by: Rick Johnson
PO Box 40451
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I hate it when things go wrong!
Here I am on Barsoom doing a decent job as a Panthan (that’s Mercenary soldier for the rest of you) when we get outflanked. Not the usual where you discover a squad of cavalry rushing in from the left but the one where the army you are facing and are slowly cutting to pieces retreats and you see three larger armies on every side appear to chase you and you suddenly realize that you stumbled into a trap and your one desire becomes to try very hard to survive.
I blame my Jed. The man wasn’t as smart as he should have been but he paid well and when you are Warrior Caste, you fight! And sometimes, when desperate for work, you don’t look as closely as you should at the jobs. But he wanted me despite me being a woman, or as close to being a woman as he thought I was. Or maybe he wanted me because I was a woman, deformed as he saw me but then, the man had a harem of exotics and probably thought a week on the front would make his bed more inviting. It didn’t. But it was beginning to.
Perhaps I should introduce myself. I am Eibhlin Inghean Ui Bhrian. I’m Irish Tierna and Weir which means little to those outside the Emerald Isle or Demon Space. A Tierna is a Noble and can mean anything from Baroness to Princess, depending entirely on how many other Tierna swear fealty to you and to whom you swear fealty. In my case, that number is currently very low so I call myself Baroness. I am also Irish Celt which means that I am a staunch believer in the freedom of Ireland to rule herself, including driving the hated British from our shores by whatever means possible. They called me a terrorist, I call myself a patriot. And I am a Weir which means that I was abducted by alien Demons who changed me into what I am now, supposedly a worker-slave for their starships but they could never remove my Irish aggression so they dumped me in space with prehensile tail, tarsial feet, lateral and medial thumbs, antennae and a few other features that the Demons thought would be useful to them. Plus an insatiable sex drive which would be fun were I straight but I prefer women so spend too much time tailing myself for lack of company. And on Barsoom, almost everyone is straight so I am forced to resort to slave sex which isn’t emotionally satisfying though the female slaves tried hard to satisfy me physically to avoid a beating.
So why would a Jed, or king on another planet where men are soldiers and women are wives and concubines want an alien woman from Earth to be a soldier? Because Terrans are telepathically invisible to Barsoomians so I can go almost anywhere and not be detected by the Red Man’s ESP. Plus, being Weir I was engineered to be easily twice as strong as any human and on Barsoom with it’s .38 Gravity, I could easily crush any male with a single grip. THAT made me valuable.
In this case, the Jed made a mistake. He jumped into a situation where he thought he would win and didn’t see that his enemies, his victims, were smarter than was he. We attacked, cut the opposing army to pieces then were overwhelmed by the reserves who moved in from the flanks. I felt like General Custer who on the moment of victory, saw every Red Indian in the Colonies appear over the hills to demand justice for his murders of their women and children.
My Padwar called us together and we cut ourselves free and into a cave where the enemy could only come at us in smaller numbers and where we could hold the entrance. Barsoom was covered with these. With a thin atmosphere, asteroid and meteor impacts littered the surface, spreading stony-iron rock all over and melting the substrata which then filled with vaporized rock and water, cooling into hollows.
“Avleen Enyen Obreen” he called to me for these Red Men could never pronounce my name properly, “It’s time to open that stargate you told us about!”
Stargate? Fuck, With what? I need running water and a metal mass to de-gauss. He sent me to the rear of the cave and I realized from my headache that all that red soil of Barsoom came from the stony-iron meteorites that impacted the surface. Their core mixed with the extinct oceans had coloured the planet red with rust. There was iron everywhere. And the planet had water only it was locked in the soil. Now how could I get the kinetic energy to degauss the iron?
My Padwar was a good man, despite him raping me in my sleep, so he didn’t rush me even though I could see my battle-buddies dying at the cavern entrance to buy me time. I found a melted iron arch, something left-over from an ancient asteroid impact when Barsoom still had flowing water and decided that this must be the Stargate I had felt. The Demons had made me very sensitive to e-m fields so I could not only feel Stargates, but electrical currents and some radio waves. Now I needed kinetic energy to degauss the thing. “Ral Silvas,” I screamed, “I need men to pound here!” Maybe if we got enough men to strike the mass in a rhythm, it would set up a resonance and open the Stargate? I got them to pound with their sword pommels, 1,2,3,4,5,6,1,2,3,4,6,1,2,3,4,5,6, and so on until I felt the static charge build up. It worked! I’d rather call my space-ship but there wasn’t time for it to arrive. “I don’t know where this leads!” I screamed to my officer.
“Does it matter? We die here or we try for life elsewhere.”
Then the calots hit us! Ten-legged war dogs the size of a Shetland Pony, the most successful predator on Barsoom and in a pack, invincible. They killed everyone they met and though we killed them by the score with sword and revolver, they easily took us down.
The gate was open and I screamed, “Here! Now!” Then one was at me. I leapt aside and slashed upward with my long-sword, near decapitating the calot which fell dead meters beyond me. I yelled, no screamed for the survivors to disengage and join me but to no avail. Any calot was more than a match for any Red Man and I only survived because of my greater strength and agility. I slashed again, removing the first three of another calot’s ten legs then stabbed as it fell aside me and saw the last of my buddies fall to their triple toothed jaws. Alone, pursued by a number of the things, I put all my energy into a leap and passed through the Stargate, not knowing where it led. I could be entering space to be freeze-dried, or to a methane planet or another time or even the heart of a star. But anyplace was better than here with it’s certain death.
Landing, bloody and pained, I grabbed whatever metal mass I could reach and tossed it to the Stargate to collapse the field. I saw a calot almost enter the field then it was gone. Wherever I was, I was safe. For a few seconds at least.
Then bright lights.
I managed to look around and saw tables, people, human people as I once was and cameras flashing. The Stargate was closed so I tried to stand only to collapse in pain. Then I managed to look around. A Vulcan! In Star Fleet uniform? With a camera??? To my right I saw two Klingnons. And behind them a young girl in chain mail bikini and a cheap sword that would snap with the first blow. Conan or some other barbarian with pasty skin stood next to some other aliens. I forced myself to my ass, my bones screaming with the gravity for I had spent too much time in .38 grav to handle this. My breasts ached with their weight, weight I had earlier accepted in space but ignored on Barsoom where their weight was lessened.
A sign, in English. I was at a convention of some sort, either America or England. I’d never attended one before but I heard of them. Kids who had no life, dressing up as their favorite SF and fantasy character, pretending that they were important and not the fools that their friends called them.
I tried to lean against a table but failed, then used my long-sword to assist me to stand. The blade bent under my weight but I knew it would hold for Forundus Steel was better than anything on Earth and would spring back as soon as I released the stress.
Flashes continued and I imagine I looked a sight. Covered with sword cuts and stabs, claw scratches, naked save for a g-string and a few belts, my naked breasts, larger and firmer than human norm (a gift of the Demons) beginning to sag in the greater gravity and a bloody blade in my hand as my own blood ran from my wounds. On Barsoom my breasts needed no support but here…. And with human attitudes, they stared at me but feared my nudity more than my weapons. What the Red Men saw as a deformity, the Terran-humans would see as a sexual invitation and I was in no condition to resist capture or rape.
I braced myself on a table, almost over turning a collection of comic books, then croaked “water”.
Someone handed me a plastic bottle and somehow I manage to unscrew the top and gulped it down, the pain of it’s passage hurting my stomach. Then, empty, I croaked, More”.
This one I poured over my naked body, the cuts healing, the superficial ones that is. The deeper ones remained open as they bled freely while the water washed scabs lose.
I swept aside a vendors inventory and sat on the table, breathing heavily. I imagine I looked the sight, an alien by their standards , bloody and strange appearing from nowhere and ruining their fantasy. I forced my head erect with an effort for a year on Barsoom had cost me calcium and muscle and now I was weaker than a human woman, far weaker than I was before the Demons took me.
I lay my long sword before me on the table and reached behind to find my hip-pack, then rummaging inside by feel, I found my medical kit.
I opened my healing slave as one woman approached, “You’re hurt. Let me help,” she offered. I bit back a sarcastic reply for I needed help. Years of malnutrition and food poisoning. Years of low gravity. Years of fighting and pneumonia took it’s toll. With an effort I held the healing ointment in my tail as I forced the deepest cut on my belly closed, showing her what to do. I washed it with care from a water bottle, then rubbed synth-skin from the container over the wound to seal it closed and initiate healing. Then I allowed her to take the ointment and cloth and clean and seal my other wounds.
She wasn’t pretty but I would have gladly given her sex for her acts. Shit! I would have fucked a man about now if he helped me. She was tender and soon another woman and a man assisted and then I was feeling better. I was weak from blood loss and pain but with the synth-skin preventing any more blood-loss or infection, I would live.
“Food” I managed to say and soon someone handed me a sausage wrapped in bread. I stared at the thing, like a penis peeking from it’s foreskin and covered with tomato sauce and something else that may have been beans and meat.
“It’s a hot dog” someone said as if that meant something. Well, I had eaten dog before in Asia so took a bite. Haggis! It was a sausage with meat garbage inside but I had eaten worse so chewed, forced myself to swallow and ate it entirely. Despite the poisons these people consumed, the protean would keep me alive, though I’d have diarrhea soon.
I felt better when I finished and asked for more. Someone handed me chips, potatoes sliced into long rectangles like the Brits ate but salty and edible. Then something crunchy, more potatoes? But greasy and thinly sliced, fried to crispness and somehow delicious. I ate until I was full then asked for “milk.” I needed the calcium to replace what Barsoom’s low gravity had robbed. Someone handed me a drink in a can and I took a swig, then coughed and spat it back. The stuff was sickly sweet, almost pure sugar! Yes, I was in America where they put sugar in everything, including their salt.
With enough food and sleep, I could recover to Earth-norm in a few days, Weir-norm in a week. I just had to survive that long which might not happen for a man in uniform shoved a handgun in my face, “Freeze! Drop the weapons!” he demanded.
A cop! I hate cops. In Belfast they murdered Irish kids for playing ball and pretended that they were defending themselves but we all knew that a cop wore his badge on the end of his dick and killed us because he could.
I wasn’t in shape to fight so I focused, grabbed his weapon to prevent it being fired and grabbed his face with my other hand as I wrapped my tail around his neck and choked. Then I drove a thought into his mind and when seated, let him go. She stood there, gasping for air then staggered off, sat in a chair and was snoring within seconds. He’d not remember me when he awoke. I examined his weapon, found the eject lever, removed the magazine, pulled the slide to ensure no round in the chamber then tossed it into a nearby trash-can. Yes, America, the land of conspicuous consumption. They threw away more than I owned in Ireland and built their cities upon their own garbage. No wonder the people were slowly dieing.
The conversation that ended with the cop’s arrival resumed, someone laughed, “serves him right, First Contact with an alien race and he tries to start a war!” Then, “Hi, I’m Mark Hanley, here I call myself Captain Kirk. And who are you?”
The boy towered over me but was barely an adult and dressed like an actor from a telly show. His eyes never left my naked breasts and I had the urge to say, “I’m up here,” but these kids were useful so I let him stare. “I am the Baroness Eibhlin Inghean Ui Bhrian, but you may call me Lady Eibhlin or Baroness Ui Bhrian. Thank you for your help. I’m still weak from my wounds and this greater gravity and starvation and must look a fright. So if I may impose on you all for something more to eat and drink and a place to clean up and rest, I’d be ever so grateful.”
“Sure, you can stay with…”
“Back off Mark! She needs rest, not you drooling over her.” This from one of the women who had helped me earlier. “Our room is nearby and you can stay there with us.”
I had to look up to her for though I was of average height and size when I left Earth, these modern humans towered over my five foot height and ninety-five pound weight. “Thank you. I need to replace lost calcium and blood and regenerate muscle mass so I’ll need foods rich in protean, calcium and iron. I can pay for my needs.” Then cleaning and resheathing my sword, I faced the man whose business I had ruined. My blood splattered his table and even some of his magazines, though those were in plastic bags and would survive. But Obrien’s pay their debts so I opened my belt purse and removed an oval coin. I handed it to him and said, “I apologize for scattering your belongings and hope that this will in some way allow you to recover your losses.”
He took the Tanpi, his eyes moving from my chest to his hand and asked, “Is this real gold?”
“It is. A Tanpi from Barsoom. Perhaps you can melt it down for the metal?”
“Melt it, hell I can auction this… Money from another planet…” I left him dreaming his dreams and left with my new associates.
“Excuse me Eileen, Lady Eileen,” I let them mispronounce my name since even the Barsoomians couldn’t get it right. “But you sound Irish and have an Irish name but you don’t really look, well completely human.” My new companions were women, one older and the other as young as Mark, the younger more comfortable here than her friend.
I sighed, them helping me to the lift, “I was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1635. Fifteen years later the English had conquered my country but we revolted constantly to be free. They took everything form me, my mother, my father’s lands and Title, my own virginity. Then Cromwell,” I spat then at the name, not caring for the mess I left on the floor, “was given charge of our country and decided that the solution was to remove the Irish from Ireland. He took one-fifth of the entire Irish race and sold them into slavery to America. I and my mother were chased by the Brits. Mother shoved me into a pile of trash before they caught her and threw her into the wagon-cage calling out that she’d make a fine whore in the New World if any Englishman could bear to touch her for a penny.
“I ran home to my father and became what you Americans call a terrorist. I learned to use bow and sword and match-lock and killed Brits whenever I could. Then one day I was captured, then later as they dressed, I ran and was shot and died. At least I think I died. I woke up aboard a Demon starship, looking much like I do now. They needed someone to repair their ship and chose me. They healed my wounds and changed me into a Weir and for years I served my new masters until they found a space ship drifting. When we docked, the crew attacked us and the Demons killed them and had me look over and repair their ship. When it was fixed and upgraded, they said my service to them was done and I could have that ship and go if I wanted.
“I did. I intended to return to Earth and use my new starship to destroy England but met some Green Pirates on the way. We had a running fight until I escaped and by the time I repaired the damage and reached Earth, the planet has dead. Earth had destroyed itself and I was the last person alive.
“I’ve traveled throughout time and space ever since, selling my sword and trying to make some sense of my life. I’ve called for my ship but don’t know how long before it arrives.”
By then we were in their room and the bathtub was filling with scented and soapy water. I quickly dropped my harness and lay within, “I spent the last few years on a desert planet where a bath like this was too expensive for a mere mercenary to afford. On my ship, water is so valuable that I take a sponge bath with recycled water. You have no idea of what a luxury this is to me.”
One washed my hair, the other cleaned the blood from my harness as we talked. “Careful, that revolver holds twenty nuclear rounds. Break the glass casing around a shell and the explosion will destroy this room easily, possibly the building.” I took the weapon from her and lay it on the floor nearby. My carbine was already safely aside.
The girl washing my tail was fascinated by the limb and asked all sorts of questions which I answered as best I could. “The tip, the end joint even has a finger-print and is very sensitive,” I stroked her lips with it which wasn’t easy as I had to try to twist my tail around. She kissed the end and giggled so I wrapped it around the back of her neck and gently pulled her closer, then I sat up and kissed her.
Bad move. She panicked and stammered, “I like you and you’re beautiful and exotic but.. I’m straight. I’m sorry.”
I lay back and scrubbed my hair some more and replied. “I was too until the English taught me what they did to the young Irish girls they captured. No, I’m sorry, I misunderstood. I do that sometimes. When the Demons made me into this, they enhanced my insides too. I heal faster and am immune to many diseases and poisons and adapt quickly to other planets but they didn’t understand human emotions or hormones. The changed in here too,” I tapped behind my ear. “Their changes made me sexier, more sexual. My breasts grew larger, my orgasms easier and more intense but I’m in an almost constant heat. I need sex regularly or I die. It was a mistake but they don’t understand so cannot fix the problem.”
I dunked and rinsed then when above water again, “No, I made the mistake. You two have been so kind to me and I insulted you. I’ll leave now.”
As I stood and dried off, they rushed to calm me. “No, I’m sorry I gave that impression. You can stay. Besides, you can barely stand. So here, have some more dinner then get some sleep. Tomorrow, we’ll want to hear all about your adventures. This convention is filled with people who dream about what you did and the life you lead.”
So I stuffed myself some more, answering some of their questions but avoiding others. Then I cleaned my face and teeth and wearing a t-shirt they gave me, I fell asleep on the bed, but not before ensuring that my revolver and knife were under my pillow and convenient.
I dreamt of Kara. She was Vanthi, a Saxon descended human whose ancestors had been taken by the Demons shortly after the Norman Conquest and unlike the Mon or Weir or Kentaurans, remained human. I had met her when a Vanthi ship caught mine and demanded to know who I was and what I was doing in one of their ships. The difference between a Vanthi Merchant and a Vanthi Pirate is the number of guns you both have. So I explained the situation, how we found it drifting, damaged and when we boarded, the people on board attacked us and were killed. I did have a vid of the event and when they saw it, they backed off for no one wants to upset the Demons. And as the ship had been taken as a Lawful Prize, they had lost all rights to it and it was, legally, mine now.
Kara wasn’t gay, but willing to try to be an equal opportunity lover who was bored with the men on her ship and their constant pounding away at her hips. She was the only female on that ship and wanted someone gentle and my tail fascinated her as it does most people. So for a month we were lovers, spending more time in bed than on the flight deck. But she tired of me and we separated, she to return home and me to visit Barsoom and an endless procession of rented slave-girls.
She was on top of me, kissing my neck and ear-lobes but somehow ignoring my breasts. Then she slid my phallus into me and began the slow thrusting that I enjoyed. I climaxed quickly and easily, an unintentional gift of the Demons and that woke me to see Ral Silvas on top of me. Inside me. I almost broke his neck for raping me in my sleep but my next climax was there so I closed my eyes, held his ankles with my tarsials, clutched his heaving ass and with my eyes closed, screamed Kara’s name as I pretended it was she. Finally he shuddered, came, filling me with his hot wetness and as my final climax ebbed, I whispered in his ear, “Get off and never do that again or I’ll cut your dick off.”
I woke up, the blanket at my feet, my tail inside me as I fingered myself, my new roommates watching in a curious horror.
“We heard you call for Kara and thought you were having flashbacks. My father had them sometimes from the war.”
I pulled my tail free, licking it and my fingers clean of my musk and said, “Kara was a lover. I suppose I still miss her. Is it too soon for breakfast?”
I managed to sit but standing was still a struggle so I finished the meal from last night as they ordered room service. “Here, Eileen, this might fit you though your bust is larger than mine.” The dress was nice and soft after a year of wearing nothing but a few leather belts but it did mash my breasts so I held the cloth, sought for the fibers with my mind and the cloth shifted to fit my shape. I looked good in the mirror so I did my eyes and lips and changed my earrings and then breakfast was there. Eggs, bacon, toast and jam. Foods that I never had enough of when growing up during the occupation but after a couple years of mantilla milk and sorapus, this was a wonder. Of course the food had a bad taste, probably from preservatives but I’d eaten worse.
Again with the questions. I tried to emphasize the problems with space travel because I could tell that they wanted to go with me when I left.
“It’s not like the Telly. Not even like the books. Most stars have planetary systems but only G-Type stars have Terran-like worlds. And most of those are outside the eco-sphere. There is a formula that goes something like this: The Number of Class-M Worlds = the number of stars / the percentage of G-Type / the number with stony-iron planets in the eco-sphere / the number with left-hand molecules / the number with proteins that we can digest. There are more than a hundred billion stars in this galaxy. About a tenth are G-type and about another tenth have a stony-iron world in the eco-sphere and half those have left hand life-forms. That’s 500 million worlds and less than one percent have a biology compatible with us. So 5 million worlds spread across 1.57 billion cubic light years. (math was in intentional gift of the demons) Which is one possible world every 314 cubic light years. And I am being very generous at that. The truth is closer to less than a single percent of that number. So you spend a lot of time bored as you travel.
“The rest? You die eating the food or breathing the air. You sit on a rock and discover that you just murdered a Silicate Life-form. You pass through a Hydrogen Gas cloud and injure a being 100,000 kilometers long. Or you pass too close to a star and are sucked into the gravity well or the hull takes a piece of rock the size of a pin-head and your ship explodes before you know there is a problem. Or I die of celibacy.
“And when you find a place to visit, well, my last planet I was raped in my sleep by my Lieutenant and my company was killed in a war with the survivors hunted down by ten-legged war-dogs. It’s not an easy life.”
“Then why do you do it?”
“Look at me!” I stood for them. “How long before one of your governments decides to kidnap me for vivisection or to torture military technology from me? Even my own nation of Ireland would do that. I cannot stay. And the alternative is to become a farmer digging dirt to raise some alien crop that I cannot be certain will sell. I mercenary because I have no other choice.” Well, that wasn’t true. I could trade in my ship for a freighter and be a merchant or have my adopted clan on Drakonis help me find a good life. The truth is that I loved this life. Even the dangers made my blood rush so I did it because I was a thrill-addict. Even being here was exciting because at any moment the police could attack and I’d be fighting for my life again and I loved that!
“I can walk now so perhaps I should look over that room and see if I can get that Stargate working again and return to Barsoom.”
Both stared then said, “You cannot go like that. You stand out too much. I’ve got it. Here, put your gear back on, pretend it’s a costume and you’ll fit in. We just need to make you a bra or something.”
“Do you think it’ll work?” asked.
“Easy! Half the girls down there are dressed like Xena, the other half like Red Sonja. Trust me. Just smile and say that it’s a new prosthesis for an upcoming movie you are testing.”
It was a good idea and allowed me to wear my weapons. The bra they designed wasn’t very supportive but really, I was so firm I didn’t need one so wore it for modesty alone. The Barsoomians hated my breasts, seeing them as a deformity even while they overlooked my tail, thumbs, ears, eyes and antennae. I admit that on Earth, I saw them as a hindrance, always getting in the way and being stared at and attracting unwanted male attention even when I was smaller. I died human with a B or small C-cup and woke up Weir already growing into a D. But they were more sensitive and I found I now loved them touched, kissed, suckled… damn! I was getting wet again and would need sex soon. Well, I still had my phallus in my pouch and somewhere on that convention there would be a woman or two who’d like a roll in the hay.
Jane, one of the new friends, the other being Betsy and both dressing as what they called ‘Peacekeepers’ stopped by a machine and slid a card into the slot. A few buttons keyed and they had some paper money. Now this was interesting. I didn’t have a card but I did have something better. I placed my hand on the screen, seeking the fields and the screen changed faster than could be seen, then money slid from the insides.
“That’s amazing, can you do that anytime?”
“All computers use micro-electric currents. The secret is to find them and tell them to do what you want. What I took just now is far less than what the bank takes from closed accounts or immoral investments.”
“Lady Eileen, I love how you can justify crime. Let’s go shopping!”
I laughed at them, “I’m a soldier, I justify killing every day. Stealing is simply a lesser crime to commit. About the only crime I never did was prostitution and that only because I never had to sleep my way to freedom or a meal.”
I quickly discovered that I enjoyed the convention. The people were all strange but somehow, pleasant. I loved the men and women dressing like what they thought aliens would look like. And the medievalists were a joke. I had been born in that time and it wasn’t as romantic as they pretended. And when Jane handed me a milkshake, I could have died with pleasure. One girl was dressed in a chain mail bikini, perhaps the same I saw yesterday, and with her red hair, I found her so desirable. Jane leaned over and whispered, “She’s too young for you. In your time it might have been ok but here, 15 is statutory rape. By the way, how old are you? 360? 370?”
“Forty five, about. It’s the Relativity Curve. Time and space are intermixed with velocity and mass. Cut too close to a gravity well and the stellar mass and ship’s velocity moves you through time.”
“You look twenty or less. I didn’t look as good as you when I was twenty and I’m thirty-six.”
“The Demons engineered me for a long and youthful life. I suppose they didn’t want their workers dieing of age before they were used up so I’ll look like this when I’m 400. So what age should I be looking for?”
“18 is legal but maybe thirty to forty for you now. Not all men are bad you know.”
“I don’t mind them as friends, I just prefer to not have their sweating hairy bodies crushing me into the dirt. Besides, I find the average human male to be inadequate after my past.”
I wish I could say I had my choice of partners but that applies only to the men who complimented my ‘costume’ only to stare at my chest. The women, unfortunately, were nasty behind my back and envious to my face and so I was totally unable to decide who would say yes and who to avoid as wasting my time. I even had the urge to stand on the stage, rip my bra off and scream, “They’re only breasts. They don’t explode, they are just flesh and skin,” but I didn’t.
Jane whispered, “That man in the suit. He is totally checking you out. Maybe you should give men another chance.”
I looked and saw EM-fields around his head and chest. Radio transmitter. But why unless he knew about me. Well, this could be dangerous or interesting so I passed him, gave a glance that implied interest and walked on. I could feel him following so left the room for the hallway. Again he followed and as I drank from the fountain, he approached, stinking of tobacco and his aura and skin colors screaming deceit. The Demons gave me the ability to see IR and UV and I learned that when people lie, the heat patterns of their skin changes as does the dilation of their eye pupils and rate of breathing. Unfortunately I couldn’t understand the radio signals he was sending so had to try something else.
“Hello, amazing costume. What are you supposed to be?” he asked, not really interested.
“An alien mercenary,” I replied, trying to smile. This man would torture his own wife if he thought it would help his country.
“Cool. So, how much do you charge?”
“It depends on the job.”
“Perhaps we could talk in private. My room is a few blocks away.”
He was trying to get me alone and away from this place. Usually alone means no witnesses. Ordinarily I wouldn’t worry but I was still far from full strength and even walking this far was taxing me. “Perhaps later. I’m really tired and need to sit down.”
“Sure. I’ll walk back to your room. Where is it?”
“I’m staying with my parents on the tenth floor,” I suggested. Just how bad did he want me alone?
“Well, they wouldn’t let me come alone until I was seventeen.” There, that should slow him down a bit. He looked much older than the usual kid here, maybe as much as thirty or forty. If he was such a pervert to chase a young girl I wouldn’t have any fears about hurting him if he were a danger.
“You seem so mature, I would have thought you were at least twenty-three.” He was lying. “So maybe we could go and have a cup of coffee?”
Yes, he was either a child-molester or a government agent. Either was dangerous. “No, I’d rather not miss any of the convention. My parents would be angry with me.”
He walked back with me, he telling lies and I doing the same. If he had any ears, he’d know I had arrived yesterday via Stargate. My scars and wounds were still easily visible and how many children with foreign accents would be allowed a revolver and have a body like mine. What I needed to do was to stall for a few days until I recovered or my ship arrived.
One inside, I sat and asked, “I’m hungry, would you please get me something to eat and some milk please?” Let him pay the bills. Unless he were a better liar than I could see, he didn’t yet know where I was staying and so the remainder of my weapons and gear was safe. But he was also carrying a radio transmitter and a metal mass under his pant’s leg and shirt implied a hand-gun, but to whom as he speaking? And why? Americans were a paranoid people, worse than the English, and they had created many enemies in their short history. So did they spy on every such gathering hoping to find aliens or did someone here call to the authorities and report my appearance? And how far would they go to capture me? How many of their own would they willingly sacrifice or kill in their belief that the end justify the means? Yet forgetting that the means often perverts the end and a nation willing to sacrifice it’s own people has already become the evil it disdains.
At least he fed me well. And with this, and my own medical potions, I would heal faster and adapt sooner than expected. Still, he knew nothing of my true abilities and doubtless saw in me naught but a young woman with but a few anatomical differences. My true strength, my vision and hearing and my telepathic ability would be unknown to him as would be my weapons. To men such as these, a sword is carried only if the firearms are primitive and ineffective so he may believe that my revolver is no more advanced than one from centuries ago and ignore it as a danger.
What I did suffer was his endless rounds of questions, questions that I had to pretend to find interesting. Yes, my mother did my make-up and my father my ears and antennae. My extra thumbs and tail were prosthetics, mechanical devices that could be remotely controlled and were controlled by my parents who were wandering around watching. Yes, my scars and injuries were real. I had fallen into a thorn bush the day before the Convention and so it was decided to add them to the costume. And more. Throughout this all, I would occasionally touch him and implant a thought that what I said was true and that all here was well and normal.
The worst was that he’d regularly excuse himself, leave and return some minutes later stinking of tobacco until my lungs and nose were aching from the reek. I wanted to think he was a simple drug addict but his transmitter was warmer when he returned so he was communicating and gathering instructions, instructions that concerned me because he always returned to my chair.
After stuffing myself, I waited for one of his absences and left to find Jane who I told, “That man thinks I am sixteen and still he pursues. I told him I was staying on the tenth floor with my parents. Right now, I am tired and could use a nap.”
Jane handed me her room key and mentioned, “Ok, but tonight is a dance. You might enjoy that.”
“Dance? I haven’t danced in so long. I don’t know how to dance your dances but I’d like to try. Will you wake me in time?”
They assured me that they would and I left to our room where I checked my gear and weapons, found them untouched and fell asleep with exhaustion.
If I dreamed, I didn’t remember but was wakened by Jane who was calling out, “Eileen, it’s time. You have time for a quick shower and dress. We can hide your ears and antennae with a new hairstyle and a long dress will hide your tail so we’ll accent your boobs and no one will notice your hands or feet.”
I had my doubts but agreed and allowed the hot water to wash away my tensions. My minor wounds were already healed, leaving scars that would fade in another day, the larger ones still scabbed over but safe. I didn’t feel weak so when I exited the shower, reluctantly, so I lifted the end of the dresser. Not near my former strength but my bones didn’t ache so I was adapting well. Another few days.
I strapped my dagger to my thigh and slipped my revolver into a purse. Unlike the usual revolvers used by the Red Men, mine as much lighter and smaller to fit my shorter and lighter size. Still it carried the same radium rounds, just not as many, and I could send twenty rounds into twenty men at a half-mile and kill each easily. Red Men carried swords because they saw was as honorable and so rarely used their firearms which were far more advanced than anything on Earth.
“Do you really need that?” Betsy asked.
“I find that anyplace they don’t want you to carry weapons is exactly the place you should go armed. Besides I don’t trust that man.”
I loved the dress and the dancing was fun. I didn’t mind dancing with men or women or even alone though the music wasn’t what I was used to. And I drank a bit too much perhaps for when one of Jane’s friends commented that one of the sleazy men present was a drug lord, I perked up and flirted with him.
In the bathroom, Jane and Betsy demanded, “Eileen what the hell are you doing? That man sells drugs that kill kids.”
“And he needs to buy them doesn’t he? That means money, a lot of money and I need to buy food and supplies for my ship before I leave Earth. I’ve been asking questions about business because all men love to talk about their money. It impresses the girls. And whenever I mention that, he thinks about some deal where he will exchange a lot of money for drugs. I just need to know where and when and then I rob him. But be aware that I am a Warrior and so killing men like these is my occupation.”
“My son died from a drug deal gone bad. He was caught in a crossfire between police and a dealer. As far as I am concerned, you can kill them all. What do I do?” Jane was bitter and I understood having lost my own mother and father to the English.
“I’ll get as much information as I can and you two help me find out what I don’t know. For now, the creep is an open book. Goddess! If I had bigger breasts and liked men, I’d rule this planet.”
I spent the next horrible hour allowing myself to be seduced. The man stank of tobacco and other drugs I couldn’t name and drank too much alcohol and was so arrogant his eyes never left my chest. Well, if he lived, he’d be unable to identify my face later.
Every time I expressed an interest in business, pretending that the thought of money turned me on, he’d think of that deal and I’d estann a place, a warehouse? with two groups of men, him and another exchanging boxes. “I’ve always wanted to be fucked on a pile of money,” I cooed, moving my breasts from side to side as his eyes followed. Then when I had enough, I made myself mildly sick and cried, “too much wine, I think I’m going to…” then I threw up on him.
I didn’t mean to, I really did have too much to drink but it wasn’t the alcohol for being Irish, I could drink anything. No, there was something in the wine that made me sick. In the bathroom, Jane held my hair from the toilet as I continued to throw up.
“How do you feel, honey,” she cried. I was older than she but she was acting like I was her baby.
“My stomach hurts. My nose and throat are raw and my vagina itches terribly.”
Concern entered her voice, “Itches, like you need to have something inside or you’ll die from itching? Does your nose and throat feel the same?”
“Yes, I think.” Another wave of nausea hit. “Maybe it’s the vomit but my nose and throat itch and are raw.”
“Damn that bastard. He gave you Spanish Fly. Blister beetles. Some men feed it to women to make rape easier. Ok, he needs to die, the bastard. We need to get you to a doctor.”
I was beginning to feel better though. “No, Earth doctors can’t help me. I’m purging before it hurts me too much. Please take me back to the room.”
I don’t know if he watched me being carried away or sought another innocent victim but I spent the night in the bathtub.
The next morning I was well so we drove around the city looking for that warehouse I estanned from his mind. “There! That one!” We parked a distance away and scouted the building. Then, satisfied, made a few preparations and returned to the hotel for the rest of the convention. I wanted them to have an alibi.
That night I, dressed in black, armed with revolver and short-sword and dagger, returned to the warehouse. I had spent years hunting English soldiers in the city of Belfast and the forests around not to mention fighting on a dozen other worlds so was experienced in this sort of killing.
There were two men on the ground, one I approached in the dark and snapped his neck easily. Then I carried him to a dumpster and examined his weapon. It was a squareish firearm with a very short barrel and a very long magazine in the handle. The bullets were large, as round as my finger but short. There as also a lever that said ‘semi’ and ‘auto’. Obviously a stitcher. I took the extra magazines and his wallet and jewelry and climbed a drain-pipe to the roof. I wasn’t up to my full strength yet but easily enough to do this so I peeked over the roof and saw two men glowing in infra-red. It was too dark for them to see me but their heat signatures told me exactly where they were so I moved in close and drove my dagger into the base of the skull of one, then carried his body to cover where I removed my dagger and easily killed the second.
With the roof clear, I robbed the bodies of magazines (they carried the same weapons) wallet and jewelry then entered the door to inside. I thought that door would be unlocked for what fool traps himself on a roof with no way to escape.
I climbed around the support struts easily for the Demons had changed me to do exactly this. Two autos faced each other in the darkness, one man in each. Before each vehicle were three men and in the center four talking softly, the speakers carrying large cases. No one else was around which was stupid. When you do criminal acts, always have snipers hidden around but there were none.. wait! Someone glowing to the side, hidden so I barely glimpsed his face for a moment. Maybe there criminals weren’t as stupid as I thought.
I moved towards him for humans never look up. We were bred to look down for safety and to seek danger so as long as I was above him, I was invisible not only in the darkness but by his concentration to the ground below. Then I held to the pipe with tail and feet, swung down and stabbed my dagger into his throat and cut. He died quickly and messily then I searched around to ensure that there were no others.
Finally, I came down and approached one vehicle from behind and drove my short-sword into the skull of the driver, then punctured the rear tire. I moved back and repeated the action with the other vehicle and by then the exchange was done and they were returning to their vehicles. Now it gets fun.
Their boss actually got into the vehicle before they saw the blood. These two died quickly from my short-sword then the screaming began. Gunfire followed and I dove for cover as the survivors opened fire on each other. The fireballs from their weapons flared in the darkness so I used my revolver and took aim. With no explosive propellant, firing my revolver was silent and invisible though the explosions as my rounds struck caused considerable trouble.
The first fell backward as a part of his chest the size of my two fists vanished in a small thermo-nuclear explosion. The second lost his head, literally. Three soldiers and two bosses to go. Unfortunately, two of the soldiers shot each other and the last ran to the opposite vehicle to be shot from inside before he could kill the occupant.
With all dead but the dealers, these two unworthies began to accuse each other so I moved to a position where I could see them both and with two rounds, the world was a better, though messier place.
I moved in to ensure that the man I had killed was the one who drugged me the night before, then I snapped the case open to find bags of white powder which I ignored, taking my victims wallet and jewelry instead. Then I ran to the other side and did the same, taking his case which was filed with money. By then sirens were approaching so I returned to the roof, meeting and killing the last outside sentry who had finally arrived to save his employer.. too late.
I stuffed the money and wallets into a bag with the weapons and ammunition I had collected, thrust my arms through the straps and looked over the side to the street below. Soon they’d find the bodies and begin to search for survivors.
No problem, I pulled on the wire I had run the day before and soon had a rope stretched between the buildings. I took hold of the rope with hands, feet and tail and crawled cross the alley, hanging from the rope as fast as most men could trot and within seconds was safe. I cut the rope free to imply that I had descended to the street, then a quick run across that roof to the next rope and then down a fire-ladder to the alley below. Now a quick run to Jane who was waiting for me and I quickly changed as she drove back to the hotel.
“It went well?” she was concerned.
“Very. Too easy. I even convinced them to fight each other.”
“I was so worried about you.”
“Why? This is my job. I do it all the time. Well, when I’m not fighting a war that is.” I laughed.
“You do this!? But you’re so tiny.”
“Jane, I’m older than you are and size only matters in starship engines and men. This is my life. I’m a Warrior and I steal when I cannot fight. The best I can say is that I try to steal only from and kill the bad people. I’m far from perfect.”
“Can I still go with you? I can’t fight but maybe I can learn to fly your spaceship and help out on things like this. We can be like Butch and Sundance.”
“What?” I was … well I didn’t know what to say. If she were gay I’d agree instantly but…. Then we were inside the convention and I spent a half hour implanting thoughts in people’s minds that they had seen us here the entire evening and posing for photos. It was fun.
The convention was a week ago and the media had no clue as to the massacre at the warehouse. They reported that a drug deal went bad when a prominent local businessman had tried to cheat a drug dealer and had been killed in the confusion. The police had no other information to provide and there was no mention of the large mildly radioactive holes in some of the bodies.
But as for us, we had a fun time spending some of the money we had stolen. I paid Jane’s bills, we bought clothing and jewelry and we tried to find potential lovers for each other.
Then my ship finally made orbit.
I brought her down in a field and showed Jane and Betsy the inside then took them on a trip to Jupiter which was only a day away. The trip was dull and totally boring as I flew above the planetary plane and so we avoided planets, asteroids and the occasional comet. We spent a few hours skimming the gas giant refilling the fuel tanks with hydrogen for the reactor then returned to Earth.
“Well, that is what space travel is like. Mostly dull so I read a lot, tail myself when I cannot find a girlfriend and very rarely find excitement on a planet.”
“So, can I still go? I’m single, my only child is long dead and I don’t date and the SF-Con was the most fun I’ve had in years.”
“Will you be my lover?” I asked, half seriously.
“No, but I’ll be your friend. I’ll stop you from sleeping with the wrong person, I’ll hold your hair out of the toilet and I’ll explore the galaxy with you. And besides, I’ve tasted your cooking and from what you told me, you really need a cook.”
“Done. We’ll buy food and medical supplies and literature and then leave for .. somewhere. But first you must learn to pronounce my name correctly. It’s Eibhlin Inghean Ui Bhrian, not Aileen or Eileen but Eibhlin. We can work on that while we pack your things.”