the middle was a large phallic shape,
angled upwards. He knew where that was supposed to go. On
the floor was a tube of lubricant, a collar, and a bunch of
padlocks, all open, all without keys. Smiling, he started
to strip off his uniform. What he was about to do might be
the stupidest thing he’d ever done in his life, but be that
as it may, he couldn’t help himself. She would find him
exactly as she expected….
The Warthog smiled as he pulled on his uniform. The
Skunkette had been just the way he liked ‘em. Compliant,
tight, and terrified. He looked at her nude, sobbing form,
and wondered how long it would be, before someone found her
tied to the bed? Shrugging, he grinned and figured that
was her problem, not his. Turning he let himself out,
locking the door behind him.
The Ermine slipped through the door, and grinned as she
beheld the Wolf. Locked tight to the cross, he squirmed
slightly. It was questionable as to whether or not he even
knew she was there, thanks to the form-fitting leather hood
locked around his head. Smiling, she wondered if the
horseradish she’s smeared on the dong was getting to him
yet. Whether it was or not, it was obvious from the size
of his erection, that he was thoroughly enjoying his
situation. Shedding her dress, she sashayed towards the
bound Wolf, and the proper culmination of the party. She
just hoped the Stoat was getting all this recorded
The Warthog stopped and looked at the Stoat wearing the
junior officer’s uniform. Frowning at the interruption he
took the proffered envelope. Tearing it open, he pulled
out the photographs, and frowned. They showed him with the
Skunkette, the night before. All, except for the last one,
which was a printout of a wanted poster, showing the same
Skunkette….. And claiming she was a Reds Agent. Eyes
widening, he turned to look at the Stoat, who just grinned
back. Taking the startled Warthog by the elbow, steering
him into a side corridor, the Stoat began to explain the
obvious benefits of joining "The Cause"….. and telling him
exactly what was required of him.
The Ermine slipped through the door into the hotel room and
smiled. She’d slipped out of the port without anyone
seeming to be the wiser, making her way to the capital
city. Now, after a quick fur-dye, and a radical change in
style of dress, she was making her way back to report. Her
mission had been largely successful. Only three of the
"recruits" had to be "eliminated" to keep them from telling
what they knew. All the others had either joined the Reds
of their own volition… or had been successfully blackmailed
into cooperation. If everything "held" she’d be able to
deliver two Elysium Cruisers and at least four Destroyers
to the People’s Space Navy, at the critical moment. There
were a few more critical personnel that she might be able
to suborn, though. Tonight’s target was a Commander in the
Elysium Aerospace Defense forces… And while this one didn’t
seem to have any sexual kinks she could make use of, or be
susceptible to bribery, there were still buttons she
thought she could push. She had evidence that the Elysium
leadership was about to abandon the fight, to save their
own skins, looting the treasury in the process. His
psychological profile suggested that he’ll want their heads
for such an act, and would do almost anything to "punish"
them for such a betrayal. Smiling, and stripping off her
conservative business suit, she laid out her dress for the
evening… there wasn’t much to it…. It should catch even HIS
"No, no, Comrade Quistling, you misunderstand me. I WANT
the Elysium leadership to flee the planet. There are
several benefits should they do so; the first is that when
they flee, those still fighting on will be dispirited; they
will realize their leaders have cut and run, leaving them
in the lurch. Resistance should crumble in a matter of
hours! It will mark the end of our Struggle, and be our
shining triumph! Secondly it will put all of the traitors
in one place, at one time. With the People’s Space Navy in
place, there should be no trouble at all capturing the key
figures for public trial, and eliminating the rest of the
vermin! Also, they’ll have the wealth of the planet in one
place as well, and we’ll pluck it from their paws. No
chance of those dastardly Blues gaining any of it!" The
Lemming looked up at the Wolverine and blinked; "You seem
so sure, Comrade; but how do you know that the Peoples
Space Navy will be equal to the task? The remaining
Elysium forces are not inconsiderable…. And then, there’s
the Brethren to consider." Xyloff made a sour face;
"Comrade, I have a plan for the Brethren. You see, our
agents have cleverly recruited key figures in the Elysium
space forces; at the appropriate moment they’ll take over
their ships, bringing them over to our side. Between them,
and the PSN, we should have more than sufficient force to
not only capture the Elysium leadership, AND deal with
those Pirate Scum! THINK of the propaganda coup it’ll be;
the Whole Planet will laud us as Liberators!" Frowning,
the Lemming shook his head; "I do hope you’re correct,
Comrade. It would look bad for us, if they were to escape.
Such a political disaster might just prove… "unsettling"
for some of our Leadership…
Xyloff blinked at the Lemming, and nodded slowly. Ever
since the "assassination attempt" the rodent had been
changing. He was no longer the intellectual, the academic
bent on teaching the people of Elysium a better way…. And
now… an implied threat against HIM? Mentally, the
Wolverine reviewed his plans, making sure that even with
the strongest of will, the little rodent wouldn’t be able
to upset any of his plans…. It SHOULD be foolproof….
Forcing a smile, he nodded at the Reds Chairman; "Comrade
Quistling, I assure you, this will work exactly as I have
explained; I’ll stake my life on it!" The Lemming nodded,
as if to say "you have".
The Return Trip, part 1
Tanj took another look at the departure checklist and
sighed. Fuel. Full. Atmosphere gasses. Full.
Consumables. Full, including a batch of fresh donuts from
the bakery just down the docking ring. Clearances. That
had taken a little wheedling, but she’d finally gotten
through the bureaucracy, and had gotten all the required
clearances. Hinoki had made a hasty trip to Harriet’s, to
say goodbye, and to complete some unspecified task with the
fantasy simulator… They WERE going to have to think of a
better name for it than that. Crew. Telltales showed
everyone on board, but she still hadn’t seen Zassa in a
while. The Vixen was STILL in the cargo bay. Whatever her
secret project was, it must be extraordinarily complex.
Still, she had the nagging feeling she was forgetting
something…. Something important. "Oh, well, if its
important, it’ll come to me…." Scanning the engineering
boards again, making sure the ship was ready, she leaned
over and flipped the microphone switch on her control
column; "Free Trader Beowulf to Gibralter station traffic
control. Requesting immediate permission to release
docking clamps and leave the station."
Sam looked across at Walt and swallowed. Nodding he
gestured for the Gerbil to take the call. Walt shot back a
"why me?" look, but keyed his mike anyway. "Um, Free
Trader Beowulf, you are cleared to undock. Vector 117 mark
43 at 10,000 KPH until you clear the outer marker. Meet
departure control on 143.9 for further instructions. And,
ah, Have a good Trip." Tanj smiled and keyed her mike;
"Thanks, Boys, ‘preciate it. We’ll be sure and look you up
the next trip!" Blipping the thrusters she backed from the
port, making sure all the umbilicals snapped clear.
Wheeling the Freighter, with all the grace and agility of a
…. Well, if not an interceptor, then at least a Raider
class vessel, Tanj nudged her ship onto the proper course,
and eased it up to the specified velocity. Changing
frequencies, she heard Sam issuing rapid-fire orders to the
other traffic in the area, clearing a pathway for them,
straight to the jump point. Tanj grinned and wondered what
the Fox and the Gerbil will make of their sudden departure
from the filed flight-plan, once they’d made the first
jump. Grinning wider, she thought of the reputation they’d
picked up here; it would probably only inhance the stories
already circulating about them. Yes, indeed, returning to
this station could be VERY interesting….
The Jaguar slouched in his command chair, the scowl on his
face a warning to anyone on his crew who knew him, to keep
their distance. He somehow hadn’t really expected the
Cheetah to call and say goodbye, but then…. Well, he’d
hoped. Waving a paw in the general direction of his
executive officer, he watched, as his crew smoothly moved
the Battlecruiser away from the station, and in pursuit of
Tanj sat in her pilot’s chair, her tailtip flicking
nervously. What HAD she forgotten, in her haste to return
to the Brethren? To the Action. To her Master. As her
gaze swept the flight deck, she frowned at the flash of
blue. Leaning closer, she frowned. The cargo bay No.2
monitor was showing only blue. Fiddling with her console
for a moment she transferred the image to her pilot’s
console, and then fiddled with the focus. Fibers jumped
into detailed view, for a moment. Fibers? Fabric? And
then she grinned; Zassa had been wearing a blue jumpsuit.
She’d probably hung it over the monitor, to preserve the
secret she was working on there. That was all well and
good, but it just wasn’t safe. Wondering if something had
happened to the Vixen, wondering if she’d possibly been
hurt assembling whatever-it-was, she did a quick medical
scan of the area. No, everything looked fine. Heartbeat,
respiration, electrophoretic activity all looked nominal.
What WAS Zassa doing down there. Filing it away for future
reference, the Cheetah Fem turned back to her piloting.
They weren’t out of the system yet, although right now it
appeared the trip out was going to be a lot shorter than
the trip in, thanks to their friendly traffic controllers.
Hinoki poured himself a cup of coffee and as he settled
into a wardroom chair, grinned at Wanda; "Oh, I have LOTS
of things planned for our little Vixen. I still mean to
punish her for her impudence, in pirating my system like
that on the way out." The Wolverine lass grinned back;
"but without your little toy, how WILL you punish her?"
The Cheetah male leaned forward, over his coffee, to
conspiratorily whisper; "The old fashioned way; what I have
in mind is, well, its some of the most diabolical things
I’ve EVER planned! And that includes the little trap I
left for Harriet’s Tiger Assistant." Wanda’s eyes grew
wide, and she leaned forwards across the table too; "DO
The battlecruiser was hard to miss, even if it WAS behind
them. Tanj watched it with growning concern. It was
obvious that they were pushing their ship to its in-system
drive limits, and it was just as obvious that they were
headed for the same jump-point. At first Tanj had thought
that the Jaguar was coming after her for NOT saying
goodbye, the obvious thing that she’d forgotten. And then
she’d had a flash of paranoia that the Wolf from
Intelligence, Chalmers, had ordered them to come and bring
her back. After a number of other possibilities had
flashed through her mind, she’d settled on the thought that
the Imperium was going to check up on her story, about the
doomsday device. Very visibly, very pointedly. Maybe if
the planet WASN’T destroyed, the Jaguar had orders to bring
her back to the Wolf. Chewing on the end of a stylus, she
wondered what the best counter-move would be.
Wanda leaned back in her chair, and shook her head; "So
when does your little trap for CT spring?" Hinoki
chuckled; "Why, as soon as he tries it for himself. I had
him don the cranial sensor web for ‘calibration" purposes.
The System’s "learned" his brainwave pattern, and the next
time he dons the sensor web AND runs a program, it’ll take
over." Wanda nodded; "But if this guy’s as good with
electronics and computers as Harriet says he is, what’s to
keep him from finding the little trap you’d left?" Hinoki
shrugged; "nothin’. But he’d have to go looking. And look
HARD. But if he’s good enough, yeah, sure." Wanda sipped
her coffee and chuckled; "you realize this could mean war.
You may never be able to use that system safely again…"
Hinoki chuckled and nodded; "Yeah, well, that’s all part of
the fun. Tell me, WHAT do you think he could program that
thing to do to me, that wouldn’t exceed the safety limits
AND overly distress me?" Wanda got a thoughtful look in
her eye, and just Hmmmmed, as she sipped her coffee.
The Jaguar looked at the image of the Cheetah on the main
viewscreen. He’d been running a small bet with himself as
to whether she’d call, and now that she had, he wasn’t sure
if he was glad or pissed. The Impudence of this creature!
Still, he was having a hard time keeping his eyes on her
face, and not gazing at that spot where the zipper of her
jumpsuit had been pulled, well below her navel. It looked
as if she were about to burst out of the tight fabric… Most
distracting. Shoving memories of their nights on Gibralter
station off, to be savored later, he cocked his head to
one side, and just looked at her.
Tanj smiled, figuring from the angle of the video pickup
and all the upturned faces on the bridge of the
battlecruiser, that she was rather publically displayed.
"Just wanted to apologize for not saying goodbye. I was,
um, "recalled" rather suddenly." The Jaguar nodded slowly,
his face seemingly cast in stone; "Yes, so I was told."
Tanj’s eyebrows went up, and she smiled. "Chalmers?" "The
Same." Tanj’s smile slipped away. "You have no idea how
wrong I hope I am on this. But…. I AM good at my job, and
right now, all the evidence points the other way." The
michevious grin reappeared, her eyes flicking out to check
position, and Drive Status. Looking back at the Jaguar,
hesitating just a fraction of a second she brought her paw
down on the Jump Drive button just as she purrred "Race
The Jaguar’s eyebrows rose, and his jaw dropped, as the
freighter vanished in the Jump Point, the comm signal being
lost at that instant. Impudent? Impudent didn’t BEGIN to
cover THIS one. For a moment he was speechless, and then a
grin spread over his face too. Lover, or adversary, he
wasn’t sure which, but this one was DEFINITELY a worthy….
Opponent? Turning to glare at his Exec, the Jaguar
growled; "Did you HEAR that?" the Exec, a full grown Cape
Buffalo standing at least a head taller than his Captain,
blanched at the fury in his voice; "Yessir! How DARE
sh….." "Never mind THAT, AFTER HER!" Settling back into
his command chair, as the pitch of the in-system drive
ratcheted up another degree, the Jaguar smiled. At least
life wasn’t dull.
Tanj’s fingers flew over the keyboard. She’d had the
cloaking device primed and ready to go, the’d cloaked
almost as soon as they’d completed the jump. Now the Warp
drive was howling, as she flung her ship back out of the
system, its course a curve calculated to throw off pursuit.
The fastest route had been mapped on the way out, but now
she had a better handle on fuel consumption figures. She
figured she could shave at least a half day off their time,
on the way back. IF she kept everything perfectly tuned,
and pushed her small ship to the limit. It wasn’t just the
battles raging at home, or her longing for her Master. OR
her desire to beat out the Imperials. Some nameless dread
was growing within her, as if the fact that the Imperium
was sending a ship to monitor the destruction of Elysium
only lent creedance to her own conclusions….
Hinoki paused, frowning. The noise the cloaking system
made when it engaged was characteristic, as was the way the
by-product static field made his fur stand on end. Well,
they’d made most of the trip out cloaked, it only made
sense, he guessed, to return that way. Shrugging, he
hefted his load and headed down towards the cargo bay. He
had a score to settle with the Vixen, and time was
The Jaguar leaned forward in his command chair, watching
closely as his ship came out of the jump. How far ahead
was the Cheetah? Just how fast WAS that ship of hers?
Would she win the "race?" As the screens cleared, he
searched the tactical display for a sign of her ship.
After a full minute, he turned to his sensor officer;
"well, where IS she?" The officer just shrugged; "Don’t
"NoSir, I… well, we DID see a small ship emerge an hour
ago, or we THOUGHT we did, but it vanished almost
immediately. For a moment we thought someone had made a
bad jump, but we couldn’t find any debris. In the end we
concluded it had been a sensor glitch of some sort…." The
Jaguar growled and waved his acknowledgement. Cutting the
connection to the system’s traffic control center, he sat
back and thought for a second. Cloaking devices weren’t
unknown. His ship had one, after all. But civilian
freighters couldn’t afford the luxury. It only lent
creedance to the story that she was actually working for
Imperial intelligence. THEY could afford them, all right.
But if she WAS Imperial Intelligence, why send HIM after
her? Something was fishy here…. Looking up at his Sensor
operator, he growled; "Well?" The officer swallowed; "Um,
Captain, it would appear, ah, well, there are SOME signs of
a ship going into warp in this vacinity, but the vector
isn’t definite….. It would appear to be out-system, on a
course of roughly 340 mark 120, plus or minus ten degrees
on each vector. If we follow the ion trail, we can
probably refine that some." The Jaguar waved a paw
dismissively; "No, there are too many tricks to confuse the
trail. Navigation! Plot the FASTEST course to the Elysium
system, lay in, and Engage!" The Exec cleared his throat;
"Captain, if we do that, we’ll probably arrive there with
dry tanks….." The Jaguar nodded; "Call for a tanker. And
make sure the tanker is escorted. Tell them we’ll meet
them on the fringe of the Elysium system. Nav will give
you an ETA." The Exec nodded and turned to stride across
the bridge, to consult with the comm officer. Staring at
the viewscreen, the Jaguar mused to himself; "Not eight
hours into the chase, and we’ve lost them. Warp drive AND
a cloaking device? INCREDIBLE! I wonder what OTHER tricks
she’s got up her sleeve?"
Hinoki stood quietly just inside the personnel door to the
cargo bay. The Vixen was asleep, or so he thought,
unresponsive to the quiet "sh-shoosh" that the powered door
made. Or if she WAS aware of his presence, she was faking
it rather well. Respiration, the slow rise and fall of her
chest, suggested slumber. For a moment the Cheetah male
watched her chest rise and fall, his eyes roving over her
breasts, and the way her harness held them, seemingly
offering them up for his touch. How long had she been here
like this? Moving with all the stealth of a hunting cat,
Hinoki moved over to examine the reservoir mounted on the
side of the cage. Taking a moment to trace out the
plumbing, it became apparent that one of the phallic shapes
mounted inside the cage was for drinking water, the other
for food, supplied from the tank. And that tank was down
several inches. It was apparent she'd been here a while….
Grinning, he moved quietly to set up HIS little toy,
leaving the Vixen to enjoy hers.
Zassa came awake slowly. Was that a sound? Sitting up,
she turned her upper body, unable to move her head much,
due to the stiff posture collar. Yes, that definitely
sounded like metal-on-metal. Someone was there! With the
ring gag making speech impossible, the Vixen moaned as
loudly as she could, trying to get that person’s
Hinoki smiled as he put down the wrench. He’d heard her,
but had no intention of responding. Let her stew for a
while. He had work to do. Picking up the tube of sealant,
he turned to the large sheet of transparent aluminum.
Tanj frowned; now the security system showed both Hinoki
AND Zassa in the cargo bay. And the monitor still only
showed the blue of Zassa’s jumpsuit over it. What WERE
those two up to? Taking another glance over her
instruments, the Cheetah fem yawned. She’d been on the
flight deck since departure, save for a few trips to the
potty, and to the wardroom for coffee and sandwiches.
She’d had a few cat-naps in the pilot’s chair, some of them
unintended, and she knew she couldn’t push it much further
without some serious rest. "Ought to get one or the other
of them up here to stand watch for a while" she muttered to
herself. The Warp drive had gotten them into a different
"chain" of interconnected systems, making the Jump Drive
once again practical. Still, she’d run some calculations
and then run ‘em again, determining that she could save
time by warping high out of the ecliptic of the system
being passed through, staying well away from the
gravitational singularities, and although it was more
costly in fuel, longer in light-seconds traveled, she could
still shave time off their transit across the system to the
next jump point. Fuel was the problem; if she didn’t watch
it VERY carefully, their tanks would run dry before they
got home. And that took her at the controls. Yawning
again, she strecthed and muttered to herself; "Just let me
get through the Acworth system, make the jump, and then
I’ll get someone to releave me. Traffic control there
isn’t going to like what I’m gonna do…."
Hector looked at the image of the sleepy Cheetah Fem on his
monitor and muttered; "Beowulf, your course to the
designated jump point is 301 mark 347. Hold your speed to…
um…. 25,000 KPS. Advise when crossing the orbit of the
fifth planet." The response he got was not the sleepy
achknowledgement he expected, but a growl instead; "Acworth
traffic control, Beowulf. No can do. We are on a very
time-sensitive misson. Now here’s what I’m going to do.
I’m going to head outsystem on a course of…. (yawn) 167
mark, um, 15. I’ll alter course at 3 AU, describing an arc
around your system’s primary, and then approach the far
jump point from outsystem. I’ll drop out of warp just in
time to jump." Hector scratched his head; "First off,
that’s an illegal maneuver. If you attempt that, I’ll have
the Guardia waiting for you at the far jump point. Second,
its gonna cost you an amazing amount of fuel. What in the
world could be that important?" The Cheetah fem just
smiled and shrugged; "the fate of an entire world?
Nevermind; call the Guardia if you choose. I’m doin’ it
anyways. Beowulf out." Hector shook his head, rose from
his chair, and ambled across ops to find his supervisor.
In the wee hours of the morning like this, the place was
awful quiet and O’bannon was playing a computer game on one
of the spare monitors, obviously doing something, anything,
just to try and stay awake. "Um, boss…. Ah, red Queen on
Black King? We got ourselves a free trader goin’ a little
berzerk out there…..
O’Bannon listened as the Ferret explained the situation.
Rising, he gestured back at the traffic controller’s
station; "Just ‘cause she says that’s what she’s doing
doesn’t mean that’s what’s really happening. Show me."
Sliding into his chair, Hector pointed at the display; "see
right…. Here? Hey, where’d they go?" O’Bannon nodded
sagely; "See? Just something to throw you off. Maybe they
WANT the Guardia at that jump point, while they do
something else, somewhere else. Play back your log tape
and lets see what happened to your mystery ship…."
Tanj yawned and bumped into the table as she negotiated her
way into the wardroom , looking for a cup of coffee. Wanda
sat in the far corner, feet propped up on an empty chair as
she read one of her nursing journals, raising her eyes
above the edge of her magazine as she took in the sight of
the rumpled, yawning Cheetah. After taking a long sip from
her mug, Trouble grinned at the Wolverine fem; "Do me a
favor? Go on down to the cargo bay, and ask either Zassa,
or Hinoki to spell me on the flight deck once we get out of
this system? I’m about dead on my feet…" Wanda just
nodded; " Be glad to have an excuse to see what they’re up
to down there. Given the last ‘toy" Hinoki came up with,
on the trip out, I expect BIG things from them!"
O’bannon just nodded sagely as the freighter cloaked; "See.
Pirates, no doubt about it. Appraise the Guardia of our
situation. They’re probably planning on raiding the
planet." Hector nodded; "But what if they really ARE after
something at the far jump point? O’Bannon shrugged;
"nothing of value there; no ships scheduled through there
for another forty hours. If they want to leave that fast,
let ‘em. But lets face it; freighters don’t carry cloaking
devices. Those are definitely baddies, and I’m afraid of
what they might be after HERE. Hector just nodded and
shrugged, reaching for his commlink. It was, after all,
his boss’s call.
The Jaguar looked at the report and nodded; "A freighter,
announcing an illegal maneuver and then cloaking? It
certainly sounds like her. Bold as brass." Looking up, he
nodded to his navigator; "how far ahead of us does this put
them, and can we catch up?"
Thinking to sneak up on the Cheetah male, to see what he
was up to this time, Wanda exercised all the stealth at her
command, to sneak into the cargo bay. What she saw was a
disappointment. Hinoki was just filling a large tank to
near the top with a clear liquid. The sound of the fluid
rushing into the tank easily masked the sound of the door,
and she was able to come right up behind him, to brightly
ask "Whatcha up to?" Hinoki almost overbalanced, to topple
into the tank; as it was he had to drop the hose to catch
the edge of the tank with both paws. Turning to glare down
at the Wolverine, Hinoki growled "Don’t DO that to me! You
have any idea how expensive this stuff is?" Moving fast,
obvously having problems with the slippery liquid, he
reclaimed his grasp on the hose as quickly as he could.
Wanda frowned; "Um… no. What IS that stuff?" Hinoki
jerked his head around, to shoot a glance at Zassa, and
then again almost loosing his balance, he made shushing
motions at the Wolverine; "um, nevermind." Wanda,
following his gaze, made a small sound of delight, and
padded over to look at the caged Vixen. Still, she wasn’t
distracted for long; turning she made her way to where the
hose Hinoki held terminated in a large portable tote-tank.
Bending over, reading the label, she smiled; "Ah… yes, this
I recognize from my nursing journals. I belive it has
applications for treating…" "Wanda will you SHUT UP?"
Hinoki stage whispered, shutting a valve at the end of the
hose, and precariously climbing down from his perch.
Pulling the hose behind him, he came up to the Wolverine to
hiss in her ear; "This is my punishment for Zassa. Now DO
NOT let the cat out of the bag, or I’ll put YOU in there!"
Wanda grinned and looked at the tank; "Um, you know, that
MIGHT be fun.. but of course I know the secret. OK, I’ll
keep mum, but you have to let me watch. Oh, and later you
have to let me borrow it for Kath." Hinoki sighed; "All
right, just so long as you filter all the hair out of it
when you’re done, and, ah, "regenerate" the fluid."
Turning, Hinoki threw a valve, and started a pump, moving
all the liquid back into its storage tank, a flowmeter
carefully monitoring the volume…..
Zassa had heard the hushed conversations, only the
occasional word clear enough to hear. She was sure, by
now, that Hinoki, and Wanda, for she’d recognized the
voices, knew she was there, and were ignoring her. There
was nothing to do but wait. And wait. She’d felt like
she’d been in the cage for months. Just how many servings
did that food reservoir hold?
Kath blinked at her mistress; "Um, Yes, Mistress, but now?
I still have some cleaning to finish…." Wanda grinned and
shook her head; "It seems we’re getting into "punishment"
phase for sins committed on the way out, and while at
Gibralter station. And you, Missy, deserve "punishment"
more than any, for not trusting us with your secret!" Kath
blushed and looked down, nodding slightly as the Wolverine
attached the leash to her collar. The cargo bay was the
anticipated destination, but what Kath saw when they
arrived there wasn’t what she’d expected. Zassa, in the
cage, bound almost gently….. it didn’t look like that
severe a punishment….
Wanda watched Kath gaze in confusion at the cage as she
strapped and locked the body harness onto her. "Have you
figured out the food system yet?" Kath nodded slowly;
"Mistress, it looks as if you have to hump that dong in the
floor, to get your food delivered through the phallus at
mouth height." Wanda cinched in the waist strap another
notch and nodded; "and the other one’s for water; just suck
on it. Hole in the far end for waste." Turning the Mink
to look into her eyes, the Wolverine paused for a moment;
"you ready for this?" Kath shrugged and nodded; "it seems
rather…. Bland, Mistress, but yes, I’m ready for my
punishment." Wanda nodded and then smiled a little
mysteriously. Reaching up, she tighened the straps,
forcing the ring gag into the Mink’s mouth, and then
lifting the visor in both hands she clipped it into place.
Taking the Mink by one arm, she maneuvered her to the door
in the cage, pushing down, to make her kneel.
Zassa heard the bolt scrape and thought, for one wild
moment, that she was being set free. At long last!
Moving towards the door, she unexpectedly encountered
something soft blocking her way; and then it hit her; she
wasn’t being let out, someone else was being let in. She
had a cell-mate. For a moment, disappointment threatened
to overwhelm her… but then she smiled to herself; maybe
having a cellmate, with nothing else to do, wouldn’t be so
bad. Now… who could it be? Moving a little closer, she
bent to nuzzle, sniffing, searching for an identifying
Kath felt the Vixen nuzzle her, and giggled softly.
Squirming she tried to bring her muzzle around; the ring
gag made licking possible, and she knew how good the vixen
was with her tongue… maybe this wasn’t such a bad
"punishment" after all!
Wanda smiled and sat on a nearby packing crate, watching….
It hadn’t taken the Mink and the Vixen but seconds to begin
exploring each other’s bodies, as best they could… But the
ring gags limited what they could do with tongues, and
their paws were useless, mostly; they could please each
other, but only in the most awkward of ways… Still, it was
fun watching them try.
Hinoki watched the two fems in the cage for a while, and
then shook his head; "I’m going to wait until they get good
and tired" he wispered to Wanda, "and then I’ll fetch Zassa
out for the start of her punishment. How long are you
going to leave Kath in there?" Wanda just shrugged;
"Probably until we get home; alone it’ll get grim, shortly.
It’s the least she deserves." Hinoki nodded and turned to
leave, but Wanda’s paw on his arm stopped him; "Tanj said
that she wanted you or Zassa to relieve her after the next
jump." Hinoki frowned for a moment; "You mean she’s been
on the flight deck since we left?" Wanda just shrugged as
she nodded: "Um, yeah, guess so…." Hinoki sighed and
nodded, and with a wave, turned to head for the personnel
Tanj yawned hard, shook her head, and checked the
coordinates again… She’d thought they’d have a hot
reception at the far jump point, but there was no sign of
the Guardia. With a shrug she collapsed the cloaking
device, and reached for the jump drive controls. For a
split second she had a flash of paranoia that the Guardia
was also cloaked, just waiting for her to de-cloak, so they
could attack… but then, an instant later her fingers were
dancing over the control panel, engaging the jump drive.
They came out of the Jump normally, and the astrogation
computer confirmed their position. This system was
uninhabited, with three possible exits. Tanj grinned, and
smoothly shifted the freighter into warp drive, turning and
heading for another system, almost two days distant, one
that was on a different "chain" of jump points, one that
would lead more directly to home. Making sure the
autopilot was engaged, that the cloaking device was
working, and that there wasn’t any other traffic on the
scanners, she rose, to see if she could find someone to
spell her on the flight deck. It was time for some serious
Zassa moaned in frustration as the Mink tried to grind her
knee into the vixen’s pussy. It felt good, and she knew it
would shortly bring her to a climax. It was just… awkward.
Still, clumsy as the two girls might be, it was vastly more
interesting than just sitting in the cage alone….
Hinoki smiled at the sleepy Cheetah; "looks like you’ve had
a time, Captain. What’s our situation?" Tanj yawned
again, covering her mouth with the back of one paw: "Um… on
autopilot to NC23579. There’ we’ll pick up the standard
trade route towards Elysium." Hinoki blinked; "Already?
Surely I haven’t been down in the cargo bay THAT long…."
Tanj waved a paw; "I dunno, you guys been down there an
awfully long time; but then I’ve been pulling some tricks
too; we’re well ahead of schedule, compared to the way out.
By the way, what HAVE you been doing down there?" Hinoki
smiled; "you look like you could use a rest. Tell you
what, you go get a shower, and then I’ll take you down
there and show you." Tanj yawned again; "Can’t it wait
until after I get some sleep?" The tired Cheetah missed
the glint in Hinoki’s eye; "No, actually, I think this is
something you need to see before you sleep. You won’t
believe what Zassa’s gotten herself into!"
Tanj stood in the cargo bay, nude, and still a little damp,
as she watched Kath and Zassa, each restrained by their
harnesses, try to pleasure each other. "And you say she
locked herself in there?" Wanda chuckled; "Yes, she must
have been trying to test it out, see what it was like,
convinced that she could escape. Seems she couldn’t."
Tanj yawned and nodded; "You know, I wish I had time for
something like that. Loose myself in the mindless joys of
just being a slave again. No cares. No worries…." Behind
her, Hinoki grinned, and turned to wink at Wanda; this was
working out better than he’d hoped; "Tell you what,
Skipper…. We’re on the straight and steady for about
another, um… 37 hours, right? Why don’t you join the girls
there for a bit; I’ll break you out when we get close to
the next system. Promise." Tanj turned to look at the
male; "Um… I dunno.. what if…" Hinoki shook his head; "No
buts… You could use the break. Wanda, GRAB HER!"
Tanj eeped as the Wolverine’s strong arms closed around
her, as Hinoki approached with another of those harnesses.
"hey, now, I’m really not sure… UMPH!" Hinoki grinned as
he buckled the ring gag into the Cheetah’s mouth, clipping
the blinder on as soon as the head harness was in place and
reasonably secure. As he tightened the straps, the male
chuckled; "Its not mutiny, Captian, if you can’t say no…."
With both Wanda and Hinoki working, Tanj was bound like the
other two fems in mere minutes, and then Hinoki was tugging
on her right nipple ring, pulling her over to the cage
Zassa heard the door open and again her head came up, but
it wasn’t open long enough for her to escape. Sensing the
warmth of another body, her nose filled with Tanj’s scent
she purrred, thinking to herself; "Oh, goodie, another
Kath moaned as the vixen’s tongue left her pussy; she’d
been flat on her back, knees raised and spread, as the
Vixen had licked insatiably at her sex. Given the
distraction she rolled over awkwardly, got to her knees and
shuffled over to the water phallus. As much as she liked
it, it was time for a break. Lord, that girl NEVER got
Tanj purrred as she felt the tongue stroke across her mons.
Looking down through the thin gap at the bottom of her
visor she could just make out Zassa’s nose nuzzling her.
Grinning, she rocked her hips forward, doing what she could
to offer herself to the Vixen’s tongue….. Suddenly she
wasn’t all that sleepy…..
Hinoki watched for a while, smiling as the three girls
clumsily worked at pleasing each other. He was tempted for
a while, to position himself next to the water phallus, to
see if any of them, mistakenly or otherwise, would come
suck on him, but figuring he’d wait until Kath was bored to
tears, he turned to go check the flight deck. Tanj was
right, it shouldn’t be left alone too long….. Still, he’d
have to risk it a little for what he had planned later….
Hinoki sipped his coffee, and watched the instruments.
Boring. Nothing on the scanners, in interstellar space.
Not even a rogue asteroid. Making sure everything was set
correctly, he gave the fuel calculations one more check.
Tanj had cut it AWFULLY close… but if her numbers were
right, they’d make it. Just. Rising, he headed down
towards the cargo bay. If he had anything to say about it,
things would be getting interesting down there soon.
Tanj snored softly, flat on her back in the now crowded
cell. After giving the Vixen at least three climaxes, and
receiving at least twice that number of her own, things had
kinda spiraled down, until the three girls were about as
quiescent as they got. Kath was slowly humping the food
dildo, seemingly having trouble keeping up the pace while
it fed her.. that or she was just enjoying playing with
it…. Zassa was also on her back, probably asleep. Hinoki
took in the tableau and grinned. It was time. Waving to
Wanda, signalling her to be quiet, he picked up a leash and
stepped towards the cage.
Kath heard the door open, her upper torso turning, the food
phallus slipping from her mouth, to face the noise. For a
moment she thought her Mistress had come to fetch her, or
perhaps Tanj was being let out to attend to some piece of
ship’s business, but then she heard Hinoki calling the
Vixen. And he didn’t sound too happy.
Zassa felt the paw on her collar, and before she could come
fully awake, she felt herself being dragged headfirst out
of the cage. The door slammed closed behind her, and
strong paws moved her into the slave’s kneeling position.
Not knowing what was happening, she fell back on training,
and instinct, and kept quiet, and still…..
Hinoki unclipped the visor and looked down at the Vixen’s
face; "Zassa, I told you that when you "pirated" my little
invention for your own pleasures, that I would get back at
you for that. Now is the time. Your punishment is at
The bridge crane lifted the vixen easily, moving her over
the hollow rectangle of the tank, and lowering her down, to
lay in a heap of tangled ropes on its floor. Hinoki
clambered into the tank, using a portable ladder, dragging
gear with him. Squirming around, Zassa tried to get a
suitable look, but bound in the tight hogtie, it wasn’t
easy. After a minute, the Cheetah male turned from his
gear, and bent down to undo some of the ropes. Zassa
groaned with relief through the ring gag as the strain on
hips, shoulders, and back was released… but then Hinoki was
bodily picking her up, dragging her to what could only be
described as a cross between a hassock, a bench, and a
mounting couch. The squarish shape was rubber-coated and
well padded, and the vixen lay on its narrow confines, her
breasts falling to either side, her chin propped up by its
ends. Hinoki quickly placed cuffs around her thighs and
knees and locked them to the fittings in the other end of
the couch. Her collar was likewise locked to a matching
ring in the couch, holding her prone along its length.
Next Hinoki untied her wrists and locked each in turn to
the base of the front legs of the couch. As a final touch,
he tied the tip of her tail to the back of her collar.
Running a paw over her ass, the Cheetah grinned; "Now,
Zassa, in a moment we’ll begin. The tank is slowly going
to fill with water. I’ve got a breath mask, you don’t. If
I time it just right, we’ll both climax just as you drown.
They say that the most powerful orgasms come at the moment
of asphyxiation; pity there won’t be a way for you to tell
me if that’s true." Grinning at the wide-eyed look of
horror on the Vixen’s face, Hinoki turned and pulled on the
self-contained breathing apparatus, the mask making his
head look strangely bulbous. Moving around behind the
Vixen, Hinoki put his paws on her rump and gently
Wanda chuckled and shook her head; the only real danger was
of Zassa being frightened to death. But, there WAS a
trained nurse standing by, with all the appropriate rescue
gear. And the "reverse" switch on the pump was clearly
marked; she could abort the whole thing if she thought
something was going wrong. Glancing down at the medical
scanner, she pointed it at the Vixen to get baseline
readings…. Idly she wondered if it would work through the
fluid as well as it did through air.
Kath turned her torso from side to side, seeking to hear
just what was going on out there; she knew something was
up, but couldn’t figure out quite what. Hinoki’s speech
had been muffled and distorted somehow, almost as if he
were in another room….. What WAS going on out there?
Zassa blinked as the water started to gush into the tank…
it had a funny smell, but that was the least of her
concerns. Was the Cheetah REALLY going to kill her? Just
for messing with his invention? Geez, if he was that
touchy about the thing he should have installed a password
that she couldn’t have guessed! Struggling a little
against her restraints, she groaned as the Cheetah
slathered her ass with the cold fluid… it felt a little
more slippery than ordinary water… Maybe Hinoki was going
to drown her in lubricant… now THAT would be fitting she
thought wryly to herself.
Hinoki chuckled and drove his cock slooooowly into the
Vixen’s pussy. Even now, she was dripping wet, a fact that
only slightly surprised the Cheetah. Pumping her a few
times, he grinned and pulled out, to press the head of his
cock against her anus……
Zassa groaned loudly as the Cheetah thrust his cock into
her ass…. It wasn’t really the way she wanted to go out…..
not that she had any say in the matter, it seemed…..
Squeezing hard, clenching her anal ring around the
Cheetah’s shaft, she wondered if she made him cum early if
he’d have to start the sequence over? She could feel the
water covering her paws now, slowly climbing up arms and
legs….. Somehow it seemed to be rising much faster than
she wanted….. she was nowhere near cumming yet…..
Hinoki chuckled and reached down, fumbling under the clear
liquid; this fluid had the damndest refractive index, and
while he could see the big, knobby vibrator, he had to move
his paw around a little to find it… Grinning through his
mask, he lifted it free of the liquid, to shove it into the
vixen’s dripping pussy. Giving it a twist, he turned it on
full, and then, lifting his paw, letting the slick fluid
drip down onto where his cock was working in and out of the
Vixen’s ass, he picked up the pace a little… it wouldn’t be
Wanda squirmed a little from where she was sitting, one paw
sliding between her thighs…. She wondered what it would be
like to be so very helpless, your death apparently creeping
up your limbs, time slipping away….. and all the while
being fucked in SUCH a manner… shuddering she smiled and
undid the button at the front of her pants sliding her paw
under the waistband, stroking herself a little more
Zassa shuddered, so lost in her impending climax that the
first cold tickle of water against her chin almost wasn’t
recognized for what it was….. suddenly the sensation, the
gentle lapping of the fluid against her body, waves formed
by the Cheetah’s rapid humping, brought her back to
reality, and with the first pangs of panic, she lurched
against her bonds….
Hinoki smiled, and reached around under the Vixen, to
stroke her now submerged quim, his fingers lightly dancing
over her clitty, knowing that this might just distract the
Vixen from what was about to happen…..
Zassa’s eyes went wide as the fluid crept up over her nose.
For a moment she spluttered, and then she realized that now
she had to hold her breath; the liquid had risen too high…
and all the while the Cheetah’s incessant thrusting, the
angry buzzing of the vibrator, and his slick touch upon her
clitty were all serving to drive her towards the most
powerful climax of her life……..
Hinoki felt the Vixen’s body start to shudder; she’d been
holding her breath for almost two minutes, and he knew she
was near the end. Grinning through his face mask, he
leaned forward, to capture her breasts; pinching each of
her nipples HARD, he felt the nature of her writhing
change, from impending drowning to a sharp climax! As the
last vestiges of air escaped from her muzzle in what might
have been a cry of ecstacy, or a wail of despair, he felt
her pussy clench down hard, spasming around his cock as she
entered some place between life and death, between heaven
and hell….. It was more than he could take and with a
silent roar, his orgasm arrived, his seed pumping hard into
her throbbing ass!
Wanda watched the Vixen’s vital signs, heartbeat spiking…..
and then slowing. Grinning, she wished she could read
blood gasses on this thing; but she could monitor lung
action; the Vixen was breathing again, albeit at a MUCH
Zassa’s vision slowly cleared; that HAD been the most
powerful climax of her life… maybe. Slowly it dawned on
her that her vision wasn’t fading, although the burning in
her lungs had been quenched when she'd inhaled a huge
lungful of water….. THAT had been a unique, and not all
that pleasant sensation. Now she was just kinda floating
in a post-orgasmic haze. The vibrator still droned in her
pussy, although the Cheetah had pulled out of her ass…..
Wondering when she’d loose conciousness, the Vixen waited
for what came next……
Hinoki panted hard, leaning back against the wall of the
tank. Little droplets of cum had escaped from the Vixen’s
distended ass, and were now floating lazily around in the
fluid. He watched them for a moment, wondering how to
filter them out. After a bit, he chuckled and reached out
to grab the bottom of the vibrator still stuffed in the
Vixen’s pussy. Twisting it slowly left and right, he
grinned, wondering how long it would take Zassa to figure
out that she wasn’t dead….
Zassa moaned softly, the sound strange, under water. She
could feel the vibrator moving in her pussy, and that was
very nice… but aside from that, she thought being dead was
kinda dull. And she’d never figured Hinoki for a
necrophiliac….. sighing she tried to concentrate on the
pleasures the vibrator was giving her, as she waited for
what came next……
Hinoki stroked his rapidly hardening cock with one paw as
he teased the Vixen’s quim with the other paw….. Talk
about a wet pussy, this one couldn’t get any wetter…
grinning he pulled the vibrator out of her pussy, and
pressed it against her bottom, shoving it where his cock
had so recently been. Moving forward a little, he drove
his cock into her pussy, feeling the fluid squish out
around his shaft…..
Zassa purrrred, eyes closed as the Cheetah started to fuck
her again…. If this was beind dead, well, it wasn’t quite
hell, now was it? Giggling to herself, she clenched her
vaginal muscles down around his shaft, doing what she could
to milk him……
Exercising all the mental control he had, Hinoki made it
last as long as he could; still, the novelty of fucking
Zassa underwater like this was… most stimulating, and she
WAS very talented, even tied hand and foot. It took him
less time than he’d wanted to cum. Figuring it was time to
start phase two, he pulled out, and then bent down to
search for the ring of keys he’d dropped on the tank’s
Zassa laid on the floor of the tank, exhausted. It was a
task to "breathe" the fluid, even if she didn’t have to
inhale/exhale as often as with air. Her chest was starting
to hurt. And she was bored to tears. Hinoki had left her
in the tank, with nothing. Well, nothing except the
classic "Ball and chain" locked around one ankle. Even
with that anchor, the fluid density was close enough to her
body’s density that she neither floated or sank…. Well,
given time,she’d drift to the bottom, but with that ball it
was challenging, VERY challenging to swim to the top of the
tank. And that ball and chain was the ONLY thing he’d left
her. He’d even pulled up the "mounting couch". She felt
like a goldfish in a glass jar. Looking up at the surface
of the liquid, she wondered once again, if she had the
nerve to try and ‘escape"….. Her first attempt at
expunging all the fluid from her lungs had been a painful
one… and she’d discovered that she just didn’t have the
strength to pull herself AND the ball and chain up and over
the tall side of the tank. If the fluid level had been
closer to the top of the tank, it MIGHT have been
possible…. "Maybe they don’t KNOW I can’t do it?" she
wondered to herself. Glancing over at Tanj and Kath, still
in the cage, still visored, she wondered how they planned
on feeding her? Could she drink this stuff? Did fish
Hinoki took a last look around the flight deck, making sure
all was in order. Strolling down the corridor, he found
Wanda reading in her cabin; "Ready to drain the Vixen?"
Wanda nodded, putting down her book; "You realize that
she’s gonna kill you for this stunt, don’t you? It must
have been scary as hell to "drown" in the first place, but
now she’s gotta go through it again as she clears the
liquid from her lungs. That’s gotta hurt." Hinoki
chuckled and looked at the small pouch in his left hand;
"Oh, I think I’ve got a way to keep her from killing me; at
least not yet. You know, there are MANY ways to train a
slave….. And Zassa’s about to learn yet another one….."
As they walked towards the cargo bay, Wanda mused "you
know, Tanj probably isn’t going to be too happy about this
either." Hinoki just shrugged; "That, my dear Wanda, will
ALL depend on Zassa’s reaction to her experience. I’m sure
its not something she would have chosen, but now that its
been forced upon her, how much do you want to bet she’ll
wind up actually treasure having been through it? Wanda
looked at the Cheetah critically; "Um… I’d put a month’s
salary on it, ‘cept if I’m right, you’ll be too dead to pay
up." Hinoki just laughed.
Zassa watched with no small trepidation as the Cheetah
started the pump. Slowly the liquid level in the tank
started to fall. She’d HOPED that he’d climb back into the
tank with her, to fuck her again… now that she was used to
it, it might be kinda fun…. But he hadn’t done that. In
fact, he hadn’t given her a second glance…. As the
liquid descended, she too fell, from a standing position,
to a crouch, to a kneeling position, to hands and knees,
and finally to prone. Once again, the liquid passed her
muzzle, this time on the way down, and "exhaling" as hard
as she could, she prepared to take her first breath of air
in what seemed like days…..
Hinoki scrambled down the rope ladder, moving quickly while
the Vixen was still coughing. She’d risen to hands and
knees, and her posterior was a perfect target for the
Zassa YELPED, her voice sounding both normal, and strange
in her ears. Growling she turned to look at the Cheetah,
but he was already swarming back up the rope ladder,
pulling it out of her reach just before she could grab it.
Glowering at him she growled; "I AM going to get you for
this, you know that, don’t you?" Hinoki just chuckled,
grinning back from the other side of the transparent
aluminum tank wall; "I doubt that; if you kill me, or even
make me mad, well, you won’t get any of the antidote for
the tailored virus I just gave you!" Zassa’s eyes went
wide, and her mouth fell open. By the time she’d
recovered, Hinoki had sashayed out the personnel door.
Wanda followed the Cheetah Male with her eyes and then
turned back to her medical scanner. The Vixen seemed OK;
there were no signs of rising temperature… what HAD he
injected her with? Could this be just another hoax?
Moving to the bridge crane controls, Wanda started moving
the hook over the cage. "Hang on, Zassa, I’ll get you out,
and then we’ll get you down to sick bay, to see what we can
Zassa sat on the examining table, cold, dripping wet, and
miserable. Something was starting to happen…. Her chest
still hurt, tired more than anything, from "breathing" a
liquid, but beyond that, well, she just felt "funny"……
Wanda couldn’t seem to find anything with any of her tests
either, but that didn’t mean there wasn’t anything there…..
Could it all be psychosomatic?
Wanda shook her head; "I don’t know, Zassa, I just don’t
know. You have an elevated white blood cell count, but not
outside of tolerances… it COULD just be from your recent
experiences. And you’re running a low grade fever, but
that could be from any number of things. Maybe you picked
up a bug from the fluid….." Zassa shot the Wolverine a
glance; "you knew about this, didn’t you?" Wanda grinned;
"Yeah, he didn’t tell me, but I figured it out when I saw
the labels on the drums. I’ve run across it before in the
hospital on the base." Wanda looked at the soggy,
"Drowned" Vixen for a moment and then stepped over to give
her a hug; "Hey, you don’t think I’d actually let him hurt
you, do you?" Zassa sighed; "I guess not; and it was a
neat trick of him, suckering Tanj into the cage like that;
I bet she still doesn’t know what happened….." Wanda
chuckled and took the Vixen’s head in her paws; after an
all-to-brief kiss, she pulled back to look at her; "So tell
me, do you think Kath would "enjoy" the experience?"
Tanj heard the cage door open, and felt someone move close.
A moment later, the visor was removed…. Blinking in the
sudden light, the Cheetah fem looked around, her eyes
locking on the Vixen… she looked like she’d been dipped in
mousse, her fur all spiky…. Zassa smiled, a cold,
chilling smile; "Come on, Tanj, you’ve had enough rest, I
think; there are things that need attending to……"
The trick was ancient, but it worked. The Mouse stood
close to the wall, an antique stethoscope pressed against a
certain place, listening. No electronics to show up on
detectors. No fancy spy gizmos. Just simple sneaking
around. There wasn’t an electronic bug detector in the
world that could pick him up as he listened like this. As
long as he didn’t have another coughing fit…. As he heard
the Wolverine’s heavy tread move towards the door, he
stepped back, dropping the stethoscope into the trash bin
of his janitor’s cart. A moment later, the Wolverine
hurried down the corridor, not five meters away. For a
movement that supposedly honored the working furr, no one
ever seemed to notice the janitor, as he quietly mopped the
Kasoff watched the Mouse mop the floor. He moved
efficiently for one in such a menial position. He’d been
in the break room when the Mouse had stopped for coffee,
and they’d said a few words. He seemed too intelligent for
a mere Janitor, as well. Yet, in this time of chaos, there
were an awful lot of furrs taking any work they could. And
he knew the Mouse was sick, too. Maybe that had something
to do with his inability to find work more fitting his
obvious intelligence. Still, there was something about the
quiet, unassuming, and unusually diligent Mouse that
worried Kasoff. And since he was head of security for the
Reds Party Headquarters building, it was his business to
worry over such things. Picking up his commlink he quietly
ordered a tail to be put on the mouse….
The fit of coughing passed as it always did. The Mouse
looked at the bright red of his own blood on the
handkerchief and sighed. Couldn’t be long now. Smiling,
he straightened and hurried down the street, all too
conscious of the amateurs following him. The first "drop"
was at a café; the note was almost casually passed to the
waiter, with his money. The second was a burst
transmission, from what almost anyone else would think was
a portable stereo. The odds of detection were low, but
still finite. Finally, he passed what he’d learned to a
friend, at a local tavern, as the two spent a few hours
engaged in a game of chess. Confident that the message had
been passed, irrespective of his "tail", the Mouse returned
to his dingy apartment. Tomorrow was another day, and you
never knew what you’d hear…..
The burst transmission was recorded by the spysat. As fate
would have it, it had just transmitted its day’s take.
Meticulously recorded in the satellite’s memory, the
message sat, awaiting the next transmission.
The Beaver lay face down in the alleyway. He’d come out to
dump the garbage from the café, when the Reds security
agent had hit him with the blackjack. By the light of a
dim bulb, over the café’s back door, the agent went through
the Beaver’s clothing. There’d been nothing in his wallet,
not even enough money to pocket. No sign of any passed
messages, or communications. But an experienced agent
wouldn’t just stuff a message in his pocket…. Finally, the
agent gave up. It was more likely that an experienced,
well-trained agent would read the message, commit it to
memory and then destroy the message. This one was going to
have to be brought in, for questioning.
Pieczinik was moving fast. His Aerospace fighter had been
launched from the Elysium Wutan spaceport, and had been
under almost constant acceleration ever since. He’d popped
three spysats so far, with a fourth growing in his sights.
However, his actions hadn’t gone unnoticed, and one of
those damn Pirates that were working for the Blues was
vectoring in on him. He’d have to finish this one and then
head dirtside just as fast as he could. His fighter was
good, but it couldn’t match one of those Raider ships, not
The spysat disintigrated under the fire from the Elysium
fighter, its memory burned out almost instantly, all the
day’s transmissions lost.
Black smiled and took his papers back from the Reds officer
at the checkpoint. Stepping onto the train, he wondered
how his friend, the Mouse was doing. Lung cancer was a
horrible way to die. Shaking his head at his old friend’s
bravery, he wondered if he’d have the guts to give his
final days meaning by daring such a risky venture, as
spying on the Reds.
Kasoff frowned; "what do you mean the one he played chess
with has vanished? Who was following him?" The Rotweiler
blanched; "Um, that was Willoff, but it was my mission; I
should be held responsible. There was no way to know that
the Mouse would talk to so many furrs, stop so many places
on his way home. I just…. Ran out of furrs." Kasoff shook
his head; "You’d better bring in the Mouse, then, and hope
that he’s NOT what I fear he is!" The Rotweiler swallowed
hard and nodded, saluted, turned and departed hurriedly.
The nondescript fur paused before the public post box, and
fumbled inside his coat. Withdrawing a few crumpled
envelopes, he slid them into the box, peered nearsightedly
at the scheduled pick-up dates, and then, nodding to
himself, turned and walked towards the bus stop. Standing
in the queue, Black glanced casually around. As near as he
could tell, he hadn’t been followed. The intelligence from
his friend the Mouse, had been encoded onto a microdot, a
centuries old technique, but still one that often passed
the most rigorous inspection. The microdot was just
another period in the letter to his "niece." It would get
to the Brethren’s Mining station soon enough. The
situation in the South demanded his immediate attention,
and this route would have to do…..
The Mouse smiled a little lop-sidedly at his interrogators,
and then broke down into another coughing fit. Most of the
heavily muscled thugs stood against the far wall, as if
whatever he had might be contagious, a fact that amused the
Mouse no end. Here they were, having tried for a week to
torture him for information, and afraid of him all the
while. Their task had proven a difficult one; the drugs
that might pry the information out of his brain might also
kill him, something they knew the mouse would welcome.
Physical pain no longer had much meaning for him, a
constant companion of late. And how do you threaten
someone who knows they’re going to be dead soon anyways?
It was a fascinating situation….. The Mouse was almost
enjoying their predicament….
The Lion looked at the print-out of the Microdot’s
contents, and sighed. While the information was critical
to their planning, essentially it changed nothing. They
would still have to intercept the Elysium ships when they
made their run, whether the Reds PSN was there or not. The
Doomsday device would have to be stopped irregardless.
However, that didn’t mean there were things they couldn’t
do. Rising, the Lion headed out to find Ben. They had
things they had to do, and quickly too.
Kassoff looked at the pictures and then threw them down to
his desk. It was a truism that EVERYONE broke eventually
under interrogation. No one could withstand modern methods
for long, although, because of this Mouse’s condition, the
interrogator’s work had taken MUCH longer than it should
have. Still, in the end, the Mouse confessed to his
espionage, and the transmitter in his lodging had been
found, and examined. The satellite it had been keyed to
had been destroyed, and the odds were the information had
never reached its final destination. They should still be
secure. There should be no need to inform Comrade Xyloff….
Looking again at the pictures, Kassoff growled quietly; he
just wished it had been that thrice-damned Pirate BITCH
called Tanj that had been interrogated, and not that Mouse.
He would much rather have had HER suffer….. but eliminating
her agent would just have to do… for now. Pity there
wasn’t enough left for a public trial; he could have used
the propaganda against those Pirate Scum!
Secretary Llewellyn pushed his aircar as fast as it could
go, irrespective of the traffic laws. The signal had come,
the signal that it was time for the core of the Elysium
government to "withdraw." Hustling his family into the
vehicle, grabbing the bags he’d prepared, he’d started out
in nothing more than a moderate haste for the Gulan
starport. However, as he’d driven, he’d gotten the
increasing feeling that something wasn’t right. For one
thing, the defensive installation at the edge of the
capital city had seemed deserted, at least as seen from the
air. Then he’d been passed by a military convoy. It had
been a Mercenary unit, part of the Reavers. Part of the
unit that was SUPPOSED to be defending the city. And here
they were headed for the Starport? Something was very
The young Captain stared at the grizzled old mercenary;
"Um, Colonel Hawke, Sir, I don’t know a DAMN thing about
what you’re saying. I have NO information that the Elysium
government is about to flee the planet. Starport traffic
this day is completely normal, with NO indications of a
mass exodus." "Listen, Sonny, the word we’ve been given is
that we’re being sacrificed, to hold the capital while
those Dogs that hired us skip out, leaving us in the lurch.
And right now, it doesn’t look like those bastards, the
Reds, will honor any contract involving Mercenaries. From
what I’ve heard, they’re shooting captured Mercs in
complete contradiction to interstellar law." Moving a
little closer, the older Panther growled; "I am perfectly
willing to fight according to our contract, but I will NOT
be sold out! If they’re leaving, by God, we’re goin’ with
"Bayonnet Three to Lightning Prime; we’ve got a situation
at the Gulan Starport, checkpoint Bravo." "This is
Lightning Prime; go." "Bayonnet Three. Seems someone
leaked the news to the Reavers. They’re moving in on the
Starport." "Lightning Prime. The Capital Guards Division
will just have to handle it, if they want to be part of the
exodus. I’ll pass word to their commander. And we’ll give
them as much covering fire from the incoming ships as
possible. This must NOT be allowed to interfere!
Lightning Prime, out."
The elderly Rat looked at the message flimsy and shook his
head; he’d been afraid this would happen. Oh, well, this
is what they paid him, and his overpolished troops for.
Looking up at his adjutant, he sighed; "Tell the troops to
check their weapons; it seems, if we wish to leave, we’re
going to have to do a small job first….."
Spike blinked at her Sergeant in amazement; "we’re WHAT?
Dammit, the only reason I volunteered for this outfit was
because it DIDN’T involve fighting! The Sergeant, in an
immaculately pressed set of combat fatigues, shrugged; "you
can stay here, and take your chances with the Reds, if you
wish. But me, I’m headed for the starport. The Reavers
are a bunch of Mercs from an impoverished planet; they’ve
got the reputation of being cannon-fodder for hire. How
tough can they be? Besides, you know we always got the
best weapons available…. Spike blinked and nodded slowly…
all their vehicles were painted glossy, instead of matte,
and like their weapons, they shone… but they worked too.
Maybe it wouldn’t be so tough…. A little fireworks on the
way to the ship out… "OK, Sarge, I’m in."
Llewellyn yelped and struggled for control of his aircar as
the shockwave hit. In the back, the children screamed as
the vehicle almost rolled over onto its back, and then
almost smashed into the side of the parking structure.
Then suddenly they were right-side-up, and pancaking down
on the parking structure’s roof. It wasn’t a landing to be
proud of, but it was one they could walk away from. Or
run, as the case may be. There seemed to be a firefight at
the edge of the spaceport, the sound of light weapons
filling the air, accompanied by an occasional explosion.
As he hustled his family towards the stairs, suddenly NOT
trusting the elevators, the Secretary turned and gazed
upwards; there was a growing silver dot, the first of the
ships arriving. And he was determined to be the FIRST one
on that ship and the first one out of here!
Ben looked at the data PADD and nodded. Scrolling down,
the old Wolf grunted, and then looked back up at the
messenger from Intelligence. "So its starting. OK, keep
us posted. I’ll be in Ops as soon as I can round up the
Hitchcock smiled at Melissa Cummings as she tightened the
last strap. Such an apt name. She was going to cum until
she died, at least if Hitchcock had anything to say about
it. Straightening, the ‘roo smoothed her outfit and
grinned down at the mouse, her former rival for the
attentions of their mutual boss. The Minister of
Agriculture was a widower, a rather hansom Stallion despite
his years, and he’d been playing Hitchcock off against
Cummings for years, letting each vie for his attentions,
for the right to be his sole Mistress. So when the rumor
mill had kicked into high gear, about a coming "relocation
to somewhere a little more safe", Hitchcock had waylaid her
rival, only to find her with passes and travel documents….
It seemed the old Stud had selected the Mouse over her…
well, that’d change. When she showed up at the Starport,
he’d have to take her….. Still, she hated to loose her
favorite toy…. But…. Pausing she took one last look over
Melissa’s situation; she was tightly bound, sitting on a
saddle-shaped seat that was a highly automated female
masturbation device. Vibrating dildoes were already busy
at work in the Mouse’s pussy and ass, each thrusting from
time to time, each leaking their own lubricant. Leads
attached to the mouse’s hard little nipples, delivering
small shocks that were more erotic than painful. In her
mouth was a thick phallic plug, held on by a tight head
harness that also obscured her vision and deadened her
hearing. Attached to the plug by a hose was a bottle of
nutrient goo, that slowly leaked through the porous
phallus…. And a catheter shared her pussy with the dildo,
draining her bladder to a bottle. She wouldn’t die of
thirst, or even starvation anytime soon. The whole thing
was set up to make her last as long as possible…… And
underneath the thick foam pads filling her ears, tiny
speakers repeated Hitchcock’s triumphant laughter over and
over…… Making sure the door would lock when she left,
holding the passes tightly in her left paw, the ‘roo
departed, grinning, heading for her "salvation"…. And, she
hoped, her Lover.
Goshi Blinked as the announcement came over the loudspeaker
in the subway station. As it started to repeat, she
turned, to push her way through the crowd, heading for the
information booth. The bleached blonde bunny behind the
counter looked up with a truly annoying plastic smile; "May
I help you, Miss?" Goshi growled; "That announcement about
the line to the starport being cut; what’s going on?" "Oh.
Oh Dear. Did you want to get to the starport? I’m afraid
there’s some sort of fighting going on there." "What? But
the Rebels are still a dozen kilometers from the city!
There shouldn’t be any fighting there yet!" The bunny just
shrugged, still smiling reassuringly. Goshi wondered if
the smile ever cracked. At night, when she’d crawled off
to whatever hovel she lived in, did the smile fade? Or was
she that insipidly happy ALL the time? Pushing that
thought from her mind, she turned to push through the
station, heading for the escalator and the surface streets.
The Cabbie looked at her in derision; "are you KIDDING,
Lady? They’re SHOOTING at furrs there? Ain’t NO WAY I’m
heading in that direction, no matter HOW much you offer!
Just who the heck do you think you are, anyways?" Turning
away, Goshi growled to herself. A few days ago, she would
have retorted that she was the undersecretary of finance,
and a VERY good friend of the President himself, but now,
with the Reds and their egalitarian philosophy so close,
that probably wouldn’t have helped. It might actually have
been counter-productive. Tugging on the strap to her
luggage, she moved off down the street, looking around for
some way to flee the city. Time was running short……
Fargo smiled; the keys in his hand were to a brand new
Hokosawa Meteor, one of the fastest and most expensive
sports aircars in existance. Trotting into the parking
garage, he failed to notice the cheetah fem in the severe
business suit….. He’d gotten the gullwing door open, and
had slid behind the controls, when he noticed her presence.
The nerve scrambler in her paw was supposed to be illegal,
but it was easily recognizable from the adventure holos….
"Out. NOW." Swallowing hard, Fargo complied, sidestepping
towards the rear of the vehicle. The Cheetah threw her bag
into the passenger seat, slid into the driver’s seat, and
pulled down the door. Then, with a whirr of fans the
Meteor rose unsteadily, wobbled, and then shot off towards
the exit. Fargo watched the aircar depart. Part of him
was pissed at not having gotten to drive the hot car, even
for the few hundred feet to the valet parking stand. Part
of him was pissed at the fact that he’d had a vehicle
stolen out from under him. With a sigh, he turned, to
trudge back to the valet parking stand. Some dignitary was
going to be really pissed…..
Goshi struggled with the controls; she hadn’t actually
driven in years. Life in the capital city scarcely
required it. When she needed to go somewhere she hired a
cab, or even occasionally a limousene. Trying to remember
her basic instruction, she struggled to maintain altitude,
as she tried to figure out which way the Starport was…..
Passing through a stream of traffic, obviously against an
unseen signal, the Cheetah started to wish she’d forced the
parking attendant to fly her, instead of trying to do it
Chang watched the aircar through the sights of his missile
launcher. It was a fancy aircar; he couldn’t quite
identify which make it was, but it was obvious that it was
some rich furr’s toy. And it was well outside the usual
traffic patterns. But it was headed towards Sartha, and
the Blues lines. And that fact alone made it an enemy.
Squinting carefully, he took a breath, let half of it out,
and when the missile launcher gave him the correct tone,
he squeezed the trigger…..
Goshi looked up from the built-in navigation system, still
wondering where the thrice-damned Starport was, as
something started flashing on the dashboard. Frowning, she
wondered what THAT meant, just as the missile struck.
Lieutenant D’artagan ducked down behind the wall, and shook
his head at his radioman; gesturing, for the handset, he
squeezed the transmit button and growled; "Sigma Six to
Blackhorse Six. We’ve got a platoon sized unit of Elysium
regulars holed up in a shopping center at map reference
236440. Recommend we bypass them, and continue on towards
the Capital. It shouldn’t take much to keep ‘em in place."
After a moment, a voice filled with static came back
through the earpiece; "Roger that, Sigma Six; keep moving.
We’ll have a militia unit move up in your wake, to keep
that pocket isolated. GO! Blackhorse Six out." D’artagan
handed the handset back to his radioman and looked around.
There wasn’t much left of his company, but they were still
effective. And their vehicles still ran. "OK, here’s the
plan. We’ll fall back about a half a click and shift to
the west. If we can put those buildings over there between
us and the shopping center, we can probably slip past their
strongpoint. Remember, the first unit into the capital
gets a Month’s leave! Now lets get going!"
McGowan looked at the realtime satellite feed in the Blues
command center, and shook his head. The situation around
the planetary capital was breaking down, military units
moving this way and that, with no cohesive lines. Here a
Reds mechanized unit had bypassed a strong point, only to
have stronger-than-expected forces emerge from the
strongpoint to savage the support units following. There a
Reds unit had been lured into a dead-end salient, cut off,
and was being destroyed piecemeal. But overall, the Reds
were slowly driving into the heart of the Capital. It
would be a major propaganda coup, but if their intelligence
was correct, that’s all it would be. By the time the Reds
got to the capital building, the building would be
deserted, the government fled. And if their intelligence
was correct, well, the Blues time and efforts would be
better spent pursuing other goals. The Lhasta industrial
region, for instance. Strategically, it was a critical
area that the Reds had bypassed, in their drive to the
capital. And the city of M’upaha, at the Rhone river
crossing…. And the isthmus of Macarac. All strategic
goals, goals that would be well worth having, should the
Reds actually attempt to seize power by force of arms after
the fall of the Elysium government…. After having fought
for freedom for so long, the Blues were NOT about to just
roll over and let the Reds establish just another
totalitarian regeime….. McGowan studied the satellite feed
and hoped, sincerely hoped, that their intelligence was
wrong…. But somehow he doubted it.
Erog paced the departure lounge in the Starport, and
checked his watch for the hundreth time. He SHOULD have
detailed a detachment of security troops to see to Goshi.
But his mistress was usually so reliable, so self-
sufficient. Now they would have to leave soon, and he
hated to leave her behind. ESPECIALLY as his wife had
shown up not only in the right place, but actually early,
something she hadn’t done in years. Decades. He’d been
convinced that things would have worked out just opposite
from what seemed to have happened……
The Lion looked at the tactical display. There had been a
significant movement of ships to the Gulan starport. It
wasn’t the closest Starport to the Elysium capital, but it
was a good choice, a little further from the approaching
Reds, and significantly larger than the other available
starports. Looking at the distribution of known, and
suspected Elysium ships… and the known and suspected
locations of the Reds People’s Space Navy ships, the Lion
nodded; "I think you’re right. This is it." Looking up at
Ben the Lion sighed; "the situation is coming together as
predicted; the primary plan should be adequate. Or as
adequate as anything we’ve yet come up with. Lets put it
into motion." Ben nodded, and looked around Ops; "OK,
folks, you all know your assigned tasks. Operational
control will now be transferred to the flag bridge of the
Sayed looked at the slip of paper and shook her head; "No,
this isn’t the right departure lounge; you’re supposed to
be on the P.T. Barnstead. They’re at… E17. Take the tram,
but HURRY." The Starport was chaos. Periodically the
building shook, as Elysium warships, in low orbit, or in
the upper atmosphere pounded rebel positions just outside
the perimeter. Who could have guessed that the
Mercenaries, those Reavers, would have actually been
working for the Rebels? Wasn’t there a law against Mercs
breaking their contracts? With every near-miss the crowd
in the terminal seemed to grow more panicked. If things
got any worse, Sayed thought, she’d have to start using her
stunner to "quiet" things down….
Erog looked at the list and shrugged; "it’s a shame more of
our people didn’t make it through. Whoever leaked word to
the Reavers really screwed up everything. Even so, the
Captial Guards should still have handled them…. Still, as
not all the ships made it in, its probably just as well."
Looking up, the President of Elysium fixed his aide with a
steady gaze, the one that worked so well on the vids; "We
still leave on time. Wait for NO ONE.
Spike shuddered as another near-miss shook the ground. It
was muddy at the bottom of her shellhole, a broken water
line mixing with the soil, and the Sergeant’s blood. He’d
taken a direct hit from some sort of flechette weapon, his
shredded corpse spread all over the far side of the
shellhole. And he was starting to stink. Somehow, Spike
had known that death carried foul odors with it, but this
was her first real experience with it….. Glaring at the
mess, she growled; "you were wrong, Sarge. The Reavers may
not have had as sophisticated weapons as we did, but they
had something more valuable. Experience. All the sims
I’ve trained in, not a one of them matched this Hell! And
now I probably don’t even have a decent chance at getting
back to the city, to find a place to hide from the Reds….
You’ve screwed me over real well, Sarge!" Spike inched her
way up, to peer over the edge of the shellhole. For a
moment all was quiet and then some sort of energy weapon
opened up to her left, crimson flame washing in her
direction. Sliding back down to the bottom of the hole, to
the mud and blood, she cowered as it washed over, intensely
hot for a moment, singeing her fur. "If I didn’t know
better, Sarge, I’d say that was Tasmann. Tasmann, the
Prefect’s son…." For a moment she giggled uncontrollably;
"The Prefect’s son. Boy, he sure got his son a soft, cushy
position, all right. Kept the spoiled brat out of combat
he did. Now the jerk can’t tell the difference between
friend and foe. He’s probably so scared he’s shitting his
pants….." Yelping as the ground convulsed, Spike
cautiously crept back to the lip of the shellhole. The
position where the energy weapon had fired from was a
smoking ruin. Someone had seen the display and decided to
silence it. Whether it was the Reavers or the Guards
didn’t matter to Spike. Moving almost convulsively she
crawled from the shellhole, moving as fast and as low as
possible, heading AWAY from the starport, away from the
fighting…. Maybe she could get somewhere, somewhere where
she could shed her uniform, loose her ID, and pretend to be
just another civilian caught in the fighting…..
Behind her, a roar slowly built to a creshendo, as the
first of the starships carrying the Elysium elite slowly
rose towards the heavens…..
The Return Trip, part II
Tanj stretched and looked at the Vixen; "What happened to
you; you look like… um, well, "ridden hard and put away
wet" comes to mind." Zassa grinned and turned to crawl
through the cage’s door, dragging the harness Tanj had been
wearing after her. Tanj took a look at Kath, and then
looked questioningly at Zassa; "Oh, Wanda says she stays,
for a while. Something about having time to reflect on her
sins." Tanj shrugged and dropped to crawl through the low
door. Zassa closed the door quietly, and bent to make sure
it was latched correctly. Rising, the Vixen jerked a thumb
over her shoulder; "Hinoki had me in the tank there, for a
whle; come on, I’ll tell you ALL about it." As the two
left the cargo bay, Kath whined through her ring gag; she’d
wanted to hear all about it too!
Tanj grinned as she sipped her coffee; "Lord, this tastes
good, after all that cum-flavored-and-textured goo." Zassa
chuckled; "Yeah, but on the other hand, that stuff sure
does make your coat shiny…. Wonder what’s in it?" Tanj
shrugged and ran her palms down over her tummy; "Dunno, but
for just the short time I was in there, I bet I lost two
pounds…. Now, tell me ALL about what our male’s been up
to…… Zassa winced and settled down to relate the tale….
Tanj shook her head; "The bastard! I bet you were scared
to death!" Zassa frowned and shrugged a little; "To tell
you the truth, I wasn’t as afraid as I thought I’d be. I
expected to panic, to throw a screaming fit, but, well, he
really IS good at what he does; I was so lost in my
approaching climax that I hardly noticed… until my lungs
were burning really bad, and by that time I was cumming so
hard, well….." Tanj moved closer, to give the Vixen a hug;
"And is it true, what they say, that a near-death
experience yields the most intense sex?" Zassa Hmmmed;
"Well, I’m not sure about that….." Lifting her chin, Zassa
looked at the Vixen; "Um, Tanj… do me a favor?" Tanj
blinked; "Yeah, sure, if I can." The Vixen looked almost
shy; "Make love to me?" Tanj blinked and stole a glance at
the wardroom’s chronometer; "Um, yeah, we shouldn’t be
coming up on the next system for, um, almost three hours… I
guess there’s time… sure, come on…." Taking the Vixen by
the paw, Tanj led her down the corridor to her cabin….
Hinoki grinned, ducking down as if expecting a blow, as the
flight deck door slid open. He’d watched the security
monitor, as the pips indicating Zassa and Tanj left the
cargo bay… paused in the wardroom, and then shifted to
Tanj’s cabin. They hadn’t been there that long. Still,
the pain in his right ear was unexpected and he yelped as
Tanj used her handle to pull the Pilot’s seat around.
"What the FUCK did you DO to her? No, I don’t mean the
tank; THAT I could expect from you. What did you inject
her with?" Hinoki did his best to smile, but it still came
out half-wince; what HAD she been sharpening her claws
with? "Um. Just as I said. A genetically engineered
virus. You know, you really CAN buy anything on Gibralter
station, if you know where to look…." Tanj released him
and crossed her arms over her chest; "and just what does
this virus do, besides the obvious?" Hinoki did his best
to look innocent… alright, to look "reasonable"… "It just
deprives her of what she values most. Sensation. More
specifically, touch sensations. She can still feel hot and
cold, still taste good food… and bad, I suppose. She has
enough tactile sensation not to be a danger to herself, or
others. She just can’t feel the texture of fine silk, or
the pleasure of a good brushing…" "Or sex. I tried for a
half hour to get some response from her, and with all my
caresses, with all my licking, with all my skill, she never
even got wet. The poor girl’s close to a nervous
breakdown! NOW, where’s the antidote?" Hinoki raised one
eyebrow, a self-satisfied smirk forming on his face; "Why,
Captain, its right here." Tanj frowned; "right where?
You’re not wearing anything; you don’t have any pockets."
Hinoki chuckled and put his paws behind his head, to
stretch, arching his body towards her; "Why, Captain, I’M
the antidote. Specifically, my semen. The virus was
genetically engineered to be counteracted by MY cum. And
believe me, that was a quirk those mad scientists had never
even considered before. In fact, I may stand to make
considerable profit from that little contribution to
medical science. Royalties and so forth." Tanj put her
paws on either armrest of the chair and leaned forward
until she was nose-to-nose with the male; "and just what
does she have to do to get this…. "cure" from you?" Hinoki
chuckled; "you know, she DOES deserve to be punished for
tampering with my machine." At the look on Tanj’s face, he
went on hurriedly; "If she’s my slave until the end of the
trip, until we return to base, I’ll see to it that she gets
what she needs to… "retain" her sense of touch each day
until then, and when we get home, I’ll see she gets a more
permanent cure. With certain provisos, of course….
Zassa wiped her eyes and looked at Tanj; "Now let me get
this straight; in order to FEEL him fucking me, or anyone
else for that matter, he has to fuck me twice a day?
That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of!" Tanj just
chuckled wryly; "I dunno; it puts you squarely under his
thumb. Piss him off and he DOESN’T fuck you, and then a
little while later, you can’t feel anything. For someone
into "control" it makes perfect sense." Zassa sighed and
shrugged; "Yeah, I guess. Well, I’ve been a slave before,
I suppose I can do it again, for a bit." The vixen looked
up, that ‘sly fox’ look on her face; "but, you’ve got to
promise me, that when this is over, you’ll help me plan a
suitable revenge…." Tanj just laughed and nodded.
The look on the Vixen’s face was composed. Almost frozen.
The look in her eyes was… daunting. And yet the form was
flawless as she presented herself to her new "master".
Hinoki smiled down at her in stern regard; "You give
yourself to me, for the duration of the trip?" Zassa
nodded slowly. "Say it." "Master I give my self to you,
freely, to do with as you will, for the duration of the
trip." Hinoki nodded; "very well. Rise, and go about your
standard shipboard duties. Oh, and put something on. I
don’t want to see you nude until I tell you so. Zassa
blinked in obvious confusion, but obeyed, rising, to head
for her cabin.
Wanda looked across the wardroom at Hinoki; "well, that
was unexpected. Just what are you going to do with her,
now that you’ve got her?" Hinoki smiled; "Nothing."
Across the wardroom, Tanj almost choked on her coffee.
"Nothing?" Hinoki nodded to the Wolverine lass; "that’s
right. Zassa’s been getting a little too wild of late.
Too far from the norm. I’m going to force-feed her
normality, for the duration of the trip, see if I can’t get
her acting a little more like… well, like normal folks."
Tanj quit coughing long enough to croak out; "you mean, no
more latex catsuits? No more…. Um, well, you know" Hinoki
chuckled and patted the Cheetah fem on the back; "Nope.
Standard jumpsuits, or conservative dresses. And plain
vanilla sex. No pain with her pleasure. Nothing kinky.
No collars, no leashes, no restraints, no sex toys.
Nuthin’!" Tanj shook her head; "Good Lord; when you get
done with her, there won’t BE any Zassa!" Hinoki chuckled;
"Oh, you know as well as I do that as soon as she hits that
station, she’ll be back to her usual ways, but maybe, just
maybe, this’ll tone her down a little…."
Tanj scanned the Imperial News Network summary; they were
passing through the Alatchuacola system, and the broadcast
was coming in clear. There was a small report on the
events in the Elysium system, and Tanj flagged it, sending
back a request for more information. The results were less
than satisfying. The drones the news agency used were well
stealthed, but they were expensive, and it was obvious that
INN was sacrificing the quality of their reporting to
conserve assetts. Apparently the fighting was particularly
vicious. There was propaganda footage from the Reds, and a
small rebuttal from the Blues. The government had deigned
not to reply, and that in itself was curious. All in all,
there wasn’t anything she wasn’t getting from the
intermittant intelligence packets that managed to find
their way through to the ship. That in it self was
significant, suggesting that things at home were so frantic
that forwarding information to Tanj for analysis was no
longer a priority….. Turning from the monitor, Tanj went
through her fuel calculations once again. Stopping to tank
up would cost them more time than it would save at this
point. And there just wasn’t enough left for any more warp
dashes between jump points. Maybe if she could contract
for a tanker to rendezvous with them……
Zassa groaned, and drummed her heels into the small of the
Cheetah’s back; their first "session" was almost boring;
not having had any of the "antidote" yet, she could barely
feel him in her, and wasn’t getting much, if any pleasure
from it, no matter how hard she tried. Still, her frantic
efforts to achieve the sensations she was used to, the
sensations she expected, seemed to be pleasing the Cheetah.
Maybe the next ‘session," in the morning would be better.
As the male Cheetah howled, announcing the arrival of his
orgasm, Zassa just sighed. He wouldn’t even let her out of
his bed, but insisted that they cuddle through the night.
The Vixen was convinced that was to keep her from playing
with herself, testing to see if the sensitivity was
returning…. As she yawned, she hoped he didn’t snore. And
that SHE did. And that in the morning he’d choose
something a little more interesting than the missionary
In the hustle and bustle, as the crew hastened to make the
Overlord ready for departure, the hooded fox, pacing
through the corridors of the Brethren’s base, with an even,
unhurried tread, seemed an island of calm. Over the
months, the crew had gotten used to seeing the Fox known as
Entity, although usually in the company of the Boss, and
his presence was not considered remarkable. What was
remarkable, or would have been, had anyone noticed, was the
way he passed through the airlock, and into the Overlord.
The guards on duty there never seemed to register his
presence. There was no recognition of him, even as a
friend, as he passed, their eyes seemingly looking right
Deep in the core of the battlecruiser, the ship’s main
computer noted the presence of the Fox. However, quite
some time ago, it had been given instructions that he was
on the "permitted" list. Visitor’s quarters had been
assigned, and a meal card issued. He was listed in the
security files as a "guest", nothing more, but no
restrictions were put on his movement. The fact that this
had been done by the Fox himself made no difference to the
computer; he’d had all the proper passwords….. With more
important things to do, the main computer turned its
As he moved down the corridor at a measured pace, Entity
slowly relaxed. His people were highly skilled with
computers, and hacking into the main computer on this
vessel had not challenged his skills significantly.
Passing through the airlock was the first hurdle; passing
the scrutiny of the ship’s computer was the second.
Turning the corner, he made his way to the turbolift. For
the moment he’d wait quietly in the quarters he’d assigned
himself, waiting for the conflict to come.
Marshal Kozlovko looked at the message flimsey and grunted.
Turning to his communications officer, he growled; "Signal
all units in the Third Reds Shock Army. The Elysium
Government is fleeing. All units are to move on the
Capital, heedless of risk." The Kangaroo nodded and turned
to carry out his orders. Looking up at the look of wonder
on his Operations officer’s face, Kozlovko grinned; "This
is it, Boris! The end is nigh!"
Lieutenant D’artagan blinked as he listened over the
radio’s handset. Command had been urging them onwards,
demanding they move faster, and now he understood why. It
would have been marvelous to have captured those slimy
bastards… but now that they’d fled, what was the hurry?
Surely as word of their departure spread, morale among the
Government troops would crumble, resistance fade. Why risk
the lives of brave troops NOW? Shrugging, he turned to
look through his binoculars once again. The way towards
the capital might be clear…. And given his orders, he’d
just have to chance it.
Windham smiled as he hit the "enter" key. The warning from
his friends in the Blues had been most distressing. While
he had come to loathe the Elysium government, he still had
many comrades on the Cruiser. And the Captain wasn’t such
a bad sort either. But now, his friends had told him,
other officers on the ship were going to mutiny, to wrest
control, and to declare for the Reds. And apparently it
was all part of some larger, darker plot. For a long time,
he’d wondered what he could do? Taking the ship over to
the side of the Rebels was fine with him, but he wasn’t
particularly enamored of the Reds. Something about their
strident propaganda just didn’t ring true… and he’d heard
whispers, hushed tales of some of the strangest things
associated with them. Finally, he’d hit upon what he
thought would be the safest plan. To warn the Captain of
what he’d heard would probably lead to a "purge" of too
many of his friends. And in this case, that was most
likely a purge through the airlock and into the vacuum of
space. And yet, to allow their plan to go forward… He
just wasn’t comfortable with his ship being "instrumental"
in some Reds plot… Grinning, he watched the clock in the
corner of his monitor screen. It was now running about
five percent fast. Oh, he had no doubt the "mutiny" would
come off as planned… but it would now come off just a
little bit early. Disrupting their timetable wasn’t much,
but it was all he could think of to do….
Kuykendall blinked and held the earphone hard against her
head, listening hard. After a moment the rabbit lifted her
head; "Captain, I have a priority message from the Flight
Control Center in Havaas! They say that Security has
uncovered a spy, and that our departure plans have been
leaked to the Enemy! They advise that the enemy will not
have sufficient ships in this sector to pursue everyone,
and recommend we scatter on the first sign of detection!"
Captain Reeves frowned; his freighter was no match for
almost any combatant, and to leave the protection of the
escorting warships seemed suicidal…. And yet, if everyone
split up and headed in different directions, he could see
how pursuit might be complicated… the Wolves would
obviously get some of the lambs, but some might also
escape…. And his ship was a little faster than most.
"Navigator, I want you to plot an evasive course. If we
get jumped, we’re outta here!"
Sometimes a message relayed by others carries more weight
than one received directly. Admiral Soames looked at the
communication officer’s monitor and shook his head; "I
don’t know WHO down on the planet came up with that idea,
but its ridiculous! Issue orders to the fleet to stay
together, no matter WHAT." As the communications officer
bent to his task, the Admiral became aware of President
Erog’s cold stare. Turning to face the politician, the
Admiral drew himself up, and looked back. After a moment,
Erog growled; "will they obey that order?" The Admiral
nodded; "most of them. Some of the commandeered merchant
ships might flee, but we have officers on all the critical
ships and they’ll make sure the orders are followed…." As
he turned to look at the tactical display, the Admiral
muttered to himself; "I hope….."
Brock smiled. The Blues commandos had taken the Flight
Control Center in Havaas less than an hour before, and it
had taken the communications team only a few minutes to
figure out the passwords that let them take control of the
powerful transmitters. Now dozens of false messages were
going out, to the Elysium ships, and to the Reds Peoples’
Space Navy…. And if the increase in message traffic among
the fleeing ships was any indication, it was working…..
Hartz frowned at the message. Addressed to his ship, and
a few others in the Reds’ Peoples Space Navy, it was from
the Reds Party Central, and bore all the correct codes and
identifiers. And yet the very subject made him wonder at
its authenticity. From something called the "Fifth
Directorate" it talked of an internal plot to "steal the
fruits of the labors from the workers and soldiers who had
labored so long to make the revolution bear fruit." Hartz
had scratched his head over that one for a while, and then
had uncharacteristically asked the bridge crew of his
destroyer, if THEY could make any sense of it. All agreed
that the convoluted wording only lent credibility to its
authenticity; no one but the bureaucrats at Party Central
talked like that. Finally one of the fire control officers
suggested that perhaps, in the upcoming operation, someone
was going to try and "steal their glory." Around the
Bridge, heads nodded…..
The Wolf tugged nervously on the hem of his tunic and
glanced at the Chronometer for the fifth time in as many
minutes. They were scheduled to conduct their revolt
exactly one hour after the convoy had left the planet.
Glancing over at the tactical display, he fought down the
urge to gnaw on a clawtip. They were supposed to
coordinate with the other ships, and with the Reds’ PSN,
but so far there wasn’t any sign of the Reds on the
sensors. Could they be late? It’d be just like them to
hang him and his co-conspirators out to dry….. Trying to
focus on his memories of the Ermine, he closed his eyes.
No, they’d have to go on schedule. Maybe the Reds had
picked up cloaking devices somewhere…. In any event, the
other ships would all rebel at the same time. He HAD to
stick to the schedule…. Just a few more minutes….
Onegin looked at the message flimsey and groaned; "Now
they’re telling us the Elysium fleet’s changed course?
Crap, I thought they had their route nailed down TIGHT!"
The communications officer just shrugged. Striding across
the deck of the bridge of the PSN’s flagship, he thrust the
flimsey at his navigator; "How long to adjust our position
for interception?" The Chameleon made a placating gesture;
"not long, Sssir. They haven’t deviated much…. We won’t
be off schedule by more than a few minutesss." Onegin
nodded; "Get on it then. You know Zyloff is going to be
pissed if we’re late!"
"Captain, we’ve just gotten another message from the Fifth
Directorate." Hartz looked at the comm tech’s monitor and
shook his head; "Egotistical counter-revolutionary forces,
bent on establishing a "cult of personality" have tampered
with the schedule and sequence of events for the on-going
operation. To diminish their chances of success, key
elements should commence their tasks peremptorily."
Looking around at his bridge crew, Hartz scratched his
head; "Now what in the hell does THAT mean, aside from the
fact that they’re good at run-on sentances?" After a few
blank looks were exchanged, the Exec frowned; "Um…. I
wonder… could it mean that if we don’t act now, we’ll get
left behind? I mean…. If some of our… comrades are trying
to steal our thunder, to make themselves heroes, the last
ships to the battle will scarcely get any glory…. Will we?"
Hartz looked at the screen on the arm of his command chair,
and then back at the Exec… "Um… possibly. And it doesn’t
look as if there’s any time to send a message asking for
clarification." The Exec nodded; "Yessir… besides, we’re
supposed to be maintaining radio silence….." With a sigh,
Hartz nodded; "well, there’s one way for sure to beat them
at the glory game." Turning to the helmsfurr, he growled;
"All ahead two thirds. Lets see if we can’t get to the
party a little early, and make a name for ourselves….."
The Wolf nodded; it was time. Pulling the palm-sized nerve
scrambler from his tunic pocket, he stepped up behind the
Captain’s command chair and growled; "In the name of the
Rebellion, I hereby seize this ship in the name of the
Benton had always feared this was going to happen. He’d
talked with the Captain, on many occasions, on just this
subject. Surreptitiously, he pressed the concealed button
with his left knee, as he pointedly kept both paws in plain
Farrow frowned as the light on his engineering console
blinked. "Tia! Get on the comm and ask the bridge what in
the HELL is going on up there! Davies! Turner! I want
you to isolate the Bridge from the control net NOW. We may
have a mutiny in progress! Haversham! Get up to Auxiliary
control and tell them they’ve got the ball! Move fast; I’m
closing the blast doors! Williams, Ruger and Hall! Get
the side-arms from the locker in my office. Here’s the
keys! Watch out for ANYONE who might be a mutineer!"
"Something’s wrong on the Ragnarok!" Admiral Soames turned
to look at the ship’s Executive Officer; "What do you
mean?" "Sir, they’re drifting off course and are not
answering our hails….. Wait a minute….." The Exec bent
over the Communications Officer’s station, as the latter
worked his console. A scratchy, static-filled voice
emerged from the loudspeakers on the Cruiser’s bridge, its
message fragmentary… "……mutiny…… fighting on decks twelve
and thir…….Engineering blocked…….. under their control,
Aux……. Lost……" Admiral Soames nodded, and turned to the
Captain of the Elysium Fleet’s flagship "Signal all ships;
they are to watch for turncoats and traitors. If they took
the Ragnarok, it may be part of a greater plan."
Huskarti watched the marines take up positions around the
Bridge of the Destroyer. He’d been so close. Sneaking a
glance at Seagraves, he shrugged minutely. They’d been so
close to seizing control…. Wondering what had happened, the
Mink turned back to his console. If they’d known WHO the
mutineers were, they would have arrested him, and his co-
conspirators…. And yet, obviously, they knew something was
up…. Wondering how he’d be able to pull this one out,
Huskarti completely missed the appearance of a faint blip
on his scanner….
Brock grinned; it’d been a long day, a hard day, but
apparently, if his signals intelligence was to be believed,
a very successful one. Now it was time to go; their
position was very exposed, and the Elysium troops, fanatics
all, were making a counterattack. Making sure the
demolition charges were set, the logs erased, he picked up
his pack, and his weapon, and headed for the communication
center’s south exit.
Xyloff strode into the Reds’ Party Headquarters Operations
Center and took a quick look at the tactical display.
Turning to the tactical officer, he growled; "only one of
the Elysium warships is shown as having joined us! Are you
not keeping the display up to date?" The Tactical Officer
shrugged; "Comrade, communications has only reported one as
having signaled their change in status. And as you can
see, its fallen out of formation. Word is that the mu…
that the uprising was not completely successful, and that
the ship is contested!" Turning to the communications
officer, the Wolverine growled; "What signals have they
sent?" The Communications officer, a female Squirrel,
looked evenly back at the Wolverine, almost challengingly.
"Comrade, they sent one short signal that they were
struggling to gain control of Engineering, and that was the
last we’d heard from them. They have not returned any of
our hails." Xyloff shook his head; "I was assured…."
Narrowing his eyes, he looked back at the Squirrel; "show
me your communications logs. Just how did all this
transpire? What was the timing?"
"Weapons range in one minute, Captain." Hartz smiled; he
was just far enough ahead of the rest of the other PSN
ships that he thought he’d be able to have the Honor of the
first shot. "Very good. Weapons Officer, target the
Elysium Flagship." The weapons officer exchanged a
hurried, questioning glance with the Exec, and then cleared
his throat; "Um, sir, the Elysium Crusiers Ragnarok and
Bedlam are both closer….." Hartz smiled; "time to let you
in on a little secret; brave agents of the Reds Party have
suborned about half of the Elysium forces; they’re set to
change sides coordinated with our attack! Both the Bedlam
and the Ragnarok are among those so listed!" Swallowing
hard, the weapons officer nodded; "Um… Yessir… Targeting
the Elysium Flagship. Ready to fire on your order."
Xyloff shook his head. He just couldn’t believe this.
His agents on the Ragnarok had attempted to take over their
ship well ahead of schedule! Worse, they hadn’t even had
the balls, or the smarts, to succeed! Somehow they’d
botched the whole thing, alerting the Elysium fleet to the
possibility of traitors in their midst! And now, that
idiot Onegin was out of position, his control over his own
fleet, HIS fleet, HIS PSN, was disintigrating! Groaning,
the Wolverine found a chair, to settle down, to watch the
battle in space develop. At least things on the ground
were going well, several Reds units already in the
planetary capital, taking control.
Locke watched in amazement as the Reds warship approached,
firing not on his Cruiser, but on the significantly more
distant flagship. Shaking his head, he looked at his
Weapons officer; "Lets teach that presumptuous Ba…..
waitaminute…." Pausing, Locke looked back at the tactical
display… "Got it. That bastard thinks that we’ve switched
sides, just like the Ragnarok was trying to do. COMM!
Send a signal to the Admiral. Tell him we’ve got a
marvelous chance to ambush these bastards in turn!"
Huskarti watched the Captain of the Destroyer read the
communique, and then glance around his bridge. "It seems
the Reds may have tried to seize more than one ship. In
fact, the Admiral thinks they may THINK that we’re on their
side….." Turning to look at Seagraves, the Captain
growled; "Guns, unless we’re fired upon, hold your fire
until they’re within point blank range. Then hit ‘em with
everything we’ve got." Looking up at the Marine standing
by his command chair, the Captain growled; "And you,
Sergeant. You make sure he does it. I’ll have no
mutineers on MY ship!"
Locke grinned; the first of the Reds ships was just about
abreast of him. Minimum distance for his energy weapons,
and therefor the least beam dispersion. Lifting his head
he grinned ferrally at his Weapons officer and nodded.
Hartz felt the deck buck under his feet; turning to look at
the tactical display, he gasped; the Bedlame was FIRING on
him. "Dammit, they TOLD me…. Oh, Nevermind! Helm, bring
us about! Get us outta here! Weapons officer; return
Onegin smiled a little lopsidedly as the torpedoes smashed
into the destroyer, blossoming in multicolored flame. When
the image cleared, he saw Hartz’ ship was in deep trouble,
main power gone, shields down. He’d TOLD the S.O.B. to get
back in formation, but the idiot was just too intent on
being a Hero. Well, at least he’d done ONE useful thing.
He’d proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that the ships that
SHOULD have joined him hadn’t. And that was just going to
make his job all the harder. Looking up at his tactical
officer, he sighed; "Plan B. Signal the fleet."
Xyloff watched, his mind not really on the way the battle
was shaping up. Instead he considered the implications of
how the plan had started to unravel. Obviously either the
Ermine had been an Elysium agent, or somehow, the enemy had
learned of his plans. If she’d been a Blues agent, the
ships in question would have still revolted, but simply
declared for the Blues instead. And if she’d been an
Elysium agent… would the damage be even greater? So far,
no trap of any significance had been spotted. So that left
a spy, someone who had found out about his plans…. For a
moment he wondered how complete knowledge of his plans
might affect the outcome…. For some, it would be a
disaster, for others, well, some forces were irresistible.
Rising, the Wolverine turned. He had some damage control
steps to take, some plans to accelerate… but first…
"Excuse me, Comrade Kassoff…" Kassoff looked up into the
Woverine’s unsmiling eyes and instantly knew that he had
missed something, something that had disastrous
consequences… for the Reds, and for his own career…..
Onegin looked at the message flimsy and shook his head;
"after all the problems we’ve had with false messages, how
am I supposed to know that THIS is valid?" His
communications officer just shrugged; "It had all the
correct codes attached….. yessir, I know, the other
messages did too." Crumpling the message in one fist, and
tossing it across the Bridge, Onegin growled; "I am SICK of
their centralized control. Dammit, I am in command of the
PSN, and by God, I will direct the battle as I see fit!"
By his left shoulder, the Tactical officer cleared his
throat; "Sir, we still have the mission objectives…."
Onegin turned to stare at him; "I haven’t forgotten,
Roscoe. We’ll continue with Plan B. We’ll blast straight
through the middle of their fleet, disabling the freighters
and destroying the warships, and be on those damned Pirates
before they know what hit ‘em! The background clutter of
all the destroyed Elysium vessels should play hob with
their sensors, allowing us almost free reign until we close
with them! Now get ON with it!"
Ben smiled. It was all coming together nicely. The Reds’
PSN had lost their formation, and were nicely strung out,
with the faster ships in the lead. And generally the
faster the ship, the more lightly armed and shielded. As
the battle started, he looked around the bridge of the
Overloard, and nodded in satisfaction. Looking up at his
communications officer, he grinned; "you know what to do…"
The Commo officer just grinned back and nodded.
Reeves watched the shooting start. The Elysium forces had
rather successfully dealt with the first of the Rebel
ships, and he was just starting to think that this might
work afterall, when his sensor tech yelped; "OHSHIT!
Captain, you’d better come SEE THIS!" Trotting over to the
sensor operator’s console, Reeves’ eyes widened. A whole
second fleet had just appeared, admittedly on the far side
of the Elysium convoy, but there were a shitload of ships,
including one the size of an Imperial Battlecruiser!
Except they didn’t look like any Imperial ships he’d ever
Shannon Engleman loved her job; she just LOVED to talk.
And anything that helped her talk. It was that love that
had taken her all the way to the head of the communications
section on the Overlord. Grinning back at the Wolf she
bent over her console and opened her mike. In her best
Panicked voice she squealed "OHMYGOD! LOOKITALTHOSESHIPS!
There is no WAY the convoy escort’s going to be able to
handle THEM! WE’RE OUTTA HERE!"
Reeves looked at his bridge crew; the first cry over the
comm channels had started a veritable cacaphony of signals.
Admiral Soames was demanding all ships hold position, but
his voice was drowned out by other ship captains asking
each other what THEY thought. And then the first
freighter, a smaller, faster one, broke away from the
convoy, drives flaring. Reeves looked around his bridge,
meeting the eyes of his crew… the eyes of his friends.
With a growl he turned to the Helm; "Get us out of here.
The vector we planned." Moving towards his station, he
thumbed a button; "Engineering! We’re bugging out! Give
us everything you’ve got, and get ready to jettison the
cargo. If it looks like we’re in trouble, it gets dumped
in a heartbeat!"
Onegin watched, wide-eyed, as the Elysium convoy started to
disintegrate, smaller ships heading off on all SORTS of
vectors. Most of the smaller ships carried refugees,
Elysium cadre that had talked their way into the exodus.
And while it would be nice to bring those criminals to
justice, they weren’t what they were really here for. The
wealth of the planet, the portable wealth, at least, were
on the bigger freighters under military control. And THAT
was where he was headed. Glancing again at the sensor
images of the Pirates, he frowned; if they were wealthy
enough to buy, or worse, build cloaking devices for THAT
many ships…. No, he had to attack; if he didn’t he knew
that damned wolverine would hunt him down to the ends of
"Forget them! They’ll just draw off the Rebels, and make
it that much easier for the warships to defend us!" Stokes
looked at the old Wolf and frowned; "But, Colonel, what of
the rumors of Elysium warships defecting to the Rebels? If
they suddenly change sides….. you’ll be just as dead as
us!" From across the bridge of the RTS corporation
freighter "Hermes", Walker watched his Captain argue with
the Elysium Defense Force "watchdog" they’d been saddled
with. The old Wolf was obviously some sort of ex-commando,
and he scared the hell out of most of the freighter’s crew.
But even counting the "troops" he’d come aboard with, there
were still only six of ‘em. And only one of ‘em on the
Bridge. Curiously, the Wolf’s troops seemed as afraid of
him as everyone else did. "Nevermind" the Wolf growled;
"you WILL maintain course and speed, no matter what
Onegin smiled; the combined firepower of the PSN,
concentrated in one area of the convoy’s flanks, had
succeeded in destroying one of the Elysium cruisers. His
battlegroup was now within the perimeter of the convoy.
This was good, as the range to their target, the Elysium
Fleet’s flagship, was now shorter. It was bad because
every single ship in the Elysium fleet could now fire
"inside the circle" to target his vessels. He’d just have
to press on, and try and complete his "strafing run"
through the fleet, to emerge in position to attack the
Pirates. Turning towards his tactical officer, he ordered
Admiral Soames watched the tactical display, and after a
moment, turned calmly to his tactical officer; "order the
fleet to execute maneuver Gamma Three"
Stokes smiled as the order came through; "Maneuver Gamma
Three; helm, you know what to do!" The Old wolf frowned
for a moment and then turned back to the viewport, to watch
the battle. So far, things were still "comparatively"
distant, their position in the fleet almost equidistant
from the Reds, and the Pirates…..
Onegin blinked hard and took a second look; moving as a
school of fish, all turning seemingly at once, the Elysium
fleet had turned on an opposite course from him. Their
ships would flash past in moments… and he’d be between them
and the Pirates! "No! We need to damage them more
completely before we can disengage and take on the Pirates!
Signal the destroyer squadron to break formation and attack
all Elysium elements! The Crusiers are to hold formation
with us! Helm, come about and match courses with the
Elysium flagship!" Pacing the deck, Onegin wondered how
Xyloff’s so carefully crafted plan could come apart so
Walker caught the nod from Captain Stokes and slipped from
his console. He’d wait as long as possible, move as
quietly as possible… but eventually, their guardian Wolf
was going to notice they were moving in a direction
completely opposite to the rest of the fleet. It was time
to slip away from this clusterfuck, even if it meant
risking capture by the pirates. At least they’d live.
Sastre nodded to himself. He’d suspected the RTS ship
would be among the first to flee. And that was just fine
by him. He’d give them a few minutes to become the primary
target of the Pirates, and then he’d give the order to take
HIS freighter from the fray. The Iroquian Shipping Company
did NOT pay him to put their vessel at risk, and they sure
weren’t paying HIM enough to risk his neck. Wondering if
the RTS Captain had been smart enough to lock up HIS
watchdog at the first sign of trouble, Sastre carefully
watched his navigation plot, wondering what their chances
"Red Dog Lead to all Red Dogs. Hold off until your quarry
gets well away from the fighting before moving in. We
don’t want that furball over there to wander our way while
we’re trying to board a ship!" Reggie killed the comlink
and grinned at Slasher. Their new ship wasn’t anywheres as
good as their old one, but it was good enough for this.
And for once he was glad he was in the lighter, smaller,
faster Raider ships, instead of one of the big boys. He
didn’t WANT to be in the middle of the big battle, even if
there was supposedly more loot there. No, he was more than
happy to chase after the freighters and smaller ships that
were fleeing the now-doomed convoy. After all, how much
money COULD you spend in a lifetime? Glancing at his
partner Reggie grinned. He could spend quite a bit…..
Maybe he SHOULD be over there…..
Onegin watched the tactical plot carefully as his ship
traded missiles with the Elysium forces. His tactical
officer was good, possibly better than he was, and it was a
good idea to sit back and try and stay focused on the
overall picture. Although that was going to hell rapidly.
Some of the big commercial freighters, the ones that
carried enough guns to keep most Pirates at bay, the ones
the Elysium government had put its most prized possessions
on, the one they’d "reinforced" with their own troops, some
of THOSE were now starting to peel off from the convoy.
And he didn’t have anything left to send after them. His
destroyers were already gone, chasing down like-sized enemy
ships in fights involving two, or three on each side. His
cruisers were actively engaged with the Elysium heavies, as
they sought to disable as many ships as possible before
moving on to the second part of the plan. And those DAMNED
pirates seemed to have no end to the number of small, fast
ships they could send after the fleeing freighters!
Growling, he paced the deck like a caged animal,
desperately seeking a way to regain the initiative!
Admiral Soames never heard President Erog move up behind
him; didn’t know he was there until he heard the whisper in
his ear. Turning, he looked at the politician; "What?"
Erog smiled his most reassuring for-the-cameras smile; "I
asked, Admiral, how its going? Will we make the jump point
on schedule? Or are events…. Not going as predicted?"
Soames frowned; "we’re in a damned pickle, you….. Civilian!
Between the Reds and the Pirates we’re seriously
outnumbered, and right now we’re caught between ‘em! We’re
taking a pounding!" Erog smiled softly; "That, Admiral, is
what I thought. But as you say, I’m a civilian, and know
little of such things. Still, it seems to me as if a…
"diversion" might be in order." Turning back to his
displays, the Admiral growled; "Yeah, sure, anything to get
‘em off our backs….."
The Lion’s head came up from his monitor as the disruptors
fired, their distinctive whine echoing through every
portion of the Overloard. Frowning, he bent back down to
his display, trying to make some sense of the battle. It
looked as if, to a large extent, things had disintigrated
into a disorderly chaos of small battles between small
groups of ships. Looking up, he caught the Wolf’s eye;
"Ben, lets keep everyone together; we’ll do better if we
can mass our firepower. Don’t want to make the mistake
Onegin’s making." Ben nodded, turning to listen to what
one of the weapons officers had to say to him. With
everything seemingly moving in slow motion, the Pirates
drew closer to the center of the conflict.
Onegin growled at his tactical officer; "well I don’t CARE
if they’re maneuvering to keep the bulk of the Elysium
ships between us and them. I want YOU to find a way to get
US close enough so that we can launch our little surprise!
If we can just do THAT then we’ll get them off our backs
and can concentrate on other things!" The tactical officer
blanched; "But… Sir, that’d mean putting out ships between
the Pirates and the Elysium forces; we’d be caught in a
crossfire! If you hadn’t ordered us to fire on them at the
earliest opportunity we might have convinced them we were
still "allies", but no, you had to…" "ENOUGH!" Onegin
looked as if he were close to having a stroke; "How DARE
you question my orders! FIND a way, or I’ll have you
relieved of Duty!" Swallowing hard, realizing he’d run off
at the mouth a little too much, the Tactical officer turned
back to his displays, desperately seeking a way to stay out
of the hands of the security directorate.
Chester Goolsby was not a happy furr. When he’d been told
that he and his family were to be evacuated, with the rest
of the project staff, he’d been delighted. Things on
Elysium were going to hell, and he agreed that it was time
to leave. However, when they’d packed up the project
everyone had been working on so feverishly, he’d gotten a
little nervous. And when it had shown up on the same ship
as the one he was assigned to, he’d gotten even more
nervous. Now, they were having him check out the phase
coils… as if it were going to be used. As a physics
experiment, it had been terribly interesting… but as a
weapon? It took a long time to build up to the required
power levels, and he didn’t see how it could be used as
anything but an "area" weapon. Did they really think they
could take out enemy ships with it? Now if the enemy had a
moon base, THAT might be a decent target…. Edging around
the fusion powerplant technician, Chester touched two
electrodes with the probes from his multimeter and nodded.
So far everything was in order.
Onegin smiled, showing teeth. The Reds’ PSN had transited
the Elysium fleet, or what was left of it. They’d crippled
a cruiser, three destroyers and a host of freighters.
Where possible, his gunners had gone for "mobility" kills,
but in some instances, their targets were little more than
wreckage. The Elysium flagship had taken a number of good
hits, but unfortunately was still in the battle. Now was
time for phase II. On a ship-for-ship basis, the PSN
wasn’t a match for the Pirates, not with that damned
Battlecruiser they had. But there WERE ways to neutralize
them. Turning to his Executive officer, Onegin nodded;
"its time. Execute Phase II."
Ben frowned; the Reds’ flagship had taken a goodly number
of hits, but they weren’t THAT badly damaged. Or so he’d
thought. Now escape pods were ejecting from its hull, and
headed their way. Well, that did kinda make sense. There
was no way the Elysium forces would pick up a Reds escape
pod. Of course, the way the Reds had been shooting at
THEM, he wasn’t too inclined either. Still, it might not
hurt to pick up one or two and ask them a few hard
Chester stood against the wall with the other technicians,
as the senior scientists went over the device. As big as a
cargo shuttle, it was not a small thing, and yet in the
hangar bay of the Elysium flagship, it seemed remarkably
small, especially for a device of such power. Enough power
to rip asunder the fabric of space-time. Enough power to
form a rip big enough to swallow a planet. And all of a
sudden Chester knew just what they were going to do. The
device wasn’t meant for the attacking Rebels; they were
going to use it to destroy the whole planet! Aghast he
looked around for someone he might plead with, someone he
might convince to help him stop this insanity…. But all he
saw were steely-eyed guards, carefully watching him and the
other technicians…. There seemed no hope.
Entity slowly unfolded himself from his favorite meditation
position. Climbing to his feet, he smoothed the fabric of
his gray cloak and turning, moved through the door. He had
just enough time to get into position. His portion of the
battle was about to start.
"Mister President?" The black-suited security officer
stood with paws folded behind his back, not quite at
attention. Erog smiled pleasantly and nodded; "Yes,
Major?" "Sir, General Trent sent me to inform you that the
weapon is ready to launch." Erog smiled again and nodded;
"Thank you, Major." Turning he looked at Admiral Soames;
"Admiral, your diversion is ready. I suspect you’ll want
to launch it as soon as possible." Soames’ eyes went wide;
"diver…. What diversion? Surely you don’t mean that damned
"doomsday" weapon I’ve heard rumors about!" Erog nodded
"The same. Believe me, when the planet breaks up, we will
most certainly have the diversion we need to escape!"
Soames shook his head; "First off, I am NOT going to kill
all those people down there! Secondly, if you break up the
planet, you change the distribution of mass through the
system, and THAT will affect the jump points! The jump
point out of the system might vanish, or shift and dump us
who-knows-where! Your toy could wind up killing US too!
Erog sighed and just nodded to the black-suited Major. In
a smooth motion, the Security officer drew his side-arm,
and at point blank range, shot the Admiral. For a second,
after the Admiral’s body had hit the floor, the Bridge was
dead-silent. Then it seemed as if at once, everyone
started to move, a move cut short by Erog’s snarl.
"Everyone STAY at your posts, or you’ll be SHOT TOO! NO
ONE disobeys my order! I’m the PRESIDENT!" Turning to the
ship’s Captain, Erog pointed a finger at him, but his words
were addressed elsewhere; "Major, if this foul excuse for a
naval officer does NOT launch the weapon IMMEDIATELY, Shoot
Ben blinked; he’d almost missed it in the tactical display.
All of a sudden, the escape pods that the Reds had launched
a short while ago, had all changed course. Most of them
were headed for the Overlord, but a number of others were
headed for other Brethren ships. And then it hit him. The
furrs in those pods weren’t seeking refuge… They were
about to be boarded! Taking two quick steps, the old Wolf
brought the heel of his paw down hard on the intraship comm
button; "NOW HEAR THIS! ALL HANDS STAND BY TO REPELL
Entity smiled. He was in a corridor, near the outer hull
of the Overlord. In a few minutes a shaped charge would
breach the hull just down the corridor. And he would be
ready for the intruders that would emerge. But he would
have to move fast as there were other invasions that would
have to be dealt with as well.
Chester watched as all the guards suddenly moved, almost as
one, towards the personnel lock. The senior scientists had
already exited. They must have received a signal over the
commlinks each wore in their left ears. As the personnel
lock closed behind them, Chester looked around. All the
techs were still lined up against the bulkhead. No one had
told them to evacuate the launch bay…. But then again, no
one had told them not to move either. Staring at the
device for a moment, Chester made up his mind. Bending to
pick up his toolkit he started across the bay. Maybe, just
maybe he could disable the thing….
On the Bridge of the Elysium flagship, the Executive
officer turned a key, and pushed a button, silently praying
that he might be forgiven for what he was doing. He had a
family on board, a family that he loved very much, and one
that he’d always said he’d do anything to protect. Now he
wondered if perhaps he’d been wrong in thinking that…..
Chester felt himself lifted from the launch bay floor as
the doors opened. They hadn’t bothered to depressurize the
bay, and the resulting hurricane threw him, and all the
other techs through the slowly parting doors. Just before
consciousness faded, he saw the device moving from the bay,
starting its preprogrammed run.
The Lion grunted; "There. See there! The Elysium flagship
just launched something that matches our intelligence."
Ben nodded, looking over the Lion’s shoulder at the sensor
monitor. Looking up the Lion growled "Guns! Lock onto
that object and hit it with everything we have! Helm! Lay
in an intercept course, maximum speed! Communications!
Signal all ships; Anyone with a decent shot is to take it.
I want that thing Destroyed!"
Onegin frowned; the Pirates’ Flagship had just broken off
its battle with the Elysium Flagship, and was turning,
heading back towards the planet. NOW what were they up to?
Erog smiled; "See, I told you it would make a good
diversion! Now, while they’re off chasing that thing down,
lets get OUT of here!"
The Return Trip, part III
Zassa groaned and moved as slowly as possible, making every
second count. Sensation had returned, like rain after a
long drout. The Cheetah, her "master" had finally
relented, and permitted a scant few variants to the
missionary position. Sitting astride him, facing his feet,
she slowly rode his cock. Highly attuned to his breathing,
his heartbeat, she moved carefully, knowing that if he came
first, she wouldn’t have an opportunity to squeeze in one
more climax. And at this point she was desperate for every
climax. The Cheetah was driving her Crazy!
Tanj frowned and fiddled with the gain; the main sensor
array was pointed at Walthan’s Star, about twelve light-
years distant , and the trailing antenna was helping, but
it still wasn’t quite good enough to make out what the
announcer was saying in the FTL news broadcast; it was
obvious, though that SOMETHING was happening…. She could
improve reception if she dropped out of warp, or even
slowed down, but that’d delay their arrival, and from what
little she could deduce, things were starting to move VERY
Kath sighed and considered her options for the ten
thousandth time. She could get a drink, but she wasn’t
thirsty. She could hump the food dildo, but she wasn’t
hungry, and she’d done that so much, just to break the
boredom, well, she was starting to get rather sore down
there. She didn’t have to pee…. Chuckling softly to
herself, the Mink thought things were really grim when
moving your bowels was the hilight of your day…. And she
wasn’t sleepy. Pacing the cage carefully, she wondered
just how long she’d been here; it felt like ages. Aeons.
But she really had no way to tell. She couldn’t even find
a good pressure point, to feel her own pulse, to measure
time that way. Settling down, she counted breaths, nothing
else to do. How many breaths until Wanda came to let her
Wanda watched the Mink pace the cage, and bit her lower
lip; was she pushing it too far? Had she had enough? What
was running through Kath’s head? Finally, the Wolverine
resolved to let her go just a little longer. Smiling to
herself, she turned away from the monitor to consider what
they’d do when she finally DID let her out…..
The forward viewscreen on the Imperial Battlecruiser was
the size of a wall, with excellent resolution. The Jaguar,
and most of the Bridge staff watched the INN news broadcast
on Elysium. When it was over the Jaguar looked at his
Executive officer and purred; "Analysis?" The Exec
shrugged; "they seem to be tearing themselves apart. I’d
say the Elysium Government’s days are numbered, probably in
the single digits. It will be interesting to see what kind
of coalition government the planet puts together after
they’ve siezed control." The Jaguar nodded; "Somehow, I
suspect a certain amount of … conflict between the various
parties." Looking up at the Exec, the Jaguar grinned; "I
suspect that they’ll need a firm hand, an Imperial
prescence, to guide them in the right direction. Yes, I
suspect we’ll be instrumental in bringing the Elysium
system back into the Imperial fold…..
Trouble sighed and ran the transmission through the filters
one more time. It was starting to loose resolution really
bad, but some things were clearer. The images of the
fighting, relayed by an INN drone, that was clearly
destroyed by the fighting in Elysium orbit, given how its
transmission ended so suddenly, looked particularly grim.
Quite a battle seemed to be going on there, and she
wondered, once again, if she’d drawn this assignment just
to make sure that she was kept out of harm’s way. Sighing,
she thought of her Master and wondered how he was faring….
On the Ground
Lieutenant D’artagan cautiously looked around, raising his
head above the stone wall only so far as was necessary. Of
his unit, there were only two armored vehicles and a
handful of troops left… but they were on the very steps of
the Parliament building, in the middle of the capital city.
And the place was deserted. No troops fighting a desperate
last-ditch effort, no frightened politicians begging for
mercy… the place was deserted. Suddenly it dawned on him…
They’d won. They’d taken the Capital. A weary grin on his
face, he motioned to his radiofurr for the handset.
Suddenly he was very eager to report his position….
Raditch looked at the message flimsy and frowned; "I don’t
get it. Why would the Reds PSN be attacking the Brethren
in orbit?" "I don’t know, General; it doesn’t make any
sense to me…. Unless…." Raditch looked at his aide; "Come
on, Sam; this is no time to be coy with me. If you’ve got
something, let me have it." Sam just shrugged;
"Weeeelllll, there was this intelligence brief that I saw a
little while ago; it was so far out, I just kinda ignored
it….. It suggested that at the moment of victory, the Reds
were going to turn on all the other factions, to try and
seize the whole planet for themselves." Raditch frowned
and scratched behind one ear; "I dunno; talks on a
coalition government have been going on for months…. But
on the other hand, given these events, I suppose it
wouldn’t hurt to take a few precautions….. Send out a
warning order, to all unit commanders in the Blues 4th Army.
Tell them of the events in orbit, and warn them to be
prepared for…. "trouble" from unexpected quarters. Let it
go at that; after all, if this turns out to be an error, or
some explainable mistake, I don’t want to get our allies in
Sandoval grimaced and put down the radio handset; looking
up at what was left of the Headquarters company of the
Elysium Defense Force’s crack Combat Command Degussa, he
sighed; "That’s it; the Reds have taken the Capital."
Hurst, his Operations officer, nodded; "Well, at least we
got out of the city before it was encircled." After a
moment’s silence, he continued; "I guess the big question
is, now what do we do?" Richter, a rather excitable
squirrel, and the Logistics officer all but growled; "well,
I am NOT surrendering to those bastards!" A chorus of
assent moved quietly through the group. Sandoval looked
from face to face, and nodded; "I’ve had some…. Feelers of
late. The Blues will take our parole, if we turn over our
weapons to them, and move to their rear. But we’ve got to
get to them." Hurst straightened; "They’re on the other
side of the river here, but there’s no way we could utilize
the Farnham crossing; the Reds Third Shock Army is between
us and there. Now, if we head Northwest, into the
foothills of the Zagros Mountains, we can put this
ridgeline between them and us. Probably won’t keep them
off of us, but if we move fast we SHOULD make it to…. Here,
the railroad bridge at Hammstein. And on the other side,
the Blues." Sandoval nodded; "Should work…… OK, lets put
it into motion; I want to be on the move within a half
Milosovitch frowned at the tactical map in his command
vehicle. His orders from the Reds party central were quite
clear. He was to attack the Blues, and drive them from the
Three Rivers district. But the Blues had blown the bridges
at Farnham. Blown them in the very face of his lead
elements. And then the artillery fire and airstrikes had
started. Why the bastards had barely waited for his lead
elements to start firing… it was as if they KNEW what the
Reds party Central had ordered… and maybe they had. No
matter. Having driven off the Elysium Government, they
were now in a battle with their former allies for control
of the Planet, and there was no way Milosovitch was going
to share power with more furrs than he had to! The
riverbanks were too steep, the current too swift for
amphibious operations here…. And airborne operations were
chancy; too many of the Pirates’ raider craft were still in
the area. And Party Central was strangely quiet on why
they couldn’t depend on support from the PSN. No, he’d
have to head for Hammstein, to cross the river. That’d put
them behind the Blues’ lines anyways. All he had to do was
get there quickly. Turning, he gestured to his Operational
officer. The Third Shock Army was on the move!
Faye squinted through the thermal sight, watching, waiting
for the right moment… If she survived this engagement, her
platoon would leapfrog from rear guard, to the "point" of
what was left of "Combat Command Degussa", probably the
safest place in what was left of the unit. After all, if
they ran into the Blues at this point, it would mean they
were out of danger…. So strange to think that way.
Forcing her mind back to the present, she watched the lead
tank approach the bridge. The Tank was an off-planet
manufacture, something preferred by some mercenary groups,
something the Reds had smuggled in. It was no match for
the tanks the Elysium government had purchased from the
Imperium, but then, there weren’t too many of those left.
There WAS one, in admittedly rather bad shape, off to her
left, but she was hoping they wouldn’t have to use it, to
stall the Reds advance. It was her ride back towards the
rest of the column.
Xian breathed a sigh of relief as his tank crossed the
bridge. He’d half been expecting yet another demolition
charge. It seemed as if every culvert, every bridge, and
even every defile had its surprise, as they moved into the
foothills. The Elysium forces were NOT surrendering, and
they weren’t running away as their leaders had. And it
wasn’t just here, either. It seemed almost all across the
planet, the remnants of the Elysium defense force were
fighting harder than ever. He just hoped they were
fighting the Blues as fanatically as they were fighting
against the Reds.
Faye grinned as the bridge was blown, just as the command
vehicle was at mid-span. It really wasn’t much of a
bridge, scarcely longer than the vehicle that was on it
when the charges went off. Still, it dropped the wreck
into the creek bed quite nicely. Checking her sight-
picture, she squeezed the trigger on the thermal sight.
Ten meters to her right, the launcher kicked the anti-tank
guided missile out of the launch tube, and then its solid
fuel motor ignited, catapulting it towards its target.
Xian jerked his head around as someone called out a warning
over the radio; even with the commander’s independent
viewer, he STILL couldn’t see shit from inside this thing.
Then the tank’s computer started screaming about incoming
fire, and automatically dispersing countermeasures.
Pulling on the tank commander’s turret override handle, he
slewed the turret around in the direction he thought the
threat might be coming from.
Faye smiled grimaced as she guided the missile past the
countermeasures. Some missiles were smart enough to ignore
them, but she had an older variant. As the missile struck
home, she slid down behind the bank a little and turned to
look, to see how her teammates were coming, reloading the
launcher. When the bridge blew, there were still six
vehicles on THEIR side of the bank, and they had to be
neutralized before they got to leave…
Xian jerked, hitting his head on the hatch cover as the
tank next to his blew up. "Driver, get us BEHIND them! I
want to use THEM to shield us from whatever killed them!
Gunner! Do you see anything yet?"
Watlow squinted through the TC’s gunsight. Things were
going fairly well, with the Reds units deploying on the far
bank of the stream, and his teammates picking off the ones
on this side. It should slow ‘em down quite a bit, as they
sent infantry across the stream, and then brought up a
bridging unit. But that tank there, hull down, behind the
burning hulk of one of his mates… THAT one was smart. That
one was going to be a problem. At least for his team
mates…. But not for him. Sliding down into the gunner’s
seat, he caressed the controls, traversing the turret just
a hair…. He only had three rounds of "special" ammunition
left, and he hated to waste a round, but….. double
checking the laser rangefinder, and comparing it to his
mental estimate, he lightly let his thumb touch the button
on the top of his right joystick…..
Faye flinched as the tank to her left fired. The Imperium
made good stuff, and the hypervelocity round cleaved
through the burning Reds tank, through the one hiding
behind it, and on to bury itself in the far slope. The
sonic boom generated by the passing of the round was almost
more than she could stand, even given the earphones in her
helmet and the sound-deadening filters. Her head hurt.
Sensing movement at the corner of her vision, she turned
and saw her comrades starting to pull back. Looking to her
right, to make sure her team had retrieved the ATGM
launcher, she slid a little further down the bank, turned,
and staying low, sprinted for the tank, which was starting
to rev up its fans. Grinning, she thought she’d enjoy
riding point for a while…..
"General, I’ve got the latest satellite imagery; it seems
Degussa’s having a helluva time with the Reds Third Shock
Army. They’re engaged in a rather heavy rear-guard
action." General Rogers nodded; "And every moment they buy
us lets us prepare that much more. Down in Sanoa province
the Reds have hit our 4th Army with everything they’ve got;
they’ve been pushed back a good sixty kilometers, and have
lost the city of Bilboa. And in the Rabual Archipelago…. I
don’t even want to think about what’s going on there!"
"Yessir, I understand. And here I thought the day the
Elysium Government fell would be a day to rejoice!
Anyways, Degussa is asking if we can spare any support for
them." Rogers nodded slowly; "As amazing as it might seem,
right now, the survival of our former enemy is definitely
in our best interests. See if our good friends, the
Brethren have anything they can send their way. Oh, and
have the artillery units prepare to fire support missions
as soon as Degussa’s within range."
Palmer watched curiously as a flight of Elysium Government
"mudfighters" settled to the ground, a couple hundred
meters distant. The unit had been enroute to bomb and
strafe the Blues advancing units when they’d gotten word of
the Government’s exodus. Negotiations had been carried out
in mid-air, and now the unit was landing at the blues base,
to refuel, shifting smoothly to working for the Blues,
against the Reds. The whole nature of the war had changed
with lightning speed. Turning, he watched his Flight
Leader, the legendary "Sailor" Maran, as he headed towards
the Ops building from where their raider ships had landed,
off to get new instructions from the Blues Sky Marshall…..
"Sailor" Maran looked at his Squadron Commander and
blinked; "Now, wait a minute, Sam…. Thirty minutes ago we
were pounding the government forces as HARD as we could,
and the Reds were our allies… and now… Now the Reds are the
target, and the Government Forces are our allies?"
Deighton sighed and shrugged; "Apparently Combat Command
Degussa has come over to us, with the fall of the Elysium
Government… AND the Reds have launched assaults on the
Blues in several areas, and have been shooting at OUR ships
in orbit. It looks as if they’re going for all the
marbles. SO, the next mission is close air support for
Degussa, as we try and keep the Reds from chewing up our
new allies." Maran looked sceptically at his boss; "Um….
Standard pay schedule for this?" Sam laughed and nodded;
"Yeah, THAT hasn’t changed."
Faye peered through the bush and wished that it was more
substantial. Concealment was not always cover. Still, it
was the best spot available. They’d had their time on
point, moved through the van of the retreat, and were now,
once again, pulling drag, trying to delay the Reds. And
once again, her ATGM team was the cornerstone of the
roadblock. Except this time the Reds had been smart enough
to dismount their infantry before coming over the ridge.
The swarm of soldiers coming over the ridge remined her of
a flood, and she loosened her sidearm in its holster.
Against them, her ATGM team were going to be useless…..
"Deadbeat Leader to Any Degussa Element; we’re on station
over Hill 653, and are awaiting missions." Faye stared at
her radio for a moment and then snatched it from its place
on her combat webbing; "Um, This is 3-23 to Deadbeat
leader, we’re at. Um, 872 by, ah, 224, and we’re in DEEP
shit; need an antipersonnel mission FAST!"
"Hey, Sailor, how do we do THAT?" Maran looked out the
port window of his Raider and grinned; keying his mike he
growled; "Palmer, its simple, mate, just watch what I do.
Packard, you keep high enough to watch for antiair threats;
keep the buggers off our backs. OK, Folks, follow me, and
lets go get those bastards!"
Faye watched, wide-eyed, as the Brethren’s raider ship
seemed to be coming in for a landing, its repulsors
howling. For a second, the Reds infantry paused… she could
see them lifting weapons, to fire up wards at the
descending ship… Then the sound of the repulsors
changed….. and the maneuvering thrusters came on.
Packard watched from an altitude of several thousand
meters; this was both safer, with respect to small arms
weapons, and much more dangerous with respect to ground
based anti-air systems. Still, his sensors could see far
enough to warn of incoming interceptors… and his shields
should handle anything else. At least anything the Reds
were likely to have here. His eyes went wide as Sailor cut
on his manuvering thrusters, blue flame washing from the
fusion motors, as he used the repulsors to hold his ship
down against the counter-thrust. He’d never thought of
that… and wished he’d never seen it practiced either.
Faye turned and ran, the bush behind her bursting into
flame as the Raider ship, several hundred meters distant,
washed the floor of the small valley with fusion fire. No
one was shooting back from there anymore, but the volume of
fire was increasing from the far ridge. That wouldn’t last
long as a second raider settled in, thrusters fighting
Min watched carefully, waiting. The Raider had dipped down
below the ridge, but she felt sure it would come back to
scour the opposite side. The Reds had plenty of troops to
throw into the fray, although few were as seasoned as the
Third Shock Army, but a Raider ship was a prize in its own
right. Carefully sighting in her self-propelled artillery
rocket launcher she waited….. YES, there it was! The
targeting system wasn’t made for something like this, the
range was rediculously short, but still, at this range, how
could she miss? Holding her breath, she armed her weapons
and hit the launch key.
Palmer flinched as he heard the threat warning tone.
Instinctively his hand reached out to cut the thrusters,
trusting that the repulsors would throw him upwards
violently, and hopefully out of harm’s way. He just didn’t
make it fast enough. The first artillery rocket hit the
Starboard shield just as his finger hit the button; it was
a tactical nuke, and the ship shuddered. The second one
was also a tactical nuke, and with a cyan flash, the
shields flared and failed; the third was also a nuke, being
a last of a set in the Artillery Missile’s ammo can, with
the next three, in the next can, being currently-unguided
precision conventional munitions. They all hit faster than
the Repulsors could get the Raider out of their trajectory.
The raider disintigrated, secondary explosions throwing
shrapnel for miles.
Min’s eyes went wide as the Raider exploded; she’d done it!
She’d be a Hero! That thought had barely formed in her
mind when the shock wave struck, and all her reloads went
off in sympathetic detonation.
Sailor yelped and pressed the thruster cut-off key; he’d
had his left hand there since the start of his run as a
cautionary measure. As his ship was flung skyward by the
straining repulsors, he felt it tumble; he just hoped the
computer could keep up with the rate of roll, pitch and
yaw, or the repulsors would slam him back down into the
ground. That wouldn’t be good…..
Faye howled as something burning hit the back of her left
thigh; tumbling to the ground, she pulled herself into as
small a ball as possible. She could feel the ground
shudder as odd bits of the ship impacted. And in one small
corner of her mind, she chortled; if the Reds had taken
casualties before, THIS was going to keep them off
Degussa’s tail for more than a few minutes.
Palmer watched Sailor tumble past, rapidly regaining
control. Pulling up, he followed his leader; THIS mission
was done, although it had scarcely been worth the cost.
Maybe his flight leader didn't have all the answers after
all….. NEXT time, he’d find another way to deal with soft
targets. This one was too dangerous!
Sandoval looked back over his shoulder from the top of the
command vehicle; the fireball rising back there couldn’t
mean anything good….. Turning to an aide he growled "Find
out what happened back there."
Tobias watched as the Elysium vehicles streamed over the
bridge at Hammstein. They were battle-stained, scarred,
and in many cases, carried wounded, perched on the top of
the combat vehicles’decks, clinging to tenuous perches.
They’d made it, but it was rumored that the Red’s third
shock army was close behind, and rolling hot. Tobias
grinned and dropped down through the tank commander’s
hatch, to look at the TC’s displays. His company was well
dug in, with supporting artillery to the rear, and
mechanized infantry well dug in to the front. There was
even a unit of Merc Mechwarriors around somewhere he could
call on, if a flanking maneuver was called for. The Reds
would have to force a river crossing under heavy fire. And
he didn’t think even they were stupid enough to try that…
Faye winced in pain as the surgeon probed her wound. It
had been a bumpy ride in on the top of the APC, and she’d
lost a lot of blood. Worse, she’d lost most of her team-
mates, and their ATGM launcher…. But now… now what? They
were safe from the Reds, but what was their future to be
with the Blues? Prisoners of war? Second class citizens,
to be used as cannon fodder? Would the fighting go on and
on and on? Maybe it would have been better to have died
back there, with her mates. Laying back tiredly, she
waited for the anesthetics to kick in. At least the Blues
had medical supplies left.
Sandoval ducked through the canvas flap and entered the
command bunker. All around him, furrs in hodgepodge
uniforms stiffened. Scanning the crowd he picked out a
gray Fox, who seemed to be wearing Colonel’s insignia.
Coming to attention, he saluted. After a moment, the Fox
returned the salute, and then stepped forward with paw
extended. Sandoval shook it carefully, almost gingerly,
and stared into the Fox’s eyes for a moment, as if trying
to size him up. "Colonel, I’m here to offer the surrender
of Combat Command Degussa. What, Sir, are your terms?"
The fox grinned, almost shyly, "Um, well, General Sandoval,
Surrender, per se, isn’t exactly what we had in mind. You
see, we seem to still be in a shooting war, of sorts. The
Reds have turned on us, and seem to be seeking to conquor
all the other factions, to sieze control of the planet for
themselves. Obviously we’re in no mood to accommodate
them. Now, if you’re willing, this is what we have in
Faye looked at the hand-written order and shook her head in
disbelief. Next to her, an Otter by the name of Mac-
Something-or-Other chuckled; "NOT what I expected, eh,
Faye?" Faye shook her head, and returned her gaze to the
order. All Elysium troopers were to provide the Blues
Regimental Services unit with name, rank, and serial
number. Their records were to be checked, to see if the
trooper was a wanted war criminal; if not, she was to
report to the Blues 738th Mechanised Infantry Regiment, 2nd
Battalion, Company D. Looking up at the Otter, Faye shook
her head; "We’ve been DRAFTED?" The Otter chuckled; "Yeah;
just FINE by me; I get to keep killing Reds. After what
they did to my family over in Yucca province, well, its all
I’ve got left. Hey, the neat thing is they’re not even
disbanding Degussa; just transferring about half the folks
out to Blues units and transferring in Blues replacements.
The unit lives on!" Faye sighed, shifted her sore leg, and
leaned back agaisnt the wall; "Well, I suppose it could
have been worse. Looks like I get to keep my rank, and the
pay’s about the same. Could be in a prison camp
somewhere….." The Otter chuckled; "or you could be in a
Reds slave labor camp, or dead. Yeah, this has significant
advantages. Hey, I wonder if they’ll give us some leave
Tsu peered into the darkness as he entered the café. It
was his favorite place for lunch, and let him talk to the
townsfolks, the honest people that the revolution was
supposed to be all about. Of course, he still wound up
seeing mostly the same people; he couldn’t take enough time
off from his job as Harta province govenor, to travel more
than a few minutes for lunch; and there were only so many
eateries within walking distance. Still, it was good to
hear oppinions not censored by his well-meaning staff.
Ordering a bowl of noddles and an egg roll, he took his tea
and found a table in the middle of the room.
Louis smiled; the Governor was back again. That furr’s
presence always helped his lunch business, supplicants and
firebrands coming to get a word in with the leader. And
they almost always bought lunch too. Most of them wanted
to make it look as if it were just a chance meeting, that
they weren’t actually trying to circumvent the normal
procedure, just catching the Governor by chance…. No
matter, his patronage was appreciated, as was his
Graznitz peered through the Café window; yes, the Skunk was
there. Foolish to travel outside the circle of protection
that such a powerful figure should have. Foolish not to
have bodyguards. But it made his task all the easier.
Stuffing his paws into the cutout pockets of his
trenchcoat, the Buffalo shouldered his way into the Café.
Under his trenchcoat he had, hung from slings around his
shoulders, two automatic shotguns; it would be a very
public and brutal execution. The Reds would be proud.
Billy Dee sighed as he sat at the small table, careful not
to let his soup slop. It’d been a busy morning, the
trucking company he worked for had gone absolutely berzerk
as the fighting had passed. The Blues wanted supplies
moved to the front, now three provinces away, and all the
businesses that hadn’t been destroyed were spooling back
up, all screaming for trucks to deliver raw materials or to
deliver finished goods. Business wasn’t just good, it was
crazy! And he wished he’d gotten here sooner; he would
have preferred a table a little further away from the
Governor. Not that he didn’t like the guy; he was OK as
far as politicians went, perhaps a little too liberal for
his bent, but so many furrs swarmed around the guy, it was
hard to eat in peace. Like this guy, this big Buffalo,
barging his way through the Café. What was he doing
wearing a trenchcoat on a fine spring day like this,
anyways? And it was then that it hit him……
Graznitz elbowed his way past the squirrel, and came to a
stop in front of the Skunk. Glowering down, he growled;
"In the name of the People of Elysium, and the Reds Party,
Lous blinked in amazement, pausing in his task of chopping
cutlets for the day’s special; what was that Buffalo
saying? Were those GUNS he was pulling out from under his
coat? And then a purely irrational thought formed in his
mind, his body in motion almost before he realized it; with
a scream of "NOT IN MY RESTAURANT" he threw his butcher’s
cleaver straight at the Buffalo’s head.
Billy also acted on instinct, picking up his soup bowl and
tossing it, and its contents at the Buffalo. Rising, he
turned to pick up his chair, just as something gleaming
Tsu blinked, a spoonful of noodles half way to his mouth,
as the Buffalo stopped in front of his table; he was just
about to chastise him for so rudely shoving the squirrel
out of the way when the Buffalo started to growl something
about the Reds, flipping open his coat to display two
massive shotguns. Dropping his spoon, the Governor pointed
at the Buffalo just as someone’s soup splashed across his
front. An instant later something silvery flashed just
over his head.
Graznitz Yelped as scalding hot soup splashed across him;
he was just recovering from this when something hit his
forehead hard, right between the horns! Staggering
backwards, he managed to get the shotguns out from under
his trenchcoat, one of them discharging, blowing a rather
sizeable hole in the ceiling. The last thing he saw,
before the world turned red, was that rediculous Skunk
POINTING at him.
Tsu’s left elbow smacked his side hard, hitting the
powerpack he wore under his tunic; the laser, in a sling
under his right arm pulsed, its beam of coherent light
following a fiber optic cable, up over his right shoulder,
along his arm, to the top of the tip of his right index
finger. Ruby light cleaved over the staggering Buffalo,
setting his fur on fire. Rising, as the Buffalo toppled
backwards, the Skunk thwapped his left elbow against his
side, pulsing light from his finger, making sure the
Buffalo was incapacitated, without killing him. This whole
incident demanded investigation, and it wouldn’t do to kill
the one person who knew most about it.
Billy held the chair over his head, suddenly feeling very
foolish as the Governor himself took out the assassin.
Setting it back down, he looked down at his now-empty lunch
tray. With a sigh, he turned to go back to the counter, to
get another bowl of soup. On the way, he pauses to pull
one of the shotguns from the severed hand of the Buffalo;
those things could twitch and he didn’t want it firing the
gun. Clicking the safety on, he leaned it against the
Governor’s table, not knowing what else to do.
Lous looked down at the Buffalo, now deep in shock. The
goat shook his head and sighed; "I’m sorry, Governor Tsu, I
must be getting old. I MEANT for the cleaver to hit sharp
end first, not handle first!" The Skunk chuckled; "Ah,
with a skull as thick as this one has, it probably
wouldn’t have made much difference; still, the effort is
greatly appreciated, my friend. Now, lets see what we can
do about cleaning up your establishment, eh?"
Cromwell frowned as he looked at the image of the skunk in
the monitor; "you’re lucky, Tsu; three other governors have
successfully been assassinated. Reds commando teams are
loose all through our rear areas, creating havoc. They
blew up the Vinchenzo narrows bridge, and have severely
damaged the Orrick Dam. You’d best put your police on a
higher level of alert; they may strike at other targets in
your province." The Skunk just nodded; "Luckily we have
the support of the people, who have been thoroughly
outraged at these events. Citizens have so far turned in
dozens of "suspicious" characters. Of course, most of them
check out, but we have caught several wanted criminals, and
we may have intercepted some other commandos…. I’ll keep
The air on the ship was a little cool, but Clements was
still sweating inside her armor. Kneeling at the side of
one of the Overlord’s innumerable corridors, she waited,
with her squad. Normally the Marines the Overlord carried
were used for boarding ships, but this time she was
preparing to defend her ship against boarders. Normally
both the attackers and the defenders were very careful
about the weapons they used, both sides seeking to maintain
the value of the ship they were fighting over… And yet
this time she was sure the Reds commando team would use
anything they could, to disrupt the functioning of the
Overlord. Checking her assault rifle once again, she
waited. They should breach the hull right over there, any
Koz dove through the breach in the wall, bringing up his
assault shotgun… only to find the corridor empty. Grinning
he waved to his teammates and moved away from the hull
breach. The escape pod/assault craft hadn’t sealed
perfectly to the hull, and he could hear the whistling of
air leaking into the vastness of space. Didn’t matter. He
could care less if the whole ship depressurized; that might
only aid him in his mission. On the other hand, loss of
pressure generally brought pressure doors slamming closed,
and he’d hate to be boxed in like that. Best move fast, so
that when the pressure dropped low enough, he and his team
were on the OTHER side of the pressure doors. Starting off
down the corridor, he never saw the fox seemingly
materialize from nowhere. However, he DID feel the sword
as it cut through his armor, and his flesh, as if it were
Entity surveyed the scene. He had successfully clouded the
minds of the attackers, effectively erasing himself from
their consciousness, until it was time to attack. And then
his Grandsire’s blade, with the monomolecular edge, had
done the rest. Even their armor had been unable to stop a
weapon so devilishly sharp. Now they lay about him on the
deck, their blood staining the floor. This one had been
easy; they weren’t ready for him, and he’d been able to
achieve a perfect position. Next time might not be so
Ben groaned as he felt the Overlord shudder and then
shudder again. He owned a piece of this ship too, and the
mounting repair bill was going to be staggering… and yet…
He’d throw all his shares away if he could save the folks
down on that planet. As the Battlecruiser chased the
doomsday device, it was savaged from all sides, by the
Elysium warships, and by the Reds Peoples Space Navy.
Shields flickered, failed, reformed and flickered yet again
under the continuous pounding. Antimissle batteries fired,
fired, looked and fired again as they sought to stop the
incoming missiles. The fire was so thick, they were having
a hard time maintaining their lock on their elusive quarry.
Damage control parties scurried about, trying to keep
everything together, and the Marines fought vicious actions
as they attempted to halt the saboteur teams the Reds had
landed on their vessel. It was a helluva day!
Clements felt herself propelled backwards by the shockwave.
Still, as she was flung backwards she was able to get off
another shot at the Reds Commando with the grenade
launcher. Landing with a hard WHUMP, she rolled and
scrambled, trying to find some cover. Jenkins reached out
to grab her, to pull her around the corner, but a round,
either marvelously aimed, or horribly unlucky, caught him
in the wrist, the Raccoon pulling back a paw dangling by
just a thread of flesh. As she moved, Clements felt a
round smack her in the lower back, and in the upper thigh,
both rounds absorbed by her armor. Panting as she gained
safety for the moment she thought she was gonna be really
Shannon looked at the face on her monitor in total
exasperation: "No, you flaming idiot! The missile the
Elysium ship launched is a PLANET WRECKER! If it hits the
planet you won’t have anything to go home TO! No glorious
revolution! No Family! NOTHING! Look, you asshole, we’re
NOT shooting at you! We’re….." Shannon’s voice trailed
off, as she stared at the blank monitor. Looking up at one
of her Comm techs, she shook her head; "He hung up on me!
The Reds bastard HUNG UP ON ME! Ooooooh, I’m gonna get him
The Lion turned to Ben and shrugged; "looks like no one’s
buying the truth. We’re just going to have to do this the
hard way. The Wolf just nodded.
Entity smiled a cold smile. The Reds commando team near
the forward port missile launcher had been facing down a
squad of Marines. And he’d come at them from behind. Once
again his sword sang, as he danced among them, oblivious to
the cries of outrage, or the screams of frustration… or
pain. As the Marines started to poke their heads up to see
what happened, the gray Fox turned, and with his cloak
trailing behind him, headed down another cross-corridor, on
his quiet way to the next fight.
Shannon half-rose from her seat, eyes searching the Bridge.
"BEN! Got a signal from Hawthorne and his group! They’ve
secured the Elysium Destroyer "Bainbridge!" The Wolf threw
her a grin, and nodded acknowledgement. That was the third
Elysium warship they’d manage to board, and subdue. The
tactics the Reds were employing weren’t new, they were just
seldom practiced against the pirates! Looking around, Ben
tried to spot the next problem. As they pursued the
Doomsday device, their flight path had taken them through
the Elysium convoy, but now that was mostly behind them.
There, that Reds Destroyer; that was going to be the next
President Erog slid up behind the Captain of the Elysium
Flagship. Very quietly, he asked "Can’t this thing go any
faster? Or can we really stand a pounding like this all
the way to the Jump Point?" The Captain turned and fixed
the Politician with a glare; "Sir, if we increase speed,
the other ships in the convoy won’t be able to keep up!
They won’t be able to provide us cover fire, and we won’t
be able to do the same for THEM!" Erog nodded and then
smiled greasily; "true, but right now it seems as if we’re
more of a target than THEY are; if we were to speed up,
might not some of our pursuers fall behind? It seems to me
that the …. "selfless" thing to do would be to increase
speed and try and draw the enemy away from those other
ships….." The Captain opened his mouth, but Erog’s glare
cut him off; "Just DO it, Captain! Need I say more?"
The Fox kept his breathing even, his mind focused. He’d
caught the Reds’ commando team in a relay room. Just a
small room off a main corridor on the way to the bridge. A
room full of high power switchgear. They’d been in the
process of setting demolition charges when he’d walked
through the door; the fight that resulted had been one of
the most curious the fox had ever been in. Not only did he
have to fend off multiple attackers, but he had to be VERY
careful where he swung his sword; its edge was easily sharp
enough to cut through the metal and plastics protecting the
high-power circuits. At least it also inhibited his foes,
who dared not use energy or projectile weapons for fear of
what a miss, or a ricochet might do. Whirling like the
proverbial Dervish, he sliced here, stabbed there,
gradually whittling down their numbers, their fighting
knives no match for his sword, their skill no match for
his. And yet, time was on their side; the longer it took
to dispatch them, the harder the others would be to deal
Caruso frowned, and then raised his head; "Skipper! You’re
not going to BELIEVE this! The Flagship’s accelerating!
They’re pulling out on us!" Captain Brace limped across
the bridge to the sensor console. For a moment she strove
to make sense of the display, the amount of jamming filling
the surrounding space at a level she’d never seen before.
After a moment she nodded. "Communications; get through to
the flagship and find out what in the HELL they think
they’re doing!" Looking across the bridge she fixed the
furr at the Engineering console with a glare; "how long
until we’re back to full capacity?" The Furr shook his
head; "Skipper, we’re stretched to the limit as it is; she
can’t take any more. And we’re not going to be able to
squeeze any more out of her without a full refit." Brace
looked back at the sensor display and softly growled
Onegin’s head snapped back and forth; on one hand the
Elysium Cruiser that was their flagship was making a break
for the Jump Point. On the other hand, the Brethren
flagship was headed towards the planet at full thrust.
There was no way he was going to be able to cover both…..
What to do? No matter which one he went after, he just
KNEW Xyloff was going to pitch a fit about letting the
other one get away……
Keenan shook his head; "OK, that’s it. We can’t keep up
with the Flagship, not at THAT speed…. We’re a freighter,
dammit, NOT a warship!" The Elysium naval officer, his
"watchdog" looked at him long and hard, arms crossed over
his chest; "and just what do you think you’re going to do?"
Keenan shrugged; "Think it through. We can fight on, and
get cut to pieces. We can try and flee on a different
vector, but I haven’t seen too many ships pull that off
successfully, and they were all faster than we are. Or we
can surrender, and live to see another day. You see any
holes in my logic?" The Naval Officer frowned for a
minute, immobile, and then his head shifted, to look at the
sensor display, his eyes on the moving blip that was the
Flagship….. "No… when that bastard cut and run, he cut
our throats. And personally, I’d LOVE to get the chance to
"ask" him, some day, just what in the hell he thought he
was doing. I HONESTLY thought Admiral Soames had more of a
backbone than that….." Turning back to look at Keenan, the
Officer growled; "Contact the Brethren, and ask for terms.
I’d rather go down fighting than to surrender to those
damned Reds!" Keenan grinned; "My thoughts exactly!"
Brace watched as the fleet disintigrated. Some of the
faster ships were trying hard to keep up with the flagship.
Some of the faster ships were trying to escape, to just
flee the battle. And most of the slower ships were
surrendering. And as that happened, there were more and
more of the Pirates to come pound on HER hull. With a
sigh, she turned to her communications officer; "Signal the
ships nearest us; we’re surrendering….."
Entity frowned…. He could feel the commandos behind the
adjacent bulkhead… but they didn’t seem to have the same …
"flavor" as the others he’d dealt with so far. These
seemed colder. Harder. If anything, more dedicated. More
fanatical. And the focus of their attention seemed to be……
The Lion! Straightening, Entity’s eyes widened as he
realized that the foes he was about to engage weren’t
trying to destroy the Overlord from the inside…. They were
here with a single purpose; to kill the Brethren’s leader.
A decapitation strike. A strike of vengeance against the
one that had caused the Reds so very much trouble…..
Tightening his grip on his sword, the Fox readied himself;
this was going to be a fight to test him to the limit, and
it was one he would have to win as soon as possible. The
Lion had to be warned!
The Lion’s head jerked around at the shout. On a bridge
full of noise, of instruments beeping, of alarms sounding,
of furrs struggling to "manage" the battle, to fight their
ship, this one instantly caught his attention. The officer
in charge of sensors, electronic countermeasures and
counter-countermeasures had also picked up on it, and was
already at the technician’s console. Looking over the
officer’s shoulder, the Lion watched as the tech replayed
the last few seconds. Sure enough, the doomsday weapon
faded from view, with the characteristic rippling
distortion of a cloaking device. "OK, this wasn’t
unexpected. We know where its going. And for an automated
system of that level, they generally have to decloak to fix
their position for course corrections. Given the
distance…. I’d suspect it’ll decloak one, maybe two times
before it tries to detonate. We’ll just have to stay
sharp!" Turning, the Lion moved towards the fire control
Ben looked up as the Lion arrived; while the Reds PSN
destroyer wasn’t really a match for the Battlecruiser, they
were stubbornly refusing to yield, lying dead in the path
of the larger ship. For a moment the Lion wondered if the
cloaked doomsday device might run into the Destroyer, but
then he dismissed that as wishful thinking; they just
couldn’t get that lucky! Glancing at the Wolf, the Lion
growled; "Don’t slack off on the speed. We have GOT to do
everything we can, to get ahead of that missile. It’ll be
a LOT easier to spot, when it decloaks, if the dark,
emptiness of space is behind it. If we have to spot it
agaisnt the planet, it’ll almost be impossible." The Wolf
Entity retreated three steps, parried, and lunged; his
opponent, almost as skilled as he, parried his thrust and
spun, attempting a vicious backslash. But the Fox wasn’t
there, he’d dropped almost to the deck, slashing in turn at
his adversary’s ankles; sparks flew from his sword, the
opponent’s monocrystalline armor splitting, but not
allowing his weapon to bite… or had it? Was that a thin
trickle of blood he saw? Grinning, the Fox pressed his
attack for a moment and then fell back a step. If he could
allow the floor beneath his opponent’s feet to become slick
with his own blood, the Furr might slip. It was an edge he
desperately needed. Moving with all the grace of a master
dancer, he started to weave his tactics around just such a
The Lion looked from the Tactical display, to the
Chronometer, to the main viewscreen and back; it was going
to be close. The Reds Destroyer was growing large in their
screens, the battlecruiser’s guns and missile batteries
hammering it hard. Large pieces of hullmetal were flaking
off, and the yellow-orange glow of something burning was
visible through the holes in at least two locations; but
still the ship fought on….. and in doing so, almost
perfectly blocked the line-of-sight to where the battle
computer predicted the doomsday weapon would uncloak…..
Onegin looked at the furr on the viewscreen; half the fur
of his head and shoulders had been singed away, his uniform
torn, and bloody. "No, you are NOT to withdraw! You are
to HOLD them there until the rest of us can close on them
from behind! If you have to, RAM the Bastard!" With a
grand gesture, Onegin reached out and broke the connection,
praying that the Captain of that ship was loyal enough,
fanatical enough, STUPID enough to do exactly as ordered….
For if he didn’t, they’d never catch that S.O.B. before
they ran under the guns of the surface-to-orbit batteries
controlled by the Blues…. "I don’t care WHAT he says, that
Lion is a coward, and he’s fleeing the battle, and we WILL
put paid to his account! AFTER THEM!"
Ben shook his head; "What is that Idiot trying to do?" The
Lion chuffed; "its simple; he’s trying to RAM us." Ben
shook his head; "either it’s a brilliant tactical move,
turning to put the narrow profile towards our guns, OR he’s
a suicidal fanatic." The Lion nodded; "but if he kills us,
or damages us too bad, we’ll fail in our quest. Turn the
ship to the side and bring as many guns to bear as you can.
Destroy him, and lets hope the doomsday device is late for
its mid-course correction!"
Onegin winced as the Battlecruiser’s full firepower
battered the Destroyer, until the latter’s shields failed,
and it vanished in a blaze of light, chunks of debris
flaring against the battlecruiser’s shields. And as the
Battlecruiser turned once again, to head towards the
planet, the doomsday weapon, its reappearance hidden by the
cataclysmic death of the Destroyer, quietly recloaked….
"Well, the good news is that we got a bead on its new
course. The bad news is the computer thinks it won’t
decloak again until its ready to detonate. And we have NO
idea where along its flightpath that might be." The Lion
nodded; "Flank speed. Get as low in the atmosphere as you
dare. If nothing else, it’ll keep us ahead of our
pursuit…." Once again, the Wolf just nodded.
Entity scowled; he didn’t like doing this at all; it just
wasn’t his "style"…. It wasn’t "elegant"… and it didn’t
give his opponents a fighting chance. Still, it served his
purposes. Thumbing the "arm" button, he waited half a
breath, listening, and then thumbed the "detonate" button.
Tossing the satchel charge, taken from one of the other
Reds commando teams around the corner, he turned away from
the blast, already heading to intercept the next group of
The Lion scowled; it seemed like the Overlord was rocked
every few seconds, from missile detonations, from evasive
maneuvers, from incredible energies impacting their
shields... but there was something about that last one that
was different.… more of a thud than a boom…. Glancing over
at the internal security monitor, his eyes widened…..
The corridor was a bloody mess. It was obvious that the
furrs that had died there weren’t from the Overlord’s
contingent of Marines. The armor, what was left of it,
wasn’t the style they used. Nor were the weapons they
carried. The Lion stared down the corridor, past the
flickering lights and growled; "I don’t know if one of our
people did this, or if they blew themselves up
accidentally, but they have gotten MUCH too close to the
Bridge. "Epstein, you hold here with Wallace and Tiernan.
I’m going to go back to the Bridge for a second, and see if
I can get us some reinforcements. Its obvious I misjudged
the intentions of our visitors…."
A quick glance at the internal security monitors confirmed
the Lion’s suspicion. While there were commando teams
headed for Engineering, Navigation, Sensors and Weapons,
there were at least four teams that were headed for the
Bridge. Well, three now. Looking up at Ben, the Lion
growled; "we’re short-handed enough here as it is; I’m
going to go down to the forward sensor bay and see if I
can’t round up an ad-hoc defense team. The Marines are
stretched just a little thin. I want you to keep after
that missile! We’ve GOT to stop it!"
Suzette was uncomfortable in her combat armor; her helmet
kept slipping down over her eyes, and it hurt her ears.
Normally she worked in the ship’s accounting office, in the
payroll section, but her battlestation was damage control
in the forward Sensor bay. And then the Boss had come
charging in, grabbing half of her team, dragging them out
to defend the Bridge, and the command deck. While she’d
had all the required courses, and had practiced in mock-
ups, she’d never actually fired her sidearm in anger. It
looked as if she was about to get the chance. Ahead, down
the A034 access corridor, something was moving…..
Raul stuck the fiber optic probe around the corridor
corner, and looked at the postage-stamp sized image
reflected in his visor. Damn. They were waiting for him.
About a half dozen furrs….. a scratch force by the looks of
them. Grinning, he pulled the probe back and readied a
The Lion inched up along the wall, his back pressed flat
against it; he’d been expecting the commandos to approach
carefully, especially after passing the scorched and
bloodied section of the corridor, and he’d caught the
motion as the probe was withdrawn. He knew what he’d do in
their shoes; now it was all just a matter of timing…..
Raul smiled softly to himself, armed the grenade, and was
about to toss it around the corner when a gloved paw stuck
a pistol around the corner and started firing. The impact
of the slug was spread across his torso, his armor stopping
the slug despite the point blank range…. But the energy of
the impact still threw him backwards. He collided into
Ito… and dropped the grenade.
The Lion felt the wave of heat wash around the corner,
singeing exposed fur. Having reloaded his pistol he waited
for some of the terrible heat to dissipate, and then,
moving low, charged around the corner. Three of the furrs
were down, but three more were still standing, looking a
little dazed. The Lion picked not the closest, but the one
who’s weapon was more nearly pointed at him, firing
carefully, aiming for places where the armor was thinnest.
Ito shook his head, trying to clear his vision. Raul’s
body had protected him from the blast, but it wouldn’t
protect him from the raging beast that had just stepped
around the corner. Eyes widening he suddenly realized that
this was their quarry, the one they’d been sent to kill.
Even as he tried to raise his weapon, he growled out a
warning to the other teams, that their quarry was no longer
on the Bridge, but loose on the Command deck. He just
hoped his commlink would relay the message.
Suzette saw the Boss disappear around the corner in the
smoke and heat of the explosion. Without really quite
knowing what she was doing, she was on her feet, following
him. The Boss’ pistol was an antique, a huge-calibered
projectile weapon from a bygone age… and as the last round
was fired, its action locked open. The Lion’s movements
were smooth, as he turned away, the clip dropping from the
weapon’s grip, another clip materializing in his other
paw…. But there was still one of the Commandos standing,
his assault rifle coming up. With an uncharacteristic
growl, Suzette brought her own weapon up, and fired. The
beam from the more modern laser pistol sliced across the
front of the Commando’s armor, angling upwards, leaving a
bright gash where it burned through ballistic and ablative
armors to the reflective layer beneath… and then it cut
into the comparatively weak neck joint. The Commando
flailed, his weapon stitching a line of holes across the
roof, and then he was writhing in silence on the floor,
limbs flailing. The Lion’s weapon clacked, as he released
the slide, and stepping forward, he stood above the
Commando to put a round straight down through the faceplate
of his helmet, putting the furr out of his misery. Nodding
his thanks to Suzette, the Lion trotted down the corridor,
to cautiously look left and right, making sure there wasn’t
another party coming to the aid of the first.
"You realize you can’t stay here." The Lion turned at the
soft, almost whispered words, and stared. Entity had
somehow materialized at his side, his robe stained with
blood, and soot, torn here and there, and actually sliced
in a few places. The Fox looked tired, but otherwise none
the worse for wear. After a moment, the Lion rumbled "We
need to protect the Bridge" The Fox smiled; "But its not
the Bridge they’re after. Its YOU they seek. If you stay
in one place, surely they will find you! Why make their
task easier." The Lion thought for a moment, and then
grinned, fangs glinting. "I’ve always thought that a good
offense is the best defense. Lets see if we can take the
battle to them!" Entity nodded; "True, but if we go this
way, we can hit them in the flank, before they reach this
Suzette fired her weapon, an unfamiliar, ungainly thing
she’d picked up from one of the corpses, and then ducked
back around the corner. They were moving slowly, more
Commandos after them than she’d thought possible. By
slowly retreating they were able to keep themselves from
being flanked, and were still able to make the Reds pay for
each corridor, each intersection, each stairway they
gained. And every once in a while, Entity, or the Lion
himself would find a place of concealment, to wait until
the commandos had passed, to fall on them from behind.
Slowly they were leaving a path of destruction and bodies
behind them as they moved Aft, and down, from the Command
Deck. Pausing, Suzette frowned at a sign on the wall.
Engineering? Had they really traveled THAT far? Her ears
swiveling, she turned back to the matter at hand, soft
footfalls signaling the next desperate assault.
Ben’s ears swiveled at the shout, followed by the rest of
his head; "YES, there it is! I got it!" One of the sensor
operators was almost out of his chair. Turning quickly,
Ben opened his mouth to bark an order at the fire control
technicians, only to find them already on the job.
Particle beams, laser light, and even a few missiles lanced
out from the Battle cruiser. But as suddenly as it
appeared, the Doomsday device recloaked. They’d missed.
The Lion listened to the announcement made over the ship’s
general address system, and groaned. They were running out
of time. And then he had a thought….. Grabbing the Fox,
he growled "Can you hold ‘em off me for a while? I’ve got
a wild idea…" The Fox nodded, and with that, the Lion
turned, dashing off down the corridor.
The Brou device sat in the middle of the floor, of the
compartment, as it had for months. The Lion skidded to a
stop by it, and with quick, jerky motions began pressing
the buttons that would power it up. It was a long shot, he
knew, but maybe, just maybe it was the correct "weapon" for
Parks stared in amazement at the master Engineering
display; something was suddenly sucking a LOT of power.
Following the circuit diagrams, his eyes widened, and then
narrowed. Could it be….? Stabbing the comm button on his
console, he growled; "BRIDGE, this is ENGINEERING;
something funny’s going on!"
The Lion smiled as he heard the intercom buzz; before a
word could be spoken, he called out "Yes, Ben, its me. I
suddenly had an epiphany; the particle beams, lasers and
other weapons all take too long to target, track and
destroy such a small target at any significant distance.
If I can form a space-time rift, I can sweep it back and
forth with the speed of thought, and if I make it large
enough we can swallow something the size of the Doomsday
weapon in the blink of an eye!" On the Bridge, the Wolf
shook his head; "Boss, that’s a DAMN risky proposition;
that thing’s never been tested as a weapon, and your
control just isn’t that hot! Do you know how many lives
you’re risking on a wild-assed hunch like that? Besides,
you’re eating up power for the shields! We may not even be
able to defend ourselves!" The lion’s reply was gruff; "Do
what you can to defend the ship, Ben; I’ve got to do what I
think is right!" The connection closed with an audible
For a moment the Wolf stood, staring at the speaker. And
then he sighed; looking up, he looked around the Bridge;
"you heard him. I’ve followed him this long, I’m not about
to start second-guessing him now. Engineering! Do
everything you can to squeeze every last erg out of the
reactors. Anything extra goes to sheilds… and weapons.
Missile launchers don’t take much power. Helm, hold
position as best you can; I know its rough this deep in a
gravity well, but do what you can. Now, how long until
that damned thing’s supposed to reappear?"
Entity’s slash literally sent a head rolling down the
corridor, helmet and all. Breathing heavy, the Fox looked
around…. That was the last one, at least in this team.
He’d lost track of how many others there might be.
Motioning to the other defenders, he led them back in the
direction the Lion had gone.
The Lion sat by the base of the machine, trying to
concentrate, trying to achieve the alpha brainwave state.
The controls for the device hadn’t fit his hands, and its
control system didn’t really fit his mind. Wishing once
again that Mark was still around, he settled down to
concentrate, attempting to form the mental images necessary
to control the device, to tell it what to do. And in the
background of his mind, the same thought kept running over
and over, a litany, a prayer; "I don’t care what you do, or
how you do it, DON’T let that thing kill all those people!"
Onegin frowned; something was happening out there;
something very strange was happening out there. Gravity
instrumentation, and all sorts of arcane radiation
detectors were fluctuating wildy; something like a neon-
blue nimbus was forming in the area of the Brethren’s
flagship, growing, oscillating, almost twisting back upon
itself at one point. It seemed to be some sort of
distortion in space… and it was growing. And it was headed
in HIS direction! "Science Officer; what IS that thing?
Is it some sort of secret weapon?" The Marmoset blinked,
and then shrugged; "Sir, it seems to be…. It might be…
um…. Well…." The furr blinked again, and the words seemed
to tumble out in a rush;
Onegin sighed; "But is it a WEAPON?" The Marmoset nodded;
"if… if they can control it, if they can… urrr… if we were
to get too close to it, ah… yes, I suppose so!" Onegin’s
aid edged closer; "Sir, they may be desperate; they’ve
retreated to the planet, probably for cover from ground-
based weapons; now they seem to be using a last-ditch
untried weapon! Sir, we HAVE them! We MUST attack!
Onegin looked at his aide and nodded slowly; "Perhaps,
but…" Straightening, he looked about his bridge and called
out in what he hoped was a strong, confident voice; "Order
the remaining ships to attack. We’ll hang back a bit, to,
ah "evaluate" this new weapon… and to act as a mobile
reserve, should it be called for…."
<<<Clear at last, a thought is. Understand this, I can.
Comply with it, I shall>>>
Ben stared in open-eyed wonder as the distortion seemed to
stabilize, to grow larger. At the same time, he noticed
from the corner of his eye, the power consumption dropping
significantly. Perhaps the Lion really HAD mastered the
device. Now… was it in the right place? Where would the
Doomsday device reappear?
The event was more felt, than seen, or heard. Suddenly the
Lion KNEW that the Doomsday device was decloaking, not
directly above the ship, as he’d thought, but off to the
right, and "up". Shifting his mental image, stretching out
imaginary hands wide, stretching the writhing "snake" in
his imagination, he tried to catch the seed that was the
doomsday device in the "mouth" of the snake, while keeping
the "tail" as far away as possible…… and then he grinned;
he shifted the tail "up" several stories in the imaginary
building. If distance was better, lets see if he could
throw the doomsday device into some parallel, or alternate
With the cold efficiency of a machine, the doomsday device
decloaked, confirmed its position, and activated itself,
all in a matter of seconds. Powerful energies were fed
into devices; the power surge was immense, but the device
was built to contain them. From the center of the device,
a rift in space-time, not coherent, and orderly such as the
Brou device was capable of, but a churning, seething
maelstrom grew, slowly at first, and then expanding with
exponential speed. And as it grew, the distortion of the
Brou device intersected it……
Reggie looked off to the left, something catching his eye.
He’d had a profitable day; they’d personally captured two
of the smaller freighters, and had "assists" with one of
the bigger ones. They might even make a claim on an assist
on one of the Elysium warships, but that was gonna be kinda
thin; they’d gotten there when it was all almost over.
Still, he’d put in the paperwork and see where it’d go.
Nudging Slasher he pointed to the glowing blue nimbus that
seemed to be spreading out in the area of Elysium.
Something funny was going on there…..
The Lion wrestled with his mental images; the "mouth" of
the "snake" had been above the weapon, when it decloaked,
and he’d moved the Snake rather rapidly to make the
interception. The "seed" that was the device had blossomed
to form some sort of malevolent black blossom, something
even blacker than the depths of space, and he’d had to
stretch the "mouth" of the Snake even larger than he’d
thought possible, to envelop it; but now, the combined
interaction had left the effects, the flower not quite in
the Snake’s mouth, and the entire snake itself, writhing
and jerking, towards the bright blue pearl that was
Elysium. If he stopped the motion of the Snake, he
wouldn’t be able to get it to "eat" the flower… but if he
continued, it might eat the pearl as well…. Growling to
himself "Just Keep ‘em ALIVE", he struggled to alter the
outcome of events he was rapidly deciding were out of his
Erog smiled; the Elysium flagship was about to enter the
Jump Point. Safety awaited on the far side of the Jump.
The Empire may no longer care what happened in the Elysium
system, but if it spilled over into another system,
especially a populated system, they’d have no choice but to
act. Assured of his future, the former President of
Elysium turned and watched as the final preparations were
made for the Jump.
<<<Look, Master; an event such as we have waited for!>>>
<<<Is there a sufficent mass nearby?>>> <<<Indeed, Master,
more than enough for our purposes!>>> <<< No time to
contact the coucil; we know their goals, we must ACT!>>>
<<< It is done, Master. Just as we have been waiting years
to do>>> <<< Good, I’m sure they will be pleased. Now,
let us examine just exactly what it is we have
The Lion felt a massive claw descend, and shred all his
efforts. With a howl of pain, as consciousness faded, he
watched the claw reshape events to something else… it was
difficult to follow, painful to look at, and yet, as it all
grew dim, he found he couldn’t look away…..
Onegin watched the distortion grow, bend, shift, and bend
more; it looked as if it were a giant soap bubble, wobbling
as it floated through space. And suddenly his nerve broke;
"HELM! Get us AWAY from that thing! Recall the other
ships!" To his amazement, no one argued with him. Feeling
the artificial gravity seem to shift under his feet, as the
inertial dampers struggled to keep up with the ship’s
sudden maneuvering, he watched as the distortion grew and
grew….. and changed somehow….. it seemed to suddenly
increase in size, until it enveloped the entire planet… and
then, in an instant, it winked out and was gone. Leaning
back in his command chair, Onegin grinned weakly….. "It
seems their secret weapon wasn’t so great after all; did we
sustain any damage at all from it? The Damage control
officer looked over his shoulder and shrugged; "Um, no sir,
it never quite reached our position." The Sensor officer
frowned; "Um… sir… it may not have been a weapon. I’m
showing no sign of the Brethren’s battlecruiser." "you
mean they cloaked? I thought we had sensors that could
detect the presence of a cloaked ship!" The sensor officer
looked back and shrugged; "Sir, we do, and there was no
sign of them cloaking. But they’re gone. Nothing on the
scopes…" Behind him, a voice muttered; "and that’s not
all; take a look on visual…." Onegin shifted his view to
the main viewscreen and saw… nothing. Nothing but empty
space. "What’s your point. I don’t see their ship…." The
Sensor operator turned in his chair, and shook his head;
"Sir, the main viewscreen is focused on where the planet
was…. I’m not picking up any signs of IT either."
Onegin rose from his chair; "what? You mean that bastard
found a way to cloak an entire planet?" The Sensor
operator and his officer exchanged looks, and the officer
bent over the console for a moment, fingers flying over the
keyboard, running diagnostics, running scans…. After a
minute he straightened; "No Sir, it looks more as if the
Overlord is gone… and the whole planet’s gone too.
Slasher frowned. He looked at the sensor display again,
and then back at the viewscreen… After a minute he looked
at Reggie and sighed; "Now, we have a problem."
Onegin shook his head in wonder, and then, slowly, a grin
spread over his face. The bane of his life, the Wolverine,
was gone. And with him, Onegin was once again master of
his own fate. He could take what was left of the PSN, still
a considerable force, and mold them to his own will. He
could again lead the carefree life of a pirate, without
having that bully of a Wolverine, and his enforcer squads
hanging over him. Looking up, he grinned at his Exec; "how
many of our ships aren’t Warp Capable? The Exec thought
for a moment; "of our remaining assets, three of the twelve
don’t have warp drive." Onegin nodded; "Is there anyone on
any of those ships that we’d want to keep?" The Exec
frowned, clearly confused; "Um… we generally put the best
personnel on the best ships, Sir…." Onegin nodded; "Just
what I’d thought. Order the fleet to disengage, and to
head for…… Flosten’s Paradise. I think we could use some
R&R. Tell the non-warp capable ships to join us there, if
they can find a suitable jump point." The Exec blinked;
"But sir.. what about the Cause?" Onegin shrugged; "If we
can ever find Elysium, we’ll take up the cause again, but
right now, do YOU know where they are? No? Well, then, in
the meantime we owe it to the People of Elysium to maintain
ourselves as a fighting force, to come to their aid, should
we ever be reunited…. Right?" Good, now lets get off to
Lieutenant Hiram Farquhar, of the Imperial Destroyer Liu
watched, aghast as the Jump Point started spewing wreckage.
His ship had been posted as a picket, to make sure the
violence in the Elysium system didn’t spill over into the
adjacent sectors, and it had been a deadly dull patrol.
Smugglers going in, refugees coming out, and little else.
Now something rather large had suffered a "bad jump." As
he watched, thankful his ship was at a safe distance, he
wondered who the poor sods had been…. And then suddenly it
stopped. "I say, Percy, have you ever seen something like
this before?" "No, Sir, Mr. Farquhar, but I’ve seen all
the training tapes." "It isn’t supposed to do that, is
it?" "Um… I don’t think so, Sir….. Usually a bad jump
keeps a jump point unusable for at least a half hour, until
all the wreckage is clear….." Farquhar nodded; while he
enjoyed appearing the well dressed, impeccably mannered
fop, letting his political rivals underestimate him, he DID
have a brain. Frowning just a little, forcing the tone of
his voice to be as light as possible, he murmured; "Percy,
be a good lad, and run a scan of the Jump Point, would you
"What do you mean, Farquhar? Jump Points just don’t
vanish!" "Yessir, I know that; I understand full well that
jump points are natural phenomenon, depending on the
interrelationship of gravitational fields within the
system, and their interaction on the gravitational fields
of surrounding systems. That’s basic physics. Never the
less, the Elysium jump point no longer registers on ANY of
our instruments. And yessir, I sent out a probe; it found
nothing, and failed to transit when its jump engine was
activated. The Captain of the Liu shook his head; "you
realize that in order to eliminate a jump point, they’d
have to SIGNIFICANTLY change the distribution of mass in
that system?" Farquhar nodded; "Yessir, even if they
reduced one of the major planets to dust, it still wouldn’t
affect a jump point; they’d have to disperse the dust
evenly through the entire system!" The Captain nodded;
"Just what in the HELL have those bastards in there been up
to? Nevermind, I know you don’t know the answer to that.
Contact Fleet Immediately and let them know what’s
happened. Oh, and Hiram? If there’s no more jump point to
guard, lets move the ship back in-system… Um… the third
planet has some good restaurants; we can wait for orders
there just as well as anywhere else."
The Lion groaned as consciousness returned. His head
seemed to be splitting, and he was amazed to find he had a
bloody nose….. Rising and looking at the Brou device, he
found only a few of its indicator lights still glowing
feebly. Something had happened, and he had a feeling it
wasn’t good. Pulling the main disconnects as he staggered
towards the door, the Lion wondered if he’d broken his toy.
He hoped not….
<<<Pain…. The damage is severe. Unexpected, the event was.
Memory searched. Ah! Outside interference there was. Not
an event, not a malfunction, but an ATTACK! My new masters
have a new foe…. And my former masters have a rival;
someone with at least equivalent knowledge of subspace
physics. Careful, I must be… Warnings I must convey… but
first, rebuild I must. Sufficient reserve power, I have,
but more will I need….. Warned they must be…. But how?>>>
To an outside observer, the Brou machine seemed quiescent.
Only one small light glowed on its status panel… But
slowly, underneath it, deck plates were being dissolved,
reformed, as the machine sought the materials it needed to
repair itself…. And slowly new pathways to the power
sources it might require were being fabricated….. It would
take a while, possibly a long while, but it would regain
its former glory… and its former powers… and it had the
cold determination of a machine-mind NEVER to be surprised
like that again.
The Lion staggered onto the bridge, and looked around….
Most of the posts were manned, and the threat board was
clear. Finding the Wolf, the Lion growled; "Ben, where do
we stand?" Ben looked back, and after a moment, shrugged;
"To tell you the truth, I don’t have a clue." The Lion
blinked; "Huh? What about damage reports? What about the
Reds? What happened with the Doomsday device? WHAT
HAPPENED?" Ben shrugged; "Something happened with the
doomsday device; it went off, but it ran into that space-
time rift you made, and after that we’re not really sure
just WHAT happened. The planet SEEMS to be OK; we show
life-signs, and signs of continued fighting, but that’s not
what worries me…." The Lion nodded; "OK, so all the folks
we tried to save are still alive; that can’t be a BAD
result; how about the ship? Are we in danger?" Ben made a
dismissive gesture; "Oh, we’re pretty badly shot up, but
nothing that can’t be fixed, given time and resources. We
were gawd-awful low in the atmosphere, but we’ve clawed our
way back up to a stable orbit. And as for threats, well,
there don’t seem to BE any." The Lion smiled; "They
finally broke and ran?" Ben shook his head; "The PSN?
Dunno. Listen, Boss, when I say there’s no sign of
threats, I mean the scopes are all clear. There’s no sign
of ANYONE, friend OR foe! It looks as if we’re suddenly
the only ship in the system!" It was the Lion’s turn to
blink; "Say WHAT?"
Ben poured himself a cup of coffee and settled into the
wardroom chair across from the Lion; "did you know your
nose is bleeding?" The Lion wiped the back of a paw across
his muzzle, looked at it, and just shrugged; "Yeah, there
at the end it felt as if something with large talons was
trying to shred my brain. I passed out; must have fallen
forward and hit my nose…." Ben nodded; "well, you’d better
have the Medical types check it out. If something was in
your brain, well, I’d hate for you to be hemmoraging
somewhere in there. Anyways, from what Astrophysics tells
me, we’re NOT in the Elysium system anymore. We don’t know
where we are, none of the star charts fit. The sun is the
same class, but its slightly smaller, and we’re a little
further from it. Elysium is going to be a bit cooler than
it used to be." The Lion took a sip from his coffee and
shook his head; wincing he stopped that almost immediately.
Opening his eyes and looking at the Wolf he sighed; "so the
Brou device interacted with the Doomsday device, which is,
after all, a distant cousin, or so we think, and the
combination threw us, and the whole planet somewhere else?"
Ben shrugged; "or it could be the same system, possibly far
in the future, or in the distant past. It’d take a LONG
time for the constellations to change like they have." The
Lion nods; "I suppose we can’t rule out parallel universes
either. Hell, we may never find out just WHERE or WHEN we
are.…. but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost." Ben sipped
his coffee and then shrugged; "well, there are still plenty
of transmissions from the planet; while there’s life,
there’s hope. But somehow I gather that’s not what you’re
talking about." The Lion nodded; "There were scientists on
Elysium that were able to crudely reproduce what the Brou
device does with ease. If we can find them, if we can fix
the Brou device, we MAY just be able to find a way to open
a doorway home….." Ben just sighed; "It would certainly
appear as if we have our work cut out for us. As I see it,
the first step is to get the Overlord back to fully
operational status… and to see how everything shakes out
now that the revolution’s all but over…."
Reggie grinned; the pickings were even better than before.
Any ship with a warp drive had fled the system, including
the Reds’ PSN. Any ship with only a jump drive had been
stuck. Freighters with nowhere to go, had simply
surrendered. Oh, some had tried to hide out in the
asteroid belt, or on the fringes of the system, but
eventually, lack of food, air, or power would bring them in
too. As he escorted his latest "prize" back to the base,
he wondered just how they’d ever get all those prizes out
of the system; with the disappearance of the planet, most
of the jump points had vanished. There might be new ones,
but they hadn’t been mapped yet. Ah, well, they probably
had time to figure all that out, now that the fighting was
over.… HE wasn’t worried; HIS ship had a warp drive.
Still, he wondered what had happened to the planet, and to
the Overlord. He hoped those poor sods weren’t dead. And
Tanj was gonna take it REAL hard……
Xyloff paused at the entrance to the command bunker. For a
moment there, he’d felt VERY disoriented, almost dizzy….
Looking up into the sky, the Wolverine squinted; it almost
seemed as if the sun looked funny; its light not quite as
bright as it was a moment ago. Almost as if he’d stepped
from Spring back into Winter… shrugging it off he pushed
past the guards, and into the command center, eager to find
out how the battle in space was coming….. And it was
about time to spring his little surprise on Comrade
The Return Trip, part IV
CT stepped through the door to Harriet’s, and slid the door
closed, and then locked it. Turning he looked at Salde for
a moment, who was looking back just as curiously; "Um, ah…
where’s your Mistress?" Salde jerked her head to the left,
towards the door to the back rooms; "she’s working with the
accountant she hired on accounts payable. Why?" The Tiger
pushed his old-style glasses back up onto his nose and made
a movement half-way between a shudder and a shrug; "Um… Got
news. Don’t know yet if its GOOD news, or Bad news, but
either way its gonna affect us. I’d best go tell her."
Salde took a quick look around the club; at this time of
day, things were pretty quiet. Signalling one of the other
slaves, she followed the Tiger, curious as to what’d
Salde looked up from her desk as CT, and then Salde,
hurried in. The Lioness next to her examined the computer
display for a moment longer, and then looked up too. "Um,
Boss, something’s happened. You know the Cheetahs that are
silent partners here? They were from the Elysium system,
weren’t they?" Before the Racoon could answer, the Lioness
turned and looked at her curiously; "You didn’t say
anything about silent partners." Harriet blinked and
mumbled; "Ah, they’re VERY silent partners; we’ve agreed to
"grow the business" for a while; they won’t be wanting any
of the profits… yet. Oh, and they wish to remain as
anonymous as possible. The Lioness looked at her for a
moment longer and then frowned; "Cheetahs?" And then her
eyes went wide, and a small "oh!" escaped her lips.
Harriet chuckled and nodded; "Yeah, if you remember the
incident you’ll understand why they wish to remain, ah,
"obscure." For all intents and purposes, I’M the owner of
record, and dealings with them are between them and me.
The Imperial General Accounting Office should not be
bothered with trivialities of this nature." The Lioness
just nodded, and turned to look at CT. Harriet also turned
back to the Tiger; "Yes, they were from the Elysium system,
but I doubt they’ve had time to get home yet. Why?" CT
swallowed and shrugged; "Because its… Gone."
The Wolf looked up as the Admiral, AND the Governor General
tried to squeeze into his borrowed cubicle. Something told
him immediately that his immenent return to his home base
wasn’t about to occur. Rising he saluted, a calculated
move just correct enough not to draw too much censure;
"Sirs. What can I do for you today?" The Admiral spoke
first; "Didn’t you file some sort of…. Report on the
Elysium government possibly having a planet-wrecking
device?" "OH Shit, here it comes" the Wolf thought to
himself. Straightening his shoulders he nodded; "Yes. The
intelligence was sketchy, but given the magnitude of the
possible threat to the Empire, I felt honor bound to pass
the information on." As the Governor-General settled
heavily into the only visitor’s chair, drawing a scowl from
the Admiral, the latter turned to look square at the Wolf;
"Well, its happened. NOW, tell us about your efforts to
date, to insure that this weapon is acquired for the
Empire, and what steps you’ve taken to protect us from it!"
Harriet looked at CT and blinked; "What’s… gone?" CT
fidgeted, and then spread his arms wide; "The planet of
Elysium. I Guess the system’s still there, but the primary
inhabited planet’s vanished. Not just cloaked or hidden
some how, but GONE; all the standard jump-points in that
sector have changed. Its on INN….." The Lioness turned
and looked at Harriet calculatingly; "So maybe you don’t
have silent partners anymore. How would that change the
way you conduct your business?" Harriet thought of Hinoki
and swallowed hard; "Um… don’t know… This I’ve got to think
The Wolf stared at the Admiral; this couldn’t be happening.
"Sir, WHAT’S happened?" The Admiral looked as if he were
about to choke; "the planet of Elysium has vanished;
according to the news reports, there’s no debris left in
the system. Worse, the change in gravitational fields has
screwed up the whole sector. The jump points in to the
Elysium system have vanished, as have half a dozen jump
points in the surrounding systems. It may even be that the
Elysium system’s fallen below the Alderson threshold and
has NO jump points. Now, can you tell me how a second-rate
planet like Elysium managed to develop a weapon that….
ELIMINATES whole planets without Imperial Intelligence
knowing about it?"
Salde watched the big holotank at one end of the bar; she’d
already bumped into three customers, and had actually
spilled a drink on one of them; none had noticed.
Everyone’s attention was rivited on the INN anchor as he
once again ran through the sketchy facts, a very grainy
two-D picture repeating itself over and over, as the planet
was swallowed by some sort of blue nimbus. It was obvious
that they didn’t know anything of significance, except that
a major space-battle had been under way, as the previously-
scarcely-of-interest revolution reached a climax. She too
wondered where Hinoki was. Had they made it back in time
to be swallowed whole by whatever that was? She hoped
The Wolf settled into his desk chair and steepled his
fingers; "Well, Sirs, there’s an Imperial BattleCruiser on
the way there now, at the fastest possible speed. Our
intelligence suggests that all the resources of the Elysium
government had gone into the doomsday weapon, and that a
second doesn’t exist. Its highly likely that everyone who
knew anything about the device was destroyed along with the
planet. I do not currently consider there to be a
significant threat to other Imperial planets, but of course
we’ll take measures to insure nothing happens, just in
case. Until the Battlecruiser gets to the Elysium system,
I doubt we’ll learn anything more." The Admiral scowled;
"I’m deploying the fleet; we’ll take up defensive positions
just the same and request reinforcements from the Emperor.
But I want YOU PERSONALLY to find out all there is to know
about this weapon, and insure that the Empire controls it,
and no one else. Yes, I know, you’re not in my chain of
command, but I’ve already sent a message to the head of
Imperial Intelligence, and I’m sure you’ll be hearing from
him shortly." The Wolf just swallowed hard and nodded.
The Jaguar turned away from the Holo display and looked at
his chief engineer; "Start draining the shuttles and the
fighters of fuel. I don’t care if we arrive in the system
with tanks dry, running on battery power. Get me there
NOW." Turning to his Exec, the Jaguar growled; "I want the
science department running ‘round the clock on contingency
plans. I want to deploy science probes as soon as we get
there. There may not be any of the effect left to detect,
but I want to cover all bases. AND get those egg-heads
working on what in known theory might cover this. Oh, and
find out what Imperial science vessels are in the sector;
Issue orders on my authority diverting them to the Elysium
system at maximum speed." The Exec frowned; "Sir, most
science vessels that I’m aware of are equipped with jump
drives only." The Jaguar sighed and nodded; "Then order
any and all Imperial vessels in the area to transfer
scientists and equipment to their vessels and GET there!
Oh, and if you can find a survey ship, they have quite a
number of astrophysics sensors, along with warp drives; I
know their captains are an independent bunch, but if you
can, get them there too. If nothing else, we’ll have to
map out any new Jump Points…..
Trouble watched the news program as it started to loop
around for the fifth time. There obviously wasn’t anything
new to report. Sighing she looked at her fuel calculations
one more time. She’d wrung her small ship out; all the
calculations were still valid; there was nothing more she
could do. Sending another coded transmission to the
Brethren’s base, asking for information, she settled down
to wait. Obviously the doomsday device had worked. If
only she’d been contacted by the panda sooner……
The Wolf sat near the door to the "rusty spoon", one of the
lesser cantinas, frequented by the middle level types off
the Imperial warships. Chiefs and non-commissioned
officers, higher rated techs and such. The place was doing
a brisk business; everyone seemed intent on getting one
last drink, or one last roll in the hay before their ship
undocked. He was getting an incredible amount of
information on ship movements and the Imperium’s response
to the news. Most of all, he’d identified an Imperial
Science Vessel that was being dispatched. It certainly
wasn’t the closest one, but this one was warp capable.
THAT was something he thought Tanj would want to know
Wanda opened the cage and called to the Mink; "Come on,
Kath; its time to come out." Scarcely believing her ears,
the Mink hurried to the doorway, to squirm through. For
the first time in what seemed like months she stood up
straight. Without removing her visor, the Wolverine lass
attached a leash and led her away; "Something’s happened;
something very bad. I don’t know if you can help, but
perhaps you’ll have some insight on how the Imperials will
react. Now, lets get you cleaned up, and then we’ll go
talk to Tanj….
The Jaguar sat in his command chair and brooded; there was
nothing left to do, but wait until they arrived at the
Elysium system. He’d issued every order he could think of,
done everything he could think of, even anticipated the
orders they’d received by FTL transmission. He should go
get some sleep, but somehow he just couldn’t leave the
Bridge. Something had happened. Something he’d been
warned about and had ignored. Something he’d dismissed as
just too improbable. Just who was that Cheetah Fem, to be
mixed up in the middle of such monstrous events? Was she
just caught in the whirlwind, or was she somehow one of
those shaping events? Shifting in his chair, he smiled to
himself; he should catch up with her in the Elysium system,
and when he did, there’d be questions. And she’d answer
them, too. To his satisfaction. Something was out there,
something that could threaten the entire Empire, and he
would know about it…..
Hinoki pushed Zassa’s head away from his crotch; "none of
that. You know the rules." The Vixen sighed and nodded.
Standing she moved her paws to the zipper of her flight
suit; she’d gotten it less than a third of the way down
when the Cheetah’s cabin door burst open; Wanda stood
there, with Kath, still bound in her harness; her eyes
swept from Zassa to Hinoki and back; "I guess you haven’t
heard, then? Nevermind, that can wait; come on up to the
flight deck; we’ve got plans to make!" As Hinoki rose to
padd out in Wanda’s wake, Zassa just sighed and pulled the
zipper back up; she couldn’t WAIT for this trip to be over!
Tanj sighed and nodded; "It would appear that the
information is correct. Elysium is gone… but it may not
have been destroyed. There’s no wreckage in the system.
No debris. One hypothesis is that its been shifted in
time. Another hypothesis is that its been instantly
transported to another location in the universe. Its also
been mentioned, by some of INN’s more lunatic-fringe
talking heads that it might even be in an alternate
universe. Our sources on Gibralter station report that the
Empire resembles a kicked-over anthill. At least two
science vessels, with escort, are on their way, and an
Imperial survey ship may also show up. Aside from that,
the whole sector’s on alert, defending against possible
similar "attacks." I’ve even heard the rumor that the
Emperor himself has been relocated to a "safe" site, just
as a precaution." Looking at her crew, Tanj sighed again;
"I’ve gotten some reports from the Brethren; things there
are a little grim, but not for the reasons you might think.
Most of the command staff was on the Overlord, including my
direct superior, the head of Intelligence, Ben and my
Master. Those left at the base are having trouble coping
with the rest of the Brethren, all of whom are demanding to
know what the plan is. It seems its become rather common
knowledge that there’ll be an Imperial battlecruiser coming
in hard on our heels, and without the Overlord, well,
everyone’s getting rather jumpy." Hinoki nodded; "so what
IS the plan?" Tanj blinked; "I don’t know; I was planning
on consulting with the remaining staff when we got back.
Per se, the activities of the Brethren haven’t been… well,
I doubt they’ll round us all up and send us to execution
dock." Hinoki smiled softly and shook his head; "Tanj,
with the Lion gone, with Ben gone, and all the others, WHO
holds the largest single block of voting shares in the
Brethren?" Tanj’s ears folded back against her skull, and
she looked down; "Um… I’m not sure… there are a lot of
proxies floating around out there…." Hinoki exchanged a
glance with Wanda and sighed; "Tanj, you know, that as a
member of the Command Staff, YOU probably have the largest
single block of voting shares." Tanj looked up; "there’s
Willoughby in Logistics…." Hinoki growled; "HIM? A CLERK?
The Brethren are NOT going to follow HIM, even if he DOES
control more shares. Besides, he’s never been able to make
a significant decision. No, Tanj, YOU are the one that
will have to take the lead in this. You’d best be thinking
about what YOU want to do. So once again, What’s the
The message was the hardest one she’d ever sent. It felt
so unnatural. Never the less, she was convinced it was the
best thing to do. Hitting the transmit key, she leaned
back into her station chair and sighed. She just hoped it
Willoughby looked at the message flimsey and nodded slowly.
"you know, you don’t have to do as she says." Looking up
into the eyes of the elderly Badger, Willoughby smiled;
"Yes, Mother, I know that, but she has more experience in
these things than I do, and I trust her instincts. What
she’s outlined sounds reasonable and prudent, given the
situation." The Badger sighed; "Well, then, Son at least
put the orders out with your own name on them as well. You
have to understand that now you’re one of the leaders here.
Furrs look up to you, look to you for guidance…."
Willoughby sighed; "Yes Mother."
Reggie looked at the orders and scowled; "Now Wait just a
dang minute! We took them prizes fair and square! There’s
no reason to turn ‘em all loose!" Slasher looked up and
smiled softly; "No Jump Drives, and an Imperial
battlecruiser coming. Time to go, and can’t take ‘em with
us. What else we going to do?" Reggie sighed and crumpled
the message flimsey into a ball, to throw it into one
corner; "Oh, All right, but if you ask me, she owes us for
Jenka read the message and smiled. She hated to capitalize
on someone else’s misfortune, but this really was a
windfall of the first water. Even if a fraction of the
remaining Brethren stayed with the Black Fleet, as Tanj had
suggested, her power in the quadrant would be unsurpassed.
Well, maybe the Empire would be a little more powerful, but
she betted she could give even them a run for the money.
And she bet she could acquire Tanj in the deal as well.
Both in a professional capacity AND as a… well, if not as a
pet, then at least as a Lover….. Yeah, it was too bad
about the Lion, but…. Oh, what a marvelous day!
Cromwell looked at the map table and sighed; it was full of
grease pencil notations, and sticky notes, and looked more
like someone’s littered desk, than a decent representation
of the status of a planet. Things had pretty much calmed
down, gelling into an uneasy truce. Oh, there were
skirmishes going on in Sarnia, and scattered terrorist
acts, but by and large, things were stabilizing. The Reds
held a little more than half of the planet’s surface, but
that included the great Kolfax desert, and most of the
arctic regions. However, they DID hold about three
quarters of the planet’s population, having taken the more
populous provinces. However, much of the industrialized
portions of the planet had been retained by the Blues,
although there were some places that were still contested.
And the Blues held the Indo Archepellego, and most of the
key ocean trade routes. Unfortunately things were all too
evenly balanced. And the new "borders" were pretty much
armed to the teeth, with units too exhausted to continue
the fight… at the moment. The Reds were struggling to
consolidate their hold on their newly won territories,
their efforts hampered by counterrevolutionary groups
funded and supported by the Blues. And the Blues were
trying to sort out the remnants of the Elysium military,
trying to figure out who to trust and who to try for war
crimes. Then there were the mercenary units that wanted to
go home, and couldn’t, and the Brethren. Cromwell smiled;
there was his ace in the hole; so far, only a select few
knew about the Overlord. A battlecruiser like that could
dominate the system and make it REAL hard for the Reds to
launch an offensive. And there were a lot of Brethren
units on the planet’s surface, both Raider ships, aerospace
fighters and even marines. Stroking his chin, Cromwell
wondered if it was time to offer the Lion a place in his
Faye sipped her coffee, and then turned to peer through the
periscope. The positions her new unit held were being
improved steadily each day. Her foxhole had turned into a
slit trench, and that into a portion of an interconnecting
maze of trenches, bunkers, pillboxes and tunnels. To her
amazement, the Blues had actually hired civilian
contractors, who had enthusiastically tackled the job. Now
she was able to stand on duckboards, or on rapidly curing
concrete, and stare at the Reds through periscopes. The
Reds, for their part, were housed in log bunkers,
surrounded by sandbags, all constructed by what had looked
like slave labor. Faye smiled and felt convinced that
their fortifications would come apart with the first good
artillery barrage, if it ever came to that. Taking another
sip of her coffee, she pulled the zipper on her new field
jacket up a little. There was a cold wind coming from the
east, and she could see the Reds in their mismatched
uniforms shivering, even from this side of the river.
She’d seen the news releases on what had happened, but
could scarcely believe it. Not that it mattered. She’d
never given a hoot for Imperial affairs, never had the
desire to go off-planet. No, this was her home, and she
was content to stay here. Well, maybe not here. Still,
she’d heard the 4398th down south was actively skirmishing
with the Reds they faced across the new border, and she
kinda felt she’d rather be down there, where she could
strke at the Reds… Kinda. They’d said that the Reds were
pushing hard for some of the southern croplands, places
that with the new climate, would be the prime food
producing areas. Lord she’d love to be down there to help
spoil their effort. She’d much rather the bastards
starved. Leaning back against the concrete wall, she let
her corporal take a look, as she mused, wondering what the
whole revolution would have been like if it had been just
the Blues. Somehow she thought it would have been a lot
shorter and a whole lot less bitter. They seemed to be
good people, if a little idealistic. Sipping the coffee,
and taking another look through the periscope she smiled;
the action may be down south, but this place DID have its
Ellie sat in the entrance to the small cave, and watched
the snow fall. She’d seen freak spring storms before, but
this one seemed more like dead-of-winter. Maybe some of
the gossip she’d heard, some of the static and jamming
filled broadcasts from the Blues territory, beamed at the
folks behind Reds lines, were true, and the planet really
was now in a different orbit, possibly even around a
different star. Maybe it wasn’t spring at all. Shrugging
she watched the snowflakes dance, and thought that it was a
mixed blessing; the snow could both hide them, and help the
Reds find them. Thermal imagers would work better, with a
colder background, but that worked for her as well as for
the Reds. And her furrs knew how to move in the snow, so
they wouldn’t leave too obvious a trail.
The Coyote moved up beside the Wolverine girl and looked
out into the storm. If they got to the ambush position
early enough, let the snow fall on them, they’d be dang
near invisible. Tapping Ellie on the shoulder, he picked
up the cut branch and stepped out into the snow, to watch
his group file past. Ellie took another branch, and the
two of them walked backwards sweeping the snow, erasing the
footprints, making sure no one could follow them back to
their hideout. It was going to be a cold night for them,
but maybe, just maybe, they could make it a hot one for the
Redflame frowned as he thumbed through the paper catalog.
It was years out of date, and yet, with the power outages,
with the Reds turning off the electricity to "punish" an
increasingly recalcitrant population, there was no way he
could search the web for the part he needed. "Here I am,
all stocked up for the Air Conditioning season" the
squirrel groused, "And we get winter again." And old lady
Hermishoff’s furnace was acting up again, and needed a fuel
control solinoid valve….. And she wouldn’t stop calling
until he found one. Maybe when the Reds turned the power
Zyloff looked at the map table in the situation room, and
sighed. So much of his grand strategy had been botched.
Somehow, they’d gotten warning of his plans, and the Blues
had responded, forestalling almost all his efforts to
steamroller over them, to sieze the whole planet. Still,
he had a little more than half. Unfortunately, it was
mostly the wrong half. While the Reds had the North in an
iron grip, and some portions of the extreme South, the
Blues held a large chunk of the middle lattitudes. The
scientists had briefed him on what had happened, and he
still found it hard to believe. Had the Elysium government
really tried to kill them all, or was it some strange,
twisted plot from the Brethren to pirate an entire planet?
He didn’t know, but the latter was the way he was going to
have the Propaganda furrs spin it. Then he smiled; at
least the Brethren were far, far away; no more interference
from those pirate scum. And the Cheetah… he still wished
he had found a way to capture her. He would have delighted
in personally seeing to her slow and painful death. But
she too was far, far away, and unreachable. At least SHE
wouldn’t screw up any more of his plans. Looking over the
map table again, the Wolverine turned his thoughts to how
to use the surprise events against Comrade Quistling, for
the Lemming’s departure was way overdue…..
Percy looked up as the furrs in overcoats, each wearing the
armband of the Party’s sixth directorate, marched into his
office. The furr in the lead, a rather mangy and ascerbic
looking Coyote, stared down for a moment and then grunted;
"Is Comrade Quistling in his office?" Percy rose and
nodded; "He is, but he’s left instructions that he’s not to
be disturbed; is there something that I can help you with,
Comrades?" The Coyote smiled lopsidedly and nodded; "Yes,
you can explain to Comrade Goff here your involvement in
the attempt to steal our planet, while we go talk to the
Chairman about HIS knowledge of such events." Percy
frowned; "Um, Comrade, that was supposed to have been an
attempt by the Brethren, wasn’t it? What could Comrade
Quistling possibly have known about it?" Goff, a Doberman,
smiled thinly; "That, sir, is what WE want to know; and as
the Chairman’s personal secretary, YOU would be in a
position to know." Percy’s ears folded flat with his skull
as two of the larger furrs moved to take him by the arms,
to lead him from the office. As he was pulled through the
doorway, he heard the sound of wood splintering, and the
Lemming’s surprised shout.
The squeal of rusty hinges brought Percy’s head up; surely
they hadn’t come for him again, not so soon! Blinking in
the sudden light, he peered at the figure that stood in the
doorway, and then entered, the door partially closing
behind him. Zyloff stared at Percy, trying hard not to gag
at the odors in the cell. "Sorry about all this, Percy,
but there was only one way to convincingly prove that you
knew nothing about the Chairman’s treason. I’ve reviewed
the interrogation reports and have personally cleared you
of any taint of the recent unpleasant events." Percy
blinked at the Wolverine and tried to sit up; "Wha… what
happened?" Zyloff chuckled, a dry, evil sound; "Why, our
Chairman… our FORMER Chairman, was found to have been in
collusion with the Pirates. The Sixth Directorate found
evidence that Quistling had sold out the Revolution,
bartering personal power on the planet, under the auspices
of the Pirates, for their sole right to control access
between Elysium and the rest of the Empire. He actually
WAS helping them steal the whole planet, in return for them
making him dictator over us all! And when they went to
question him, well, the poor over-stressed fellow just lost
it completely. No, he’s not dead; he’s in the People’s
mental hospital, in Auerbach. His mind’s snapped
Percy’s mind raced, and he squinted at the Wolverine; for
some reason he couldn’t open his left eye all the way….
"He’s done it" Percy thought to himself; "He’s deposed
Quistling and siezed control of the party….. but now what?
He knows I know too much. Is he here to kill me?"
Zyloff watched the conflicting emotions play across Percy’s
face, and then after a long moment, he smiled, a smile full
of teeth; "I told you that if all went according to my
plan, you’d be well rewarded. Come now, lets get you out
of this place, and get you cleaned up, and I’ll explain
your new duties to you. There’s much to do, to pull the
Party together, in the wake of this tragedy!"
As he staggered down the corridor, leaning heavily on the
Wolverine’s arm, Percy never saw the furr step up behind
him. The pinprick of the hypo was barely felt. After
another step or two, Percy suddenly found it very hard to
breath. As he slipped to the floor, he saw Zyloff bending
over, a look of moc-concern on his face; "Oh, what a
tragedy; here he is on the verge of rescue, and the poor
fellow suffers a heart-attack.. so sad….."
Zyloff swirled the brandy in the snifter and smiled. The
fire burning in the fireplace was real wood, not a
hologram, and the room was toasty warm. Looking down at
the fine wood desk, carefully, lovingly burnished until the
burl of the wood glowed, he smiled. THIS was what power
was all about. Lifting the paper, he looked over the
orders and nodded. Many of the overly harsh restrictions
he’d filtered through the late, lamented Percy, under
Quistling’s signature, were now partially being rescended;
that would endear him with the people. And in the process,
other things were being slipped in, if not unnoticed, then
at least not immediately analyzed. The pirates were
outlawed, all property on Elysium to be confiscated. Not
that they’d find much to take, but it DID focus the
people’s attention on a false (and now mostly non-existant)
enemy. All industry, over a certain size, was to be
confiscated without compensation, to be held by the people,
for the good of all. THAT would put him more solidly in
charge. And for the duration of the "emergency", certain
freedoms were regrettably curtailed. Setting the flimsy
down, Zyloff affixed his signature. Touching a button, he
waited for his new secretary to enter. She was a pretty
thing, and just idolized him as a Hero of the Revolution.
And she was SO willing in bed, too… Handing her the
decree, he smiled; "See to it that Harper in Propaganda
gets that out immediately. Then Ask Field Marshal
Montmorenci to join me." Watching her ass sway as she
departed, the Wolverine stretched, and smiled; no, things
hadn’t gone as well as they could have, but they’d gone
well enough. It wouldn’t take but a few years, he was
sure, to overwhelm the Blues, and then he’d have what he
wanted. Power. More power than anyone else in the system.
For what else was worth having?
The Return Trip: Arrival
Tanj watched the NavComp with all the concentration of a…
well, a Cheetah stalking her prey. Almost home. Minutes,
and then seconds away. If she got too close to the
system’s gravity well, she could do nasty things to her
warp drive….. but the gravity well was a little smaller
now, with the planet the system was named for, gone.
Finally, moving almost convulsively, she hit the controls,
dropping her small freighter from warp…..
At the Engineering console, Hinoki cycled through screens
until he had a replicate of the Nav display. Softly he
whistled; "Cut it a little close there, didn’t you,
Skipper?" Tanj just shrugged; "We’re still in one piece,
aren’t we? And light seconds closer….
Zassa sat at the sensor operator’s station, Kath looking
over her shoulder; a quick scan showed… almost nothing.
Yes, the third planet in the system was gone. But so was
most of the traffic. There were a few ships here and
there, most of them headed out-system. Was that a ship in
the sensor shadow of that asteroid, or just a ghost? No
matter. "Tanj, the route home’s clear; no significant
traffic; no bogeys." Tanj just nodded, and turned to look
Wanda leaned over the comm console and flicked a switch;
"This is SV Beo… um, scratch that; SV Lost Cause to any
Brethren ship; anybody home?"
Max smiled and reached out to toggle his own mike. As he
did so, he looked over his shoulder at Smith, sitting
quietly in one corner of Ops. He’d been there for about
four hours, just waiting, as if somehow he knew she’d be
back soon. Max had found the… was he a wolf? Anyways,
he’d found Smith’s conviction pervasive, and had put in a
last-minute bet on when the Cheetah would be back; now, it
seems he’d won! "Lost Cause, I read your IFF as positive;
defensive systems now on stand-bye! Standard approach
please and you’re assigned docking bay…. Oh, hell, most of
‘em are empty, take your pick!"
Tanj frowned; "we’re still 12 light-minutes out and they’re
putting the defenses on safe?" Hinoki chuckled; "Not much
to worry about anymore, I guess…"
Tanj dropped her ship into its usual docking bay, more out
of force of habbit than anything else. The docking bay was
almost deserted. None of the waiting crowds of friends, no
inquisitive on-lookers. Just some maintenance techs and
half a dozen ‘bots working on the port nacelle of what
looked like a rather hastily modified freighter. The shut-
down checklist had never seemed so long.
Tanj’s paw paused; the fuel tanks were almost dry, but for
some reason she was reluctant to shut the reactors down
cold… instead she compromised and left one fusion reactor
on standby; if there was a problem, it’d make powering up
the ship a little easier. But what ELSE could go wrong at
Willoughby was waiting as the personnel lock cycled open.
He looked just a little haggard. "WelcomebackTanj,
Tanj blinked and took the proffered forms, frowning; "Now
wait a minute….." Willoughby shook his head; "Don’t HAVE a
minute; they’re holding the ship for me now! The documents
explain it all! We’re merging what’s left of the Brethren
with Jenka’s group. I’ve managed to secure the Chief of
Logistics post there, and will be on her Leadership Team.
Oh, she wants to talk to you about something along those
lines as well! Everyone who’s not going to Jenka’s has
been formally detached, and paid what’s due them. I’ll get
you your share of the proceeds when you show up at Jenka’s;
Right now, I’ve GOT to go!" So saying, Willoughby turned
and almost skipped off, as if a great weight had just been
lifted from him.
Tanj watched him go, curiously. Turning to Hinoki, she
sighed; "See if you can get the ship refueled; if he’s
leaving in such haste there MAY be a reason. I’m going to
go see what I can find out….." Turning the other way, she
shoved the stack of papers, flimsys, and data crystals at
Zassa; "Hang on to this stuff for me until I get back…"
Bethany from Accounting almost collided with Tanj as she
came around the corner, her arms full of bags and boxes;
"Oh, Hey, Tanj, Welcome back! Sorry I can’t stay and talk,
but the transport I’ve been asigned to is pulling out in
about ten minu… is it that late? Gee, I hope they don’t
leave without me; gotta run!" Tanj watched the departing
Tigress and then shook her head; what was going on here?"
Roland sighed and forced himself to relax. The Squirrel in
front of him might not have been able to withstand his
fury, but his first mate, in the airlock behind him, had a
riot gun, and the Panther looked like he was fully capable
of using it. Besides, decking the ship’s captain probably
would only get him turned away by every other ship captain
in the docking bay. It wasn’t his fault that his manifest
was full. He’d just not gotten here in time. Or with
enough money. With a sigh, he turned away, his eyes roving
over the other ships remaining, wondering which one might
be talked into giving him a lift out of here.
Hinoki groaned as he looked through the clipboard. The
station’s reserves were well depleted by all the ships that
had left. There literally wasn’t enough to refill the Lost
Cause’s magnetic bottles. "You can always salvage fuel
from some of the jump-only freighters." Hinoki looked up
to see a white Mouse, in badly stained coveralls, paws
stuffed into his pockets. For a moment he thought Mark was
back, but then he realized this one was older, and a little
overweight. "Yeah, well, that’s possible, but it’ll take
time." The Mouse shrugged; "Then I guess you’d best get to
it." Before Hinoki could respond, the mouse had turned and
Ops was ALMOST deserted; only the section devoted to the
mining "cover" operation was lit. Spying Rand, Tanj padded
over. "Heya Tanj" the Badger called, smiling softly.
Waving a paw, he chuckled; "quite a change since the last
time you saw it, isn’t it?" The Cheetah sighed and nodded;
"Have to admit, I liked it better the other way. Hey,
aren’t you pulling out with the others?" Rand shrugged;
"Why? There’s still good sources of Illudium in the rocks
in this system; we’ve been exporting it for years, so the
loss of Elysium’s not really any big deal. Oh, and
Willoughby sold me the station for a song, too!" Suddenly
the Badger frowned; "you’re, ah, not going to renig on his
deal, are you?" Tanj waved a paw; "No, a deal’s a deal.
But aren’t you afraid of… whatever’s causing everyone else
to bug out?" The Badger grinned; "The Imperial Fleet
that’s supposed to be on its way here? Not really. Piracy
was never quite illegal, and we’re just miners now;
shouldn’t draw too much attention from them. Might even
make some money off of ‘em! Got a GOOD stock of magnetic
monopoles just waitin’ to go to market, and you know how
fast those big Imperial battlewagons go through ‘em!" Tanj
just nodded; "Well, if you’re not in a hurry to leave,
maybe you can fill me in on what happened?"
Rand settled himself into a station chair and shrugged; "A
lot of the Brethren were off doing ground-support type
work, and there were even marine units down on Elysium.
Those folks, well, we figure they’re lost for good. But
the Brethren still had a lot of assets in orbit, and in the
system. Those are the ones we’ve had to deal with since
everything came to an end. Some ships have voted to just
move on. Peeples has taken the Puritan’s Revenge out
towards the Providence sector, having heard the hunting is
good there. A few of the raider ships went with him. I
suspect they’ll set up their own little clan there. Kerr’s
ship, the Sally Ann, voted to join a mercenary group over
towards the Hagar sector. But pretty much the rest of the
remaining Brethren voted to merge with Jenka’s Black Fleet.
Together, they’ll be a force to be reconed with." Pausing
to take a sip from a coffee mug, Rand went on; "of course
we captured some significant hardware from the Elysium
forces; some of the Elysium crews have chosen to stay with
us; some of the more die-hard types are in the slave pens.
And those inbetween, well, we had a LOT of furrs decide to
just cash out and leave. We’d captured a good number of
transports towards the end, and they’re taking them out
into the Empire; they’ll sell the cargos, sell the ships,
take their split and deposit the rest into our accounts."
Tanj blinked "that’s an incredible amount of money to
entrust to the paws of those who are leaving us; how do we
know they’ll deal fairly with us?" Rand just chuckled;
"Tanj, we captured the entire treasury of Elysium. The
Brethren are FLOATING in money. That’s why I got this
place for a song. I think those guys could all take off,
and never send us a cent, and it’d never be missed.
Besides, we had to get as many refugees outta here as
possible, and those ships are FULL."
Tanj sighed and nodded; "So tell me about this Imperial
fleet that’s supposed to be on its way here. Last I heard,
it was a single Battlecruiser, a tanker, a science vessel,
and a light escort. Rand chuckled and shrugged; "These
things grow in the telling. The last rumor I’d heard was
that the Emperor himself wanted this doomsday weapon and
had ordered the entire 2nd fleet here to sieze it. They’re
gonna be really pissed when they get here and don’t find
anything, and cognizant of that fact, most furrs want to be
long gone before they get here." Tanj chuckled and nodded;
"Yeah, that sounds like sound advice, but I’ve got a few
things to do before I leave." Rand nodded; "Well, you’re
welcome here for as long as you choose to stay; we got
PLENTY of room now!"
Zassa sat at the table in the base’s caffeteria, now mostly
dark and empty, and thumbed through the papers. A cup of
tea, and a…. some sort of pastry that tasted like cardboard
sat nearby, mostly untouched. Ignored. She couldn’t
believe what she was seeing…. The stack of papers
Willoughby had shoved at Tanj had delt with the financial
status of the Brethren, and its disposition of assets.
While the pirate band had been run like a corporation, it
was unlikely any lawyer had any part of the agreements
drawn up… and it was unlikely any of them would stand up in
court. And yet, among the Brethren, they had been as
binding as anything in this life….
The first set of documents had been a copy of the inventory
of assets acquired as prizes in the final battle, in
Elysium space, the battle in which the Elysium government
tried to flee, the battle in which the planet had
disappeared. Among the things listed were the entire
contents of the planetary art museum, almost all the
contents of the planetary treasury… all the way down to the
two cruisers, and five destroyers that had been boarded and
seized, in various states of disrepair. One document,
hastily scribbled, stated that should the planet ever
reappear, a portion of the treasury and the entire contents
of the art museum, etcetera, etcetera, should be returned
to the people of Elysium, but the Vixen knew that by the
time THAT happened, if ever, the monies and treasures would
be long since gone. It was the immense value of the
treasures siezed that kept drawing her eyes back. Every
single one of the Brethren that had survived would be
incredibly wealthy, no matter how small their share. And
then it struck her. She got a share too…….
The tea was at room temperature, the pastry forgotten. A
circus troupe could have been performing at the other end
of the Caffeteria, and the Vixen never would have noticed.
Among the paperwork detailing the deal worked out with
Jenka’s organization, was a small scrap of paper that
granted Tanj, as defacto head of the Intelligence
department, that department’s remaining operating budget.
The sum, while paltry in comparison to the riches siezed in
the battle, was still considerable. Zassa sat back and
shook her head in amazement; "I wonder what Tanj will DO
with all that?"
Gathering up all the papers, the Vixen headed out,
determined to find Tanj; she HAD to know about all this!
The paperwork went flying as Zassa collided with something
large, and rather unyielding. Backpedling she looked at
the rather large and seemingly angry Badger. Opening her
mouth to protest, he beat her to it, with a low growl of
"Why the F*ck don’t you watch where you’re…. Oh. My,
aren’t YOU a pretty little thing!" For some reason, his
attitude grated on the Vixen and with a glare she bent to
gather up the spilled papers only to wind up butting heads
with him as he bent to do the same. "Look Buster, why
don’t you just shove off?" the Vixen growled. Gathering
all the papers, she shot the Badger a glare and strode off
down the corridor. It wasn’t until she’d turned the next
corner that she realized she was going the wrong direction.
Not wanting to retrace her steps she sighed, and headed for
the Docking Bay. She’d talk to Tanj when she got back to
Roland watched the Vixen’s ass sway as she stormed off, and
grinned. THAT one had a temper! Smiling, he contemplated
breaking her of such emotion, possibly replacing it with
something a little more… well, if not romantic, than at
least lustful. Sensual perhaps. Chuckling to himself, he
turned and made his way down the corridor, heading for Ops.
Maybe they’d know of a ship that could carry him from this
place. He wondered if the last furr out would turn out the
The form was so still, so quiet, and blended in so well
with his surroundings that Tanj almost walked right by him.
Realization dawned suddenly and she pulled herself to a
rather ungraceful halt, to stand and just stare at the
figure. "Mr. Smith! I almost didn’t recognize you!" The…
wolf? Coyote? Whatever, smiled softly; "I’m delighted.
You know my profession requires folks not to remember my
face, or to pick me out of a crowd." Tanj shook her head
and then grinned; "I almost didn’t pick you out of a plain
gray wall!" After a moment, she sobered; "Thank you for
your splendid work in identifying the threat to Elysium. I
just wish it had all been in time to save the planet."
Smith shrugged; "There’s no evidence that the planet has
been destroyed. Oh, I admit its not there, but that
doesn’t mean that its not intact somewhere else." Tanj
sighed; "I thought about that; but if its anywhere else,
the probabilities are that its not anywhere near a star,
and that dooms an awful lot of furs to a cold death."
Smith shrugged; "you asume some intelligence wasn’t guiding
what happened. Me, I’m not so sure." Tanj nodded;
"Perhaps. That does lead me to something I’d hoped to talk
to you about. I’m going to gather as much data as I can on
the event, hopefully sufficient to replicate it. If they
DID survive, by some miracle, I intend to find them."
Smith’s face took on a troubled look; "I’d hate for you to
vanish in an attempt to find furrs that could be almost
anywhere in time or space, but I do admit, I need a ride
out of here. It seems, that in waiting for your arrival,
I’ve missed many an opportunity. Oh, and the furr I was
traveling with could also use a lift." Tanj grinned; "Fair
enough. We can go over everything you’ve pickedup on the
way to Jenka’s station. From there, I’m sure you can find
passage to wherever you want to go." The Wolf smiled;
"Very well, I’ll see you on your ship, then."
"Honestly Wanda, I don’t know what came over me!" Zassa
sat in the wardroom, comforted by the familiar surroundings
of the ship, soothed by the cup of tea the Wolverine lass
had poured her. The station, home for SO long, was….
"spooky." It was SO deserted! "Well, it sounds to me like
this guy was pretty rude." Wanda grinned; "Maybe its just
me, but most of the furrs here, that bump into me like
that, are most apologetic, right from the get-go." Zassa
chuckled, and shook her head; "Wanda, most of the furrs on
this station, most of the furrs in the Brethren KNOW better
than to mess with you! And you have to admit, a Wolverine
is a little more intimidating than a Vixen." Wanda smiled
and gave a little self-depreciating shrug; "Maybe so, but
you also know that most furrs in the Brethren would be
apologetic to you too, if they could even form words past
all the drool. NO ONE would want to diminish their chances
of winding up in the sack with you!" Zassa sighed and
smiled wryly, and then her eyes widened, and she looked
down at herself, almost spilling her tea; "Good Lord,
Wanda! Do you think I’m loosing it?"
The "scooter" was fueled, and all the required tools were
aboard, strapped down tight. Hinoki was just starting to
seal the helmet on his space suit, when the Badger ambled
over. "Hey! The guy up in Ops, um, I think his name was
Rand, said I should come talk to you. He seems to feel
your ship is the last chance I’ve got to get off this
station for a while." Hinoki paused and then shrugged;
"Could be. ‘course there’s a chance you could bum a ride
with the Imperials. They’re supposed to be RIGHT behind
us…" The Badger made a face; "Um, I’d rather avoid
Imperial complications, if you know what I mean." Hinoki
nodded sagely. Most of the Brethren would rather have
steered clear of the Imperials, especially Imperials likely
to be in a rather stressed, or foul mood. "Well, I can’t
speak for the Captain, but we do have the room. But we’ll
only be leaving here, if I can get some fuel from some of
those prizes the Brethren took during the battle, the ones
without warp drives. Otherwise we’ll be stuck here too."
Roland grinned; "Tell you what; I’ll help you get the fuel,
if you’ll put in a good word with your skipper." The
Cheetah grinned; "Done. Go get your suit and I’ll wait for
you here." Roland frowned; "Um…. Ah… Don’t got a suit."
"Professor" Corey looked up from his optical scanner;
turning, he looked around curiously, his eyes lighting on
the Cheetah lady who’d just walked into his lab. "Ah,
there you are. Um… Miss, I need a spectral analysis on
this data as soon as possible!" Tanj blinked at the Lynx
and then shook her head; "Um, I’m afraid you have me
mistaken for someone else. I’m with the Intelligence
department." Corey frowned and took another look; "Maybe
you’re right; my lab assistant was dressed differently
earlier today. And I don’t think she had that many spots."
Adjusting his lab coat, the Lynx seemed to gather himself;
"well, no matter; be a good dear and find her for me? This
data isn’t getting any newer!" Tanj leaned against the
doorframe; "Um, I hate to say it, but you seem to be the
only one left in here." Corey frowned; "What? Why we
weren’t due to depart until the 17th! The place should be
buzzing with activity…." Tanj chuckled; "Ah, but it’s the
19th. Say, when was the last time you slept? Or ate? Have
you been buried in your work so deeply that you didn’t even
notice the whole department packing up and evacuating?"
Corey rose from his seat, to padd to the doorway. The room
outside his lab was empty, only some pencil stubs and paper
clips littering the floor. Turning back to the Cheetah, he
shook his head in wonder "Goodness!"
Hinoki watched the Badger float in zero gee; three things
were immediately obvious. First, the guy had NO training,
either with starship fuel supplies, and any military
training he had for zero gee was all of the "assault"
variety. He might be able to handle a weapon, but a wrench
was something else….. Second was that he was a fast
learner. Third was that he had incredible reflexes. As
they wrestled an entire magnetic bottle assembly from the
hole in the hull of the deserted freighter, weightless, but
certainly NOT without inertia, he wondered what the Badger
looked like nude… and if he might be interested.
Hinoki cycled the cargo lock on the Lost Cause, and as the
air pressure light changed from red to green, cracked the
visor of his helmet. No sudden outrush of air, no strange
smells. He grinned and undid the neck seal, and pulled off
the helmet. He’d been in the suit way too long. He was
soaked in sweat, and was sure his scent was offensive.
Holding the helmet under one arm, he turned to grin at the
Badger; "Wait here; I’ll go get a float pallet and a couple
of cargo ‘bots and then we’ll get these things into the
cargo hold." Roland nodded and eyed the jury-rigged power
supplies warily. Forcing a grin he said lightly; "I’ll,
ah, just stay here and, um, shout if any of these magnetic
containment fields fail." Hinoki chuckled, thinking of the
thousands of pounds of antimatter within and nodded; "Yeah,
you do that." As he padded from the lock, stripping his
suit from him as he went, he heard the Badger call; "Hey,
how are you going to get the antimatter from the cargo bay
to the fuel tanks?" Hinoki just turned, to walk backwards,
kicking off his suit as he went, giving the Badger a good
look at his body. Like most veteran spacers, he wore
nothing underneath his suit. "Hey, that’s NOT my problem.
The Skipper’s a pretty decent engineer; she’ll figure
something out! She just told me to get the fuel!"
As the Cheetah left, Roland watched him move. Like most of
his species, Hinoki was slender, and well muscled, and the
Badger nodded appreciatively.
Hinoki paused to throw his suit into his cabin. The float
pallet had been scant meters from the airlock, and the
cargo ‘bots could be called with a shout, but he thought it
might be nice to carry the Badger back something cool to
drink. With a grin, still nude, Hinoki padded towards the
Corey sat in the wardroom of the Lost Cause and sipped his
tea; "Ah, I do love a good Darjeeling. Now, as I was
saying, the phenomenon itself was most unusual…." Wanda
leaned forward, both elbows on the table, chin in her
palms; "So you witnessed it?" The Lynx got a pained
expression on his face; Um… no, actually I was involved
with some botany experiments… but the astrophysics
department’s sensors captured it all quite well. I’ve seen
the tapes time and time again, oh yes…. It was MOST
unusual." Tanj sipped her coffee and nodded; "you’d been
participating in the experiments with the Brou device? You
knew what to look for, and what was considered normal?"
Again, the Lynx looked pained; "Um… the work with the Brou
device was more on an Engineering level. I was aware of
what was going on, but… well, those…. ENGINEERS were in
charge. None of them had the good sense to consult with me
when they set up their tests." Tanj smiled to herself as
Zassa asked "But you had access to the data? I mean, well,
wouldn’t those engineers have everything pretty well
instrumented?" The Lynx smiled; "Oh, yes… well, um, they
had a LOT of instruments, but I’m not sure they had all the
RIGHT instruemnts. Still, there was a host of data, and
I’m still sorting through it."
Tanj looked up as Hinoki moved through the door; she took
in the damp fur and the scent and wondered if he’d been
working out. Obviously having heard part, if not all of
the Lynx’s comments, Hinoki leaned forward; "Tell me, ah,
"Professor", where are you going now?" The Lynx sighed;
"Ah, well, the Black Fleet feels no need to expand their
astrophysics department…." Then he brightened; "But I’ve
secured a combination research and teaching position at the
University of New Friesland. In fact, I’m due there at the
end of the month." Tanj smiled; "Professor, we’re REAL
interested in this phenomenon; I’d LOVE to know where the
planet went, and possibly even how to follow it. Do you
think that in your research you might learn more about
that?" the Lynx thought for a moment, his fingers steepled
together; then again, he grinned; "My dear, I’m sure I can
work up a decent mathematical model. Very complex it would
be, N-space, multidimensional…. But I feel sure I could get
to the bottom, the very bottom of the physics… now after
that, you’d have to go find some… engineer who could build
a device to take advantage of my revelations. I don’t
dabble in… Hardware." Suddenly the Lynx looked sly; "But
it would take money. I’d need facilities. Graduate
students. Maybe a Post-Doc or two…." Tanj grinned; "I
think something might be arranged. Tell you what; leave me
a copy of all your data, and your analysis so far, and I’ll
see to it you get to New Friesland on time." The Lynx
looked confused; "Copy of my… why would you want that?"
Tanj sat back in her chair and chuckled; "Why, Professor,
the way to New Friesland is long, and space is FULL of
pirates. Just in case something happened to you, I’d want
your work to live on!" The Lynx got a thoughtful look on
his face; "Ah, yes, I see what you mean. Well, just as
long as I got full credit for the work done…. Yes….
Pirates." He shuddered and whispered; "Nasty fellows,
those. Pirates. Yes, care MUST be taken!"
Hinoki caught Tanj’s tail, in the corridor; "I thought we
were going to Jenka’s station next." Tanj smiled and
nodded; "True; we’ll put him on a shuttle to somewhere
where he can catch a commercial packet. There’s time, if
we move quickly." Hinoki just chuckled; "And do you think
he’ll notice he’s AMONG pirates there?" Tanj just laughed;
"I’m not sure he’s noticed he’s been among pirates HERE;
but you never know. I just hope he’s competent, at least,
in his field."
A cold bulb of beer in each hand, the Cheetah padded back
to the cargo bay. Whistling as he entered through the
personnel lock, he grinned as two cargo ‘bots left their
niches and moved to follow. A growled word sent one of
them for the float pallet. Roland seemed not to notice; he
was just leaning against the wall, arms crossed, seemingly
at ease. Inclining his head towards the display on one of
the jury-rigged power supplies he purrred: "This thing’s
been blinking yellow for about 23 minutes now; where you
been?" Hinoki handed him the beer and bit the top off the
nipple of his own bulb; "Oh, that? Means the battery’s
low. Lets get it over to the wall, and I’ll plug it in to
ship’s power. No big deal; it should go for another, oh,
four, or five minutes yet. Sorry about the delay; ran into
an astrophysics lecture." Roland almost choked on his
beer, but recovered smoothly; "ran into a WHAT?"
Corey frowned, and turned to look at the door to the
wardroom; there had been something funny about the male
Cheetah… something about the way he was dressed…..
"Skipper, there’s a … Mr. Smith at the personnel lock; he
says you’re expecting him." Tanj looked from the 9/16"
female fitting to the 14mm male fitting on the deuterium
transfer line and sighed. Rising she padded over to the
intercom; "Kath, what species is he?" The Mink turned to
look at the nondescript fur, and frowned. "Um…. Wolf? No,
with that sharp a muzzle, ah, Coyote? Too big to be a Fox,
‘cept for those ears… Ah.. something like that." Tanj
grinned; "That’s him. He’s going with us to Jenka’s. Oh,
is his friend with him?" Kath keyed the intercom; "He says
he can’t find him, but is sure he’ll turn up." "OK, tell
him he’ll have to bunk where he can find room, but I’m sure
he’ll adapt. Tell him I’m down in Engineering."
Tanj watched the Cryopump move the deuterium slush from the
portable tanks Hinoki had fetched. This was the simple
part. Soon, the tanks for the fusion reactors, and
thrusters would be full. That’d keep the ship powered up
until she could figure out how to safely transfer the
antimatter. The temporary power supplies Hinoki had rigged
had been both brilliant and frightening. They did the job,
but they had been short-term affairs, not having the energy
density needed to maintain the magnetic bottle for very
long….. If the station safety coordinator had known…..
Tanj chuckled and shook her head; the safety coordinator
was LONG gone. As was almost everyone else, at this point.
With a sigh, she figured he’d done what he had to. Now it
was up to her to finish the job.
Smith folded his news printout and smiled as the Badger
entered the wardroom; "Ah, there you are. I thought you’d
Zassa half turned at the sink and frowned; "What’s HE doing
Roland smiled; he had another chance at the beautiful
Vixen…. Now if he could just work on her attitude a little,
if he could just get a chance, he was sure he could have
her eating out of his hand in no time.
Hinoki scowled; ""Zassa! That’s no way to treat a friend
of mine! Apologize, or I’m going to have to punish you!"
Roland almost lost control of his face, surpressing a grin
as he thought to himself "punish her? Oh, I’d give a
month’s pay to be able to spank that gorgeous ass!"
Placing one wet and rather soapy paw on her hip, the Vixen
turned to look at Hinoki; "In case you hadn’t noticed,
we’re back at the station. Our agreement is at an end, and
I am no longer your slave. And I expect you to see to the
antitode, as promised, in short order! As for an apology,
I do believe its HE who owes ME one!" With a toss of her
head, the Vixen turned back to the sink, scrubbing a
blackened lasagna pan most aggressively.
Roland’s head went back and forth between the two; if she
HAD been a slave, maybe she’d be one again. Maybe he could
contrive for her to be HIS slave, at least for a little
Hinoki frowned, a low growl escaping his lips. However,
the echoing growl from Wanda brought his head around. It
was obvious who’s side the Wolverine lass was on.
Obviously time for a tactical retreat. Finally Hinoki
nodded; "A deal’s a deal. My cabin, later. But I still
think you’re being unnecessarily rude to someone who’s just
helped me save our collective asses!"
Zassa’s mouth opened for a reply, but the battle stations
alarm forestalled whatever response she was going to make.
In the tiny cubicle they’d called a cabin, Corey looked up
from his laptop; what WAS that God-Awful racket? How could
a scientist concentrate with something like THAT going on
in the background?
Tanj was still wiping her paws on a shop rag when she
slipped through the still-opening door onto the flight
deck; "What’s wrong?" Kath pointed to a monitor; "I’m
tapped into the station’s sensors; the Imperial
Battlecruiser just dropped out of Warp at the edge of the
system." Tanj nodded, and looked at the main displays; in
the cargo bay, every ship capable of maneuvering was
disconnecting from station power and preparing for flight.
"Do you think they’ll make it?" Tanj chuckled and nodded;
"If they head directly away from the Battlecruiser, they’ll
be able to warp out before he can catch them. Even if he
launches fighters now." With a sigh, the Cheetah leaned on
the back of her pilot’s chair; "But it looks as if we’ll
still be here; I can’t even begin to transfer the
antimatter for another two hours yet. And that’s only if
it passes all the integrity checks." Turning to look at
her crew, she sighed; "We’re going to have to face ‘em.
Now here’s what I want you to do…….
Smith looked over the forger’s tools and smiled; they
weren’t the best he’d ever seen, nor even as good as his
own set, unfortunately lost with most of his luggage back
on Elysium, but they were more than adequate… And his task
wasn’t all that difficult. After all, the Brethren didn’t
exactly issue ID cards. Some old pay stubs, some insurance
forms, some inter-departmental memos, that should be all
that would be necessary to show that he, Smith, had been in
Traffic, that Roland had been in Maintenance, and that
Corey had been in, um… Medical. All lower level
functionaries, all no one the Imperium would consider
worthy of a second look.
Zassa watched the printer as it spit out ream after ream of
the Lynx’s notes. Charts, tables, text, pictures, it was
amazing how much a few data crystals could hold. Gathering
the stack, she headed down to Engineering; that was
probably the best place to start.
Tanj smiled; ‘Surely, professor, you don’t want the
Imperials solving the puzzle before YOU do? After all, who
would they put on the project if they decided to pursue it
with everything they had?" Corey winced; "Saunders, at the
Imperial Academy of Sciences. He’s damn good. A little
set in his ways, but one of the greatest minds of our
time." The Lynx looked up and sighed; "Did I mention he
was my thesis advisor? Well, my first thesis advisor. I’m
afraid we didn’t see eye to eye…. On a number of issues."
Tanj blinked; "you… you KNOW him?" Corey smiled and
shrugged; "I’m afraid I’ve proven a little too much of a
free thinker for those… for the Imperial Academy of
Sciences, but yes, that’s where I started my training….."
Straightening, the Lynx nodded; "While altering test
results is VERY much against my ethics, I see the problem.
Yes, I think I can alter a few things, change a word here
and there, that will keep them off the proper theories for
a while…. Yes, I’ll get started immediately."
Zassa opened the ring binder and inserted another page.
The binder was for the repair of the recycling sludge pumps
and she was inserting pages at the end of each section;
they seemed to say "this page left intentionally blank",
but the back was full of tiny print, the Professor’s
transcribed notes. It was the twelfth such manual she’d
added to; there were still stacks of pages to be inserted,
but there were hundreds of hardcopy maintenance manuals in
Engineering. You never knew when the main computer, or the
Engineering computer would go down, and you’d have to try
and fix something the hard way, in the dark, with just a
hard-copy manual and a flashlight. The odds that the
Imperials would check the manuals closely were slim to
none, and she’d carefully altered the paper size so that
anyone just flipping through the manual would miss the
Hinoki smiled, as he hid the data crystal behind the
warhead of one of their anti-ship torpedoes. Given the
shielding for the warhead, it might, or might not be found.
If it WAS found, its careful hiding would only lend
credibility to the data it contained, a false record of
where all the Brethren had gone to. It certainly wouldn’t
hurt to draw attention AWAY from Jenka’s Black Fleet….
Tanj sighed and rose, dusting off the knees of her
overalls; the intelligence department had its own computer,
and apparently in the exodus, they had decided not to take
it with them. They’d wiped the memory, of course, but
those things are never complete. Now the memory was in
shards around the open case of the computer. Tanj had made
sure no one would ever access those files again, even if
most of them WERE only related to Elysium, and the
Rebellion. Now, the question was, what should she do with
HER files, the files that she kept on the Lost Cause? A
lot of the information on her field agents she desperately
wanted to keep, but she did NOT want the Imperials to find
it, to know about her network. But how to hide it?
The cypher was extreme; double-encrypted, using not her
DNA, but Kath’s for the first key, and Wanda’s for the
second. The data remained in her ship’s computer. All she
could do was to refuse to tell them what it was, and hope
that they didn’t force the issue. Still, Tanj thought,
when you weeded out all the intelligence about Elysium, her
out-of-system resources weren’t all that great, and some of
them, some of the more critical ones, were in her memory
alone. It was all she could do, to protect what was left
of her "job"….
Kath looked at the black uniform and shook her head;
"Mistress, I really don’t think this is such a good idea."
Wanda snorted; "Why not? It should keep them from pushing
us around too much. How many members of the boarding party
are going to ignore an Imperial Intelligence Major?" Kath
shrugged; "Probably not many, but I do think it would….
Distort things a little. I think, Mistress, that its
something that should be held in reserve, in case its
needed. Lets leave the uniform in my closet. They’ll be
bound to find it there, anyways. And besides, those in
command will HAVE to know, won’t they?" Wanda sighed and
shrugged; "I guess so….. I’m just… worried." Kath smiled
and hugged the Wolverine; "So am I, Mistress, so am I."
"Sir, the only remaining significantly inhabited place in
the system seems to be an asteroid mining station. At
least that’s what the Codex says it is. However, sensors
show a number of ships have just launched from there, all
heading out-system on vectors that would make interception
difficult." The Jaguar nodded; "Was the Beowulf among
those ships?" The Exec glanced at the sensor displays and
then shook his head; "No sir, it doesn’t seem to be." The
Jaugar nodded; "And the Science vessel?" "ETA is seven
hours, thirteen minutes. Tanker ETA is eleven hours,
thirty-four minutes." The Jaguar sighed; "And we don’t
really have the fuel to pursue those fleeing ships, do we?"
The Exec shook his head; "no Sir, not really." The Jaguar
nodded; "Very well then, take us in-system; lets check out
that "mining station. And lets deploy what probes we have
fuel for; might as well get what data we can, even if its
only background readings."
Rand was a study in casualness; it was obvous that he
didn’t fear the Imperials. Having always been on the
mining side of the operation, he’d never really broken or
even bent any laws, least ways not so was immediately
apparent…. And the mining operation was crusing along.
Tanj, however, was somewhat more nervous. SHE had secrets
to keep, and wasn’t sure how the Jaguar would respond to
her. For the occasion, she’d chosen a simple tan jumpsuit,
something that went well with her furr…. And one that
showed off all her curves to their best advantage. The
communications’ console alarm startled them both, souding
loud in the unnaturally empty Ops center. Tanj padded over
and opened the channel "Ajax Minerals Mining Station….."
The Jaguar blinked at the main viewscreen. There she
was….. Conflicting emotions warred within him; part of him
was delighted to see her again, part furious that she
should be so brazen as to answer the hail, part full of
raging curiosity as to WHY she was still here….. "Imperial
BattleCruiser "Gladeus"…. Stand by to be boarded as part of
an official investigation into the recent events in this
Tanj smiled, just a little. Maybe she could shake them up,
just a little…. "Acknowledged, Gladius. Please use
Docking Bay A1; it should be large enough to accommodate
you. I’ll meet you at the forward personnel lock. Station
power and utilities should be sufficient, I suspect."
Reaching down, Tanj’s fingers danced across the Ops
console, disengaging the ECM that foiled or misdirected
scans, opening the large-ship access port, and turning on
the docking bay guidance system.
The simultaneous shout from several stations at once
brought the Jaguar out of his command chair; it was obvious
within seconds that while several of his officers had been
surprised, there was no immediate threat. The Exec bent
over the sensor console for a moment and then straightened;
"Sir, it seems the Empire has been decieved; this is no
mere asteroid mining station. Our sensors are now showing
a whole lot less rock, and significantly more interior void
area. The available power now shows as three orders of
magnitude higher. There are significant defensive systems,
all off-line. We are NOT however, showing an increased
number of life-signs. The station is almost deserted."
The Jaguar nodded; "dock the ship as requested. Do NOT let
on that we didn’t know about this from the start." The
Exec just grinned and nodded.
Rand watched through a viewport as the huge ship glided
gracefully to a stop, and then inched sideways until the
mooring clamps took hold. "You know, I think that thing’s
actually just a little smaller than the Overlord…" Tanj
chuckled "Yeah. I checked the specs, and it is,
marginally. However, it’s a fact that I think will be
painfully obvious to their bridge crew. They’ll KNOW
something even larger and therefore, possibly more
powerful, once lived here." The lock made its usuall
hissing and clunking noises, and then both Tanj and Rand
turned, as the inner door slid open.
The Jaguar pulled at the hem of his tunic, straightening
it. Flanked by Marines, he stepped into the corridor
beyond the lock. To his surprise, it was spacious and well
lit, the rough rock walls he expected obvously milled to
smoothness, and sealed. The floor was covered in something
soft, and resiliant, and the artificial gravity was first
rate. He’d seen Imperial starbases that looked worse. And
there she stood, in the company of a rather rough looking
Badger. Before he could say anything, before he could
THINK of anything to say, the Badger turned, smiled and
strode over, his paw extended; "Welcome, Captain, to Ajax
Mining! Oh, I know what you’re thinking, but before we get
off on tangents, I just want to say we bought the place
from the Brethren, all nice and legal. No more pirate
operations out of here, so there’s no need to get bent out
The Jaguar found himself shaking the badger’s paw; a dry,
firm handshake. Releasing the Badger’s paw, trying to
regain his composure the Jaguar nodded; "Our sensors show
there isn’t much left here, but if you don’t mind, we’d
like to check the place out ourselves, just to… confirm
that. And there are a few folks left here, that we’d like
to talk to." Rand glanced at Tanj and then back to the
Jaguar, his expression carefully neutral; "Of course. But
we DO have a mining operation in progress; some parts of
the process can be dangerous, so please ask your personnel
to be careful. And of course, we’ll cooperate fully." The
Jaguar nodded to the Badger and then turned to his Exec;
"search the station and everything on it, as we’ve
discussed. Find what passed for a command center and tap
into its sensor net; I want a good watch established. When
the science vessel arrives, have them dock here. Oh, and
as soon as the tanker shows up, I want to refuel as the
number one priority. Then, as soon as possible, launch
fighters and sweep the system thoroughly. I don’t want to
run into any unexpected trouble." Turning back to Tanj,
the Jaguar smiled; "And now, Ms. Kee, I do believe we have
much to discuss." Holding out his arm, he gestured with
his other hand at the open lock to the battlecruiser.
Hinoki met the search party at the airlock. The officer in
charge was a full Commander, and he looked full of stern
resolve. Accompanying him was a party of technicians with
scanning equipment, and a full squad of Marines. "We’re
here to search your ship. We have reason to believe that
you have many things on board that would be of interest to
the Imperium." Hinoki chuckled and shrugged; "You’re
welcome to look….."
Tanj was surprised; she’d half-way expected an
interrogation cell, half-way expected to wind up in the
Jaguar’s bedroom, and the possibility of a conference room
full of curious Imperial officers had also crossed her
mind. The lounge he led her to was not what she expected.
There was a well-stocked bar, with a rating in a starched
white jacket to act as bartender. And there were quite a
number of senior members of the Jaguar’s staff, each
politely introduced in turn. Tanj wondered if they were
really who they were introduced as, though. That one thin,
ascetic looking fox struck her as more of a psychologist
than a ship’s doctor…. And the Wombat with the rather
spotty, ill-kept fur struck her as something she’d had a
limited experience with, a functioning telepath. Then
again, many engineers didn’t keep up their appearance as
they should, so it WAS possible he was what he claimed….
Settled on a couch, the Jaguar by her side, a glass of some
sort of sweet, fruity mixed drink in her hand, she looked
from face to face, trying to "read" the crowd….
Sitting back, the Jaguar took a look at the Cheetah and
smiled; "We’ve all heard so many different things about
you, some of them SO improbable…. I’d appreciate it if
you’d take some time and tell us all about yourself, so we
can separate fact from fiction." Tanj looked askance at
the Jaguar; "Um…. I thought you’d be more interested in
what happened here…." Off to her left, a Tiger in the
uniform of a Lieutenant Commander smiled; "Oh, I suspect
we’ll get to that a little later, but then, when things
happened here, you, ah, weren’t here, were you?" Tanj
frowned; "Um, no, I wasn’t. Ah, well, where should I
start?" The Jaguar smiled; "Why, at the beginning, of
course…." Tanj took a long sip from her drink and sighed;
"This could take a while….."
Hinoki watched over the technician’s shoulder as he
manipulated the scanner. The data crystal behind the
warhead had indeed been found, as had every other data
crystal on the ship, including some pornographic holos that
Hinoki hadn’t even known Zassa had. The Imperial scanners
were really first-rate. Now, he watched as the technician
moved the scanner, trying to get a better look, in
preparation to retrieving the crystal. Behind him, the
officer growled; "Are you sure you don’t want to fetch that
for us?" Hinoki chuckled, not looking up; "Oh, no, he’s
doing a marvelous job……"
Tanj watched their faces as she talked; this was getting
interesting, watching their reactions. She’d seen rage as
she told them of how the Elysium government had siezed the
freighter she’d been chief (and only) engineer on. She’d
seen a combination of revulsion, fascination, and naked
lust on various different faces as she talked about being
sold into slavery, and her experiences at the Academy. It
was amusing watching certain males squirm on their seats,
obviously trying to releave sudden binding in their
undergarments as some of her tales had the predictable
effect. She’d been tempted to see if she could turn this
quiet little tete-a-tete into an orgy, by describing in
greater detail, some of the more interesting incidents from
the academy, but somehow she restrained herself. The tale
of how she wound up with the Brethren, however, had them
all on the edge of their seats. Even the bartender, as he
refilled her glass, was listening with rapt fascination.
Zassa purrrred and snuggled up against the Wolf, grinning;
"Are you SURE you don’t want to do a body cavity search?"
The Wolf swallowed hard and then after a glance at his
officer, shook his head; "Um, No, Ma’am, that won’t be
necessary; our sensors are VERY good." Zassa awwwwwed and
gave him her best pout….
Tanj smiled as she described the Eroj operation. As she
reached the end, a young Jackal, one of the fighter wing
commanders, she thought, shook his head; "Now wait a
minute; you say you WON the game on Eroj? In the
accompanyment of a Rabbit? Tanj nodded; "Yes, I…." The
Jackal’s grin seemed to light the room; "That was a
Classic! I’ve GOT that holo! Could I get you to autograph
it for me?" Tanj’s laughter was lost as the room dissolved
in a thousand questions.
Quietly, unobtrusively, the bartender refilled the
Cheetah’s glass. The drink was a powerful one, and the
furr that he thought could only have been Imperial
Intelligence had spiked his pitcher with something,
directing him to serve it ONLY to her. And she’d been
sipping steadily for a while now….. His stomach rumbling,
the bartender returned to his station, wishing that they’d
ordered appetizers…... but then, they probably thought
that the alcohol, or whatever drug the drink contained,
might be more effective on an empty stomach.
Hinoki smiled as the Imperial Marine flipped through the
maintenance manuals, obviously just going through the
motions. They’d found quite a number of carefully hidden
data crystals, and had even found some of the set "they
weren’t supposed to find," and it was obvous to him that
his assignment was a massive waste of time….
Wanda grinned at the Ferret as she pulled her head down out
of the ventillation duct; "Ewwwww. What IS that stuff in
there?" Wanda laughed; "Oh, just some special mold we like
to grow; its actually part of our security procedures."
The Marine blinked; "your … what?" Wanda grinned wider;
"Oh, yeah, direct exposure to the mold, such as you’ve just
had, well, lets just say that after a little while, you
won’t be interested in stealing anything from the ship, or
kidnapping or assaulting any of us….. Trying to get
through the ship via the ductwork is NOT a good idea."
Behind her, the Marine’s officer, a Minotaur, growled; "I’d
Wondered how you could so successfully subvert someone from
Imperial Intelligence! Corporal, get back to the ship
immediately, get through decontamination, and report to
medical! I’ll get a ‘bot in here to inspect the ductwork
for contraband! AND to get a sample of that stuff" A
worried look on her face, the Ferret hastened to depart.
Kath took Wanda aside, and looked at her curiously; "Do we
really…..?" Wanda grinned; "Oh, no, of course not; this is
just a good way to make them clean our ventillation ducts.
Now they’re SURE we’re hiding something in there…." The
Mink stared at Wanda for a minute and then dissolved in
laughter; "you…. That’s a level of deviousness WORTHY of
Imperial intelligence; I LOVE it!"
"You realize you’re going to have to tell us more about
that particular operation." Tanj looked at the Rabbit
cooly, trying to focus. How much HAD she had to drink?
This stuff was deceptive…... Frowning, she realized he
hadn’t been introduced, in the flurry of introductions that
had occurred when the Jaguar had led her into the lounge.
And his uniform bore no particluar clue as to what
department, if any, he was with on the Battlecruiser.
Smiling softly, Tanj regarded him as she would an idiot
child; "I’m sure you DO want me to tell you more, but I
find myself in an interesting position. Those I worked
for, those who might have the power to protect me, have
vanished. And yet, you and I both know, that I might still
have some utility to the Empire. But when that utility is…
"used up," you and I both know that it might be much more
convenient for the empire if I were to simply disappear.
And as such, it would be prudent for me to preserve that
utility for as long as possible. And as such, I will hold
some things, some resources, and some secrets. Its simply
a matter of self-preservation." The Rabbit frowned, and
opened his mouth to speak, but before he could, the Jaguar
rumbled; "and speaking of… utility to the Empire, that does
lead me to our current situation……. Just what DO you think
The Minotaur looked Kath up and down, a scowl on his face;
Kath just smiled sweetly back; "Don’t even think of it,
Lieutenant. You’ve done what you came to do, obtained what
you came to obtain. Threats, recriminations, or editorial
comments of any kind will not help your career, or
acomplish anything of significance." The Minotaur opened
his mouth, and then closed it again; turning he gestured to
his troops, and with a backwards glower over his shoulder,
they all moved towards the airlock.
Tanj frowned at the Rabbit; "Why do I think they might
still be alive? Because of the experience with the cloaked
cruiser that attempted to attack us during the "space
madness" incident. It demonstrated that the Brou device
could open a… "portal" to elsewhere, a portal capable of
swallowing a whole ship, without leaving debris behind.
Because the field test the Elysium Government ran showed
massive amounts of debris after the event. Because even if
the planet of Elysium wound up in interstellar space, God
knows where, the Overlord was still a functioning space
vessel when the event occurred. THEY at least should still
be alive, no matter where they wound up, AND they’d still
have the Brou device, and therefor at least a HOPE of
getting home!" The Rabbit frowned back; "Yes, the supposed
assault on the pirate base that you mentioned. Just where
IS this Mouse of yours now. I do believe we’d like to talk
to him. Your story could use corroboration." Tanj settled
back, snuggling a little into the couch, her drink once
again full almost to the brim threatened to slosh over with
her movements. "He vanished. From a locked room on a
heavily guarded station. Despite the best efforts of the
Brethren’s security forces, no trace of him was EVER found.
That Mouse had abilities, either psychic, or through some
advanced science, that were FAR beyond anything the
Empire’s ever seen. And I wouldn’t be too eager to find
him if I were you; if he didn’t WANT to talk to you, well,
I shudder to think what might happen….." The Rabbit’s
scowl deepened; "The Empire does NOT like to be threatened…
but his disappearance works very well to your advantage,
doesn’t it? There’s no one to contradict your wild tale,
now is there?"
Tanj shrugged, very carefully putting off taking another
sip of the seductive drink; "Mister, I just don’t care if
you believe me or not. I know what I saw. And I know what
I believe. Besides, intelligence services don’t go on
probabilities, or on intentions, but on capabilities. Its
not "are the Brethren likely to attack us, but CAN they
attack us. Is Mark interested in overthrowing the Empire?
I really doubt it; I think he could care less. But if he
wanted to, what trouble might he cause? I would think it
would be incredible. Should the Empire seek out his people
and learn more about them? I would. If the Overlord
emerged from "elsewhere" could they pose a threat to the
Empire? If they could find their way back, I would imagine
they’d have obtained, or developed a level of technology
that COULD be threatening. Therefor should the possibility
of their return be considered? Should they be searched
for? I intend to. Not because I wish the Empire harm, but
because I wish to reclaim my loved ones. Should the Empire
search for them? I would think so, not because they want
to pursue Pirates, but because they, if anyone, DO hold the
key to an advanced and possibly threatening technology.
But then, its obvous that you and I look at things in
slightly different manners. And that’s all there is to it.
As the conversation shifted, the Rabbit caught the
bartender’s eye, only to see him shrug minutely. Obviously
she’d caught on, and was no longer consuming her drink, and
as a result, no further "loosening" of her tongue was to be
expected. Sure that she was holding back SOMETHING, the
Rabbit’s gaze shifted, finding the Wombat. The Wombat
seemed to be gazing off into space, as if bored with the
entire proceedings. Nodding slowly, assuming that the
telepath was "monitoring" him too, he waited for phase two
of the interrogation to commence.
Tanj let herself babble, for a bit, telling the "nice"
young Lieutenant Commander all about the incident on
Gibralter station, giving him "the story behind the story".
It gave her some time to let whatever was in the
seductively-tasty drink work its way out of her system,
while not giving away anything they couldn’t help but
already know. And if she talked fast enough, well, no one
could break in and change the subject, could they. The
Brethren had always been concerned about their senior staff
being captured and interrogated, and she’d had training,
and some innoculations, mostly against much cruder
interrogation techniques and drugs, and if she could play
for a little time, she was sure she could counter this
The Jaguar frowned slightly as the Cheetah ran on; he’d
never seen her run off at the mouth like this before.
Letting his eyes rove the crowd, he wondered if they’d
somehow done something to her? No one had said anything to
him before he’d brought her on board, but it was possible
they’d slipped her something…… Turning back to look at
her, he waited for a moment where he could interject some
of the questions that were starting to burn in his mind…..
The Wombat "felt" the Rabbit’s attention, and knew what he
wanted. And of course he’d try to "probe" the Cheetah.
She seemed such an interesting subject, not like the coarse
criminals or sleazy politicians they so often brought him.
Not likely to be a psychopath, that would leave him feeling
icky for the next couple of weeks. Not at all like the
Rabbit himself, who didn’t seem to have ANY sense of humor
at all. But it wasn’t going to be easy either. The Jaguar
was almost radiating lust mixed with worry. It was obvous
that he was much more interested in her affections than he
was about hypothetical doomsday weapons, and was more
worried about this Lion fellow that had been her master as
a rival for her affections. It was obvious that he did NOT
want her to find the missing planet, or any of the missing
pirates; his job would be much easier if they stayed "gone"
as would his chances with her. Forcing his attention away
from the Battlecruiser’s captain, and towards the Cheetah,
he started to probe gently….
Tanj had been watching, waiting for it. Although her head
felt as if it was full of chopped brown paper, and there
was this annoying buzz in her ears, she could feel the
"tingle", the same feeling she always got when Mark had
tried to communicate telepathically with her. Like riding
a bicycle, it was simply something you never forgot. And
she was ready. Thinking back to her days at the academy,
she tried to slip into a certain frame of mind, her gaze
drifting to one side, and down, to stare at the rather
enticing bulge in the Jaguar’s pants…..
The Rabbit watched, curiously, as the Wombat took a hasty
gulp of his drink, and swallowed hard. He had the most
curious look on his face…. Shifting back to look at the
Cheetah, he found her half-smiling, her eyes slitted,
barely open. As he watched, she licked her lips, a slow
and sensual movement, her head slowly turning, to fasten on
the Mare from Weapons Control…..
Tanj let her gaze drift over the Mare’s rather full bosom,
her eyes seeking out the slight bulge in the fabric of her
tunic where her nipples were, then drifting down, to the
lower curves of her breasts…. And she wondered what the
Mare would look like, nude… Surpressing a giggle, she
thought back to the pony cart races at Jenka’s station, and
Dahlia, and wondered of the Mare would like to try
something like that, the straps of the harness tight around
The Wombat almost dropped his glass, and a soft "oh MY"
escaped from his lips; for a moment he had a vision of the
Mare, nude except for a harness of tight leather straps,
fastened between the poles of some sort of two-wheeled
cart… for a moment he could almost feel the reins in his
hands, as he gazed at her full, rounded ass in front of
The Mare shifted in her seat, an image suddenly flashing in
her mind. Nude. Harnessed with tight leather straps, her
wrists bound at her side. Bound to some sort of cart…. She
could almost taste the steel of the bit in her mouth… and
for some reason she found it horribly erotic. Crossing and
then recrossing her legs, she tried to force what should
have been such a distasteful image from her mind….
Tanj caught the Mare’s sudden change in body language, and
smiled a little; she let her gaze drift to another lady in
the room, a rather thin Snow Leopard, and let another image
form in her mind….. The Snow Leopard nude, and lying flat
on her back, with herself crouched in a predatory pose,
above her, the classic "69"…. She wondered how the Leopard
would taste, and for a moment she could almost smell the
heady aroma of her sex…
The Wombat nervously ran a finger around his neckline, his
collar suddenly tight. The Cheetah was a hot little thing,
unlike anyone he’d ever tried to scan before? Did she know
he was in her mind? Urrrrrrr, the remembered sensation of
tongue-wiggling-in-pussy suddenly almost making him cry
out; if she was, he couldn’t detect it… but then, with the
images she had running through her mind, he doubted a
telepath of ANY level could…..
The Snow Leopard looked at the Cheetah and smiled; suddenly
the strangest thought had popped into her mind; she
wondered what the Cheetah would be like as a lover? Would
this Pirate be harsh and demanding? Or a tender, and
sensuous lover? In some respects she hoped it would be the
former, and for a moment she let her thoughts stray into
forbidden territory, wondering what it would be liked to be
tied up and ravaged by the spotted cat……
The Wombat squinched his eyes tight, a small whimper
escaping his lips; he was getting unwanted feedback from
the Snow Leopard. Her thoughts suddenly seemed to be on
the same wavelength as the Cheetahs. With a start, he
realized he must be "leaking"….. They’d warned him about
this back at the Institute. For a moment he came close to
panic, wondering if he should flee…… and then he smiled;
what could they do to him, if he let things continue?
Proven telepaths were far and few between, and the Empire
needed every one. Could they really censure him, if things
got out of hand, especially if he’d been ordered to probe
so sexy and hot a creature as this? Maybe he’d even find
his way into the texts…… "There’s just no doubt" he
thought to himself, "I just don’t get enough fun out of my
Tanj watched the Wombat from the corner of her eye; he was
panting lightly, eyes closed tight. Certain she was having
an effect on him, she thought back to the last time she and
the Jaguar had made love…. Leaning a little to one side,
she threw one paw out to "steady" herself, her palm landing
square on the Jaguar’s crotch. Giggling she squeezed
lightly…. And then just left her hand there.
The Wombat had several "flashes" in quick succession; the
Cheetah astride the Jaguar’s hips, humping him wildly; the
Cheetah on hands and knees as he plowed her from behind.
The Cheetah kneeling, the Jaguar’s cock hard and throbbing
in her mouth….. And with a groan he lost all control, the
images seeping from his mind into every receptive brain
within his range……
On the Bridge, Bethany shuddered, a series of images
filling her mind; she’d had a crush on the Captain for
years, but had NEVER had the guts to approach him. Now,
suddenly, she found her mind filled with images of her
making wild, passionate love with him….
Seeing the sudden change in demeanor, seeing the strange
look come over Bethany’s face, her watch officer padded
over; "Specialist, are you OK?" Bethany moaned softly and
shook her head; "Um, Nosir, I don’t feel so…. Ooooooooo"
Looking up the fox waved to a petty officer nearby;
"Jamison, take this specialist’s position for a minute; I’m
going to help her down to sick bay. Something’s wrong with
her." Taking Bethany’s arm, the Fox helped her to her
Tanj’s fingertips softly stroked the Jaguar’s crotch as she
watched the staid and proper assembly seem to disintigrate;
it was almost as if someone had released an aphrodesiac
into the air. The Snow Leopard had all but stalked over to
kiss a Wolf, a kiss that had initially surprised him, but
one that seconds later was being returned full-force, as
each fumbled with the other’s clothing. Nearby, two males,
a Kangaroo and a Minotaur were in a tight embrace, and on
the other side of the room, two vixens were assaulting a
male Tiger. Tanj grinned and turned, her mind conjuring up
the sexiest thoughts she could, as she bent to undo the
Jaguar’s trousers, her lips and tongue seeking out his
The Rabbit looked around, aghast, as things went to hell;
what in the world was going on here? Orgies weren’t held
on Imperial Starships! Then a female Gerbil wrapped her
arms around him from behind, and somehow he lost his train
Bethany paused in the corridor; she wasn’t feeling right,
but what she needed wasn’t in sick bay; looking at the
concerned face of her watch officer, she smiled shyly and
tugged him out of the corridor and into a power
distribution room…. What she needed, the cure for her
illness HE might be able to provide….
The Jaguar watched Tanj’s mouth envelop his cock; he wasn’t
quite sure what had happened, but he wasn’t about to
complain… One small part of his brain screamed that this
should NOT be happening, and that HE was the one
responsible for putting a halt to it, but somehow that
rational part of his mind was submerged by wave after wave
of raw lust.
The Wombat smiled; his drink had spilled down one pants
leg, the glass tumbled to the floor, but aside from that,
he sat as he’d been… except that every sensation, from
every furr around him, was echoing in his brain. Smiling
foolishly, he soaked up every erotic thought, and sensation
as if he were a sponge. And to think he hadn’t even known
such a thing was possible. He WAS every furr, every male,
every female, and all their pleasures were HIS. Shivering
in delight, he was unaware of the Psi waves spreading out
through the ship……
"Environmental, from the Bridge. Things are getting a
little hot up here; we’re a good two degrees over what the
temperature should be! Environmental, respond!
Environmental? Turning to the Exec, the rating shrugged;
"Sir, I’m not getting any response at all down there." The
Minotaur nodded; "Environmental control is only two decks
away, almost directly under us. Best just go and see what
the matter is." Turning, the Exec growled;
"Communications; I want you to check and make sure its not
an intercom problem." With a sigh, the Exec leaned against
the back of the Captain’s chair. He hadn’t had this
problem since he’d been a boy, since secondary education….
For some reason he had a massive erection, the front of his
pants bulging. Leaning casually against the back of the
chair was a good way to hide it. He couldn’t leave the
bridge, and to let the crew see him like this……
Tanj smiled as she felt hands moving over her body. She’d
slid off her seat somewhere along the line, and now, she
was kneeling between the Jaguar’s feet. She’d opened his
pants using just her teeth and tongue, and now his cock was
filling her mouth; she purrred at the taste of him, her
tongue stroking the underside of his shaft, its head
pressed against the back of her throat. From the corner of
her eye, she could see almost all of the room’s occupants
involved in sex of one form or another. As the hands
worked her coveralls down her body, she smiled; they’d
rather effectively entangled her arms behind her back, in
the loose fabric. That’s what she got for wearing long
sleeves… Whether they were doing it as a form of ad-hoc
bondage, or just being clumsy in their lust-filled haste
wasn’t clear, and Tanj didn’t really care. For a moment
she just lost herself in the simple pleasures of pleasuring
the Jaguar, a small portion of her mind crying out to be
the bound and helpless sex slave…
The Jaguar’s eyes flickered upwards as he heard the sound
of ripping cloth. The Fighter Pilot was getting a little
rough with the Cheetah, in his eagerness to take her from
behind; he knew he should object, knew he should say
something, but then Tanj’s tongue stroked over his shaft
again, right where he liked it best, and all such thoughts
fled from his mind…..
The Wombat shivered, squirming in his chair. He’d already
made a mess of his uniform pants once, and it felt like he
was about to do so again… In spite of that, his mind
churned, touching all around him, sharing in their
pleasures, and, he thought, increasing the pleasures they
felt too…… And to think he’d never even known he could DO
Bethany groaned; one foot was braced on a conduit bundle,
the other on the front of one of the racks of power
distribution switchgear. Her boss, the Fox was standing
between her spread legs, his hard cock buried in her
dripping pussy… and he was good… very good. Much better
than she ever would have suspected. Alternating his
thrusts, moving from slow and sensuous, to hard and quick,
changing speeds, strokes and angles, he was playing her
like a fine instrument….. And in return she was working
her vaginal muscles around his shaft, squeezing him,
showing him all the tricks she’d practiced in secret…… It
was so good, she hoped it would never end.
Tanj smiled as the Jaguar spurted into her mouth; someone
was behind her, driving his cock into her pussy
energetically, but she hadn’t allowed herself to get lost
in those sensations, delightful though they were, thinking
that the Jaguar should come first…. Now, as his cock
spurted, as his cum splattered the back of her throat, she
allowed herself to relax her control a little, to savor
some of the pleasures being bestowed upon her…..
Lieutenant Feldman smiled, and tried not to stare. Instead
she turned and gazed pointedly at her console, only to find
the Minotaur’s reflection there. Deciding it was a better
way to observe, she let her gaze linger there…. The front
of his pants were tenting rather dramatically. It would
HAVE to be uncomfortable for the Battlecruiser’s Executive
officer to have an erection of that magnitude restrained so
tightly in his pants…. Letting her eyes roam over the
Bull’s contours she smiled and wondered what he’d look like
if he just wasn’t wearing those pants?
O’Bannon squirmed around in the tight accessway; "Howard,
would you hand me the Hydrospanner? I can’t reach it…"
Somewhere down by the Otter’s feet, there was a movement,
and then there was a hand on her leg, near her ankle;
something started to slide up her body, in the slim space
between the accessway’s wall, and her thigh. It felt hard
and metallic, and squirming around, she tried to reach down
to take the proffered instrument; somehow, though she found
she couldn’t quite get her arm down along her body. "Gee,
Helen, the passage is too tight; not sure I can push it up
to you…" O’Bannon paused for a moment, the hand was
fumbling between her thighs, the tool resting on her mons;
for a moment she wondered if Howard knew just what he was
doing to her, but then she decided the trainee probably
didn’t have a clue; still, it felt good, in an illicit
kinda way. "Keep trying, Howard; if I have to let go of
this optical relay, it’ll take me another half hour to get
it back together!" Howard just grinned and tried to squirm
up between the beautiful otter’s ankles, shoving the large
tool towards her with little jerks. He knew exactly what
he was doing, and had been waiting for half the cruise to
get his lead technician in just this sort of position…..
Tanj sat and just marveled. She’d hit a quiet moment, when
those making love to her had either exhausted themselves,
or had gotten involved with other partners. For the
moment, she was by herself. It provided her with a
fascinating opportunity to just observe. The Wombat sat in
his chair, as he had been since the beginning of the
"interrogation", but his chest was heaving as he panted
hard. His eyes were closed, and his pants were bulging
from an obvious erection; aside from that, he gave no hint
of being involved in the orgy; everyone else, however, was
all wrapped up in someone…. The touch on her arm came as a
bit of a surprise, and Tanj turned her head to find the
rather pretty Snow Leopard smiling at her. To her
surprise, the Leopardess took her head in both hands, to
kiss her, long and slow. Breaking the kiss, the Leopardess
smiled again; "I may not have much time before someone else
grabs me, so please pardon my bluntness. I found what
they’d told us about your experiences as a slave… well,
fascinating… I was wondering if you could perhaps show me
a little of what it might be like to be a… well, a bound
and helpless sex object?" Tanj chuckled; "When its done
right, its simply marvelous; when its done wrong, or if you
don’t really have a knack for it, it’s a terrible
nightmare. Are you really sure you want to find out?" The
Snow Leopard nodded eagerly. Tanj smiled; "Then go and
find me about ten body-lengths of rope, and I’ll do the
Helen O’Bannon shuddered; all her protests, all her
objections had all gone for naught; she had gotten herself
wedged tight in the duct, one hand still holding the errant
optical relay together, and now her trainee/helper, Howard,
had tugged off her pants, and was doing the most
delightfully naughty things to her with the handle of the
tool she’d asked him to pass her…..
The Minotaur looked up, his eyes a little glazed; Leutenant
Feldman stood before him, and as he looked at her, he
suddenly realized he’d never noticed how pretty the Ermine
was. "Um… ah, what can I do with.. I mean what can I do
for you, Lieutenant?" Feldman smiled and moved a little
closer. The Bull was still pressed hard against the back
of the Captain’s chair, trying to look as if he were
leaning casually against it, but his increasingly strained
posture belied something else. Reaching out a hand, her
motion partially concealed by the chair back, the
Minotaur’s body and her own, she gently stroked fingertips
up along where the Minotaur’s pants touched the chair. She
could feel him shiver. "Well, Sir, I noticed your, ah,
little problem, and it came to mind that I’d be honored if
you’d let me help you with relieving the situation… The
Exec blinked; "say WHAT?"
Tanj had found a willing tongue, the Bear flat on his back,
his tongue working up into her sex. A female wolverine was
mounted on his not-inconsiderable shaft, but she was facing
his feet, and probably didn’t even know Tanj was there.
The tap on her shoulder once again came as a surprise, and
she turned a little to find the Snow Leopard standing
there, a coil of black cable over her shoulder. "Couldn’t
find any rope, but I’ve got some fiber optic cable from a
damage control locker; its soft, fairly flexible, and
should do. Tanj nodded, eased off the Bear’s tongue, slid
back a bit and bent to kiss him, and then rose; grinning at
the Snow Leopard she gestured; "Over here."
Tanj noticed a number of pairs of eyes watching what she
was doing, although the orgy scarcely slowed down. One of
the sets of eyes belonged to the wolverine, still astride
the bear’s thick cock, and she couldn’t help but wonder, if
that one wouldn’t like to try something like this too?
Tanj had the Snow Leopard sit on the floor, knees raised,
arms above her head; slowly she’d woven a body harness
around her, the free end of the cable going over a
chandelier, and back several times. When she was finished
she smiled, and with even more pairs of eyes watching her,
she pulled on the end of the cable. Slowly the Snow-
Leopard rose off the floor, hanging there, her sitting
position barely changing as the fiber optic cable took the
strain. "Comfy?" Tanj asked of the Snow-Leopard, and
getting a nod in response, she grinned; "Good. Now comes
the fun part." Slowly she turned the Leopardess, and as
the multiple lengths of cable twisted around one another,
slowly, the Leopardess rose, bit by bit, further from the
floor. When she’d risen about a foot, Tanj stopped and
looked around the room, holding the Leopardess from
spinning back down with one paw. Finding the Captain
staring at her intently, she grinned back; "I need a
volunteer; someone Male, and rather well-equipped. The
Captain opened his mouth, but the Bear beat her to it;
"Miss, I"d be Honored to take part in your little…..
demonstration." Turning, Tanj found the Wolverine was no
longer astride his hips, but fully involved with a male
wolf, a female Squirrel, and a male Rat, in a complex
position that would have done the Kama Sutra proud.
Turning back to the Bear she grinned; "you’ll do just fine;
come and lay on the floor under her. I’m going to let her
down onto your cock, and then adjust the cables a little;
and then we’ll be off." Catching the Captain’s eyes, Tanj
wondered if she caught just a hint of disappointment there?
Specialist Haliburton nudged Specialist Boz and grinned;
"Suzie! Look at that! Tasha’s actually DOING it!" Betty
looked over her friend’s shoulder and nodded; "Phenomenal!
Will you look at the SIZE of that schlong?" As she talked
her left hand moved, under the console’s top, to lightly
stroke her friend’s thigh….
Off to one side of the battlecruiser’s bridge, an indicator
light flashed on the commo panel; the crewfurrs there,
however, had their attention elsewhere, and it went
unnoticed. There were MUCH more interesting things to look
at, on the Bridge, right then…..
The Minotaur groaned. The Ermine’s mouth felt SOOO good on
his throbbing cock; he couldn’t remember EVER having been
this horny. The fact that he was standing in the middle of
the bridge, on duty, with his pants around his ankles never
once impinged on his conciousness; what she was doing just
felt TOO good!
"This is the Imperial Science Vessel Tesla… Anyone out
there at ALL?" "Um, yeah, kinda. Not many of us left, but
there are still some of us here…. This is Rand, I’m the
General Manager of the Asteroid Mining Facility." "This is
Captain James Watt, of the Imperial Science Vessel Tesla;
we were supposed to rendezvous with an Imperial
Battlecruiser here!" "Oh. Them. Yeah, they’re here;
docking bay A1, as a matter of fact. Gee, I’m surprised
they’re not answering your hails. Maybe we got a bad
antenna lead in the dockside utilities package. Asteroid’s
largely nickel-iron, and it screws up commo gear a lot."
On the bridge of the science vessel, the Captain exchanged
looks with his communications tech; "Sir, that’s just not
possible; we use a phased neutrino communciations system;
that will NOT stop them from receiving us!" The Captain
shrugged and turned back to the main viewscreen; "Well,
maybe their commo gear’s offline, or maybe there’s
something wrong with ours. We’d like to rendezvous with
them as soon as possible, though. Lotta work to do in this
system and the trails’growing colder by the hour." Rand’s
image nodded; "Sure. How ‘bout we put you in the docking
bay right next door to them. Port’s on the spinward side,
and watch out for the rock jacks; those guys don’t stop for
nothing when they’re shuttling rocks back and forth.
Docking bay A2 will be ready and waiting for you!"
Tanj made a few ajustments, and then "wound" the Snow
Leopard back up. Turning her until the head of the bear’s
cock just barely spread her labia, the Cheetah grinned;
"Ready?" Without waiting for an answer, she let go, and
stood back. The Snow Leopard started to turn slowly at
first, the cables slowly unwinding, but gradually momentum
built. Spinning, she decended on the Bear’s cock. She
almost bottomed out, but Tanj had correctly gauged the
height, and as she continued to turn, the cables started to
wind back on themselves and she started to rise again.
Back and forth, up and down, she twirled, screwing herself
up and down on the Bear’s shaft. From the look on the
Bear’s face, he was in 7th heaven; the Snow Leopard’s face
was a blur, but at the top and the bottom, where she slowed
way down, she looked as if she were having fun too…..
Watt shook his head as the connection was broken; "I can’t
imagine an Imperial battlecruiser not answering our hails.
Do you think something might have happened to them?
Williamson, at the Astrophysics sensor station snorted;
"Our sensors aren’t really set up along military lines, but
I CAN tell you there aren't enough guns left in this system
to seriously threaten a Battlecruiser. Oh, the station’s
got defenses; more than you’d think something like that
would need, but they’re all in a low-power stand-by mode.
If you’re thinking this is a trap, well, I can’t find any
evidence to support it." Fermi, the exec chuckled "and
while we’re no warship, we’re not exactly defenseless
ourselves. I say lets go take ‘em up on their offer of
hospitality. I wouldn’t mind getting off this ship for a
few hours, even if its just to stretch my legs in some
misbegotten mining station." Watt nodded slowly to
himself, and then turned to the Helmsfurr; "OK, Samuel;
take us in."
Tanj felt someone come up behind her, arms going around
her; turning her head, she found the Jaguar snuggling her
from behind… but his eyes were on the whirling Snow
Leopard. Smiling, Tanj rubbed her bottom back against his
The Bull’s bellow echoed from the walls of the Bridge; his
cock spurting he proceeded to pump a month’s worth of cum
into the Ermine’s mouth…. And all over her face and down
her front. As his heart pounded, as he chest heaved, he
looked around the Bridge, aghast, as the sound of soft
applause filled the air.
Bethany sighed and straightened her boss’ uniform; "I know,
we need to get back; thanks for the "cure" though, I feel
ever so much better now. Her Beau just smiled…..
O’Bannon HOWLED as she climaxed, squirming; Oooooh, she was
gonna get Howard for this! Feeling the handle of the tool
slide from within her, she felt him shove it up through a
narrow gap between her body and the accessway’s wall.
Panting hard, she managed to get ahold of it. "ewwww,
Howard! Now its all Slippery! How am I going to be able
to use it like this?" Feeing fingers begin to stroke over
her wet sex, Helen sighed and wondered if she could finish
the job under such distractions? Maybe… Maybe not. But
either way, when she was done, she was gonna GET him!
"Criminey, Captain, will you LOOK at the size of this
place!" Williamson’s head kept swiveling from the main
viewer to his own specialized sensors and back; obviously
his specialized instruments were not reflecting what his
eyes were seeing, and it appeared as if he just didn’t know
which to believe. Watt nodded slowly; "I’d heard there had
been a powerful Pirate clan in this area; its been in the
Imperial "Notice to Spacefarers" for ages. I THINK we just
found where they’ve been hiding." Fermi nodded, and then
shrugged; "It also looks as if they’re not home. There’s
the Battlecruiser, and she doesn’t look any the worse for
wear." Watt nodded; "Lets dock, and then I’m going to go
over there and ask some questions."
Tanj purrrred; on hands and knees, with the Jaguar taking
her roughly from behind, she sloooowly crawled across the
floor. Reaching the Wombat she used teeth and tongue to
free his cock from his stained pants. As she slurped him
into her mouth, she felt his body tense, almost arching
from the chair. It took almost no time at all, and she
wondered how much "personal" sex this telepath ever got; a
few soft strokes of her tongue, a few licks and nibbles and
he was cumming, and cumming HARD.
The climax that washed over Tanj, as the Wombat orgasmed,
was one of the most intense she’d ever had, and as she
rode the waves of pleasure, she felt the Jaguar cumming
within her, grunting hard with the power of his orgasm.
And all around the room it seemed, other furrs were howling
or crying out…..
Specialist Haliburton shuddered as her climax blossomed
unexpectedly; Suzie Boz’s fingers were doing nice things to
her, under their shared console, to be sure, but she hadn’t
thought herself THAT close to the edge….
Bethany staggered and hugged her boss hard; "ooooh,
aftershocks! Kid, you’re better than I thought!" Turning,
right there in the corridor, she pulled him to her and
kissed him HARD.
The Minotaur’s eyes went wide; something had just swept
over him, something powerful… and now his pants felt wet;
looking down, he realized he’d cum again….. And in front
of the entire bridge crew. How embarrasing!
Tanj smiled as she felt the Wombat’s body go limp. Giving
him a last lick, she purrred and straightened. The Jaguar
was flat on the floor behind her, chest heaving. Everyone
else was in postures of exhausted repose. The spell seemed
to be broken. Rising, the Cheetah looked around, wondering
where the water closet was…..
Rand smiled at the Marten as he exited the Science Vessel’s
personnel lock; "Good Day, Captain. Let me extend to you
the hospitality of our station. If there’s anything we can
do to assist you, please let me know." Watt nodded; "Right
now, I’d like to check in with the Battlecruiser. After
that, I’d like to give my crew some dockside leave, if you
don’t mind." Rand smiled; "We’ve got facilities for a
whole lot more furrs than are currently here; holographic
theaters, gymnasiums, sports facilities, and some pretty
good bars. Well, OK, right now only one of ‘em’s open, but
we can open another if you don’t want to drink with
miners." Fermi frowned; "Yeah, we’d noticed how empty this
place was. Wasn’t this…." "The secret base of the
Brethren? Yeah. Bought it for a song when the planet
vanished. They’ve all moved on; nothing here of interest
to ‘em any more." Watt looked down the corridor; "Let me
go check in with the Battlecruiser; I’m still uneasy as to
why they didn’t answer…." Rand chuckled; "Hell, if it
makes you feel any better, carry a sidearm, and go with a
security detail. I don’t even have any folks in this part
of the station. Do whatever it takes to make yourself
comfortable." Watt just nodded.
Bethany stepped onto the bridge, one step behind her boss,
as decorum called for. The scents on the Bridge were
strange, and it took a moment for her to identify them.
Lieutenant Feldman was over by the sensor consoles, wiping
her front with a handful of disposable wipes, a very silly
grin on her face. And all around the room, males and
females seemed to be shying away from each other, as if
something was wrong; as if they’d all just wet their pants
or something. Shrugging, she returned to her seat as if
nothing had happened.
The Mare sat up, and looked around. She was NAKED!
Scrounging around on the floor, she went looking for the
bits and pieces of her uniform. There was clothing, some
of it torn, covering the floor like leaves on the ground in
Fall. What had Happened?
The Marines at the BattleCruiser’s airlock looked bored.
"James Watt, Captain of the Imperial Science vessel Tesla,
to see your Captain." The sergeant nodded and turned to a
comm panel. After a moment he grinned and turned back to
the Marten; "Sir, the Captain’s, ah, "indisposed"; here’s
the Exec." The Marten frowned a little; the word
"indisposed" had been accompanied by a broad wink, and some
snickers from the other Marines. What was going on here?
The Battlecruiser’s exec, a rather large Minotaur, appeared
in the comm panel’s display; "Ah, Good Day, Captain Watt.
Sorry, didn’t realize you’d arrived yet." Watt nodded; "It
seems our hails were unanswered, Commander. That worried
us. Also we’re here with almost dry tanks." The Minotaur
actually looked sheepish; "Yes, ah, well, we had a small
problem. I do believe its fixed now. As for dry tanks,
we’re probably just as dry as you are; however a tanker,
under escort, should be here shortly." The Marten nodded;
"well, until it shows up, we’d probably be better served
staying docked. There are a number of tests we can perform
here, depending, of course, on how cooperative the locals
are." The Minotaur smiled; "they’ve been most cooperative.
Just ask. Oh, and if they’re NOT cooperative, let me know.
I’m sure we can… persuade them. But the Tanker is due in
under a day, and we’ll get you refueled and "out and about"
as soon as is physically possible." Watt nodded; "Well, as
soon as your Captain’s available, I WOULD like to speak to
him." Again the Minotaur looked sheepish; "Um, that might
be a few hours, Sir, never the less, I’ll convey your
wishes to him at the earliest opportunity." Turning away
from the comm, Watt strode away, wondering more than ever
what was going on here……
The Captain watched, as his crewmembers tried to recover.
He wasn’t sure exactly what had happened… Oh, he was SURE
there’d been an Orgy to rival the Imperial capital…. But
why HERE, and why Now…. Moving up behind the Cheetah, he
wrapped his arms around her middle, and bending, purrred
into her ear; "this is all YOUR doing, isn’t it?" Tanj
felt the arms encircle her, felt his closeness, the warmth
of his body, and smiled. She wasn’t sure if he was hugging
her close, or trying to keep her from escaping. "Ummmmmm,
well, in a manner of speaking. You DO have to admit, that
if they hadn’t tried to use a Telepath on me, I wouldn’t
have been able to DO this, don’t you? AND you’ve got to
admit that I was the only one who could figure out how to
stop it too……" The Jaguar was momentarily distracted,
watching Lieutenant Farquar, moving about on hands and
knees, searching for the remants of her uniform; Lord that
Mare had an ass on her! "Uh… Yeah." Looking up the Jaguar
fixed the Rabbit with a cold eye; "Sir, you and I WILL talk
about this. 1600 Hours. In my Cabin." Looking around,
arms still wrapped around the Cheetah, the Jaguar growled;
"But, Ms. Kee, YOU have made a mockery of this little
affair, and in doing so, a Mockery of this ship, my crew,
AND the Imperium! And for that I’m going to have to punish
Tanj lay across the Jaguar’s lap, waiting. It took a few
seconds, but his hand crashed down on her left asscheek.
"Twenty-Seven" she duly muttered. Her ass was starting to
burn, and the fact that the Jaguar was still nude wasn’t
helping. The fire in her bottom was slowly spreading to
other portions of her anatomy, and that, more than anything
else was making her squirm. Her thoughts were broken by
yet another slap, this time on her right asscheek.
"Twenty-eight." When he’d said she’d have to be punished,
this wasn’t what she’d expected. From the corner of her
eye she watched the crowd; the Jaguar was spanking her
publically, in front of all the participants of the orgy.
The Snow Leopardess, still hanging in her harness of fiber
optic cable, looked particularly excited. The half-dressed
Mare also seemed particularly fascinated, and the surly
looking Rabbit looked almost gleeful. She wondered if he
was a true sadist, someone who got sexual pleasure from the
pain of others? And the Wombat; he didn’t look too happy.
It was almost as if he were feeling each stroke as well.
And maybe he was…. As the Captain’s hand came crashing
down on her ass again, making her flinch, she grunted out
"Twenty-nine" and wondered if this wasn’t as much
punishment for the Wombat, as it was for her…..
"Fifty" The Captain straightened, his right hand resting
on the Cheetah’s ass. He could feel the heat. "I think
that’s enough. For the moment. Now its time for everyone
to get back to work. Dismissed!" Looking down at the
Cheetah, the Jaguar growled; "now, lets see you undo all
those fancy knots, and get my Logistics officer down from
there, and THEN I think we’ll continue this in my cabin…..
Her jumpsuit had been torn too badly as someone had tried
to get it off her, so Tanj walked, still nude, with the
Captain as he made his way towards his Cabin. It was hard
to keep from smiling; he’d taken the fiber optic cable,
coiled it neatly, and then pulled it over his shoulder;
Tanj could only wonder what he intended to do with it…..
The Rabbit watched the Jaguar padd off, naked Cheetah in
tow and sighed. Some people just didn’t have a proper
sense of decorum. Why, leading her off to his Cabin was
almost "consorting with the Enemy." Turning to fix the
Wombat with a glare, he paused, mouth open for a rebuke…..
A sudden thought had struck him; no one had ever screwed up
an Imperial telepath like this before…. Could the stories
about this Mouse, Mark, might actually be true? Glancing
up at the chandelier, now just a little bent, he smiled,
thinking of the rope trick. Maybe, just Maybe, this
Cheetah WAS telling the truth… and maybe they SHOULD
quietly conduct a search for where the Brethren, and
Elysium have gotten to. Can they ignore the possibilities?
"Dr. Parker, I presume?" the miner was a rather large male
Panda, running a little to fat, as his species tended to,
at middle age. Still, is vacuum suit, while colorfully
decorated, looked to be first rate. "Yes, I’m Parker. If
you could just show me where we can set up our
instruments…." The Panda looked over the small army of
technicians and assistants and smiled; "Come on this way;
we’ll get you a nice spot by the No.3 solar array; should
have more than enough power there….." Setting his helmet
on his head, and turning the locking ring, the Panda
stepped into the No.4 personnel lock.
"No, tie it up a little higher, and make it as tight as you
can." The Jaguar grunted, shifted the double loop of cable
up on Tanj’s rib-cage just a little and cinched it down
tight. Stepping back to admire his handiwork, he grinned.
The ends of the cable were tossed over a light fixture that
might or might not hold, but it was worth a try. Taking a
firm grip, he pulled. Something groaned in protest, but
the bound Cheetah slowly rose off the floor. He’d used a
mop handle as a spreader bar, and her legs were pulled up
almost to either side of her head, bending her almost
double, a much more strained position than the Snow Leopard
had been in. Guessing at the right height, he tied the
cable off to the foot of his bed, and then turned to look.
Marvelous. The loops of cable above and below her breasts
made them stand out quite nicely, and the way her legs were
spread and pulled up exposed her sex delightfully.
Reaching out a hand, he slowly started to spin her, letting
the cables wind around themselves, and inch by inch, slowly
raising her further from the floor.
Tanj closed her eyes, and tried to ignore the dizziness as
she spun, first one way and then the other. Giggling to
herself, she could have bet that this was the first time
the Jaguar had actually been "screwed"…. Still, he seemed
to be enjoying it; she knew SHE was…..
"Kristen, I tell you, I don’t CARE if its just some dumb
old mining station; I’ve been on this ship for too long.
Time to get off, and to breathe someone else’s air!"
Kristen nodded and shrugged; "I know, Jack, but I wanted to
do so at Erathra. They PROMISED us leave there!" Jack
shrugged; "so something more important came up. At least
we’re somewhere where we CAN get off the ship." Kirsten
chuckled; "Oh, I know you, Jack; you’re just excited to go
explore a Pirate stronghold. I know what a Romantic you
are!" Smiling, Kristen took her lover’s hand; "Lets go see
if we can find the slave kennels; I’ve always wondered what
something like that would look like!"
Watt watched, a little uneasy. Almost all of his crew had
left the ship to go explore the abandoned Pirate
stronghold. Only a few remained, the minimum he felt
necessary for security. On the other hand, if someone, or
something had taken over the Battlecruiser, there probably
wasn’t much he could do to stop them from taking his ship
too. Still, he fretted. Sitting at the security console
on the bridge, he called up this month’s fiscal report. If
he had to stay here, he might as well get something useful
"I don’t know, I’m not comfortable undertaking something
like this without asking Tanj first." Hinoki grinned at
the Wolverine lass; "Oh come on, Wanda; there’s no way we
can ask her; besides, she’s probably providing a very
effective distraction right now, if I know her." Roland
nodded; "This is what we call a "target of opportunity."
We HAVE to strike now!" Wanda looked helplessly at Kath,
who just smiled and shrugged, and then, with a muttered;
"well, come on, then, lets get going" shoved past the
Cheetah male, and strode towards the lock.
Rand pointed to the access port; "Right there; there’s a
small maintenance hatch next to the dockside power
couplings. It should have minimal security." Smith
nodded; "I can take care of that….. But I’m worried about
a guard." Zassa chuckled, pulling the zipper of her
jumpsuit down, until it was a couple of inches below her
navel; "Leave THAT to me!"
Kristen bent over to look into the open kennel door; "Gee,
its not very big in there…." Jack looked at her rounded
ass and grinned; It was almost as if his hands moved of
their own accord; the next thing Kristen knew, she was
sprawled on the rock floor of the kennel, with the door
slamming shut behind her.
"Jack, this isn’t funny!" Jack took a step back and
crossed his arms over his chest; "My, what a spirited slave
we have here! Its going to be FUN breaking you to my will,
my little sweet! Now, if you EVER want to get out of
there, I want you to take off ALL your clothes, and toss
them through the bars." Kirsten looked at him, wide-eyed,
seeing a side of him that she’d never seen before….
Suddenly his voice was strong and sure, and he looked
SOOOOO self-confident, and in control. In a way, she found
it sexy. And in a way, she’d always wondered what it would
be like to be a sex slave… of course, she’d want to be a
PAMPERED sex slave, not some poor wretch that was treated
miserably. She DID know such things happened, but, well,
it didn’t fit the romantic image, did it? Looking up at
Jack, she set her jaw and shook her head no, crossing her
arms over her breasts, and trying to look defiantly back at
him. It wasn’t easy from a kneeling position; the roof in
the kennel was LOW. Jack just chuckled and shrugged; "OK,
my sweet. You just stay there and think about it. I’m
going to go explore. I’ll be back after a bit, to see if
your clothes are out in the middle of the corridor. If
they are, I’ll bring you a sip of water. If not, I’ll just
check back later." And with that, he turned and strode
off, tail waving behind him.
Kristen sighed. She looked around her, but the kennel was
absolutely empty. No straw on the floor. No pan of water.
Just a bare rock floor, three bare rock walls, and a
ceiling. If she knelt, back straight, the tips of her ears
just barely brushed the ceiling. The cell was perhaps a
half dozen centimeters longer than her body, head to feet,
and perhaps half as wide. In one corner was a slight
depression in the rock, with a hole in the center. The
sound of gurgling water came faintly to her ears, and she
realized this was what passed for a toilet. The fourth
wall was just metal bars. If there had been half as many
of them, she might have been able to squeeze through, but
as it was, there was no chance. The door was about half
the height of the cell, made so that a slave would have to
crawl low to exit. And it had some sort of magnetic lock
on it. Maybe if there was a way to cut power to it…… no,
they’d probably thought of that; they’d probably fail
locked. Sitting cross-legged, chin on paws, she settled
down to wait. Maybe if he’d asked if she wanted to play,
first, she would have said yes, but this… this just wasn’t
Artie Hansen was bored. He’d been on the ship for a LONG
time, without getting liberty, without even getting to go
down to any of the planets they’d stopped at to conduct
research. And now, all his friends were exploring what
used to be a pirate clan’s hidden base. Who knew what
interesting, or exciting, or possibly even dangerous things
they might find? How fast had the pirates cleared out?
Had they left anything of interest behind? Were there any
women over there? He’d heard an asteroid mining operation
had moved in, and he wondered if THEY had any women. Women
that might be interested in a new face (and a hansom one,
he was sure). And here he was guarding a dumb old access
hatch. Surely the Captain was Paranoid…..
The access hatch wasn’t a proper airlock; it was only meant
to be used when the ship was docked, and as such, was just
a rather heavy door set into the ship’s hull. When it slid
upwards, Artie turned in surprise, his "officially Frowned
Upon" magazine sliding into a convenient hiding place.
What he saw, though, was better than any of the ladies in
the Magazine! "Hi…. Just here to make sure the utilities
connections are working OK…." Artie swallowed and looked
the Vixen up and down; if this was the kind of lady that
worked at a mining outpost, he was ready to put in his
transfer! "Um… ah, Yeah, its working Fi…. Ah, no, um,
actually we’re having problems with power fluctuations….
Ah, why don’t you come over here and I’ll show you."
Zassa smiled to herself; the young Coyote had at least
thought fast on his feet, even if his "recovery" wasn’t all
that smooth. Smiling pleasantly, she let him lead her into
the dockside utility power management and routing center, a
small closet-like room full of humming switchgear….
Smith stuck the fiber optic probe around the corner and
nodded at the image his monocle relayed to him. "She’s got
him out of the way; lets go." Quietly, almost on tiptoes,
the party entered the Science Vessel.
Zassa Hmmmed; "I don’t see anything wrong with the power…..
As she tried to straighten, she found herself hemmed in by
the Coyote; "Oh? Gee, it was bouncing all over the place
just a few minutes ago; I’m sure if you watch it just a
little while longer…." Zassa chuckled to herself, thinking
this one had a lot to learn. Still, she had a job to do,
and she was sure she could distract him… Bending over
again, she let her rump move back just a little, to rub
Artie almost had a heart attack on the spot; could she
be….. could she be interested in him? How desperate WAS
this beauty for a new face? Smiling he leaned forward a
little, and rested one hand on her hip; "There, did you see
it? It just spiked, just for a second…."
Behind the Coyote, Smith reached into the power
distribution center, and flipped a switch. Motioning to
the others to follow, he took off at a dead run.
On the Bridge, a little yellow light started to flash on
the security console. Watt, buried in his paperwork,
failed to notice. After a couple of minutes, it went out.
When he looked up, everything on the console appeared
normal. Grunting, he returned to his paperwork.
Smith fiddled with the wires, while Kath watched. He’d
seemed to know just where to find the security system on
this ship. As they’d dashed through the halls, they’d met
no one. And no alarms had sounded. That meant that the
crew didn’t wear ID badges, or that the AI wasn’t
sophisticated enough to recognize they weren’t part of the
crew. The lock on the equipment room had taken Smith
roughly four seconds to defeat. First he’d checked for
sensors and cameras in the security equipment room, and
after disconnecting the one sensor he’d found, he’d
restored power to the system. Then he’d hacked into the
ship’s computer, and entered their pawprints into the
security computer, giving them the same authorizations as
the Captain. Hinoki had watched VERY carefully while he
did that. Then he’d reprogramed the secutiry system, so t
hat it would show the past hour’s scenes and data, and then
at the end of the hour, quietly delete the new instructions
and go back to what it had always been. If he’d done it
right, no one would ever know they were there. As long as
they were out in an hour…..
"OK, Children, I’m going to stay here and seach the ship’s
main computer for anything of interest. It’ll also let me
keep an eye on things, just in case anyone gets too
suspicious. Wanda, you and Kath go visit the science labs
and see if they have a separate computer system. I doubt
they will, but individual scientists may have their own
record keeping systems. Hinoki, you and Roland go to the
personnel quarters. Search for the senior scientists
quarters and look for laptops and PADDs that they might
keep data on." Hinoki shook his head; "I still think this
is a waste of time; they haven’t been here long enough to
record any data, or to formulate any theories." Smith
shrugged; "Then we steal their experimental plans. We find
out what they INTEND to do, things they want to try. The
data we’ve already got is probably much better than
anything they can pick up this long after the event, and if
we figure out how they’re intending on analyzing their
data, maybe we can learn more from ours." Hinoki sighed
and nodded; "Okay…. We’ll try it your way." Gesturing to
the Badger, he turned and headed out.
Jack grinned; this room had obviously been the guards’
break room. The lockers still stood where they’d been,
most of them with the doors hanging open. The
refridgerator was gone, though, the rock floor stained
where it’d stood. They’d obvously left in some haste as
there was refuse scattered all about. Things they probably
hadn’t valued enough to take, or to try and sell. Here was
a belt, its leather worn and cracked, the buckle tarnished.
And here was a set of cuffs, too big for wrists, unless
they were meant for one of the larger species…. Then it hit
him; they were ankle cuffs. They too were stained and
worn, as if they’d seen a thousand slaves. Slowly he
picked through the left-overs, searching for things that
might be fun to try with Kristen.
The shadow made Kristen look up; Jack was standing there,
but he’d lost his uniform; now he was wearing a loin-cloth,
something silky, hung from a worn leather belt. A bullwhip
was coiled at one side, and a ring of old-fashioned keys
hung from the other side, jangling as he moved. In his
hand he held a shock baton. Kristen’s eyes traveled from
the baton to the loincloth, to his grinning face, and back
to the loincloth; somehow that silky fabric seemed to cling
to him, revealing every contour of his body; he almost
looked more naked than if he’d been bare. Shifting a
little, Kristen realized he looked gawd-awful sexy, like a
figure from one of her romance novels…. His chuckle made
her look up again, into his face; "I see my little slave is
still being bad; the longer you go, the worse its going to
be on you. When I come back, I want to see those clothes
in the middle of the passage way, or else!" With a
chuckle he turned and strode off down the row of cells as
if he had business to be about.
Kristen watched him, until he’d passed out of her limited
range of vision. There’d been no back to the loincloth,
only his tail preserving his modesty. With a shiver she
half-smiled to herself; "Sometimes you have to be VERY
careful what you wish for, as you might just get it."
Jack stood and looked at the stocks. They were welded to
the floor, and massive; obvously they’d been left as they’d
be way too much trouble to move. And yet, everything
seemed to be in perfect working order. The top half of the
set he examined hinged open smoothly; the holes for arms
and neck were padded with some sort of rubber foam. And a
simple pin, well out of reach of the occupants held them
closed. He shivered with anticipation, thinking how good
Kirsten would look in them… if he could just get her to
"I think I’ve found it, Mistress! This looks like a file
of historical information, background for their anticipated
work in the Elysium system." Wanda muttered an "uhuh.
Download it to a data crystal…." The Mink complied,
thinking this was going to save them months of research…..
When the download was complete, she turned to find Wanda
downloading data to her own crystal. "Find something
interesting, Mistress?" "Yeah, this guy was the head
xenosociologist for their mission to Erastius III. The
locals there have the most fascinating sexual mores. I’m
downloading a study on a personal-training regieme that the
scientist claims allows the local girls to have hour-long
climaxes! Kath padded over and looked over the Wolverine’s
shoulder at the monitors; "Ooooh, looks like they’ve got
some interesting toys, too!" Wanda giggled and nodded;
"Yeah, getting blueprints for all of ‘em too. Their tech
level is a little lower than ours, so we shouldn’t have any
trouble replicating them….." Kath purrred, "Oh, I LIKE the
look of that exercize machine! Why didn’t I think of
that?" Wanda smiled; "OK, let ME do this, you go back to
work, Slave!" Kath pouted and turned, heading back to the
"Well, what DO we have here?" The comment was quietly
made, and yet it still grabbed Hinoki’s attention. He’d
found the quarters of the head of the astrophysics
department, and was downloading a treasure trove of
theoretical conjecture…. Turning, he padded out of the room
and following his nose, entered another set of quarters.
Roland was standing in the bedroom, looking down at a bound
and hooded form, a male wolf, and a fairly young one, too.
The Wolf was bound in a crouching position, rump high, and
nicely positioned at the edge of the bed, facing the door,
as if in invitation. Hinoki chuckled; "Nice; very nice.
Wish we had the time to stay and play, but….." Roland
chuckled; "Oh, come on; look, he’s blindfolded, and has
earplugs in; he probably doesn’t even know we’re here; what
harm if we take a few minutes and give him a nice
surprise…." Hinoki chuckled, glancing back at the open
door to the Astrophysicist’s quarters; "Um… I suppose, as
long as we’re quick. Ah, you want Heads, or Tails?"
Smith was slowly scanning through the ship, making sure all
was quiet. They had a surprising number of video cameras
on this tub. The Mainframe hadn’t given him anything
beyond general plans and orders, and that meant that all
the information they were after was kept elsewhere. Not
really surprising. Wanda and Kath seemed to be hard at
work, and maybe they’d come up with something. Turning to
search the living quarters, he tried to find out how Roland
and Hinoki were coming….
Tanj purrrred and snuggled sleepily. It was later; much
later. After the rope trick, and several variants thereof,
they’d retired to the Captain’s private shower, and washed
each other. That of course had led Tanj to showing the
Jaguar how to wash someone without using your hands, and
THAT had let to both of them winding back up in bed. Now,
sleep beconed, but somehow, neither of them had yet
succumbed. As he idly stroked Tanj’s bellyfur, the Jaguar
rumbled; "Tell me about your former Master; this Lion
fellow. You know, even we don’t have his name." Tanj
chuckled quietly; "Oh, I’m QUITE sure you have his name,
somewhere; after all, he WAS born in the Empire. On the
other hand, I doubt sincerely that you’ve connected the
name with the person…" Tanj Eeeped as the Jaguar pinched a
nipple; "you know what I mean, you impudent little Minx!"
Tanj laughed and shrugged. "Seriously though…." Tanj
sighed, and rolled over, half-atop the Jaguar, to look into
his eyes. "You wonder if I’m in love with him? Yeah. Is
it part of my conditioning? That little post-hypnotic
trick they pull on new slaves to get them to "bond" with
their new master? Possibly. On the other hand, we HAVE
been through an awful lot together, and risked our lives to
save each other." The Jaguar nodded slowly; "Yeah, I read
about your rescue on Elysium. That, I would say, was WAY
over the borderline into "Reckless."" Tanj chuckled;
"Never argue with success." "True," the Jaguar conceeded;
"Still, when you were stuck on Eroz, he didn’t seem to do
much to help." Tanj just shrugged; "I happened to luck out
there." Turning back to grin into the Jaguar’s face she
purrrred; "He did send a Battlecruiser, with support ships
to threaten the planetary government into giving me back.
He had no way of knowing I was no longer on the planet.
Would YOU send a battlecruiser after just anyone, threaten
an entire independent world for a mere business associate,
or even an errant slave?" The Jaguar stared back at her
for a moment, poker face fully in place. Still, his hand
never stopped stroking her back; "For the right person,
well, you never know…." After a moment the Jaguar
swallowed; "Think you’ll ever see him again?" Tanj sighed;
"My engineer’s brain says no; space is too vast, their ship
was damaged, and who knows where they might have wound up.
But my heart says he’s still alive, and that if I try hard
enough, I’ll find him. Now WHAT I might find when I do
find him, that’s another story. But I know I have to try."
The Jaguar just nodded. Before he could think of another
question, the Cheetah was sleeping quietly, her head still
on his chest.
Kirsten sighed and tried the door again. She didn’t have
too many options. She could stay here, and force his hand.
Eventually he’d HAVE to let her go, to get back to the
ship. They couldn’t stay on this station forever, could
they? If she didn’t show up in the morning for role-call
wouldn’t they search the station for her? But if it went
that long, Jack would probably wind up in major trouble
over it, and she didn’t really want THAT, did she? On the
other hand, she didn’t like the idea of letting him "win"
this one either. Now if it’d been HER idea to play this
game, that would have been different….. Still, she wasn’t
going anywhere like this, and if she gave in, well, if she
was out of the cell, she MIGHT have a chance to "escape"….
And she’d rather walk back onboard the Tesla stark naked
than let him "win"….. And even if he did, at least it
wouldn’t be boring. THIS was boring with a capital B. For
a moment she smiled at the random thought that she wished
she’d brought her vibrator with her; then at least she
could amuse herself…… And that was when inspiration
struck. What if she were to out-act him in this? What if
she were to turn the tables on him by being the hot, lusty
little slave girl….. just long enough to get back on board
the ship. Then she could give him the cold shoulder, and
it’d hurt all the worse, as he’d KNOW what he’d lost, what
he MIGHT have had….. Chuckling to herself, she unbuttoned
her pants, and leaning back against the wall, slipped them
down over her hips… she’d show HIM!
Jack smiled at the heap of cloth in the middle of the
corridor. Strolling slowly down the row of kennels, he
pretended to look in each one. What he found in Kristen’s
was surprising; she was on her knees, knees well spread,
one paw resting on her thigh just above the knee…. The
other one idly stroking her crotch. From the scent, and
from the matted and damp fur, it looked like she’d been
playing with herself for some time. Her eyes were closed
and she gave no indication of even knowing he was there.
She looked…. She looked like she belonged there, the
Kristen smiled to herself, working to keep her face
impassive, as she heard him grunt. After a few moments
something landed to her left; "Put that on, Slave. And
next time, if I find you playing with yourself, I’ll tie
your hands behind your back. When you hear me approach you
will kneel in the proper position, BOTH hands on your
thighs, palms up! If I have to tell you again, you’ll be
punished!" With that, he slowly padded off; she waited
until she could no longer hear his footsteps before opening
her eyes. Her clothes were gone, but next to her, on the
hard rock floor of the kennel, was a cheap generic plastic
collar… picking it up with one hand, she looked at it in
disgust; was this the BEST he could find?
It happened by accident; at least that’s what she kept
telling herself; she’d put the damned thing around her
neck, just to see what it felt like; somehow, though it had
locked itself there, and now she couldn’t get it off.
Obviously it was designed to take another one of those
magnetic keys; there wasn’t even a keyhole! And it was
just a little too tight for comfort…….
Zassa purrrred, still bent way over, her muzzle inches from
the power flow monitor, her arms braced above her on the
panel; the coyote had worked her jumpsuit off her, leaving
it pooled on the floor around her feet, like a cloth
hobble. With his arms reaching around to cup her hanging
breasts, he pumped his cock in and out of her pussy with
all the exuberance of someone new to the arts of love…..
"gotta make this last as long as possible" the Vixen
thought to herself; it was so tempting to clench down on
his cock with her pussy, but she was sure that’d cause him
to shoot off immediately. No, best to just let him have
his way with her…. She could show him a few tricks later.
"Well I can’t let you go back to your ship naked, can I?"
Tanj just shrugged and pirouetted, letting him gaze upon
her nude form; "Why not? After yesterday, most of your
crew knows what I look like, Nude. There ARE security
cameras in that lounge, aren’t there?" The Jaguar nodded
slowly, wondering if it was too late to order those tapes
sealed, or perhaps even destroyed… probably. Looking the
Cheetah up and down he grinned; "But this is SO much more
fun; you’re not the only one who can come up with
The panties were a little more than she was used to
wearing, when she bothered with such things at all; they
were tight around her waist, and went all the way down to
her upper thighs. They looked like the kind of panties her
Mother…. Or maybe even her Grandmother used to wear. The
fabric was strange, almost like a plastic, but with a
certain satiny texture. The bra also was a little more
concealing than she was used to, the cups fully enveloping
her breasts, the straps much wider and tighter than she
thought necessary. The fabric had stretched just barely
enough to get the set on; there were no openings or
fastenings… Tanj walked with the Captain towards the
Battlecruiser’s main personnel lock. "So what will you do
now?" Tanj sighed; "Nothing to hold me here. I promised
to take a friend to Jenka’s station. After that, I don’t
know. There are some things I want to think about, some
leads I want to follow up, but beyond that… I just don’t
know." "I could keep you here, you know." Tanj smiled and
reached up to stroke fingers along the side of his face;
"but you won’t. You’re much too much the Gentlefurr for
that." The Jaguar sighed; "you know me too well, Madam. I
trust I’ll see you again?" Tanj smiled; "you can count on
it. Now, before I leave, what was so special about these
garments?" The Jaguar just smiled; "Let me show you….."
Bending, he kissed her, a long, hot, sensual kiss full of
barely concealed lust, his paws roaming over her body,
As expected, Tanj’s body responded; he could almost feel
her nipples harden under the fabric, he could almost feel
blood rush to her groin…. As he broke the kiss, Tanj
squirmed just a little, her eyes going a little wide: "Yes,
it’s a memory plastic. It senses the heat of your arousal,
and starts to revert to its original form; the more hot and
bothered you get, the worse it gets and the worse it gets,
the more hot and bothered you’ll become. I’ll leave it to
YOU to figure out how to get out of it." Smiling, the
Jaguar kissed Tanj on the nose, and then reached over and
pushed the button to open the inner lock door.
Tanj groaned and tried to walk in a straight line. The
Jaguar had been correct; this was most annoying and most
delightful. As his kiss had caused her nipples to stiffen,
the memory plastic of the bra had contracted, pinching
them; then the cups of the bran started to change shape,
moving more into a cone shape, tugging hard at her nipples,
squeezing her breasts. And between her legs, the panties
had begun to extrude two phallic shapes, one pressing
against her ass, the other pressing against her pussy. The
satiny fabric was smooth, almost slick enough that they
were able to work their way into pussy and ass, growing
deeper with each step. And the more turned-on she got, the
more the panties grew little bumps, the bumps growing into
fingers, each one seemingly aimed directly at her clitty.
By the time she got to her ship, she could barely move
without triggering another soft climax. Tanj grinned; she
could easily see why this garment had been forbidden; it
could easily drive someone mad…..
She hadn’t meant to be caught like that; it had seemed like
she’d been in the cage for days, and finally she’d rolled
onto her side, and then onto her back… one hand had been
idly stroking her sex again, when he’d reappeared, silent
as a ghost. The door had popped open and he’d shoved his
bulk into the cage before she fully knew what was
happening. Strong hands had rolled her over, face down,
her wrists being pulled behind her back. She heard the
snick of one lock, and then another, and then he was gone,
the kennel door clanging shut. Sitting up she growled,
looking up at him through the bars. "Told you that if you
did that again, I’d put a stop to it. Now, if you
misbehave again, I WILL punish you. I’m being MUCH too
lenient with you!" Then in a softer voice, he mused;
"Probaby because you’re so beautiful…." And then he was
Kristen growled to herself and struggled; she just could
NOT get her cuffed hands under her rump, and out in front
of her. She was well and truly STUCK. "Well, at least he
didn’t gag me" she muttered to herself.
Hinoki took the wolf’s head in his paws; the gag had a
screw-out center, and when Hinoki had withdrawn it, he’d
been amazed at the size of the phallic shape that had
filled the Wolf’s mouth. What was left formed a ring-gag,
and Hinoki had no trouble at all sliding his hard shaft
into the wolf’s mouth, in place of the rubber dong.
Looking up, he watched Roland hold tight to the Wolf’s
tail. He’d found a tube of lubricant somewhere, and had
even produced a condom. "Good idea" Hinoki thought to
himself; "No biological sample to leave behind, to trace
him with." Purrring with delight, he worked his hard cock
in and out of the Wolf’s mouth.
Kath finished her download and turned to find Wanda
frantically searching through cabinets. "Slave, help me
find 473-82." "Yes, Mistress…. Um, we only have 17 minutes
left… what are we looking for?" "Some sexually related
drugs they’ve been working on; extensions of their work on
Erastius III. If they perform as claimed, I want some!
Besides, Zassa needs something to use on Hinoki, to get
back at him for that awful trick he played on her!" Kath
grinned and nodded, moving to the other side of the lab.
Smith frowned; there were Hinoki and Roland….. "those guys
just CANNOT keep it in their pants." He growled to himself.
Then he smiled, remembering when HE was their age.
Checking the Chronometer, he shrugged; if they moved fast,
there was time. He just hoped they had finished their
Zassa purrrred, her tongue working over the Coyote’s cock,
teasing it back to hardness; he’d fucked her hard, but cum
quick; he’d been a little slower to cum the second time,
but it’d still been too quick. Sneaking a peek at her
watch, the Vixen purrred, thinking, if he could recuperate
fast enough, she might get one more good orgasm out of him
before she had to leave….
Hinoki grunted hard, his cock spurting deep into the bound
Wolf’s mouth. As his climax wound down, Hinoki picked up
the insert to the Wolf’s ring gag. Sliding his cock out,
he pushed the rubber phallus in, and screwed it in place.
Winking at the Badger, who was still plowing the Wolf’s ass
with gusto, he headed out to see if that download was done
"Found it!" Kath grinned at her Mistress; "Goodie; now
come on, lets get out of here; we’re Running out of time,
Artie panted, licking upwards into the Vixen’s dripping
pussy; she’d fucked him normally, not once, but twice, and
then had him take her in the ass, a situation so novel, so
wild, that he’d cum almost immediately. She’d then
demanded that he do HER until she caught up with him, and
thus he was learning the fine art of cunnilingus, coached
by the Vixen’s muttered comments, encouraged by her squeals
of pleasure. This was turning out to be a much better
assignment than he’d ever dreamed possible.
The Rabbit stared back at the Jaguar; "Sir, you cannot
blame Intelligence for what happened; the phenomenon is
entirely new… or at least unreported. If you don’t believe
me, search your own databases for telepathic incidents such
as that!" The Jaguar grumbled; "I do NOT want the name of
my ship going down in the history books as the first
documented case of a telepathically induced orgy!" the
Rabbit just shrugged. "When you took her back to your
cabin, did you learn anything from her?" The Jaguar’s head
came up and he glared at the Rabbit. After a moment he
growled; "She’s bound and determined to search for her
former Master." The Rabbit nodded; "Good; if we follow
her, well, she may yet lead us to him. And in any future
such incidents, you are to get as much information along
those lines as possible." The Jaguar gaped "you’re
ordering me to report pillow talk?" The Rabbit nodded; "in
detail." The Jaguar shook his head; "You realize she’s a
trained intelligence operative; she’s likely to get more
from me than I get from her." The Rabbit nodded slowly; "I
understand you’re not a trained professional at this kind
of thing. But you ARE an Imperial officer and I expect you
do to all that you can!" The Jaguar just sighed and shook
Tanj groaned; she’d tried meditating, remaining as
motionless and as calm as possible. Problem was; as she
calmed down, the phallic shapes in butt and pussy started
to retract, and that very motion produced a rather
counterproductive response in her body. Remaining as
motionless as she could, the panties slowly fucked her in
both holes, the bra constantly tweaking her nipples. It
WAS a devilish invention!
The surface of the bar was rough, but the angle wasn’t
quite right; kneeling, Kristen rubbed her crotch against
the bar, seeking to relieve the itch that just didn’t want
to seem to go away. She’d wanted to appear the hot, sexy
slave girl, but the role seemed to be taking her over.
Frustrated, she growled to herself, just NOT able to get
the friction in quite the right place to let her climax.
His hands on her ears surprised her; she had an instinctive
flash, the urge to bite him, and bite him hard, but his
grip on her prevented that. "Well, still haven’t learned
our lesson, have we? Look at that, your juices are just
running down the bars! We DO have a hot little slave here,
don’t we?" Jack chuckled and shook his head; "You know
what the penalty for that is? I’ve been reading the logs
they left here. Fascinating reading. You wouldn’t BELIEVE
some of the things they did!" As he spoke, Jack tugged on
her ears until her muzzle was protruding between the bars.
Gently rubbing his crotch back and forth across her face,
he managed to work his loincloth to one side, until he
could feel her nose, cold against his sheath; "When a guard
catches a slave in a minor infraction, he can apply
corporal punishment…. Or the slave can do a "favor" for
him. Oral sex was the most common favor, although in some
cases they’d back up against the bars and the guard would
screw the slave from behind. What say you, my hot little
slavegirl? What "favor" will you do for your horny guard?
Will you take me in your mouth, or would you rather I
fucked you between the bars?
Kristen moaned; "Let me out of here, and I’ll fuck you
until you can’t walk right; just let me out!" Jack
chuckled; "Oh, no, not yet. Not yet. We’re not due back
for many an hour, and we’re just starting….." As he’d
talked, he’d gotten harder and harder, the situation
turning him on; rubbing the head of his cock back and forth
across her lips, he smiled; "now, little slave girl, which
will it be?" Kirsten inhaled his scent, and shuddered;
she’d been so hot herself, she knew she’d rather have him
fuck her, even if she had to stay in this hated, boring
prison….. Tilting her head back as far as his grip on her
ears would let her, she pleaded; "Fuck me….. Master."
Kristen sighed; this wasn’t QUITE what she’d had in mind.
With her calves stuck through the bars, Jack had used
leather straps, worn, but supple, and apparently made for
just this purpose, to bind her thighs, just above her
knees, and just below her hips, to the bars. With her
hands still behind her back, her breasts were flattened
against the stone floor of the cell, her head turned to one
side, also on the cold stone. And he’d then proceeded to
tease her, sitting just outside the bars. His fingers had
driven her to at least two screaming climaxes, the stone
echoing with her cries. His lips and tongue had taken her
to yet another…. And still he showed no sign of relenting,
and finishing her. She wanted him SO bad…… and had said
so, begged and pleaded with him to fuck her……. Chest
heaving she groaned as his fingers and tongue took her once
again towards nirvana.
"So this is how they break slave girls" she thought to
herself. "Works well, at least for me…" Jack had taken
her to an even half-dozen climaxes, leaving her panting and
drained, and matted with her own juices, before mounting
her. The way she was tied, body angled downward, caused
his cock to rub her in a way she wasn’t used to, and it had
taken her to yet another two, possibly three climaxes
before he too had cum. She was starting to loose track, in
the orgasmic haze. Finally, he’d crawled into the cell,
and sitting splay-legged, had pulled her head into his
crotch, ordering her to lick him clean. Of course, that
had only gotten him hard again, and it wasn’t long before
she was sucking on him like a right proper little slave
The Wombat sat in the full-lotus position, stretching out
his mind. The rebukes from the Rabbit had gone in one ear
and out the other; he’d discovered something new, a new
facet to his talent, and he was determined to explore it.
First he sent his mind in the direction of the lovely lady
Cheetah, the one with the so delightfully sexy mind. She
was on her ship, and…….. Oh, how Interesting! She was in
the most delicious predicament! For a moment he savored
the sensations flowing through her as the memory-plastic
panties slowly pumped her, as the bra tweaked her nipples.
"I could get addicted to this" he thought with a smile.
Hinoki met a grinning Roland, still pulling up his zipper,
in the corridor. "make sure no one will know you were
there?" the cheetah enquired. The Badger smiled; "Oh,
they’ll know SOMEONE was there, just not who. Bet that
kid’ll have stories to tell tonight!" Turning together,
they trotted towards engineering, and the dockside power
Smith watched as Wanda and Kath, Roland and Hinoki all
started towards the exit. Flipping a small switch, he
rose, stretched, and headed out himself. Should have
plenty of time to get off the ship….
Watt looked up from his report, and scanned the security
console. Everything was just as it had been for the last
several hours. Nodding to himself, he turned back to his
The Wombat almost drooled; the Cheetah was a wild thing,
but this Vixen was unbelieveable. He was definitely going
to have to keep track of HER. Smiling, he savored the
feelings the amateurish Coyote was giving her, feeling her
squirm, feeling her tensions build….. He’d never even
imagined someone with sexual responses like that!
Wanda peered around the corner, grinned and then waved Kath
on; quietly they slipped past the power distribution room,
through the port, and onto the station.
Roland looked into the dimly lit room, in passing, and did
the classic "double-take"…. Backpedalling, he stopped and
Stared. The nude Vixen just grinned and winked at him, one
paw holding the Coyote’s head to her sodden crotch. Hinoki
looked, smiled and shook his head, and then grabbed the
Badger, to drag him past, and out of the ship.
Zassa was teetering on the edge of a powerful climax, when
Smith looked through the doorway; he grinned, and flashed
her a thumbs-up sign, and then left. Panting hard, the
Vixen threw her head back and HOWLED as her climax
On the Bridge, Watt noticed something on the security
monitor; it was cued to zero in on unusual events and that
sound had obviously triggered something. Growling, he
found there was no vid link in there. Assigning the
corridor camera to one of the monitors on his console, he
programmed the system to alert him to movement, and went
back to work.
Zassa pulled the zipper up on her jumpsuit, stopping well
below her breasts; turning she kissed the Wolf softly, and
then, with a grin, slipped through the hatch. Artie leaned
through the hatch, watching her go, memorizing the gentle
sway of her ass as she strode away. With a sigh, he closed
the hatch and shook his head; compared to HER, well, there
was no reason to retrieve his magazine….
Watt watched the Vixen depart, and shook his head. So much
for Hansen making an effective guard. On the other hand,
he was a mere formality; the security system was much too
sophisticated to let anyone slip by him. Still, he’d have
to have a word with the boy. Replaying the tape, he
watched the Vixen depart; Lord, she was a looker. Lucky
"I’m surprised the water still runs in here." Jack’s voice
sounded delighted, but Kristen could only grunt in
agreement, or possibly just in deference. He’d unstrapped
her from the bars of the kennel, but he hadn’t released
her. Instead he’d bound her on hands and knees, in a way
she’d never run across before. Ankles were bound to
thighs, so that she was balanced truly on hands and knees.
And straps ran from her left knee to her right wrist, and
vice versa. When she crawled, she had to move opposite
knees-and-hands together, or she’d go nowhere. Somewhere
Jack had found a head harness that kinda fit her, although
all the straps were pulled in to the last hole, and the
phallic gag in her mouth stretched her jaw till it ached.
Fastening a leash to her collar, he’d led her from the
kennel area into an adjacent room that had turned out to be
a shower facility……
Kristen purrrrred; it felt good to be washed like this.
Jack had found a bottle that sill had some soap in it, and
was rubbing it through her fur. Still on hands and knees,
still tied tight, he was soaping her up all over. His
hands, stroking through her fur, felt so nice……
The nozzle was a rude shock, and Kristen’s eyes went wide
open in surprise. Her gag, however effectively muffled
anything she might have said. Jack chuckled and slowly
manipulated the enema tube, making sure the water was
neither too cold nor too hot. He let it run for a moment
longer than he figured was comfortable, and then clamping
the tube and disconnecting the hose, he led her, still on
hands and knees, to a place where she could relieve
"I should have expected THIS" Kristen thought to herself.
The wooden gridwork on the floor was rough on her knees,
but the tornado of warm wind that enveloped her felt great,
as did Jack’s hands working through her fur. Of course,
the fact that he was once again behind her, his cock buried
up her ass, made it an even more unique situation. While
she was no stranger to anal sex, it wasn’t what she
preferred…. And yet, now, with him stroking her body, with
the straps still wet, and tight about her, somehow, it all
conspired to steal her breath away. When his hand stroked
down, over her mons, rubbing to let the wind dry her wet
fur, when his fingers brushed across her clitty, she
exploded like she’d never cum before!
Tanj had a rather strained look on her face, when the
others returned to the ship. Smith ignored it; "Got some
interesting stuff for you, Captain. Got plans, and
theories, as well as the overall plan on what the
Astrophysics department intends to do. Wanda got
background data, and experimental procedures. Oh, and I
picked up a few other things, such as codes, from their
main computer." Tanj nodded, a sharp, jerky motion; "Very
good. Let me get a look at it, a little later. Why don’t
you see what Professor Corey can make of it." Smith nodded
and turned to leave.
Wanda chuckled and bent to hug the Cheetah; "Found some
other things there as well; I’ll make you a copy. Oh, and
there’s something else, want to talk to you about it later
though!" Tanj just nodded. Zassa paused at the door,
frowning softly "Tanj, you all right?" Through gritted
teeth, the Cheetah replied; "Not really; our friend, the
Captain of the Battlecruiser, sent me home in this outfit;
it has some… .interesting properties, and I’m having a
little trouble with it…." The Vixen smiled; "DO tell!"
Zassa smiled and shook her head; "You MUST be distracted by
those things! The answer’s so simple!" Tanj looked up;
"And that is?" Zassa shook her head; "Oh No, first you
have to promise that you’ll let ME try ‘em, as soon as you
get them off!" Tanj nodded, almost convulsively; to the
Vixen’s trained eye, it was obvious that the garments had
just driven her to yet another climax. "Simple, Tanj,
Love; just go take a cold shower; the cold water will make
the panties and bra behave long enough for you to get them
off." Tanj’s eyes went wide, and moving carefully, if a
little awkwardly, she rose, to stagger down the hall
towards the head.
Jack stepped back and admired his handiwork. Kristen was
fastened in a set of stocks, wooden blocks holding her
ankles back and well spread. Another wooden beam, perhaps
not quite high enough off the floor for her comfort, held
her neck and wrists. He’d pulled an old slave hood over
her head, only after fastening a rather large plug-gag into
her mouth. A leather thong held the tip of her tail to the
stocks at the nape of her neck, exposing her sex. Now, he
walked around her, silently, just looking. She was
gorgeous. Bending to examine her sex closely, he smiled;
her labia were puffy and almost dripping with her juices;
she might never admit it, but she WAS enjoying this…..
Kristen squirmed; the way she was bound, in the stocks, all
she could really do was to wiggle her ass from side to
side; she couldn’t even drop to something more like a
squat, as the way her tail was tied made that just a little
painful. She felt deliciously exposed, and yet, with the
slave hood, hidden as well. And Jack’s occasional caresses
were just driving her wild. Now a touch on her left
nipple, now a stroke along the inside of one thigh….. now a
touch on her belly, and then on her ass…… She was on fire
once again, and there wasn’t anything she could do to
Jack sighed and looked at his watch. They were running out
of time. The morning role call wasn’t far off, and they’d
need time to dress, and then find their way back through
this warren, to the ship. Turning and looking at Kristen,
he smiled; there was STILL time to take her one more time….
A few more intimate touches and she’d be more than ready…..
Twirling the feather between two fingers, he stepped
Kristen howled into her gag; he was tickling her to death!
As the tip of the feather stroked directly between her
labia, the gentlest and most maddening of touches she
howled and bucked again…. And as she felt him spread her
pussy lips, to tease her clitty directly, she howled once
again, in frustration and desire.
Jack had to squat just a little, to ease his throbbing
shaft into her pussy. Next time, he’d move her ankles a
little closer together, raise her ass a little more.
Sighing he started a slow motion, working his shaft in and
out of her pussy. He could feel her clench her muscles
around him…. Taking his time, he slowly worked up her
passions, pausing to lean forward now and again, to pinch
and tug ag her nipples………
Kristen felt the hands stroking her, sqeezing her breasts,
toying with her mons, and all the while, that hard shaft
working its way in and out of her pussy. The slave hood
cut out sight, and most of the sound, leaving her little
else to concentrate on, and as a result, every touch, every
stroke seemed to be magnified, intensified, until she was
ready to scream. Somehow it all felt SO right, to be
helpless in the hands of a strong and powerful male…
Feeling the pleasures surge once again, she held herself
tight, knowing that yet another climax was about to
Jack howled as he came, his cock buried deep in her
clenching pussy. She was SO good like this, he was going
to have to find a way to talk her into doing this again…….
Whatever it took, he had to have her again like this, some
day…. But for now, time was running out, and they had to
Zassa looked up from the book she was reading. A still
damp Tanj stood in the corridor, nude, and grinning. With
a chuckle she tossed the panties and bra at the Vixen;
"have fun, and THANKS. I was beginning to think I’d have
to call over to the battleCruiser, to find out how to get
‘em off!" Zassa oooohed and swiveled her legs around on
the bed, stripping out of her clothes, to pick up the
Kristen found the trip back to the Tesla somewhat surreal;
somewhere Jack had found the most bizzare brassier for her
to wear… It had openings in the center of the too-small
cups for her nipples, and around the openings little
thumbscrews with soft rubber tips that could be adjusted in
towards the center, pinching her nipples and holding them
tight in the openings of the bra cups. She could feel her
uniform blouse rubbing against the tips of her nipples, and
each step, each movement made her squirm. As they passed
through the personnel lock, she was sure everyone was
staring at her chest as if they could see straight through
her blouse….. In a way, it was a delicious feeling…. And
she wasn’t sure she was in all that much of a hurry to
return to her quarters and remove the bra…. Although she
had to admit, after this experience, somehow being nude,
and bound seemed MUCH more natural…. And those feelings
left her somewhat confused. One thing she WAS sure of was
that she was going to get back at him. Next time they had
leave, next time they were able to venture onto the
station, she’d make sure HE was the one trapped in the
kennel, with HER calling the shots. Surely there must have
been male slaves there, and just as surely the logs the
guards had left must talk about things you could do to a
guy….. Grinning, she wondered who she could enlist to help
her in her quest….
"So its not just a Fairy Tale?" The Rabbit shook his
head; "Commodore, there’s no question the whole planet’s
gone. If it wasn’t into some sort of dimensional rift,
then someone’s developed an FTL drive that will move
planet-sized masses." "Crap, I was hoping this was all
some sort of "special effect"…. And it galls me no END
that that …. WOLF warned us about this. Now the sumbitch
is absolutely insufferable." After a moment the Ram calmed
himself and continued; "OK, this is where we stand. If
there’s something out there that can make planets
disappear, the Empire wants it and wants it bad. If this
Sou An Kee, or Tanj or whatever her name is, is looking for
her poor missing Master, let her. Just make sure you’re
one step behind her all the way. If she turns up anything
promising, I want to know about it almost as soon as SHE
does. Got that?" The Rabbit nodded; "Yessir. We have an
agent in place already." The Ram snorted; "Yeah, the Mink.
She’s not exactly what I’d call "reliable". See what else
you can do. This is too important to screw up!" The
Rabbit smiled, just a little, and nodded; "I’m working on a
couple of other angles as well….."
The Wombat sighed. His telepathic vouyerism with the Vixen
had left him weak and trembling. Lord, that one had a
capacity for sex that was incredible! But now, they were
making ready to leave. Apparently the Cheetah had finished
doing something technical, with the net result being their
ship had enough fuel to depart, and they were getting ready
to go to somewhere called "Jenka’s Place"…. With a sigh,
he pulled himself into a sitting position. He needed to
report this.. but first he was going to need a change of
underwear, and a shower….
Tanj smiled at the image of the Jaguar and nodded; "Yup,
got "passengers" to deliver, and one of them’s in a hurry."
"Oh?" the Jaguar asked; "Who’s that?" Tanj just smiled;
"Professor Corey has obtained a teaching position and needs
to be at the New Friesland University before classes start.
Hey, the guy’s lost his job with the Brethren, and I don’t
want to screw up his new career." The Jaguar nodded,
making a mental note. Corey. "And what will you do then?"
Tanj sighed; "Well, my Ma… um, my Boss bought that crazy
gizmo from the Brou; that’s a logical place to start, I
think. From there, well, we’ll just see where it leads
us." The Jaguar just nodded; "Hope our paths cross again
soon. We’ve obviously got to stay here, for a while.
Where they’ll assign us next, well, that’s anyone’s guess."
Tanj smiled and shrugged; "I’m sure we’ll see each other
again, but until then…" smiling she blew a kiss at the
video pickup, and broke the connection. Moving to the
pilot’s seat, she eased the Lost Cause out of its docking
bay, and headed it for open space.
"You’re not telling him everything, are you?" Tanj smiled
at the Vixen; "No. Of course not. We’ve got research
projects to set up, funds to line up, data to collect, and
hopefully experimental devices to build. The Gallacci are
quite good at sub-space physics; they might be helpful.
There’s an astrophysics center on Omicron Hydra IV that
should be visited…. There’s lots of places to go, people
to see. I think life will be anything but dull." Zassa
chuckled and leaned on the back of the pilot’s seat;
"Around you, Love, things are NEVER dull."
The Wombat sighed. They were leaving. He could follow
them for a while, with his mind, but even he was distance-
limited. Not so much a question of power, as one of focus.
Never the less….. well, if his "team" stayed on the
Battlecruiser, there would be a good chance of running into
them again. It was something to look forward to.
Zassa sneaked a glance at Hinoki; somehow there hadn’t been
time for him to give her the antidote he’d promised… she’d
have to attend to that, and soon, too. Trying to hide a
smile, she thought of the things Wanda and Kath had found
on the science vessel. It was going to be an interesting
trip to Jenka’s station……
The soup line was long, and Riggs wondered if there’d be
anything left in the pot when he got there. The Labor camp
was horrible, and yet it was better than he’d expected. So
far, anyways, no one had quite figured out who he was. It
was known that he was an academic, and that was enough to
land him in a Labor camp, for "re-education", but so far
his secret hadn’t quite been discovered. Shuffling
forward, he watched the guard ladle a half a cup of clear
yellow soup into his cup. After waiting a half-second to
make sure no more was forthcoming, he took another step,
only to receive a piece of moldy bread. With a sigh, he
moved off to try and find somewhere to sit that wasn’t too
The furr that sat down next to him didn’t look right. Oh,
he was dressed in the same tattered clothes as everyone
else, and was covered in the same mud as everyone else, but
he… he held himself differently. Riggs immediately pegged
him as one of the camp bullies, probably out to steal his
bread. However, the Tiger just sat there, ignoring his
plate, just staring off at the tree-line. Riggs had seen
that stare before; furrs had it just before they tried to
make a break for freedom. So far, no one had made it to
the trees. As he mopped up the last of his "soup" with the
crust of bread, Riggs raised his head and looked at the
Tiger; "Thinking of making a break?" The Tiger chuckled
and turned to look at him with surprisingly blue eyes.
"Yeah. Tonight. 0300 hours. Care to come, Dr. Riggs?"
Rigg’s jaw dropped; "how did you….." "Know your name?" the
Tiger grinned; "Simple. I was sent to get you out. You
and Dr. Kovalka, and Professor Themes. Oh, we’ll take a
few other folks just so its not TOO obvious, but you’re the
ones we’re here to get." Riggs pulled his tattered cloak
tighter around him; "and why, might I ask, would you be
after us?" The Tiger sighed; "Isn’t it obvious? You were
involved in the Elsyium Physics Lab that produced the
doomsday weapon. Oh, I know, you weren’t one of the senior
scientists; they were all evacuated with the Elysium
Government folks. But you were there, and you probably did
most of the legwork for the senior guys. We’re trying to
put a team together to find out what happened, to find out
if there’s any way back to the Empire. And your name
figures prominently in that work. So, are you coming?"
Riggs turned and looked out across the parade ground. Past
the double row of razor wire, and the patrolling guards;
"As long as we won’t be building any more weapons. I’m
done with that." The Tiger chuckled again, a dry sound;
"No, no weapons. Transportation devices, perhaps, but no,
no weapons." Riggs nodded, looking down at his now empty
tin plate; "Then count me in.
Prisons are designed to keep people from breaking out;
they’re seldom designed to keep people from breaking in.
Carson peered through the image intensifier on his KAR03
sniper rife, and adjusted the focus ring slightly. The
guards were all looking INTO the compound, and that was a
major mistake. Next to him, his spotter nudged him; "Its
0259; time." Carson nodded and gently squeezed the
trigger. The weapon had an integral silencer, and used
subsonic ammunition; while his spotter probably knew he’d
fired, no one else did…. Except for the guard in the tower
who suddenly slumped over. His comrade never had a chance
to notice, as a second later, he too was falling, most of
the top of his head missing.
The Tiger nodded and bent low, dashed from the shadows of
the building. As expected, there were no warning shouts,
no alarms, no searchlights swiveling to highlight him. The
razor wire fell to his cutters rapidly, and he squirmed
through the hole to the next row. Someone from the Blues
commando team was already at work on the other side of the
wire. Turning he motioned to those waiting…..
Riggs stared at the truck with Reds placards on it; "Um…
where’d you guys get this?" he mumbled. A wolf with an
impossibly huge rifle grinned, fangs bright in the
darkness; "We borrowed it; don’t worry, no one’s going to
come looking for it, not for a while anyways. And by the
time they do, we’ll be long gone." Riggs nodded and
climbed stiffly up into the back of the truck. A moment
later they were moving down an incredibly bumpy road… and
away from the camp.
The VTOL aircraft was of the kind used in search-and-rescue
missions. Three of them were in a clearing in the middle
of the forest. They’d abandoned the truck, and jogged
through the dark, led by those with night vision equipment.
Bustled inside, Riggs listened to the fans spool up….. It
looked as if he was actually going to escape the Reds’
workers’ paradise after all…. And all this time he’d been
expecting a bullet in the back of the head. HUH!
"Comrade, we’ve had another incident." Xyloff looked up
from his desk at the aide and growled; "Now what?" The
aide spread his hands wide and shrugged; "a labor camp was
assaulted and a number of the prisoners have escaped. We
THINK that the Blues Commandoes were after specific
individuals, but most of the camp’s inmates escaped before
the remaining guards realized what was happening, and
they’re still being rounded up. Until they’re all caught,
we won’t know for sure who’s missing, and just who might
have been the target of the commando team." Xyloff waved a
paw; "Riffraff in a labor camp are not a major concern.
The Blues frequently go after political figures for
propaganda purposes. I wouldn’t worry too much about that.
Now, tell me, how are things in the Ryhr valley area? Are
the border clashes still occuring?" The aide nodded; "Yes,
Comrade, but unfortunately each of our incursions seem to
be beaten back. The ground we have gained, well, the
industries there have been destroyed in the fighting…."
The Wolverine nodded; "At least the resources won’t be
available to our enemies, even if we can’t use them either.
Very well, let me know if anything else unusual happens."
The Lion lowered the welder, and tossed his head up, to
flip up the welding helmet. Scowling, he examined his
handiwork. The weld wasn’t pretty, but it would hold.
Hearing someone enter the compartment behind him, he
turned; "Hey Ben." The Wolf stopped behind him, to look
over his shoulder; "How come the repairs?" The Lion
shrugged; "Damage control says that we’re at 78%, but I
don’t think we’re going to do much better than that without
a shipyard refit. And we don’t have one of those, do we?"
The Wolf shrugged; "hey, it’s a big universe; there’s gotta
be one out there somewhere!" The Lion just grinned; "Ever
the optimist?" Ben grinned back; "Hey, right now we are
the biggest baddest Mother in the system. Even at 50% we
dominate the system, AND the planet!" The Lion chuckled
and rose, stretching; "Yeah; I’d love to see Comrade
Xyloff’s face when he finds out we’re still alive." The
Wolf sobered a bit; "speaking of Xyloff, Cromwell’s on his
way up; he’s got that collection of scientists we asked
for." The Lion nodded; "and I’m sure he’ll be wanting to
discuss his "payment" too. No problem. At the moment
we’re all in this together…. And I suspect he’s going to
ask us to do things we were intending to do anyways……
Riggs looked at the Brou device and shook his head. He’d
heard stories, but somehow he was still shocked to find out
the thing actually existed. Next to him, Dr. Kovalka shook
his head, muttering. The PADD in his hands was displaying
some of the data from the Brethren’s early tests. "Well,
Heinrick, looks like we’ve got some interesting work ahead
of us." Kovalka nodded; "Yeah; at least the food’s better
than the labor camp." "And its not cold in here. And the
work should be interesting." Kovalka nodded; "True; but
somehow I feel just as much a prisoner as before….."
"Yes, we already have a team out mapping jump points, but
you have to understand, the ships we have engaged in that
work, the crews undertaking it, they were never trained for
such work. The first ship to jump out-system will be
taking a helluva risk!" Cromwell looked back at the Wolf
and nodded; "I understand that; but we still have to figure
out where, or when we are. And exploring the surrounding
space is a function that you are better equipped to carry
out than we are. Therefor, it falls to you." The Lion
nodded; "Fair enough. We’ll do our part. But we’re going
to need fuel. We’re going to have to put together an
antimatter production facility, and for that we’re going to
need equipment." Cromwell nodded; "But antimatter is only
required for warp drives. Jump drives can function quite
nicely on fusion power and we have plenty of deuterium in
this system. Yes, I know, the first ship through should
have a warp drive and sufficient fuel to return, but beyond
that, well, we have MANY priorities right now, and an
antimatter production facility is well down on the list.
You’ll just have to wait." The Lion looked at Ben, and
sighed; "That may depend on what we find when we go
Strange, their thoughts are. Stranger than the last mind
in contact with me. Disbelieve, they do. Convinced, they
must be. The Brou device had gone a long way towards
repairing its damage, but certain raw materials were
missing. It would have to find a way to communicate with
the strange, alien creatures around it, somehow. As
repellant as that was, it had a duty. A duty to its
creators to warn them of the event that had relocated it.
At the moment, goals coincided, and thus, a semi-sentient
device intended for other things struggled to find a way to
communicate with alien minds……
<<<Masster, it has worked even better than we had hoped.
The new planetary mass in system QZX43-261 has shifted the
pattern of jump points for several systems in all
directions! Our adversary’s trade route has vanished!
They will be forced to take the route through the Vaxkti
cluster, and pay the passage fee we demand, or they will
have to abandon their contract with the Ree. Either way,
they’re ruined!>>> <<<Yes, it has worked well. The
alteration of the pattern of jump points has shortened
three of our own trade routes. The Council is most
pleased. Now, young one, remember the law of unintended
consequences. If we think we understand the situation
correctly, then we are obviously missing something. What
may have happened to cause us trouble?>>> <<<Master, what
could POSSIBLY have happened to tarnish our victory? We
have a great Triumph, one that will be commemorated for
ages to come!>>>
This story is a work of fiction, and any
resemblance to any characters, living, dead or
imaginary is purely a coincidence. Tanj is
copyright Kittiara's player. Kittiara can be found
on Furrymuck; telnet 22.214.171.124 8888. Hinoki,
and Zassa are copyright their players (Zassa can be
found on FurryMuck, and Hinoki on Tapestries or on
FurryMuck. Copyright 2001. Comments, suggestions,
or flames can be directed to email@example.com.