By Rob Nagle, with Brantley
Mar'ek didn’t know what he was carrying. He'd been handed a message capsule and told to stick it in the usual place –- one of the more embarrassing aspects of being a Velorian Messenger, but he'd gotten used to it.
He wasn't supposed to know what was in the capsule, but since he was expected to deliver it to Ground Command rather than Fleet Command, he figured it must have to do with the Occupation. There wasn't a whole lot of information coming out of Binkley's World, at least not that had reached the Guild Hall through the usual grapevines.
"Take along a mystery holocube to entertain yourself," the senior Messenger on leave had told him. In other words, he didn't know squat. If he had, he'd have known how to convey it in code talk. But the senior had one other piece of advice: "Get plenty of sun. You won’t have to fish for compliments.”
Yeah, he'd need it, if the rumors were true about the number of Protectors and Auxiliary Protectors stationed there – two dozen, four dozen, was it? Nobody knew for sure; that was classified. But he'd need the orgone, no doubt about it. They’d sent B’ruce of all people to service them.
B’ruce the Screw Loose, who hardly ever showed up at the Hall and didn’t have a clue what went on there, for all his 200 years. Mar’ek hoped he still knew how to use his dick, at least, but he doubted it would hold up long enough to get the job done. If he even remembered to do it.
Mar’ek would probably have his work cut out for him as a backup, even if it wasn’t really supposed to be his job. Not that he minded that; it would be a lark making love to so many Velorian demi-goddesses, to see the rapture on their faces, to hear their screams of release as he ministered to them.
And minister to them he would, as a good Messenger should. This was a whole new situation on Binkley’s World; he knew that much. The Protectors wouldn’t be used to it, wouldn’t understand what was expected of them. They would need whatever comfort and counsel he could offer, above and beyond the pleasure that was their due.
He'd already grazed a couple of suns for the energy to make it through the wormholes, but he figured he'd better pause for another stellar bath after he entered the Binkley system. That was irregular, so he'd have to make fast work of it, but it had to be done. And he might have to take a break after a dozen or so Protectors… Auxiliary Protectors.
This whole business of Auxiliary Protectors had everybody at the Guild Hall upset. Messenger ranks were already spread pretty thin. But the men he'd spoken with were divided on what to do about it.
Some thought their own ranks should be similarly augmented, but others argued that second-class Messengers wouldn't be up to the job -- either job. And if second-class studs were needed, let them be recruited the same way as the Legion. If they had to take ship to get where they were going instead of flying naked, so be it.
Even with the coronal pit stops, Mar'ek was making good time. One more day to the Binkley wormhole, through the rabbit hole and – well, he'd see.
In his mind’s eye he imagined the goal, the purpose of his journey. After delivering that message, whatever it was. The vision made him all the more intent on tempering his blade in the fires of Binkley’s sun…
* * *
James lay in repose as Bidu spun above him. He loved to watch her spin - faster, faster -- the more to feel her turn! She'd spin so fast, but then she'd slow, and he would have to raise a hand to slap her ass, and then he'd watch her spin some more.
At length she stopped with her back to him. James felt her relax, and watched her buttocks settle on his belly. She arched her back as she reached behind to caress herself, and then she released a sigh of such contentment!
"I couldn't've put it better myself," James told her lazily.
She raised her arms to gather her hair behind her head. Just the sight of her made him stronger!
Bidu sighed again, and clutched him deep in her abdomen. Skietra! James thought, There is nothing more erotic than a woman's back!
"Oh!" Bidu marveled to exclaimed. "How you fill me!" James smiled as Bidu grumbled, and stood up on her feet, pulling him up with her. "If you had any decency," she told him -- still grumbling -- "you'd be ashamed of yourself for being such a monster."
She disengaged him, took seat at his side, and gathered him close to her.
"Fortunately for you," James replied, lacing his fingers behind his head, "I have neither shame, or decency."
Bidu smiled. Lord, how she loved this man! She studied him; his length, his girth, his strength.
"I still can't believe you," she confessed in a tone of sheer wonder. She clutched him hard, and put her loving mouth to work around his tip. It took a moment for James to recover his breath, and to let the stars to fade from his eyes.
"Would you rather doubt yourself?" he asked her when he could.
Bidu craned her neck to kiss his eye before she looked him in the eyes.
"I can't believe that either," she said.
Never had she been able to so express herself. "Have you always known about this?" she asked, referring to him, and to her. "Yes," was the sum of James' answer.
She caressed him, thrilling at his sturdy texture.
"And you've kept it from me all this time?"
James smiled knowingly, and then he nodded.
Bidu was amazed at how she couldn't be angry with him.
"For the same reason you haven't told me all of your secrets."
Unwilling, the breath went out of Bidu. She clutched him -- held him!
"Every time I think I couldn't love you more," she said, "I discover that I've only just begun."
Again, he couldn't've put it better, and then an inspiration made him stretch, and sigh.
"Hah, and all I wanted was just some empty, meaningless sex."
All expression suddenly left Bidu's face. She gripped him firmly, and then she pushed -- hard.
"Ow!" James yelped, rolling onto his side. "Watch where you're going with that thing. Ohw . . . you almost broke my nose!"
Bidu laughed as James gingerly nursed his buffeted proboscis. She laughed, and then she fell on him.
"My darling," she proclaimed, "I can be as empty, and meaningless as you desire!"
And James laughed, and then they clutched, and they held, and they kissed, and they groped, and they rolled around the floor they lay on. In no time Bidu's attentions had waylaid any flag in him, and she was ready to swallow him whole all over again.
Mad'elyn flew into the Protector's barracks. She'd just gotten off duty.
"Hi everyone," she cheerfully greeted those present.
She looked about at her Protector kin, and then she wondered, "Why so glum?"
Several in the room gave her a tired look of 'DUH!', then Tra'cy replied, "The same reason why you're glum. The same reason why we're all glum."
Maddie considered the glumness factor, but she wasn't going to let it get her down. She'd had a good shift of duty, and now she was looking forward to a nice relax with Rud'olph.
She stripped out of her uniform, stowed it in her foot locker, then floated her beautifully naked self over her bed, snatched up 'Rud'ie' from his place of prominence on her bed side table and settled on her back with her knees raised, and comfortably spread.
She closed her eyes, selected her thoughts, and was soon emitting heavenly sighs as she trace Rud'ie's tip from the base of her chin to the tip of her glowing cleft. It wasn't long before her sighs had transmuted to demanding grunts as she readied Rud'ie for duty. She prepared herself for the initial stab of pleasure. It would hurt - she knew, but Oh! - so deliciously! She was whimpering with need - ready to press! Then…
"Aw, what's the use." With a noisy clatter, Rud'ie was consigned to the night stand once again.
A smug, self-satisfied smile on her face, Tra'cy couldn't resist.
"Why so gl-- "
"Shuttup," Mad'elyn snarled.
Rud'olph -- or 'Rud'ie' -- was the name Mad'elyn had given her personal recreation toy. Every Protector had one, and all of them had names. The common problem with a personal recreation toy -- or just 'toy' -- was that a certain percentage of its -- or 'his' -- mass was lost to vapor with the, uh . . . culmination -- of each use. Repeated usage, predictably, resulted in the progressive loss of progressively more mass. Eventually, a toy would have to be . . . retired, so to say, to be replaced by a new toy of . . . more appropriate mass.
"I'd say you could borrow mine," Kath'y offered Mad'elyn, "but . . . it's really not in any better shape."
All the toys were now but sorry remnants of their former selves.
Mad'elyn smiled. Kath'y's generosity warmed her nicely.
"Thanks all the same," she replied softly. They bore sad testament to the fact that the lonely months on Binkley's World had been hard indeed.
"We need supplies, Hea'ther," Can'dice duly informed at the Auxiliary Protector in charge of supplies, as if the obvious wasn't obvious enough.
"I turned in the requisition weeks ago," Hea'ther informed her right back.
"And . . .?" Can'dice prompted.
"All Vendorian steel has been commandeered for flight craft," Hea'ther reported. "End of story. In other words; we got shot down."
Cass'andra's feet rose from the floor as she easily adopted a horizontal levitational attitude.
"What's to say that -- we -- aren't flight craft?" she asked with contrived innocence.
Hea'ther gave her Protector sister an appreciative smirk.
"Tried that angle," she responded. "Our won-derful senate anticipated us by procuring materials only for ships which have already been named, and I have discovered," she continued, enumerating on her fingers, "that there is no VSS Can’dice, there is no VSS L'yn and there is no VSS Ba'be."
Can’dice pouted effectively at the conclusion of Hea'ther's telling. "And I so wanted a ship to be named after me," she lamented. "Here we are at the very source," Shell'y was none too pleased to observe, "and we can't get any."
She turned to her unhappy others.
"Could irony be any crueler?"
"There's always the black market," Britt'a opined. "That's off limits to us," said L'yn. "You know we're not supposed to encourage that sort of trading."
"What about a proxy?" Cass'andra wondered.
"I tried that," said Mar'go, "too risky."
"What? You got caught?" asked Cass.
"No," said Mar'go. "The risk is in quality. You don't know what you'll wind up with. What I got was not Vendorian. Only found out after the first time. Took me a week to get all the slag out."
"I'll bet that was fun," Pat'ricia sympathized.
Mar'go turned her head Pat's way. "D'ja ever try to buy a sulfuric acid douche on the open market?" she asked.
"I hope you took that thing back to the guy you bought it from," Fa'un chimed in.
"Oh, I took it back all right," Mar'go related. "He told me to shove it -- I told him I already had, and it was his turn for a shoving." She smiled. "I got my credits back."
"Look, all is not lost here ," Mon'ique chimed in, "I mean, they can't produce 'V' steel with individual component precision. There are such things as after market remnants."
"Which are scrupulously recycled," Hea'ther related.
"Because they don't consider that there's a market for them," Mon'ique pointed out.
"Some remnants do fall through the chinks," said Cass'andra, "but, believe me, they all wind up in the hands of scalpers!"
"You've tried this?" Britt'a inquired.
"Oh, it's in the marketplace," Cass replied.
"Mm, let's go!" said L'yn, rising from her bed.
"Don't bother," said Cass. "They know what we use it for."
"So they tack on a premium?" Mar'go surmised.
Cass'andra threw back her head, and laughed.
"Ha!" she derided. "Do you have any idea of what those stinkin' Binkleyans want for a foot and a half long piece of three inch rebar?"
"All too well, dear," said Mad'elyn, "and they do charge extra for deburring the end."
"Rebar," wondered Shad'rah, "that's the stuff with the ribs, and knobs, on it, right?"
"It just had ribs, hon," Mon'ique clarified.
"You have your ends deburred?" L'yn asked Mad'elyn.
Mad'elyn, who prided herself on her erotic refinement, turned a haughty eye toward L'yn.
"Of course," she distinctly replied.
"Where'd you hear about knobs?" asked Cha'rise.
Shad'rah couldn't remember, so she merely shrugged.
"Gol," L'yn laughed in response to Maddie's preference, "a freshly sawed end is half the fun of breaking in a new toy."
"Are they making rebar with knobs?" Cha'rise inquired openly.
"Ugh!" Mad'elyn uttered to L'yn's preference with what she considered to be appropriate disdain. "You crude thing."
"That wasn't what you said the last time we shared orgone," L'yn rejoined with a sly look.
"Does anybody know about knobs?" Cha'rise officially requested.
Maddie recalled the last time she shared orgone with L'yn. It made her smile.
"Cha," Tra'cy attempted to chasten her, "do you mind?"
Mad'elyn blew L'yn a kiss.
"'ey!" Cha chafed. "I'm askin' a question 'ere!"
"They don't make rebar with -- 'knobs', okay?" Hea'ther duly informed her. "They could," she went on to report, "but it would be a special order, which would cost more, and they'd shoot down the requisition anyway, because it's not related to any pre-named flight craft, and, no, there is no VSS Cha'rise, or even a VSS Cha'cha."
Having been duly informed, Cha'rise retreated into herself. She hugged her knees to her chest as she sat disconsolately on her bed.
"We'd be better off making our own toys," she grumbled under her breath.
An odd silence suddenly took hold of the barracks atmosphere. When she noticed the pause, Cha'rise looked up to see that every Protector in the room was looking at her.
"Don't fuckin' look at me!" she truculently declared.
To enforce her command, Cha flipped herself face down on her bed, and pulled her pillow over her head. If nothing else, she could no longer see them fucking looking at her.
The Protectors in the room took visual note of one another, then, as a group, they slowly meandered their way to Cha'rise stretched out on her bed. Silently, they surrounded her, then Pat'ricia leaned close to her ear.
"Cha'ri-ise . . . ," her beautiful voice softly intoned with a caressing lilt.
At blinding speed, Cha'rise pounded her feet against her mattress.
"She is enjoying her foul mood," Shell'y significantly noted.
"So she is," L'yn acknowledged, then her hand delivered smart *THWACK* the prone Protector's posterior. "C'mon, Cha-Cha - rise, and shine."
Furious, Cha'rise emerged from under her pillow to see all of the Protectors gathered around her bed. "Why can't you leave me alone!" she whined.
"Because you," Mon'ique took care to point out to her, "are a genius."
Cha'rise's brow wrinkled prettily.
"Huh?" was the sum of her befuddled response.
"She's so brilliant," L'yn cracked, "even her own idea went over her head."
"Make our own toys," Hea'ther said for Cha'rise's benefit. "Between us, we've got the raw materials: Vendorian steel." She turned her eyes red. "And we've got the capacity: Heat vision." Her eyes returned to normal.
"And our breath to cool it," added Car'ol.
"I've done some study in metallurgy," Mad'elyn related, "so I know something about tempering, and annealing." "So, what are we waiting for?
Faster than the eye could see, they gathered up every toy in the barracks, and placed them all in a pile in the center of the room.
"It's not much," Fa'un observed a bit ruefully.
Mad'elyn cast a side long glance at Fa'un.
"It's not much at all," she made a point of stating.
Kath'y, for her part, was not to be outdone.
"Yes," she . . . sort of agreed, "it's very definitely not much."
Car'ol took this in, and knew that she could top it.
"It's not enough," she announced.
Mon'ique cleared her throat.
"Yes," she said, "hardly -- enough."
At this point, Car'ol made a point of turning to Mon'ique, and placing her hands firmly on her hips.
"Well," she specifically wished to know, "just how hardly is not enough for you, Train tunnel?"
Not to be taken aback, Mon'ique faced Car'ol with her hands on her hips, and her chest thrust out to boot.
"Obviously not nearly not hardly enough for you - Space hanger!" she declared.
The atmosphere in the room grew heavy as Car'ol, and Mon'ique approached one another. The two Protectors came breast to breast - and it wasn't to say 'Hello' either. "Wait!" exclaimed Hea'ther suspiciously. "Hang on a moment."
She did a quick count of the beds in the barracks, then made a count of the toys.
"Someone's holding out," she announced as though on the threshold of discovering a horrible conspiracy. "There's one -- toy . . . missing."
"We have a traitor among us!" Mad'elyn proclaimed, joining in the spirit.
"Sabotage!" Tra'cy decried.
"Who," Hea'ther intoned ominously as she looked around, "is the holdout?”
All of them looked about, subtly searching for surreptitious subterfuge. Eventually it came to their attention that Dor'thy had remained apart from them, laying most quietly on her bed.
"Dor'thy?" Pat'ricia wondered significantly in her direction.
Several Protectors floated over to confront Dor'thy, their arms folded under their magnificent breasts. Dor'thy lay on her back, clutching her toy. It was but a shadow of its former self; the worn, and mangled tip nested between her magnificent breasts.
"I don't mean to be a holdout," she pleaded, "really I don't, but . . . I have a lot of memories involved in this toy."
No one seemed overly impressed with this.
"Which would you rather," asked Shell'y with a tilt to her gorgeous, blonde head, "cling to old memories, or acquire new ones?"
The subtle flexion of her belly belied the fact that Dor'thy was open to acquiring, "New memories, you say?"
"Why of course, Dot'ie," said Mar'go, ready to apply her persuasive skills. "Think of all the new adventures you could have with a new toy," she breathed seductively, "a toy worthy of the Supremis that you are -- a toy that could fill you to the point of challenge, stoke your one, and only fire, satisfy your every desire -- here, and far beyond."
She floated over Dor'thy, straddling her waist to gently rub herself along the cobblestones of her sister Protector's abdomen as her talented, experienced hands skillfully kneaded Dor'thy's breasts.
"A toy that would be there for you whenever you needed. A toy that would inspire you with delights you'd never dreamed. A toy that could fulfill those dreams -- with a vengeance! -- dare as you've never dared before -- go boldly where no woman has gone before."
Dor'thy's genitals, and breasts were glowing with built up personal tension. The air was filled with her honey, and wildflowers scent. Mar'go stretched herself out along the aroused Protector to partake of the heat she'd inspired. She played their nipples together as her talented mouth worked on Dor'thy's face, her neck, her ears.
"You could be bold," Mar'go softly cooed, "reckless . . . without mercy!"
Of their own, Dor'thy's hands rose to welcome Mar'go -- to hold her to herself -- caress her gorgeous body. " . . . mercy . . . ," Dor'thy panted.
Her breath left her in tremulous sighs.
"No mercy," Mar'go whispered between attentive licks, and kisses. She lowered herself further to press their breasts together, trapping the toy in Dor'thy's cleavage. Vapor began to rise from between their chests. Dor'thy writhed on her bed as one afflicted - roughly grinding her pelvis to Mar'go's - fighting for release! She bit, and licked at her helplessly. With claws, she clutched Mar'go's buns - driving herself against her!
" . . . no . . . mercy . . . !" she gasped.
"Bold . . . ," Mar'go's caressing voice suggested, ". . . reckless!"
Dor'thy's pelvis strained to reach a pinnacle that was cruelly held away from her. An anguished sigh of passion tore itself from her throat!
"Take it!" Dor'thy cried, pounding herself against Mar'go. "Take it!"
Without another word, Mar'go plucked the glowing red toy from the pit of Dor'thy's cleavage,
And then she quickly floated away.
"Here's another one for the pot!" she proclaimed, holding the toy aloft as she returned the waiting group.
"What?" sputtered a languishing Dor'thy, realizing too late that she'd been tricked.
In a nanosecond she was off the bed, and hastening after Mar'go. "You bitch!" she declared at Mar'go's back. "You are a bitch, and I hate you!"
"Fair enough," Mar'go was more than willing to grant.
Several Protectors hungrily eyed the new addition as Mar'go placed Dor'thy's toy on the pile with due ceremony.
"Let's get cookin'!" said Mon'ique, rubbing her palms together in gleeful anticipation.
Several of them trained their heat rays on the pile of spent toys. In short order the heap was reduced to a molten puddle. Hea'ther kept up the heat as Britt'a, and Can’dice began to shape it with their hands. Throughout, there were a number of *snap*s, and *pop*s as Hea'ther strove to rid the precious metal of impurities.
"Skietra," commented L'yn, "don't you pigs ever wash your toys after you use them?" No one leapt to admit to this laps of hygiene. "Make it big," Tra'cy breathlessly urged the busy sculptresses.
"Make it long," Pat'ricia countered. "What if we made it hollow," suggested Kath'y. "That way we could make it 'big', and 'long'."
"No," Car'ol noted regretfully with a shake of her blonde head. "It would sacrifice strength." She looked about at the gathering of her own. "And we need it . . . strong," she made specific a point of adding.
Mon'ique eyed Car'ol suspiciously "Really -- strong," she qualified. "Put a lid on it, you two," L'yn directed.
The new toy took shape. It rose like a monument amidst the sexually starved Protectors.
"What's going on here?" asked a familiar voice in a suspecting tone.
Every Nordic featured face in the room suddenly went flush. All, that is, except one.
"Oh, hi Bea!" Car'ol exclaimed, her voice sounding like a curious squeak.
Group Leader Bea'trice slowly scanned a pair of accusing eyes over the guilty looking little girls under her authority.
"My question stands," she said before reiterating, "What - is going on here?"
"We're doing annn . . . experiential history lesson," Britt'a offered hastily,
Bea's eyes shifted to Britt'a. "It's a . . . reconstruction of a past event," Mad'elyn elaborated -- sort of.
Bea's eyes shifted to Mad'elyn."And discovering the dynamics of that event through . . . reenactment," Hea'ther attempted to continue. Bea's eyes shifted to Cha’rise.
"We're learning by screwing," Cha’rise said. "I mean -- doing."
Bea'trice didn't need to sniff to get wind of the load of bullshit coming her way.
"For all the good it's going to do me," she indulgently granted them, "I'm still listening."
"Well," said Mon'ique to continue the thread spun thus far, "we're researching a time honored, home-world tradition. The Girl Scouts of Earth -- they're really a fascinating bunch, lemme tell ya -- well, every so often, a group of them will go out into the wilderness, and gather around what's called a 'campfire'.”
She showed Bea the half cooled, molten pool of toys on the floor.
"This is only a crude approximation of a campfire, of course," she qualified. "So . . . what we were doing was reenacting a group of girl scouts sitting around a campfire roasting their weenies."
The silence that followed was deafening.
"It's very educational," Mon'ique added to break the silence.
Bea carefully considered both the crock, and its contents before she responded. When she was sure she had things straight, she spoke.
"There's only one flaw in your logic," she remarked to the group of Protectors.
"What's that?" asked Tra'cy.
Bea's eyes shifted to Tra'cy.
"Girls don't have weenies."
Within moments, the discovered chink in their armor caused a number of shoulders to droop, and an equal number of breasts to lower.
"We're pooling our resources," Cass'andra fessed up with regard to the pool of metal on the floor.
"To make a toy worthy of me!" Dor'thy added proudly.
Bea's weren't the only eyes in the room to shift to Dor'thy.
"What?" the Protector wondered pointedly. "Nobody said anything about sharing."
"Well, now you're finally starting to make some sense," Bea'trice granted them. "Every toy in this place has been smoked to the point where it wouldn't know what to do with a fancy even if it could find one to tickle."
She glanced about the group. "And I have to say that your discretion in view of the personal tension ban has been . . . most -- commendable." She smiled on them. All of them.
"We haven't broken a single window since the ban started." She nodded toward the pool on the floor.
"So you're going to use your remnants to make a new toy," Bea surmised. A number of blonde heads nodded. "Did you get mine?" she asked.
A number of blue eyes widened. A number of blonde heads shook. In a flash, Bea had fetched her personal toy. It was, by far, far more the worse for wear than any of the others. The sight of the group leader's toy caused several more pairs of blue eyes to widen.
"You've been - "
"Don't say it," Bea warned before the offender could say 'busy'.
She added her toy to the pot, then stepped back with her hands on her hips, and looked about her group again.
"Well," she said with a smirk, "Start roasting your weenies."
At once, every blue eye in the room turned a brilliant shade of red. In no time, the metal was liquid.
"Whoa -- whoa, back off girls!" Deb'ra cautioned. "Too many cooks, y'know . . . "
Britt'a, and Can’dice resumed the task of shaping the metal as Hea'ther, and Cass'andra maintained a specific heat to keep it malleable. The new toy took shape. It rose like a monument between the sexually ingenious women's experienced hands. They textured it to suit their tastes as well as their . . . quarks. When it was finished, Mad'elyn added the final touch with her eyes, tempering the toy for maximal strength, and hardness. "It looks so delicious, I just want to put a cherry on top of it!" Kath'y squealed.
"I get to anneal it!" Cha'rise announced. She jumped in to poise her glowing folds over the new toy's tip, ready to do it -- and herself -- justice.
"You're going to anneal it like that?" asked a suspicious Mon'ique.
Cha'rise momentarily curbed her enthusiasm to look up at Mon'ique.
"Sure," she said. "It's the same way you cool, and soften a man, isn't it?"
"What about your . . . sickness?" Bea inquired with a significant prick to a yellow brow.
Still poised, her knees agape, Cha'rise looked at her group leader. She was the very picture of restraint.
"What sickness?" she wondered.
"Your, uh . . . 'anasexia nervosa'," Pat'ricia reminder her.
Cha'rise turned to regard her sister Protector. The toy was becoming thoroughly slick with her flow of welcome.
"Oh, uh . . . " said Cha'rise, thinking fast, "I . . . made a miraculous recovery."
* * *
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the stars. James and Bidu had celebrated their love in their season of passion, and now it was season for talk, for further catching up.
Bidu had brought good news – about his sister Alisa, about her impending return to Velor. That had led to more lovemaking. But now it led to reflection – about his mother, about his stepfather. Even about politics. If James had only known where that would lead….
“She’s always been disappointed that Alisa refused her rites,” he said. “And now she has to wonder whether to put in a word for Lillith.”
"But realistically," Bidu went on to relate while delicately tracing a fingertip over James's lips, "she thinks that it would be better -- not."
"A close relation to the head of state being granted such privilege in the face of protocol," James considered further, "they'd never hear the end of it -- if it didn't actually guarantee impeachment!"
Bidu watched her busy finger, and then she looked deeply into her husband's eyes.
"And there are those who would like nothing better," she said.
James studied her. Bidu wasn't joking anymore. "Is the Opposition gaining support?" he asked.
Bidu drew a breath, and returned her attention to tracing. "I think you'd agree," she said, "that one aspect of a siege mentality is that it can be self perpetuating."
James lightly kissed her fingertip whenever it happened by.
"Those with a vested interest in keeping a war going," she continued, "could hardly be expected to look kindly on anything that might threaten to be an olive branch."
Bidu's report -- her thoughts, disheartened him.
"Fighting the enemy -- fighting our own conservatives . . . one wonders which is worse," he mused.
She held his face so that he looked at her.
"To some, quite close," she warned, "Your failure would be cheered."
The inference was unmistakable. Being a member of Velor's first family might be considered enviable, but it had a treacherous downside to it. What he was hearing from Bidu was a tiresome example of political sour grapes gone to seed.
Some in Velor's military apparatus saw his ascension to the rank of colonel owed more to his being step-son to the Velorian chancellor than any merit. There were even some who whispered -- none too quietly -- that the recent amnesty had been specifically drafted for his wayward sister.
And what about the Theel'dara Initiative -- this whole . . . love thy enemy gambit. Against all odds it had passed the senate to become official Velorian policy, and he had been given the privilege of implementing it here.
Some privilege, James wondered morosely. Bidu anxiously tried to kiss away the troublesome thoughts. She didn't want him moody -- not while she was there. Still, there was one thing more she had to tell.
"It's a lost cause, James," she plainly told him.
His eyes focused on her.
"What is?" he asked of her.
She hesitated -- studied his ear -- stroked his cheek.
Bidu's eyes locked on him - took him in. "This mission," she said. "It was a planned failure." She looked away . . . had to look away. "You were set up.
He suspected as much. Still, he asked her, "Why?"
"As a pretext for ousting your stepfather, and installing a conservative who'll keep the war going."
James's eyes once again lost focus, and, for a long time, neither of them spoke.
"James, I'm sorry," Bidu said to him.
He returned to her, and James could see that she truly was. It wasn't her fault, and he told her so by the way he stroked her back, and held her, and Bidu thanked him with her attention, and with her tears.
Set up, James considered soberly, and then he decided, I'll show those bastards a set up!
"I have been charged with this mission," he solemnly swore from the depth of his Velorian heart. “I will see it through."
“They will hate you more if you succeed than if you fail.”
James’ expression was resolute: “Let them!”
Bidu stopped her tears. She rose up to look on him, and found the reason for her being alive.
"And there's the man I do so love," she bequeathed to him. "The man I call my own!"
“A man who can trust his woman, who can depend on her without fail to do the right thing, as I am doing the right thing. There are secrets I must tell you now, things I have learned that are happening here, things that could change the course of history. But only if we guide them in the right direction.”
He hesitated a moment.
“There are two people you have to meet. Their names are Oon’ah B’Te and Xanthra R’N. They are the key to everything. But nobody is supposed to know, and I hope no one else but you finds out – until the right time.”
“Curiouser and curiouser,” Bidu remarked.
“For now, I’m playing dumb around them, and I expect you to do the same. But you’ll see what I mean. Their relationship is… unique. And their behavior has been… outrageous. I’ve purposely ignored that, because, ironically, it has served as a distraction – obscuring their true secret.”
When he told her about that, Bidu was stunned.
“Don’t let on,” he warned her. “Stay in character. She’s just another Aurean to you and, as a Legionnaire, you can make a point of being even more Velorian than Velorians when it comes to the… enemy.”
* * *
Char'lene suddenly appeared in the doorway of the barracks. She was breathless for some reason, and gripped the doorframe for support. She looked thoroughly spent, and hung over with fatigue.
"Well, if it isn't miss night owl," L'yn greeted her with an admiring smirk.
All of Char's Protector sisters turned to regard her. They were happy for her, and glad to see her.
"Leave any of 'im for us?" asked Fa'un.
"If the way you look is any indication of the night you had," Mon'ique observed, smiling at Char'lene warmly, "it must've been a doozy!"
Everyone waited for Char'lene to respond, but she didn't. She seemed to look about without seeing anything.
"How was he?" Cass'andra asked her point blank.
"He's not a Messenger," Char'lene snarled, her voice oddly strained, "he's a death sentence!"
She stumbled into the room.
"Where's Ber'nie?" she demanded. "I need Ber'nie!"
Her feet rose as though she were taking flight, then Char'lene suddenly pitched forward, and collapsed to the floor.
"Char'lene?" Bea'trice hailed her fallen sister. Char'lene did not respond. Everyone had stopped what they were doing. Char'lene had fallen on her side. Her body rolled onto its back. She was barely breathing. "Char'lie!" L'yn hailed.
Everyone hastened to the fallen Protector. Bea was accorded access to examine her. There was a strange, green glow at the pit of Char'lene's belly, just above her cleft.
"What is it?" Shell'y wondered.
"It's an orgone blockage," said Bea'trice.
"An orgone -- what?" Mar'go queried.
"Blockage," said Bea. "It's almost unheard of among Supremis," she explained. "It's a stall in the flow of energy centered around the vagina."
Bea's description of Char'lene's malady made several of the Protectors feel squeamish. Some even stepped back a pace, or two in the event that Char's condition might be catchy.
"There's only one thing that can cause an orgone blockage," said Bea, her tone dark, and frightened. "What?" a wide eyed Shell'y asked in a breathless tone.
Bea regarded her unflinchingly.
"Coitus nohappenus," she answered.
All of the Protectors were thunderstruck at the application of such a term to them.
"You mean he didn't - !"
"She didn't - !"
"He couldn't have - !"
"She - !"
"Holy Galens, what kind of a sicko pervert IS that Messenger?!"
None of them could believe it, and yet -- the evidence before them was all too plain.
"To leave a Protector wanting," Shad'rah was loath to realize, and then she suddenly covered her mouth, and hastened from the room. "Oh Skietra, I'm gonna be sick!"
"An "O" blockage can be fatal," Bea'trice noted. There was a tremor in her voice. All the Protectors heard it. "What're we gonna do, Bea?" Deb'ra hesitantly asked her leader.
Bea'trice looked about the Protectors under her charge. Their concern for Char'lene's fate was obvious -- Skietra bless them! An "O" blockage, however, was such a rarity that there was no known treatment in Velorian medical science. But she couldn't let that stop her. Char'lene depended on her -- just as all of them did - for leadership -- for strength!
"We gotta break it loose," Bea said, her voice rising, her tone sure. So there wasn't a way. Come Aurea, or high water, she'd find a way! "Penetration may be the way."
Char'lie needed her. She couldn't let her down! "Get 'er on a bed!" Bea roared, her voice ringing with determination. "This chick's gonna get fucked."
The Protectors flew to action. Char'lene was carefully attended to; laid on her back, her legs neatly spread. The new toy was dubbed 'Ber'nie II' in her honor. Ber'nie II was duly placed, and pushed, but one of the most insidious characteristics of an orgone blockage is that it causes acute vaginismus. All attempts, therefore, to impale Char'lene failed.
"I've never seen a hole so tight," remarked Mon'ique.
Bea'trice looked on Char'lene as she mentally considered options, then she looked to, "L'yn? You still got that - "
"Toy driver," L'yn stated, taking up Bea's inspiration.
With nothing more, L'yn flew to the foot locker by her bed. After some rummaging, she started tossing out pieces no one could readily identify. Once she had what she wanted, L'yn began assembling the pieces. The thing gradually took on shape, and size in her hands, eventually taking on the form of an enormous mallet. Once finished, L'yn set her jaw, narrowed her eyes, then took the toy driver into her hands, and hastened back to where Char'lene lay.
"Float back, kittens," she announced to everyone. "I'll get this sucker in!"
"Do they make toys that suck?" Cha'rise wondered.
Tra'cy took a gander at L'yn's implement.
"Gee -- that looks like a really big-- "
"It sure is," said L'yn.
L'yn had wielded the toy driver with an ariel spin to gain momentum. The butt end of Ber'nie II mushroomed on impact. "How's she doin'?" L'yn asked, sweeping her hair back from her face with a hand.
"No good," Hea'ther reported after a quick examination of Char. She looked up at L'yn.
"She's really tight."
L'yn pursed her lips.
"Tell me about it."
She took the driver in both hands again.
Mad'elyn judged when L'yn had enough toy driver swingin' room.
Two ariel spins brought the driver home this time. Char'lene's head sank into the wall above her to her shoulders.
"Ber'nie's not doin' too good," Dor'thy commented, observing the toy's heavily damaged end.
"Where're we now?" asked L'yn, dispatching her hair again.
"She's dilated two centimeters," she reported.
All of them knew it wasn't enough.
"This sucks," said L'yn.
"You need a bigger hammer, L'yn," remarked Car'ol.
"Does that toy suck?" Cha'rise wondered.
"No," L'yn answered, "I need to be bigger."
Every one of them knew what she meant. To exert enough force on Bernie to do the right thing was going to require muscle -- and a lot of it. To do that, L'yn was going to have to expand, and every one of them knew of the all but indistinguishable line between Supremis muscle expansion and sexual arousal. In their current deprived state, the effort to 'bulk up' could lead to another case of orgone blockage.
"Are you sure about this?" Bea'trice wondered of L'yn.
"Char'lie needs us," L'yn stated with certainty. "Somebody do me." "No," said Fa'un, "I'll help."
Fa'un was an example of those exceedingly rare occasions when the fabled Velorian Maternity Engine 'burped'. Just as with L'yn's darker, auburn colored hair, Fa'un had a naturally fuller, more powerful build. She was, by far, the strongest of the Auxiliary Protectors, and she could expand her muscles without the side affect of arousal.
The Velorian beef cake floated up to L'yn, and added her two hands to the toy driver's handle.
"We'll do it together," she said to her kin. "My strength - your aim."
Tough as nails as she was, L'yn's chin crinkled, and she forced back a tear. Fa'un never failed to touch with her selfless generosity. L'yn gave her a nod, and, in the next instant, Fa'un was . . . HUGE. The air displacement alone from the speed, and volume of her expansion blew out several windows in the barracks.
"You do power up," L'yn remarked admiringly.
Fa'un just smiled.
"Say it," she prompted. Time to get serious!
"On the count of three," said L'yn.
The toy driver held between them, the two Protectors began to spin - gaining momentum with every rotation.
"One!" called L'yn. "Car'ol -- Britt'a!" Bea'trice ordered. "Grab Char'lie's ankles."
Without hesitation, the two Protectors complied with Bea's instruction, each of them taking one of Char'lene's ankles into the unbreakable grip of their two hands as L'yn, and Fa'un continued to gather speed.
"Two!" "Assume a lateral levitational attitude," Bea instructed. "On impact, engage your volatai at full upward thrust."
Car'ol and Britt'a floated on their sides, and waited. All of the Protectors watched the indistinguishable blur of L'yn, and Fa'un spinning over the prostrate form of Char'lene. The hopes, the prayers, the anticipation was
There was an unbelievable explosion between Char'lene's legs that knocked every Protector in the barracks for a loop. When the sparks, and fire, and smoke had cleared, L'yn, and Fa'un held a mere handle over an empty bed with a gaping hole in the wall above it.
Two Binkleyans on the street were talking with one another when a speeding blur shot past them in the distance.
"'Dju see that?" asked the one Binkleyan to his fellow.
"I expect I did," acknowledged the other Binkleyan. "It looked like a flying Protector with two others latched onto 'er ankles."
Both Binkleyans paused to reflect on what they'd seen, then they regarded one another in the light of said reflection.
"Do they ever think about anything but sex?" one wondered.
"Your guess on that's as good as mine, I'd wager," said the other. "I swear, if I had a credit for every orgasm just one of them had - "
"You'd be richest man in all the universe!"
Meanwhile, with Char'lene, and company…
"Fly, you idiot!" Car'ol screamed at Britt'a.
"I am!" Britt'a screamed back.
The fact that both of them were, essentially, flying forward while, literally, hurtling backward left Car'ol in a considerable state of surprise.
"How're we gonna stop 'er?" she wondered.
"I don't know!" Britt'a shouted.
Back in the barracks, Fa'un returned to her normal size. Bea gazed out through the hole in the wall with hope, and with saddness. Mad'elyn placed a comforting hand on her leader's shoulder.
"She's in Skietra's hands now," she gently counseled.
Cha'rise floated close to L'yn, eyeing the remnants of the toy driver she held.
"Are you, uh . . . y'know like - finished with that handle?" she wondered.
Without further question, L'yn handed it to her. "Knock yerself out," she offered.
"I certainly will try," said Cha, accepting the gift, "oo, splinters."
* * *
Xanthra strained to push the handles of the hydraulic bench press machine higher. The mechanism, rated in tons, rather than pounds, strained to resist her. Oon'ah strained too. Poised inverted in an ariel handstand with her hands pitted against the upper surfaces of the five inch diameter, solid steel handles Xanthra worked to move upward, she added resistance with the aide of her volatai by, essentially, flying downward.
She could feel her lover's effort through the pressure against her hands. She was thrilled when she felt Xanthra's elbows lock out below her.
"You're going to have to do better than that if you intend to win this bet," the near exhausted Aurean snarled up at her between sorely needed gulps of air.
They were in the Protector's gym, which was a converted warehouse. All of the equipment operated on hydraulic systems specifically designed to maintain a Protector's strength. The women of the Auxillary Corps had taken to partnering each another, one on one, in their workouts. The frustration of the messengerless super-femmes had reached the point where a session of strenuous physical exercise would often culminate in a session of strenuous physical exercise.
"You have one more rep to go, you weak, Aurean slut," Oon'ah snarled down at the one who had become her life.
It was the end of their workout. Both women were nude, their deeply bronzed skin slick, and shiny, with sweat, the 'pump' from their super-powered effort having inflated their Supremis muscles to five times their normal size. Xanthra's upper body was swollen by a factor of seven.
"Tough talk," said the Aurean, "for a limpy."
Her breath recovered, Xanthra let the handles of the machine down slowly in preperation for her final effort. She'd taken to calling the Protectors “limpies.” They hated her for it, and Oon'ah had had to break up more than one fight -- fortunately before Xanthra had over-powered her enraged opponent. She was still concerned that the extent of her powers remain unknown, but Xanthra seemed to no longer care who knew how strong she was. Oon'ah didn't like being called a 'limpy' either, but she smiled now in anticipation of what was to come. She was almost delirious from the burning itch that tore at her translucent groin. The reversible "Occupied/Unoccupied" sign on the entry door to the gym indicated to all that the couple inside was engaged in strenuous physical exercise of one sort, or another.
Xanthra's hands came to rest above her armpits. The steel billet that served as the press machine's bench now bore a detailed imprint of her muscular upper back. She closed her eyes, and took a moment to breathe quietly.
"This is the one that counts," Oon'ah told her.
The Aurean opened her eyes to look up at Oon'ah. Her face appeared to her as though it were in the midst of a blonde rainforest of dripping sweat. So taken by the sight, Xanthra could not resist her lover's stinking beauty.
"Kiss me!" she begged.
The Velorian's visage suddenly hardened.
"No," she answered.
A breeder reactor of fury exploded inside of Xanthra's head. Her face contorted into a cruel, ugly mask of searing rage. With a strangled growl, her chest ballooned to a factor of eight as she began the fight to push the handles upward. The machine's check valves engaged to resist her. Oon'ah summoned her volatai to provide added downward thrust.
Everyone knew that the unusual Aurean Beta trained with a fully empowered Velorian Protector. The results of that training were becoming obvious . . . on Oon'ah. The Supremis coma she'd endured in her youth had given Oon'ah a naturally thicker build, but her workouts with Xanthra were noticably growing her even bigger. The couple aggressively persued augmenting their already superhuman strength, and the intensity of their exercise had channeled the bloat of Oon'ah's recent orgone binge to give her larger, fuller muscles. Her relaxed physique was quickly taking on the appearance of Xanthra's buffed look.
Xanthra forced the handles of the press machine upward until her elbows had achieved a parallel plane relative to her shoulders. There she paused. Oon'ah knew that she'd reached the fabled '”sticking point” of the movement -- the place that ultimately decided the success, or failure, of a move's completion. She studied Xanthra's painfully strained features -- felt her fighting against the stall. She did not relinquish a single ounce of downward pressure she was exerting on the handles.
C'mon, you Aurean bitch, she prayed.
There was a purpose to the increasingly extraordinary physical demands the two Supremis women exacted from one another, and that purpose was the increasingly extraordinary sex they shared. Their lust wars in the mountains were fast becoming common knowledge -- the unfettered violence, and unrestrained passion of their super-powered loving shook the ground, and lit the sky. They were as unsparing of themselves as they were of each other. On an almost nightly basis, they would fight to exhaustion, then fuck to extinction -- only to awaken refreshed, renewed and ready for more.
Xanthra continued to fight the stall. Oon'ah watched her constantly while maintaining the pressure she added to the system's check valve resistence. It seemed no matter how Xanthra commanded her elbows higher, they refused to move, but she would not give up.
Their expectations of one another had set them apart among Binkley's World's residing Supremis. Each knew well that the stronger she was, the more she could give, and the more she could take -- in punishment as well as pleasure. Theirs was a singular bond that combined both overwhelming hatred, and passionate love, in a peculiar harmony of equal measure.
Xanthra's straining arms began to tremble with effort.
C'mon, you glorious bitch!
Perhaps the most peculiar aspect of this harmony was that each held the key to a secret neither knew of. They could pour out their titanic, personal rage on one another without once sharing the cause of so much feeling. To that, they were each other's perfect vessel -- deserving of no more in spite of soleful yearning, because neither would allow the other to see tears regardless of how great the hurt.
Xanthra's bulging muscles suddenly surged past the Supremis expansion factor of nine.
The handles began to move slowly upward. Oon'ah felt the change in pressure.
The galvanizing truth of each had cut that deep, and they were loath to burden the other with their private care. Oddly, the very thing that bound them together also seperated them. Each fed, and fed upon, the other's sickness, even as they held the cure for that sickness.
The check valves failed. The machine's massive two-hundred and eighty horse power motor instantly roared to life to drive the system's resisting impeller. Against the sum of her monstrous will, Xanthra's hands were forced to lower.
The Aurean bared her teeth, and Oon'ah's eyes widened with amazement to see her muscles expand beyond the genetically determined limit of ten times normal size.
The handles began to rise again.
The impeller blades of the system's pump gave out a moment before every tooth in the gear housing sheared -- yielding to the brute force of fully engaged, Supremis muscle.
Xanthra pushed the handles higher.
Two rods in the engine's crankcase broke at the same time a valve cover blew, and the cylinder block cracked. Xanthra got the handles past her sticking point as the motor stalled, then died.
At once, Oon'ah bore down to take up the slack of the failing machine. Xanthra's strength finally compromised the machine's very structure. Cold-worked steel, class 1 welds and hardened bolts failed as she pushed the handles, along with Oon'ah, higher. A steel mesh supported hydraulic line exploded, spewing a jet of hot oil over the floor as Xanthra labored to complete her final rep.
Oon'ah alone now provided her resistance. The solid steel between their hands began to flatten. Xanthra forced what was left of the handles higher. Oon'ah strained her volati to resist her. The billet Xanthra rested on began to sink into the four foot thick concrete floor -- sheets of liquid metal running down its sides from the waste heat of her back. The steel between their hands turned to molten putty. Their fingers interlaced, rivulets of white hot steel coursed along the engorged veins of Xanthra's huge, quacking forearms as she fully extended her arms to lock her elbows.
"I win," she quietly announced.
Holding each other's hands so strongly, Oon'ah smiled.
"I guess that means I lose," she wondered tentatively.
"You guessed right," she confirmed.
Defeated, Ooh'ah couldn't've been happier. She flipped herself forward, spreading her long legs wide, and slid her flowing self up Xanthra's torso - leaving a thick film of heavily scented Velorian whoopee along the length of her deeply segmented tummy. She took herself a very comfortable seat on Xanthra's lower chest, and immediately put her strong hands to work administering massage to the gigantic, hardened muscles on her upper chest. Among other motives, she knew the massage would serve to ease the recuperative ache that was to come.
"How'd you get such big, fat titties?" she asked playfully in a contrived, little girl voice.
Xanthra's pectorals suddenly turned to two massive billets of steel.
"They're -- not -- fat," the resting Aurean warned. Unfazed, the muscles of Oon'ah's forearms expanded to add strength to her aiding fingers. "Relax, Luv," she gently urged in her actual tone. "The workout's over." Xanthra frowned, and then her lower lip projected in a pout."The hard part, that is," Oon'ah quick qualified.
Xanthra caressed her hands up Oon'ah's thighs until they held the perfect globes of her perfect ass.
"But I was looking forward to the 'hard part'," she protested, pouting oh so prettily.
The feel of her lover's clutch drove Oon'ah mad! Her pumped body was screaming for attention!
"Which . . . 'hard part' were you thinking of?" she managed to ask through the rapidly gathering mental clouds of lust.
"Pardon me for noticing," said Xanthra, diverting their conversation to another topic, "but your pussy is burning a hole in my solar plexis."
Oon'ah worked her pelvis, trying to rub herself. Her glowing belly tightened.
"Really?" she wondered without so much as a trace of innocence.
Xanthra's hands caressed, and kneaded, her Velorian's gorgeous buns.
"How'd you get such a hot pussy anyway?" she inquired quite academically, then she added to taunt, "little girl."
The Protector instantly retaliated with a strong buck of her hips. "I'm -- not -- little!" she declared for the record, the little girl voice returning. Her ministering fingers working their way over Xanthra's bulging chest. Her pelvis also worked - struggling to relieve a Skietra awful, tearing itch!
"Watching big, strong women exercise really turns me on," the 'little girl' confessed.
Xanthra clutched her harder. She so hungered for that blazing pussy she could feel against her chest! Oon'ah barely traced the merest tip of a fingernail down the length of Xanthra's sternum.
"Are you a big . . . strong woman?" the little girl asked.
"Little girls with hot pussies shouldn't ask such stupid questions," the big . . . strong woman answered.
"But . . . that doesn't answer my question."
"Little girls with hot pussies should be obscene, and not heard."
"I . . . think I understand the hot pussy part."
"You understand it - very well, my little girl."
"Really? Oh gee, thanks - but I still don't like being called 'little', y'know."
"Have I hurt your feelings?"
"Yes, you have. All two of them."
"How can I make it up to you?"
"Well, I'm not real clear on the obscene part of what you said before - about being obscene, and not heard. Could you help me be obscene?"
"I'll do whatever I can."
By then, Oon'ah's translucant genitals hovered a mere inch above Xanthra's waiting mouth. Xanthra extended her tongue to greet her. Her spit instantly turned to steam. Oon'ah's entire body shuddered at the hesitant touch. Xanthra gathered her pelvis into her loving hands as Oon'ah did the same with Xanthra's head. She held her breath, and braced herself for the first of many tiny deaths.
"Colonel!" Oon'ah's exclamation startled even her as she saw the chief of Velorian ground forces enter the gym accompanied by a foreign woman.
Beneath her, Xanthra gagged, then sputtered, then began to choke as she struggled to free herself from Oon'ah's groin. Oon'ah clutched her harder to her crotch, somehow thinking that it would make the obvious seem not so obvious.
"Uh . . . ," she began to offer to explain to her commander, and his guest, "we were just . . . exercising."
Colonel Kim'Vallara looked startled at what he saw -- or what he thought he saw. The woman with him merely stared. Xanthra sat up from the half melted steel billet she lay upon -- with Oon'ah still attached to her face. It was as though the Velorian Protector was frozen from shock. There was a sharp crack heard as Xanthra raised herself to a sitting position -- a thick layer of steel slag fastened to the length of her back. She turned to glare at their unexpected company over the glowing mound of Oon'ah's belly.
"Uh . . . " Oon'ah reiterated. Her head up side down, her feet in the air, she seemed incapable of a more intelligible utterance. She clung to Xanthra like her life depended on it -- which made breathing rather difficult for Xanthra.
"B'Te?" the colonel said at length. He too seemed momentarily possessed of limited conversational ability. Bidu continued staring. Xanthra finally took matters -- and Oon'ah -- into her own hands. After extricating her nose from the depths of Oon'ah's folds, she braved a smile toward their visitors, and, unable to think of anything more convincing to say, calmly told them, "We were exercising."
She'd spoken coherently, but the 'feel' of what she'd said wasn't right. Oon'ah's flood of secretions had stuck her lips together. The whole of her lower face felt funny too, for that matter. Oon'ah thawed out at this point. She got her feet to the floor, and snatched up a towel -- attempting to clothe her hips to conceal the state of her arousal. Having been 'caught' had made her 'itch' gnaw all the harder. The attempt to cover herself, though well meaning, instantly failed, however, when the towel burst into flames.
"Explain yourselves," Colonel Kim'Vallara requested of his subordinate, and her assignee. Xanthra licked her lips -- for obvious reasons as well as for not so obvious reasons -- before she noted, "We already did." "Didn't you see the sign on the door," Oon'ah demanded to know, "Sir?"
She was busy stomping out the flaming towel before it set fire to the hydraulic oil on the floor.
"Yes," Kim'Vallara readily conceded, "we did indeed see that the gym was occupied, but we didn't know that it was . . . occupied . . . "
From where she sat with her elbows resting on her knees, Xanthra smiled.
"'Occupied' usually does mean 'occupied'," she observed easily. "Xa!" Oon'ah snapped at her with a chastening glare.
She almost had the towel out.
The wheels appeared to turn slowly in Kim'Vallara's head. Bidu smiled demurely as she looked away.
"Is . . . that -- what that sign means?" the colonel conceded.
Xanthra's warm eyes met the colonel's..
"Occupied," she said with an attractive lilt to her tone.
A remaining ember got away from Oon'ah. The entire bench press machine went up in flames.
"Don't use that one," she lamely advised the just arrived couple, "it, uh . . . needs repair."
Xanthra sat back to relish the fire engulfing her. It was actually helping her super heated body to cool down.
Colonel Kim’Vallara exchanged looks with his companion.
"Bidu," James began to manage introductions on the heels of whatever her first impression might have been, "This is Protector, Oon'ah B'Te." Along with many others, he had little use for the 'Auxillary' designation. "She's in charge of integrating the resident Aureans here into Binkleyan society."
Oon'ah stepped forward shyly -- her hands clutched tightly over her burning groin. The fact that her breasts were so hot that her entire chest glowed seemed to have escaped her.
"Oon'ah," Jim sought to continue, "this is my wife, Lieutenant, Bidu Braga."
Bidu would have honored the Velorian custom of greeting another woman by pressing her breasts to Oon'ah's if Protector B'Te's extreme state of sexual excitement didn't pose risk to the new sports top she was wearing. James’ heat vision had already done significant damage to her wardrobe, and she needed all the clothes she had left. So she opted for the less intimate form of greeting by offering Oon'ah her hand.
Oon'ah hastened to extend her own hand - which had grown white hot from its close proximity to her genitals, and was replete with rising, honey and wildflower scented vapor.
"She hails from Novo Recife," Colonel Kim'Vallara informed the thoroughly abashed, and uncontrollably aroused, Protector.
Oon'ah suddenly snatched her hand back from Bidu. Out of thoughtful consideration, she wiped herself from her hand on her thigh -- along with some remaining droplets of steel from where she'd clutched the press machine's handle earlier - then offered it again -- still white, but noticeably less vaporous.
On contact, the natural oil on Bidu's hand ignited. The enhanced Novo Recifean took the event in stride, and greeted Oon'ah with a flaming handshake.
"I'm pleased to meet you," she said to the Protector graciously.
"Likewise, I'm sure," Oon'ah fairly gushed.
Bidu's eyes casually surveyed Oon'ah's form, a private little smile playing on her lips.
"Not -- too -- pleased, I hope," she slyly added.
Oon'ah blanched, and then she lost her breath.
Damn my Velorian body! she swore.
"I'm not normally like this," she vainly sought to explain, "I mean . . . not normally."
"It's all right, dear," an ever gracious Bidu granted her. "You're a Velorian. It's to be expected."
Oon'ah didn't lose her breath that time, but her features did take on a sincerely perplexed look.
Just what the fuck was that supposed to mean? she wondered.
The colonel smiled. His Bidu was a skilled observer, and a skillful diplomat.
"Xa," Oon'ah bid her love, "Come meet the Colonel's wife."
Xanthra pushed herself up from the billet she sat on, and stepped out of the dying flames of the press machine, slipped om some vitamatrix undies. Her build was still enormous, the slag having melted from her back. She enjoyed the full feeling of her body being '”puffed up” as she called it. Oon'ah's form, by contrast, was almost back to normal. Xanthra ambled toward the others, handling her extraordinary bulk with ease.
"This is Xanthra R'N," Oon'ah duly informed Bidu. "She's my Aurean assignee."
All expression left Bidu's face as Xanthra arrived, and raised her hand to her. "Pleased, Ms. Braga-Kim'Vallara," she greeted her respectfully. Then nothing else happened for the longest time.
It became painfully apparent to all that Bidu flatly refused to accept the Aurean's offering. Awkwardness consumed the atmosphere. Bidu merely regarded Xanthra through a set of narrowed, mercilessly accusing eyes.
At length, Xanthra lowered her hand, then she lowered her eyes. Her huge arms waved gently from her sides as she breathed. When she looked up again at Bidu, she was understanding, but serious.
"It's said," she noted, "that ninety-nine percent of the lawyers give the remaining one percent a bad name."
Bidu remained unmoved. Neither of the others knew what to say.
Xanthra lowered her eyes again, and bowed her head.
“I accept your reserve, ma'am," she said.
Her arms waved gently from her sides.
It was all the more she said, before she quickly left the room.
* * *
Bidu was in the bathroom indulging her most deserving self in a leisurely shower as James sat at his office desk catching up on paperwork. Despite his recent time away from Velorian Command, his skilled fingers hadn't missed a single pulse of activity on Binkley's World. Not all had gone according to plan, but he knew that when dealing with the human genome “plans” were generally useless.
Adaptability was the key to effectively guiding the unpredictable twists, and turns common to human sentiment, and Colonel Kim'Vaellara was known for nothing if not adaptability. Those skilled fingers took up an official summons from the Chancellor's office.
So, Howard Jolie wants to chew my ass, the colonel mused, noting the summons' date, and time. He already had a pretty good idea what the meeting would be about – that grudge match between Shad’rah and Ed, and all the bad publicity that had come of it.
Jolie wouldn’t have guessed how Shad’rah’s victory had come about, but James had recognized Oon’ah’s electronic fingerprints in the archive search. Damned reckless, she was, but damned smart too. He’d have to rein her in when the time came, when the time was ripe to reveal all – about her, about Xanthra, and the bond that would prove the worth of the Theel’dara Initiative to the weaklings at home who hoped to disclaim him.
We'll see . . . , he thought.
There had been a message capsule waiting when he and Bidu had returned from his educational tour – first to the gym, then to other sites like the still-warm crater in the outland where Oon’ah and Xanthra had gone at it during the first days of their affair.
The Messenger hadn’t waited around to hand it over in person. That was against protocol, but considering what the Protectors had had to go through without a competent Messenger available, he wasn’t going to make a fuss about it. He’d put the capsule aside, no doubt it was a request for a progress report. He’d have to come up with some convincing double-talk for this Mar’ek fellow to take back. Considering the time he’d have to spend making the Protectors happy, that would be a while. Still….
James thumbed the message capsule. But instead of popping open to disgorge a chip…
A brilliant wave of blue suddenly throbbed within the room. His battle instincts immediately kicked in, his first impulse being to protect Bidu. The room went normal for a moment, then the blue returned. From a scattered mass of luminescence, it concentrated into a shaft of teeming light no thicker than a writing stick, then slowly broadened to reveal an outline. The outline was blurred at first, then it began to take on shape, and definition. When the vision was complete, there was a teeming blue form of his superior officer standing before him; Star Marshall Teri Raul'lan.
James was slack-jawed with amazement at the sight. For all he'd known, the Star Marshall was on Velor, which was weeks of wormhole travel away.
"Have you forgotten protocol, Colonel?" the form said to him in Raul'lan's voice.
Still confounded, Kim'Vellara automatically raised his arm to salute the image of his superior. He was even more perplexed when he witnessed the form raise its right arm to return the salute.
"Don't look so surprised, Colonel," the form said.
"Ma'am?" was all James could manage at the moment.
"Yes, it's me, James," said the form.
"How did you come to be here?"
"This is interactive holo image facilitated through genetic hyper-link," the image of Marshall Raul'lan informed him. "It's quite new.”
"To say the least," said Kim'Vallera.
“My image is heuristically programmed, not only to deliver my message but to respond exactly as I would to the designated recipient – in this case, yourself.
He was just beginning to relax from his state of shock, and wondering where the new technology came from.
“I suppose I should be deeply honored by this visit."
"Don't get your hopes up," Raul'lan forewarned him. "This is between us, and no one else. Understood?"
"Conditions here on Velor have shifted," the Star Marshall told him. "The Theel'dara Initiative is scrapped. All resident Aureans on Binkley's World are to be exterminated with all deliberate speed."
"What!?" the colonel exclaimed.
"That's an order, Colonel," said the form. "There's no time…."
All at once, the form, and its blue light vanished.