by: Rick Johnson
PO Box 40451
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She ran, knowing that her luck had finally run out. She had once been a Tierna, a Noble of Ireland descended from Brian Boru himself and as only child she would inherit the title and estates, marry well and continue the fight to drive the English from her country. Now, her mother taken from the streets of Belfast by Cromwell’s men and sold as a whore in the New World, her father hanged as a rebel, their house burned and lands taken, all she had left was the empty matchlock, the crossbow with no more quarrels and a dagger still smeared with English blood. That and the clothes on her back, clothing that was dirty, bloody and so torn she looked more a peasant than a Noble.
Still she ran. If she could make it to the bogs, she could loose them for no English soldier would enter, weighed down by plate and gear.
One appeared behind a tree and she struck with musket, knocking him down and she changed direction. Then a horse struck her and she fell. She stood but was caught, struck so hard she felt teeth break. She was only five feet tall and not even seven stone so the soldiers easily held her. The one she had knocked down approached and crying, “Irish bitch!” hit her in the stomach. The others released her to vomit on the ground, blood, bile and broken teeth staining the ground for she hadn’t eaten enough to have anything else to purge.
They talked for a moment, discussing her and she understood their words for like all Irish Nobles, she spoke Gaelic and English and even Latin, the better to fight the conquerors. She tried to stand when one kicked her down, more pain, ribs breaking under his boot. Then one took her arms and pulled as another slid a knife between her small breasts and cut her dress open.
Now naked, they laughed and the one with the knife undid his breeches and came to her. The pain of his entry made even her broken teeth and ribs fade because this lasted forever. Then when done, he knelt and called, “Look,” Forcing his hand inside, he showed them blood mixed with his seed. “She’s a virgin.”
“Was,” called another. “Me next.” And one after another they took their turns. Each hurt more as her battered body faded from the pain and abuse. She called to Mary, Jesus and God for salvation until one struck her again, “Shut up you Irish whore! God hates you papists as much as good King Henry. She how God protects you?” And he shoved his knife pommel deep inside her.
He pulled it free, showing his mates her blood and their seed on the handle and they laughed as they finally pulled their pants up, too satiated to do more.
Crying in pain and disgust, she managed to roll over and ignoring her clothing, one hand holding her belly, the other her broken ribs, she managed to get to her feet and staggered to the bog. They could easily have caught her for she barely moved at a slow walk but then she heard them cock their flintlocks. She felt the musket-balls enter her back before she heard the powder ignite and the force of the balls threw her forward.
One came to her, his boots before her eyes, “Pity, she still had use left. Leave her here as an example to others to accept the English King.” Then she heard hooves fade in the distance. She wanted to pray for she had sinned since her last confession but they were right, God watched her disgrace, he didn’t care. Like he ignored Mary when he got her with child, was she raped in her sleep by him she wondered? And like he ignored his own son dying on the cross and the Irish dying before English steel, god ignored her own prayers. He ignored all prayers. So she simply stopped believing and faded away.
Consciousness arrived slowly. She was warm, but not hot. Her eyes were closed but she could see light through her lids, then the light faded and it was dark. She became aware of hissing around her. Hissing like she was surrounded by snakes but there were no snakes in Ireland, Patrick had chased them out a thousand years ago. Then a voice, human but strange, speaking a foreign language that was neither Gaelic, English, Latin or any other language she had ever heard. She relaxed and understood the meanings, though the words were still foreign. They were discussing her as she discussed a sheep with her father, not caring if the sheep heard.
Suprisingly the pain was gone, all of it. She could breathe easily so her ribs must be healed. She felt with her tongue and all her teeth were there, even those rotted away and pulled by the barbers as she grew up. It was as if she were healed fully. She had heard that in heaven you had a perfect body so… but she no longer believed in heaven so why would a cruel god bring her to his house?
Finally she opened her eyes and screamed! She was surrounded by reptiles, lizards the size of a man and larger, wearing strange clothing and holding tools, instruments, objects that terrified her. She rolled off the table and crawled on her arse to a corner, terrified by the sight. This wasn’t heaven, this was hell! She was surrounded by devils and the easing of her pain was just to make her torments all the worse. She wanted to cry for forgiveness to beg god for release but she knew that he didn’t care. She had stopped believing in such a cruel, uncaring god and now was too stubborn to recant.
One approached and she tried to crawl through the walls in escape but couldn’t. She held her hands before her to stop the thing and screamed again. Her Hands! What had they done to her hands? She still had her thumb and three fingers but instead of her smallest finger, she had another thumb in its place. And there was no hair on the back of her hands.
She kicked and screamed at her feet, no longer human for her big toe was gone and she had a thumb between her heel and arch as if someone wanted her feet to be hands. Then a snake, no a tail moved. She had a tail! She screamed and screamed and screamed then collapsed, no longer able to make a sound.
One of the monsters was talking to a woman, but not a real woman. She was naked and as small as was the Irish girl, maybe five feet tall if that. She had very small breasts but thick pubes and no hair on her legs or body, and her face had eyes like a cat and antennae like a moth. Her toes were longer or maybe her feet smaller to make her toes appear longer but she also had a tail, not this snake-thing growing from her own arse but one like that of a horse. The hair on her head also grew down her spine like a horses’ mane to meet her tail but other than those, she was hairless.
”If she cannot serve us, she is useless,” one of them hissed, yet she understood his meanings.
“I’ll take her and teach her to accept.” The horse-woman said then approached. The Irish-woman tried to back away then one of the monsters pointed something at her and when the horse-woman said, “stand and follow,” she did as if she were a slave with no will.
Naked, the horse-woman totally unconcerned but the Irish girl hiding her breasts and privates with her hands, the two walked from the room, leaving the lizards behind and proceeded down a corridor that looked more like a burrow than a hallway. They passed other lizards, all dressed in that same strange clothing and she found that she was afraid but not terrified, as if that part of her was dull from alcohol. Then they entered a room. It also looked like an animal’s burrow but had a bed on the floor, some shelves and a few items here and there. The horse-woman pointed to the bed and said, “Sit,” and she did so, again without will.
The woman squatted before her, oblivious to her nudity and spread legs and after looking her over, she said, “My name is Chlareissah. I’m going to release you but you must be calm if you wish to live. You were almost dead when the Demons took you, changed you and made you into what you now are. You are alive only because you are useful to them so accept this and live. Fight and they will kill you and seek another.” The woman then touched an object she held and the girl collapsed, or rather, again had control.
“Slow your breathing or you will pass out,” the horse… no Chlareissah said. Chlareissah, she’d have to remember for this may be her only allay, strange as she was.
She tried and felt panic rising again. “What… what happened? Why am I…?
“What is the last thing you remember?”
She thought, “I was raped and beaten by the English soldiers. Then they shot me and I died in the mud. Is this Hell?”
“Hell? No. Hell was destroyed centuries ago when the Kris Wars began. It’s a sterile world with radioactive dust a half mile thick. You are aboard a ship. I see you don’t understand. You are Irish. England is another nation and beyond that are other nations. Does everyone look the same in these nations or do they look different? We are the same. We come from different nations but very far from your Ireland so we look very different.” Chlareissah was still speaking in her own foreign tongue but easily understood by the prisoner.
“How can I understand you?”
“My ancestors came from England but were taken by the Demons a thousand years ago. Do you know what happens if you take one family of animals and breed them with their brothers and sisters? At first nothing, but then if one has a birth-problem, a random mutation, their children will have that and eventually you have a new breed of animal. I am what happened. My ancestors were Fairy’s and when we were taken, there were too few of us and the changes started by a new world were enhanced by in-breeding until we look like this.
“You however, were changed by the Demons to what you are now. Remain calm and you can see yourself.” She glanced to a wall that shimmered and became a large mirror. Embarrassed at her nudity she looked and almost fainted. Her form was essentially the same, but there were subtle and drastic changes. Her arms, legs and armpits were now bare of hair though she still had hair on her head, pubes, eyebrows and eyelashes. She saw no bruises or injuries and when she opened her mouth, her teeth were perfect. Not like they were before but better. Her ribs no longer showed for she had put on weight and her breasts no longer sagged but were the same size, only as firm as a young girl, then lifting her hair she saw her ears were pointed as were those of Chlareissah. In fact, it was as if Chlareissah were the pattern for her new face for she had the same pointed-ears, cat-eyes and moth-antennae. She touched her ears and then her antennae but these retreated to stubs that were sensitive to touch. When he hands moved away, the feathers returned and she noticed that she ‘knew’ that something was around her.
“Your antennae detect electro-magnetic fields. With time and experience you’ll learn to sort the new sensations and tell radio from electric from other wavelengths.” Chlareissah answered her unspoken question. “Your ears now hear higher and lower frequencies too. And your eyes see into the Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet and your new pupils will open and close to allow you to see in near darkness or block bright light. You have tarsial feet to allow you to climb within and outside the ship easily and to hold on as you work. Your tail will assist as a third hand. You will also be young for more than 400 years and heal faster and damage fatal to your human body is now but a minor injury. Also there are internal changes as well. You will no longer have menses and can eat foods that would poison you before. In addition, you are now faster and stronger than before, almost twice as strong as a normal human man.”
“Stronger, faster? Heal faster?” Images of revenge came to her mind and she saw Chlareissah flinch at the violence. Somehow she could now know what her companion felt.
“Vengeance must wait until the Demons release you from service. And yes, you are now somewhat telepathic. Not as powerful as am I but you can receive and project thoughts and images to others. What should I call you now?”
“My name is Eibhlin Inghean Ui Bhrian! I am, was, Tierna but now I suppose I am a slave. It’s.. it’s difficult to get used to this. I’ve never been naked before people except… that last time.”
Chlareissah practiced, “Eileen, Aileen, Eighleen, Avhleen, AH Vih Leen, there that sounds right to your ears. Ahvihleen! Here we use shorter names so keep your name and family but expect us all to call you Eibhlin for ease. If you wish, I can find you clothing though my race never cares for them save in the Winter to remain warm.”
“Come, I estann you are hungry. We can talk more while we eat.” And Chlareissah led Eibhlin from her room. They passed an occasional Demon who generally ignored the two women and Eibhlin soon got used to the creatures though being naked while beasts wore clothes was stranger than being a beast herself. Perhaps Chlareissah was still repressing her terror though walking while she sought to cover herself was difficult.
They entered a large room with tables and benches but no chairs and Eibhlin moved her tail aside as she sat without thought. Then she looked at it. It almost seemed like she had been born with it she moved it so easily. Chlareissah called for food and drink and the table opened as a plate of fruits and vegetables rose with glasses of some juice. “My kind do not eat the flesh of others so please if you must do so, do it when I am away.” And she began to cut the fruits and vegetables into pieces which she popped into her mouth. Nothing was cooked but Eibhlin ate anyway, wishing for mutton and wine but at least she could fill her stomach and after the last few years, that was a good feeling.
Then, as she chewed, Chlareissah began, “Demons were once a race of peaceful plant-eaters until they took the first humans from England near a thousand years ago. They cured the human diseases and injuries and set them free and all was well until almost 500 years ago, the christians decided that living with Aliens and Pagans was the cause of their troubles with their god and so the Kris, as we call them, built a fleet and attacked the rest of the Pagan Humans and Demons. Both were almost destroyed before the Demons learned to fight back. The Demons then began to change. First they changed themselves into Soldiers for the smaller Basics that are our size were the original breed. All the larger and meaner ones were created to fight the Kris. Then they changed the Humans into Mon, almost twice our size, they were also created to fight.
“Now, with the Kris Wars almost won, the need for soldiers is ended so the Demons are returning to exploration and need workers to repair their ships. Humans have a value to them so occasionally, they take one as they did you, change you into a Weir and teach them to repair their ships. That is your task now, to learn about these starships, to repair them and to serve the Demons.”
“So I am to be a slave to these beasts?” Eibhlin snapped. “Something to be changed into a beast myself, used and discarded when no longer useful as if I were a dog?”
“Do you not do the same for animals? Does not those who conquered your country do the same to you?”
“But I am not a beast in the field!”
“To the Demons you are.”
“I will not be as complacent a slave as are you.”
Chlareissah smiled at that, “We are not slaves. My people cannot fight, we have no weapons nor means to make them. So we were prey to any who found our world. The Demons found us, saved us, freed us and protect us. In return, we send our people to serve the Demons as translators for three years. My service is half done and in a year or two, I will return to my world, my husbands and live my life again. You will be free in a few years yourself to leave. But if you fight them, they will kill you. If you refuse to work, they will drop you on some planet to fend for yourself and you will probably die. BUT if you work well, learn well, in a few years they will send you off with wealth you cannot now imagine.”
Eibhlin thought then asked, “You have Husbands?”
“Yes, I have two. When I return I may marry two or three more. My kind breed more men than women so women marry many husbands or most men must remain bachelors.”
“After receiving the ‘gifts’ of a half dozen English men, I‘d rather marry a woman.” Eibhlin spat the word ‘men’ as if it were an insult.
“The pain of your assault is still fresh, it will fade in time and you’ll learn to like men again. Or at least to no longer hate them. For me, I miss a hard man thrusting into me.”
Then seeing the pain and anger, Chlareissah changed the subject, “This ship is a starship. It travels between the stars as easily as a fish in the sea. Demons make poor workers even though they easily invent the machines that carry them thus. Humans have an imagination that they lack and so we see things that they cannot. It is that ability to imagine that makes us valuable to them, but they cannot understand our needs or our individuality so they see us as objects. All Demons live for the Swarm and will gladly sacrifice their lives for the Swarm. The thought of an individual Demon wanting a separate life is impossible for them to grasp so they don’t see why we oppose serving their swarm. When we do, when we insist on being free and individuals, they see it as a mental illness and they kill us to save the Swarm. So learn what they teach, do as they wish and live. Then you will be freed and can live as you wish. But be careful what you request of them for they can do almost anything, but often not the way we wish.
It took a few days for Eibhlin to convince Chlareissah that she needed clothing. The S’tyr never considered that as important because the ship was always comfortable but finally a small Demon took Eibhlin to the storage and had her choose what she wanted. By now the woman ceased to flinch at the aliens, recognizing the smaller ones as harmless and the larger as dangerous so she learned to avoid the latter and seek out the former. Eibhlin took a suit but the pants had a tail opening far too large and the shirt had four sleeves for the Demons had six limbs. The Basics, the smaller ones walked upon two and used the upper four as arms, the rest used their intermediate as legs or arms depending on their need. Eibhlin then asked for needle and thread and soon adapted the Demon clothing to her use though wearing pants like a man was difficult to do but they were, she admitted, easier to work in. Then after all that work, she learned that all she had to do was ask and the ship would make her clothes and shoes that fit her perfectly. That taught her to be precise with her words for the Demons responded to the literal words and emotions but could not interpret her desired meanings.
The Demons showed her the ship and she quickly learned to understand their language and speak it after a fashion though the Demons had far too many ‘S’ and ‘SH’ and honking sounds that she couldn’t produce. She also learned about starships, how to use the tools and what to fix and when. She learned that her antennae allowed her to perceive magnetic and electrical fields and so know where power circuits existed and when they were damaged, her eyes saw into a wider set of vision to see heat and ultra-violet and her hearing told her when a bearing was wearing out. She also learned that they only showed her once and she remembered the explanation and what to do perfectly. It appeared that they had changed her mind too for repairing a strut or machine was now almost natural and she couldn’t imagine not having this ability.
It was maybe a couple weeks later that Eibhlin sought out Chlareissah, “I think something is happening to me.” She complained. “My breasts feet tight as if I were about to have my menses but they are late, too late. And I feel… strange.. down there.” She was embarrassed at this but desperate. “I want to…”
“You wish for sex and fear that you may be pregnant by the men who raped you?’
“Yes.” She replied, staring at the floor, embarrassed. In Ireland, women never discussed this with any save their mothers and her mother was dead.
“You are not. I saw your medical reports when they repaired the damage they did. They also implanted a contraceptive device under your skin so you cannot become pregnant until it is deactivated which is standard procedure for these ships. No, this is something else and I suggest we visit the medical bay in case you have a disease or injury that passed the scanners.”
Eibhlin hated the medical bay. It was there that they turned her from a normal woman to what she now was. If she returned again, what else would they do to her? Give her a second head? Remove all her hair? Turn her into a snake-thing? But she cramped then and agreed.
Inside, the Demon spoke in it’s hissing, honking speech and she understood even without Chlareissah‘s telepathy. Embarrassed, she undressed and stood in the scanner, her eyes closed but her antennae feeling the E-M fields as she was scanned. Strange how she accepted these now. She saw colors that she never knew existed, mostly deep reds and deep violets and everything ‘glowed’. Demons only glowed around their exposed heads and claws but Chlareissah glowed over her entire naked body, though her eyes, lips, nipples and genitals glowed much brighter than the rest. It was as if she had lived her entire life chained in a darkened room with wax in her ears and suddenly she was free and in daylight, the change was that striking. The only things that weren’t enhanced were her smell and taste and that was because the Demons were inferior to humans in that regards so never considered those to be important. Eibhlin was glad for when the Demon emotions became filled with sexual need, they stank.
When it was over, she fairly ran to her clothes and dressed as the Demon examined the recording. Then there were three of her on the scanner. One as a human when she had been taken but without the injuries, one immediately before they awakened her and the newest one. Aside from the additions the Demons had given her, she immediately saw some differences. As a human she was emaciated, the result of too little food for the English took whatever they wished for themselves and allowed the Irish to starve hoping to starve the race into submission. The second showed her well-fed though she remembered eating nothing. For all she knew, they fed her through tubes as she was growing or having her body changed. Also, her breasts were firmer then before and she had no more body hair. The third showed slightly wider hips and much larger breasts with redder lips and nipples as if she had colored both deep red, yet she had no cosmetics here.
Chlareissah talked to the Demon and Eibhlin understood the words and some of the meanings but understanding the words like pituitary, hormone, estrogen and so on was like understanding that the sun was a ball of burning hydrogen that came from water. Yes the words had meaning but the concept was foreign, medicine being controlled by barbers on her world. Finally, her friend said, “I’ll explain it to her.” And turning she laughed, “It’s simple, you are finally becoming a woman.”
Eibhlin started then stated, “That’s impossible. I’m eighteen and I became a woman four years ago. There must be some mistake.”
“No, it’s happening again. See here how your pituitary is active. It’s pumping these hormones into your system making your breasts grow again and you to become more sexual. I see the situation. When the Demons gave you enhanced strength and the ability to heal faster and live for centuries, they enhanced everything, including your sexuality.” She and the Demon talked then she called, “Eibhlin, come with me and I’ll explain it to you.”
As they walked, she said, “When you are confronted by a wolf, your body creates adrenaline and other hormones that make you faster and stronger for one purpose, to allow you to survive the wolf. It doesn’t matter if you flee or fight, you body is simply getting ready to do one or the other. If you fight or flee, the adrenaline is used up but if you do neither, it turns into a poison and you get sick. If you meet a wolf every few hours and still do nothing, eventually the adrenaline kills you with the poisons.
“The same thing is happening here. The Demons don’t understand human needs so when they made you stronger and longer lived, they accidentally enhanced your sexuality too. Your body is producing those hormones for sex, the ones that make a man hard and produce sperm, the ones that make a woman’s lips and nipples flushed and her vagina wet and relaxed. That is what is happening to you, your body is crying for sex!”
“But why? Why would they do that to me? You know what happened to me with those soldiers. Why would I want that again?”
“Not all men are bad though I see you feel that way now. But sex is sex and your enhanced body doesn’t care so long as it gets it.”
“I don’t want it and besides, even if I could stomach a .. man, there aren’t any. You and I are the only people on this ship.”
They were in Eibhln’s room now, small but that was how she liked it. Then Chlareissah said, “Demons ARE people, they just are different from us.” The she leaned over and kissed Eibhlin.
Shocked, Eibhlin broke contact and backed away, “What the hell are you doing!”
“It has been a long time for me. My husbands are light years away and I could use some release myself so why not?”
“Because.. because it’s a sin. It’s wrong! It’s.. it’s unnatural and an abomination to god.”
“Sin? Wrong? An abomination to a god who raped a virgin and abandoned her? A god who watched his own son die of torture and did nothing to save him? A god who let your parents die and watched you be gang-raped and did nothing to help you? A god like that is not much worth worshipping. Besides, didn’t you stop believing in him?”
“That’s different. Ok, I did loose my faith but still, a lifetime of training tells me that this isn’t right!”
“Why not? It’s just sex. Your body wants a man inside you and it doesn’t care if you love him or not or even if that is a penis, finger or tail thrusting at you. And in the dark, can you tell if those lips on yours or that tongue between your legs is attached to a man or woman? My Goddess wishes us to be happy and sex is one of Her gifts to us. She places no rules other than all be happy and no one is forced or harmed.” She looked at the Weir, still Irish then smiled. “If not me, then yourself for the Demons are not designed with human women in mind. I shall be around if you change your mind.”
Eibhlin hid the rest of the day then was forced to work on a comm-array outside the ship. It was beautiful out there even though she was in a space-suit. She held to the hull with her feet for no Demon used ferrous-hulls for safety, repaired the array with her hands and used her tail to fetch tools and hold braces until they could be welded, her entire body working as if she had been born to this. Then, packing away her kit, she stood there and stared at the stars. So many. So beautiful. If she let go, would she fall forever? She tried to see the face of god there but the face she saw was that of a smiling woman.
The next day she broke down and touched herself for the first time in her life. Her lips and nipples and even her womanly parts were red and flushed and so sensitive even wearing clothes made her wish for sex. So, naked and alone, she placed her fingers on her lips, then nipples, lightly stroking these. It felt good and she did it again, then, ashamed, explored herself, stroking her newly enlarged breasts and feeling the wetness from her woman’s area on her fingers as she wet her most sensitive spot. She wanted to stroke herself with her tail but didn’t know how so clutched it with her feet and used fingers until she was screaming in pleasure. Then, done, she felt ashamed for her solitary sins and hid under a blanket and cried herself to sleep.
The next day she was crawling inside the double-hull among the struts tracing a leaking water pipe and when done, soaked, felt very good about herself and wanted to talk about her new feelings. So she sought the S’tyr who had no duties until they met another ship and called to her. “I feel so wonderful. Yesterday I was outside and I just knew what to do. Today I fixed that leak and it was… I’ve never done anything like this before. I was raised to marry, bear sons and be beautiful for my husband but here, I am doing something important. I make people’s lives better even if they are six-legged lizards and maybe, somehow, I am saving lives. I know I am a slave or maybe a serf but I never felt so important.”
“I’m glad you are beginning to understand that you are more than just a womb to be sold to someone with a title. Come, I have something for us.” She took her friend to her room and pulled a bottle from a drawer. “The Demons love alcohol. It’s the one thing humans gave them that they liked so there is always some on every Demon ship. The hard part is to find some that isn’t almost pure alcohol so I have them brew fruit-juice into wine for me which I mix with their drink.”
After choking down a swallow, Eibhlin croaked, “This is really bad wine.” Then she drank more.
“I know but I forgot to bring some from home. This is the best I can manage until we find a ship or planet where I can get some better.”
A couple glasses later, they were talking about their family, Eibhlin her parents, Chlareissah her husbands when the Weir asked as her glass was being filled again, “Are you trying to get me drunk so I’ll lay with you?”
Smiling, “No, dear. I’m just relaxing and having fun with my only friend on this ship.”
Eibhlin hiccuped and said, “Try harder. I, I touched myself last night and it was good but not good enough. Chlareissah, I’ve never done this before. I don’t know what to do. But I am so, I hurt so much down there.”
Calling for the lights to dim for both needed some light but not much, the S’tyr leaned over and said, “whatever makes you feel good is blessed in the eyes of the Goddess. Start with a kiss. No, relax your lips and jaw. I’m not a fish. Yes better.” Then later, “Too much tongue too soon. I know you need it… ok, I understand, I’m not them. Think of what you want and I’ll know. But know this, I will never hurt you,” and the S’tyr threw the Irish woman down, licking her neck and sucking her ear-lobes until her partner was panting. Then, moving to her breasts, she teased them until Eibhlin climaxed.
“I’ve never seen a woman do that before! Is that normal for you?”
“I don’t know.” Eibhlin panted. I’m new to this. More please.” And she shoved her partner’s face down between her legs.
Later, Chlareissah said, “That was for you. Now my turn. Rougher, use your tail and fingers as you bite my shoulders. Yes, inside, thrust with your tail, harder! Slam your hips against mine and pull my hair!”
The two lay there, holding each other, not talking much other than Eibhlin felt relaxed for the first time in days. Yes, a partner was definitely better than alone. She felt a twinge of guilt as she saw the bruises on the S’tyr, knowing that she could have easily killed the woman in her passion, her sin, then ignored it, thinking, “I enjoyed it, she enjoyed it, nothing else matters. Sin is in the eyes of .. well even the priests forced sex in the confessional in return for absolution so at least no one was forced or hurt here.”
“Eibhlin?” called Chlareissah.
“Yes,” she murmured, happy and content.
“I was careful because you are a virgin again.”
“Yes, the Demons healed you. They repaired your teeth, fixed your bruises, healed your cuts and wounds and broken bones. They saw your torn maidenhood as just another injury. Later, when you are ready, I’ll show you toys, phalli to use as you do your tail but be ready for that. And be gentle to yourself when you tear it this time.”
She kissed her lover and said, “You mean that you’ll be careful when you take me in that manner.”
Eibhlin was doing some routine work on the reactor when the call came for her to report to the bridge. Once there she saw Chlareissah waiting, behind the Ship-Captain’s chair appearing to do nothing but the man on the vid was human and normal though speaking a language she didn’t understand. The conversation wasn’t technical, just uninteresting then the man seemed to turn to her and said, “You are the technician?”
She hadn’t been called that before but it sounded better than slave so she nodded, “I am.”
“Good, please come aboard, we have need of your services.” A few more matters were accomplished between Demon and human and the connection was severed.
As she gathered her tools, Chlareissah explained, “These are Mon, descended from the English the Demons took a thousand years ago and engineered to be soldiers. They and the Demons are allies in the war against the Kris. Whatever you do, never mention the christian god or they’ll kill you as a spy.”
“They are English? And I have to help them? I’d rather sabotage their ship and let them die in space.”
“You hate too much. But think of this, if you hate them because their ancestors were English a thousand years ago, then hate me for being the same.” She wasn’t angry, she was simply stating a fact.
Eibhlin sighed and responded, “At least they are human. It’ll be nice to see real people. I’m sorry, I mean besides you.”
She laughed and commented, “You WILL be surprised. A few things though. They speak Spanglic which is descended from Old English as are almost all the human languages here. But it’s been a long time so you won’t understand them even though you speak modern English. While I am around, it’s no problem but when I follow the Demons, you will have to rely on the translators and those aren’t as complete as what I do for translators give words, not meanings. Good luck.” Then they kissed and the airlock opened.
Eibhlin was prepared for them to be taller than she for all men were, but she found herself staring into their belts. “Thank whatever gods that they were dressed or they’d poke me in the mouth,” she thought and the S’tyr smiled as she caught that. You cannot hide anything from a telepath as strong as the S’tyr were, even though she was learning herself.
Eibhlin looked up and up, that man must be nine feet tall with shoulders that would be the envy of Atlas, the Greek God. The Demons left with Chlareissah and most of the Mon leaving Eibhlin with one other who spoke to her but she said in English, “I don’t understand you,” repeating it in Gaelic and Latin. The man then touched behind his ear and she understood, “Can you understand me now?”
“I can. How?”
“Translator implant. We all have them. It’s not as effective as your telepath and only for immediate vicinity but better than signs. We have a problem with a power relay within the hull. There isn’t room for us there and we can’t cut a hole from outside this far out so you must climb inside and repair the damage. Come this way, please.”
She followed the giant, fearing being stepped on for even the women on board were eight feet and taller and everyone stared at her. She had almost gotten used to her appearance over the past months and now, she was self-conscious again.
Reaching a side hall, the giant opened an access panel and pulled some circuit boards aside. Eibhlin looked up inside and saw a double hull, similar to the Demon ship and the usual struts holding them apart. At close intervals were the sealant-blocks that would pop and fill a hole were the hull to be punctured but nothing else. The giant handed her a flexi and said, “Here is us, here is the junction we believe to be damaged. It’ll be close for even you in there and the air is stale but we dare not pump in better air so use your re-breather. Don’t touch the blocks or the foam will pop and you’ll be encased and die before we can reach you.
She adjusted her kit then tried to crawl through the opening. Damn! Her new breasts got in the way. Her smaller, saggier ones would easily make the opening but her new large ones were simply too big and firm. Then, “Excuse me, please turn around,” and she undid her shirt and wrapped tape around her chest, compressing the breasts to smaller. It was harder to breathe but now she could fit inside. She climbed carefully, following the power-lines and avoiding the sealants until she reached a junction. Her flexi had her turn right so she followed that and noticed that as she did so, she developed a headache. Making the next turn made her head hurt more so she decided to trust that and ignored the flexi-prints, following the pain in her head. Finally she reached a junction that gave her a migraine so she tried to ignore the pain as she bypassed the junction. The pain immediately lessened but didn’t end so she pulled the junction and used her tail to fetch tools as her feet held her to the struts. The repair was simple, only a couple fried circuits that she replaced and then the job was done, her headache gone and she began to return, hoping that she’d be able to remember the way back.
Something bothered her. Those circuits were important but there simply wasn’t enough power passing through to cause that burn-out. There must have been a power jump, a short of some sort to do that. Stopping, she looked at the flexi again, tracing lines and leads then following the only possibility. Eventually she heard a faint whistle, almost too faint to hear. She pulled her hair back with her tail and listened more. Then saw the sealant sweating. Strange, those weren’t supposed to sweat, they burst when the air pressure dropped enough to indicate a leak. Still that whistle…
Eibhlin licked her wrist and passed it around the hull and it went cold at one spot, a spot that had some sealant spots. Ordinarily it was too dark inside the see that, even with her enhanced vision and the lights she carried but there it was, detectable only as the air passed over her wet wrist. So she wiped the sealant block carefully with her tail tip, passed the sweat to the puncture and pressed a patch over the hole and the whistle stopped. She forced her body around and examined the junction opposite the hole. Using a magnifying scanner she found it, a micro-meteorite. Stony-iron with enough iron to cause the short and power surge that would continue to burn out the down-line boxes. So she repaired that one, re-checked the lines and crawled back the way she came, finally exiting dirty, sweaty and her clothes torn and skin rubbed raw from the closeness.
“Did you have problems?” asked the giant.
“Some, I fixed the junction then traced it back and found a hull puncture and another damaged box. You should patch that hole,” she showed him the location on the flexi and he immediately called maintenance to send a probe outside to search and patch. He never hesitated or doubted her, he simply accepted her report and acted upon it. She slowly peeled the tape from her breasts and accepted his acts as a compliment for a job well done. No one in Ireland would listen to a woman about anything without an argument. Then, “You did more than asked and we are appreciative of your diligence. We go back into battle in a few days and you may have saved the ship and all aboard. So what can we do to thank you?”
She thought for a moment then, “How long will we be docked together?”
“A few hours, maybe more.”
“Then, it has been a very long time for me and I could really enjoy a hot meal with cooked meat and wine or maybe a beer.”
“Done and done! Come with me and while you clean up, I’ll have one of the crew hand-cook you the best meal possible. None of this auto-chef crap!”
As she followed the giant, she thought, maybe all men aren’t so bad after all. She could use some good sex but… no, if he were as large everywhere it would be worse than her gang-rape. “And another thing, a couple bottles of wine for my ship-mate and maybe something decent to read?”
Chlareissah was packing and Eibhlin was crying, “Do you have to go?”
“Yes my dear. I miss my husbands and want children and my time here is over. I’ll miss you but we both knew this would end this way. Think of what we had, not what could never be.”
Eibhlin demanded, “Still, you have been so good to me, for me, you taught me so much. And now to loose you like this! It isn’t fair!”
Chlareissah held the Weir, feeling Eibhlin stroke her cheek with her tail tip, and she offered, “Life isn’t always fair. It’s simply life. This ship needs a telepath as it needs a technician. I’ll be replaced and maybe you will find comfort in their arms as you did in mine. But even if I remained, you’d leave eventually too. No dear, either you would leave on your own or the Demons would simply toss you off-ship. Remember that reward I promised the Demons would give you? Not all rewards are gold. No, I can carry my own gear for I have little I love. You may keep whatever remains and what you don’t want, leave for my replacement.” And she left the ship, her horses tail swinging with her hips.
Eibhlin ran to her room and cried forever it seemed. Sometime during that cry she realized that never did either move from their room to the other’s and never did either say that they loved the other. It was simply friendship and sex. Finally she collected her kit and left her room, avoiding the section where her lover had lived, and began to repair the secondary H2-H3 mixer. Someday they’d have to replace that but for now, some patching would do. Two years ago she didn’t even know what Hydrogen was and today she was repairing a Deuterium and Tritium mixer that kept the ship powered. And she understood how and why it worked. This ship was 600 years old and she had repaired almost everything aboard and could now probably build one if she wished.
Later as she ate, another S’tyr entered, a male and with him another alien, a kind she had never seen before. This one looked like a boar on two feet with a long nose that hung to its chest. It also carried a long, thin and curved sword. The S’tyr was, of course, short, slim, hairless and naked and his penis could be seen through that thick pubic hair the S’tyr possessed. The alien was clothed in a one-piece outfit similar to what the Mon wore aboard their ships and so she could see only his three-toed feet in sandals and his bare three-fingered hands.
When the new members looked at Eibhlin, she saw the S’tyr’s penis stir so she broadcast anger and it immediately went limp as the man estann’d her emotions. He probably had to share his wife with a half-dozen other men so would look forward to having one woman alone but she’d soon dissuade him of that thought. The thought of a man on her, in her, brought back memories of her attack and she wasn’t ready to be healed that much yet. She healed fast, as promised so it was only a constant tailing that prevented her maidenhood from re-growing. Still, between her tail and phallus, she saw no need for a sweaty man to pound at her.
She ordered meat, cooked and ate it before them, happy to see both cringe at the sight, then she left them and returned to her room.
She managed to avoid both for days until while repairing a ceiling light, she watched the alien enter and after kneeling with his sword at his side, he drew and practiced a number of cuts, thrusts and slices, moving faster until the steel was a blur. When he had repeated the movements a dozen times, she believed that she had watched him dance, only with a blade and not a woman. This alien could easily kill a dozen English soldiers in less time that it would take to count them.
“Excuse me,” she called and the alien re-sheathed his blade and looked up to her. She let go and dropped to the floor, some twenty feet below, yet now within her abilities. “I watched you dance. I am Eibhlin Inghean Ui Bhrian, the technician for this ship. Formerly of Ireland on Earth but now whatever I am. Your moves were beautiful. Will you tell me what you were doing?”
The alien looked her over and then knelt before her, his sheathed blade at his side and waited. Eibhlin saw that he expected her to do the same and followed, uncomfortable while sitting on her ankles but willing to try.
“I am Brount, a warrior-monk on a pilgrimage. Steel is my Path to Nirvana. My Dance is my skill.”
“Oh,” she said, waited then, “I’ve never seen anyone other than myself, the S’tyr and Demons on this ship. I’m suprised that they allowed you to board.”
“I play chess.” He commented. That explained it then. The ship-captain loved chess and was always seeking a new partner. Like most Irish Tierna, she had been raised to the game and was considered good on Earth and here, she had learned far more but still was below her Ship-Captain’s skill for it seemed the Demons excelled in logic.
“I love your skill with that sword, my own people use them too but ours are shorter and straight blades and we have none of your skills. Will you teach me how to be a better swords-woman?”
“Why should you wish this?”
“My family was killed by the English who conquered our country. If I could bring this skill home, perhaps we could free ourselves.”
“An admirable goal, freedom, but I think that there is more to your desire. Allow me to meditate on your request. You should do the same.” He bowed his head and she responded in kind and left. Meditate? What was that? The alien spoke in S’tyr which Eibhlin had learned from Chlareissah but the word he used was not one she knew. Keying her com-link, she directed, “Vocabulary search: Meditation.” Then listened.
“Meditation is the process of calming your mind and body to allow yourself to listen to either your own true inner will or to listen to messages from the Gods.” So what did that mean? There were references and manuals so she chose one and tried to read it during her meal but none of it made sense. There were chapters on breathing, on how to position your body, chants and all just to listen to someone or something?
War was simpler, she came from a Warrior family who had taken Ireland from the Tuatha de Dannan, held it against Dane and Saxon and were still fighting against English. Monks were priests who prayed all the time in the bee-hive huts they made of stone on the coasts believing that the more they suffered, the more god loved them. And nirvana she understood was something like going to heaven but while still alive.
Her father had taught her to use a sword but she was far too small for the two pound blades the Irish carried and swung all day. But with her greater strength, maybe she could turn this alien’s skills into something useful. For the first time in two years, she was thinking like a warrior, not a slave and the thought made her happy. She knew that it would be impossible for Ireland to build any of the Demon machines for it would be a thousand years before anyone on Earth could develop the technology to make the tools they would need to make the tools that could build even the simplest Demon device. But to improve the matchlock and to use a sword more effectively, those could be done.
The rest of the evening she looked through the library for weapons. When the Demons took the first humans from Earth, it had been shortly after William the Bastard had conquered England and to him, wearing a byrnie of chain-mail and carrying a heavy broadsword, the bow was the ultimate weapon. Then when they met the Demons, they built lasers and beamers then, later, slug-throwers. It was weapons evolution is reverse for a beamer was the ultimate known weapon in Demon or Mon space and fire-arms that tossed bullets were an occasional weapon of limited value. And all the designs she found were too advanced but they did give her ideas.
She called for a search for a match-lock and flint-lock firearm that used gun-powder but received no response. They simply never existed here. The basic idea though was sound. A container with gunpowder which was burned in a small contained area to produce expanded gases that forced a projectile along a desired trajectory at high velocity. All she needed to do was to figure out how to ignite the powder without a burning match or flint-spark for although the English carried flint-lock rifles, the Irish still carried the older match-lock which was almost useless in bad weather. Even then, a good long-bowman could fire a dozen arrows in the time it took to fire one bullet from a flint-lock. Rifles were just easier to learn to use and though few women had the strength to pull a 70# long-bow, anyone could fire a musket and within a day be as accurate as an archer with a lifetime at the butts.
Ideas were forming in her head.
The next day she found Brount practicing again and when he was done, knelt before him (it seemed to be polite) and asked, “Have you considered my request?”
He looked at her, his eyes so soft despite the hideousness of his head, and replied, “So you seek not nirvana but revenge. You wish me to teach you to murder, to make orphans and widows of the families that you would kill. This I cannot do.”
Eibhlin bit back a retort and suggested instead, “And what of those of us who wished only to be left alone? The children they murdered, the women they raped? Revenge or justice, I’ll let the gods decide. But for me, I believe that if the English wished to live and watch their own grow to adulthood, they should have remained in England and left us to ourselves.”
“And when you kill these English who have invaded your Ireland, will they continue to come or will you invade their homelands for vengeance or to force them to stop?”
“I don’t know. That depends on them. We never invaded their country. That places us in the right.”
“I shall meditate on this. Go now please.”
She left, thinking. She had no respect for monks or priests, seeing them as a necessary evil for god spoke not to man, but to the priests who ‘interpreted’ his divine will. And all too often, god’s will was to give wealth and power to the church at the expense of starving children. Strangely though, this monk never quoted any bible but worried about what was right. She knew the Demons were spiritual but had no churches or priests on this ship. The S’tyr were also religious but she never saw Chlareissah pray though she often talked as if she and her Goddess were on speaking terms and what she believed her Goddess said and wanted was always something good for the people. Neither Demon nor S’tyr believed that it was acceptable to do evil to further the plans of their gods. This alien seemed to be the same.
She was thinking of this when she bumped into the new telepath. He smiled at her then said, “We haven’t yet met, I am Silvorak’k and you are Eibhlin.”
“I am.” Then glancing down and seeing his obvious interest, “But I prefer women as my lovers. We can be ship-mates but nothing more.”
He looked at her and she felt that he had no understanding of this concept. Chlareissah accepted her body as natural though she married men and wished to marry more men, not women. So did these S’tyr top anything convenient but prefer the opposite sex? Then, “Best you do something about that or it will break off.” And she left.
She estanned curiousity, interest, desire but no lust in his emotions. At least with her far greater strength and the S’tyrs belief in peace, she’d not worry about rape, just a constant begging for sex over the next few years. A well-placed knee would soon end that.
Later Brount approached and said, “I perceive that if I refuse, you will still do as you wish and die. Or you will find another to train you to kill but not to live. So I have decided to teach you what I can until I leave in the hopes that you will be a gentlier person. Come and let us meditate on this.” And he knelt immediately in the corridor with Demons passing by.
Eibhlin looked around then shrugged and tried to do the same. Once positioned, she asked, “How do I meditate?”
“Do not think, do not ask, just do.”
“If you do not know how, then perhaps you should meditate on how to meditate.”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” but he ignored her, closing his eyes and breathing deeply.
She tried to sit there but her mind kept talking to her, “This is so stupid. My legs are cramping. How can he sit there and do nothing. I think he’s trying to distract me until I give up.” And other such thoughts.
She got bored very quickly so counted the number of Demons that passed. Then that was boring so she counted her own heartbeats and noticed that after some time, her heart had slowed. Of course once she made that discovery, it speeded up again so he relaxed and counted hoping to repeat that effect. She did and kept that awareness to the back of her mind as she also noticed that her entire body, save for the pain in her legs, was relaxing. Also she hadn’t thought about her hatred for the English the entire time.
Then he awoke? Was he napping? And directed, “Come!”
In the hold he told her, “Balance is all. Balance in mind, balance in spirit, balance in body. Work on this,” then he gently pushed her and she fell down.
Angry, she stood and struck him but all that happened was that he exhaled suddenly and moved not an inch. She pressed her palm against his chest and pushed and it was as if he were a wall. She added both hands and leaned forward knowing that he outweighed her by twice as much but still, he should move some. Then he turned and she fell forward. “Balance is all,” he said as he left her on the floor.
That evening she followed him and eventually noticed a few things. When he walked, his head never rose and fell. It was always at the same level. At first she thought it was an alien thing but she saw the Demons do the same. She made an imaginary line down the corridor wall and their heads always followed that line. She had the ship film her as she walked and saw that she was different. When she drew that line on the vid, her own head moved in a wave action, above then below then above the line. So she practiced walking and paid attention to her own body.
At first she noticed that her breasts bounced with every step. She liked that feeling as her nipples rubbed on the cotton-silk of her shirt and felt very good, erotic, sexy. Then as she paid more attention, she saw that with every step, her body received a jarring impact. She stopped suddenly and almost fell over, staying erect only by thrusting one foot far ahead. Balance!
She called up the other vids and saw that the Demons moved in a sideways wave because of their skeleton but the Monk, the S’tyr and she herself having a similar skeleton should all move the same. The S’tyr and she had that same bouncing stride and even Chlareissah’s tiny breasts bounced with every step. Silvorak’k’s penis even bobbed as he walked, swinging forward and back as he walked. What would that look like when he was hard and erect? But Brount didn’t bob.
She had a background grid placed behind all as they walked and there it was. When the humans walked, they stood straight up with their leg and spine in a line. Then they thrust a foot forward and immediately fell down as the weight of their leg, about 15% of their body mass, threw them off balance. They managed to stop their fall only by slamming their forward leg to the ground which caused that jarring sensation and also caused their breasts and penis to bounce. Then they threw their rear leg forward to fall forward again. Human walking was nothing more than falling forward and frantically thrusting another leg in front to prevent striking the floor with their noses.
Brount was different. When he walked, he bent at the knees and moved one leg forward, never leaving the ground more than an inch. If there were sand on the floor, he’d leave two snake trails as he walked. But his hips and upper body never rose or fell, they remained at the same level. And his back and head were always in a straight line, never leaning forward. Plus his spine was always between his legs. When he stood in practice, he immediately, bent his knees slightly and spread his feet, keeping his spine straight and between his legs. He was balanced and never fell.
She practiced that and found that her breasts stopped bouncing and she could move faster for a longer time without becoming tired. True her hips swayed in a manner she found definitely erotic but she seemed to be onto something.
When next she met Brount, he again pushed her over but said, “Much better. Now root yourself to the floor and exhale my force with your breath.”
She stood before him, balanced herself and pushed him with all her strength but he simply exhaled, turned and this time she fell forward but didn’t land on the floor. “Better. You are a fast learner.”
She began to apply those lessons to her work and noticed that when she was standing on struts, if she remained balanced between her legs, it took less effort to remain upright and she could devote more attention to her work and less to not falling. Slowly, she learned.
It was days later when he gave her a stick and showed her some basic moves. She made mistakes, became angry with herself and made more until she threw her stick to the floor and cried, “I’ll never get this right. I don’t see why you are wasting your time with me. I’m totally useless.”
When she tried to stomp off, he grabbed her shoulder and she twisted but she remained his prisoner. “You are distracted. Why?”
“I don’t know. I’m cranky as if my menses were approaching but they’re gone forever so I don’t know.”
He looked at her then squatted and his nose curled up between her legs. She tried to slap it away but he held her hands easily and when she wrapped her tail around it, found that his nose was a thick muscular organ whose strength easily matched the ligaments in her tail.
She felt his breath from his nose… hot, there. Her breathing slowed and she panted as did he. Then she noticed her legs were apart and she was wishing that his nose were inside her, the thought of that twisting muscle making her wet and her nipples hard. Her tail stopped pushing and pulled him closer, touching her pants then he released her and through her cries, she barely heard him say, “You are in heat and need sex. You cannot relax until this is settled.” Then he moved on as she fell to the floor.
She almost fucked that alien, wanted his nose inside her as if she were a Scottish shepherd screwing the sheep in the fields. Ashamed she ran for her room, piling her meagear belongings against the door as if that would keep the world out.
Still soaking, still thinking of him, she stripped and frantically used the phallus that once was Chlareissah’s and that they had shared but it was useless. The pressure was gone but the need remained. She missed her friend so much it hurt and her red lips and nipples cried for more. Then, swallowing her pride, ashamed, she left her room and went to the one used by her former lover, to find Silvorak’k sitting and reading.
He looked up and she told him, “Say nothing,” and ordered the lights to dim. “Shhh, just be with me.”
She tried to think of Chlareissah and hoped it wouldn’t hurt too much, memories of her rape still strong. The pain of being raped unwilling, the English soldier forcing himself to tear her maidenhood aside, to enter her dry terrified her. When Chlareissah had re-taken her new virginity with her phallus, it hurt then too and only frequent use prevented that part from re-growing. But instead of pain, she climaxed with his entry. Her mind recoiled and wished for a woman but her body wanted this, needed this and was ready and willing.
All too soon it ended, he spewing into her and she loosing count of her own climaxes then she lay there, his weight on hers so she said, “Thank you but don’t expect more.” And she pushed him off and ran for her room, again piling whatever she had against the door then crawled under her blanket, huddling the pillow and tried to cry but the warmth inside, the tingling below felt too good so she forced herself to breathe slowly and was soon asleep. In the morning she looked in the mirror and saw the same woman, only her lips and nipples had returned to their normal pink and no longer tingled when touched.
She avoided him for days, but Brount found her and called, “You avoid your training. Meditate on this,” and again he dropped expecting her to do the same.
She relaxed, breathed, slowed and images of sex flooded her mind. She loved the slow care of a woman yet her body seemed to need a man’s hardness even though she wanted to vomit afterwards. Her only experience with a real-human was violent. Her experiences with aliens were universally wonderful. Why? But there were no answers.
Over the weeks she trained, becoming fast and certain with the sword. She also realized that she was more relaxed in body and mind, focusing totally on whatever she did be it sword-play or repair-work. And occasionally, when the pressure grew too great and her tail and phallus no longer helped, she visited Silvorak’k. She hoped that his gentleness would heal her previous experiences and to a point it did for he never forced her. He never hurt her but he did ask almost daily to visit her. She found that her body enjoyed him inside her but still, she wished he were a she and she had no idea of why she fantasized about women even while he was inside her.
Occasionally the ship would orbit a planet or meet another ship and sometimes she was allowed to visit. Most of the worlds were inhabited by Demons and she rarely saw a city for the Demons preferred to live with nature. Cities were for technology and the creatures were happy with or without this. Once on one Demon world, they landed in a city and she helped the Demons almost rebuild the ship. Parts were rebuilt and reused for they threw away nothing until it was worthless, and then they melted it down and re-used the materials. Once she watched a Demon orgy with dozens of the reptiles in a pile and saw that the Demon had two male members and would use whichever one was closest to their partner, sometimes a male would service two females at once. She found that somehow disturbing.
At other times the worlds were similar to Earth in size and chemistry, the Demons called them Class-M worlds and preferred to visit these rather than one that required an armored space suit.
As strange as the Demon Worlds, she found the Mon planets strangely inviting. Inhabited by the giant Mon, all descended from the same English village and so sharing similar genetics, these planets ranged from farming worlds almost similar to 17th century Ireland to those with buildings that stood miles high and housed a million of people. Once they met a fleet of Mon ships heading for the front to fight in the Kris War and once they met a Mon ship, damaged in that same war and she spent a week repairing the ship with the giants.
She learned Spanglic and conversed with the giants, found that they universally hates the Kris and their beliefs so she kept her own catholic past a secret. It seems that when the Diaspora happened, when the Humans separated into their own races, the hard-core christians had created the Holy Empire of God in Christ. These believed that the Demons were real demons from Hell and they named the first Demon world ‘Hell’ believing that this is where they were. Then after 500 years, the Empire struck out, sending a fleet of a dozen Battlestars, each named after a Disciple of Christ, and spending three days dropping thousands of nuclear bombs on Hell then Hebrides to kill everyone on those planets. They believed that God had made the Galaxy for humans only and so anyone who wasn’t as ‘god had made Adam’ was evil and deserved to die. Like the inquisitors on Earth who murdered thousands in their quest for religious purity, the christians, now called Kris, murdered billions believing that ‘god will sort the good from the evil’.
She hated thinking these thoughts for she had been raised to never question the holy church. And now she was expected to do exactly that. She had seen this attitude in Ireland and in England and knew that it existed on the Continent but hoped that out here, thousands of light years from Earth, people would be better. They obviously weren’t. Was she with her eternal hatred for the English any better? She knew that had she command of this ship, she’d leave Demon-Mon space for Earth and within hours, the English Channel would stretch from France to Ireland and the English race would be nothing but a painful memory.
Then they caught a Kris ship and after the firing at each other from millions of miles was over and they connected, the Demons of her ship swarmed aboard and slaughtered the Kris crew. She entered afterwards and became sick at the carnage. To a Demon, an enemy wasn’t dead until they were in pieces. She was made to examine the Kris ship and see what technology existed that could be used or understood for the Kris had separated from the Human-Demon alliance more than five hundred years ago and they had little intelligence of the advances the enemy had achieved.
What she saw were human men. Fully and completely human with no adaptations or changes such as the S’tyr or Weir (her own newly adopted race) possessed. In fact, had she not known this was a starship, she would think that they were still on Earth. When she saw the crosses in the chapel, her loyalties were divided for these were not only human, but christians as well. Eibhlin sat there in the chapel wanting to pray but her ship, the one she had repaired and lived on for two years had killed these followers of god and Jesus. She felt like a traitor and knew that even were she to return to god, she’d be apostate.
One of the Demons entered, looked around then pulled the cross from the wall. She screamed, “Stop! You don’t know what you are doing!” then the Demon said, “No, you don’t know what THEY are doing. Examine their records.” And it searched every body, removing heads to ensure their deaths as she ran to the bridge.
It had been ransacked and her Ship-Captain told her to, “search quickly for we destroy this when we leave.” She didn’t know if he meant search for technology or recordings but she chose the latter. If these were victims, then she had no desire to give the Demons any more help to murder her kind.
She had nightmares that night and for days after. The Kris, the Christians from the Holy Empire of God in Christ took seriously the admonation that God made man in His Image and so anyone who was different, Demon, Alien, modified human or even an injured with an organ transplant or deformed child was taken to a camp and tortured as Satanists until they were burned. Those who confessed to impossible crimes were strangled then burned but all aliens or modified humans like the Mon, S’tyr or herself would be burned alive as the people prayed in glory. She had searched and no one knew how many went into those camps. Billions, trillions? She had heard of the Inquisition on Earth where the Church in England and Europe had burned heretics and Witches by the dozens of thousands. Torquemada in Spain burned 20,000 as evil. Matthew Hopkins hanged hundreds of innocents. Other priests burned thousands of women and children as Witches. Only in Ireland was the church controlled. Dame Kytler, accused of witchcraft and sentenced to be burned herself, had the accusing priest arrested. Even James I, John Calvin and Martin Luther took up the torch to kill any who they believed was unholy and to them, unholy included not only Witches and Pagans but any christian of another faith, so if that happened on Earth, why should she expect this to be different. The only difference was that the Church out here had nuclear weapons and starships to enforce its will.
She sat on the hull of her ship, suited and watched the Kris ship drift away, then a flare and it was gone, now just a cloud of expanding dust and radiation. The only thing of value the Demons took were the ships records. All else was destroyed for they chose to have nothing to remind them of the billions of Demons murdered by the Church in the name of Christ. Eibhlin never again looked into Kris history fearing what she would see.
Later, she sought Silvorak’k and let him do as he wished. Somehow she wanted to feel alive, to wash away the death she had seen with passion. She held him to her long after he had been spent hoping. It didn’t work but she did feel better.
Eibhlin was alone on a world. It was one of the rare ones that they visited that wasn’t Human or Demon but was a Skree world. The Skree were little more than giant intelligent insects and even after a day shopping, she still felt like she was in a bug nest. The Skree ignored her mostly though she had been warned to NEVER turn her back to one in case it was in the breed-cycle, in which case it would lay parasitic eggs on her spine, eggs that wouldn’t be removed but instead she’d be kept as food for the developing young. She did wear body armor under her shirt just in case but accidents happened and the Demons told her that they’d abandon her if she was infested.
The Demons had fought a war with the Skree and were not willing to repeat that as the Skree were the only race that had fought them to a standstill and peace was made only because hundreds of Skree had approached the Demons and been slaughtered until one lived long enough to present their offering of peace. Unlike the Demons who would risk their entire species to save one of their own, the Skree saw war as bad for business.
She didn’t know what she wanted but she needed to get away. Brount was off somewhere doing his pilgrimage and he’d return before the ship left or not. You never knew with him for he was searching for something that not even he knew but he’d know when he found it. Silvorak’k was doing what he was there to do, translate. He’d stand aside, ignored and when Demon or Skree would speak, he’d reach into their minds and find the true meanings and broadcast those meanings to the others. With a S’tyr telepath, deceit was impossible and when you said a word with many meanings, the S’tyr would ensure that everyone knew what meaning you felt.
So with the ship in good shape, she took the time to explore alone. Of course the Skree tried to sell her everything under the sun, stopping only when they realized that she had no money for the Demons never understood that concept. Being Socialists, they took only what they needed and worked hard to provide for the Swarm to the best of their ability. Eibhlin thought the idea was wonderful but it wouldn’t work for humans simply because among any group you would find one who refused to work but took everything he could from greed.
Unlike the Warrior-Monk who never went anywhere without his sword, Eibhlin was disarmed and had no way to defend herself save with the weapons the Demons had created for her body which was only her enhanced strength. Fortunately, she was wearing a grav-bracelet which imitated Earthly gravity and atmosphere so that she wouldn’t go jumping around like a ball with every step, and if need be, she’d turn it off and with the lower gravity of the Skree world, she could easily leap a hundred feet or more. Normal gravity would crush a Skree and they’d suffocate with the lightness of Demon air pressure.
So there she sat, on a wall (back to that wall of course), eating her lunch, which looked like a grub on a stick dipped in honey (at least it was dead and meat) when she saw the woman. A real human woman. Not a S’tyr, not a Weir and not a Mon, but normal.
Eibhlin watched the woman for a moment, considering her opportunities. It would be so nice to talk to someone human and when the woman saw her, smiled and licked her lips, her mind was set. Eibhlin followed the woman, staring at her swaying hips then caught up with her at an intersection as she waited for a centipede a hundred feet long pass. The woman was wearing a spacesuit that was transparent over her head and hands and when Eibhlin smiled at her, she returned the greeting.
“Hello, I’m Eibhlin Inghean Ui Bhrian of Ireland on Earth. I haven’t seen a human woman since leaving Earth almost three years ago. Where are you from?”
“My name is Mary Caruthers from New Salem. I heard that the Irish had tails but I never believed it. Has Earth finally learned about space travel?” The words seemed hollow coming through her translator but the important thing was that she was human.
“No, I was born in the Year of Our Lord, 1635 and left aboard a Demon ship in 1653. I had no choice.” She confessed.
“My ancestors left England in 1075. They had no choice either for the Demons take what they will, caring not for any desires save their own. I know of a place where we can eat in ease and comfort for my instruments show that you are wearing a protection from the Skree world and I’d like to see you face to face.”
Eibhlin followed Mary and soon they entered a tavern which was filled with a dozen different races, each in a separate room divided by walls but no doors. Mary led Eibhlin to one and Eibhlin felt the em-fields tingle as she entered. Force-field! Each alcove was surrounded by a force-field that isolated it but allowed matter to pass. Inside she felt her bracelet adjust then turn off in the Earth-normal environment and Mary removed her helmet and gloves. “Much better. The Skree allow many races to visit and ask only that they meet here in peace. So, are you Pagan, Saxon or what?”
Eibhlin didn’t know what to answer, then, “I was catholic on Earth. I really don’t know what I am now or what I believe. God and I haven’t talked much.”
“And your last confession?”
“More than three years. I suppose I am overdue for I have sinned a great deal since then. I try to be a good person though. Does this matter?”
“It may. I would hate to think I am making a friend of someone damned to Hell. I would prefer to know my friends amidst the glories of Heaven.”
“It scares me that both my parents are in Heaven waiting for me and I’ll go to Hell simply because of the lack of a priest to shrive me. This conversation is depressing and I’d rather find happiness in your company.” So for the next hours they talked about their lives. Eibhlin about growing up in Ireland, wealthy and Noble then loosing it all and the beauty of the island, Mary talking about her planet and how she grew up in a world dominated by the War and Church.
After a few more drinks, Eibhlin felt her lips tingling, but from wine or lust she couldn’t say so suggested, “This place is too crowded. Can we find a place more private where we can talk without interruption?”
“I know the perfect place. I have a room nearby where we can be alone and be friends and I can finally get out of this space-suit.” So paying their bill, the Skree having a money economy similar to Earth, they left, Eibhlin’s bracelet activating and Mary in her helmet.
Once at the room in the hotel, Mary excused herself and stripped and showered for both understood that while in a space-suit, you simply voided yourself into the diaper you wore and the suit absorbed and recycled the waste. But you still felt dirty and a shower was the first thing anyone sought after removing the thing. Then, in a robe, they had more wine and talked for hours until finally Mary said, “I must get some sleep, you are welcome to remain here if you wish.”
Eibhlin immediately agreed and soon were in bed, then they hugged, then kissed and Eibhlin enjoyed herself greatly with a woman who seemed to know exactly what she wanted and needed and hours later, fell asleep content.
In the morning, Mary told her, “I must go to work now. Can we meet again tonight?”
“I’m glad you want to see me again. If my ship is still here, so shall I,” and so they kissed and Eibhlin spent the day seeing the sights. She did notice that her lips and nipples were unusually flushed for after sex they always returned to pink. “Doubtless”, she thought, “I am still desiring Mary’s company and touch”, and she soon forgot about it.
That evening was a repeat of the former, including the sexual pleasure and when her comm called for her, she was tempted to ignore it.
“No, my lover, you must return to your ship as I must return to my occupation. But come back to me when your task is done and we shall see what happens between us. And,” she kissed the Irish girl in a way that made her toes tingle, “I hope you will be finished soon.”
Leaving her was difficult and Eibhlin had to remember that she had duties aboard her ship. Besides, it was just two days and no one fell in love that quickly though she felt strange inside.
She tried to train but was too upset inside to focus, as if she were again changing and perhaps this was another manifestation of the Demon changes. You never knew with the reptiles and she was afraid that were she to ask, they’d do something else to her without her permission or knowledge. So she repressed the feeling and entered the reactor room to finish that gravity-drive adjustment she had put off for too long.
She was irritatable. Not the kind that happened when she was celebate for too long, but somehow the Demons just made her angry. The pretended that they knew everything but then they’d kidnap innocent people, change them and make them into slaves. They were worse than the Brits. These four inside the reactor room were the worst. They thought they knew all about the gravity-drive just because they invented it but if so, why kidnap her to fix it for them. They were really stupid. Just standing there, pretending to know what the device did. And they ate plants. No guts those lizards. Maybe she’d see what their guts really looked like.
There was a short and it snapped at her. Stupid lizards distracted her and she got bit by the power in the circuits. She’d teach them. She yelled at them how stupid they were, how even a cow had more brains than a Demon. The three pointed at her, commented on her growing hair. Of course she had hair. She was human. All humans had hair and these beasts had taken hers from her. Her arms were shaggy with dark hair as her claws grew. The cramps inside her, the aches in her bones were their fault too. She growled at the meat. They did this to her and she’d punish them.
Then she leapt and tore the throat of one with her fangs, drinking its blood. The other two attacked. Demons always did that. One in danger and the entire swarm would rush in to save it. Good! She’d not have to hunt because they’d come to her. She slashed with her claws, killing another then grabbed the last, smelling for fear but Demons didn’t fear anything, they were just meat so she bit deep, drinking it’s blood then tearing out chunks to feed the change.
Tossing the husk aside, she growled, a Termagant entered the door, called by the death-cries of the meat. This one was bigger and a hunter itself for the Demons bred themselves like cattle to create Termagants and Fiends to fight for them. On four paws, she crouched and the two charged each other, meeting halfway. The termagant was bigger and had hard scales but she was fiercer and stronger and soon was drinking the blood from the meat.
She left the reactor seeking more meat for they’d come to her and she wanted the freedom to choose her prey. More running to her and these she killed, being injured herself. She ate their meat and the openings in her side healed immediately. You had to tear Demons into pieces to kill them but that made it easier to eat.
More approached and she attacked to be struck by a Fiend. Smaller than a Termagant and larger than a Basic it was stronger and could rend steel with its claws. The meat knocked her aside and she rose and attacked again to be grabbed by her throat. She clawed with hands and feet but it’s scales were too strong, then it shook her and her neck snapped.
Eibhlin awoke in the med-bay, terrified. Before she just awoke but now there were nightmares. Nightmares about blood and entrails and wolves and snakes that made her scream until a Demon pointed an object at her and she collapsed.
The Basic was a med-tech and she was surrounded by others, some Fiends and armed with weapons that could level a city. “Why? What happened?” she croaked, her mouth dry.
The Demon commanded, “Tell us about the Skree world.”
“What do you mean?”
“What did you do there? Who did you meet?”
Again that helplessness that followed when the Demons used their slave-tools washed over her and she told them everything. She described her meeting with Mary, their conversations and even their love-making and through it all the Demons listened but she estanned that they didn’t believe her. It was impossible to lie while under the slave-tool so why didn’t they believe her?
Finally, one said, “Do you know what you did here?”
“I repaired the gravity-drive. No, I tried to repair it. But somehow things happened. I got angry and I snapped… I killed Demons! How? What happened to me?” She was trying to scream but the slave-tool wouldn’t let her panic at all though she struggled. Then blackness.
Again she awoke, this time another Demon was there, the first was aside, bloody and being repaired, its hide being closed and sealed. “Your thoughts speak of werewolves, describe them.” As always, it wasn’t a request but an order.
Still under their control, she told them, “Werewolves are monsters, men who sold their souls to satan for power. They change into wolves and kill. No, not all do that. Some are loyal to their friends like the Werewolf of Ossery who was pious. Some are hard to kill, some easy. Some take the form of a wolf and others a half-wolf/half-human form. Why?”
“Observe,” and the monitor showed her in the reactor room, becoming angry then she changed. Her shin grew dark fur, her tail became bushy as her face elongated and became that of a wolf. Her clothes tore and she struggled from them then she killed and ate the Basics in the room, then she killed a Termagant, being injured then healing within seconds, her killing spree ending only when the Fiend snapped her neck. Then she shifted back to Human, real human and they brought the body here where they repaired her neck and brought her back to life. There, on the bed they questioned her and she struggled and changed again, killing the Demon who questioned her then was struck by Demon weapons and changed as she lost consciousness into her Weir form again.
She tried to deny what she had seen, to scream but the slave-tool wouldn’t even give her that satisfaction.
“The Kris you met, Mary, changed you into a Demon-killer. She gave you false memories and erased the truth but human minds are redundant. Memories are stored in many places and copies stored in others so we pulled them all. Here is the truth, when you watch it you will remember.” And it placed a chip in her hand. “We removed the trigger to the change but decided to allow their changes to remain for now. Return to the reactor room and finish the gravity drive.” Then she was dismissed.
Still naked, she left the med-bay wondering when they would burn her for every nation burned werewolves. It was the only way to end their evil. They probably wanted her to repair the entire ship before they did and turning, saw a Fiend following, weapon at its ‘hip’ but watching. Yes, the thought, they wanted as much work as they could before they burned her to death.
There was no blood in the halls or reactor room, the Demons were fanatics about being clean so she gathered her tools and finished the repair then asked the Fiend, “Can I get dressed?” She had long ago ceased to be embarrassed by nudity but being naked while the Demons wore clothing made her feel like an animal.
“Of course,” the Fiend said but still followed her to her room but did not enter. Demons never entered another person’s home unless invited. This was the one place she would be safe, the one place she could be free. When they came to burn her, they’d wait outside her door until she came to them, believing in their Demon way that anyone insane, for any who harmed the Swarm was insane, would willingly die. So she could wait them out. Starve here which would be better than the pyre.
She took her clothes, then didn’t dress. She wanted sex! She needed sex or she’d die. But if she left the room, she’d burn so she grabbed her phallus, the one Chlareissah had given to her and felt it’s smoothness on her cheek, her neck, her nipples then, she jilled until she climaxed within seconds. Still desperate, she thrust it inside, tearing her new maidenhood but not caring and between tail, fingers and phallus, climaxed for what seemed like hours.
She awoke, covered in blood and panicked until she realized that this was her own virgin’s blood. Dammit! Why the hell did the Demons see a torn maidenhead as an injury? Couldn’t they just remove the thing and leave her be? Every time she changed, every time she avoided sex for a month, the thing regrew and she had to go through the whole bloody painful experience again. The only god thing about this was that they had stopped her menses so THAT was a thing of her past. Now if only…
She cleaned up, washed her bedding and phallus then dressed, now partly relaxed and squared her shoulders. She was ready to die and only hoped they’d strangle her first. Like the English, the Irish burned werewolves, usually after torture.
The corridor was empty save her one Fiend who stood as she left her room. “Where to?” she asked, wondering if they’d land on a planet for the execution for fires, even candles and incense were not allowed aboard a star-ship. They ate up precious air and fouled the filters.
“Where what?” it asked.
“Where do I go to die?”
“Are you going to die?” It wasn’t concerned, just curious.
“I’m a werewolf, aren’t you going to burn me at the stake?”
It cocked its head, such a human gesture, and asked, “Why would we do that?”
“I’m a werewolf. I killed and … ate … your race. I deserve to die.”
“You were a tool. You do not destroy a knife when a man cuts another with that knife. Your trigger was cancelled. You are probably safe. Live on.”
“I’m not going to be burned for what I am?” She was weak from relief but incomprehension was there too.
“We are not Kris. Return to your duties.”
“Then why are you following me?” She asked as she left seeking someone who would explain it to her in more than a few words. Demons understood each other and never compensated for the inabilities of other races.
“To be certain that you do not change. The Kris made you change by anger. The Kris made you angry at us. We cannot remove your anger but we can stop you from changing when you become angry at us.”
Of course, the Demons treasured emotions. They’d never prevent her from love or hate or friendship or any other emotion, they’d just ensure that the emotion didn’t trouble them. So she could change when angry at others and if she understood the Demon, she just couldn’t change when angry at them. So she was still a danger to others. Maybe she’d batter take a walk out an airlock to prevent any further murders.
She knocked at the door to Silvorak’k’s room but received no answer. Out in space with no other ship round, the S’tyr had no duties and so should be available so she pressed her hand against his door and felt fear. He was afraid of her. Well, that was to be expected, the coward. No! Not a coward, the S’tyr weren’t warriors. Those who had found their world had culled from them any with aggression until they were as peaceful as a Demon Basic. To expect a S’tyr to fight was like expecting a mother to harm her own baby. “I’m sorry Silvorak’k. I really don’t mean to harm you.” Then receiving no answer, she left.
She wandered the ship, repairing an occasional light and checking circuits more for a need to stay busy than anything else then found Brount in the bay meditating. Her Fiend stood by the door as she knelt before him waiting for him to notice her and maybe he’d draw and kill her with his sword. That would save a lot of trouble.
“You have avoided me,” he said when he returned from his inside.
“I was afraid. Why aren’t you afraid of me after what I did? After what I became?’
“Fear comes from ignorance and leads to anger. Anger leads to harm. You should meditate on this. Then he closed his eyes and ignored her which she took as a sign that she should join him. He was right. She harmed the English because she was angry with them. She was angry with them because they harmed her. It was a vicious cycle that would go on forever. She couldn’t change them but she could change herself.
When they woke, she asked, “How do I live with this?”
“How did you live with being Weir? How did you live with being raped and killed? How did you live with the deaths of your parents? Find a way.”
“But I can’t” she cried. “You know what I did! What I became! How can I be certain that I won’t do it again?”
“You are a stupid girl who is a waste of my time. You will never learn. Better you take this blade and remove your own head,” as he shoved his sword to her. He had never snapped at her before. Always patient, he was like a rock that she could always depend upon and now he thought of her as useless. She started to become angry, staring at the sword then reached for it, her nails turning to claws, coarse hair appearing. The Fiend moved to a position to kill and then Brount said, calmly, “Find your balance. Balance in spirit. Breathe.” Then he stood and began his Dance of sword moves only without his sword. “Join me,” he called to her.
She forced herself to breathe, to center herself and by the time she was on her feet, he was moves ahead. She soon caught up and slowed to match her teacher and soon they were moving as one, her anger melting away with the hypnotic beauty of the Dance, he unarmed, she armed.
After a half dozen repetations, he stopped, faced her and said, “See, you can control the beast. Anger leads to violence. Allow anger to flow away as a leaf on a stream and the beast will leave. You should count to ten when angry to calm, then count to a hundred if need be. Your tail is a part of you that existed not years ago and you learned to accept it and it’s use. This beast is a part of you that existed not days ago so learn to accept it. It may someday be useful, but today it is not so allow it to drift away with your anger.
“Thank you, I think you saved my life again.” She was grateful to him for she could always count on his wisdom. Then, “Brount? You Danced with no sword, the moves were similar but different. What was that?”
“That was Empty-Hand. You cannot always fight with steel so must use what weapons you were born with. Watch, Thrust with sword!” and she took his sword and thrust it as if ehe were striking a man. “Now thrust unarmed,” he did a similar move only his three stubby fingers were together, forming a shape like a knife. “Strike to the neck,” and she cut with steel as if she were removing a head. “Strike unarmed,” and he did the same, appearing to strike with the edge of his hand. “All moves done with a weapon can be done with your body and more. You should work on this.”
Her next lessons over the weeks were unarmed combat. That same exhale of his breath he used to resist a punch, also defended against any strike and could be used to increase the force of her blow. The day she punched her fist through a fiber beam she jumped and hugged her teacher.
“Anger will add strength but removes focus. Punch in anger and break your hand. Allow anger to flow away.” Then she looked around and saw they were alone. The Fiend had left and never returned but did it leave today or last week? But she now knew they found her to be harmless and in control.
She now felt ready to watch that memory-chip the med-tech had given her. So she returned to her room and found it, then sat to recover her memories. Those wonderful nights in the arms of Mary were a lie! They never happened. Her meeting and drinking and becoming friends in that tavern were true but instead of visiting Mary’s room, they entered an office instead. Once inside she was stunned into near unconsciousness and stripped and placed on a table. She would have been totally unconscious but her Weir body was stronger than they imagined and remained mostly awake.
She saw through her own eyes and remembered. Mary was ranting, screaming, “I can’t believe I had to let that THING touch me. It isn’t even human and it expected me to lie with it! I’d rather let a pig mount me.”
“Be silent woman,” this from one of the men there. “Sometimes we must commit a minor sin for the greater glory of God. You got this thing here and that is important. God forgives you and the priest will give you absolution. Now, what did you learn?”
“Nothing of value. We know she’s a tech-slave of the Demons. She comes from Earth in the 17th century but their technology is so primitive they are useless as help in the war. Maybe after we win, we can return and cleanse the planet of heretics and then it’ll be fit to join the Holy Empire.”
“Then we return to the original plan. We turn her into a flaming sword of vengance and set it upon the Demons that took us and imprisoned us here.” She felt the man inject her with something that hurt as it flowed through her system. “It will take a day at least for the virus to alter her DNA to be able to change.”
“And will that make her able to kill the Demons?” Mary asked.
“That and more. We do the same thing the Demons did. We find junk-DNA that God, in His infinite wisdom, gave us, then we enhance and activate it. Then we erase her memories, return her to the Demons and once in space, she kills them all and we take their ship to use as a Trojan Horse against the beasts.”
“And what of her?” Mary asked, not even caring.
“We erase her mind again, put her in a lifeboat to be picked up by more Demons and the process happens again.”
“I would rather burn her for the pervert she is. God gave the Galaxy to Adam and Eve, not Lilith and Eve.”
“I’d love nothing more myself but we must remember that her use as a tool is more valuable than the few minutes she will spend screaming for her satan’s embrace. Just remember that you must convince her that this never happened but that…”
“I know. But to know that she must think that I sinned with her… The very idea of touching another woman makes my skin crawl. Must I actually allow her to touch me with that abomination of a hand and tail?”
“That is for you and your confessor alone. But we will implant the thought that she had a wonderful time with you and her mind will create the details of a perfect experience. As for me it’s enough that your deception brought her here and that any sin you do is justified if done for the greater glory of God. Focus on the Knights of New Jerusalem sweeping across the galaxy, burning all heretics and monsters in our path.”
“So long as I can light the pyre under this one.”
“If that is what God wills, then … you…” The images went dark as she passed out.
Then she was in Mary’s room being shaken awake as her comm sounded. The rest was as she remembered. Mary told her that she had to work and they’d meet again when possible, then Eibhlin returned to the ship. Now that she watched the vid, she remembered everything. Mary had faked everything, nothing had happened between them.
They had used her. Her own people, more or less. No wonder she had stopped believing in god. Angry, but fighting the beast that they had created, she went to the flight deck to demand that they… no, you never made demands of a demon. They may not be perfect because they abducted the first humans by accident. They tried to make the human’s lives as pleasant as possible and it was the christians who had started the war by spending three days dropping nukes on Hell until the surface was radioactive dust a half-mile thick and over 6 billion Demons and Humans were dead. Even with her, they took her only because she was dying and gave her a new life. Her enslavement was not unpleasant and had many advantages so even though the Demons had no respect for humanity, they weren’t actually evil, just, oblivious to human needs.
“Ship-Captain,” she called to him and when he turned to her, continued, “Those Kris who did this to me, I think they are out there, waiting for me to kill everyone here. Then they’ll take this ship and use it against your own.”
“We know,” it hissed. “We have been observing them since we learned of your change. We must lead them from Skree space before we strike or the Skree will see that as us bringing the War to them.”
“What will you do to them?”
“Kill them.” It was again, a statement and Eibhlin knew that it would be impossible for her to change their minds. They saw her as little more than a knife and saw the Christian-Humans, the Kris as the real murderers of their people. She left the bridge not knowing if she wanted to know when it happened but she did return to her room and refused to leave until it was over. She wouldn’t help the Demons kill her own kind but neither would she help these who could justify evil in the name of god.
They were drifting, slowly, watching the mass-detectors as they located the derelect. It was drifting in free space but they were fully powered despite their cloak which was active. To the average ship, this one would be invisible but the Demons had sensors that were far more advanced than any other race save the Skree.
“It’s a trap,” Eibhlin commented. “They are hoping that with engines down and themselves cloaked, we will approach then they can power up and take us.” She had used the same tactics in Ireland. She’d pretend to be a scared little girl and run into an alley or the gorse, then when a British soldier followed, thinking to have an easy rape, she’d cry, beg for mercy then drive a knife into his stomach. She glanced at the controls and saw the Demon shields on stand-by, ready to activate instantly, without command. Their power wouldn’t be detected by the cloaked ship but neither could that ship take the Demons.
They drifted closer, the Demons unable to deceive others but well aware that others understood the word. Finally the cloak dropped and the other ship fired, their weapons deflected easily. They fired again then tried to run but a single shot collapsed their power core and they stopped, moving by momentum only. The Demons gave chase and docked then Eibhlin waited. Although she could fight, she was their technician and so was expected to remain behind until the danger was over. Any intelligent race would surrender and ask for terms but she had no idea of who these were or if they were intelligent. The Demons had so easily found and captured this ship it was obvious to anyone that the others were out-gunned.
The airlock opened and a burst of lasers entered, to be de-polorized into a rainbow before they could damage anything, then the Demons attacked. Stupid people. Demons always responded to force with excessive force. They chased runners and the only way to survive them was to lay down arms instantly and lay down to pretend to be submissive. She had seen dogs back home do that. Two wolfhounds snapping, the violence escalating until they fought to the death or until one ran, to be chased by the victor. But if one fell to it’s back and exposed its throat, it would be grabbed, shook then if it still lay limp, mounted and ignored as harmless.
She waited for the inevitable and then she was called. The Demon approached her, it’s suit bloody and it said, “Examine the ship. Search for traps and any technology we can use.” Then it passed on.
She took her kit and began the slow examination of the alien ship, first the airlocks then the airlock controls to ensure that they’d not be trapped and then passed on. She hated this part, the blood of different colors, the mess as she stepped over body parts, trying to not see the lives that had ended. Fortunately, they were so far from Kentaurus that the Kris War was dozens of light-years away so these would be pirates or another race entirely and so not human, she hoped.
Finally knowing that the airlock area was safe, she looked at the bodies. Death didn’t bother her for she had grown up on a farm and even though she was Tierna, a Noble, she still helped with the butchering. And afterwards, she had killed enough English soldiers to loose her fear of blood. She just didn’t like the way the Demons killed. In this case, the bodies at the airlock were still there as the Demons hadn’t yet cleaned this part of the ship. They were collecting the dead, stacking them into an airlock and would blow them into space with a thermo-inducer that would obliterate the dead. Although the Demons had no problems with eating other sentients, they preferred to eliminate the dead in this manner. Eibhlin never understood why.
These dead were human. This didn’t look like the other Kris ships she had seen but all humans she had seen were either the giant Mon, the S’tyr or the human Kris so unless this was another human people…. Then a Demon dragged an injured man past her, he looking at her with a plea in his eyes until he saw her tail and antennae. Then she saw hope die. The man was totally human, but then so were the Kris until you read into their beliefs and saw how alien and evil they were.
Unfortunately, she hadn’t the time to really investigate for she had a job to do. But there were ways for the Demons never cared how she did her job or even how long it took so long as it was done well. So she recorded the writings, all in the Latin alphabet but a strange language and compared her investigations with the others she had taken over the past few years. All human technology was based on that of the Demons. When the first humans had been taken from Earth, they were in a medieval technology so the humans simply took Demon ships and, unable to understand the technology, had built upon it, finding other ways to do the same job. It was during the Diaspora around the year 1200 (by Earth reconing) that many of the humans simply got tired of living with the Demons and left. The Fairies to their world to evolve into the S’tyr and the Celts to Kentaurus to be engineered to a low-iron world and then be exterminated by the Christians as they purged their Holy Empire of all non-humans. There were probably more out there for the initial abductees all came from the same English village but contained Fairy, Celt, Saxon and Norman, both Christian and Pagan so if two races could leave and become isolated, maybe more could? Eibhlin herself was a Celt from Ireland despite the Demons changing her into a Weir and had heard that others like her lived on a world on the Frontier.
What she found was that the captured ship was, as expected, based on Demon technology but had changed along lines different from Mon or Kris uses so this must be another lost race.
As usual, she worked until she was tired and then quit for the Demons had no work-day, then she sought out Silvorak’k, the S’tyr telepath. Whatever language the prisoner spoke, he would be needed for the interrogation and he’d probe the prisoner’s mind and give all that he read to the Demons.
She sat opposite him in the eating area and when he looked at her, he laughed, “Eibhlin, you never seek my company save when you are desperate for sex. And since your lips are pink, you must want something else from me.”
”The prisoner, please tell me about him.” She prompted.
“And what will you give for that information?”
“Why do you bargain? You know I have nothing of value that you wish.”
“There is your body. You will want mine soon and I want yours now.”
“There will be a day when my need drives me to your bed, but this day isn’t it. The prisoner, please.”
He laughed, “Very well. I prefer my sex to be with someone who wants me too and your thoughts as I thrust into you are a mixture of disgust for your own needs and desire for a woman. I wish you could just relax and enjoy what we do.”
“The prisoner,” she again prompted. She did enjoy him in her and that thought made her hate herself but she wanted something else now. “Is he Kris?”
“Hardly. The Christians are all Norman-Saxon and this one is pure Saxon. He prays to Odin and Thor and so is as much a pagan as are the Mon and my own kind. The Kris would burn him as easily as they burn you and I. He is a pirate. His kind are the Vanthi, Saxons from Earth conquered by William but not yet absorbed. During the Diaspora, they sought their own worlds far from Hell and Hebrides and so have been ignored by the War and forgotten by both sides. Save for the Demons who have long memories.”
She understood that for the Demons had ancestral memories. Important matters were remembered by RNA and when a Demon hatched, it could access that knowledge. Demons enjoyed books only because they saw writing as art but they needed no reference materials.
“Then why did it attack us? Do they not remember the Demons?”
“They do, but only as Basics. The Diaspora happened centuries before the War and so when the Saxons left and became the Vanthi, their memories of the Demons were of peaceful Basics. That one knew that the Demons were different but his ship-captain was desperate.
“Vanthi are still pirates who prefer to trade but if their customers are too weak or cheap, they have no concern with taking what they wish. In this case, they were almost out of fuel, their food and air are running low and they feared not making a safe port before they die. To them, we were a choice over tossing half their crew and all their cargo out the airlock so some would maybe live.”
“Then they aren’t bad people?”
“No more than you for your thoughts show you helped your father steal cattle from your neighbors in Ireland.”
“That we did for to us, cattle were wealth and power and prestige. We Irish stole cattle from each other and warred over the cattle we stole. Even my grandfather raided Scotland and Wales for wealth and slaves.”
“Doubtless why your thoughts are sympathetic to these Vanthi.”
“What will be done with them?”
“Whatever the Demons wish. He is being healed now but that is only to allow me to read his mind and desires. He is terrified of us though and wonders why we serve the Demons.”
“Sometimes I wonder that myself. We should save him if we can.”
“Why? He has no hatred for us because we are no longer human which makes him better than the Christians but still, he did try to kill us and if they succeeded, you’d have been passed around by them as booty and me as a slave. A real slave and not bonded to the Demons as I now am.”
“Still, perhaps there is a way to save him.”
He stared at her and she knew he was reading her thoughts. Normally she would stop that with images of violence but now, she herself didn’t understand so hoped he would find something. When done he shrugged as if there was nothing there and returned to his eating.
After eating, she returned to the Vanthi ship, a merchant-raider with overly large engines, some weapons of decent power (so that’s why the big engines, to overtake prey and to power the weapons) and a cloak that would prevent discovery from most scanners but was useless when confronted by the Demons who improved their scanners over the centuries of warfare. Much of the inside was cargo bay and the crew, a dozen originally, shared small quarters wherever they could find room. By the time she quit that night, she had pronounced the ship to be safe and had scanned everything of value so with the ships memory downloaded to the Demon archives, she expected the Demons to cut it loose and destroy it but the Ship-Captain visited her and said, “Repair the Vanthi ship, upgrade it if you wish. Refuel and re-supply it.” Then it left, giving no explanation as was their way.
Demons had no ability to deceive so this wasn’t a ‘trojan horse’ plan to spy on the Vanthi worlds and the Vanthi ship, as it was, was far below the technical level of the Demon ship. She could upgrade it but even the best she could do wouldn’t equal a Demon ship. And why upgrade it if they were giving the ship back to the surviving Vanthi? That would be giving weapons to a potential enemy. However, failure to obey was always dangerous so they drifted for days as she repaired the hole in the engine and the damage to the insides that the Vanthi had done firing at their boarders. She also took the time to make a few upgrades to the Vanthi systems, adding a thought-controlled computer, improving the navigator, upgrading the engines and whatever else she felt like doing as a test of her imagination and abilities. By the time she was done, she felt the ship could be flown by one person or even by computer.
After a few days, she was passing through the Demon ship with some parts she needed scanned and saw the Vanthi passing under the watchful eye of a Fiend. Since she hadn’t been ordered to avoid him, she stopped and asked in Spanglic, “I’m glad to see you are still alive. I’ve been directed to repair your ship and should be finished soon.”
The Vanthi looked down at her for he was easily a foot taller and said something she couldn’t understand. Of course, he spoke Modern Saxon while she spoke Spanglic which was the modern version of Saxon mixed with Gaelic mixed with Norman French mixed with Demon. She apologized for bothering him, knowing tat he still didn’t understand and continued on.
She was talking to Brount between jobs and commented on the Vanthi, “I’m glad he’s still alive but don’t understand why.”
“Perhaps you should ask Silvorak’k,” the Monk suggested.
“Why him? All he is, is a translator. He’d know things but you imply he is responsible?”
“Consider that the S’tyr are peaceful people. They have no armies and must hire the Demons to protect them. But what if as they were translating, they influenced both sides to seek peace? A galaxy where there is no war would be safer for them.”
“So the S’tyr are being very subtle and influencing the Demons and everyone they meet to be peaceful?”
“I only comment on an observation that I noticed. The Demons with S’tyr aboard seem to fight less and seek peaceful solutions more often. You cannot force a person to do what is against their nature but you can plant the seeds of a thought to seek a better way and allow that thought to grow. But again, I make no accusation other then to suggest that after asking Silvorak’k to help you to save the Vanthi, the prisoner’s position changed from condemned to prisoner to carefully watched guest.”
“Why didn’t he make me want him then instead of begging for my body?”
“Some things are best offered, not forced. You should meditate on this.”
She thought about that and decided that telepaths can read motives and she had driven him off many times with a violent thought. So, she’d have to believe that this was her idea, that she wanted it even though she knew she was simply paying a debt.
When Silvorak’k returned to his room, he found Eibhlin waiting for him. “Can I offer you something?” he asked, not understanding but too polite to probe her. Telepaths learned early to stay out of peoples mind unless invited or ordered.
“I was thinking that I could offer you something. Myself. Not in need but to make you happy. I’ve been cruel to you and wish to make it up. Please allow me to pleasure you as you wish this time.”
She didn’t know if he estanned her motives but he did accept her gift and she found that she was enjoying the experience as much as he.
Hours(?) later, he was asleep so she kissed him on the cheek and whispered, “Thank you,” and left.
A couple days later when she reported, “Ship-Captain, the Vanthi ship is as repaired as I can out here. It’s fueled and stocked with whatever food, water and air we could spare. I don’t understand the reason for the upgrades but they are done also. What next?”
“Come,” and he led her to the Vanthi who was still under-guard. “Vanthi, this is Eibhlin, our technician. You will teach her to operate the ship and take her to your world. We wish to make overatures of peace to your people.”
“What if I refuse?” She read Saxon arrogance there even without Silvorak’ks presence.
“Then we shall kill you and teach her ourselves. The monk will accompany you two.” Then they were dismissed in the Demon manner of his turning and walking away. Silvorak’k was there so she smiled at the three and said, “Please, this is as much a surprise to me as it is to you but we must make the best. Come with me please.” And she led them to the Vanthi ship where the Saxon at first tried to hide matters and controls but every time he did, Silvorak’k projected the truth and Eibhlin would say, “But what about this?” Apparantly the Vanthi didn’t have telepaths and when he accepted that he was unable to hide anything, he submitted and taught her how to navigate and fly though Silvorak’k sent a private message, “He means to take us all prisoner when we leave. He knows I am helpless before him and thinks the same of you. He fears only Brount.”
The Saxon taught her the basics and she learned his language, aided by her telepathy and Silvorak’k’s greater abilities. They also made a number of short jumps that were a few light years away, the Demon ship always following. Then when Brount was on the Demon Ship for some matter, leaving both Irish-girl and Vanthi-male alone, the Saxon suggested, “Here, this is an interesting control. It doesn’t show in the ship-schematics or data bank so let me explain it to you.” He touched the control then the Demon Ship vanished as they jumped.
“You foolish girl,” he taunted. “Do you think you could defeat us? We’ve been raiding this sector of space for centuries and we raided Europe for a thousand years before that. This ship is locked on a return trajectory to a Vanthi military base and it cannot be stopped or diverted. We shall be there in a few hours and although I’d love to take my pleasure with you, you have been kind to me and asked the Demons to save my life so in payment, just sit there and wait.”
She sat as he commanded and watched him examine the controls. She had labeled most of them in Gaelic and these labels he removed. “So when we reach your worlds, what happens to me?”
“Slavery! But not an unpleasant slavery. We value the knowledge you possess and if you cooperate with us, you can earn your freedom and maybe become a citizen.”
“Thank you for your kindness, it will make my decision easier and less painful.”
He generally ignored her on the trip and for that she was happy. She worried that he may try to rape her for his desire was obvious but he appeared to be a fairly decent man and repressed those desires. Then they arrived and he called the military base to explain how they had been taken by a Demon ship, how he had escaped and captured the Demon Technician. Eibhlin stood and spoke, “I am the Lady Eibhlin Inghean Ui Bhrian of Ireland. The Demons wish to meet with you in peace. If you agree, then you will live and prosper but resist and fight and they will destroy you. I seriously recommend peace.” Then she spoke to the ship, “Cancel return program, orbit station at one million miles.”
The ship immediately stopped its movement and changed course and the Vanthi screamed at her then attacked. She easily threw him to the deck and holding him explained, “The Demons became intelligent 50 million years ago. They are a lot smarter than you or I and they taught me their technology. I disarmed your return device long before you were allowed on board. This whole matter was a ruise to see if you could be trusted and to acertain your motives. And, incidently, the Demons made me twice as strong as a human man. Relax and accept the inevitable.” Then she released him.
He was smart enough to not attack her though he did threaten, “There is a Vanthi warship on the way here. When it arrives, they will retake this ship.”
“I hope that when they arrive, they see the value of peace.”
They waited, she at the flight controls, he watching from aside, and within a quarter hour, the Vanthi warship arrived and demanded their surrender. Eibhlin simply responded, “We seek a peaceful meeting with your people. There is no need for force.” This wasn’t what the Demons had trained her to do but being Tierna, she understood the concept of negotiation and had watched her father make and break alliances in Ireland.
The Vanthi would have none of this, “We are a warship, you a simple freighter whose weapons cannot harm us, surrender now. You have ten seconds before we fire and board.”
“I was afraid of this,” she commented casually as she touched another control. The power in the reactor spiked, then flared and most of the controls went dead, leaving only emergency power, minimal life support and communications.
Her prisoner looked shocked, then laughed. “It appears that your repairs weren’t up to standard. But I will keep my promise and speak on your behalf.”
“Observe,” Eibhlin pointed to the portal. The Vanthi warship was drifting, following it’s previous course but now no longer powered. A few seconds later as the pulse expanded outward, two more Vanthi ships de-cloaked and drifted, also without power. They had followed the first, in secret, as a back-up weapon and Eibhlin approved of the strategy. Eibhlin opened communications again, “Vanthi ships, what you experienced was a pulse that shut your reactors and computers down. You still have emergency power, life support and communications and your base is unharmed save some residual effects which is why I stopped so far out. Please reconsider the advantages of peace.”
“What are your terms for surrender?” was the reply. The Captain beaten and intelligent enough to know when he had lost.
“No terms for we are not asking for surrender. We seek only allies and friends.”
Her prisoner looked at the port then sighed, “They shouldn’t have surrendered. They could still board by suit and line.”
“Perhaps they see something you miss. We were never alone.” Then he saw the Demon ship appear with a giant Mon battleship large enough to easily hold the Vanthi in its bays. “Humans, especially men, are so impressed with size when it was the power and skill, not the size that matters.” Laughed Eibhlin. Her Demons ship, as small as it was, could easily destroy the Vanthi star-system from a dozen light years away but the Vanthi would be more impressed by a giant Mon warship manned by people far taller then were they.
After that it was simple. Eibhlin visited each warship and reactivated their reactor, their computer would need more work than she was prepared to give, and all docked at the base which also housed civilian transports. Eibhlin took some leave and the Vanthi military agreed to cover all her debts while she was aboard, civilian as well, so she went shopping, had some decent wine and beer and a decent meal of mutton and even flirted with some women who almost responded.
She saw Brount watching the stars through a port and asked, “Is there a problem?”
“I think both of us are leaving the Demons, I because I find these Vanthi interesting, you because your service to them is at an end.”
“End? Am I being tossed off the ship to fend for myself?” She was almost angry but somehow, this was expected for the Demons had no word for Hello or Goodbye.
“Do you not know? Seek the Base Admiral for clarification.”
She did so and was immediately allowed into his office, a matter that she found impressive for most generals liked to keep visitors waiting as a means to impress them with their power.
He stood, “Lady Aileen, I am so pleased to meet with you finally. Here, we have a few matters to settle so please sit and may I offer you wine?”
“Thank you, though I don’t understand.”
“No? Well, the Demons showed us the vids of them being attacked and your refusal to assist in the killing of our people. They also told us how you argued to save our people and for that we are grateful. Also as the attack on your ship was unprovoked, we see the star-freighter as a legitimate prize. Here are the papers giving ownership to you. Of course, while in Vanthi space you will need to hire a pilot until you are qualified and licensed but I am certain you’ll have no trouble hiring a crew. We have also transferred the star-freighter’s accounts to your name and with your skills, I am certain that there are many here who will be happy to hire you to upgrade and repair their ships, the military included. So please feel free to remain as long as you wish and contact me if you have any problems.”
“Then you don’t hate me for what happened?”
“Hardly. We are a race of merchants who occasionally resort to piracy. We accept what happened as an occupational hazard. What I do resent though, is the end of centuries of pleasant isolation. Well, with the Demon-Mon pushing the Kris back, that war will end soon and then they would divert their attentions to their neighbors so perhaps it is better this way. I hope my people are up to the task of being friendly to our neighbors.”
They talked a few minutes more then she left, the owner of a Vanthi freighter. In the hall outside, she met her former prisoner who asked, “Lady Avhileen, since you are now the owner of my former ship, I find myself unemployed. I’m a qualified pilot and decent navigator if you will have me.”
“What ill will do you bear me for my part in this?”
“None. You didn’t fight my friends and you worked to save my life and for that I’m grateful. My treatment of you when I thought you in my power speaks for my ethics. And my countrymen are so terrified of that Mon ship that they’ll do nothing to anger the Demons or the Mon. You can trust me.” She looked at him closely and saw no deceit in his face or thoughts so agreed.
“We will need to re-label the ship again until I learn your written language. I’ve upgraded the ship to require fewer crew but you are right, and I do miss human companionship and was born to Noble status so can learn to enjoy this. So we rename the ship and sell the cargo and move on. One thing though, my tastes prefer women as lovers, what are your customs concerning that?”