A sequel to McCloud’s Daughters and Bird in Paradise
With help from Shadar
He was the impossible man. His guards thought they were exiling a mere political prisoner, one too well connected to be executed but knowing a bit too much to be allowed quiet retirement.
Boris, the head guard, thought it impossible for their prisoner to escape. The special device they had been given made him safe to transport, they were told. The device restricted his cognitive abilities and denied him access to the other dimensional energies his people used, that other races of man considered magic, but he was still more than the two of them could handle. He had been an agent for the Atlantean government for 30 years.
Jason had worked for the Ministries of Justice and Defense and for the last 10 years as head Provocateur for a High Councilor. He had great experience in defeating the indefatigable, harming the invulnerable, and tracking the untraceable.
Councilor Inger used him for such tasks because he was good at the impossible. Commendation was impossible for he was a nonperson, a ghost, deniable and expendable. Reprimands were equally impossible. Failure was death. The safety of his planet, its people, and its culture, were more important than his life.
Now he was here, at the Prisoner Transport Facility inside the Ministry of Justice. He had become aware of the callous and ruthless way the High Council viewed the citizens of New Atlantis. He had questioned orders and the policy behind the orders and the integrity of the men who made the policy. He had done this publicly, he who was supposedly to be unheard and invisible had made himself seen and heard by all. He hoped the people had heard him well and truly but it was out of his hands now.
The other Councilors had covered up for their colleague. Jason's boss had done unspeakable things that turned even his hardened stomach and the other members of the Council had buried his crime and not even slapped him on the wrist. The Head Councilor had been personally involved in whitewashing the story he leaked to the press. So he had taken things a step further. He had tossed his boss into the disintegration chamber and did his best to expose the corruption at the highest levels to the planet at large. He hoped it was enough but he had done all he could. Now he was no longer an agent for anyone except himself.
They were worried about how an execution would look after all the whitewash. If nothing was wrong and it was all a misunderstanding then why have a trial much less an execution? So he was officially retiring to a world that was pre-industrial and so far from any known wormhole that no trading ships would find it for millennia, if at all. The Diaboli knew of it because it had been seeded by the Elders long ago; and the Elders had told the Atlanteans because unlike them the people of planet Velvet had gladly agreed to be cannon fodder for those so-called gods.
They were often used as an example of the benefits of following the leadership of the High Council rather than the Elders. Now the New Atlantean government was using them as an exile planet because of their low population, tech level, and isolation. The High Council, justly worried about the resourcefulness of their few renegades, had even put satellites around the planet to fatally scramble any attempt to quantum tunnel, or gate, from its surface without equipment such as his escorts wore to provide the right electronic codes.
Few could use that method of traveling to other planets without technological aids like the one he was being walked towards. However it was possible, if only for the most powerful and mathematically inclined among them and thus the satellites in orbit to foreclose on this last chance of escape. The High Council considered it impossible for him to escape once he was there. The device restricting his cognitive abilities would be inoperative in transit but Boris didn't think there would be enough time during transit for the prisoner to free himself from two guards and escape but this last nagging concern was why he made certain he was one of Jason's guards.
The trip through the quantum tunnel was very disorienting and both guards loosened their grip involuntarily as their minds tried to make sense of their surroundings. That was all Jason needed. He broke free of the guards and they continued on without him to Velvet. Of course this left him adrift in an extra-dimensional realm but he was one of those who had the power, skill, and training to traverse the folded dimensions, those odd partial realms that only the Diaboli alone among the various breeds calling themselves human could traverse and remain sane, by mind alone and so he was able to change his destination to Kelsor 7.
On Kelsor 7 it was like old times again. Thanks to the advanced state of Diaboli medicine and his own abilities he looked only in the mid-twenties despite being much older and he had always looked nondescript. He blended in with almost any crowd. He infiltrated, set up a cover identity and went up into orbit with a repair crew.
They had lost a man on the last job, upgrading the cyber-weapons mounts on one of the Quaker warships. He was the replacement. They were a freelance outfit that boasted it could refit any ship as good as new. The wreck they were working on hadn't even made it into dock but had needed a rescue boat to take the crew off. It floated alone at the farthest end of the repair facility as if it was diseased and the other ships were worried about catching something -- or more accurately like it was considered bad luck and none of the other crews wanted it too near them.
The crew labored over all parts of the ship and Jason labored along with them learning as he went and filing the data away for further use. After they finished the ship was indeed good as new. They celebrated the completion of a long assignment and a coming bonus with a party their last day aboard.
Jason took over the mind of the shift boss, Vanessa Ciardi. One slow dance was enough to make her his with the ease of long practice. She had already been planning to recommend a commendation for him; she considered him a good worker and would have announced it to everyone after dinner. He sighed, unhappy at the work he must do now -- but this was not the way to be invisible, so he smoothly moved her to decide that someone else would be the recipient.
He had a plan and put it into action. After a long night of dancing, eating and drinking homemade liquor, everyone drifted off to sleep -- everyone but him. Jason was able to block the effects of alcohol on his system and ignore the need to sleep for several days if necessary. He set up his cut-off to disable computer control as soon as everyone else left. The crew went left on schedule the next morning and the records showed the ship was empty but ready to be occupied as soon as it was inspected.
Port control was shocked to see an empty ship moving and they wasted precious time checking the docking clamps and trying to reach the onboard computer. At the right time he manually fired the engines and they realized there was a person onboard. The officials told each other that he must be crazy for nobody could pilot such a ship without computer control. There was too much data for any normal human mind to make sense of it. The Diaboli, however, are from an early age accustomed to dealing with masses of data that would overwhelm most normal minds.
Jason felt confident in his ability to guide the ship alone. He knew exactly where he was going to try to lose himself. Of course the idea was simply to get so lost nobody could find him not get killed and he might even if he made it safely through the "unnavigable" wormhole but he thought it worth the risk.
It had already been known to him from his work in Diaboli Intelligence that there was a P1 who had refused her Rites and instead had gone to Kelsor 7 and become a scientist there instead of a Protector. She was also known to have ridden on some wormhole scouting expeditions. This was one reason he had come to the planet as part of his escape. He hoped to scan her mind and find habitable planets for which there were no star maps.
Boss Ciardi had heard rumors about Alisa Liddell's last expedition. There was something scandalous about it, or something scary -- Boss Ciardi didn’t know which -- and there was nothing about it any public database. But it had apparently put Alisa herself off traveling for a while; she was now on leave from the Survey Service. Jason caught up with her at the Dirac Hole, a bar catering to physicists, where she was talking shop with several colleagues.
He scanned her mind lightly from across the room. There he found what must have been troubling her: a planet called Rostran, beyond a strange wormhole called Cygnias 275. It was overrun with half-Primes -- that was upsetting enough. But there'd also been a woman who was half-Galen, and had managed to make the Primes of Rostran think she was a Goddess. On top of that, they'd had a Tset'Lar and a Kryp'Terran.
There had been a power struggle on Rostran, Supremis against Supremis. It had nearly led to a civil war that could have destroyed the planet. Still in Alisa's mind the goddess who had played a central role wasn't just on a power trip -- she was trying to do good. Only, it hadn't been good enough, and she'd been -- replaced? But not by anyone from Rostran -- rather by her sister from… another world he'd never heard of -- one known only to Alisa herself among those of the Survey Service mission to Rostran.
There were other memories – the tangled relationships involving Alisa, her captain, one of her temporal science colleagues, and the Rostrans. Her unexpected enhancement, which had enabled her to save the mission there. An encounter back at Cygnus 275 with a singularity and -- the something to do with the Old Galactics? A painful loss she couldn’t share but couldn’t forget. He didn’t want to go there; instead he focused on what she knew of a planet named Sanctuary. Chances were that nobody else on New Atlantis had ever heard of it. And it was habitable and inhabited by normal humans, although the only people she knew from there were Aayla and Klara.
If it wasn't on a standard star map, it was pretty far afield and hopefully safe from his colleagues. He'd had other ideas but none were good enough. He needed a place where he didn't have to spend his whole life undercover. That was one reason he was doing this. To find a place that let him live an honest life. Where his actions were known and he did not need to hide what he was. The planet was possibly a place where all sorts were welcome and definitely out of the way. If it went bad he would go from there. Thoughts and worries done he guided the ship through the necessary transits.
If he made it, the planet called Sanctuary would be the perfect hiding place, and he could make it. He also knew that he was unlikely to be found out unless he chose to reveal himself. He planned to announce himself as soon as possible. He wasn’t sure how he'd be received though.
Diaboli looked like humans and if one died on Terra, humanity's ancestral home and a planet still ignorant that any of its people had left the cradle of its star system, no examination would reveal anything with the exception of a small brain anomaly that would be dismissed as having no effect on normal functioning. This was the Elders gift to them. The ability to perceive other-dimensional energies and the ability to use them in a manner that the other races of man called magic because they did not understand it. Those who could not master the mental and "sorcerous" abilities he used had not been allowed to breed by order of the Elders and by the time the Diaboli no longer revered the Elders as gods they were no longer normal human. The physical differences were so slight that none but the Vendorians, that race of master builders, had ever created a portable scanner that could detect them. Other races would need the most exhaustive of DNA analyses to ever see the difference. He was of the Atlantean Diaboli the strongest of the clans of Diaboli and he had been selected for his high potential then rigorously trained. No, he was sure of his abilities; the rest was up to the stolen ship.
The ship had never been designed to be controlled by one person -- and no matter what modifications he made it showed. The wear was much greater than he had anticipated, especially at the uncharted wormhole, and it was barely holding together during that last transit.
By the time he made it through that last wormhole, he knew that the ship would likely never dive another -- but with luck it wouldn't need to. He aimed for the M class planet and tried to baby the ship along. He managed to enter the atmosphere before the engines died completely, then strapped in securely and, being too much of an atheist to pray, he spent what might be his last few minutes of life chanting his invulnerability spell out loud and continuously. He was hoping that might help reinforce it.
On the planet called Sanctuary it was Ann McCloud's turn to patrol. She saw the fireball and flew off to keep it from the hitting the city.
On the way she imaged it with her tachyon vision. There was a man inside! Although he was black haired he was no Aurean and not Vel or Krypt' either. Maybe he was an enhancee; but if so it wasn't much of an enhancement. Still he seemed to be alive and she would try to keep him that way. She guided the ship as gently as she could to the ground somewhere outside of city limits.
The man got up and moved towards the airlock: he was conscious and mobile at least. Ann could see how badly he was hurt, and that the airlock controls were shot. No problem for her though; she just ripped them off. The ship was toast anyway and she wanted to know who it was and why he was the only person on board. It was not a large ship but it wasn't a lifeboat either. After removing the inner airlock door more carefully she saw him standing with hands raised and trying to look non-threatening. She smiled amused. "I am not about to harm you, Terran."
He put his hands down. "You may wish to change your mind later. But listen to my whole story first and I think we can be of great benefit to each other. Will you promise to listen to my whole story before deciding what to do with me?"
"Are you a fleeing criminal?"
"No. I am a political exile, although I freely admit to not going quietly into the exile planned for me. I have killed nobody in my escape although I did steal this ship from a people my former government is at war with."
He chuckled bitterly, "Of course we are officially at war with every people we are aware of that have star travel. Our so-called leaders keep us in an artificial state of emergency -- us against the universe -- to justify their actions and the actions they would have us take. It was exposing just how little of what they say is true that got me exiled. They asked why I would do such a thing after 30 years of service, and I told them I wonder why I took so long to see the truth. Most of us are like people anywhere but our leaders are not elected, they do not officially answer to anyone but the High Council as a whole.
"I worked for a member of that august body and I discovered he was corrupt. He was barely hiding it. He thought no one would punish him for his excesses and he was right. I tried to meet with the Chairman in private to discuss my suspicions and was brushed off twice and the third time he directed me to remember my oath and where my loyalties lay. I did. My oath was to serve my race, to sacrifice myself if it was necessary to make them safe and happy. My loyalty was not to these fat, evil men, making promises they never even attempted to keep, turning a blind to each other's 'indiscretions.' That's what he called them you know, indiscretions."
He looked at her with haunted eyes, "I was a soldier and then a spy for 30 years altogether and what I learned about him still made me sick to my stomach. The minister of Justice said it was out of his hands and if the High Council knew of what he did then they have no morals left at all. It was when they told me that they would retire me to the country with a nice pension that I woke up and smelled what was coming."
"The retirement they had planned for you was permanent wasn't it?" This was spoken by And'ril, who was nodding as if he knew what Jason had gone through and what was coming next.
"That's what they told me too. Fortunately I found Ann here and she has made my declining years golden. One thing bothers me. You seem very standard Terran but you do not look old enough to have witnessed everything you describe although the look on your face is one I have unfortunately seen before so I believe you but what branch of humanity could you be to live so long with so little apparent aging?"
Jason felt like putting his hands up again, but there was no help for it and no real reason to stall, "Well you have listened to most of my story so hopefully you will not kill me out of hand. If as it seems you can have Aureans and Velorians living here in peace then maybe you will give me a chance. I swear I mean you no harm but I am Diaboli."
"The race created by the foes of the Galen?"
"Yes, although we rebelled against the Elders about a thousand years ago to go our own way. Or so the history books say. I know I've never seen an Elder. Or maybe I just didn't know it. Anyway, I killed that bastard councilor in his own disintegration chamber and then I vanished. I'm trained to do that, but doing it on New Atlantis, our home world, is much harder.
"I figured before they killed me, I'd tell people. I commandeered a holographic broadcast at a station where they knew I worked for the government and told my story. I think I shocked the hell out of them because I was two thirds done before they caught me. They put out rumors I had been erratic for awhile and finally snapped. They televised a trial with an actor in playing me very convincingly as an agent who is losing his grip. I know he was good because they made me watch the trial.
"They were 'lenient' and only sentenced me to exile. It seems I still had a few friends in government. I just hope the majority of the population who work, play, laugh, and depend on their government to keep them safe heard me. Perhaps if they heard and believed something can be done. For them, not me, I can never go home."
"They'll send others to find me and silence me forever so I can't live openly on any known planet. If I were willing to live my life looking over my shoulder and pretending to be someone else then I might escape notice in some backwater, but I don't want that. I gambled on you taking me in because I'd rather die than not have a home, a true home."
"Just how did you find us and could you have been followed? Will they trace you here to Sanctuary and bring death and destruction among us for hiding you?" Ann replied looking worried for her people but at least she hadn't killed him yet. Jason knew he could not stop her. Diaboli were no match for Protectors or Primes in general. They needed numbers to make up the difference in power and, and his own magic was exhausted in ant case. The nearby man, moreover, looked like a Supremis himself. Jason thought about Ann's questions and answered them as truthfully as he could.
"I am sure nobody followed me. The way I left is known to less than a hundred and usable by only a few dozen -- who are, with the exception of the High Councilors, all off-planet. The Council never leaves the planet and it will take time to recall anyone with sufficient power and training to be able to follow my trail even to Kelsor 7. I can't imagine them pulling more than four away from their duties to go after me. That is the most they ever send out together. I do not boast when I say I was one of the best operatives they have and I do not think even a full team could follow the trail I took across the stars. Still nothing is impossible or I wouldn't be here. Still they never send more than four of us anywhere. Any of you Homo Sapiens Supremis could kill them from a distance if you spotted them first --- and I can help you spot them. I'll tell everything I know about how we operate and what we are capable of doing. All I ask is to be able to live in peace under my own name and without hiding what I am. In return I will do my best to help you safeguard this world against my former colleagues and will fight them with you if they come. However I feel obligated to tell you that if you kill me here and now they will read that in your brain and leave you alone. Once I am dead you are safe from any Diaboli searching for me and I very much doubt any will find this place accidentally."
He took a deep breath, "So now you have heard my whole story and you have heard my offer. It’s up to you now but if it’s not too much trouble may I ask you for a place to sleep? I am quite exhausted from piloting this bucket of bolts through that damn wormhole of yours. I'm sure you want to keep an eye on me while you discuss and I don't think I could go very far anyway so maybe I'll just sleep here under the stars."
Jason lay down and as soon as he was no longer forcing himself to stay awake his exertions caught up with him and he fell into a deep sleep.
Ann had worried about his sudden collapse and after undressing him to put him to bed in her house. She stayed in the room to keep an eye on him. If her descendants had the knowledge and abilities he could bequeath as well those of her children then Sanctuary would be safe even if found. They would be able to defend their planet against anyone but the Galen themselves or the Elders…..
If only he would and could contribute his unique gifts to her line. The poor man, even in his sleep he stirred at the lightest footfall. He must be so terribly lonely. His people had used him cruelly and he apparently found little peace even in his sleep. She floated cross-legged to one side of the bed as she watched over him so as to disturb him as little as possible.
Jason awoke quietly. He kept his eyes closed and stayed still. It had become a habit for him to wake silently and take stock before opening his eyes because he so often awoke far from home. He was stiff and sore and he sensed he had been asleep along time. He listened and heard no sounds of breathing or footsteps. Considering where he was that did not mean he was alone but to gather any more information he must open his eyes and stop feigning sleep. He opened them and saw a woman floating nearby watching him. It was the woman from the ship floating there in a Protector's uniform.
"How are you feeling?" she said.
"Well enough. I guess you decided to take me up on my offer?" he replied.
"Well actually I had a counter offer in mind. Would you like breakfast while you hear it?" she said.
At the mention of food his stomach growled, "Yes food would be welcome but I doubt it’s still breakfast time." He sat up with a twinge and looked around the room. Sure enough, it seemed to afternoon from the position of the sun.
"No matter. You are just waking up and that makes it breakfast," She lowered herself to her feet and walked out of the room.
Jason got out of bed and took a hot shower. He felt much better afterward. Looking around he saw it was obviously a guest bathroom as it had things no Supremis needed such as combs and razors as well as the soap and shampoo he had used in the shower.
After he came out he looked about for something to put on. He found nothing but he was not shy or phobic about such exposure so it was no hardship for him. Then Ann came in with a breakfast tray and she was wearing nothing either. He smiled, the body of any Supremis especially one who wore the V ring of a Protector was a thing of beauty. Her sculpted perfection was truly best appreciated nude. Nothing awkward about her at all as she set the tray on a side table and sitting took a mug for herself.
"Myra and Ben have got me into coffee so I hope you don't if I join you?"
"I don't mind at all." He sat next to her at the breakfast nook by the window and surveyed the breakfast; it consisted of a very fluffy looking omelet with home fries, sausage links and buttered toast. "Wow, this looks great. I did not think Supremis went in for cooking much."
"One of my daughters cooked that; she's been trying to get a feel for Terran cooking. She'll be glad to hear you like it. If you notice anything off please let me know. She prefers honest feedback to flattery. Well, at least most of the time." She sipped at her mug and continued, "While you eat I'll tell you my story."
As he ate and later as he sipped his second cup of coffee she told her story. She told me about growing up in a lab on Velor and about the experiment with Aphrodite. She told of her flight from Velor and her meeting And'ril. Then she told of her wandering Krypt'terran lover and her three children by him and the surprise conception of her youngest daughter Myra by And'ril in his thousandth year. When related how she met Ben his eyes widened. He told her he had heard about that ship from his shift boss on Kelsor 7.
He told her how he had been desperately seeking a destination unknown to his people that he could reach in a Kelsorian ship and, after hearing rumors about an expedition that had been declared top secret, had tapped the mind of a P1 who had gone there for asylum after refusing her Rites and joined the Survey Service.
"She is known to us," Ann said. "She is the only one among the Kelsorians who knows where Aayla came from. Or Klara. But what did you hear about the other story -- about Ben's ship?"
"It said that after a bad transit caused by stellar disturbance they sighted an Aurean Battleship attacking a Velorian citizen, presumably a Protector, flying through space without a ship and that their Velorian passenger, against all advice, left the ship to try and rescue her. It also said that they waited as long as they could but were forced to retreat by the Aurean ship. No mention of your hair color and certainly no hint that they left him to his fate or that either of you could have survived. Given that report there should have been some grief but no official investigation."
"I'm glad about that last part and from Ben's story I know he won't be badly missed and I am certain he is happier here." She stood up, "If you are finished would you mind walking with me and telling me about your powers? I have heard only hearsay so far and not much of that. Can you really do magic?"
"Nothing we do is supernatural but we do use some really advanced technology and science. We were given a big leg up by the Elders and teaching telepathically is a fair bit easier than verbally. There was a phrase on Earth when I was there 'any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic' and it’s true. Of course it helps that we've been altered to directly perceive the energies we work with. In fact when we learned that others thought it magic we started using the term ourselves. But if you hear me speak of spells and sorcery it’s just a science not yet known elsewhere. Want a demo?"
She smiled and opened a door to a Salle D'Armes, a place where you could spar with weapons or bare handed. And'ril was there in workout clothes. "Why don't you put on a spare gi and spar with And'ril? You could show us some combat sorcery. Unless you think it too dangerous?"
"No, I will use just my battle aura that should keep me from harm while sparing him any harm that might be caused by an overly energetic combat spell." He concentrated and was surrounded by a golden glow. He put on the martial arts clothing she had pointed to, and approaching And'ril bowed.
He caught the old Prime by surprise and won the first one. He lost the second and third though. Apparently even when twenty times his age a Supremis could still kick his ass in hand-to-hand combat. The third time he had even used illusions to hide but And'ril was too canny a warrior and closed his eyes using other senses to track the now exhausted and heavily sweating agent.
Still Ann seemed impressed that he had even come through three sparring rounds with a Prime alive and with nothing broken. She showered with them and afterward massaged both of them. He did get to show them some magic; he cast a healing spell and his bruises faded like… well, magic. Still he welcomed the opportunity to soak in her hot tub. As he lay there relaxing a fourth person walked up to the tub. He opened his eyes and saw a very pleasant sight. A blonde stood there at the edge of the marble rim looking at him. She was naked and looked 100% Velorian.
"Is she one of your daughters, Ann? She looks completely Velorian," he asked quietly as she sat beside him with And'ril on the other side.
"This is Nikki Kim'Vallara. Her mother was a diplomat to Reigel 5. We persuaded her to come here rather than stay on Velor."
"It was an easy decision. I like being empowered and all I had there was a clerical job in an office building somewhere. Besides, Ben can be very persuasive." She smiled and slipped into the hot water next to Jason. She held out her hand in the Terran gesture of friendship, "Hi, call me Nikki. Did Ann tell you why she is happy to see you?"
"Hi, I'm Jason. No, but I think I have an inkling."
"He went three rounds with And'ril and he actually won one!" Ann said smiling at him from the curve of And'ril's arm.
"Wow," Nikki said putting an arm around him and getting close. "That's amazing! You must be really good at hand-to-hand."
"Not really I just surprised him at first," Jason said.
"You surprised him? How?" Nikki asked.
He snuggled closer to her and said, "I'll make you a deal, you tell me exactly what I'm wanted for and I'll tell you how I surprised him."
She was more than willing to snuggle and stroked her hand across his body, which was fit and looked young if not up Supremis standards. He suddenly recognized the honey and wildflower scent tickling his brain and used magic to keep from being overwhelmed by her pheromones. She noticed and smiled.
"I met several Diaboli on Reigel, Jason, and my mom dated one for awhile -- well, he was part-Diaboli and he wasn't supposed to show it. I think I know how you surprised him but I'm still impressed. Even more impressed that you can shake off my pheromones, mom's lover never could. Still why bother?" She kissed him, "If you can spar with a Prime and be this healthy afterward a little loving from an M--class Vel like me won't harm you. Ask anyone who's been to bed with me here."
"I had my battle aura up with And'ril. It kept me from getting hurt but it takes concentration and without it I'm a Frail."
"That's why I wanted Nikki to try to enhance you first," Ann broke in. "She's less dangerous than any of my daughters. I'm sure you two can come up with some way to share sorn'fuk. You'd like to make love to her right? All you need to do is come up with a way to survive the enhancement process."
"Yes, Jason, come up with a way." Nikki kissed him again, "I can feel how much you want me and I have needs that I'd happily let you fill if you were enhanced. Ben's the only enhanced male here, and he doesn't have time for me right now."
Jason interrupted, "Yes, I'm sure it would be lovely, but I hardly know you and you hardly know me."
"Yes but Ann vouches for you and if you agreed then Klara and I wouldn't have to resort to each other so often. I mean it’s nice with her but I want a man. One I don't have to share quite so much and Paris would love to learn how to enhance her boys. She even offered to let me try if I were successful with you. So you see we all stand to gain." She kissed passionately, "Can't you think of some way, anyway it can work?"
"Easy Nikki, we want him to be able to think," Ann advised. "If you keep that up he'll stop thinking and hormones will do what pheromones can't. I don't want him coming up with some half-baked idea just to get into the pants you aren't wearing."
Nikki crawled off Jason's lap. "Well it does look as if his brain is not what's getting all the blood at the moment." She flashed a smile. "I can fix that, I mastered the art of underwater blow jobs while on Reigel 5." She then proved that statement and he floated away blissfully for awhile. Afterward she said, "And you can have more when you've proved yourself to us."
"Proved myself huh?" he said. "I figured that was coming. What do you need me to do and what happens if I refuse?"
"Well what you must do to prove yourself is go on patrol with Myra until she is satisfied you are genuine in your confession and change of heart." She held up a hand. "I know from your story it’s not so much a change of heart as an opening of the eyes but let’s just say we want to be sure you won't suddenly close them again. We want to take your measure and since Myra was such a good judge of character last time we picked her to judge you."
Ann smiled, "I have faith in you Jason. I was watching closely when you told your story. I've gotten good at reading people and I could see that you needed to tell somebody, that you had to unburden yourself and it didn't matter to whom. I trust that because I was there but the others cannot be expected to take only our word for it. They want to find out your character for themselves."
"Well that and they want a chance at Ben. Myra had him to herself for almost a whole year while she was away with him and now with Nikki here there is even more competition for his limited time. My other daughters are reacquainting him with their charms and of course Nikki has a lot of catching up to do after the years he spent refusing her so I suspect that's why your test lasts a month. One week for each of them and none for Myra meanwhile."
A voice came from inside the house, "What?! Is that really why you all arranged it like this? I can't believe you would be so...so...petty!" Out came a lovely young girl of about 18 or 19 with flashing blue eyes and really lovely hair. It was midnight black with a hint of deepest purple. He'd read of the trait in the Academy but had never seen it before. It was beautiful.
She was wearing an apron that said "Kiss the Cook". It hung from her neck to her knees and was tied around her waist. He was disappointed at her not being as naked as everyone else and then he firmly told himself she was way too young for him.
She was also clearly angry. “You want to stick him with me while you all have fun with Ben!"
"Now Myra you know I raised you not to be so jealous! Take Jason on patrol with you. I'm sure he'll be a help and even when enhanced he might not fly well so he may end up patrolling on foot too."
Nikki added, "Well we needed somebody to double check your mom and And'ril and you are the only one who patrols on foot and Ben himself says you have the best rapport with Terrans."
"You leave him out of this! If you all really thought mom was wrong Aayla and Klara would be here. They are Galen enough, especially Aayla, to keep him from using any powers on them but you came alone so you could give him a little preview and then go have some fun with Ben!”
"Well, if you're gong to be that way about it, you can take care of Todd."
"Todd?" Jason asked.
"Ben and Myra's son," Ann quickly explained to Jason. Ohhhhh, he thought. His intuition flashed, they have a breeding project going on here.
Jason knew better than to let himself be caught in what seemed to be a developing a family quarrel, so he did his best to defuse the situation by returning to the original subject. "I know I'm still on probation but I think Myra has a point." He waved, "I'm Jason by the way."
All three ladies turned to look at him and And'ril grinned. I think he noticed me noticing Myra, Jason thought. A very good thing he wasn't acting like a Terran dad. I'd hate to have to fight him again for real.
Ann tilted her head slightly as she looked his way, but now that he knew about Todd she wasn't going to let that matter drop. "I thought you had it all worked out. I want your genes as well as your expertise. If Ben has kids by all of them then the next generation is in the same boat as the first."
'Another stud for Ann's stable!' he thought to himself. Not that I'm against sex with beautiful women but these Supremis have some very odd ideas on this subject of children.
"I figured that out but if he and I both have sex with all of them how will we know his kids from mine? We don't want half siblings mating. I admit to having a fondness for brunettes -- especially if they can cook as well as Myra but if I prove out then logically I should not have kids with the same daughters as he does and from everything I've heard you two are a pair. Or can you arrange to know whose kids are whose?"
"We can arrange our cycles somewhat." Nikki said, "And we have means to determine which children are yours and which are Ben's.
"Yes we are a pair." Myra added, "However we are not exclusive -- or at least he isn't. I haven't had a chance to be non-exclusive," Myra said and smiled. "Well, except with Nikki and that doesn’t count.”
Just one big happy family here, Jason was thinking.
Myra said, "I'm glad you liked my cooking Jason. I've been practicing for Ben. I hope he'll like it as much as you do. Come by tomorrow morning and we'll talk further." She looked at her mom and Nikki. "If I am going to spend a month evaluating him then I want veto power on any schedule involving me. I may want to stay a one woman man. Then again I may not."
"Of course dear," Ann answered. "I'd certainly never force you. I'm just trying to do what's best for all of you in the long run."
Myra grinned, "Thanks!" She looked at me her eyes twinkling, "Another lover of brunettes huh? Well just in case I don't want to be exclusive I'd like to show you something."
"What?" He had a pretty good idea of what and was sternly reminding myself of much older he was.
She untied the back of her "kiss the cook" apron and whipped it off posing naked in the afternoon sunlight. He forgot how much older he was and my good intentions and became very erect under the bubbling water. She dropped the pose and grinned.
"I see you do like me after all." She leaned down and extended a hand. I shook it. "Nice to meet you Jason." She kissed my cheek and stood back up.
"Nice to meet you too Myra." He thought to himself, Yes, I could definitely get to like it here. Then she gathered up her apron and left saying she was going to clean the kitchen and go back to her place.
Nikki poked his ribs, "A fondness for brunettes? Watch what you say or I'll let her enhance you instead. Not many Terrans survive sex with a Prime you know."
"I know. Not many Diaboli either. Shortly after the gene bomb we sent a diplomatic group to Aurea. We had not known of the bomb or its effects. All the woman of the would-be embassy became Betan comfort women and the men went to various Primal women. Only one diplomat survived. He returned much vital intelligence. Unfortunately, it soon became obvious that his enhancement precluded normal relations with our women, and he left the planet. He pulled strings and set out by himself in a well equipped scout ship. Nobody knows where he went. I wasn't trying to be nasty with the brunette comment just honest. It's just a preference though and it looks like all the brunettes are taken so I'll probably be eating crow in a month and apologizing on my knees."
"Well apologizing on your knees is very likely but all the brunettes are not taken as I'm sure you'll find out in time." With that cryptic comment she flew off, leaving him in the hot tub with Ann and And'ril.
Later that night Ann slipped still naked into his room as he read through a local history book. "I already know you to be a good man Jason so I am here to honor you early."
"What about And'ril?" He asked but the flood of pheromones she was releasing had taken him by surprise and he barely got the question out.
She laughed, "He won't mind, he's Supremis by culture as well as birth like I am and there is no jealousy in either of us. He is taking care of Nikki's needs while I see to yours since you are both guests in our home and needy after the day's experiences."
She turned out the light and he put the book away as she slipped in to his bed in the dark. One night of Supremis sex and he was hooked for life. He loved the incredible feel of her skin. So soft but so firm underneath, like silk over steel but warm, living steel. He loved the taste of her on his tongue like honey and wildflowers. She gripped in a vise of velvet and he gave himself up totally to the experience.
Afterward he said, "You really are a goddess."
"So I have been told." A warm kiss, "And you are my chosen for the night." Then they ascended to the heavens again. He slept like a baby that night.
In the morning there was no Ann in bed with him but there was an envelope on the dresser. He showered and shaved and looking around he even found his clothes. He dressed and opened the envelope. It had a place and a time. He tucked it into his pocket and left, hoping for another great breakfast like the last one. He oriented himself and then found the apartment with no trouble. He knocked on the door and Myra answered, dressed in jeans and a black t-shirt showing a local band. She waved me in. "Hi, I hope you're hungry. You said good things about my cooking so I made you breakfast."
He grinned back, "It looks great but I can't eat like this every day. I'll get fat. Still there is no reason to let such good smelling food go to waste." He sat down at the table, "Mmmm! Just tell me we can hit a gym along the way somewhere. By the gods, Ben is such a lucky bastard."
She smiled again, handing him a mug. "If you think the food's great try this coffee," she said sipping from her own mug as she sat across from him. "Sure we can find a gym. I've never needed one but I know where a few are."
He loved the coffee. He was glad coffee grew here. It didn't on some planets, but here it not only grew but thrived. Afterward he helped with the dishes and learned heat vision dried dishes beautifully. "Alright let's go. Where do you normally patrol?"
"I vary my path from day to day to make sure I cover everywhere eventually and I have this."
She held up her phone, "If the Fire department or the Police need me they have the number. My sisters generally handle the really big stuff but I'm the one the people see most often. I can't fly but I like to think that people are reassured by seeing me walk by on patrol. I get to know them better this way and they know me. I usually patrol in the mornings, grab an espresso or two for lunch, then lie out on the beach until I hear what the plan is for the night. There's usually something going on and somebody always finds me at the beach to invite me."
She looked at him after drying the last dish Supremis style, "You're welcome to come along tonight. After all it will take more than just morning patrols for me to get to know you well enough to decide if you are what you seem. Apropos of that you'll be stay here every night."
"Here? With you?" he said.
She said, "Yup, but don't get excited. You're not 'getting lucky' as the Terrans call it. You're being watched. All I'll be doing with you is watching for evidence of treachery. You ready to go?"
"Sure,” he said, standing. Jason was dreading a month of distrust but surely before then she'd see he meant what he'd said to her mom? He was through with New Atlantis and the Atlantean government. This was his new home. He just needed to convince this beautiful eighteen year old of that. So followed her out the door and they strolled. They strolled for two hours then went to her favorite coffee shop.
She introduced him to Mary who owned and ran the shop with her helpers Laura and Peter. She had espresso and Jason had something he'd first tried on Earth, a mocha frappucino. They were greeted often as they drank and Myra waved and greeted people by name. She asked if anybody needed anything and they swore everything was fine and thanked her for asking. One young man offered her flowers. She thanked him and kissed his cheek.
"Happen often?" Jason asked.
"It would but I've convinced most of the people that I need no tangible thanks and most of the guys know I'm living with Ben. Still some of them must be extra susceptible to pheromones because they keep trying to soften my resolve."
“I don't think it's the pheromones Myra. I think it's you."
"That's what Ben says." Her eyes got a little misty. "Oh, I'm going to miss him so for the next month. My other sisters are all part Galen so he's always exhausted after making love to them. I probably won't even hear from him until he gets to Nikki. Oh this sucks! I had him all to myself while we were out recruiting Nikki and now nothing for a whole month!"
"I'm sorry for you. Why didn't you grab a male Vel while you were out?" he asked.
"It takes careful planning to be sure of the people we want to recruit and setting things up to have them disappear in such a way that no one looks for them is also complicated. So Nikki was first. We'll try to get a guy next. Not a Messenger though, just an ordinary Velorian." She was about to continue outlining the plan when her phone buzzed.
It was the police. There were three gunmen holed up in a suburban house and they had taken the family of three hostage. They had a list of demands that needed to be met in three hours or they'd kill the hostages.
Myra turned to Jason, "I've to get there quickly. I'll be running 30-40 mph can you hang on at that speed?"
"Yes. Maybe I can help when we get there." He put up his Battle Aura and stepping behind her, put his arms around her.
She started off at a human sprint and moved smoothly up to full speed. She looked over her shoulder once to make sure he was ok but did not stop till she got to a suburban street with many local police units parked in front of a house.
A detective walked up to her, "Thanks for coming Miss McCloud. I hope you can help. We can't tell how the gunmen or the hostages are positioned. Can you take out these guys fast enough to keep them from endangering the hostages?"
As Myra scanned the house with her tachyon vision Jason scanned it telepathically. "I see two on the ground floor." Myra said, "One behind the front door, one behind the back door and four in the basement."
"I can read their minds a little from here," Jason added.
The detective looked at him shocked. Jason smiled. Myra smiled as well and said, "He's my secret weapon for a month." She turned to Jason, "Can you keep the basement gunman from harming the hostages while I take out the top two guys?"
"Yes, but you should be warned that all three men are expecting you to show up and they at least think they're ready for you. Specifically the guy in the basement is thinking about a trap on the basement steps but there may be others as well. Be careful and wary. You are not totally invulnerable." Jason said, then turned to the detective. "Do you have a means to let us communicate with you and each other?"
“Yes," replied the detective. "But are you sure you can get in and take out the basement guy without being noticed?" Jason smiled at him and faded from view for 30 seconds or so then came back several steps away. "Not bad but I could hear you move,” the detective said.
"I can deal with that too."
"OK, here are your short range radios." He held up two small pieces of equipment. Each looked like an earplug with a curved piece of plastic leading towards the mouth and a short antenna on top. They each took one.
"I'll tell you when the guy in the basement is secure." He faded from sight and sound and even scent and then moved towards the rear of the building. Once behind the house he moved towards the window and created a mental illusion so the guards would not see the window open. He slipped through the window and closed it behind him. He walked silently by the rear guard and headed for the basement door.
A moment of concentration and a new illusion cover him as he slowly opened the door. He closed it behind him and dropped that illusion but remained invisible, inaudible, and scentless. He scanned the brain of the gunman in the basement again, looking for more information on the trap he had been thinking of before. However the gunman was now thinking about previous crimes he had committed and it might take a long time to dig for what he needed to know.
It would take too long he decided. He could just levitate down with touching any steps but they would have considered that she might just jump down the stairway so it was likely they had set up some sort of electronic eye. They must be gambling that she would be in too much of a hurry to rescue the hostages to notice it. Well, he would just have to bet he was smarter and more observant than they. He shrugged; they were planning to annoy several Supremis women so how bright could they be?
He surveyed the walls closely and spotted one end of the beam. He could not see the beam itself but the detector was visible about halfway up the wall above one of the steps. He levitated carefully over it and continued to make his way warily down the stairs. He moved up to just behind the gunman and drawing some more extra-dimensional energy he altered it to suit his current needs and put the man to sleep with a "spell."
He caught both man and gun before either hit the floor and canceling the silence that had surrounded him he keyed the mike of his radio. "The gunman in the basement is unconscious. Everything ok up there?"
There was no reply; but as he said the word "unconscious," he heard several noises almost simultaneously. There was the sound of heavy wood breaking, a loud, wet splat, a body falling to the ground hard, followed by an "Oh, shit!" and another body falling a few seconds later. He levitated up the stairway and carefully over the electronic beam and through the basement door. The man was speaking into his radio and pointing a weapon at Myra when Jason hit him with a lightning bolt and fried him extra crispy.
Outside what had been happening was that after Jason had disappeared was that Myra had spent a few moments searching for him with tachyon vision and had no luck. She was greatly surprised and not a little impressed. She turned to the detective, "Wow, even I can't see him now." She looked down at her clothes, "I should get ready to charge in as soon as he has the basement gunman secured."
The detective, having worked with her before, nodded and opened the rear car door, "Anything you don't want to get messed up you can leave here. I'll keep an eye on it for you."
"Thanks Bob! I hate to ruin a good pair of jeans and this is my favorite shirt."
"Well if you are trying to impress the new guy then this is a good way to do it," he said watching her undress and fold her shirt and jeans carefully and lay them on the backseat of his car.
She blushed at the compliments, "Only until he meets my sisters."
The detective shook his head at such folly, "I doubt that." He turned towards the house, "Get ready. He could call in anytime now."
She started scanning the basement waiting for something to happen to the guy there. She concentrated on him, ignoring the admiring looks of the policemen as she stood in plain view in just a bra and panties of midnight black. She wondered how Jason was planning to get in. She knew he was a spy but those gunmen were alert for anything.
Of course "anything" rarely included Diaboli super spies. Still, how would he take the guy out quietly? She realized how little she knew about Diaboli powers. She knew they were supposed to have mental powers and were rumored to cast spells although Jason just said these were advanced science and innate ability. She looked closer hoping to see what he did.
When she did she was amazed. The man in the basement just fell and he and his gun were laid softly on the ground apparently without being touched. She shuddered once; she certainly hoped he turned out to be on their side. He'd be one scary opponent.
She shook off her amazement as she realized he was speaking, it must be the go signal. She took off running at the front door and hit it hard. She had seen that the front gunman had been crouching beside the front door and she was trying not to damage the house more than necessary so she did not hit it as hard as she could and she stopped just inside. As she stopped there was a wet splat and she was covered in something gooey. She looked down and to her horror saw it was gold paint! "Oh, Shit!" she said over the microphone as felt the first tingles. It must have a high concentration of gold particles. She tried scraping it off and just spread it around more. As she stumbled and fell next to the gunman who had been knocked over by the force of her entry and injured by flying wood.
After electrocuting the standing gunman Jason used the sleep "spell" on the other guy and moved towards the broken doorway. He could smell the pheromones already and knew he had to get Myra away and fast. The cops could take it from here. After he got her to someone who could help he'd return to interrogate the prisoners.
"Stay back until I get her airborne then you can come and arrest the two living ones. The family is completely safe." He stepped over to her and leaned down to lift her off the floor. She flung her arms around him and squeezed as she kissed him. He cast a "spell" and gathered her up in his arms and stepped outside. The police were staying back, good. As he levitated he called out, "I'll take her to her sister. I'm sure she can get this stuff off her safely." He figured Aayla would be immune to the pheromones and should have something to remove the paint.
As he flew Myra had her arms and legs wrapped around him and she was kissing him. His levitation spell was much slower than Supremis flight and trying to muster enough concentration to fly, block pheromones, and keep up the invulnerability that kept the arms and legs wound around him from harming him was very difficult with the scantily clad Myra distracting him.
Eventually after a few close calls he realized he would not make it all the way and put down on a high flat rooftop away from civilians. Even with the gold she was stronger than he, and pinned him to the roof. He wondered if all female Primes were this strong or if it was because she was an Old One genetically, or maybe it was her arousal.
Whichever it was, she shredded her clothes and then his and then started kissing him all over. He was hoping whoever was on patrol would find them soon. As she started making love to him he found her pheromones getting through despite his block and he felt a certain guilty pleasure as his resistance dissolved. Then he joined with her wholeheartedly. There was just enough of his caution left to be happy the gold dimmed her strength enough to limit his injuries to bruises and muscle strain and to hope for rescue before complete exhaustion set in.
Aayla discovered them on her patrol. She picked them up effortlessly and flew them back to her place. She pried Jason off Myra and locked him in a guest room, then carried Myra to a table in her workroom to remove the paint. She did not want to use heat vision because in Myra’s weakened state that might harm her sister. So, pinning Myra to the table with one hand, she used a chemical solvent and a rag to start scrubbing it off with the other hand.
As she did that, Jason was lying on the floor of the guest room and his head was slowing clearing. Once it cleared enough he was able to meditate, healing his body and restoring his energy. When he was done he telekinetically picked the lock and walked outside. He scanned for Myra's mind, hoping to locate her and see how she was feeling. He found her and felt embarrassment in her mind but no pain so he disengaged and started walking in her direction.
As he neared he heard, "Hey! Watch where you're scrubbing Sis!"
"You want all this paint off right?"
"Then stop squirming!"
"I hope I didn't injure anybody."
"Well when I found you, you both were on a deserted rooftop so I guess he got you away before an orgy started but as soon as I'm done I want to know everything that happened."
By this point he was at the door so he knocked. "If I may come in I can start telling you what happened."
He heard Myra's voice from inside, "Sure come on in. The most embarrassing bits are done already."
Jason entered and saw Myra lying naked on a table with her feet towards him and a woman who must be her sister wiping the last of the gold paint off with some strong smelling solvent. The woman was lovely of course but she was more slender than the average Velorian and he could feel an energy to her that made the hair on the back of his neck stand up. This was one of the Rostran goddesses, he sensed.
Aayla looked at him expectantly so as she finished removing the last of the paint from Myra's legs Jason told her everything from the call they got while patrolling up to where they separated. Myra joined in then and together they brought the story up to date. "I'm sorry Myra," Jason said looking abashed. "I figured if I could ignore Nikki's pheromones I could manage yours too but I was wrong."
"Did you ever think maybe it was her and not her pheromones that made the difference?" Aayla said smiling as if she was talking to children." I think it was that you just like Myra a lot more than Nikki."
Myra blushed but looked pleased, "Well he did say something about preferring brunettes."
Aayla said, "Oh, Really? Maybe he should patrol with me until we are certain of him."
Myra looked indignant, "Hey! I'm not going to be swayed by a pretty face."
"Not that I have one. I look distinctly average, a benefit to a spy."
"Yes, a spy. So you need to prove yourself and if Myra is fond of you that might influence her decision. I could feel your mind searching before so I am sure you cannot affect me without my knowing and I can control you with brute strength if necessary and possibly with the pheromones of dominance."
Jason was alarmed. "You're so worried about mind control that you're planning to control mine? That seems hardly fair. Also if I am controlled then I can't prove myself since I can't choose a side without free choice. It was for freedom I came here. If you're just going to make me a puppet then I will have to fight you. At least if I die I die free. Alisa thought you were playing your part on Rostran only to try to help the people there. So I came here hoping for a home. I thought I had it but if I am wrong...well I am a spy as you pointed out and death is the usual consequence for being badly wrong. I was a soldier for twenty years before that and soldiers can die even if they do everything right. I can feel your power from here and my people were shaped to be a knife at the throat of the Galen whose genes you obviously carry. I..."
He was about to continue when Aayla stopped him with a hand across his mouth. He hadn't even seen her move.
"You are the most melodramatic man I've ever met. I thought spies were all supposed to be cold, cynical beings only in the business for the fun of it? I do need to know whether or not you are on our side but you were right on one count. I can't find that out by brute strength or pheromone control. They are only for if I decide you are on the wrong side."
"How?" he tried to say. It came out as only an mmmph, but either she understood or knew.
"I need to know information that only the gunmen could have. They were supplied with traps to incapacitate a Supremis. Where did they get the ideas? I can't believe the three of them thought it up all by themselves. I need to get information from them and be sure of it and for that you are the best person if I can trust you so I need some way to decide that now. But I am not power hungry and here I am just an artist who occasionally helps out not any sort of dictator or goddess. Clear?" She took her hand off his mouth. She’d planned to explain her plans to him sometime but now was not the time.
Jason nodded, "Clear." It was also clear to him that his emotions were still shaken by what he had discovered at home.
Myra spoke, "I don't know about Rostran but I know my sister is a good woman Jason. She would never do anything unethical. I don't know what you had heard but believe me when I say she did anything she did for good reason." She turned to her sister who was evidently glad for the support.
"Jason gets my vote Aayla. Not because he is sexy or was a good lay but because of the way he made sure the hostages were safe and because he then rushed to my rescue and when he saw a man point a weapon at me he instinctively acted. I could see his face clearly and the gold hadn't clouded my mind yet, he was worried about me. He fried that guy to save me and he might have actually saved my life. I won't know till I see what the weapon was but even if it would have been harmless to me the fact remains that he attacked the guy to save me and I won't forget that."
Aayla knew her mom would agree. She had been told that privately. Also she had her own reasons for agreeing. Klara may have taken Rostran from her but there were other planets out there and the Diaboli were supposedly masters at manipulating human societies. She wasn't sure how much help Jason could be in that regard but it was tempting to have him help her straighten out a planet or two.
Next time, she thought. I'll do it so well that mom will realize I'm right and the people will thank me for making their society better. She smiled at the mental image and the other two saw the smile but did not know what she was thinking.
Jason was leery of peeking at her thoughts now that he knew she could sense it. So he exchanged looks with Myra and they waited for Aayla to finish her train of thought and tell them what she had planned.
Aayla decided she would seduce Jason and make him want to help her in her schemes. She was sure she could do it. Between her shape shift and her pheromones he wouldn't know what hit him, still if he was going to be of use he would need to be enhanced. They'd have to travel by wormhole and he'd need to be a Prime or P1 Vel to survive that.
She looked at Myra who was starting to look at her suspiciously but what Aayla saw was not her sister's expression but her genetics, almost pure Old One. The little cogs and wheels of Aayla's mind were turning full speed. Yes, she decided, it would be best if Jason was enhanced by her since then he could survive the wormhole trips but not fly or navigate through them himself. And he should be an adequate enough lover to start with, although she was sure she could teach him a thing or two.
She finally spoke, "Ok Jason, convince me! Make me believe you are exactly what you say you are. I can read minds a little too. Let me roam through your memories without hindrance and maybe I'll believe you."
Jason replied, "If you do that we might end up accidentally doing a ceremony from New Atlantis. It's called the Ceremony of Ultimate Commitment generally but our chief Archivists use a version of it as well. They use to make sure no knowledge is ever lost again like it was when the Elders destroyed the first Atlantis. They..."
Aayla interrupted, "We can discuss Diaboli history later, what is involved in this ceremony?"
Myra interrupted him as he started to speak, "I am the one who is to pass judgment on him. No one else. You all agreed. You have no say in this Aayla. Thanks for the paint remover but we are going to go now." Myra got off the table and took Jason's arm.
"Ok, I'm sorry. You are right, it’s your call. I guess I was being too bossy again." She grinned, "It comes with being a big sister. You can go if you want to but wouldn't you rather shower first? Once you've got that gunk off you I'll let you rummage for clothes in my closet. You'll be walking right? And I know you'd rather not walk home naked. I have some of Ben's stuff too; maybe some of it will fit Jason." She left the room and beckoned to them with a hand. "Come on. I'll show you to my room. It has the clothes and the shower."
"I know where your room is Aayla. I have been here before you know." Myra was annoyed but no longer suspicious, unfortunately. She guided Jason to the room and they showered. Myra had even gotten a naughty look on her face and suggested they shower together. He was happy to agree. She was squirmy fun in the shower and he scrubbed her back for her yet while she seemed to make a point of brushing her nipples against him often when she washed his back she never gave him a chance to touch anything but her back and neck.
Afterward as they were drying off she asked about his home and he started telling her all about it. They were sitting on Aayla's bed cross-legged and he was still trying to describe a culture that was vastly different from any she knew when she suddenly gasped and her eyes shot wide open.
"Aayla's pheromones are in the air!" She shouted in a panicked tone. "Quick put up your defenses against it and leave the room. Tell mom that she's out of control again. Mom will know what to do."
He put up a spell shield against Aayla's pheromones but instead of leaving he scanned for her mind and finding it he telekinetically grabbed her and dragged her into the room.
"Why were you filling the room with pheromones?" Jason asked as Aayla broke away from his telekinetic grip and stood tall between the still cross-legged Jason and Myra. "I was chatting with Myra and she warned me in time to block them. Are you trying to get me accidentally dead?"
"No. I figured that before I agree to what is essentially a Diaboli wedding ceremony I'd see if you can survive enhancement." She was still pumping out pheromones at the maximum rate. "If you can't survive a night with Myra then you are useless for my plans."
Myra was trying to fight the pheromones and failing. She was furiously stroking and caressing herself and trying very hard not to grab either of the nearest bodies to her. It helped that the nearest one was her sister but that distinction, like her worry about harming Jason, was being slowly washed away as the waves of pheromones that washed over her slowly wore down all resistance.
She started imagining that Ben was with her and doing what her hand was doing and she came loudly, interrupting Aayla and Jason as they argued. In the silence following her loud orgasmic cries, Myra rose up and grabbed her older sister and threw her out the door.
Both Myra and Aayla were surprised when she managed it. Jason was shocked. He'd seen that Aayla was caught completely by surprise, and then she was flying out the door and not under her own power. Myra looked stronger than he'd ever seen her and Aayla looked surprised as she flew. Jason clapped and Myra smiled as she turned back to him after shutting the door still naked and flushed with both desire and exertion.
He looked up at her as he lay on the bed and knew he did not have much time. He might have blocked Aayla's pheromones but he was vulnerable to Myra's or perhaps to Myra herself. He could smell her pheromones in the air too. He closed his eyes to the beauty of her and cast his strongest Invulnerability spell. He bound it into the very walls of the room, so that it would last even if he no longer concentrated on it. As long as they did not break the room he would survive her passion.
If Jason had known how strong she was just then he would have worried more. A normal Primal female has twice the strength when aroused. Myra, who had twice a normal Prime's strength to begin with, gained a fivefold increase when very aroused and Aayla stayed at the door pumping over strength hormones into the room for four days. But fortunately for him they did not quite break the room, just everything in it, along the way. In between bouts of intercourse, she fed him enough retrovirus to wet the parched throats of a regiment. On the fifth day Aayla left and Myra came back to herself.
Jason had fallen into an enhancement coma and there was nothing she could for him but make him comfortable and hope he pulled through. She bathed him with cool cloths to help ease his fever and carried him to a spare room where she tucked him under the covers to prevent shock. Then she called her mom. Ann promised she would do something about Aayla.
"I think she was messing with his head, mom, and then she started pumping out that damn stink of hers."
Ann set down her tablet to study her youngest daughter. Myra looked so healthy and empowered as she leaped up onto a rock at the edge of the pool area. She moved smoothly with catlike flexibility. "And you were in the room? Breathing Aayla's pheromones? With him?"
Myra nodded slowly as she looked down at the ocean far below. She'd dispensed with her top and was drinking up the warm sunlight as was the family tradition, her only clothing a blue print sarong. Her purplish-black hair was tied off with a flowered band to hang straight down to her waist.
Ann could see that her youngest daughter was still affected by Aayla's pheromones, not to mention her likely encounter with the Diaboli man, Jason. She was well aware of the power of Aayla's pheromones. They were absolutely compelling, especially to other Supremis, and they didn't respect relationships, ethics, gender or morality.
She felt a tingle race through her own body as she sensed what Myra was feeling. Myra's entire body must still be vibrating softly inside, her nipples so sensitive that she wouldn't be able to endure even the touch of even silk against her skin. "So what happened to Jason during all this? I assume he got safely away from you guys before things went crazy."
Myra shook her head, a ripple of muscle tension tracing down her bare back. "Hardly. Aayla's the one who disappeared, leaving me with him."
Ann suddenly wasn't sure she wanted to know the answer. Myra had little experience being in the throes of Ples'tathy. "She left you? What about Jason and... Is he O.K?"
"He projected some kind of spell around his body, especially his... you know." Myra took a deep breath as the memories of that incredible moment flooded back, her already engorged nipples hardening further, nearly overwhelming her still fragile control of her libido. "He... he made himself... so hard. Using his magic."
Ann's eyes opened wide in surprise. Strangely, she found herself feeling relieved in one way, but disappointed in another. Jason's spell must have been incredible if he'd impressed her daughter in that way. Myra had recently learned about empowered men, for she'd been sleeping with Ben, and he was Velorian-enhanced. Everyone knew that even an average Velorian man would give the most dramatic human male porn stars an inferiority complex, and Ben was hardly average.
Now, with Jason here, things were going to get complicated for Myra. Especially since Myra had never had Klara or Aayla's penchant for playful promiscuity. Or Ann’s for that matter, since Ann had been Velorian-raised. Myra had been willing enough to participate with Ben in the procreation mission, and both she and Klara had sons by him, but sex had to be meaningful for Myra on a deeply emotional level.
In that way, Ann thought she behaved more like a human than a Supremis. "So he pushed some inner buttons, huh?" Ann offered.
Myra blushed visibly as her mother walked closer. She crossed her arms over her treacherous nipples in embarrassment. More than anything, she wished Ben was here so he could put out the fire that threatened to consume her. If not for her anger at Aayla for getting this all started without her permission, she'd be looking for him right now. "Aayla was way over the line, mom. She was trying to force me to enhance him."
Ann gasped softly as she rested her hand on Myra's slender shoulder, sensing her inner tension. Her skin was tight, feeling like metal film stretched tightly over her steel muscles. "But you didn't. Did you?"
"It's all Aayla's fault, mom. I didn't want to."
"For Skietra's sake, Myra, he's Diaboli!" Ann shuddered. "Combining our physical abilities with his mental ones is... dangerous." That word somehow seemed too weak. A strong Diaboli could influence people into doing things that were outside their moral code, and if combined with Supremis strength... it wasn't a pretty prospect.
"Aayla said you were planning to do that yourself but that you wanted him to have Aurean, not Velorian abilities."
"And you believed her? You know the games she likes to play with people's heads."
"I know. Is Paris still taking of the kids? I was hoping to hug Todd before I do anything."
"He's here. And'ril is watching him for the moment. Paris dropped him and John off yesterday. She needed Tommy and Rick and they wouldn't be safe with the kids there.
Myra closed her eyes and hugged herself tighter, her nipples tingling even worse now. "All I know is that I want him again, I need him, and he's sick with the fever."
Ann wrapped her arm around her daughter's waist. "Then you should go to him. He'll need your energy to power his transformation, and he'll need your support to keep from damaging things when he wakes up. That's what your body is trying to tell you."
The flashes of light were followed by dreamlike visions of Myra, very erotic dreams. Jason felt himself snuggling against her warm chest, her breasts so soft even as her hard nipples, so large, were forcing his lips open. Suckling them in his dream with childlike innocence, he felt a burst of invigorating energy washing over him, pushing the pain away to reveal euphoria. His body awakened, and her body welcomed his again, and his body performed before finally exploding into a rainbow of pleasures.
Then his world would fade to black as the fevered sickness and nausea overcame him again. The sweating, the shaking, the weakness, they would combine to overwhelm him again. Then his world would fade to blackness as he fell deeper into his dream.
Soon enough, the light would appear again, her tanned breast also, her nipples large and glowing with energy. He'd give himself up to the pleasures again, ending in another burst of incredible wellness and vitality. The cycle repeated itself. A dozen times. A hundred times. Jason had no idea how long it had gone on.
He finally awoke and was alone. He blinked his eyes to look around the room, only to be startled to see everything in incredible detail. From the grain of the wood to the brilliant colors of the drapes to the shimmering sunlight that streamed through the window, everything looked too crisp, too bright to be real. It was as if someone had turned up the reality filter on a virtual reality system to its limits, hyper-reality. He blinked his eyes and the view persisted.
He mentally performed an audit of his body. The dizziness and fever were completely gone, and his weakness had been replaced by a calm, steady sense of well-being. His heart was beating unusually slowly, but very strongly. He lifted his hand to inspect it, and barely recognized it as his own. It looked stronger, with pronounced tendons shaping his wrist to gradually blend into a large forearm that was lean, hard, and muscular.
He realized what had happened. His dream hadn't been a dream at all, but instead merely fragments of consciousness during a severe illness. He'd been sick with enhancement fever! Myra had done what Aayla had wanted. He was no longer merely Diaboli, and his body was no longer human.
Reeling at that thought, he struggled to gather his mental energies and reach out, finding it was harder than usual to make a connection to those around him. Still, he sensed Myra's soul in the other room, and she sensed his.
Moments later she appeared to stand over the bed, her body an erotic vision of long legs and Aurean perfection. She wore a short white skirt and a burgundy turtleneck sweater, the breasts he'd fixated on in his dream looking so high and proud, her hard nipples so visible. He stared down at her legs, vividly remembering the pleasures he'd expended between them, and felt himself rising yet again.
"So, my prince awakens," she said softly, a saucy smile softening her lips.
The surge of desire exploded to race through his body like an electric shock, leaving him gasping for breath. Staring down, he saw the bed sheet tenting ridiculously high over his groin.
Her eyes followed his down to the rising peak, and she giggled. "And looking so very Aurean, I might add."
Jason struggled to breathe as the purest and strongest wave of desire he'd ever felt raced downward, converging on his raging erection. He'd never felt so alive and as vital as he did this moment.
Myra kicked off her shoes and quickly straddled him on the bed, her blue eyes dancing in amusement as she rolled the sheet down to reveal a part of him that was even more startlingly transformed than his hand. He barely had time to gawk at his magnificence before she gave off a soft cry, her smile fading into trembling lips. She took a deep breath and rose, guiding him beneath her skirt with her hand as she lowered herself over him, taking him all in one lithe movement. Shockingly, his steel parted her with ease now.
He cried out as her wet tightness enveloped him with delicious warmth, drawing him into depths beyond his wildest imagination. The mind-ripping surge of pleasure tore at his very being. Grabbing her steel-muscled thighs, he raised his body, so flexible now, and grabbed her ass to hold her as tightly as he could. Instead of feeling like a woman of steel, she felt so feminine now. His fingers able to dig deeply into her yielding flesh. His lips found hers, and the wondrous insanity of perfect pleasure washed over him as he rolled her over and began to thrust with the limitless power of a Prime, his hot desires melting into her yielding willingness. His extreme athleticism turned into extreme sex, which in turn brought them both pleasures that were a dozen times that of the sensations any human had every experienced.
Long minutes of stimulation finally spilled over into completion as Jason cried out in wondrous agony. The godlike pleasures of Primal orgasm brought Myra to nirvana with him, her legs wrapping around him with immeasurable power as his impossibly hard and strong erection triggered every pleasure she'd ever dreamed of, this time without the numbing tingle of a Diaboli spell. Now he truly was a man of steel. He had endurance and power that surprised them both over and over
Jason lay gasping and sweaty on the bed many hours later, Myra beside him. Her clothing was torn and useless, lying beside the bed, tangled hair falling partially over her face to reveal that she was smiling in her sleep. Jason rose from the shredded sheets to stand on the roughly hewn wood floor beside the bed. He pulled what was left of the sheets over her sleeping form. Turning, he saw a superman standing in the full-length mirror. From chiseled chin to intensely blue, widely spaced eyes, his face was a study in strength. Even more dramatic, his shoulders were broad, his chest massive, tight muscles shaping every curve of his lean body. He had to raise his hand to prove it was his reflection, and tensed his arm, a fantastic array of rounded muscle shaping it. More than an erotic dream, he realized with a shock that Myra had truly done it.
The retrovirus from her body had reprogrammed the DNA of every cell of his body. He was now one of the Old Ones. A Primal warrior.
As he stood there looking at his new body in the mirror, Jason felt the telltale blaze of Aayla's power approach. He was facing her as she appeared in the doorway. She gave his new body a look from head to toe.
She spoke first. "Looking good. Maybe you're willing to spar with me now?"
"Oh, most definitely. Lead the way and I shall eagerly follow." He followed her through the house.
As they neared the Salle D'Armes she said, "Let us make a bet on the outcome. If I win I get to have my way with you and you won't win so there is no need to discuss what you'll get."
He chuckled, "I've heard you consider a duel with lethal weapons to be foreplay."
She chuckled in return, "I'm sure you've heard a lot about me from Myra but I ask that you keep an open mind and decide for yourself and I'll do the same."
"It’s a deal," Jason said.
Inside the Salle she showed him the Sabr'ets and how they worked.
"Well these are swell and all but let's make this bet really interesting." Jason said. "Are you game for a few surprises?"
She asked what sort of surprises and was immediately surrounded by a mental illusion that filled the room with the sights, sounds and smells of an alien jungle. Jason's voice came from all around her.
"I think this will make the fight more even. You are obviously much better at these weapons than I since only a Supremis may use one and you are still much stronger regardless of how I've been enhanced. But before you can defeat me you have to find me."
"If you need this then by all means bring it on. I can still defeat you." She was not worried. She had never lost a duel to anyone but family. His energy sword struck the seat of her pants setting the denim she was wearing on fire but leaving her unharmed...
"On the other hand. I can see you just fine but my sword seems to do you no damage at all."
The voice from all around her paused and she quickly scanned in all directions with her tachyon vision but since the illusion was mental not physical her enhanced vision showed her only what her normal vision did.
"This is a real jungle on the planet Yoth. The locals call it the deathlands but the young men and women still venture into it and spend a full day from sunrise to sunrise in it to prove themselves worthy. Even the plants bite on this world and rain forests are incredibly deadly. I've been to this world and spent a day in this jungle to gain a trade treaty with the people the Elders seeded here. What we buy from them helps us live for several centuries."
A lightning bolt came from what seemed to be a clump of vines. It stung but she was not injured.
"I have many years of combat experience. Can you say the same?"
When the next larger bolt came in she noticed the illusion became static just before it came. Armed with this knowledge she managed to dodge the one after.
"It seems we are again even. You illusion grows still as you concentrate on your spell." She turned on her energy sword and flew a quick circle around the room by memory but hit nothing.
"Thank you for advice. I will correct it in the future," Jason replied, his voice sourceless and seemingly omnipresent.
She reached out with her mind to try to find him but he was no longer comatose and his active defenses defeated her seeking. This search however gave her an idea. If the illusion was purely mental perhaps she could shake it off.
She decided she would try to distract him and, remembering her duel with Ben, decided she felt she had the perfect way to do it. She reversed the weapon and slid the handle into herself. The buzzing warmth of the generator felt good and she took care to show the surely watching Jason how good it felt. "Mmmmm!" she cried out in wordless pleasure.
"Nice try but I don't get distracted that easily," Jason said. He threw a lightning bolt directly at where the energy blade emerged from the handle. The energy sword exploded knocking her off her feet and engulfing her in flames. The flames died down and her body absorbed the heat and converted it to orgone.
The only lasting effects were that she was now weaponless, her clothes were completely gone, and somewhat to Jason's surprise she was better endowed.
"So it’s true that Supremis store energy in their breasts, huh? Well let’s see if there is a limit."
He had felt a little odd casting that first ‘spell’, as if the energy had wanted to go elsewhere and greater than normal concentration had been required to make sure it worked properly. He decided it must be the retrovirus. He was still Diaboli but he was partly Supremis now and his new body reacted differently to the energies he used. He hoped it was temporary only but feared it was not.
He carefully kept the hallucinatory terrain moving and cast one combat spell after another at her. He cast fireballs and lightning bolts and laser bursts and even one spell that spewed molten iron across her chest in an attempt to overload her energy storage.
Aayla had been nowhere near capacity when they started. The brief respites between one spell and another made the attacks more pleasurable than dangerous. He had to know that this was why Diaboli always attacked in numbers to give their target no respite to convert the energy and no chance to use to use it. She could have escaped if this had been combat by flying away but she wanted to defeat him not escape him.
After many spells had struck her and she had made many fruitless attempts to get her hand on him she was starting to feel the strain. She looked down at the remains of the iron that still clung to her breasts. It was cold now but her breasts were sore and uncomfortably swollen. As she looked down his energy sword came down on her back.
It was a hard, two-handed blow. It might have killed an ordinary Velorian and even a mighty Protector would have gone to her knees, but Aayla was more than a Protector and far from ordinary. Her knees bent but then straightened and she leaned back into the pain and the buzz of the sword grew dangerously loud as the Sabr'et tried to puncture her invulnerable skin. Jason strained forward as she strained backwards, something had to give and it was the energy sword. It exploded sending her and Jason in opposite directions. They were both shaken and his illusion completely disappeared.
Jason shook his head. Well, that hadn't worked. He should have known better than to attack directly; but the battle and the feel of the sword in his hand seemed to awaken some primal instinct in him to do battle up close and personal.
Wait...Primal instinct indeed. He would need time to get used to this body; but first he must stand back up and finish this duel. He stood and saw Aayla stand opposite him. Good lord! Her breasts glowed with all the energy they absorbed and were larger than any he'd ever seen!
She glared at him and it was suddenly way too hot. He hurriedly dove out of the path of the beam and then went invisible as he rolled. He made an illusion of his voice come from the wall behind her, "Well that sure hurt didn't it? I think I'm glad we are both unarmed now. I don't suppose you want to surrender? Or at least hear what I want if I win?"
Aayla looked around desperately trying to spot him before he attacked again. She was at her limit for energy storage. Any other Velorian, even a Virago, would have gone into Ples'tathy already -- but not her. She was proud of her ability to store so much energy but her breasts had expanded from mid-sized to extremely large and even she had no more room than that. If she could not find him soon she'd lose -- and who knew what he'd do to her once she was helpless.
A part of her urged her to goad him into pushing her over the line into Ples'tathy. That part wanted him underneath her as she burned off all that stored energy in one long orgone fueled marathon. But she quelled that part of her, knowing that while a Prime would not have much trouble with making love to her he would not survive her if she entered Ples'tathy.
It occurred to her that maybe he did not know about Ples'tathy or the danger he was in from that state of supercharged strength and sexual desire, and so would not have any plans to make sure he survived it much less take advantage of it. Therefore she called out to him hoping to end their game, "Ok Jason, what do you want if you win? I'm assuming it's not my body. Or is it? Maybe what you want is what I wanted? To have me and ravish me as you please?"
"Not what I had in mind but maybe after what I have in mind. I was thinking that since you thumbed through my thoughts as I slept you might let me look through yours. That's what I want if I win. A chance to look into your mind and peek through your thoughts. I probably will never get another chance and I'm very curious about your stint as a goddess on Rostran. I've never met anyone who was worshiped before I came here. It must..."
"No!" She couldn't let him see those memories! Still less what she was planning now. Her pride was still stinging from her mother sending her little sister to replace her on Rostran, her revenge still building. "I'll never let you into my mind. Ever!"
"Well your active defenses might keep me out but if I manage to overload you and knock you unconscious then who knows?"
He was not planning to do that. It would be taking unfair advantage and he would not do that to any of Ann's daughters. Even his least favorite so far. However maybe the thought would make her surrender. It was a bluff and he had been taught you should always raise when you bluff so he said, "I think one more fireball ought to do it."
He concentrated past that strange dragging feeling and as he did so she finally looked alarmed.
"No," she cried, "Wait!" He cast the fireball and it landed right on her glowing chest. The fireball pushed her over the edge into Ples'tathy.
If he had had any experience on a combat team that had one of the rare overt clashes with a Supremis he would have known that his danger only increased at that point and would have at least attempted to leave but he lacked that specific experience so he was shocked to see her fall to ground in what seemed almost like some sort of seizure until he recognized from her moaning that she was experiencing extremely strong and rapid orgasms.
Her body needed to burn off the energy she had absorbed and the Galen who had created both the Velorians and the Kryp'terrans as surrogates for the vanished females of their race had made sure that unless required immediately for attack or defense it would induce the condition known as Ples'tathy.
It caused involuntary changes in her system that drastically increased her already incredible strength and increased the amount of pheromones she released as well as sending her sex drive far into overdrive. Covering her naked body with sweat and driving her to stroke herself to orgasm over and over again as she panted and looked around for someone to slake her burning thirst.
Jason woke up in pain. He'd certainly awakened feeling worse but after being enhanced he had thought he never would again. Oh well live and learn. At least he had lived through whatever frenzy overtook Aayla at the end of their fight.
He calmed his mind and reached out with mentally seeking other minds. There was one by his bedside, one he did not know but recognized as Supremis. He had met enough of them now to recognize their mental signature and the mind-static he also felt meant she had a significant amount of Galen genes in her. It must be either Paris or Klara, he thought. He opened his eyes to see a lovely blonde standing near his bed.
"Hello Jason. I am Klara and I'd like to apologize for my older sister since I'm sure she won't apologize for herself. Unfortunately she often has the delusion that she knows better than all of mankind. If you add that to her firm belief that the end justifies the means...well let’s just says she leaves big messes sometimes. We try to keep an eye on her to stop things before they get out of hand but lately I'm finding myself trailing behind her picking up the pieces her good intentions leave strewn about this or other landscapes. Are you feeling ok? You seem to be healing a bit slower than your average Prime but much faster than a Betan or your average enhancee. If you need anything tell me."
"I'd like to know what happened. I was dueling with Aayla and I think I was winning then she dropped to the ground and had some kind of fit..."
Klara interrupted, "That was no fit," Klara said. "That was Ples'tathy." She explained it and the danger it posed: "You are a good enhancee but Aayla is a more than ordinary Supremis. If Myra hadn't taken your place you would have died."
"Myra took my place with Aayla?" Jason exclaimed shocked.
Klara nodded, "Yes."
Jason had a good idea what that had to have cost her emotionally, "That was a great sacrifice on her part."
"Greater than you know." Klara replied. "Aayla ended up being too much for her too."
"Is she ok?" Jason grunted as he sat up in bed. He would have gotten out of bed but Klara put a hand on his chest and pushed him back down. He struggled but she was easily strong enough to hold him down.
"Don't worry," she soothed, "She's fine now. She's resting in another room with Ben taking care of her. Aayla is in a third room getting yelled at by mom and dad."
Jason ceased his struggling and she removed her hand. He asked, "How badly was she injured?"
Klara said, "You only want to know about her? Not your own wounds? Hmph. Well when she realized what had happened she called mom who got in touch with us and we all crashed the party, so to speak.”
"We found Aayla on top of Myra and you unconscious and breathing very shallowly. Ben knocked Aayla off Myra and Aayla switched her affections to him. I checked you both over. You had three broken ribs on each side and a fractured pelvis. I set the bones and your ribs.
"Myra was badly bruised but not yet really damaged aside from her orgone being completely depleted. Apparently she had been burned up all her orgone trying to restrain Aayla first. She was more exhausted than injured but if we had been later she would have been injured too. As it is I think she needs moral support more than anything now."
Jason nodded, "I can imagine. She must be feeling pretty confused about the incident."
Klara nodded, "Well she did seem kind of embarrassed and almost like she felt guilty about something. It’s hard for me to say because I don't share her views on that subject."
Jason looked up her curiously, "You wouldn't have minded taking my place with Aayla?"
"No," Klara responded, "I've done it before with both her and Nikki. In fact I took turns with Ben until Aayla had burned off her overload of orgone." She grinned, "It’s generally a bit more than any one man can manage, even a special one like Ben."
"Is this normal then for Supremis?" Jason inquired.
"For Velorians at least. Which is how we were raised. Although Myra seems to have acquired a mostly Terran morality she is the only of us to have it. Maybe the Velorian genes the rest of us share are what prevented us from doing the same." Klara shrugged, "It is a mostly Terran planet."
"Thanks for telling me. Thank you for rescuing us. I see I still have lots to learn about the Supremis," Jason said, grinning sheepishly. "Still I would like to thank her for saving my life and maybe I can help reassure her that what she did was necessary and she has nothing to feel guilty about."
"I don't know..." Klara hesitated. "You still look awfully beat up and I'm sure Ben can reassure her."
"Well it never hurts to get reassurance from another source. And as for my being too injured I can fix that now that I'm awake." Jason concentrated and his mind moved along arcane paths it had learned so long ago.
As he gathered energy from the higher dimensions only Diaboli could see he again felt that peculiar dragging that he had noticed since being enhanced. He grimaced. It seemed permanent. Now he either needed to pull harder for the same amount of energy or spend more time coaxing it free. That could be problematic but for now he had enough. His mind shaped and patterned the energy and molded it to his desire. He healed himself of any lingering damage and bruising.
Klara gasped as she saw him heal before her eyes. She had heard of his abilities but seeing them for the first time she was greatly impressed. It was easy to see why it was called magic even if wasn't. It seemed miraculous.
While she was gaping in shock Jason sat back up and got out of bed. He was naked but he knew enough to know this was nothing shocking in a Velorian home. He turned to Klara, "So which way is Myra's room?"
Meanwhile in Myra's room Ben was saying, "But Myra you need it to heal, you don't have the energy to finish healing yourself so why won't you let your mom help?"
She's gone, Myra thought. Blair's gone. She could sense it, but she couldn't say it; she tried to push it out of her mind. She looked down, thinking of her womb, thinking of her lost child, and saw her now completely flat chest. Something snapped inside her -- a sudden obsession took hold of her.
"She'd have to feed me energy already processed by her body into pure orgone. Like I was an infant. Or don't you remember the only way pure orgone can be given by a Supremis? I refuse to be breastfed at the age of nineteen! If you would just get my bathing suit and carry me out into the sunshine then I would eventually absorb enough to heal myself."
Ben felt uneasy. This isn't like her, her thought. Whatever happened in there may have affected her mind. But he didn't want to talk about that, and pretended to ignore it.
"Sure! After weeks or even months!" he said. "I can't just stand by and let you do that to yourself if I can prevent it."
"Well it's my body and my pain..." she broke off as Jason strode in looking completely healthy. She knew he had to have been hurt worse than she and could not imagine how he was well so soon.
Then when she saw Klara come in behind him she thought she knew. He'll probably decide he prefers Klara to me. She tried to sit up to greet him and her bruised muscles protested.
Jason winced at the pain he saw on her face and turned to ask Klara, "Can't you do anything for her?"
"Well if she’d let me I could. She needs more energy to complete her healing and can't get it in the usual way since she is too weak and too injured." Klara replied as Myra slowly eased back down into the bed.
Jason, not understanding what was involved, turned to Myra to ask but she answered his question before he could ask it.
"I refuse to suck on her boobs to heal," she shouted. "Or even my mom's. I'll heal eventually just from absorbing sunlight. Once I am healed enough I can go home and use my overpowered heat lamps to recharge. It may not be the Velorian way but it works if a bit slowly. It's a lot less strenuous than bathing in lava or whatever else Klara was thinking. It's slower but I don't care about that. I refuse to be treated like an infant." Myra's face was a mask of some hidden pain...
"Or like a Supremis apparently." Klara replied, "Since that is what Supremis do for others of our kind who are badly injured."
"Well I guess you convinced Jason of that at least." She turned painfully towards him. "Did it fulfill some infantile fantasy of yours? Did you have sex with her too afterward? I would have thought you a bit too wary to do that with a strange blonde, especially after Aayla almost killed you but obviously I must have been mistaken..."
Jason interrupted her rant with, "I did neither. I healed myself through my own abilities once I was conscious again."
A series of emotions chased themselves across her face with hope being only the last one. "Is this true Klara? Did he heal himself with no help?"
"Yes. It looked supernatural. I know it's supposedly just energy manipulation but it looked like he was touched by the divine. All his wounds healed and he stood up." Klara looked impressed but Myra snorted in contempt, and then winced at the pain.
"Divine huh? Well since our creator was a Galen and his powers come from the other side of the war I think you mean demonic. Oh you'll make a great couple, the goddess and the demon."
Jason interrupted what was starting to sound like a rant again. "So do you want to be healed or do you just like pain?"
"What?" Myra angrily turned to him, "And have you boys miss out? We should sell tickets!" She started speaking like a carnival barker, "Come one, come all! See the amazing flat-chested Myra! Watch as her oldest sister forces her into a 69! See Klara heal people with her amazing boobs!" She stopped briefly as her bruised muscles protested a particular gesture and they all tried to speak.
Ben: "You only did what you had to Myra..." I just wish I knew what's bringing this on.
Jason: "You saved me and that was noble. I just wish..." I wish I knew what’s behind this tantrum, but I guess you’re not ready to talk about what’s really bothering you yet.
Klara: "Oh, come on! It’s not like it's the end of the world..." Stop being such a brat! I thought you were more mature than this.
Then they all stopped and only Klara continued. "You saved Jason from death and got injured. Think of it that way if you can't bear the thought of how. And if the mere thought of my breasts repels you than let Jason heal you."
"Yeah and what do I have to suck of his?" Myra retorted still angry, embarrassed, and in pain.
Jason had been preparing another healing spell while Klara talked. He had slowly eased more energy past that peculiar drag and now he said, "Nothing."
Then he reached out and grabbed her hand. Healing energy flowed from him and her wounds and bruises vanished, leaving her whole and well but still seriously depleted in energy. He let go of her hand and stepped back.
"I don't need anything in return. No sucking of anything required. I owed you at least that because you got those wounds saving my life. If there is anything else I can ever do for you just let me know. We Diaboli take our debts seriously."
"You saved mine earlier so I guess we're even. I'm sorry I'm taking my problems out on you guys. I should just go home." She started to sit up and Klara pushed her back down.
"You're still too weak to go off by yourself," Klara reproached her. "Especially if that trap in the house was specifically designed for you. I've alerted Paris and after we get you recharged we'll all go to the police station to see if we can find out what those kidnappers really wanted and where they got those weapons. I can't let you go off by yourself as weak as you are. So lean back and I'll recharge you."
Myra was no match for Klara's strength even when completely well so she lay back down, but still she complained.
"I don't want this," she said. And then, more in resignation than in acceptance: "Ben can you go to the apartment and get my bikini for me? If I let her recharge me inside I'm likely to burn something down and I can't go outside naked." Myra asked him.
Klara started to say something but Myra stopped her with a raised hand, "Please Ben? If I'm dressed at least a little I'll be able to go outside with confidence." Ben agreed and left. After he was too far away to hear Klara nodded.
"Ok, he's gone now. What's up? I know you and I know you just sent him on a needless errand to get him gone for awhile." Klara said puzzled. "Why? He has no reason not to see the recharging and it can be done in what's left of Aayla's Salle D'Armes. So what gives?"
Myra temporized. "Well it's not a totally useless errand since I'll want to leave here wearing something but you are right. I wanted him gone because I'm going to ask Jason for a favor." She looked faintly embarrassed and guilty. "I was worried that Ben might get upset at that. You know, jealous."
Klara thought she understood. Knowing how Ben felt about Myra, his favorite, the mother of Todd. Thought she understood.
Myra turned to look at Jason who looked a little puzzled. "Will you recharge me Jason?"
"Of course..." Jason started when Klara interrupted.
"He can't recharge you alone. At least not all the way. I doubt he has enough energy storage to bring you up past a quarter of what you need. You'll need heat vision from one of us with more energy storage capacity. What does this have to do with Ben being jealous? I mean, sex is not the fastest way to recharge and Ben has no reason to be jealous of Jason even if it was. If he ever gives you static like that just tell me and I'll hit him so hard he won't wake up for days! Is that it? You want some time alone with Jason first?"
"Ben was born on Earth and Terrans can get jealous about the silliest things. Still what I'm worried will bother him is not who I have sex with but who I care for. My feelings for Jason have grown into something much stronger than friendship despite the short time I've known him. I was hostile to him at first but his actions wore that away and I like his personality. I like him. I..."
She paused then continued seeming to say something other than she had planned, "Did they tell you he may have saved my life? He cut down a man pointing a very odd gun at me while I was incapacitated by that damn gold paint. I don't know what it shot but the gunman sure seemed to think it would work."
"Yes." Klara replied. "I heard that disturbing story. We need to find out where those guys got their stuff and who hired them if anyone did. That's why Paris isn't here yet. She's checking with the police first. When she gets here we'll know more. I'd hoped to have you well and recharged by the time she gets here so we could all plan what to do next."
Jason broke into the conversation, "I am glad she is checking that. It could be vital information. We need to know if there was anybody behind those men. If there was then he, she, or they might try again." He turned to Myra,
"I've been considering how to recharge you and I think I can do it if we are outside. I'll concentrate the sunlight reaching you and channel it where it can be best absorbed. But you would need to be outside and probably topless if breasts are where Supremis best absorb energy."
"It is for us women. Men cannot absorb much so it hardly matters for them." Klara replied, "If we are going outside then the top of the hill this house is built into will be our best bet. It’s bare rock, it's close, and nobody will see. Which means you," she said pointing to a frowning Myra, "can stop frowning at me like that."
"Why doesn't Aayla have a heat lamp or something?” Myra grumbled. “I have one at home but it’s too big to fit through the room door intact or I'd have asked Ben to bring that too."
"She doesn't have one for the same reason I don't. If I need emergency recharging then I call mentally and one of the others come and recharge me or if I can I fly out to Mt. Vulcan and bathe in the lava. Paris has her surfers to take of her and to call us if needed and she is out in the sun most of the time anyway."
Myra looked angry and was about to start ranting about her sisters and Ben and how she couldn't fly or transmit thoughts -- anything to take her mind off Blair -- when Jason interrupted.
"Well for the next month I'm supposed to be sticking close to her so I can alert you or her mom telepathically if necessary and I have an idea how I can recharge her by myself. It needs to be done outside but if she is willing to try I think it will work. No heat lamps or magic boobs required."
"Well I want to observe to make sure you do her no harm. You are still on probation for the rest of the month remember? Still I will be glad if you can talk her into getting rid of that ridiculous contraption. No local technology can generate enough power to recharge one of us in less than a week or more and that is too long to wait."
"It’s fast enough for me!" Myra stated forcefully.
"If there was an emergency you would be at a huge disadvantage. By the time you were recharged the emergency would be over!" Klara was getting loud herself.
Jason interrupted again, "Then it is fortunate there is an alternative. I have no problem with you watching Klara. I want to prove myself to you. Will you come outside with me Myra?" He held out a hand, "We can do it on the granite hilltop Klara mentioned or anywhere in direct sunlight."
Paris met them as they left the room. She asked what was going on and the two ladies dropped behind Jason, who was carrying the still weak Myra, and watched him warily from behind as they talked.
At the top of the hill Jason laid Myra down on a patch of sun-warmed granite. Then he told Paris his story with add-ins from Klara and Myra. After all the explanations Jason turned towards Myra to begin.
"I'm going to concentrate sunlight into you. It will be easier if I can touch you. May I?"
Myra stretched lazily on the sun-warmed rock, "You can touch me anywhere you want." She smiled and it seemed sincere. Jason smiled back and kneeled next to her. He laid his palms flat across her nipples and closing his eyes concentrated. He frowned. He could feel the energy flowing into her but the drag he'd experienced ever since becoming enhanced was stronger now. Some of the energy really wanted to go somewhere else.
He would have to explore this soon to find out what was wrong but for now he forced his will upon it and it went where he directed it. He heard Klara gasp and opened his eyes. The area around the hill was dim and shadowy although the sun was high in the sky and unobstructed by any clouds.
He looked down and eye-wateringly bright light was leaking from the edges of his palms. He grinned at Paris and Klara and closing his eyes once more he struggled to pull in as much as possible. The flow of energy was becoming more unruly and as he molded it to his will he heard Myra gasp. He opened his eyes and looked into hers, "Are you alright?"
"Oh, yessss," was her breathy reply. She was more than alright it seemed she was enjoying it! He felt her nipples harden under his palms and struggled for just a wee bit more energy to pour in. He succeeded and the process became even more pleasurable for Myra. She was moaning and panting and her sisters were staring and wondering what it could be feeling like.
Unfortunately her pleasure distracted Jason just a little. That little was enough that he was unable to fight the increased drag and the energy went where it wanted. It flowed through him and into her and connected them intimately on a level even few Diaboli experience.
He began to experience her every memory and she began to experience his. Blair? Who was Blair? And then he knew, and she knew that he knew. But even the pain of that knowledge was soon lost of the flood of other memories – two lifetimes of memories. As the recharging continued, their senses were overwhelmed from the inside.
This must be the Ceremony of Ultimate Commitment, Jason realized but he could not have stopped it if he wanted to and that he did not want to. He was learning everything about Myra and the more he learned the more he loved her.
He was only mildly surprised when The Knowledge, the data block passed to all Diaboli at puberty that contained all the data originally passed to them by the Elders and everything their scientists had learned up to year Jason had received it at age 13, passed into her as well.
Myra received all his abilities as well as all his knowledge as they became connected at a level deeper than even most telepaths could reach and her brain altered slightly to contain those few changes the Elders made all those years ago to the proto-Diaboli. Afterward spent, dizzy, and confused they both passed out.
Klara had been watching closely but saw nothing amiss until the end when Jason fell over unconscious and Myra slid into unconsciousness as well. She asked Paris to watch over them and went to get her mom. She found her still with Aayla and briefly explained. Then they all hurried to Myra's side. Ann studied the two unconscious figures. She turned to Klara and Paris, "There was no sign of foul play?"
"No he was doing what he said, concentrating the sunlight and pouring it into her. She was recharging fast and seemingly enjoying it. At first he seemed to be concentrating hard but then he seemed to get the hang of it because he no longer seemed to struggle but the sunlight continued to pour into her and she stored it until she was back up to full. After that he stopped and just fell over. She just sighed and seemed to sleep. I don't know. He could be just exhausted but why isn't she awake? She is obviously recharged." Klara said in a rush.
Paris added, "I did not see him do anything to harm her and he did save her earlier, if not from death then at least great harm. The weapon the kidnapper pointed at her would indeed have harmed her and might have killed her, covered in gold paint as she was. For what my opinion is worth I think he was honestly trying to help here and an accident happened. I don't what could have happened though."
Ann stepped between the two and kneeling she laid a hand on her daughter's shoulder, "Honey wake up. Are you alright?"
"Yes mom. I'm fine." It would have been reassuring except that both Myra and Jason said it and at the same time!
Ann gasped, "Klara! How many minds do you sense inside the two of them?"
Klara checked and said, "Two, but connected in some way. They both scan the same now too, like identical mind twins or something. And there's something you need to know--"
"Aayla said something that may have relevance." Ann interrupted. "She confessed that she tricked Myra into enhancing him and apparently was also considering some sort of Diaboli ceremony in the hopes of binding him to her to help further her plans. I don't know how almost killing him in the throws of Ples'tathy figured in her plans but I think we should get her out here to see if she knows what this is or maybe wants to confess to a booby trap or two."
Klara hesitated a moment, then went off to get Aayla while Ann sat silently wondering where she had gone wrong with her eldest daughter. A few minutes passed quietly then Klara came back up the hill prodding Aayla in front of him.
Ann turned to her eldest daughter, "Aayla what was that ceremony you mentioned? The Diaboli equivalent of a wedding?"
"You mean the Ceremony of Ultimate Commitment? Why do you ask?" She looked at the two stretched out unconscious and naked on top of the hill. "Have they...," her voice trailed off and her mind reached out to perceive for herself.
She discovered that both of them now had the automatic defenses she had overcome in Jason's mind during his enhancement. As she overcame them again she saw that the two were not truly unconscious, it was just that their minds were so busy assimilating new data and memories that neither was much aware of the outside world.
She tried to sneak mentally closer, maybe get a glimpse of what memories they were sharing, as it seemed like a lot and that made her curious, but as soon as she got close enough the two banded together to throw her back into her own head and layer more defenses against intrusion. As she blinked and reoriented on the physical world, she noticed everyone was looking at her.
"Well it certainly seems like the ceremony but I can't say for certain because he had only sketchy info on it himself. I got into his mind during his enhancement so I know everything he did on that subject but all I can tell you is that I think so."
"You got into his mind during enhancement?" several voices chorused.
Aayla smiled, she loved surprising them with the extent of her abilities. "Yes, you know I'm the best of us at mind reading and his defenses were scattered by the process. He was telling the truth about being no danger to us. He was also falling in love with Myra.
"I found out that he is to Diaboli what she is to Primes. He is an Atlantean Diaboli, the strongest clan. That's when I decided he might be a good addition to my plans and attempted to impress him. From my latest glimpse before they threw me out I saw that they are now each equally Prime and Diaboli, or rather Ancient One and Atlantean. "I am sure this was an accident, probably caused by my silly wench of a sister trying to be as 'normal' as possible. I bet she refused to take orgone to heal and he offered some weird Diaboli 'magic' in its place right?"
She looked at Klara and apparently read enough on her face to confirm her guess. With anger and frustration growing her tone she continued. "I knew it! You'd think a backfire would have fucked them both up or at least stop her from recharging but no, she's too damn lucky for that! She's fully recharged from the look of her and nothing is wrong with either one of them that time won't cure and when she's fully back among us she'll have all his abilities too. Still won't be able fly worth a damn though." She said that last with some satisfaction as if the idea cheered her up some. She was still too upset at the way her schemes had turned out to stop shouting though.
"I had plans for that power but fat chance of that now. Imagine the cultures I could fix if I had his powers as well as my own. All Myra will do with them is go on her stupid patrol and save kittens stuck in trees or something nauseating like that." She wound down and looked around at the ring of disapproving faces, "Well if you don't need for anything I still need to repair my house so I'll be going." With a final contemptuous glance she turned and began to walk slowly back down the hill muttering to herself.
"I'm not through with you yet," Klara called to her.
"I have nothing more to say to you,” Aayla said over her shoulder as she left.
"Well I have something to say to you. Myra was pregnant. She hadn't told us yet, but she was going to have another child -- a daughter, she was sure. Ben's daughter. They'd even named her Blair. Only Blair will never be born now. You killed her, you stupid scheming bitch. Didn't you learn anything on Rostran?"
"Myra should thank me! What's having another baby compared to the power she's got now? I just wish it had worked out better for me."
Klara was speechless as Aayla continued down the hill, flying now rather than walking.
"Skietra!" cried Ann. "I can't believe it."
"But it's true. I read them. Jason knows, of course. What he's done has eased her pain -- almost as if it had happened to a past incarnation. And she has love only for him now."
Paris looked up and asked, "What are we going to tell Ben?"
Klara replied, "We should let Myra explain."
Paris pointed, "I don't think we have time. I can see him on his way back with that bikini she asked him to get, and a heat lamp to boot."
"Oh shit. Is it too late to be called to Rostran for an emergency? Those problems I have some idea how to solve."
"Double shit. Look who is rising to meet him. She'll get to him first too."
Ann turned and looked and took off into the air. "Protect your sister. I'll be back."
They watched Ann soar into the air in pursuit of Ben and Aayla. Paris wondered if Ben would attack Jason. Klara wondered how upset Ben would be.
He hadn't any right to be, Klara thought, because other men had been part of the genetic scheme from the beginning -- just like him sleeping with her and Myra and Aayla. And yet there was his peculiar bond with Myra. Maybe he'd felt closer to her because she was more ordinary - literally down to earth. And he didn't even know about the child. Klara was also curious about this bond that Jason and her sister now shared. Had Aayla told Ben about it? Told him....
Ben had been flying in with the bikini and the heat lamp when he noticed a commotion on the hilltop. Concentrating, Ben magnified his vision and saw the Diaboli, Jason, naked on top of a similarly naked Myra while Paris looked on.
He froze in mid-air. There was some sort of argument going on among Klara and Ann and Aayla -- then Aayla soared into the air towards him. She paused only long enough to send thoughts at him.
<<Your precious Myra's found a new toy, >> she said. <<She doesn't need you any more -- or your children. >>
She flew on pursued now by Ann, but not before flashing images to Ben. Images of Jason and Myra. Images that left nothing about their relationship in doubt.
"Don't believe anything she says," Ann cried as she caught up, but would not wait for an answer. She flew on, still in pursuit of Aayla.
But it didn't matter what anyone said. He had seen with his own eyes, with his own mind.
He hung there in the air, helplessly, almost forgetting how to fly. He'd never been that good at it, anyway. He'd been the goofy one, in powers as well as in looks. It was only in Myra's love that he had found redemption. Her sisters had never understood that. And now....
It had been shock at first, when Aayla taunted him, when she had shown him the evidence. But shock was now turning to rage.
Damn! It was now clear to Klara from watching Ben's body language that he was upset. More than upset. In fact, she thought, zooming in on his face with her superior eyesight, it would be accurate to say he was wrathful. He was just hanging there in the air, staring down at them, as if he couldn't take it all in. Aayla must have told him something, maybe told him everything. But surely he knew about Jason.
So the first order of business would be safeguarding him from Ben's wrath. She moved to pick the dazed man up. Paris saw this and moved to help her sister place Jason securely over her shoulders.
"Should we get Myra away too? You know him better than I; will he strike at Myra in his jealousy?"
"I don't think so but better safe than sorry. Bring her along and at the least not having her in front of him should make it easier for Mom to calm him down."
"Yeah," said Paris hoisting Myra onto her shoulders, "as long as dear sister Aayla keeps her mouth shut and what are the chances of that happening?"
"Slim and none." Klara said grimacing at the thought of how callous and manipulative her sister had grown. "This will help though. C'mon I know a good place to stash them until they are all the way with us again."
Klara took off and Paris followed, taking a long detour around Ben, who seemed to be floundering in mid-air. Each soared effortlessly through the clear sky, experiencing no trouble carrying her burden aloft.
Paris congratulated herself on staying out of the whole crazy genetic scheme. Mom grew up in a lab and And'ril on a battlefield, she told herself. So it's no wonder they have strange ideas of family. Not to mention the fact that mom was raised by a single male geneticist.
She noticed they were heading towards a large lake. "You have a place here?" Paris asked Klara.
"Yes. It's secluded, peaceful and nobody knows about it. They'll be safe here 'til I can get back to Ben and convince him to be reasonable."
Paris nodded and said, "Yeah, I'm still worried about those kidnappers who set a trap for her but I think she'll be fine once she adjusts. She's more than Supremis now. Those guys are in for a nasty shock the next time they meet her. She might be safer than we are."
Klara giggled, "Well we are more than Supremis ourselves Paris so I doubt we need to worry but I agree about them and we do still need to find out where such low rent thugs got such high tech guns."
"Yeah." Paris nodded.
They flew in silence for a while; then Klara pointed, "There! That's my hideaway. I built it myself and stocked it from several different towns."
Paris saw an on an island in the middle of the lake a stone castle made of blocks carved from a nearby cliff by her sister's powerful hands and mortared with local concrete. "You built yourself a castle?"
"Yeah. If you want to live in a surf shack that's fine for you but I love my castle."
"Fair enough. Let's get them inside so you can go back and lend Mom a hand."
They landed by the front doors and Klara led her sister in to her Sanctum Sanctorum. They tucked Myra and Jason into the same bed and then tiptoed away. In the library Paris poured herself a brandy and selected a book.
"You go help Mom with Ben and I'll stay here and watch over them."
"Are you sure you don't mind?"
"Not as long as you don't mind me helping myself."
Klara smiled at her sister. "Not at all. Thanks millions for your help. See you soon. I hope all this will be over by then." Klara took off and Paris shook her head as she made her way back to the bedroom with her book and her drink.
This genetic scheme might fly with Velorians, although even they would have trouble with it, but from what I've seen of Terrans convincing them will be nothing but trouble. She sat down in an armchair near the bed and sipped the brandy. Still I imagine Klara can convince Ben, she's good at that and eventually he'll either be ok with it or leave. She grinned, or maybe he'll convince her monogamy is a good thing. I doubt that but we'll see. She put down the brandy and settled in to read while waiting for Myra and Jason to snap out of it.
Aayla. She had something to do with what had happened to Myra. Ben thought. Myra hadn't been right in the head. Maybe she still wasn't. It wasn't her fault. But Jason....
He was still hovering there helplessly, between rage and self-pity, when Ann returned. She took him by the hand, guided him to the ground. Ben looked pale beside her.
"Ben, please listen to me. I have to know. Did she tell you about Myra and Jason? Everything?"
"She's lost to me," Ben said in a monotone. "What else is there to know?"
‘Skietra!’ Ann thought. "Ben, I don't know how to tell you this. I hate to tell you like this. But she lost the baby. When Aayla drained her--"
Speak of the Devil. Here now was Aayla, returning home after having out flown her mother. Well, there'd be the devil to pay.
Klara flew back towards Aayla's home. I hope Mom manages to calm Ben down. Klara was thinking. Well I should know soon. As she got close she could see Ben standing between her Mom and sister. Closer and she could hear Ann talking to Ben. Aayla seemed to be silent but she could be adding comments mentally and Ann would never know. Aayla would probably stop before she was close enough to detect it and she would have no direct way of knowing if she had been commenting or not.
Something seemed to have been resolved, for when she arrived, Ann gestured to her. "Here is Klara to resume her week with you Ben. I'm sure she'll help you gain perspective on things Ben. Go to her arms."
Ann then turned to Klara, "Can you take him somewhere safe and let him work out his grief and anger? I still need to deal with the author of this debacle." She finished by jabbing her thumb at Aayla.
Klara nodded and took Ben's arm. His anger seemed to have passed, replaced by grief over the death of his unborn child. She led him northward to beat it out among the crags of an unpopulated mountain range.
His eyes lit up as he she told him why she'd brought him here and went to it with a will. He smashed into nearest mountain at full speed sending cascades of boulders raining down into a valley. As they fell he beat at them with his fists smashing them smaller and smaller. He followed the landslide down and smashed rock until even the largest of the boulders was sand.
Then he sank to his knees and wept. Klara put her arms around him and he wept against her as she cradled him tenderly. She didn't love him but he was a good man and the father of her son. She cradled him until he was finished crying then made gentle love to him in the sunshine under the wide blue sky. As he drifted off to sleep she made a mental note to ask him when he woke, all about what Aayla had told him.
Back at the hill, Ann had finished lecturing Aayla on responsibility. She shook her head hoping some of what she had said penetrated and flew And'ril home.
"Where did we go wrong with her?" Ann asked her husband.
"I think she has too many Galen genes not to want to sculpt societies and too few to do it wisely." And'ril replied. "You are not at fault for what she did. You were the best mom she could have had."
"Thanks but if I really had been she'd be more responsible. I'm afraid she turning out wrong."
"Turned you mean. She's almost thirty. She's an adult and responsible for her own actions. And any consequences they have caused or may yet cause."
And'ril was worried. Ann had a bit of a blind spot where her daughters were concerned, she still thought of them as little kids. While this might be natural for mothers to do it posed problems with a daughter as powerful as Aayla. As soon as he arrived home he called Klara's phone to talk to Paris.
"Are they up and around yet?" And'ril asked Paris.
"Not quite but they're stirring." She replied watching them closely. She had put down her book when the phone rang and now she finished her brandy. "Do you want me to try to hurry them? Is there an emergency?"
"Not at the moment. Klara is with Ben and Aayla is seemingly chastised. Still I wonder if you could do me a favor?"
"Certainly." She wondered what he could have in mind.
"As soon as they are coherent bring one or both them to that jail cell and have them thoroughly probe the minds of the men with the gold paint and strange guns. I won't sleep well until I know more about that. I'll meet you there ok?"
"Sure, it shouldn't be too much longer now."
"We heard." Jason said turning in bed to kiss Myra before sliding out from beneath the blankets.
"Yeah." Myra added, "We weren't really unconscious you know just overwhelmed." She tossed back the blankets and stretched her skin, looking pale and perfect in the warm, golden sunlight.
As she got out of bed Paris looked her over carefully seeking evidence of Myra's ordeal but hoping not to find any. Myra did a slow twirl with her arms over her head.
"Looking for horns or devil marks? I'm still me although I've lost some of my body acceptance issues."
"You used to have body issues?" Paris sounded amazed. "You've always been beautiful. You can't not be lovely, you're Supremis!"
"A Supremis who just lost her child. Nothing like that to give you a sense of perspective. I used to be so jealous of you blondes. Can you believe it? It all seems so trivial now. But Jason helped a lot. He helped me through it, helped me unburden myself. But when I saw myself through his eyes, through his memories-how much he loved my body, how absolutely hot I made him.....
"I always thought Jason must be fantasizing about the rest of you when we were making love. But to see, to feel how much he adored me, how he treasured every square inch of my body, how much he cared about me and how I felt, even when I was half-crazy with my loss... that all his kisses and caresses were for me, that his every thrust was for me. It was so... I can't even find words for it.
"Can you forgive me my envy now?"
"Of course!" Paris hugged her sister and kissed her on both cheeks. "But if we are heading to the police station you should both stop off along the way and dress. I don't care if you never wear a stitch again in your life but the police probably will."
Jason shook his head, "I don't think we can afford the time. I have a bad feeling that time is critical. I can't say exactly why but I trust my instinct. So we'll be clothed in illusion and furthermore I'd like to ask your help."
"Anything I can do to help I'd be happy to do." Paris replied, "Do you need a lift to the city?"
"Actually I'd like to gate all of us into the city with us and then have you fly us from there to the police station. Gating will get us to the city fastest but I don't know where the station is."
"Myra has been there more often than me. Can you teleport too Myra?" Paris asked, unsure of her sister's new abilities.
"Yes, I have been to the station enough to be sure of doing it even if it's my first time." Myra turned to Jason, "I'll share the image with you and we can get there directly. I feel some time pressure as well." Myra concentrated briefly and using her new abilities she clothed them both in illusion. Then she hugged her sister again, "Thanks for all the help Paris. We'll let you know what we find."
"Thanks, I'd appreciate that. If you need help with the bad guy behind this don't hesitate to call me!"
Both Jason and Myra nodded. They held hands and then vanished with a small pop of inrushing air.
They appeared in front of the Police Station clothed in Myra's illusion with another pop of air displacement. Entering they were received by Detective Zelda Whiskley who was in charge of the investigation.
"I'm happy to be of help Myra. All of us here at the station owe you a lot. Some of us owe you our lives. Anything we can do to make you safer we'll do."
"Thank you Detective. I'm more grateful than I can say." Myra was shocked at what she was feeling from the detective. She really meant it! A quick sampling of minds around the station proved it to her. They really appreciated what she did for them even if it was less than what her sisters could do. It made her color a bit knowing it but it also made feel so warm and loved inside. She was getting to love these powers.
"Could we have the loan of an interrogation room and do you think you could bring the suspect to us there?"
"Certainly. I go arrange for him to be moved. Did you two want to be alone with him? It's not strictly by the book but for you we can manage."
Myra hugged the woman, being careful not to squeeze too hard. "Thank you! Really and truly, but I don't think that's necessary. You can watch if you want, either from inside the room or from behind the one way mirror."
Detective Whiskley led them to an interrogation room and then went to go get the attacker they had in custody.
"This is the one who was sleeping in the basement. The other living one is still in ICU at Esplanade General. If you decide that this piece of scum doesn't know enough I'll get you in to see the other piece of scum." She directs the nervous looking man to a chair and cuffs him to the arm. "I'll go get myself some coffee. If you are done before I'm back just lock the door when you go. He'll keep." With one last look of contempt for the man she left the room.
"Normally I'd spend some time putting you at ease but I doubt I have the time." Jason started, "So we aren't even going to ask you any questions. We'll just read your mind." As he spoke Jason moved towards the man with his hands spread. Myra came up on the other side and together the touched the man's bare skin with theirs and sent probes into his mind. In a few minutes they found his memory of being hired from a dive bar where he was working as a bouncer and occasional muscle for hire. He had been given a large sum of money and an explicit set of directions to a cave in the northern mountains.
The man, whose name they finally learned was Melvin Wode, had considered not going but in the end he was too scared not to go. The man who had first contacted him was the guy Jason electrocuted in the house but they had the directions to the cave and a good description of the man he met there.
Most alarmingly the three who set the trap for Myra were only one team. There were others supposed to target the other McClouds except for Aayla. Jason broke from the man's mind first and mentally relayed the information to And'ril, Klara, and Paris mentally.
Paris replied mentally, <<I think I've found the attack meant for me. >>
<<Do you need help? >> Jason asked.
Myra caught the tail end of his query and sent her own thought along. <<What's wrong Paris? >>
<<There is an unseasonable hurricane bearing down my island. I'm flying everyone to safety but I wouldn't have noticed it until too late if I hadn't flown extra high on the way back. It's very strong and definitely unnatural. I'll get back to you when I'm done ferrying people out of the way. Good luck. >>
Myra and Jason left the interrogation room, locking the door behind them.
Detective Whiskley came up to them, "You get what you need?"
"Yes, thank you." Myra said. "We're leaving now to follow up a lead. I'll let you know how it goes."
"Thanks and good luck. We're all rooting for you."
They were headed north to the mountains. Not too far from where Klara had taken Jason but they didn't know that. They gated to the edge of the city and started to run. Jason mentally called Paris, <<Paris? >>
She was a bit startled, <<What? Oh, is that you Jason? >>
<<Yes, we have a lead. It's a place in the far north where they and 3 other groups met and were given weapons and assignments. We are heading there now but we could use a lift. >>
<<I wish I could but I'm heading out to my island. I have to go tell them about the storm and evacuate as many as I can. It's weird though since it's the wrong season for such storms. >>
<<Be VERY careful. I don't see how they could manage it but that storm is very suspiciously timed. It may be a planned distraction. >> Jason replied.
<<Wow, now that's paranoid. For the first time I can believe that you were a spy. >> Amusement came through in her mental tone. <<You are the ones who need to be careful. I'll tell Mom and And'ril your news before I go. Take care! >>
Paris was clearly signing off so he withdrew his thoughts. He turned to Myra running beside him, "Paris can't help. She says there is a storm heading for her island. She'll tell your mom before she heads out to evacuate them but she can't help." He grimaced, "Klara is in the north with Ben, think we should contact her and see if she can help?"
Myra looked uncomfortable, or even guilty, "No. I know you could be professional about all that's happened if you were in his place but I doubt he could ... or that I could either. We'll go it alone." She smiled and grabbed his hand, "I think the two of us are a match for anything we might find."
Jason squeezed her hand, "I think you may be right about that." He looked around and smiled, "We are far enough out of the city, so why don't you drop the illusions and save your energy? Nobody is around to see you but me and you may need the energy."
"Not to mention you enjoy the view." She grinned at him as she dropped the illusion covering their nudity, "Well you know what? So do I."
He grinned back, "Glad to hear it." As they approached the location they found in the criminal’s mind they starting scanning with both Diaboli minds and Supremis eyes. They eventually found the concealed mountain hideout where groups had been prepared.
“We have to be very careful. They have weapons meant for Supremis here.”
“I’m not letting you go in alone!” Myra shouted upset at the idea of possibly losing him.
Jason sighed, “Well I couldn’t bear for you to get hurt in there so be very careful and watch out for more traps.” Jason raised a fist to pound the smash open the concealed door then turned back to Myra. “Oh, and I’m going first!”
He hit the concealed door a tremendous blow and all the rock covering it turned to dust and pebbles. However underneath was a door of supersteel like the bank vaults Klara used to force open.
“Looks like you need my help after all Mr. Superspy. You’ll need to ask very nicely too.”
“I’m sorry if I sounded arrogant, I’m only trying to protect you.”
“I can handle anything you can and you can kiss my ass if you think that apology will cut it.”
“Well since that would too distracting…” he started and she laughed. “I’m sorry. You are my equal in every way. Please help me open this vault door?”
“Alright, you can kiss it in bed later.” She stuck her tongue out at him and stepped forward to help.
They set their fingers into the small crack where the door open and they both pulled with all their might. It resisted so they added telekinesis to physical strength and eventually the door yielded and came open with a horrific squeal of metal and hung open.
As they advanced into the tunnel all senses alert they noticed a faint light far ahead. Cautiously they advanced towards it. Tachyon vision spotted electric eye beams regardless of how they were camouflaged so they were pretty confident their approach was unobserved. As they neared the other end they started to pick up faint traces of minds ahead. Unwary minds hazed by drugs and lazily enjoying post-coital bliss. They smiled at each but continued to approach just as cautiously until they could see the people they were sensing. It was carved from rock but was by no means spartan. Generators provided power for lights and other amenities.
On a large pile of pillows in the center a man lazed awake but with his eyes closed. A cylinder hung from the corner of his mouth connected via tubing to a hookah bubbling away in a corner. He had two naked women asleep on top of him and from his mind it was clear that he’d just had sex with both of them. Jason and Myra crept up on him and Myra reached out to touch his ankle. She was thinking that her touch would more likely to raise new alarms than Jason’s. He smiled when touched but did not stir.
Once she had skin to skin contact she entered his mind. Jason linked with her and together they explored his memory. They got a huge shock, Aayla was the one who had singled him out and set him up here. It was Aayla who had been behind the attack on Myra! She had set up to kill each of her sisters. They searched the man’s mind furiously for the other plots. Aayla had used heat vision and flying speed to turn a small storm into a killer hurricane headed for Paris’ islands. She was planning to attack under cover of the storm and trust to the lack of witnesses and severity of the storm to make people believe her death an accident.
They split up then, Jason continuing to search while Myra left the tunnel to reach Paris telepathically and warn her about the coming attack. It was easier to do without tons of rock overhead.
Jason stayed and searched the man’s mind further, no longer caring if he woke. They had found the leader of the ring already and there was no longer any need for stealth, and a great need for speed. He quickly picked out the plan for Klara. It involved more of those peculiar guns and more paint with lots of gold particles in suspension. The ladies woke up while he searched the man’s mind but they just backed away from the grim expression on his face. Afterwards he put them all to sleep with a “spell” and headed outside to see if Myra had contacted Paris yet. She was still new to this sort of thing after all.
As he was nearing the end of the tunnel there was a tremendous BOOM! A shockwave smashed him backwards and the tunnel collapsed on top of him. Anyone but a Supremis would be dead instantly from the shockwave alone and the collapse of the tunnel would have flattened a Betan eventually. The whole mountainside had slid down and no trace of the tunnel remained. Jason, enhanced to almost Primal levels lived but was unable to free himself. He reached out mentally to Myra and found her much worse off than himself.
She was deeply unconscious, and badly hurt. She’d had only a split second’s warning. Aayla’s attack was fast, vicious, and calculated to kill even a Prime with the blood of the Ancient ones in her veins. Only Myra's instinctive use of her new Diaboli powers had blunted enough of the force to leave her alive. Aayla had stopped to gloat and she would soon notice that Myra still lived. Jason had to think fast. He was unable to reach either of them and even if he did he was no match for Aayla physically. Mentally he was more than her match but it would take precious time to fight through the layers of shields he could feel she had woven around her thoughts.
Then he smiled. Pinned by tons of rock with a homicidal Vel/Krypt hybrid outside he suddenly grinned. Aayla had great power and little conscience but she was a self-taught telepath.
She was only shielding the front of her mind. The part of her that thought and schemed and rationalized was protected. There are older parts of the brain that influence us as much or more. All those who come from human stock share a legacy that goes back far beyond the dawn of reason. The Diaboli named this the lizard brain. It was the part that controlled reflex. In humans it controlled breathing and heartbeat as well as some learned reflexes such jerking away from surfaces hot enough to burn. Supremis never developed that one but they shared other reflexes with their more vulnerable kin.
Jason’s mind dove at Aayla, a skillful thrust that avoided all the shields she thought impregnable. He passed around them without impediment. What he wanted was both deeper in and completely unprotected. His will, his oldest and greatest weapon, galvanized by the need to protect the woman he loved, headed for Aayla’s lizard brain where all her darkest fears and desires resided. He set free all her fears, opened all the stops, and invested her every nightmare and irrational dread with fervent life. She screamed horribly. The sound alone cracked rocks and caused landslides. If she’d been human she’d be dead of fright. But unfortunately for Aayla her body was too tough to die from an overload of fear. She fled as fast as she could, still screaming. Running mindlessly too scared to even be able to fly she ran through a tree and small boulders uncaring in her heedless flight. She quickly passed out of Jason’s range but it would be a long, long time before she calmed down and even longer until she’d be able to make herself go back to the spot where she’d almost killed her sister. Jason felt some satisfaction at this measure of revenge but mostly he still worried for Myra. She needed help if she was to survive. Jason reached out with his mind frantically trying to reach somebody. There had to be somebody in range!
His reaching mind eventually connected with Klara’s, her mind had been reaching towards his to check on their progress. <<Klara! We need you quickly! Myra’s hurt bad and I can’t reach her to heal her.>>
<<I’m on my way,>> Klara replied leaping into the air. <<What happened? Fill me in as I’m on the way.>>
<<I know it will be hard to believe but it’s true.>> Jason showed her all they had discovered and Klara gasped as she flew. Upon arriving at the scene she knew it must be true for the list of people could injure Myra that badly was very short and did not include Jason. She had to accept that Aayla had turned evil. Anyone who would do this to a baby sister couldn’t be allowed to run loose. Fortunately healing Myra was straightforward. She was unable to protest being fed processed orgone so Klara inserted a nipple between Myra’s poor bloody lips and slowly squeezed orgone into her. Her body used the energy well and her wounds started fading. As she switched breasts Klara called out to Jason.
“Jason? Where are you? Myra is getting better. I got to her in time. Do you need rescue as well?” She wondered where he could be.
Jason replied mentally, <<I’m under the rockslide behind you. Aayla’s multiple mach pile-driver collapsed the tunnel I was in. I’m only bruised but I cannot move.>> She heard his frustration at his helplessness in his mental tone. <<I’ll need help to get out once you’ve finished healing Myra.>>
<<She’ll be healed soon,>> Klara sent him a mental grin. <<She’s easier to care for when she can’t complain.>> She smiled down at her sister then her expression hardened. <<Show me everything step by step.>>
Jason showed her everything from responding to the call that turned out to be a Supremis trap all the way up to his call for her help.
<<Well at least I should have time to heal you and power up before I have to tackle her. Neither of you is to come. You have done your part; it is now up to me. >>
Jason felt her sadness and her determination, <<If you need help charging I think I can do that one you get me loose.>>
<<No thank you. I will do this according to Kryp’terran traditions. They have a ritual for this eventuality and my father told me of it in case it should ever be necessary. If this must be done, and I agree it must, it should be done in the proper way. If you would me help then stay with Myra and keep her safe and far away from our battle.>>
<<It will be as you say Klara. Please accept my sympathies. I wish none of this was necessary.>>
Klara could tell he meant it. It was easy to feel his sorrow and sincerity. He did truly want to help. <<If you, both of you want to help you could put some thought into what we’ll do with her after I’ve subdued her. I don’t want to kill her if there is any alternative but I don’t know what else can be done with her. She will escape any prison we can build on this planet and exile will just expose more planets to her misguided attempts at playing goddess. So we can exile her and we can’t build a strong enough prison. I’m hoping you can find something I missed. I will let everyone know what she has done once she is no longer a threat and we can all decide together what to do with her. I hope by then you will have an idea.>>
Klara rose from the crater, lifting the now healed Myra off the ground and flying slowly with Myra cradled gently in her arms. *She is healed now and sleeping peacefully. I will place her out of the way on some soft grass then come and dig you out.*
Aayla woke up slowly. She opened her eyes to see she was in outer space. Near the orbit of Sanctuary but heading away from it at about 50 miles per second she judged. It was a hard acceleration to match but she could manage. She tried to get up but couldn't move her arms or legs. She looked and saw she was chained to the comet! Chained with thick gold manacles that she could tell were pure. They pinned her spread-eagled to rock. She struggled against the manacles. As she did so she saw Klara fly over her with heavy gauge gold chain trailing from her hands.
The shock of thick gold falling across her bare breasts stopped her struggles briefly and triggered a memory of their fight. Klara had found out her plans for them all. She needed to keep them from interfering in her projects. There were so many worlds to fix and even an immortal goddess like herself could only be one place at a time. She needed to make sure they wouldn't stop her again or reverse the things she did. Klara somehow learned about all the assassination plans she had made and attacked her without warning. She had lost and woken up here chained to a comet leaving the sun for the long round trip of the system.
More loops of thick gold chain fell on her as her sister bound her more securely to the comet. She wondered where it had all gone wrong. She felt no guilt even now but she wondered how her plan had been exposed. She had left the two Prime/Diaboli hybrids to die and thought that ended the threat to her plans -- but that damned spy must have spilled the beans before he died. "Damn all telepaths!" she cried soundlessly into the comet's halo as yet another link crossed her stomach. She was too weak to break her bonds now. When the chain landed across her hips and touched her groin she shuddered and started to feel the heat of the halo and the lack of breathable air. She thrashed and Klara stopped.
Klara looked over her sister and checked her thoughts. <<I don't want to kill you sister. Merely prevent you from escaping to harm more people.>>
<<Hah!* Aayla replied, *you don't have the guts to do it is all! I bet you wish you could.>>
<<No Aayla. None are like you but that does not mean you are better than we are. It means you're sick. Maybe by the time the comet has come back towards the sun in 150 years you will have changed. We'll check every time in the hope that you will be better but we can NOT leave you free to work your evil and they are few ways to imprison a Supremis for long.>>
Klara backed the chain up until it was no longer lying across Aayla's hips. The need to breathe left Aayla and she felt bitter relief. They wouldn't kill her. Oh no, the sanctimonious bastards would leave chained to a comet instead! Given a parole hearing every 150 years to see if she was willing to subject herself to their inferiority. Aayla watched as her sister backed up a few feet and then set the remaining chain down and unleashed her heat vision. The remaining chain bundle melted and merged with the surface of the comet.
<<That should keep you here. It won't melt this far from the sun and we will intercept you on your way back in before the temperature gets high enough to free you. You won't escape justice Aayla.>>
<<Justice hah! There is no justice, there is just us!>>
<<I don't believe that. There is justice and your punishment is just. I will see you in 150 years sister. Use your time to think on your actions and try to find your way back to right side.>>
Klara took one last look at the set up and took off leaving the comet. Aayla would have time to contemplate her folly. Klara believed people could change, could redeem themselves but she wondered if it might be too late for Aayla as she watched the comet fly past her. Time would tell. In the meantime she had to get back to Ben and her job as Prime Minister. Maybe it would be best to take him with her when she left the planet? He had bad memories here now and there he could be useful. He was well suited understand the normal populace and some of the more unique citizens. She decided to ask him and see if he agreed.
Five Years Later
The comet was passing the outermost planet of the system and Aayla was resigned to the long ride. She had spent the first few years attempting escape to no avail. She would swing out to the furthest reaches of the system and then slowly fall back inward over the course of the next century and a half. She still doesn't see what she's done wrong but there's plenty of time left for an epiphany to strike her.
Myra and Jason now patrolled together. They were still on foot for the most part but both were now able to levitate. After five years they were still amazed and happy at the twists of Fate that had brought them together. Myra was pregnant again and Jason was extra fierce in her defense even though he knew she was as invulnerable as he. She was the only sister enthusiastic about pregnancy and to the others she remained a little odd. They loved her anyway and her husband too. Jason had found a place that accepted him as he was. He belonged and was soon as well-known as Myra and he was happy. They both sighed when Ben visited with Klara, unhappy at the hurt he had suffered but glad he was happy with her and had found fulfilling work other than "being put out to stud." They still occasionally acted or spoke in eerie unison but not too often anymore. They were individuals just closer than most lovers ever manage.
Paris was happy as well. With a little assistance from invulnerability spells her men could truly make love to her even if only one at a time. The spell kept them from impregnating her but she was just glad to finally be able to let go with them. She still planned to have a kid by Ben eventually as her mom planned but not just yet. Maybe in another few years. In the meantime she surfed and sunned and made love under the stars. Occasionally the fact that she had almost lost her friends and lovers because of one of her sisters darkened her day but she was as over it as she could be and life was good.
Ann was still melancholy at times wondering where she had gone wrong with her eldest but she was healing and she loved babysitting the kids and being a grandmother. They were good for her and And'ril helped her through it. And'ril was mostly philosophical about it; his great experience had allowed him to put it in perspective. When he thought of Aayla it was to make a silent wish that she see her errors and that her long exile had a positive effect on her.
Nikki was enjoying herself, she was protecting the natives and they treated her no differently than they did Ann or her children. It was a dream come true and she was loving it. She left the capital to Jason and Myra and along with Ann protected the rest of the planet. She even managed to help Anne destroy an Aurean Scoutship that had gotten lost and somehow managed to make it through their wormhole. The ship had boasted only one Prime and she had left him to Anne while she made sure the Betans never managed to report their discovery. She was glad Ben had brought her here and wondered if the plans to bring in others still existed.