Lillith of Velor

Flare

by Douglas W. MacBeth

rev. 1.7

Edited by Sharon Best, who also reminded me of the important things and kept me honest.

The question of whether one is good or bad is of no relevance to the universe since both exist in us all. One or both may remain hidden for a lifetime. Whichever we manifest from within ourselves at any one moment, what we will always find is truth.  A truth perhaps that we are merely the sum of our experiences, the final product of our adventures.

This is the story of one of those adventures.

The planet Tetra

She was motionless. Suspended in a way that few had ever dreamed of, she watched her world pass beneath her. In a place where there was no up nor down, her body was, for lack of a better way to say it, upside down. Her beautiful face turned down toward the planet surface that glowed so brilliantly overhead, yet beneath her.

At 250 miles up in the airless near-vacuum of space, her hair floated like a blonde nebula behind her. Her lithe, naked body arched as if she were doing a zero-g pirouette, arms floating gently away from her sides. How she loved to orbit the planet like this! Traveling at nearly 18,000 miles per hour in a natural orbital trajectory, she could see the entire planet revolve once every one hour and forty-eight minutes. Using her telescopic vision and Tachyon vision, she saw all, knew all. This was her planet and she was its Protector.

Lillith slowly bent one hand inward at the wrist, only to flick it easily back to where it had been. The movement started her slowly turning toward the rising sun just appearing over the horizon. She had seen three sunrises today, this being the fourth.

Directly beneath her, the only large continent of Tetra showed its shades of browns and greens behind a smattering of fluffy white cumulous clouds. This continent took up most of one hemisphere of the planet. The majestic peaks of the Faldref range to the north appeared as if they were a huge row of granite thrones, left behind by some long forgotten race of giants. Spread out in a vast southern expanse before those mountains, the long flat plains of the desert filled most of the interior regions of the vast continent below. This was her desert. Her home.

To the east and to the west, this continent tapered quickly down to a thin landmass that circled the  globe at the equator. It had the appearance of a greenish belt drawn tightly around a belly of deep blue. Nearly 14,000 miles long but only 150 miles wide at its narrowest part, this singular band of land usually appeared broken into multiple islands of so-called dry land. They hung around the planet like a necklace of irregular green pearls. Constantly changing shape as the seasons progressed, these islands were a cartographer’s nightmare. A dynamically changing chain of islands known only as the Latitudes. As unfit for the survival of Tetrites as anywhere in the universe, the Latitudes were hot, humid, oppressive in the summertime and nearly completely submerged in the winter. The ground was so spongy and soft that any creature heavier than a few kilos would be missing before it had walked a dozen paces. The disappearances were not always from the passive dangers of the water soaked ground either. There were active predators here as well. Creatures who struck quickly at any meal that conveniently presented itself for the taking. One such creature, certainly spawned in whatever Tetritian hell could be imagined, was the Kilil. A species all to themselves, they were capable of swallowing Tetrites as large as two or three meters in one swiftly viscous attack.

No Tetrite ever walked in the Latitudes. At least, none had lived to speak of it.

If the Latitudes were hostile, the sharply curving coastlines where they met the central continent were positively wonderful. Bracketing the north and south entrance to the Latitudes, these long beaches were of the finest and purest white sand. They curved handsomely along the edge of the warm azure sea. Beaches that beckoned a tired Protector to come and swim and bathe her long athletic body under energizing rays of a yellow sun. Lillith made a mental note to ask William to join her there tomorrow. From this distance, the whiteness of the beaches could be clearly seen, even without her superior vision. They gave the brightly shining planet a distinguished look, like gray hair at the temples of an aging beauty. Among planets of the same class, these were the clear identifying marks particular only to Tetra. Marks known to any ship’s captain who, one might still say in the void of space, was worth his salt.

The Latitudes split the planet into two major oceans. The northern ocean was referred to as the Nortranda, while the southern was the Contranda. To the North, Lillith could see the vortex of a massive cyclone traveling west to east. This presented no danger to her beloved Tetrites since none of these little beings sailed the oceans of this beautiful planet. At least not yet. She knew those same cyclones would move further south later in the year to outflank the Faldref and bring the season called the Time of Troubles to the Tetrites on the desert plains. A season that would come again to flood the dry and dusty desert floor, eroding the landscape while it killed hundreds of the tiniest inhabitants. She would help them to prepare as she always did, but there was time enough. Plenty of time.

Lillith’s observation of her beloved planet continued through one last revolution. There in the South of the main continent she saw her William and Phil walking swiftly to investigate some object that had fallen out of the sky the evening before. Unsure what to expect from the initial reports, she thought it sounded more like a simple meteorite than anything of consequence. It was mainly Phil’s curious urgings that had them now traveling such a long distance on such a hot, sunny day. There were few clouds in the sky to shade them or to hide them from her warm gaze. Deep blue eyes that glimmered within a bright smile from the impossibly cold and airless orbit so high overhead.

Apart from a few domestic disputes, a great deal of eating and mating, and even more discussions on an endless variety of subjects, no alien dangers appeared to threaten the planet today. Moving her chest as if to sigh, the void made her lungs feel so empty as she expanded them. Lillith decided that she could take a break to go to one of her most favorite places in the system. Tightly tensing her rounded glutes, she accelerated rapidly through a wide sweeping arc. She blew a silent kiss down to her lover as she headed toward the moon of Satee.

The smallest of the seven moons, Satee was as unique as Thebe, the largest, was not. Made up almost totally of silicon crystal, eons of heat and pressure had forced metal oxides and other minerals to combine with the pure silicon to give the crystals deep, rich colors. Most of the crystals were translucent. Yet, on the highest peaks, they were as transparent as optical glass. Lillith had started a collection of the clearest of those crystals. By combining the power of her grip and the strength of her fingers with nature's magic, she made her own jewelry. She gave it away as gifts. The grandest gift of all was to see it all with the Tetritian sun rising over those crystal peaks! The sight of it always took her breath away! Today, she was in the mood to experience the beauty of Satee yet again.

Tetra, the southern reaches of the central desert

“How much farther is it, guys?” William found that every time he spoke, he had to spit out some more of the swirling dust. The heat was just as bad, although his invulnerability kept him from being too bothered by it.

The party of three dusty Tetrites leading the way did not turn back to respond as they spoke briefly.

“No much. Just beyond the brow of the hill.” Their excitement at their discovery was just too tantalizing to stop now. So many questions had to be answered; so many discussions resolved. Even Phil was pressing William to continue at a faster pace.

“Sir, perhaps if we all simply rode with you then you could speed along at a more advanced velocity. The time to arrival could then be minim...”

“Phil, I’m not a taxi. Is there something wrong with your legs?”

“Oh, no sir! All five are functioning quite well!”

“Then use them. There’s no real reason not to.”

“I see your point, sir.”

At the top of the ridge, the three guides stopped and stared. As William climbed quickly behind them, all three pointed; all three spoke at the same time.

“There!”

In a shallow ditch, a rust-colored sphere, about six or seven meters in diameter, lay half-buried in the sand. Antennae, or what was left of them, projected from various points around the shell. There were no windows.

“Looks like Sputnik.” William took a step to approach the craft.

“Ah, the group of 20th century urban Terrans that wore facial hair, flat hats, and performed rhythms on drums with their hands to poetry!” Phil was trying to impress the others with his growing knowledge of Terran history.

“Uh, no Phil. Those were Beatniks, I said ‘Sputnik’. It was the first Terran artificial satellite to orbit the planet. It was just a ball with antennae, like this but much smaller.”

Phil took the correction in stride. Better to get valid information than to retain incorrect facts.

“Other species would certainly duplicate the effort, sir.”

William kneeled down next to the sphere. Using his still imperfect Tachyon vision, he scanned the craft slowly, looking for any sign of...

“Shit, Phil! There’s something alive in there!”

At the news, the three guides rapidly moved back to what they felt was a much safer distance.

“Perhaps we should wait for the Mistress before we continue, sir.”

“Phil, she’s not available right now and whatever is in here may not be doing so well in this heat. I don’t want to just let it die out here like this.”

William scanned the craft once again, noticing that whatever it was, it turned its head rapidly toward the sound when he tapped on the shell. It was alive, it was coherent, and if it were a danger to them, it certainly would have done something by now. No, he thought, we have to try to help.

Using his great strength, William slowly rotated the sphere until he noticed a seam. Fasteners appeared in neat rows around the perimeter. It must be a hatch! Digging an invulnerable fingernail under the corroded metal, he pried the hatch back enough to get a fingerhold on it. Pried enough to expand the tortured metal to pull the hatch open just a bit more - just enough to peek inside.

There, in the far reaches of the dingy craft, he saw a creature shivering from the residual cold. It was hiding within the far darkness of the unlit sphere, hiding also from the devastating fear that surged within itself. Two panic-stricken eyes remained locked on the small opening as the creature futility tried to back farther away from that bright opening. To move someplace, anyplace, away from these strange eyes that peered at it ominously from the outside.

William could detect the disagreeable aroma of fresh urine as he waited for his eyes to become acclimated to the dark. Finally, he could see the creature a bit more clearly and smiled broadly!

“It’s a dog!”

“A what, sir?”

“A dog, Phil! It’s another species, one that’s often called Man’s Best Friend!”

“I thought the Mistress fulfilled that role, sir?”

“Um, different role, Phil. Uh, okay, look. We’re spooking him right now, so let’s all back away and give him some room. I’ll go ahead and pull the hatch away slowly. Oh, wait a minute....”

William reached into his fanny pack, retrieving just the thing to make this all a lot easier.

“Is this an appropriate time for a cookie, sir?”

“Yep! But not for me. For our little friend here. We’re going to make friends!”

As the Tetrites moved back to an even more discrete distance, William pulled the metal hatch slowly away, trying very hard to keep any disturbing sounds to a minimum. When the last fastener had given way, he set the curled plate down and peered in at the creature.

The poor creature was scared so badly that its entire body shook. Its tail curled tightly down between its rear legs as it crouched backward out of fear. William spoke softly, carefully, trying to soothe its tattered nerves. Ever so slowly, William reached into the capsule with the cookie, trying very hard not to look as if he was reaching directly at the dog. When the dog looked as if it was about to panic from the nearness of William’s hand, he stopped. William placed the cookie on the surface of what appeared to be some type of electronic instrumentation. With the cookie in place, he turned his hand palm up and slowly withdrew it. The eyes of the dog flicked from William to the cookie and back, unsure what to make of it all. William merely pivoted around out of sight, stood, and walked up the slope to join the Tetrites.

“What plan of action would you now suggest, sir?”

“I suggest we wait, Phil. Give the little guy some time.”

For nearly twenty minutes, the group waited for its outworld visitor to come to a decision. Finally, slowly and hesitantly, a black nose peaked out from the open hatch. It had cookie crumbs on it, which were suddenly consumed with the flick of a pink tongue. The nose twitched constantly moving up and down, side to side, collecting information about this strange place that had suddenly appeared outside the hatch.

Slowly, a face appeared, blinking its eyes in the bright light. Turning to look up at the group watching it, it pulled back inside as if embarrassed, but more than likely shocked to see unusual creatures nearby.

“Are there different races within the species Dog, sir?”

“Well, yes, but we call them breeds. This little guy looks like a mutt. That’s a mix of a lot of different breeds to where you really can’t pick one out above any other.”

“I see. How many different breeds can mate at one time to produce a mutt?”

“Not all at once, Phil. I meant from generation to generation.”

“That does sound a bit more within the normal methodology, sir.”

William noticed that the nose had once again appeared. Leaning forward, William held out his hand as he made repeated kissing noises with his mouth. Phil was mesmerized by this display.

“Are you attempting communication, sir?”

“Naw. Just trying to coax it out. Trying to show we’re friendly.”

All four Tetrites looked at each other, turned toward the capsule, held out one arm each, and started producing loud smacking noises in a cacophony that startled William! The nose retreated swiftly.

“Guys. Guys! GUYS!” They all stopped and looked up at William.

“Fellas, please, just me to start out with. Okay? Let’s hold the chorus until later. I think we just scared the shit outta him.”

No sooner had William said that than the dog simply walked out of the capsule busily sniffing the ground. On it walked, investigating some intensely interesting scent along the ground, until it reached the limits of the wires attached to it. The capsule briefly scraped the ground with a hollow metallic sound as the tug from the dog shifted it in place. Finally settling, the capsule held the dog from any further excursions. William snapped his fingers once and the creature’s head snapped to attention, ears up, eyes riveted on William.

William spoke to the Tetrites discretely out of the side of his mouth. “Any of you guys makes a sound and I’ll be having crab cakes tonight.” The Tetrites, understanding the intended message, remained silent. Although each wondered what a ‘crab cake’ was.

“Hello, boy!” A slight wag of the tail.

“Hello, boy!” Another wag in response.

William slowly slid down the rise toward the dog. Watching with a bit less nervousness, but still unsure, the dog thought it saw something familiar in William as he approached still closer. Finally, held out in offering in front of its nose, an upturned hand remained steady, unmoving, waiting for the dog to decide what was to be done next.

A slight sniff and a quick pullback, followed by another sniff of the fingers and another quick retreat. Finally, the nose twitched relentlessly over the fingers as they touched the underside of his nose. Two beings from separate worlds had just decided to give each other a chance.

“Hello, blue boy!” William was petting the dog now while discretely checking out how the wires were attached. A midsize dog on Earth, the dog had deep blue fur about an inch long. His two front paws had a touch of white fur, but along the top of its long nose, similar to a Terran collie, the dog had a blaze of deep red hair. The eyes had the clarity of a Husky, but were a bright gold in color. He was certainly friendly, leaning into William’s touch, soaking up each petting stroke as if it had been in that capsule for an eternity. Having an appearance like a mix between a shepherd, collie, and half a dozen other breeds, the dog had found the source of the cookies, pushing its nose under the flap of the fanny pack.

“Hey! Wait a minute!”

It was too late. The animal consumed everything edible stored in the pack, as well as two or three things that were not.

“The creature appears to be hungry, sir.”

The sudden sight of Phil so close made the dog pull it’s head up and back quickly. Its ears at full alert! Backing up slightly by short steps, the dog finally made a statement that it did not know what Phil was.

“RrrrrOOF!”

“Oh my! He speaks a language of distinct brevity!”

The Tetritian moon of Satee

Lillith approached the crystal moon from the sunward side. It glimmered with glittering clarity. Today she would see if she could find any clear green crystals. Those were always the hardest to find. She planned to make some earrings for her sister who had handmade the most beautiful Terran earrings for her. The culture on Tetra did not require jewelry or even clothing, but Lillith had never lost her Velorian appreciation for all things of beauty. She had a mate who could display the deepest appreciation when she chose to make herself glamorous for him. Very deep appreciation indeed!

Using her heat vision, she poured megawatts of energy into the surface of the moon, elevating the energy content of the crystal lattice. When she stopped, the normally generous contours of her chest momentarily reduced from the expenditure of so much energy. The entire moon glowed brilliantly as the atoms in the lattice sought to return to their former equilibrium, releasing the excess energy as light fixed at a frequency appropriate to their structure. She could now see all of the crystal content of the moon as it was illuminated from within, each crystal glowing with its own distinctive color.

Her search took a while, but she finally saw a perfectly clear, brilliantly green crystal. It was perfect! She hovered over it, reaching out to pluck it from the surface. He fingertips had just made contact with its smooth, cold surface when a movement, just to her left, caught her eye.

A small silver orb, about half a meter in diameter, spun rapidly as it hovered silently about a meter from her head. She stared at the orb for a brief moment, as it seemed to study her in return. Suddenly, without warning, an intense narrow beam of coherent white light shot out of the orb hitting Lillith directly in the middle of the forehead. Her entire body immediately stiffened as a look of shock flashed across her. A second beam, this one fanning out to form a green line laterally across her forehead, scanned quickly down to her feet before it abruptly shut off. The white beam that had been holding her quickly widened to consume her entire body. When it too snapped off, Lillith was gone.

The orb slowly moved upward in order to clear the moon’s glowing peaks before instantly accelerating away toward deep space and out of sight.

The glowing moon, Satee, slowly dimmed in the cold silence.

The central desert of Tetra

“Fellas! You can’t all stay up here!”

William was getting very upset with the three Tetrites who were clinging to his arms and shoulders to stay out of the reach of the dog. Phil perched on top of William’s head.

“She insists on putting us in her mouth, sir! It is most distasteful!”

“I can imagine, Phil, but this is not the answer!”

The dog was bounding along behind, sniffing every rock, every boulder, lost in her senses as she listened and sniffed, sniffed and listened. Occasionally, a specific outcropping qualified for the elevated status of receiving a dose of pee, delivered with all the grace that a four-legged animal balancing on three legs could muster. A position unusual for Terran female dogs, yet evidently, normal for this alien breed. It was obvious to everyone that this dog was having a wonderful time.

 

“The creature has urinated multiple times in the last hour but has not ingested liquids of any kind. Do these creatures manufacture fluids on their own?” Phil, still riding on top of William’s head, constantly annoyed William with his incessant foot tapping whenever he pondered such weighty issues such as this.

“Look, Phil. Forget the dog for a moment, will you? Now we’re almost home. When we get there, you guys can think about anything you want to your hearts content! But right now I’ve got four nervous Tetrites hanging on me, it’s hot and dusty as hell out here, I’m hungry cause that dog ate all my stuff, and every time I look up I see YOUR ASS! SO WOULD YOU STOP WITH THE DOG ALREADY!  I’M JUST NOT IN THE MOOD! AND WOULD YOU PLEEEEEASE TURN AROUND!”

All of the Tetrites kept silent as Phil slowly rotated around the top of William’s head. He had been watching the dog prance along behind them, but that caused his entire aft section to cantilever out over William’s face. The shade was nice, but the view was terrible. Phil had just reoriented himself to face forward and leaned down, coming eye to beady eye with William, albeit a set of upside-down beady eyes.

“My apologies, sir. My position was an unintended by-product of my observations.”

William could not help but smile at the seriousness of Phil’s voice.

“It couldn’t be helped, Phil. I apologize for getting upset. The situation is....um....not optimal.” William hoped that got through to Phil.

“Quite so, sir, quite so.”

“You’re not going to get off me now, are you.”

“With that creature just below us, sir? I should think that would be out of the question! Why just now the creature is....”

On and on Phil explained as he rotated to face backward, gaining a better view of the dog. A dark shade descended once again over William’s face.

“PHIL!!”

Phil nearly fell off when he jumped from the sudden loud call of his name. But he understood the reason for it.

“Sorry! Sorry, sir!”

Phil quickly rotated once again to face forward.

A few moments passed in silence before William thought to get everyone’s mind off the heat, the dust, and the remaining distance home.

“Phil, why don’t you tell us a story? How about one of those Terran stories that you memorized. One of those stories about Kara by her Scribe.

“Wonderful idea, sir. Let’s see.....ah! ......ahem........

It was the middle of a dark rainy night in San Francisco bay, the damp stones of the filthy prison cell on the abandoned island holding no more warmth this night than they had held hope for the men who had been imprisoned here so long ago. Inside the cell, two young women were huddled in one corner, sitting in the cold rain water that slowly spread across the stone floor from the open........

The man, the dog, and the Tetrites continued on, listening quietly as Phil retold the wondrous story of a famous Protector on a distant planet.

 FROM  “A Dark SuperGirl Arises, Chapter Eleven – Janna's Song”,  © 1998, SHARON BEST

*******

At the habitat, William helped each Tetrite relocate on top of a rock that would be safely out of reach of the dog. There was plenty of time to do this since the dog busied herself with chasing all the other Tetrites around the area. William, having placed the last rider in his new location, had finally had enough of the dog’s antics.

“SIT!” The dog froze in place for a moment, looking intently at William.

“SIT, DAMMIT!”

The dog bounded over to William, wagging her tail pleasantly, but not even thinking about sitting. William made a theatrical show of pointing downward as he tried one more time.

“SIT YOUR ASS DOWN!!!” The dog sat. William beamed. Phil was speechless.....almost.

“My goodness, sir! You’ve established communications with the creature and modified her behavior!”

“Yep, Phil!” William was quite proud of himself. “All you have to do is say ‘sit’ to her and she’ll mind. It’s all in the delivery.”

“Quite a simple command structure, sir.”

“Uh, yeah. Um, Phil, look. I’m going to go clean up. Keep an eye on things for a while, will you?”

“Certainly.”

William started to walk back to the habitat, giving the dog yet another “sit” command to reinforce the one still in effect. The dog did not move, watching him from her seated position all the way to the door.

Inside, William drew some water for a quick shower. As he cleaned himself in the cascading water, he could not hear the commotion just outside the window as Tetrites scattered everywhere amidst almost constant barking. The tan dust billowed everywhere.

Between two large rock outcroppings, a large brown Tetrite could suddenly be seen running frantically along the ground, chanting “sit, sit, sit, sit, sit, sit, sit” continuously, as a blue dog bounded playfully behind him. A few moments passed before that same blue dog pranced proudly back the other way holding a furious brown Tetrite in her mouth.

“My goodness! Most distasteful! SIR!!!”

The habitat, later that afternoon

“Sir. I need to discuss this creature with you.” Phil, peering down from the safety of the roof, sounded very perturbed.

“What’s the problem, Phil?”

“Well, sir, I attempted, once again, to establish interspecies communication with the creature in order to come to some sort of understanding.”

“And what happened?”

“It licked my eye, sir.”

William was trying very hard not to break up.

“What?”

“It chose to lick my eye just as the negotiations began. Most distasteful.”

“Well, look at it this way, Phil. When the dog licks you it means she really likes you.”

Armed with this new information, Phil turned around and saw the dog lying on its side. She had raised one of her hind legs and was in the process of vigorously licking her crotch. Phil tapped his foot thoughtfully before turning back to William.

“The creature’s self-esteem appears to be quite substantial.”

Unknown place, approximately the same moment

Lillith suddenly became aware that she was somewhere. For the longest time she did not have the slightest notion of being anywhere. She had been completely without any sense of existence. Now she could feel the cold smoothness of the solid floor beneath her. The floor was black and as smooth as porcelain. All around her was nothing but dark shadow. Shadows so dark that her world did not exist in them. A bright, barren, white overhead light illuminated her only, but she could not quite make out the source. Becoming fully alert, she stood quickly, leaping to her feet with the grace and speed of the most talented gymnast. It was then that she noticed that she was clothed.

She was wearing what could best be described as a Terran one-piece swimsuit, made of nearly transparent black material; the transparency apparently due to the sheerness of the tightly woven fabric. A fabric so elastic that it clung to her curves as tightly as a second skin, almost as if someone had painted it on her! Dished deeply in the front, the material hugged her breasts just enough to form a wonderful cleavage.  In the back, it bared her strong shoulders and back all the way down to her shapely butt. The suit was hardly clothing. Its main purpose seemed only to accentuate the curves and muscles of her long shapely body. Not used to wearing any clothes at all, Lillith didn’t think that it looked all that bad on her. Not bad at all! Still, why would anyone want to dress her like this?

Shrugging to send a wave of rippling curves across her back and shoulders, she decided that the clothing, as well as the mystery behind it, would have to wait for the moment. She did not even know where she was and that was the first thing. The most important thing.

She looked all around her once before her questions started, her soft voice calling out into the darkness of her empty world.

“Who are you? Where is this place?”

Her voice reverberated from hard walls that seemed to be very distant, the echo telling her that wherever she was, it was very large and very empty. She spun quickly around once when she thought she heard something buzz momentarily in the echoes behind her. There was nothing there. Squinting her eyes slightly as she concentrated on projecting her Tachyon vision, she scanned the darkness. No forms appeared. It was as if the universe simple ended in the shadows.

It was then that her hearing picked up two distant reverberant clicks to her right. She immediately snapped her head in that direction and scanned at maximum intensity, the power from her eyes sufficient to see through worlds! Yet she saw nothing.

“Who ARE YOU!”

Even before the echoes of her voice faded, she found that she was fighting against her growing fear. Her fear turning to anger in the way of a Protector, she barely managed to keep her temper in check. She had the distinct feeling of an animal in a cage as she struggled to calm herself, deciding to try to talk her way out. To think her way out.

She walked a few paces toward the unseen distant wall, only to find that the light followed her. Walking faster, running now, she dashed through the darkness, searching for the distant wall that had echoed her voice. Yet she found no walls, nor any change in the shadows. The world around her merely moved with her as if she was in the midst of a void of timeless and endless darkness.

“I don’t want to hurt you. Now if you just let me out, I won’t have to use force.” There was no response. “I am a Velorian. I'm very strong, but I don't want to hurt you. Do you understand?”

Still nothing. “Alright,” she murmured, “enough. Time to go.”

She flexed her glutes as she swung her arms upward to fly. She would simply burst through the roof and find her way home. She flexed her calves strongly enough to thrust her nearly a thousand yards into the air! The powerful muscles of her behind flexing to sustain her flight, she fully expected to soar from this cone of darkness and back into the light. Yet nothing happened!

A slight hop, but no flight! Now, for the first time since she had arrived here, she felt a hard surge of the fear of helplessness roll through her. She fought it back. Then a thought came to her. If I can’t fly, what else can’t I do? And how did they do this to me?

A brilliant white coherent beam lanced out of the darkness as that thought was still on her mind, striking her in the forehead. Now in an oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere, the sound of the beam was a deafening hum. She was immediately locked at attention as every muscle in her body flexed as hard as tempered steel. At that precise moment, a second green beam fanned out in a horizontal line, passing down over the length of her body once. When it reached her feet, both beams shut off with a loud snap, her suddenly relaxing muscles turning her legs to rubber so rapidly that she fell face-first onto the cold floor. She was still conscious, but only by the slightest of margins.

It took her a second to catch her breath as she swore at nobody in particular. “Pistu. PISTU!” The Velorian word for shit echoed in the cold darkness as she rose to her feet once again. Behind her! A door opened noisily!

The light through the door flooded into the chamber. Someone was coming in, but they were not letting her out! The figure looked like a tall humanoid, likely a male. The door closed rapidly behind him.

When he came into the light that surrounded her, she could see that he was a large muscular Geheim male, not much older than her, maybe 20. Lillith was struck with how attractive he was and smiled a flirtatious grin at him. In fact, he was just the image of the fantasy male she used to imagine before she knew William. Tall, slender, and very, very muscular. His sandy hair had a slight reddish tint, just enough to make his green eyes glow. Hmmmmm, thought Lillith, too bad I’m meeting him now! She unconsciously turned slightly to the side to show him her best angle, suddenly finding it hard not to flirt at least a little bit.

Naked from the waist up and barefoot, he carried no weapons, but was looking at her coolly. His eyes were ice cold, looking at hers as a snake might stare, unblinking. He finally looked away from her eyes only long enough to scan her body, almost as if he was deliberately sizing her up.

His voice was deep and menacing when he finally spoke.

“They told me if I kill you, I will be released.”

Lillith immediately lost her seductive grin took a tentative step back, suddenly losing all interest in her flirtatious posing.

“I do not want to hurt you, Geheimite. Who told you that.” She had barely gotten those words out of her mouth when he charged her.

He grabbed her brutally around the neck, slamming her to the floor with enough power to have pulverized every bone in a Terran's body. Releasing her, he quickly grabbed her ankles. In one violent move, he flung her up over his head smashing her face down onto the floor. Cracks splintered the hard floor in all directions from the force of the impact as the crashing sound of shattering rock reverberated along hidden walls. Again he flung her up through the air only to smash her face down onto the floor. Again the floor was shattered by the sheer force of her steely body.

Lillith was completely off balance, her reflexes way behind her attacker. Not only was she shocked by the sudden ferocious attack, but she was nearly knocked senseless by the incredible body slams that she had just endured! She was seeing stars and felt real pain! Her! Feeling PAIN! This was impossible. She was invulnerable!

Pushing herself up off the floor with her arms, she barely had time to take a single breath before the man jerked her upward and backward, exposing her throat to his blows. He quickly spun her around and began punching and kicking her all over her body! As if by instinct, Lillith tried to fight back, amazed that her punches did not seem to faze him! Even her most powerful kicks only flung the male’s head to the side momentarily. He returned each of her blows with several so devastating that she felt like a rag doll flying around in a hurricane! Lillith was suddenly facing the shock of being defeated in a simple fistfight!

There was worse to come!

Staggering on her feet, Lillith could not believe what was happening to her! How could a Geheim male do so much damage to her...unless....her powers! She could not fly; maybe her strength was gone too! Skietra! She would be powerless against him! She would....

A massive punch smashed her back against an unseen wall that almost made her lose consciousness. She slumped to the floor, blinded by the blood that filled her eyes. She weakly raised her hand up and tried to hold it up for as long as she could.

“No......no..more. Please.....no....more.”

She could not see the male through the stars that filled her eyes, but she soon heard his answer. It began as a snicker and grew into a laugh! He was laughing at her! On and on his growing laughter echoed throughout the room! Why was he laughing? she thought Why? WHY?!

She felt his huge hand gripping her throat, sliding her up firmly against the invisible wall. He lifted her slowly, steadily to her feet. She blinked her eyes to try to clear them, barely able to see the laughing face of the Geheim male. She felt his other hand slide down her chest to her belly before she could feel it push into her. Her eyes were locked on his as he forced his hand farther and farther into her body, reaching for her heart to squeeze the life out her. She was going to die here! Die for reasons she did not know, could not understand! A feeling of complete helplessness took over her as she could only use the last of her strength to mutter, “Wh.....why?”

Instantly, an intense white beam impacted her in the forehead. She froze in place, hearing the excruciatingly loud hum of the beam as a second green line scanned down the length of her. When the green beam reached her feet, both beams shut off with a loud SNAP, and Lillith collapsed unconscious to the floor.

*******

She had no sense of the passage of time when she awoke. Shaking her head to clear it, she looked up only to see that the Geheim male was gone. All the damage to the floor was gone. Her face had been cleaned and felt completely healed. Everything was as it was before except her clothing seemed a bit tattered. In fact, there was a large hole centered just below her ribcage. She had not imagined it all! Skietra! Had she really come that close to death? Someone was playing a strangely dangerous game!

Behind her somewhere, two subtle mechanical clicks were heard. Lillith felt another twinge of fear race through her, but this time she let her anger have its way! Jumping up, she whipped her hand up in front of her, only the center finger extended, in the fashion that William had told her Terrans do sometimes.

“FORN’SK!”

The white beam immediately impacted her head, freezing her in this defiant position. This time, a smaller green line scanned only her hand before both beams shut off. Lillith staggered back a step or two, forcing herself to remain conscious before glancing around herself nervously. She tried to begin to speak, forcing herself to remain calm and try to reason with whoever was doing this.

“Okay. Alright. What do you want me to do? Can I help with anything? Just tell me what you...”

The door! It sounded so loud that she jumped! Again the light flooded in through that open door as a large male entered at a leisurely walk. It was HIM!

“They told me if I kill you, I will be released.”

Lillith backed away. “No. No, please. I can’t...”

His fist impacted her belly hard enough to lift her off her feet. She crumpled to the ground just before he kicked out with his foot, flipping her violently onto her back. Before she could recover, he was standing over her, gripping the front of her clothing in his left hand. It only took three quick punches with his right fist before Lillith dangled limply from his iron hold.

She recovered slowly, seeing the light above her once again. Something was touching her; touching her body. Looking down at herself, she saw that her clothes were torn open and the male was fondling her! She had been unconscious and he took advantage of her! The bastard was fondling her breasts!

She lashed out with what should have been a skull-breaking blow. Instead, the male shook it off quickly and backhanded her across the face, stunning her with the force of it. As she fought against losing consciousness once more, she rubbed her jaw and then noticed that he was taking off his pants.

“NO! NO!” She pushed away, kicked at him, did all she could to get out from under him! He grabbed her in hands that were so strong that she found that she could not move! He ripped the crotch out of her clothes just before she felt his massive cock land between the breasts of her struggling body.

Slowly he dragged his hard member downward toward her pussy as he kept her locked in his powerful viselike arms. Her tears and screams only seemed to encourage him as she tried vainly to fight him off! And now, that laugh! That laugh returned! He was laughing at her while he raped her! The total devastation and humiliation that Lillith felt burned deep into her! She never imagined that this was possible! Not her! Not this! Just as she felt him penetrate, she collapsed in tears of frustration and cried out “Tus Skietra! Help me!”

The white beam impacted her forehead, freezing her in place as the green beam scanned down the length of her body. When they both snapped off, she was completely unconscious.

She never heard them turn off.

*******

Lillith awoke on her stomach; her head turned to the side. Again, she had been cleaned up, yet her clothing showed every rip and tear. She felt a jolt of panic, sheer panic, fire through her as she realized once more where she was! She quickly pulled away from the light, shuffling along the floor by pushing frantically with her feet. Yet the light followed.

Lillith was shaking now, scared, unsure, nearly broken. She was a Protector, yet the things that made her one were taken away, leaving....what? What had she become? What was to become of her in this place? She did not understand any of this. Perhaps, she never will understand, she thought. How she wished she were home with William right now. He would not hurt her. He would take care of her and protect her and.....wait. Wait, she thought, just.....wait. Protect. She had grown up with that ideal. Lived it; breathed it; believed in it. And believed in herself. There was something else. Something else deep within her. Something that they hadn’t destroyed yet. Something that they could not take away. Something that, until now, she too had forgotten about herself!

Rising unsteadily to her feet, she staggered slightly before catching herself. Taking a breath, she stood up straighter, forcing herself to painfully stand taller than she had ever before. Pushing her hair from her face, she looked up into the light. Her hands set firmly on the hips of her battered body. With a look of determination on her face, she spoke in the firm voice of her heritage!

“I am Lill’th’a Velor! The Protector of the Tetrites! Do what you will to me, but I will not allow....

Without warning, a green blast came out of the darkness, hitting her squarely in the chest. Her body felt as if it had burst into flames inside as the green vapor drew into her. A second, equally powerful blast from another direction slammed into her again as yet more of the green vapor engulfed her. Immediately she dropped to the floor as if she had completely lost control of herself. Wave after wave of arousal filled her so intensely that she could not help but feel at herself as she writhed and bucked!

“Tus Skietra!.....Ungh!”

The trembling fingers of her hand wove quickly down the length of her body, seeking the suddenly swollen lips of her sex, playing across their fullness as she swept her long, muscular legs aside. Slipping those slender fingers inside herself, they spread wide the lips just passed. Allowing yet another sensuous hand to pass deeper still in the hopes that somewhere inside she would quickly find release from the inferno that burned out of control within her.

William would probably simply say that she was incredibly horny! But, no, NO! This was beyond horny! This was overwhelming, searing arousal! It swept her away completely with its fierceness! As she spread her legs ever wider apart, she could see an intense green glow coming from her pussy! She immediately realized that this must be Orgone! She had never experienced that before, but Kara had warned her about it! Why would they do this? WHO WAS DOING THIS?

The door! The door was opening again! Lillith could barely twist herself around from her position on the floor to see and she could barely care! All she wanted was to cum, tus Skietra, how she wanted to CUM as she continued her own frantic sexual manipulation!

A figure approached to stand over her.

“They told me if I kill you, I will be released.”

“NO! NO! NOT NOW! NOOOOO!!!” Lillith screamed as the male picked her up by the hair and whipped his huge fist into her jaw in a massive roundhouse punch. She thudded solidly into an unseen wall as the male walked calmly to her.

As he approached, her mind was a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. Looking up at the advancing male through half closed eyes, every detail about him seared into her mind as the Orgone had its way.

His narrow, hard waist of rippling muscle, the way his hips moved when he walked, his wide strong muscular shoulders, his huge arms that packed so much wonderful power into his fists. Look at his eyes! Those piercing eyes! So intense, so hard! See how he moves! Everything about him was telling her that he was coming after her! Coming to wield that strong wonderful body against her! The very thought of combat with such a magnificent creature made her arousal surge immensely! An arousal that was having immense effects on her powers!

 

When the Geheim male ripped her from the floor and held her aloft with one hand, she tightened her belly until the muscles looked as if they were chiseled on her stone body. Her breathing was rapid as she gasped against the surging sensual violence that wracked her! Sneering at him with clenched teeth, she forcibly taunted the male through the haze of Orgone arousal with a voice laced with the brutal, white-hot fires of her passion!

“Come on, warrior! Show me your strength!”

The muscles in the arm of the giant male seemed to grow even larger just before his fist rammed solidly into Lillith’s tight belly. The impact sounded like a muffled explosion as a fast moving shock wave flashed out from the point of impact and into the surrounding darkness. The force of the punch was so great that it lifted Lillith up off the floor! If it were not for the iron grip that the male had on her long blonde hair, it certainly would have flung her up into the stratosphere!

She had felt the full fury of that punch. Her mouth agape, she could feel a rush cascade through herself at the thought of how powerful this male was! Where before it filled her with fear, now the thought of it was turning her on! How magnificent he was! Also in her mind, having an even bigger erotic effect, was the sudden knowledge that she was potent as well. The thought flashed in her mind that, as strong and powerful as this beautiful male was, she was even stronger and even more powerful! That thought began to flourish, taking her mind into a place where she had dared not go before. But the Orgone, the terrible Orgone was insisting! Making those forbidden thoughts delectable! Erotically delicious to taste!

How she hungered!

Her fists smashed three rapid punches across the face of the male, snapping his head to each side.

“That was no blow! You can’t defeat me like that! Strike HARDER!”

On the word ‘harder’ she slammed yet another right cross into his chin. Recovering quickly from yet another devastating blow from her slender femme fist, he was incensed as he released her hair! He slammed his left, then his right fist into her rippling belly so fast that they seemed to arrive simultaneously! Lillith was jolted backward, crashing once more into the invisible wall. Running her hand briefly across her glowing red stomach, she once again felt that wonderful surge of arousal pound her from within! She felt stronger, incredibly powerful! She found that thought wildly erotic! Her body poured her pheromones into the room like a shattered dam flows water! The air was thick with her scent, her wetness coating her inner thighs to her knees as the source of the wetness glowed green. Her massive breasts swollen ever larger, with a firmness of steel, pushed her moist, dark protruding nipples to their limits! Those same breasts heaved rapidly as she gasped and shuddered from the Orgone effects! The male looked on, coping with his own intense arousal, as Lillith flexed her entire body to unbelievable proportions! Every muscle of her young body expanded beyond any size they had ever attained before, shearing the last remnants of clothing from her body! The combination of the Orgone and the arousal of experiencing even a little of one of her secret fantasies had the total effect of magnifying her strength to unimaginable limits! Every part of her passion showed in her ravishing face as her tight lips twisted apart baring her bright clenched teeth. Slits of blue glared at the huge male before her! In that instant, Lillith was the most dangerous creature in the universe and only one thing kept her in check. Yet the weight of all of the sensations that bombarded her mind at that moment, and of the beatings, the rape, the humiliations, and the confusion finally forced that one last thing .....to .....go .....snap!

With a guttural yell, Lillith was on the Geheim male instantly! Beating him senseless with her pummeling fists, her powerful punches flailed his body mercilessly around the unseen perimeter! His counterpunches and kicks were either batted away or glanced harmlessly off impervious female muscle! This was no longer a fight; it was total domination! Lillith found it all INCREDIBLY erotic!!

She saw, as if in slow motion, his muscular body twist and react to the impacts of her fists. She felt the solid feel of him as her fists made contact, driving him relentlessly before her! He had no chance against such power! She could feel her magnificent strength surging through herself as she pummeled him repeatedly, at will! His grunts and yelps of pain were like music to her! Without a thought, she sheared away his pants with one sweep of her arms, exposing his hardening cock! Before he could react, Lillith grabbed the flailing member in her iron grip, using it as a convenient method to hold him, to keep his sensuous body within reach. Oh, how she wanted to keep that body within easy reach!

The sensation of such a powerful grip around his cock made the beaten male momentarily freeze in place as his mouth fell open and head fell back slightly. Just the pose Lillith had in mind.

He never saw her punch coming as her steel knuckles smashed into the side of his exposed chin. Faced with a sea of dazzling stars filling his vision, he certainly did not see that same fist whip back across his face, driving his face back the other way. Repeatedly the same hard, clenched fist lashed his head back and forth! Using a  technique of superiority and domination perfected by Arion Primes, Lillith was fistwhipping him murderously!

Faster and faster she did this as she held him strongly by his massive cock! Standing solidly with her feet wide apart, Lillith put on a display of immense might and raw power as she devastated a fully combat-capable Geheim male with one hand! She sped up the punishment until her arm became a blur! Suddenly, she simply stopped and released him.

His muscular arms hung limply at his sides as he staggered back from the dangerous Velorian, his face a mass of blood. The female titan walked menacingly around him, her powerful body slippery from sweat as she glistened under the stark light. She looked over this large, potent male that she had just taken apart with her bare hands, with openly visible lust! How incredibly powerful she now felt! How unimaginably powerful! Almost taunting him to continue the fight, she finally stood boldly before him as she let yet another sudden urge take control.

“On your knees, you bastard!”

Her immense forearms smashed down on his broad shoulders, knocking him down to his knees. The sight of him teetering before her was all it finally took!

Lillith instantly flung her head back as she felt the gorgeous rush of an orgasm take form within her! She never even noticed him fall sideways, unconscious, to the floor as her fingers instinctively slipped between her engorged labia frantically searching, frantically feeling, frantically urging the orgasm to grow! She staggered back two steps before falling hard onto the floor herself! Writhing wildly, arching her body violently, muscles expanding and contracting savagely, a burning tingling itch exploded from inside her.  Her hand was a blur as visions of her domination of the male flashed repeatedly in her head! Breathing so rapidly and so hard through her clenched teeth, the sound of her passion filled the room! A passion for an orgasm that embraced her so completely that it tore into the very depths of her soul! Her scream was almost primal as the guttural sound echoed in the darkness! The intensity of it all was barely endurable by the young Velorian! She was having the most massive climax of her existence!

A brilliant white coherent beam shot out of the darkness, striking her in the forehead......

*******

Her eyes fluttered open slowly as she first noticed the coolness of the floor against her cheek. The polished blackness reflected her image as a moment of confusion yielded quickly to remembrance of her imprisonment. She rolled over onto her back and sat up quickly.

The Geheim male and the Orgone were gone, although she felt a bit sore all over. The chamber was illuminated completely now. The entire ceiling glowed with a bright washed-out white light as if an excessive number of florescent lights glowed behind a white translucent ceiling.

The room was circular and mainly painted black. There were gray geometric shaped graphics and two peculiar red stripes painted through the center. These stripes ran down the wall on one side, across the floor through the center, and up the wall on the opposite side. Lillith was still on the floor, resting her chin on her knees, trying to understand it all. She could hear faint music from somewhere overhead. If she were Terran, she would have recognized the music as bland Muzak. The song, the Girl from Ipanema, was being played on an inexpensive console organ. The entire chamber had taken on the appearance of a clinical waiting room. Lillith slowly got to her feet, in no hurry to see what would happen next.

The room was nearly empty. In the center of the room, a white Greek-style pillar about four feet tall stood alone. On the top of the pillar, a small red velveteen pillow supported a golden cube about 1 inch long in all dimensions. Lillith walked cautiously toward this pillar and tentatively touched the gold cube out of curiosity. It was, she determined, only gold foil. She picked it up and unwrapped the foil. Inside was a solid, brown-colored mass that smelled rather agreeable. She licked it as an experiment and found it very sweet indeed. The brown coating was beginning to melt on her fingers, so she placed the mass into her mouth to enjoy some more of its sweet taste. When she did, she discovered the delicious wonderment of a chocolate-covered soft caramel.

Lillith was searching the pillar for more when she noticed that the orb had suddenly reappeared to hum next to her head. She turned to it as she chewed her treat, watching it spin in place. It hovered with only the most subtle of whirring sounds. She sounded very tired, yet the resentment was there in her voice.

“Did you get everything you wanted?”

The orb merely spun as before.

“Was all of this done for your own benefit?”

The orb seemed to spin a bit faster, but not much.

“It’s not right doing this to beings.”

The orb slowly moved around to the other side of her.

“You shouldn’t just grab us and take us here...”

The orb turned faster as Lillith broke down in tears. Her hand moved quickly to cover her eyes.

“...to make us see ourselves like that!”

In a flash, the white beam engulfed her and she was gone.

Outside the habitat, the planet Tetra

The local Tetrites had been holding several meetings. Meetings about the new creature that had taken up residence at the habitat. It was not that they disliked the creature, it was just that the creature had shown no inclination to come to any  kind of agreement about its treatment of the Tetrites. Something surely had to be done.

A major gathering of all the local Tetrites was now in full swing. William listened to them speak as the dog strained on a rope nearby. Its constant barking repeatedly disrupted the meeting, making more than one eloquent speaker give up in disgust. Yet it was Phil who rose in defense of the creature.

“It may be that our attempts at communication with the dog did not fail because of any fault of hers, but rather our own inability to determine a proper mode of doing so. Perhaps we should consider a Gathering.”

“Impossible!” yelled another Tetrite, “The creature would not allow it!”

“It only takes one of us to begin! And if we succeed, the benefits would be substantial!”

“That which one begins, all must complete.”, mumbled William to himself. Phil turned to him at the sound of his voice, cocked his head slightly, and turned back to the group without response. He had not finished making one final proposal.

“I will try to make a beginning with the creature! Will you complete it with me?”

“If you begin, we must!” Shouts rang out through the gathered Tetrites of agreement to complete the Gathering with Phil. Satisfied that they now had a plan, Phil trundled over to William.

“Sir. I will need your help to begin.”

“Whatever you need, Phil. By the way, what exactly is it that we’re going to do?”

“A Gathering, sir. Do you recall when we performed it with the Mistress after she had killed the Arion military gentlemen?”

William thought back to that night years ago when he first saw Lillith. Her guilt at killing for the first time was somehow dealt with by her friends, the Tetrites, in a way he had never seen them repeat. He still did not understand what had happen to her even all these years later.

“Sure, I remember, Phil. By the way, what is it that you guys do during a Gathering?”

“We provide needed information.”

“Is that what you did for Lillith.”

“The Mistress required information.”

“What information?”

“The information we supplied.”

“I hate when you guys get cryptic like this, Phil! Why won’t you simply tell me what you gave her?”

“You do not require the information, sir.”

William became slightly disgusted with himself for even trying to get anything meaningful out of this kind of discussion. He had long ago decided to himself not to even try anymore.

“So, okay Phil, forget that business. What are you going to do with the dog?”

“She simply requires the proper information. We will supply that information.”

“Just like that.”

“Like what sir?” Phil turned to look behind himself.

“Sorry, Phil. It’s another Terran expression. Okay, tell me what you need from me.”

*******

William could not believe that he had let Phil talk him into this. His last Terran steak was now charring on the grill. But not for him, for the dog! The bundle of blue fur stood nearby, her nose in the air sniffing the steak as if she was going to draw it all in molecule by molecule. Leaving a good deal of fat on the meat, William removed the completed delicacy, let it cool, chopped it up into tiny pieces, and deposited all of it into a large bowl. The dog was on her hind legs trying to eat it all even before William got it to the ground.

Everyone stood back, watching the dog devour the meat so quickly that she gave some the impression that she had been starving for food. Hardly a correct assumption.

“I hope this works. That mutt’s eating better than I am today!”

“The full meal as well as the substantial fat content should induce the require effect on the creature, sir.”

Having finished the meal, the dog belched loudly. The unusually loud sound startled many of the Tetrites.

“My goodness! That effect was unforeseen, sir.”

Lazily, the dog looked out at the gathered crowd of Tetrites around her, tail wagging in response. Her obvious pleasure shown in her face as her tongue cleaned her mouth completely before coming to rest out of one side of her now slightly open mouth. She looked all around her, but everyone just seemed to want to stare at her. That was no fun! She slowly walked over to what had become her favorite spot, circled three times, and slumped down to the ground. Her tail curled forward to just touch the tip of her nose as she settled down to have a good post-dinner nap.

“Bungo.”

“That’s ‘bingo’, Phil. Now what?”

“Your assistance has produced the required results, sir. We will continue without any further intercession on your part. Please remain seated, sir.”

William smiled at the familiar phrase as Phil slowly, stealthily approached the sleeping dog. William covered his mouth to keep from chuckling at the comical scene of a five-legged Tetrite sneaking up to a slumbering blue dog. It looked like a cartoon! The cartoon-like quality ended quickly.

Phil reached the dog, lightly placed one of his legs on the top of the dog’s head, and held that position. All around William, the rest of the Tetrites moved forward, all either placing one leg on the dog or, when there was no more room, placing their leg on the Tetrite before them. There were thousands of Tetrites all coming together to form the Gathering. When all of them had come together, a rich amber glow formed around the dog. Her fur floated gently as she continued to sleep. All the Tetrites held position, the amber glow growing brighter, deeper, richer. For long moments this went on, the Tetrites motionless in total silence while the dog slept soundly through it all.

Finally, William noticed the amber fade away so slowly that at first he was not sure whether it was his eyes that were failing or that the Gathering was ending. When it had faded completely, the Tetrites just silently moved away. Some looked quite exhausted. Phil was the last to remove his leg from the still slumbering dog as William approached.

“Well, Phil, was it successful?”

“A Gathering is always successful, sir.”

“I see. So the dog knows how to behave?”

“I would not force the behavior of any species, sir. We merely provided the needed information.”

“What information?”

“The information that the dog requ...”

“Argh! Forget it!”

“Sir?”

The surface of the Tetritian moon, Satee

From behind a clear outcropping of blue crystal, a pair of nervous eyes of a beautiful blonde female face peered out over the top.  Her curvaceous body appeared to be a blue distortion through the transparent imperfections of the crystalline structure. The wide, blue eyes looked left, then right, then slowly turned upward. Not seeing any orbs levitating about, she decided to stand.

Lillith had again not felt anything until she had awakened to find herself again on the surface of Satee. Suddenly finding oneself on a crystal moon may disturb some creatures, but for Lillith it was a dream come true! A tentative giggle silently left her lips just before her face distorted a moment from a rush of tears that burst out. Her hand covered her mouth as she turned quickly from one direction to another, not really believing where she was! On the airless moon, her sudden laugh could not be heard. But the look on her face was of pure joy! She spun around in place, her arms extended straight out from her sides in a brief dance of exhilaration! It was over! It was all over! She was so excited to be home again that she totally forgot the reason she visited the moon in the first place! There in the distance, a blue, brown, and green marble glowed brightly. Her mouth open, she stared at first in disbelief before a single silent word was formed by her lovely lips.

“Home.”

Rising up off the surface of the moon with nothing more than a powerful jump, her entire lower abdomen suddenly flexed hard, giving her instantaneous acceleration! She rocketed ahead, reaching the boundary layer of the atmosphere of the planet in minutes! Down she flew, shedding ionized air and flame! She made a straight-line dash for the habitat.

*******

Sitting outside the habitat on top of a huge boulder, William was telling Phil for the hundredth time that they would not be calling the dog ‘Blue’. Suddenly, a streak of blonde hair and fire came roaring out of the sky, instantaneously clamping arms and legs tightly around him! The force of her impact flung them both 1500 feet out into the desert, sliding mostly on William’s ass as they skipped like a rock over the surface of a pond. When they stopped in a swirl of dust, William was receiving a swarm of kisses and licks and nibbles from his lover come home.

“Hi, Lill..mmmph......babe, wha...mmmmpphh”

Finally she stopped, declaring loudly in English just before she buried her face in his neck.

“Skietra! Eet’s GOOD to bay hoom!”

For the second time today, William did not know what to make of it all. As he stood, Lillith remained firmly clamped around him. Her arms and legs wrapped tightly. All he could do was start awkwardly walking back toward the habitat, holding his affectionate bundle of enthusiasm along the way.

“Missed you too, kitten. Have a good day?”

Her muffled voice let him feel her breath against his neck.

“Crahppy day. Doon’t tawk.”

“No problem.”

When they got back to the habitat area, Lillith finally let go of William. Seeing Phil nearby, she returned to speaking her native Velorian as she suddenly noticed some blue fur walking warily around her.

“Oh, a Scalantran puppy!”

“Puppy? You mean it’s not grown?”

“Oh, no dear! They can get HUGE! This one’s just a baby! Where did he come from?”

“It’s a ‘she’ and we found her in some sort of research capsule. That was what we saw go down in the desert the other night.”

“Ah, that makes sense. The Scalantrans will sell anything. They probably sold off a litter of puppies to some world doing experiments of some sort. This poor little girl was probably accidentally set adrift. Poor baby.”

“Set adrift? Those bastards!” William was furious at the thought of anyone heartless enough to do that to a living creature.

“I’m sure that wasn’t the point of their experiment, darling.”

Lillith leaned down as the dog instinctively came to her. She cradled the dog’s head in her hands as she spoke quietly, as if just to herself. “Besides, we need to know the cruelty in ourselves well enough to know how we should judge the cruelty in others.” William leaned down close next to her and put his hand gently on her shoulder.

“What happened to you today, Lillith?” The kind-hearted voice of a lover sensing something wrong. Lillith returned a weak smile.

“I saw a terribly frightening side of the universe today. And a terribly frightening side of me as well. I hope I never see either one ever again.” Her eyes turned skyward as she paused before continuing. “There are things even a Protector should fear.” Leaning toward him, she kissed William briefly and smiled. “It’s good to be home with you.”

Lillith turned back to the dog, which was patiently watching them both. Blue eyes met gold eyes as both sensed that they shared a common experience. They both seemed to understand that each had survived an experiment, an experience at the hands of others that proved or disproved some unknown hypothesis. Or maybe proved or disproved nothing at all. All they both knew was that they went through something that neither understood, but both were glad to have survived, for this place and this moment.

Lillith ran her finger along the red mark on the dog’s nose as the dog’s tail wagged rapidly.

“Looks like a solar flare.” William smiled brightly and snapped his fingers.

“That’s it!!”

Just before sunrise, the next day

William slept quietly near the edge of the bed. All night long, Lillith had constantly been trying to hold him close. She was now spooned directly behind him. Her soft cheek rested against the back of his neck. Her legs were pulled up directly behind his. Her arm was up under his and over his shoulder as she cuddled tightly. There was no chance for stretching out on the bed last night for William.

Outside, thousands of Tetrites slumbered on their rocks as a few snored insistently. The horizon was just beginning to glow slightly, an indication of a coming day.

In the middle of this tranquil scene, a single blue dog sat quietly facing the orange tinted horizon. Flare watched out over the sea of sleeping Tetrites never missing a moment when one would shift slightly on a rock or unconsciously lift a leg to scratch an itch. Turning to return to the habitat, the dog sniffed the air before walking silently on.

Once through the door, Flare looked up at Phil, who rested upon his bed of stone just inside the window. Phil was still sleeping, yet his five feet twitched. Probably from some dream that even now was playing out in his mind. Flare gave a tentative wag of recognition.

Flare continued on, going silently around to the far side of the large pillow-filled bed. There she came upon William, who like all the rest slept blissfully on. Sitting down immediately in front of William’s face, Flare watched every movement of William. Responding with a wag when he would move so little as a finger or with a turn of her head when he would mumble in his sleep. Her gaze never left his face as her eyes focused with intense concentration. A concentration that was only broken when she noticed the first sign of sunlight coming through the window. To Flare, there was no more time! The day had come! We must begin the new day! She pushed her head forward.

The shock to William of having a cold, wet nose suddenly thrust into his eye was overwhelming! Immediately awake, yet completely disoriented, William rolled instantly back away from the assault! The young  blonde woman onto whom he had just rolled also woke swiftly. Her protests muffled by the bulk of her lover's body, she reacted without knowing what was happening by instantly giving whatever was on top of her a quick shove. William was launched upward to continue his confused journey across the bed. Rolling once, he finally fell off the opposite end, coming to land on the floor with a loud thud!

Sitting upright in the middle of the bed, her hair tousled all over her face, Lillith quickly looked around unsuccessfully for William. She could hear his mumbled curses coming from somewhere below. When she looked at the dog, she saw an exceptionally happy canine wagging her tail rapidly as if to say “Good morning! I’m glad you’re up!”

“William! Must you play with the dog so early?”

The muffled curses ended suddenly, replace by a single groan.

*******

Out beyond the limits of the expanding universe, where infinity is just a moment and reality is but a passing dream, they have gathered in a place without dimension for a time that does not pass. They who know well the laminates of consciousness, traveling between them as if it were all vapor on the wind. They, who might have been known on Velor and among Supremis wherever they may call home, but who today are rarely considered.

Within this assemblage, the talk is of inner strength and of timeless honor and of undefeatable courage. For the first time, within the same breaths, the name Lillith is spoken ......... and the smiles are warm indeed.

THE END