by: Rick Johnson
PO Box 40451
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I sat in my cell, waiting. My hand were fastened behind my back with steel manacles and I had been handled by these … people who thought I was armed. I should have been. At least I was still dressed for they chose to not put me through that indignity, though they indicated that they wished to do a ‘full-body cavity search’. I comforted myself with plans of what I would to do every one of them when I was free. I also sat upright with my back straight, my legs together and ankles crossed as should a Lady of my breeding. I refused to slouch as would anyone else for that would give them the advantage and I wanted them to know that I was still their better.
The cell was small, actually a very small room with barely enough room for a bed and chair, and there was no window but the door looked substantial. Maybe the walls? Americans liked to build their houses from ½” sheetrock over a thin sheet-steel frame so perhaps? I considered laying on my back on the cot, my knees pulled up so that I could kick a hole through the wall when the door opened.
The man who entered was a police officer, in civilian clothes as do these prefer, thinking that if they dress as a normal person, they can avoid the designation ‘Nazi’ though their actions prove otherwise. He was accompanied by two men him who were well armed and armored, a testament to the respect that they held for me. Or maybe they just wished to intimidate me.
“Please come with me, Mrs. Kolchek, I’m sorry for the treatment you’ve suffered but if you would care to get up and come with me, we will explain everything.”
I didn’t bother to correct the man. But I did rise and follow. None of them offered assistance which showed the lies they had just spoke.
“I’m hungry and have need of the ladies room,” I suggested.
“All in good time,” he smirked.
“Oh, yes, the first stage of torture. Starve the innocent, force them to defile their clothes as you laugh and inform them that things will get worse. I’ve experienced similar things in other nations. Only they never pretended to be other than what they are, impotent Nazi’s who derive their sexual thrills from torturing the helpless.”
He turned and snapped, “I’d doing my JOB here! Understand! It’s a WAR out there and we do what we have to!”
Staring back I stated calmly, “Exactly the argument used by the War Criminals in the Nuremburg Trials. The international court ruled that ‘following orders’ is no excuse for torture’.” He raised his hand and almost struck me but controlled himself. I struck a nerve. Good! Unfortunately, the original Nazi’s didn’t care and these Homeland Security folk were chosen for their admiration of the techniques of the Third Reich.
“I expected questions,” he started. “We went to a lot of trouble to catch you.”
“Trouble?” I asked. “You sent me an attractive redhead with a generous endowment to distract me while she drugged me with that wine. That wasn’t trouble, just a bit of imagination and minor thought on your part. Is prostitution a requirement for female operatives with your agency?” Then when he tensed, I backed off. I’d have a better chance of escape uninjured. “You want something important and you want me willing to work for you. But you forgot that people like me are patient and always take their revenge upon those who have wronged them.”
He opened a pocket notebook and read, “Janice Kolchek, formerly known as Janice Obrien. Strange how it’s Obrien and not O’Brien. Claims to be Irish Nobility and descended from Brian Boru. Married to Arms Dealer and KGB operative Alexii Kolchek. One child, died in infancy. Claims to be twin sister to Irish Republican Army terrorist Jason Obrien. Suspected in the bombing of a school bus in Belfast, the murder of a number of British soldiers and police and even, surprisingly, your own uncle and the IRA cell he belonged to. Why did you kill your own uncle and friends?”
“Ask him if you wish answers. Though taking my brother will be far more dangerous than abducting a drugged woman. And not that it matters to you, but most of your information is incorrect.”
He had the sense to not counter my insult for they admitted that they kidnapped people. They also threatened to arrest for treason anyone who revealed their crimes. And once they decided on a fact, the veracity of that fact was never questioned. America was well on the road to becoming the Fourth Reich.
We were presented to a man, who obviously felt that he was in charge, and who ignored us as he pretended to read reports. It was a tactic used by insecure men with a tiny penis and no authority to pretend that they were important. So I waited, ignored him and the room and began to hum an Irish tune whose words I had forgotten long ago. It was a song about Irish freedom, A Nation Once Again! Strange how I hadn’t thought or sung that in.. more decades than I could remember. From the look on the cop, he knew exactly what that song represented. But then, to England, George Washington was a traitor and terrorist himself who advocated the extermination of every man, woman and child of the Red Indian race, and these police officers were using the exact same tactics and justification of the people they fought. It’s all a matter of a point of view.
He slammed his fist on the desk snapping, “ENOUGH!” to the private snickers of my guards. I finished the tune then, “My point!” I commented with a smile.
“You won’t be so happy when I have you in an interrogation room, alone!” he stood to look down at me. I’m only a few inches above five feet and he was inches six above so easily looked at me as if I were small. Another favorite tactic.
I ignored him, further angering him, then commented as I glanced at the walls, finding interest in the paint scheme, “No you won’t. You haven’t the authority. You are some middle-management type who pretends you are important. And as your superiors seem to want me healthy, happy and in a cooperative mood, let’s stop playing games, LITTLE BOY, and take me to the real boss.” I could feel his blood pressure rise but he controlled himself and laughed, “For now, but soon, your ass will be mine.”
“Then,” I added, “I am so glad you have such a tiny penis you need a big gun to feel like a man.” This time neither guard tried to hide their smirks.
He struggled to control himself, then with the cop-attitude that no one can drive a mile without breaking some traffic law, he settled down to wait and plan his revenge. I doubted that he would live that long. So we followed him to another room where a much brighter man, also obsessed with the idea that he shouldn’t be required to obey the laws he swore to uphold (pesky things like Civil Rights, the Constitution, Due Process of Law get in the way of proper police methods) but this one was relaxed. HE had the real power here. There were also a couple other civilians present and the nameplate on his desk read ‘STEEL’. No first name and I wondered if he was born with that name or changed it to feel important..
Without introducing himself, he looked me over and jumped in, “I understand that you’ve seen dinosaurs!” Not ‘think I saw’; but ‘seen’. I caught the difference.
“A few. A dwarf sauropod in the Congo, a megalodon in the Indian Ocean, a diplocaulus in the Ryu-kyu Islands, a few others.”
“Want to see more?” he was smiling. Always a bad thing when a cop smiles at you. It means he knows he can convict you on the evidence alone and wishes you to suffer or is about to torture a confession out of you because they cannot convict you on the evidence.
“Not really.” Though to be honest, I was.
Nodding to the civilians, one slid a couple of bad photos before me. One looked like a cycad forest, another had a very long and thin dragonfly, a third showed a blurry stegosaurus. I knew these weren’t faked. You don’t go to all the trouble they did to get me here to show faked pictures. “You could have just shown me the photos and offered to pay me.”
One of the civilians said, quickly, “That’s what we said but…”
Interrupting, the cop stated, “I prefer to know you will be loyal to our aims.”
“Money is a great equalizer and loyalty can be purchased easier with gold than threats.”
“Not to someone as wealthy as you are. You don’t care about money. Bt you DO care about freedom. So here’s my offer. We got you here so easily, we can do it again and not let you go. So, do this job and we forget you exist. Refuse or screw us and you’ll spend the rest of your life wondering if that person who is smiling at you is one of ours or how many snipers we have looking for you.”
“I’d still like to be paid. It makes things more professional.”
“Take the deal, Kolchek.”
Staring back, I stated firmly, “My name is Lady Janice Obrien. Or Duchess Obrien.” He looked away first. Point three, my favour. “Can I think it over in the loo?”
The civilian asked, “Please, we need her and…” then seeing the look, backed down and turned to me. “How could these survive for all these millions of years and remain undiscovered? The breeding population would have to be so large that it would be impossible to hide.”
“Maybe there isn’t a breeding population. Maybe these are just isolated individuals that wandered into where they were seen.” I suggested.
“From where?” the cop asked.
“What do you want me to do?” I turned to Steel.
“We found a.. for want of a better name, a gateway to the past. We sent a camera on a wire through and got these photos before we lost contact. Each time, we got a couple shots then nothing. Maybe some dinosaur ate the things. So we sent some volunteers through and lost them. I want you to go through with a team and find them, bring them home.”
“And…?” They sent people through a StarGate with no knowledge of how to get them back. This man murdered that team and knew it when he sent them to their deaths. And he doesn’t even care.
“And nothing. You get back, we let you go.”
“And how do I get back?”
“That is your problem. I understand that you are very good at this.”
“When do I leave?”
“Can I use the toilet first?”
“On the other side.”
“Let’s get on with it then before I need clean clothes. I’ll need some gear.” He tossed me a bundle and said, “Margaret will watch you as you change.” He waited for me to do something that he could refuse so I turned and walked to the door. I didn’t slow or stop, forcing one of the guards to rush to open it for me. Point four for me. If I act the Lady I am, they will have no choice to respond. And every concession in their part was good for me.
As I left, I heard him say, “We’ll provide you with whatever we think you’ll need after you go through.”
Margaret opened the door to the Ladies room then released my hands so I could change. I examined the clothes which consisted of a cotton shirt and shorts, both brown, and a set of walking shoes and socks. It was obvious that they thought that they knew my sizes. “So, Margaret, how long have you been a prostitute?”
Tensed, she snapped, “I’m not a prostitute!”
I didn’t even look as I changed, retaining my own bra and panties. “Yes you are. You had sex with me because you were told to do so by your superiors. And as you receive a paycheck for following orders, you took money for sex. You would have done so to anyone they told you to. Does your husband know you cheat on him? The only difference between you here and that whore on the corner is that she takes her money from the customer and has no illusions about herself.” I carefully folded my dress. It cost more than her monthly pay and my shoes more than her house payment. “You got the sizes wrong. The shirt is too tight, the shorts too big and too tight in the wrong places and the shoes pinch.” I suspect they did that deliberately. I had expected baggy orange scrubs.
She didn’t comment, just held the cuffs and waited. I smiled and held my hands in front of me so she snapped one, then forced me around brutally. As I turned, I slipped my foot behind hers and she went down, hard! “You stupid bitch!” she snapped as she rose.
“Careful, slut! Since you know who and what I am, you know that right now my brother is looking for me. And he has a reputation of finding what he seeks. And YOU, my little Nazi whore, have a family that you cannot protect. Since you have chosen to commit a crime by kidnapping and torturing me, my brother will feel justified in making you watch what he does to your loved ones. And that includes everyone else who was involved in my abduction. Write your will, whore! Because I may be in your chains now, but that won’t last and then…” I smiled, “Door?” And waited for her to open it.
Terrified, and realizing for the first time that her acts had consequences, that some people are not intimidated by her badge, she took me to a large framed tent with a.. well the tent was filled with electronic equipment that was all focused on a big flat rock that had one side shimmering. Scientist-types were watching and scanning and recording everything. There were also about six big guys in full combat gear and packs and one of the civilians in plain jeans and shirt with his own pack. He one that tried to help me earlier.
“I would prefer to go alone and don’t like taking a civilian along,” I offered.
“He’s a dinosaur expert. He’ll tell us which are dangerous and how to avoid being eaten.”
“Doctor..?” I asked.
“Phillip Paul,” he held his hand then dropped it in embarrassment because I was still handcuffed with my hands behind my back. The man was middle-aged, in decent shape though no Adonis. He probably spent too much time bent over a desk and not enough in a gym. The only thing that saved him from the mid-life paunch was traipsing all over the Badlands seeking more fossils to study.
“I read your books, the Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and other Prehistoric Animals and Cretaceous Carnosaurs. I preferred the latter as it required more thought and some of your ideas are quite interesting and novel. I really think you should reconsider this as there is no guarantee of survival or return.” He flushed with my compliment, a good sign of a man who knew his field but wasn’t overcome with his own importance.
“And loose such a chance? I draw dinosaurs, dig their fossilized bones and study them in a lab. This is a chance of a lifetime. I can’t miss that.”
“Did you tell them what’s been happening on the other side?”
He had the sense to be embarrassed. “They wouldn’t listen to me or care.”
“What are you talking about!” The head Nazi demanded. Steel wasn’t the kind to ask questions, he made statements.
Doctor Paul tried to explain, “That dragonfly was Carboniferous, about 360 million years ago. The forest was Triassic, some 225 million years ago. But the Stegosaurus was Jurassic, about 170 million years ago. Time on the other side of that thing is moving forward, fast! It covered 200 million years in a matter of weeks. In the days since the first team went through, a million years have passed. When we go through, it will be the Cretaceous and your team will have been dead a dozen million years. That’s why the cameras stop working, they get old and decay in seconds here but centuries there. This isn’t a rescue trip because there isn’t anyone left to rescue. I told you this before but you wouldn’t listen.”
“And,” I added, “In another couple weeks, a camera you send through will record the Indian Wars then when time catches up a few minutes later, the gate will vanish. That’s why you only see isolated animals here and never a herd of brontosaurs or T-Rexes, they don’t exist. A gate between then and now opens, one individual comes through then it closes and the thing is stuck here.”
“It doesn’t change anything. You go through, learn whatever you can, get back. You have all the gear you will need to scan the other side. Set it up and let it report through the gate so we can get more readings and learn how to open them at will. Get ready people.”
We approached the event horizon and I asked, “Are you the head of this project?”
“No one is higher. I found it, I control it and when time travel is solved, I’ll get the credit.”
“I see,” I watched the others get ready. People like him would keep all the info to himself. He’d report only what he must and keep the vital stuff secret in a private location so they couldn’t replace him. “Do you wonder why my brother killed all those British police?”
“Because that’s what terrorists do,” he was looking at the team, still checking gear. Not caring about me or my feelings.
“No one is ever born a terrorist. No one writes a school essay on why I want to be a terrorist. We are made. Some country invades our home and we fight back to be free and when that fails, we keep fighting out of frustration. Cops like you killed his wife and children to prove to us that they had power and he didn’t. People like you turned him into a criminal.”
He didn’t understand but pointed, “It’s time, go on.”
One of the tech-types called out, “The gate stabilizes for a minute then destabilizes. We think that if you all go through during the calm time, you’ll all arrive together. I think you’ll be able to come back when it stabilizes again.”
I took a deep breath and watched the rest cross the event horizon, knowing that there was someone behind me to ensure I didn’t back out. “I don’t plan to refuse to cross. And eventually I will find a way back. You have to understand this. And one thing more…” I flung myself into him and we went through together, his screams echoing on both sides.
I picked myself off the ground, frozen by the time-slip. I was shivering and my hands still manacled, my blonde hair in my eyes. There was a weight on my chest and my clothes were too tight and I could hear swearing from a dozen voices. I hated these things.
Arms pulled me to my feet, my shirt popping open as one of the team demanded, “What the fuck happened!”
I looked down and saw my too tight shirt opened to the waist as I glimpsed my bare breasts underneath. My hair was in my eyes, hair a moment before that had been tied back but was now flowing free. My feet felt the rotten vegetation underfoot and I tried to orientate myself as I saw one of the cops punching the wall where the gate should be. “It’s a one-way gate,” I called out. “We need to find another one.”
The head of the project, angry that he was here, slapped me, almost taking my head off as he demanded, “What’s going on! What the fuck happened! And where is our gear!”
Laughing, I called out, “That gate, you never did understand it but your arrogance made you think you did. Look at us. It changed things. It destroyed your … synthetics. Look at my shirt! The buttons are gone along with my rubber shoe soles. Look at yourselves. The plastic parts of your rifles are gone! (they all carried the metal parts of their M-16 but the plastic stock made by Mattel Toy Company had vanished along with the vital recoil spring retainers. They would never work again) Your Kevlar flak-vests and helmets are gone, anything synthetic didn’t pass through. I’m dressed only because my shirt and pants are cotton but the rubber soles of my shoes and the plastic buttons on my shirt are gone. I’ll bet that the non-natural parts of all your gear is gone and the exotic metals of your weapons are already destructing. No sleeping pads, the fill in your sleeping bags gone, the wrappers in the MREs you planned to eat vanished with the food mixing together in your pack, ruining whatever is left. But look! Your nylon packs are also gone, just the metal frames remain. Your uniforms are a poly-cotton blend. The poly is gone and there isn’t enough cotton left to hold your clothes together. Even the plastic buttons and plastic zippers are gone which is why you are all exposed. Your clothing will rip and tear at the slightest stress because there isn’t enough cotton left to hold them together.
“Now SET ME FREE so I can figure out where another gate is and get us back.” He backhanded me again, I tasting blood as I struck the ground. Dammit! A woman is only 60% as strong as a man and here I was the weakest. Too bad they didn’t have any artificial heart valves or such. No, everyone here would be in perfect health, not even a filling or contact lens probably. Each was chosen for perfect health, massive size, paranoid aggression and unquestioning obedience to their immediate superior. Not one was able to let go and actually THINK!
The boss grabbed my shirt and pulled it open, revealing my breasts to the world as he stared. Women in my family are cursed with large breasts and thick maidenheads and mental illness which made them desired by all men but also made their wedding nights a bloody and painful event and their marriages a living hell. He had no reason to do that, he just wanted to humiliate me. I stared back as if he were beneath my notice. A Lady does not acknowledge the comments of the lesser classes.
Normally a woman my age sagged because the body got tired of fighting gravity over the years. I exercised a lot and possessed the advantages of regenerative serums from the magicians of Renaissance Syria and enough knowledge of simple magick and healing to remain young and firm. He probably thought my breasts were fake and wondered why I remained large and firm when the saline bags should have vanished, leaving me flopping like a bag of sand.
“How do we get back?” that was the first honest question he had asked.
“I don’t know yet. Tell me the readings from the other side and maybe I can use that info to locate another gate. Obviously they exist, I just need to know how to find it. So how about letting me go and handing me that notebook.”
He shoved me again to the ground where I landed hard, my shirt still open and I exposed. I curled my feet behind me and began to feel for the locks. These shackles are stainless steel, plus other exotic metals and very complicated. They locked in position so you could neither loosen or tighten them which meant more parts to go wrong. Any heat would ruin the temper of the springs, and if the alloy were exotic enough, the metals would be easier to get out of. Had they used plastic zip-ties like they do when they plan to arrest a large group of people, I’d now be free but…
Paul came over and pulled my shirt closed. It didn’t help as my breasts were too large and free of my now-vanished bra but he tried. “I’m sorry. You have to understand, they are under a lot of pressure right now. How do you feel?”
“Well, my pants are too loose at my waist and too tight around my hips which is the only reason they haven’t fallen off yet. My shirt wasn’t made for this chest so would pop my buttons anyway when I inhaled too deeply and I really have to pee.” He laughed at the last.
Dr Paul removed his handkerchief and tried to wipe the blood from my lip, apologizing when I cringed. My lower lip was swollen from the blow and it had probably split too. “Dr Paul, doesn’t it bother you that you work for a bunch of people who consistently betray your own Constitution?”
“Well, Miss Obrien, I grew up with the idea that dinosaurs were lazy stupid lizards. During my career I‘ve seen every one of my cherished beliefs in my field be overturned. Dinosaurs became extinct because of the ice age. Then mammals ate their eggs. Then a meteor destroyed them and now volcanism … I can accept new ideas. And in today’s world, I think that sometimes you need to bend the rules to get the job done. They mean well, they are just a bit overly zealous.”
“Removing Freedoms is always easier than replacing them. Can you set me free?”
“I don’t have the keys but I would if I could. Not because you are probably the only one here who can get us home, why I believe that I can’t say but.. But, if a T-Rex should appear, I’d rather we all had a chance to run.”
“Look at them, Doctor. They are all trained to believe that they can do anything. They believe that everyone will respect the badge and who doesn’t, will suffer at the guns of their back-up when they go home for the evening. They are frantically trying to find SOMETHING useful in all that junk when about the only parts still working would be a knife blade.. and only after they make a replacement handle. When faced with the unknown, they resort to their training which is to bully. But no Allosaur pack will be bullied by a badge.
“It’s like a movie I saw once. The Giant Spider Invasion. Really bad FX and the biggest spider was built around a Volkswagen. You could even see the headlights through the eyes. Some cop in the movie saw this car-sized spider and shot it with a .38 revolver. Now any intelligent person would realize that a thirty-eight hasn’t the stopping power to kill a man, much less a spider larger than a car. But he emptied his weapon into the thing anyway and when it kept on coming, instead of running like a normal person, he tried to pistol-whip the monster. At times like that he deserved to be eaten to save future generations from hereditary stupidity.
“I can keep you alive and even get you back, but only if you are smart enough to realize that the old rules no longer work and you are willing to relearn new rules.”
“I’ll try to talk them into setting you free.” He rose to do as he said but I stopped him.
“You know we aren’t in the past. You know that the gate isn’t drifting through time.”
“Yeah, it didn’t take me long to figure that out once we arrived. They still haven’t yet. I’ll be back.” No matter when you are in time, the Paleozoic, the Mesozoic or even today, there will be one constant that you can observe and understand… the horizon. I should have been able to see past the forest to the horizon and then the blue or cloudy sky above. Here, the landscape just kept going on until it faded into the distance, some space above. The sky wasn’t blue, but greenish-brown and I got the feeling that were I to see past the clouds with a good set of binoculars, I could see the other side of the planet some 20,000 miles overhead. There was a sun, but small and bright. We weren’t on the Earth, we were IN the Earth. That gate didn’t send us into the past for time travel is supposed to be impossible. But then, Uncle Albert never could balance his checkbook and HE created Relativity physics? No the world is hollow and we were inside and hundreds of miles below our feet was the world we had left. If I couldn’t find another StarGate, we could always dig.
And only Doctor Phillip Paul, nerdy paleontologist who was too embarrassed to stare at my chest but wishing he could, had figured that out. They were trying to set up camp, with little success for they had no gear or skills here, when Paul returned. “I’m sorry, they said no. They think you are responsible for this. I told them that it was they who forced you here but they won’t listen. I heard what you said before, about how the British police killed your brother’s family. I’m sorry. I guess that’s why you all hate cops. Though as stupid and arrogant as these are I don’t wonder. Talking to them reminds me of when I had my PhD thesis challenged. Not one of the people on the board understood what I was saying but none of them would admit that. I almost didn’t get my PhD because of that. We’re going to die here, aren’t we?”
Not one of those men out there would lower themselves by considering that I, a civilian, and woman, might know something useful. They were too macho to listen to a girl and too .. copish to listen to a civilian. Dr Paul had no machismo. He had believed that he could finally see a real dinosaur and so had volunteered to go on a possibly one way trip to the past to achieve his dream. He had nothing to prove to anyone and probably read papers by Dr J. Doe and listened to them long before he realized that J was short for Jane and not John, then accepted the idea that a woman could have a good idea. He never saw me as a civilian because that word meant nothing to him. And I was the only person who wasn’t pretending that I was in control which gave him some comfort.
“They will. I won’t. And I’ll try to keep you alive if I can. Just don’t hesitate and think, obey when I give an order.”
“You’re going to leave them? I can’t do that. They need us. They may be arrogant and stupid but they deserve our help. I understand that you hate police because of your family but these guys didn’t kill them. And they would give their lives to save ours if they could.”
“Paul, I can’t save someone who refuses to be helped. And I can’t save them while I am chained like a dog. We need weapons and tools and survival gear and none of that exists here so I need to make it from scratch. It would be easier in the dark but that sun will never set so…”
“yeah, it won’t. It can’t be a real sun.” Assuming that it’s in the center of the planet, it can’t be more than a few hundred miles across. That’s too small for gravity to start nuclear fusion and if it were that large, it would suck everything into it like a black hole. “What do you think it is?”
“I don’t know. Maybe a wormhole anchored to the center by gravitational stress? It can’t be as old as Sol. I’m guessing that it appeared recently, maybe a couple hundred million years ago and will die in a few more million years. It probably sucked the inside of the Earth into it when it formed then reversed and spewed out heat and light. Solar flares probably create the wormhole gates we passed through. When it finally dies, it will probably take the Earth with it.”
“That’s sad,” he said and meant it.
“Get away from her!” Steel ordered.
“Don’t know how to deal with me?” I laughed. “It was easier to push me around when I was under your control But now, here and now, the thought of beating or torturing a woman sticks in your guts. Especially when you know that I am the only one who has a chance of getting you home.”
“You are still a criminal. Promise to not escape and help us and I’ll let you loose.” He was still staring at my chest that had become exposed whenever I moved.
“I’m not Eve and you aren’t Adam and despite these, I still am a person who knows that you are a nothing more than a megalomaniac Nazi. Would you believe me if I promised?”
“Maybe, I don’t know. I just can’t loose the men it would take to guard you.”
“I won’t make a promise I cannot keep. No deal. But your life would be easier with me free.”
“You’re still my prisoner and you shoved me through the fucking gateway. I should shoot you right now for that!”
“Now you won’t. For all your belief that the world is cop vs criminal, for all your belief that I am evil and the world would be better with me dead, for all you wishing that I’d do SOMETHING, ANYTHING to give you an excuse to shoot me, you won’t. Because somewhere down inside you is the belief that you ARE a policeman and murdering a woman isn’t your style. I intend to escape at the first possible chance. But I will keep my promise and when I find a way back, I’ll give you all a chance to return with me. But I won’t help you and I certainly won’t screw you.”
“So, I guess a blow job is out of the question,” he laughed and left.
“Is that your latent homosexuality coming through?” I called to his back. “At least, considering the way you overcompensate, your dick is so small that I won’t get a sore jaw.” Even some of his men laughed at that.
I relaxed, tried to move out of the path of the bugs and focused on the manacles. They gave a bit. Not the metal frame, as even a poor grade of steel with contaminations that once were exotic metals was still stronger than mere flesh and bone. No, the inside workings were giving away. The springs were no longer what they were and their temper was gone. They were bending. I slipped a stick inside and began to feel around for the locking spring. Occasionally a cop would glance my way, stare at my tits then go back to what he was doing. They had such confidence in these handcuffs that it never occurred to them to check them occasionally. I would never have been so arrogant. Even if I had a prisoner chained naked, upside down, in a steel cage that fit them like a glove, and drugged to near death, I’d still check it occasionally with back-up pointing a weapon at the prisoner in case he was an escape artist. And I had escaped from prisons, jails and worse situations. Plus, I had an advantage that they didn’t think of. When they locked these cuffs to my wrists in the loo, Margaret had locked them loose in her anger as I had slipped my fingers between steel and flesh. Handcuffs that were set to be snug on my wrists were now loose and that gave me more slack with which to play.
I didn’t bother working on every lock, one wrist free was all that I needed. And their weapons probably couldn’t fire, I hoped, so they would stand there, try to shoot, rechamber, try to shoot again and not believe that their handguns wouldn’t fire. I did see a dinosaur approach but it looked like an egg-eater and only Paul and I would see it as harmless and not the feared velociraptor of the recent movies.
One of the cops came over, “What are you doing,” he demanded as my jerking around had attracted his attention. I shoved my bare chest out and smiled, trying to find that sexy voice that had worked so well on me when they caught me, “I’m uncomfortable. These handcuffs hurt. I’m not used to wearing them, out of bed that is.”
The fool had forgotten that under this DD-body and blonde hair was the experience of a mercenary, a soldier and a martial artist. I had fought in wars in countries he couldn’t find on a map while he probably had never faced anything meaner than a scared convenience store robber. I moved my chest back and forth, his eyes never leaving the globes as I said, “My nipples are cold. See how hard and erect they are. Can you please cover them before I catch cold?”
He gulped, then reached out to my shirt. Goddess! Was I that stupid? Well, that redhead that drugged me proved that I was. So I snapped my wrists apart and swung the free end as hard as I could. Had he his helmet, nothing would have happened but his Kevlar helmet had vanished as quickly as his Kevlar bullet-proof vest. So my cuff, hanging from inches of chain, struck his head and he went down, hard. I screamed like a girl in fear as the theropod ran through the camp, then I rose and ran, hoping that they’d think they were attacked by carnosaurs.
I don’t know what was worse, my shoe tops flopping around or having my chest bounce and hurt as I ran or feeling my shorts slip off my hips and worrying about tripping over them.
I ran until I couldn’t breathe any more, then hid under a log and snapped the remaining cuff free, tossed them aside then retrieved them. If I could make charcoal or find coal, I could maybe forge the steel into a knife or spear. Then I relaxed, felt the magnetic fields, seeking another StarGate and moved towards some hills, hoping to find a safe cave for the night… night! There was no night here. Ok, a safe cave for sleep. I pulled my shoes off, noting that the nylon laces were gone, tied my shirt into a knot below my breasts and every few meters I’d pull my pants up as I moved on. I’d miss Paul, he was such a kind guy but first was my own survival. I couldn’t keep him alive if I couldn’t keep me alive so I had to prioritize.
I found a stream and drinking deep, trying to not wonder if there was a dead animal floating just upstream, then splashed the cold water on my back and face, trying to hold my hair free. Then the cold water reminded me that I needed to pee.
Getting the shorts off was easy. Once I worked them past my hips, I didn’t bother to squat. I sat on a rock, my ass barely supported, and lifted my feet to rest them on another convenient rock. I spread my knees as far as I could, leaned forward to angle my hips and let loose. I also had this tiny bladder that made me want to pee every hour it seemed. Drinking a cup of tea before bedtime would guarantee a midnight stroll to the loo but it was mildly relaxing to see the clear stream leave and flow down the landscape.
Now that I was done, no paper. I looked for leaves and wondered if I were allergic to any of them? They didn’t look like Poison Oak or Poison Ivy but who knows what toxins lived here to avoid being eaten. Finally, I used my fingers, wiping as best I could until I felt dry. Well dryer. The more I wiped, the wetter I felt until I realized what I was doing. That felt good. Really good! I’d have to explore later. Then I wiped my fingers on the leaves and pulled my underpants and shorts on.
They still didn’t fit. My narrow waist (24”) and broad hips (34”) didn’t work on shorts made for a different body. It was like pulling a wet-suit on without baby powder. Ok, I know that Einstein was an idiot. I know he couldn’t balance his checkbook or tie his own shoelaces. I know he carried a note with him to tell strangers where he lived so why the hell should I believe his theories of Relativity and Conservation of Mass? My mind KNEW Einstein made mistakes but a lifetime of hearing respected scientists praise the man made my guts believe in him. So I couldn’t break the Laws of Physics but I could bend them. And I had a lifetime of looking up the local Witches and Martial Artists when I traveled so I had advantages that the police did not know but made me valuable here..
Matter can neither be created nor destroyed… but it CAN be moved!
I focused, aligned my chakras, breathed from my belly and felt the cloth around my hips move and shift. The legs shrank as the fibers moved up to my hips and the waist shrank to fit my form. So I was now wearing hot-pants, as the Yanks would say. Shorts with legs a couple inches long but fitting my waist and hips perfectly. At least the zipper was metal and not plastic.
Now the shirt. A slight tug and the sleeves came free. I held the former seam ends together, focused and the threads interwove to form two bags about six-inches long. Unfortunately, the shirt still looked like the kind those dykes wore. The kind of women who would buy clothes in the men’s section, daring people to comment. Then they’d rip the sleeves off like they were some macho plumber. If I was stuck in these clothes, I’d damn well look like a woman and not some bull-dyke who was pretending to be a guy.
I took a bit of thread and pulled, allowing the fabric to part, weaving thread into string as the sleeves shrank to near the collar. Now I had a couple strings that I laced through the bags from which to hang them when I collected my gear. I untied the shirt, checked the breasts though from this angle they didn’t look very impressive or attractive but the natural parts of my bra had fallen and were stuck so had to be removed. All the elastic and nylons were gone including the plastic under wire and plastic clips. I let the shirt fall naturally and it covered my hips and were I to button it (assuming the buttons still existed) I could get away without pants
I began to let the fabric flow and as the sides and back shrank, I had more cord. When I felt the back reach up far enough, I stopped and had a short womanly-looking shirt with long tags(?) in front so I used these to tie it back high and below my breasts and rolled the string into a ball, shoved it and the other bag into the first and tied it to my belt. Eventually I’d need to make some netsuke to hold it but a knot would work for now.
So here I was, barefoot, short shorts, abbreviated shirt with bare shoulders, midriff and legs. I looked like Daisy Duke from that American Television show. Southern trash I believe the term is.
Just as I was about to leave, I removed the string I had just made, decided it was too thin and braided it thicker but shorter. Then I tied a loop at one end and a knot at the other and found the center. A quick twist and a couple knots and I had a sling with a make-shift pouch. My first weapon and it made me feel much better. As I walked, I began to collect useful rocks as bullets and soon had one pouch filled with ammunition. And I could hit a hare on the run with a sling or lob a hand-grenade farther than a man could throw so dinner was assured. I had driven wolves from sheep with a sling so knew that I could fight anything smaller than a rhino so was now far from helpless.
I may not have a rifle or a steel knife, but I did have a brain and the experience to use it and that ensured my survival. The secret was to figure out the local food-chain and make certain that you weren’t on it.
All you need to survive is something to cut with and some means to make fire. Everything else is easy.
I pulled a string from my pouch and tied my hair back. Strange how on Earth, I had hair as long and never had any trouble. Now it was getting in my face.
I headed upstream as StarGates used flowing water to open the wormhole and I could feel the variations in the magnetic field. Humans, like many other animals, can sense magnetic fields and if you know what you are doing, you can manipulate those fields and I could feel a Stargate ahead. Also I was searching for flint which would solve both primary problems but found neither. I did find some obsidian, volcanic glass, which I could nap into a knife and spear and even arrow-heads so filled my pouch with the best I found. I also searched for wood but the forest was mostly cycad and fern and so useless until I found a bamboo grove. Some was rattan, solid bamboo, and the rest was the kind we think of. I found long sections that ranged from the size of a thin pencil to giants that were near a meter thick and hundreds of meters high! This giant bamboo must be extinct in the outer world or a local variety but the possibilities were endless. I could even build a house with this plunder.
Eventually I found a wallow in the stream. Some large animal had dug a large hole in the stream then abandoned it. And if he went to all that trouble… There! Not far was a rock outcropping and between a couple very large bounders was a deep and large hole. I searched carefully but found no evidence of habitations so assumed that it was abandoned and looked inside.
It was a mess, but not as messy as my daughter’s bedroom so with a little hard work I soon had a pile of rubbish buried in a nearby hole. I also found some bones and an antler piece so set out chipping away at a piece of obsidian until I had a decent hand-axe with a molecular edge. With this, I whittled away at a piece of rattan until I had a spear and some hard work gave me a crude spearhead. Without glue, it was loose but would hold.
I also set a snare with some string, and some bamboo pieces stuck in the stream would direct fish to where I could easily catch them. I leveled the ground to my home, which was quite large inside, and wove the bamboo leaves into mats for the ground. And some searching produced a piece of hardwood which I shaved flat and used an obsidian drill to carve holes and notches along the edge. Then I made a bow-drill and soon I had a fire. Flint-&-steel would have done the job better and faster but resources were limited. Bamboo shoots for veggies, some large grasshoppers and berries and I soon had a full stomach.
What took only a few paragraphs is only the basics. I would hunt and search the neighborhood and soon found dog tracks. But tracks that revealed an animal far larger than any wolfhound which would cause trouble so I decided to experiment. I carved a bamboo section into a cup, made more and used slightly smaller ones for caps, then whenever I needed to pee, I’d squat over one, think very hard about me being the Alpha Male and mounting the lesser wolves and pee into the cups. I once knew a woman who sold her pee, accompanied by a photo of her filling a wine glass over which she squatted. She made a lot of money to a small but wealthy section of society. Thinking of this made me laugh so much I spilled some and had to force myself to aim more carefully. Also I couldn’t afford to have the wolves smell sex when I needed them to smell power!
Then I took my cups of urine and sprinkled a selection of bushes around my den to establish a territory. Soon enough, in a world that has no sense of time, a pack of gigantic wolves appeared. They approached then stopped, I in my burrow with my pitiful spear, hoping that I had gotten the visualizations right and dumped the right chemicals into my urine. They smelled my urine-marked bushes, followed them completely around my area, then marked over them and never crossed that imaginary line. The pack had accepted my intrusion.
From then on life was dull but filed with work. I would nap obsidian into knife-blades, spear and arrow-heads and hand-axes. Cut bamboo and make frames for a bed, a door and wall to my den and even a built a wardrobe. Bamboo leaves and other leaves were woven into packs, baskets and rugs. I built tee-pees and burned wood to form charcoal with the intention of making a forge to rend the handcuffs into something useable like a real knife and spear. I began to process of tanning the hides of the smaller mammals I hunted for future clothing. I saved my ashes and ran water through the baskets to collect lye which I made into soap and even found wild grapes with some mold which smelled enough like alcohol to encourage an attempt at brewing wine.
Wine! A large bamboo section with holes cut into the bottom. A slightly smaller section for a plunger and when filled with grapes my simple mortar & pistil produced enough juice for my experiment.
And I let my legs grow hairy. Fortunately, my leg hair was pale and thin so didn’t bother me as much as were it dark and coarse as the Italians. Goddess! Lucretia Borgia was hairy as an ape when naked, and expected me to become enamoured of her body? But I let my legs go natural mainly for want of a means to remove the hair. Had I a knife from the policemen, I would have used it.
I also found a strong sapling I was able to cut with my hand-axe and carved it to a bow, then made a frame and with some cording I wove from grass and cast off fur, set the bow into the frame and began the long task of bending the bow to shape to a proper curve. It took forever for I’d bend the bow, check the curve and shave where necessary to ensure a proper and gentle curve, then bend it more and reshape the curve. Once that arduous task was finished, I steamed the ends to curve them for the string and collected the wing and tail feathers of a number of birds I was able to catch with a sling and convenient rocks. Glue was made and with rattan shafts and obsidian heads, I soon had a quiver of decent arrows. That bow alone cost more time and effort than all the arrows put together but was worth the effort.
And my time in Japan had taught me how to make straw sandals so my cobbler’s skills resulted in number of comfortable straw waraji that protected my feet.
It was while on one hunting trip that I found the first bodies. Human remains that I almost thought were hominids until I saw the fillings in the teeth. Here were some of the first people sent through the Gate. From the looks of the bones, the Dire Wolves had caught them in the open. I searched for a very long time but found no knives or dog-tags or any identifying gear so took the broken skulls back and placed them into a basket, hoping that dental records or DNA would identify the poor souls. From then on I added a search pattern to try to locate the rest of the teams to my projects.
I also came across a pack of velociraptor at a kill but these were far from their cinematic relatives, being less than a meter at the back, their heads not even reaching my chest. Still, they were pack hunters and used to taking down much larger prey when working in unison so I gave them a wide berth. They hissed, lowered posture to indicate a leap but as I backed away, they returned to their kill, a large deer. I returned later for the antlers and whatever sinew the raptors had left.
But of people, I saw naught. Neither modern nor prehistoric. It appeared that this part of the Inner World was inhabited only by dinosaurs and prehistoric mammals. Considering the poorness of the hilly soil, agriculture here for anything other than a single family would be impossible. Weather was the key! On the Outer World, with air heated by the sun and cooled at night, clouds and storms moved across the planet, scattering rain and ensuring plenty of rotting vegetation to convert to humus during the Winter’s fallow time.
But here, the sun warmed it all equally. Whatever weather occurred as a result of micro-climates created by hills so the growing season was constant and the nutrients soon exhausted from the soil. Like a desert, the forest held its wealth in the vegetation and so little could be grown, for a year or two of intensive farming would exhaust the soil, leaving the farmers to move on or starve. With such an ecology, Man would remain hunter-gatherers and civilization would be impossible due to a lack of resources.
Fortunately, that meant that most of the big herbivores would be down in the plains and along with them, the large predators so I was fortunate to be here where the ecosystem supported few dangers.
It rained occasionally and was muggy most of the time so I took to hunting naked to save my clothing. I intended to tan hides to make more clothing but the discovery of some wild cotton made me start to collect as much as I could. Between fur and cotton, my wardrobe would eventually increase in size. But close to home, I was naked, saving my clothes for more distant excursions. And somehow I gloried in that freedom. I, who never left home without a dress, underwear, jewelry and at least some cosmetics, who would pay more for my clothing than most families earned, played at naked Diana in the woods, secretly hoping to be spied upon by the men. Occasionally, I would cease my hunting to bathe and masturbate, pretending that I was watched from cover. I felt free! For the first time, really free!
I also explored my body, delighting in the knowledge that my breasts, a heavy weight that often got in the way, would float. So I would lay in my pond, watching my breasts float and with a leafy boat, played at Jason and the Argonauts with the clashing rocks, crushing my boat by flexing my arms to press my breast together as the boat passed between as I laughed in delight. My mother would NOT approve.
I also found that my questing fingers met an obstruction that hurt as I sought to pass. Damn! Somehow, I was a virgin again and remembering my sisters bicycle accident and the stories told by other women about the strength of the Obrien hymen, I was careful to avoid damage. It took a God to deflower me that first time. Still, I could slide a single finger past if I were careful and found that pleasure as I stroked the inner walls to be infinitely greater than that expressed by stroking my clit. How I wished for penetration to magnify that pleasure but fear and the pain of every attempt deterred me. Just as my hymen had been returned, so were my ear-piercing gone. The StarGate had healed me totally by some unknown reason. Yet, the bones I had found containing dental fillings and long-healed fractures showed that I was unique in this aspect. Why?
Still, I jilled myself to sleep every ‘night’ and would awaken myself with my fingers. I became excited easily and climaxed hard, easy and often. How could any woman NOT seek this pleasure? Yet, so few did.
I sought and found papyrus along a distant river and hazelnuts and with feathers for quills, I made paper, ink and pens and began a diary and a map of the area. I also wrote erotica, placing upon paper my dreams for a lover and what I wished she would do to me and I her. Looking back, I could see from the change in my script the places where I had become so excited by my writings that I had slid one hand down as I wrote with the other.
So I passed the time, occasionally wondering how my cotemporaries were doing, they having the superiority of numbers and the advantages of knives and other such technical marvels that I had to invent. A single knife-blade would have made my life so much easier and I would haunt the death-sites of the men I found searching for a dropped tool with no luck. It was as if the bodies had been dragged far from their killing to be consumed at the predator’s pleasure. Or they had crossed over totally naked and unarmed. Perhaps the StarGate was shifting, the earlier incursions allowing only living matter, the latter one organics and so would the recent crossings allow tools and weapons?
Food was simple. I developed a taste for roasted grasshopper once I found a flower that produced a plethora of nectar. These I cultivated around my home and would often roast a grasshopper, sans legs and head, then using my own hashi (chopsticks), cover the delicacy with nectar from the plant and honey from the bees that pollinated the forest. As a tasty and nutritious snack they couldn’t be beat.
Rice grew wild and in abundance and the discovery of a yam-like plant added to my variety. I was even able to bake a rice-bread though the grapes I added to provide yeast gave me a bit of a buzz though I avoided the primitive Rye I found for it was covered with mold that I took to be Ergot. And ergot contained the Lysergic Acid that when made into bread, had created the visions of Witches in Salem and possessions in Loudun.
All in all, I decided that a man who could not grow fat in this world would starve in a supermarket and I resolved to approach the police from whom I had escaped, if only to rescue Dr Paul.
Yet, I kept putting the event off for something always needed my attention first. Finally, I realized that I was scared. I was afraid to confront them for considering all that I had accomplished alone, nearly naked and with no tools at all, they, with all their advantages, must be living the life of Riley and were I to approach, would be interned in the cage that they had most likely built for me.
Why I was afraid I could not say for I had faced vampires, werewolves, the living dead and entire armies or men, though never alone. Somehow that reason for my fear escaped my grasp despite my knowledge that I COULD and WOULD succeed. Still, I hesitated for no good reason. Perhaps I simply gloried in my freedom and to become responsible for others would push me back into the role of leader, Noble Lady and Protector with all the inherent responsibilities I now lacked. A soldier has considerable freedom, But an officer is trapped by his rank and duty.
I was following Albert, an Allosaur, myself clothed for once, to get an idea of his hunting territory so I could be certain to NOT be in it when I heard the voice calling from above. It was faint and hoarse but probably human so I pointed my bow up, intending to draw when I needed to shoot and called out, “Who’s there!?”
“Obrien, it’s me, Doctor Paul! Get up here, there’s some mutant Allosaurus down there.”
“I know. I’ve been tracking him for some time now. He’s way up ahead looking for that Hadrosaur heard. If we’re careful, he’ll ignore us unless he is really hungry.”
“Allosaurus hunted in packs! The rest of the pack must be around.”
“Not down here. This species of Allosaurus is a solitary hunter and moves like a kangaroo. Something to do with a hip mutation I think. I think he’s the apex predator down here. At least I never saw any evidence for a T-Rex anywhere.”
“Are you sure it’s safe?”
“What’s safe around here? But if we are alert and careful and remember that we are pretty low on the food chain, we’ll be all right.”
Paul climbed down muttering, “The dinosaurs kept mammals down for two hundred million years and we haven’t learned a thing.”
“You look hungry. I’m not much of a cook but as you Americans say ‘Mee casa, soo casa.’”
“I think you pronounced that wrong. But I can use a good meal. You look good. Tan, tight, healthy. You made that bow and arrows? The ones we made can’t hit the side of a sauropod but that one looks professional.”
“Well, you really can’t blame the others for being incompetent. They probably never went to war. They think that a weekend in the boy scout camp pretending to do survival training means something.”
“Yeah,” he added looking around. “You look nice. Your hair.. I like how you did it and that flower makes your eyes… I’m sorry. I guess that sounds sexist and inappropriate.”
Secretly, I was a bit pleased with the compliment. “Thanks. Most women say that they dress for themselves but I never heard one turn down an honest compliment, I get so few myself. I guess I’m letting my girly side through.” Then to change the subject, “the hard part is peeing without soaking my legs.”
Laughing, “I don’t understand you. Your brother is a terrorist and you were married to a gun dealer and Soviet spy, but you told the police that you’d get them back safely if you could. You act like a high-born Lady and surrounded by dinosaurs and god knows what, you worry more about how to pee than about that Allosaurus that can eat both of us in a single bite. I’m surprised you haven’t gone crazy, escaping and living alone and being chased by everything and everyone and all.”
“How do you know I’m not?” I whispered.
“Look Paul, Think about this. We are taught, believe that the Earth is five billion years old. That man is a couple-dozen thousand years old and the Earth is a solid sphere with a molten core that generates the magnetic field.
“Now we learn that the Earth is hollow just like those flat-earther freaks we cross the street to avoid say it is. Everything we know has been turned inside out. The Earth is hollow. Dinosaurs still live. People change gender. Stars can be a few hundred miles across. Doesn’t that make you wonder?
“Maybe the universe was created in 4007 bc? Maybe aliens are in league with Washington? Maybe the Ark is actually on Mount Ararat? Maybe Bigfoot is secretly married to Princess Diana? If the Earth is hollow, then doesn’t that mean that every madman, every mental patient, every fool conspiracy might be true and we should be wearing aluminium foil in our hats?
“So I am here now. I am accustomed to living in a mansion with all the modern conveniences. Servants, political connections and more money than you can imagine. How the hell am I going to return to my daughters? How do I eat and survive and not be eaten? In the scheme of things, I think I am handling it very well. I’m being a guy and ignoring it in the hopes that it will go away or something will float up from my subconscious to fix it. So if by focusing on how to pee will keep me from jumping off a cliff, …”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean anything by it. You are the most capable person, man or woman, I have ever met. We are barely surviving and you, alone, are doing so well. It makes me ashamed to be a man sometimes.”
I patted his arm, “Don’t be. I’ve had a lot of training in the jungle to prepare me for this.”
Then, “I smell smoke!” he stated.
“I’m making charcoal. Eventually I’ll find iron ore and be able to forge some decent weapons. But for now the smoke keeps the carnosaurs away.”
“Iron ore?” He looked around. Anywhere in particular?”
“Hardly,” I replied. “The geology is all screwed up. It’s as if when this place was formed, all the rocks melted, got spun around by a blender then cooled wherever they were. Look at this,” I showed him an arrow.
“Obsidian. You did a nice job flaking it.”
“That’s not the point. Where do you find Obsidian?”
“Obsidian is volcanic glass so….” It was dawning on him. “There are no volcanoes here?” He was much brighter than I thought and I always found a brain to be sexier than a body.
“None that I can see. But I found this in a stream and when I followed it upriver, there was nothing remotely resembling a volcano, alive or extinct and I’ve been inside Diamond Head and Mauna Loa in Hawaii. There is simply no sense to the geology here.” We reached my place, a small cave I found. “It used to be a den for something that moved out so I moved in. There is a stream nearby with a pool I made for fresh water and bathing. You really do stink. See that grass-wall down there?”
“The one with a bamboo pipe… you have plumbing? Don’t tell me that’s a shower!”
Smiling, I do appreciate a compliment, “It is. Here, this end of the bamboo pipe has a plug. Replace it when you’re done. The other end in the shower-stall is blocked with lots of holes to spread the water. Put that grass mat on the rock so you don’t slip and there is soap in a bamboo box for you and your clothing. I’ll get dinner ready.”
“You made soap!” the man was incredulous.
“It’s not rocket science. Also you will find some extra toothbrushes, though they look more like paint-brushes but will do the job. I’m sorry the water is cold. I’m having some problems with the solar water heater.”
He walked down muttering, “… plumbing, solar water heater, she probably is building a dirigible to fly home in style..”
Laughing, I washed up in the pool. Sharing the shower would be too creepy.
Paul was looking at the decor. I had woven grass mats for the floor and walls (I still need to work on my designs or maybe paint something), made simple furniture, a bench and desk and bed. “Bamboo is plentiful so I had a lot of construction material at hand. Making the wardrobe was the easy part. The walls and door to seal the den but allow light was a bit tricky.” I had also been weaving bamboo leaves into Japanese sandals, Waraji to save my feet. “If I have to be here, I may as well be comfortable.”
“We have a hard time making a roof that doesn’t leak.” Then seeing my notes on the desk, “You made paper and quill pens and ink? These are field notes for the dinosaurs and a map. Is there anything you can’t do?”
“If I need something such as a spear-head, I figure out what I can do and how to do it then look for the materials to accomplish the task. And if I come across something along the search that will prove interesting, like a beehive for wax and honey, I make a note and return when I need that.
“Here,” I dug a clay rock from the fire pit, “This should be done by now. There are plates and cups over there but without forks we’ll use our fingers or hashi… chopsticks. I’ll be right back.” I quickly ran a brush through my hair, reapplied more perfume and some lipstick and glanced at myself in the mirror. Poor as it was, it was better than nothing.
When I returned with a big bamboo bucket, he had the table (a split log) set and the clay on the table but had no idea of what to do next. Laughing, I cracked the clay with a rock and peeled it away to reveal a roll of leaves. Then when we peeled the leaves, there was a haunch of meat rolled around some tubers and an ear of maize. I added a basket of fruit and berries and poured us the contents of my bucket, “Sorry, I can make a salad but am having trouble with the dressing.”
We fell to with Paul eating most of the meal as if he were starving, which he probably was. Then while munching on the maize he stopped. “Indian Corn! This was bred in America by the Indians in recent history. How did it get here?”
“How does Earth have a magnetic field and a Van Allen belt without a molten iron core to generate the thing? Just one of the mysteries that I am really trying to not consider. Here drink this. It needs some ageing but I managed to accelerate the fermentation.”
He drank, choked then drank again. “Wine? Sweet wine? How?”
“I own a brewery in Ireland so learned that skill early. It’s all a matter of finding the right mold and yeast. Everything else is just fine tuning to improve taste.”
“This will do fine, fine, thank you. You, Lady Obrien, are a gracious host.”
“Thank you kind sir.’ I did a slight curtsey in appreciation. “I’m just trying to get you drunk so I can have my way with you. And by the way, I’m a Duchess.”
He stared, frozen so I laughed, “I’m only joking. It’s my way of avoiding an embarrassing situation. Make a bad joke and people forget the important things like getting home and staying alive. But I really am a Polish Duchess, and an Irish Baroness.”
“Your husband. They say he was a gun-runner and KGB agent. Why did you marry him?”
“I did not! They got Alexii confused with someone else. I don’t know who this Soviet Alexii Kolchek is but the one I married was a Polish Duke. He was far from a good man but never sold weapons or spied. I was traveling, got tired of sleeping in barns and taverns and wanted a real home with servants again. He had power and wealth and that power intoxicated me. So when he proposed, I agreed. I’m gay so on my honeymoon night I had to pretend that he was a she. The marriage didn’t last as I sobered up soon enough.”
“Are you certain, I mean about the two Alexii’s? Maybe he was hiding his real job like criminals in the US do?”
I laughed at that. “It is impossible to hide such a life. Women who claim ignorance of their husband’s supposedly secret life are deluding you, but not themselves. Alexii, my Alexii, was totally illiterate. He couldn’t even sign his own name. That was one of the things that he saw in me, I was fluent and literate in a dozen languages so it was I who handled all of his business dealings. Most of those were in shipping for he was a ship-builder and owned a fleet of freighters. I read and wrote and signed the contracts. And Alexii was a hard-core Catholic and very proud of his title. The classless Communistic society was an anathema to him. Alexii firmly believed that we Nobles were chosen by God to rule the peasants. That kind would never be a Communist and Alexii hated Russians. No, once again your American spies got the facts wrong.”
“Why did you divorce him? If I’m not being pushy.”
“I didn’t. I planned to because the only thing we had in common was our habit of violating our marriage vows with any attractive woman we could entice into our bed. At first it was fun for us to pick up a couple women and share our bed with them. But he soon tired of my passion for the ladies and my only suffering his body, and so he banned me from them.
Bitter, I snapped, “Of course, that didn’t stop him from fucking any peasant tart he could hold down for the fifteen seconds it took him to climax. My husband was, at best, a two-minute wonder. All the better for me on the rare occasions he entered by chambers to demand my wifely duties. Until I knifed him that night, that is.” I laughed and had another drink at that memory. He wore that scar across his chest for life and wore body armor whenever we was forced to be around me.
“But before I could leave, I got pregnant and he kept me as a prisoner in the manor. I could have the freedom of the home but never leave the walls. It was a difficult pregnancy and both I and the baby almost died in childbirth. So I had my son who was a sickly child, and when sent to some catholic shrine with a reputation for healing, I escaped. But he pursued and my son died from the constant running.”
“I’m sorry. I can’t imagine how you felt.”
“I was terrified of divorcing him for fear of what he would do to me were I trapped in a courthouse. So I deserted him and let him file for annulment. I gave him plenty of grounds. I only married him for his title and wealth. My lack of marital intent due to my lesbianism. Lack of intent due to me being a Pagan. Desertion. Adultery. He could easily file for annulment through both court and Church but, you know. He never did! I guess the bastard really loved me.”
“I cannot imagine you being afraid of anything.”
I laughed at that. “I’m scared of a lot of things. Only I refuse to allow my fear to run my life.
I drank more, “Years and years later his solicitors found me. Rather they found Jason who passed the message to me. Alexii never divorced me nor did he have any other children so, when he died in a riding accident, I inherited everything. Title, wealth, lands. I sold off everything that I felt was immoral and kept the rest. I am now one of the wealthiest women in the world. I even have a seat on the House of Lords because of my Ulster Title if you can imagine that!”
“oh,” he took another drink, not knowing what to say so he spoke about the wine. “It gets better with the buzz. In college we’d drink the good stuff until buzzed then move to the cheap booze after we lost the ability to taste.”
“Frat party?” I asked, thinking of the cinema films such as Animal House.
“I never went to college myself. I never even finished high school. While my friends were planning their prom, I traveled Europe and Asia.”
“And yet you read, write and speak a dozen languages and have turned a life-threatening incident into a four star hotel. So the only thing you missed out on was a lot of parties and the stress of the final exams. Of course, I wanted to be a paleontologist because I watched Valley of the Gwangi and always wanted to find a real living dinosaur. Now I found one and want only to go home and forget. What’s that smell? Lilac?”
I leaned forward, “Orchid! Here!” she smelled my neck for a very long time. “I found some on the cliff and distilled the juice for perfume. Like it?”
“Very much. But you don’t need that to smell good.” He held his glass for more and stared at my red lips. “You even invented make-up? Not that you need any, being so hot and attractive as you are.” He was getting more embarrassed and drank more to cover it. I thought that I was decent looking but hardly a beauty queen. Men looked at my chest, not my face.
“Lipstick is mainly beeswax with fruit-juice for coloring, and when I found the orchids, I couldn’t resist experimenting. Making a mirror that doesn’t distort is the really hard part. I’m still working on that so please forgive my grooming mistakes.” I filled the bamboo cups again and sat next to him, “Despite all that I say, I really do miss people. Not them,” I motioned, spilling my glass onto my shirt. “Damn! I’d better rinse this before it sets and attracts bugs.” Then stripped it off and scrubbed it in a bucket of water as I continued. “Not them, they have the brains of a tick. No imagination. If it doesn’t cover guns or crime or spying schemes, they are lost. The only women they can get are the ones who like being tied up.
“Not that I mind being tied up. I used to date a dominatrix. She said she paid her rent by cops who would pay her to handcuff them, abuse them and shove their billy clubs up their ass. Those and business men who treated women like shit and had the need to be punished. But sometimes it is fun to be thrown over a pillow and ass-fucked by someone who wants you so much….” I changed the subject fast.
“I have always been responsible. I never took any of the family money and earned my way wherever I went. And I had skills, skills like this, not being a whore like men think, that governments found valuable enough to pay well. Turkey paid me to escort a young girl to Romania. Romania paid me to capture a series of mass-murderers. Russia to stop a war. Wealthy merchants paid me as a bodyguard. That sort of thing. But the point is that I earned my own way and never sold myself or begged for money from anyone. And I was ALWAYS a proper Lady as I traveled. Always wore the right dress, the correct cosmetics, the expensive and tasteful jewelry. I was a patron of the arts and was painted by some of the most famous artists that even you would recognize. I mixed with royalty and kings and world leaders.” Then I hesitated, saddened at my lost life until I realized something, continued.
“You know, this is all so liberating! Before, I always had to worry about what to wear and how to walk and what people would think of me. So I had to dress and act the part, whatever part I played. I couldn’t be myself when I was working. My mother, insane as she was, insisted that ladies should sit straight, walk with a book on their head and never listen to or tell a dirty joke. And profanity… n e v e r! She never said ‘hell’ in her life and I remember my sister having her mouth washed with soap when she said ‘damn’. FUCK! SHIT! COCK! I HAVE A FUCKING CUNT MOTHER!” I yelled to the world. “Boys must always stand when lady enters the room, open doors and never forget that we are Nobility and so are better than everyone else, so act the part. Now, with no dress, no castle, no servants and no one to impress, I can actually be myself and not worry about the consequences because the only person who matters is me!”
I hung my shirt on a stick and sat back, wearing only my shorts and continued.
“But you’re different. You have a brain. And no muscles. I hated the body-builders who think a woman sees nothing but bulging muscles like men who see nothing but big tits. I was never beautiful or buff but I was hard! Feel this!” I held my arm for him to squeeze. “And this!”, plopping onto his lap so he could feel my stomach which was flat and hard but hardly a washboard. Then I leaned forward to get another refill. “What?” I asked. “Oh, sorry.” I had pressed my naked breasts into his face when I reached for more wine.
I started to say, ’I’m up here’ but remembered what it was like for men, “Like them? Me too. I play with the girls all the time. Go ahead, I know you want to see what they feel like. And yes, they are real”
Dr Paul turned red so I grabbed his hand and slapped it over my right breast. “Nice aren’t they? Women in my family have big tits but unlike my sisters and mother and aunts and cousins, mine don’t sag. I figure that if I can’t make a decent bra, I’ll have a good ten years of so before I NEED a bra. Though running from that saber tooth tiger made my chest hurt!”
He finished his drink, set it down and reached up with the other hand. “Very nice!” He licked a nipple which caused me to pull back in surprise. I wanted to say, ‘touch and look only,’ but instead,
“Very nice? Woah! That feels nicer than when I do it.” I slid his hands to the sides, “Try there. I have more nerves than in my nipples. Experiment and have fun.”
“Your nipples are hard and pointy.”
Looking down, wishing I had a mirror to appreciate them, I lifted one up to see. “Right!, Here!” I dipped my finger into my wine and rubbed the liquid onto my nipples which ached more. “You know the nice thing about being a girl? Multiple orgasms. Smell here,” I pushed his face between my breasts. “My sisters used to put perfume on their necks, wrists and between their breasts. I get a buzz from the neck and wrists but don’t understand the boobs thing.”
“I do.” He mumbled.
Remembering, “Oh, right!” I pulled his head away by his hair, looked into his eyes and said, “I am so horny right now.” Then slid off him. “Why couldn’t those cops have followed Affirmative Action and brought a few chicks along. I could really use a good woman right about now.”
“me too,” Paul mumbled.
I refilled our cups and continued, “Did you know that I’m a virgin?” he stared, “Yup, I checked. Another damn hymen! My sister had to have hers surgically removed, it was that thick. One of the curses of the Obrien women, fuckin big tits and a cherry that takes a God to pop. And mine fuckin regrows whenever I turn around.”
“You are so drunk!”
“Damn straight I am. But I trust you. Those cops would be taking turns gang raping me by now because they think that everyone wants to hump their badge and if she says no, it’s just because she wants to be forced. But you, Doctor Phillip Paul, PhD, are a gentleman and a scholar and so are trustworthy. You would never take advantage of a girl, no matter how drunk she was, even if she used to be a guy! I like girls. You are a guy who likes girls and that makes you straight. But I’m a chick and think about girls so I am a lesbian? And a guy who likes girls who likes girls but wants to do me, who wants pussy,… does that make him a faggot? Tiresias had it easy.”
“Who?” he slurred pouring us each another drink.
“Tiresias! Greek? He was walking on Mt Olympus when he saw two snakes screwing. So he whapped them with a stick! Hera got so pissed she turned him into a fucking chick! Imagine, a guy with a cock is now a girl with a cunt! What did he tell his parents?” I giggled and had another drink, It was really good wine. “You know the Greeks called the rest of the world barbarians because they drank their wine straight while the Greeks watered their down, Wimpy tee-totaling ass-fuckers! Where was I. Right. So Tiresias married some guy, had a houseful of babies and seven years later saw another pair of snakes mating. Did you know that a snake has two dicks? Most lizards do. Even dinosaurs. I was watching a couple brachiosaurs fuck and the male had one inside the female slamming her like a bitch in heat and his other dick was hanging in the air, his tongue halfway down his neck and it was a looonnggg neck. That cock must have been ten feet long. And when he came, gallons sprayed on her side. Between what he shoved inside that bitch and what he sprayed on her hips, he could drown a whale! Where was I? Oh, right, snakes fucking. So Tiresias didn’t do anything. He left them alone and Hera rewarded him by making him a man again. I’m not really like this. Always the proper lady, ‘sit up straight’, ‘speak in metaphor’, ‘never let the men know you are anything but proper’, my mother was such a frigid prude who was obsessed with her image. Mad as a hatter by the way! I am so glad I was raised by my Aunt Kathryn. Right! Tiresias!
“What the hell did he tell his kids? Sweeties, your mommy is now your daddy? Good thing the Greeks like it back-door. I wonder if her husband accepted Tiresias back as a guy and liked it that way? I have the same problem, What the fuck do I tell my daughters? My ex will have a wonder laughing about me like this!
“Well, years later Zeus and Hera were arguing about who got the most pleasure from sex. So they dragged poor Tiresias to Olympus and asked him to judge the question. Now that’s one question you NEVER want to answer. Like when your wife asks ‘does this dress make my ass look fat?’ or ‘Will you marry again if I die?’ or ‘is your secretary more attractive than me?’ No matter what you answer, you will suffer. And by the way, my ass is NOT fat! No matter what Botticelli painted.” I stood up, dropped my pants and faced away so he could see. “I have a great ass! My legs may not be the best and my hips too narrow for my chest but my ass and tits are fantastic!
“But Tiresias was stupid, he was stupid as a guy and stupid again as a guy. We can only hope he was smarter as a chick. And he answered. “Women have more fun!” I guess he thought Zeus could protect him. Shit! So long as a woman has two tits and a pussy, no man will piss her off. So Zeus stood by while Hera had a bitch-fit and blinded the poor sod! You know Tiresias wasn’t a transsexual. Or a transvestite. He was a homosexual or actually bi-sexual but what he really was is a Tiresian polymorph. That means he is a person who actually and totally changes into the other gender. No surgery but magick or being tossed into a bio-tank by some alien with a freaky sense of humor and no understanding of human biology or cursed by SOME FUCKING GOD THAT DOESN’T KNOW IF HE IS A GUY OR GIRL!” I screamed to the universe. Then calmed and continued, “Whatever! Tiresian Polymorph. I made up the term myself so feel free to pass it around.
“The truth is….” I leaned very close to whisper in his hear, “chicks have it the best! I can cum from having my tits sucked. Damn you have great hands. Makes my tits and pussy ache. And this wine is making me sooo dizzy….”
I woke up and saw Paul sitting against the cave wall, huddled and terror-stricken. “What’s wrong?” I asked then moved and felt the ache between my legs. I reached down and felt moistness. Looking at my fingers, I saw blood! Shit! Am I finally having a period? Then I realized that I was naked. Looking at the man I asked, “Did we?” He nodded. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and said, “I can’t deal with this right now.” Then I grabbed my clothes, which were strewn all over the cave, and left to wash up.
When I screamed, Paul called out, “Are you ok?”
“The water is cold, my head hurts and my pussy is aflame, what did you shove into me last night when I was drunk. I feel like a horse tore me apart.”
He came out, still embarrassed, “I’m sorry. We were drunk and….”
I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and said back to the man, “It’s ok. I’ll heal. But if you got me pregnant, I’ll kill you. Relax, I’m only joking. Get in here, you’re as bloody as I am. I warned you about Obrien women.” At least he wasn’t the horse he felt like. But then to a virgin, any man feels huge!
He had the decency to turn away as he washed. Nice ass. Made to grab as he… stop that! I’m gay, remember! I carefully splashed water, cold water, on my aching pussy. I hurt down there. Even my clit hurt! And my ass. Did he…? Shit! Even my jaw ached. I needed a drink. “How much do you remember?” I asked.
“Everything. And you?”
“Nothing after spilling the wine on my shirt. If you raped me while I was passed out….!”
“I didn’t!” he was terrified. “I promise. It was mutual!”
“Mutual!” I demanded. “I! Am! Gay! Begged you, a guy! To rape me and rip through my maidenhead like an old rag! What kind of a pervert are you!”
He couldn’t answer. There are some questions that have no right answers. I was washing my face when, “I feel like someone took sandpaper to my face and neck.”
“I’m sorry, I haven’t shaved for awhile.”
I stared, then explored a really sensitive part on my lower neck. “Is this a hickey!” I yelled. “You gave me a hickey like you were marking your territory! I’m not some teen-age girl you can have your way with.” He was cringing back like he was afraid I’d kill him and I almost wanted to. Marked, like he was branding a cow.
Then I calmed down and said, “Paul, I’m sorry, come here please.” No blood on his face so THAT didn’t happen. Pity!
He wasn’t buying it. “Please, I need to be held tight now. I’m confused and scared. If I’m pregnant, out here, with no doctor or midwife, and my history. I don’t know what to do. Please hold me.”
He came to me, naked and he wasn’t displeasing. No weight lifter but then, I liked my boys to have a girls body… “Can we go inside for awhile? I’m scared and need to be held.”
We entered the cave naked and instantly, in the dark I grabbed my bow and nocked an arrow. “see him?” my tone changing instantly.
“In that tree. That pterosaur! There!”
“That was all a ruse?” he asked, hurt.
“What are you babbling about! I had to get you inside.”
“So you… “
“Look, I don’t know what you are thinking but there is a pterosaur watching us so grab my spear and …” I reached back to him and grabbed,…. “Sorry! I didn’t mean…”
“Then maybe you should let it go?”
Embarrassed, I let go, thinking, ‘he’s respectable but not a horse.’ “shhh! He’ll hear you!”
“Like you were quiet. Last night they heard you in the police camp.”
“You weren’t much quieter yourself, begging me to shove my finger up your …”
“You remember!” he snapped. “You said you couldn’t remember anything!”
“Woman’s prerogative to remember and forget whatever she wants. Now about that pterosaur.”
“Fuck the pterosaur! I’m worried about us!”
“I fucked you, not that lizard. So focus!”
“I meant nothing to you! Just a dick when you needed one”
He was such a girl. “Not just a dick! I could have made a dildo. I liked you. I wanted to give you a gift, my first time! How many guys get a virgin! I tried to be good for you! You enjoyed it! Quit complaining and focus!”
“How can I focus when you just grabbed my penis?”
“It was an accident!”
“Like kneeling there with your legs apart. Showing the world your,…”
“If you want it that bad, then go ahead and take it! I don’t really care! I can get that anywhere! Hell! I can use a piece of wood if need be!”
“Wood! This is wood?”
“Shit! Paul, this is not the time! This is.. oh fuck… not… the…. Fuck! Grab my hips! Harder! Oh fuck!”
“hmmm, are you done? That was.. well it was great! Tiresias was right! I think I must have had a dozen to your one. I am so sore. What was I.. “
“You were babbling about a pterosaur, my love.”
“hmmm, oh shit! Paul, I am not your love. I’m a just another piece of ass, remember last night? ‘no promises, no regrets’. Just because I’m a chick now and like your dick inside me… cancel that. Can you pull out for a moment. You’re weight on my back is pushing my breasts into the rug and I’d like to move them a bit. Shit, not.. stop that… oh yes…. I want that….”
“Paul. Please listen to me. Look there! That pterosaur. It’s been watching us. No dear, not that. Stop that! Please stop! It HURTS! I was a virgin and need time to heal. Later, I promise. Now pull out… slowly.. thank you. Fuck you are so good at that!
“Ok, focus. I need to focus. Yes, you fucked my brains out. But now I need them now. There,” I pointed. “See that pterosaur. The big one.. The one that looks like a rhamphorhynchus!”
He replied, the paleontologist again, “It’s too big. Maybe ….”
I interrupted, “Evolution continues here. The Allosaur on Earth is a running pack animal. Here it is a leaping solitary hunter. That pterosaur, whomever is its ancestor, is larger and more intelligent than anything. Look at the braincase! It was watching us. I am scared about that.”
He held my hand, the one holding the bow. “If you are scared, I’m terrified. Talk to me.”
“Wherever we are, evolution never ceases. Just because dinosaurs died out on Earth 65 million years ago, they lived on here! And they continued to evolve. The Allosaur evolved to a solitary leaping hunter. That pterosaur evolved intelligence. It was watching us and not like a bird. There is intelligence in those eyes, human-level intelligence.
“So long as we acted the beast, yes, Paul, I enjoyed it and you made me beg you for it but I need that thing out there to think we are just another animal. Listen to me. You think of me as just another girl with a big chest but I’m more than that. I’ve been places you can’t find on a map, seen more than you can ever imagine. There are races out there with more brains than humanity. Races that see humans as property and I saw that in that pterosaur’s eyes as it watched us bathe. It was looking at us like we were property and if we show potential, it will take us as property.”
“That’s impossible.” He started.
“SHUT UP!” I snapped. “I’ve seen it. I’ve been there. You don’t know what it’s like to wake up in a med-lab while they experiment on you. Make you into something you were never meant to be. What!” I saw the look in his eyes. “You think I’m like this because of an accident of evolutionary biology? You are lucky I am a woman this time and not something else. I don’t want them to do to you what they did to me. Be an animal, be worthless to them.” I rolled over and pulled him to me. Every other time I was in his lap or he was behind so this was different, felt different, nice different. “They see humans as a sometime useful beast. Be less than they wish.” I remembered tales of the Mahars and their underground feeding pools where they ate living people a piece at a time, keeping their victims alive until the last. And their human-apeman breeding experiments, mostly human women raped to pregnancy by hominid or gorilloid males who would occasionally cripple the girl during the act.
He lay there, unable to do anything but his weight was comforting, “What about the others?” he whispered.
A part of me wanted them taken, used, but another part needed them saved. Both warring for supremacy. “I’ll do what I can to help them.”
We lay there, my legs around his, my fingers memorizing his back and he unable to harden after the last couple times and how many last night(?), until he said to me, “It’s gone now.”
Shit! Well I did need to heal a bit. I was really sore down there. Sighing I pushed him off and asked, “Which way?”
He pointed away from the police encampment and I suggested, “We should get dressed and warn them, not that they’ll listen.” Glancing down I commented, “pity I gag easily. I’d like to try that sometime.”
“I thought you liked women?” he commented but stirred at the thought.
“I do! I love the thought of burying my face between a woman’s legs, feeling her kiss and suck my breasts as I play with her’s but… you know, one in five women climaxes vaginally and I am one of those five. And women cannot give me that climax that only you can. Oh, I can climax with my clit as you well know, but there is something about vaginal sex that… well it blows my head off in a way that a tongue and fingers can never do. I’m sorry but when you are inside me, as great as it is, I fantasize about a woman and wish you had tits.
“I guess I knew it would never last. And knowing you makes me feel like a .. well weird but still, you are so beautiful and sexy and feminine…” he drifted off.
I replied sleepily, “I never get many honest compliments. Oh, women want me and most of it was because of my wealth and title and men want the body and both say what they think it will take to get me naked, but very few actually wanted ME! I think that emotionally, it feels nice to have someone want me! Not my money or my title but me, even if it is just sexual. It’s nice to be thought of as attractive.”
Then, “The truth is, having you want me, this body, seeing you watch my tits and ass move. It just makes me so hot for you. I really don’t care why. I just want to throw you to the ground and .. well do you. Or better yet, have you throw me to he ground and rape the living shit out of me.” He didn’t take the hint but did add, ”I still think you are beautiful. No not because of what we just did, but because you ARE beautiful.”
Embarrassed, I handed him a gourd filled with water, a woven bag with food and an obsidian-headed spear, then remembered, “I need to get rid of this before the wolves smell the blood. Pity as it was really comfortable,” I mentioned as I rolled the bloody mat that retained the vestiges of my lost innocence.
We walked, NOT holding hands but scanning the trees and now the skies, and he asked, “Why is your brother, Jason, a terrorist?”
“You mean, why plant bombs and murder innocent people? Your patriot is another man’s terrorist. George Washington was a traitor to his lawful country. Meacham Begin was a terrorist to England. Chaka Zulu was a patriot to his people but a criminal to the whites. It’s all a matter of point of view.”
Then, “The truth is, he spent only a few months with the IRA. We were fifteen, growing up in Belfast. Do you wonder why he was named Jason and me Janice and not Sean or Ethne or some other Irish name? Because it was illegal. It was illegal to speak Gaelic or give your children an Irish name. I had friends who went to prison because their only crime was to name their children Irish! The Brits outlawed our language and customs to break us and make us English and so if you had an Irish name, they arrested you for ‘giving false information to a police officer.’ Don’t look so shocked. While you were in college, men were sent to prison in America for being gay. That was their only crime, wanting to sleep with their own gender and the penalty was 20 years in a state prison next to mass murderers and rapists. And women were sent to jail for wearing a mini-skirt longer than these shorts the police gave me.
“So we were fifteen, raised on stories about how the IRA freed the Republic of Ireland and how they were fighting to unite Ulster with Eire. So he joined to free our country.
“That summer a British cop shot to death a five year old child. He was playing in the streets, bouncing a rubber ball off a wall and the cop shot him in the streets of Belfast. He said that he was afraid that the child would throw the ball at him so he was defending his own life. It happens in America too, only with white cops and black children.
“We protested and were arrested. In Ulster anytime there are more than five people in a group, it is seen as a potential riot and ….
“So his job was to plant a bomb that would stop the prison convoy so we could free the prisoners. He was fifteen and so proud to serve his nation until our Uncle Patrick told him there was a change of plans and he needed to plant the bomb someplace else. We trusted him and… Jason didn’t stop a convoy of British soldiers, he blew up a school bus filled with Protestant kids.
I was crying with the memory but refused to be held. Some crimes can never be forgiven by anyone, especially the criminal. But a woman is allowed to cry and vent her feelings. “The IRA I knew, wasn’t the IRA of my parents. When I joined it, the focus was switching to killing Protestants. At the celebration, the priests gave us all absolution, said it was God’s Will that we killed the heathen protestants. You know the Vatican has NEVER told the Irish people that anyone who kills is excommunicated. No, the Pope secretly supports the killings. They turned us from patriots to a murderers. So we set off another bomb to kill those who had turned us into a killer and left Ulster for the Republic.” Laughing, wiping my tears, “The IRA hates Jason more than the Brits.”
“Then why,” he still tried to hold my hand or me. I suppose it was his need to comfort me but I didn’t want, no I didn’t deserve comfort. “Why do you let them think you are still a terrorist? That was so long ago, decades. My God, you’ve both repaid that crime by being a hero and saving dozens, hundreds of lives if the stories I hear are true.”
Smiling at him, “Because sometimes, having them fear me is easier and better than knowing the truth. To them, I’m just a stupid civilian, a dumb blonde whose only talent is filling a bra. Someone to listen to only when I confirm their pet theories. Had they known the truth, I’d have been free and armed but they would still refuse to listen to me because they have a badge and I don’t and being stuck there, they would act stupid and die and I wouldn’t be able to do anything. And once we got through the gate to here, they’d keep me a virtual prisoner ‘for my own safety’ because I am a helpless blonde girl. Thinking I am still dangerous forces them to consider that I might just know something. A terrorist knows things and can do things that you, a desk-bound rock-digger cannot. An international criminal has skills that a woman could ever possess in their eyes. And right now, Paul, you NEED those skills and this is the only way you will listen to me.”
“I guess you’re right.” He admitted. “If you weren’t shackled like an animal, I wouldn’t have believed that you could do all this.”
“Also,” I added, “To them I am still a criminal. That makes you an accessory. So it’s best they not know about… us.”
“Right!” This time he did hug me then when he let me go, asked, “What was that Botticelli comment?”
“Excuse me?” Then, “Up! Now!”
We had to climb a tree as a pack of Dire Wolves found us. They sniffed and sat under the tree as if we were a couple of apples that were expected to fall into their waiting mouths. I had a habit of peeing into a cup, then spreading the urine around my den to keep the wolves away. They would smell my pee, add their own then accept my territory as off-limits. But I was in their hunting area now so was fair game. I had chucked the mat earlier, far away from my home but they must have smelled my blood and followed, thinking I was injured. I reached in and felt tenderness. Maybe I was still bleeding a bit and that was attracting them. “I guess we are stuck here until they get hungry and leave.
He asked again, “When you were drunk and dropped your pants to show me your ass. You said that Botticelli painted you fat. What did you mean.”
“Nothing. Just a drunken comment of no meaning.”
“No, really. You accepted this thing a bit too easily. Has this happened before? And your comment about Einstein being a fool. You said you could find another gate back and your comments about being experimented on by that pterosaur…”
“Some things you don’t want to know.”
“Some things I NEED to know. Why did they choose YOU to do this mission? It’s not because you thought you saw a dinosaur in Africa.”
Sighing, “They wanted me because I’ve been through those gates before. We call them StarGates. After the movie. Some are natural, some man-made, some made by.. .aliens. I’ve used them all my life. They go to different planets and to different times. We occasionally meet famous people in the past like Sandro or Leonardo or Titian,” I had to smile at that thought. “And sometimes, you meet people who are not really… people. Beings who see humanity the same way your ancestors saw Black Africans and Red Indians. As animals with potential use if bred and tamed and trained properly.”
“Did you let yourself be caught?”
“Let’s say that it isn’t a good idea for any government to own such an ability. Some of us who use these Stargates go to great lengths to ensure that they remain secret and disbelieved.”
“But you let them know you could travel. No one would send a team like this through unless they knew they could be recovered. They needed you to get those men back.”
“Paul,” I held his hands and looked into his eyes. “Agent Steel sent two separate teams through with no knowledge of how to get them back. Both teams are dead. I found their remains. We needed to cancel the project and discredit Steel and the idea of time & space travel before more died so I volunteered to be known. The Quaes can handle the occasional traveler like you or me, but organized groups like what Steel was sending through would attract the attention of people who believe problems can be solved by turning a star into a supernova. We arranged for that fool to be pressured by his superiors into sending a real rescue mission. I hoped they would offer to hire me so I could cross through with adequate gear, but… I was to go through and recover the first two teams. This third was to remain behind as a back-up only to ensure that I did that. I planned to bring that idiot with us and arrange for him to stay, to ensure that the project would be cancelled.” I laughed, “I just didn’t expect to be like this.”
“So you wanted to kill him?”
“We wanted him fired, discredited, destroyed along with the project. But he was too powerful so we went to Plan-B. I hadn’t planned for Team-3 to come along. I hoped it would be me and him alone. Don’t look at me like that! He sent two teams to their deaths. Not caring that there was no way back. He bloody well knew that they’d never be able to return and he sent them anyway for his own ego and power. Did you read A Gun for Dinosaur by Ray Bradbury? We all thought that This was the Past. And he didn’t care! What kind of paradise was this world before he sent those teams to change history? It was only by accident that the StarGate came Here instead of Then!”
“You said you found the others?”
“I did. Once I escaped, that is. I knew that they’d never let me go. They would keep me chained because I was a criminal in their eyes and because I pushed that idiot through and also because as a woman, they felt the need to protect me. And they hoped I’d submit and play Eve to their Adams. So I had to go when I could. So, along with making weapons and surviving, I’ve been searching for the other teams. I promised to get them back and I try very hard to keep my promises. I found their bodies, scattered all over. Some by that Dire Wolf pack down there, some by the Allosaur. So far I’ve found ten bodies. Ten men sent to their deaths so one fool can get a promotion. If I can save the others, I will. But not that Idiot. He stays behind! Paul,” I looked into his face, all hairy and scraggly and totally unsexy and added, “My only regret was in leaving you behind. But I felt that until I was established, you’d be safer with them. Then once I had a safe base-camp, I could fetch you and you could study Dinosaur evolution while I hunted for the other teams and a way back. I’m sorry it took so long.”
“We need to go.” Was all he said. Dimmitt! This being a woman is hard. My feelings and emotions are on the surface and I actually care about what Paul thinks of me. Jason wouldn’t have cared. He would just have broken free, arraigned an accident for Steel or just killed him, got the others home or killed them and not cared. But then, Jason wouldn’t have been obsessed with having a dozen-dozen orgasms either or care what Paul thought. And Jason would be haunted by the nightmares of his past and unable to open up and talk about them. Jason would never have the ability to let them go. He’d wallow in his guilt while I can work it out for us. So why the hell can’t I talk to him? Why do I need Paul to open me up and make me talk? Why can’t he know I need to talk and let it out?
He started to climb down and I didn’t even notice that the wolves had left. Along the way, I killed a few smaller game animals with blunts, preferring to kill by impact than have leaking blood attract the wolves. Plus, hungry people are more willing to be friendly when you feed them.
“You are fantastic. You made a bow and can hit a running animal before it can get away. None of the others could do that! Hell, half the time their bows break and when they don’t, the arrow flies all over the place. If it wasn’t for the snares, we’d have starved long ago.”
“I’m not that fantastic. I just have a lot of practice.”
He laughed, “Beautiful, sexy, brilliant, capable and modest. Marry me!”
I froze! Then laughed.
“I’m serious! You are everything a man could want.”
“I’ve been married. It didn’t work.” I laughed. “Besides, I’m not all that beautiful and am far older than you are.”
He took me again, holding me close to look down at me, “You are the most beautiful and intelligent woman I have ever known. I’m serious. I want you to marry me.”
This time I didn’t laugh, “Paul, I can’t do this again. I can’t get involved and loose someone else…”
“My name is Phillip. Paul is my last name.”
“Phillip is too personal. Too intimate. Let’s leave it impersonal.” I forced my way free and picked the dinner up.
“Too personal!” he almost screamed. “How more intimate can we get!”
“That was just sex! We never made love, we fucked!” then, sighing. “I’m not what you think and I’m not what you want. This is just stress. Do you really think I can be a housewife? Make you breakfast, send you to the university and be waiting at home in a sexy dress with a martini? Have more babies that I have to watch die? I tried the housewife thing. I suck at that! So what happens when I leave? When that woman you just made love to falls asleep in your arms and you wake up alone? Or when I get bored with housecleaning and start cheating on you to relieve the boredom? Or when I go off on another mission like this and you wonder what planet or time I am and who I am with? I cannot deal with another doe-eyed guy who thinks that his life would be so wonderful if I gave up my life and stayed his dream-girl.
“I got chased across half of Mars by some nerdy scientist who fell in love with me because I remembered his name and walked around topless. I got chased across half of Medieval Russia by some Chinese merchant who thought I was exotic because I had blonde hair and independence. I got chased across Renaissance Italy by half the artists you see in a museum plus two separate Popes who wanted me to bear their brats to ensure a Papal Dynasty. And I got chased across Poland by... Poland.. shit! Damn you for making me remember that!” I stomped away then turned and faced him. “Paul! I was horny and desperate for a cock in my cunt! The fact that you are fantastic in bed, the best I ever had, only makes it harder for me to… Listen to me, please! I don’t love you and you don’t love me. It’s just sex. Fantastic sex, at least for me it was, but it isn’t love. And this won’t last. I love how I can be myself with you. I can be a whore in bed and graphic in word and totally free with no pretensions or fears. I love how you don’t judge me but accept me as I am. I’ve never felt so free! And I love how you make me feel, inside and .. here, in my soul. But please,” I was begging him now, “Please don’t get in the way! I can’t handle more pain. I can’t be in love again and get my heart torn from my breast. I can’t loose another baby. Can’t you understand this?”
He held me and whispered, “No, I can’t. But I can trust you. Tell me what to do.”
Kissing him took effort. I’m not good at kissing men. I prefer my het-sex doggie-style so I can fantasize that it is a woman doing me. But I can fake it if I must. “Just be yourself. Act normally and do whatever you feel is the right thing to do… even if it hurts me. I can do my job easier if I know that I don’t have to out-think you. I know what you are and how you think so just be yourself.”
We followed the trail to the former encampment, a stockade of sorts. I commented to him, “I’ve seen better walls in Africa designed to stop half-starved lions. These guys need to read history.” Then, “Want to run into the bushes for a quickie?”
“Are you serious?”
“Totally! Ok, I’m scared. This isn’t Ireland or Poland where I was a Noble Lady where my Rank earned me respect. And it isn’t Italy where I could be patron to the famous artists and guide their career. And it’s not a dozen other places I’ve been where I had the advantage. It’s… well, these guys don’t respect my rank or my title or my abilities. The only thing they respect is their own badges and I feel like I’m walking into a pack of hungry wolves while wearing a sheepskin and asking them to negotiate a dinner of turnips.”
“Then why? Why not just leave?”
“Because, I made a promise to try to save them and when all is said and done, our word and reputation is all that we leave behind.”
“But to them all your reputation is that of a terrorist?”
“True, but to the rest of the world, my reputation is that of a person who keeps her promise and does whatever she can to make the world a better place. Even if that means saving people who will gladly torture and execute me. And, despite all of it, I have to live with myself. I can murder Steel but not his men, fools that they are.
“Paul,” this time I didn’t have to force myself to kiss him. “The StarGate is near my cave. I marked the trail and all you have to do is to find the twin rocks that meet like an arch, think really hard about home, then carry some metal from home, even a broken gun barrel or belt harness ahead of you and you’ll get back. Go now.”
His answer didn’t surprise me. “No. If this is important to you, then I need to help you.”
“I can survive easier if I only have to worry about myself.”
“So what can I do to help?”
Shit! “Just be yourself. Do the right thing. But don’t tell them about.. us. I couldn’t handle what they would do to you if they found out.”
We never did have that quickie. I tried. Anything was better then facing the police but while looking for a comfortable place where I’d not get rocks in my back, we heard the Allosaur honk. Once you hear a hunting Allosaur, you never forget it. Think of an old railroad engine venting steam and blowing its whistle while a flock of angry geese are honking. Even at a distance, it is terrifying. And this close to the police camp, it was a nightmare.
We ran for the sound, stupid, I know but we did, hoping that the Allosaur had found a lone Hadrosaur but thinking that he had caught easier prey. Then we stopped, in the open like the fools we were. “Paul, turn around and move back slowly. Do not run or it will chase you.” I was moving my quiver to position and nocking an arrow. It wouldn’t stop the thing but maybe…. “Paul! You idiot!”
The man was running at the Allosaur with my stupid obsidian spear, desperately trying to distract it from the men it was chasing. One was dead, hanging from his jaws, the other two dragging an injured third, unwilling to leave him behind even if it meant their own deaths.
I let my arrow fly and it struck the neck, but did little damage. A small glass arrowhead wasn’t enough to stop a thirty foot monster. I suppose that it thought it had been bitten by a bug as it jerked, flinging the lower part of the cop, then gulped the upper and looked at the fool rushing it with a stick. Then it turned to him.
Paul stopped, frozen as I screamed, “Throw the bloody spear you twit!” and let another fly. The spear didn’t even penetrate, being too heavy for throwing and more of a staff with a point. The Allosaur reached down, plucked the spear loose, dammit! It took me hours to chip that head, dropped it and stared at Paul, the other three forgotten. Then it went for him in three kangaroo-like leaps.
I ran forward sending shaft after shaft to the monster, then Paul woke up and rolled an instant before the jaws snapped shut. I truly believe that had Paul listened to me and ran, he’d now be dead. The monster was accustomed to chasing a running prey and would have compensated for Paul’s motion. But by remaining frozen in fear, the beast miscalculated and when he rolled, the thing was too close to see him and so missed.
By then, Paul was running behind him and the dinosaur saw me. Cac! I sent one last arrow, turned and ran, reaching a tree an instant before it reached me. I was under, between the roots and out the other side while it was digging for me. Then I crawled through the ferns, pretending I was a snake until I reached another tree and hid, thinking only, ‘If I pee, it’ll smell the stink and find me.’ But I desperately wanted to pee. Following a carnosaur who didn’t care about you was a lot different than meeting one who had decided to eat you. I had followed and watched Albert for days or weeks, often within meters as he passed by, not looking in my direction. But this was different.
Finally Albert turned, hopped to the rest of the dead guy, gulped him down and hopped off seeking whatever else he could find.
Panting, I peeked and saw Paul approach the three survivors and greet each other cautiously as if they were afraid that Albert would hear them. So I approached, grabbed Paul and shook him as I screamed, “You stupid shit-for-brains! What kind of dumb-fuck are you to chase after a full-grown Allosaurus with a piece of glass and bamboo!” Then I kissed him hard. “You could have been killed!” I kissed him again, hard and begged, “Do NOT ever do that again.” Then looked at the other and demanded, “What the hell are you looking at!”
“nothing,” one whispered.
“Good! We need to get out of here now that Albert has a taste for people. What did you do to attract his attention?”
Paul handed me my spear saying, “I’m sorry, the point is broken.”
“You probably shouldn’t try to throw a stabbing spear through the armored back of a carnosaur. Albert’s hide is four inches thick!”
“I didn’t have much choice.” He replied.
I picked up a couple broken arrows that Albert had snapped off. I could reuse the fletching as Paul asked, “Albert?”
“Albert. After the British king. Same personality. You have a problem with me naming them?”
“no, not at all. You just never told me. I suppose you also named the wolf-pack?”
“We had other things to discuss, like getting you all home. Let’s see if dinner is still around. And yes, I named the wolves after Roman Emperors. The big Alpha is Pompey.”
“Not Caesar?” one of the cops, Savage (another fake name?) asked.
“I liked Pompey’s naval battles against Mediterranean piracy. Here, no one found dinner. I’m told you people are not eating well.” We picked up the animals, birds and lizards I had killed along the way. The four were catching up, Paul fortunately ignoring our sexual escapades, when a flock of coelurosaurs moved past. I instantly began to shoot and had two dead with the third injured as I ran forward to break its neck. I then tied their feet together, picked up my blunts and waited for the others to approach but they just stood there, jaws slack.
Looking down I asked, “Am I exposed?”
“no, it’s just that… I couldn’t have made that shot with a handgun and I’m an expert. I could have gotten one, maybe two with a rifle but not three.”
Shrugging, I handed the brace to him and said, “I do what I must. Can he walk now?”
“I’ll manage, so long as Albert doesn’t come back.”
“I doubt it. Albert likes to masturbate and nap on a full stomach.”
“Masturbate?” Paul asked. “How?” I didn’t know if that was the scientist in him or his attempt to avoid the discussion of the dead.
“He gets an erection, both of them,” seeing the cops expression,. “Albert has two penis’. It’s called a hemi-penis. And he squats down and rubs them on a bed of ferns until… Then he sighs, plops down and is snoring within a moment. Typical male.”
“You watched that monster jack-off and are still alive?” Savage was totally stunned.
“Albert and I are old friends. I watch him to see his hunting patterns, He ignores me as not worth his attention. Until now that is. He’s probably got a taste for people now so I’d better avoid him. Stay out of his territory and you’ll be fine.”
They were still trying to avoid talking about their dead comrade, “How do we know?”
“Smell the bushes and look at the trees. Albert marks his territory by peeing on a tree and ripping the bark off that tree as high as he can reach to show how big he is. Without a compass or horizon or landmarks I can only tell you that it’s mostly that direction. He likes to eat hadrosaurs… those big two-legged plant eaters with fancy crests. Paul can show you them. And hadrosaurs like the open plains like .. bison.”
“You’ve figured all this out in a week?” one asked.
“A week? I was certain it was closer to a couple months. But then, you took my watch away so I don’t have a way to know.” Time here was determined by activity, I heard. The more you do, the faster time moves. So Paul could take a nap after our first .. encounter, and when he woke up an hour later, I could have been out hunting, endured an entire pregnancy and returned with a toddler if I was really active. I didn’t understand it but then, I rarely went someplace with such a skewed existence.
Arriving, or returning to the police compound was totally anti-climatic. Grandier rushed out to help Savage and Douglas carry Moody in (Paul told me their names) while Steel remained where it was safe. Once inside, Steel demanded that I be arrested, though no one was willing to approach since I had a nocked arrow at the ready and the three with me knew that I could easily kill them all before even one touched me.
“She saved our lives!” Savage insisted.
“I don’t fucking care! She’s the reason we are here, she’s the reason .. where’s…”
“Dead!” Paul countered, for the first time showing guts. “Just like the ten other men you sent through knowing that it was a death sentence. That’s right!” He turned to face the others. “Steel sent two teams here knowing that they’d never be able to return. Janice here found their bodies. The only reason she is here is because Washington was about to close his pet project down unless he did something to pacify them. So he had Janice kidnapped so he could tell Washington that he was working on a solution. But he never expected her to return, and you weren’t supposed to either.”
Steel attacked Paul and lived only because his own men pulled him off before I could shoot him. “Why the hell would I want these men dead! You’re crazy!”
“That’s the thing, isn’t it. You didn’t care who you sent through. Maybe if you sent through someone you hated and wanted dead, but these men … they were simply there. Not important enough for you to even think about. Just.. irrelevant.”
I could see the four shifting their looks between Paul who they knew spoke the truth and Steel who was their boss. That’s the thing about cops, they are programmed to think the world is cop against the world. Soldiers would simply have fragged their leader, these guys would still kill for him even through they knew he wanted them dead and would murder them to protect himself and his pet project.
“We need to go soon.” I said quietly. “I found the way back. We need to get back before the rest of you suffer an accident.”
“What the hell are you talking about! Arrest her! Chain her and gag her!”
“I don’t see we have a case right now,” Savage commented. “Do we have time for dinner?”
I looked at the sky, measured the wind, pretended to do something important then replied, “We do. But don’t take too long cooking these. Do it like a Gyro, roll them over a the fire and cut off the outer layers as they cook. The StarGates are variable. If you go through when they are unstable, you may not arrive. Or parts of you may vanish like coming here. We need to go through while it is stable or remain here for another year.”
I helped them gut and clean the kills, then we lay them over a fire to rotate and cook as I looked over the encampment. “Primitive, isn’t it?” Paul came to me, not touching me which was good. “It’s hard to believe that you, alone and naked, did so much while these guys, supposedly trained for this, are barely surviving.”
I peeked inside the hut and found piles of grass and leaves, bedding? Covered by whatever cloth they had salvaged from their packs. “I know, no furniture at all.” Paul added. I took a grip and shook the hut. It moved. “You need to put some cross-braces here to stabilize the walls. Also, the grass on the walls is too far apart. You need at least three overlapping layers to keep the wind and rain off. Bamboo is easier and safer than these branches.” I commented absently. The police had the sense to look embarrassed. Even more so when Steel snapped, “I don’t need some whore-bitch-criminal to tell me how to take care of my men.”
I did the worst thing I could think of, I pretended I didn’t hear him and returned to the fire, “When your stomach is full, wrap the rest in big leaves and we’ll go. You can deal with Steel when you get back. All I ask is that you give me a chance to get away from him before he has me abducted again.”
“The hell you will! You’re going to prison as soon as I can have you in chains.”
Savage stood up to him, “That’s not a good idea. Threatening the only person who can get us home I mean. We need to deal here. She gets us home, we let her go.”
They stared at each other for a very long time, neither backing down then Steel admitted, “We’ll discuss this later,” which I took to mean that once back he’d have someone else do the arrest. But it seemed to satisfy Savage who returned to the meal.
Moody asked, “You don’t seem to be any worse for the wear. Was it hard?”
I giggled, “Very! But I managed. It helps when you have no choice and want to be comfortable.”
“How did you find the gate?”
“I explored a lot and found the signs. You men see three shades of red. Orange, red and slut-red and you guys wear stripes with plaids. A woman sees 125 different shades within those three, each of which requires different clothing. So I looked around and found shades, patterns that didn’t go together well. I tested it by tossing a few things through until I got the pattern down. I marked the trail to find it again. So, I can get you home like I promised.”
“Like you promised!” Steel demanded. “Why should we believe you! You…”
“Because,” I stood to him, stared up to his eyes and spoke, “Unlike you, I never murdered my own men.” He hit me, or tried to but I was expecting that and flung him to the ground. “It’s not as easy now. You struck me before when I was chained and helpless and you were armed and surrounded by your men. But now I am free and if you EVER touch me again, I’ll break your arm so bad they’ll have to amputate it.” I turned away and saw it took three men to hold Paul back. A part of that made me happy so I smiled at him. Damn I wished we had a chance for that quickie.
Steel started to swear at me but was stopped by Savage who whispered in his ears and calmed him. I suppose they were plotting against me. “Please listen, Albert is still out there and now finds that people are tasty. So we have to be very careful to avoid him. Plus there is a pack of Dire Wolves whose territory includes the StarGate. And a smilodon is there too. Plus a flock of velociraptors so the way back will be very dangerous. We need to be very quiet and careful and when I say ‘down’, you drop and find a place to hide instantly. If you ask ‘why?’ or look around, expect to be eaten. And frankly, if you attract danger, I’ll probably leave you to be eaten and save my own skin. And since I am the only one who knows where the StarGate is and how to open it, you had best remain on my good side. Are we ready? Then collect whatever you wish to take and let’s go.”
I led them to my home, by a very winding route. First, I didn’t want them to be able to find it alone and second I wanted to avoid as many hunting territories as I could. When we smelled rotting meat, Paul and I approached alone then returned, “We need to go back a ways and find another way. The saber tooth cat made a kill up ahead and is probably nearby.” I had heard that on the plains, the smilodon would occasionally pride up and go one a mass-killing rampage that would exterminate everything living.
Another time we had to climb a tree while the Dire Wolves growled and snapped and tried to jump into our tree. The men were suitably terrified and huddled as the Wolves tired of their play and napped at our feet. But eventually they left for easier prey. But there were few other incidents of note. Though here, if no one dies or is seriously injured, it warrants as a dull day.
We found my home with no loss of life and they were amazed at how well the place was designed. I led the group to the rear where I broke the clay door and had them dig out the Rye bread I had left baking while gone. “My God, Obrien (I had insisted that they call me that for I detested my married name), fresh bread, running water, real furniture. Is there anything you can’t do?” This from Savage who was the second to the last I would expect to give me a compliment.
“It’s simple, but cozy. There is fresh fruit and nuts hanging there, water outside. Have a meal and finish the bread or we’ll have to leave it behind and attract vermin. Paul, you might find these notes interesting. While you guys finish my larder, I’ll go check the StarGate.”
The men did what men do best, lounge on the furniture, eat and drop crumbs everywhere and wish they had a telly to watch. I left then ran. Time is a function of exertion so if they were relaxed and I ran, I could do hours of work while minutes passed for them. I killed a large bird and left it along the trail. Then tossed a couple others I had killed down a slope and ran for the StarGate which I determined to be still working. I set a few things in operation then ran back, glad that I was in enough shape to recover my breath by walking the last few dozen meters.
“Is everyone ready?” I asked as I helped Paul fill a grass satchel with my notes. “You may find these useful as I know you have been too busy to do much of your own studies.”
“I’d gladly stay behind and study them if you would be here to protect me.” He smiled.
“Unfortunately, the StarGate only has a limited window before it destabilizes and we are trapped for a year. So we had better run for the gate.”
We gathered our gear, me my purse and Paul my notes and we moved quickly along the ridge towards the StarGate.
A brisk rain moved in and we huddled under a tree until the clouds passed then continued along the muddy edge. “Be very careful.” I called. “Down there is a flock of velociraptors, like in the movie you saw. Only these are real! Steel, stay over here. You aren’t graceful enough to be over there.” Of course he ignored me and moved to see the flock while the rest hurried on ahead. Fool, I knew he’d do exactly the opposite of what I ordered.
Steel slipped and slid down the bank towards the raptors. Though much smaller than those in the movie, still a pack could easily take down an exhausted or injured man. I instantly flung myself to the edge of the cliff and yelled, “Take my hand!” He did but I was too weak to pull his weight to safety. No matter what they say, a 130 pound woman is not able to life a 225 pound man. I could barely keep him from falling free.
“Help me!” he cried. I looked behind, seeing help approach, “They’ll be here soon. Remember those other teams you sent through? You sent them to die for your own personal ego!”
“What the hell are you talking about? Pull!”
“Look below at your justice,” then I wrenched my hand free just as the others arrived, seeing him fall mere seconds from rescue.
The others tried to grab him but my timing was perfect and he screamed all the way down the slope. He hit hard, not so hard as to become mercifully unconscious, but hard enough to attract the pack which chased him, tearing at his legs and back as he ran screaming into the cycads.
Savage held me saying, “I know you did your best.” He honestly thought it wasn’t my fault. But I could have held on for those vital seconds until a stronger man arrived to pull him to safety.
Stiffening, I took control, looked back and said, “I’ll go find him. If he’s still alive that is. Keep on this trail!”
“Moody, go with her!” Damn! Not to plan. But…
We headed along the cliff, looking for a place to climb when I slipped in the mud. Moody grabbed for me and I pulled him with me, my spear entering his leg. “Shit! I am so sorry!” I ripped his pants open and used his knife to cut it free.
“It’s ok, it was an accident. Could of happened to anyone.” He sought to comfort the stupid clumsy bimbo he thought I was as I washed the wound clean with my canteen and bandaged it with his own torn pants. Pants that were falling apart.
“Listen, there isn’t much time for Steel. If I give you my spear, can you make it back safely?”
“I think so. Obrien,” He took my arm as I helped him up. “I’m sorry for the way we treated you. You’re a damn good person and I’m proud to have met you.”
“Take it easy going back. It’s not far. I’ll go find Steel.” And don’t start being nice and make me regret my thoughts or action, I wanted to say.
He watched me run down the edge then I called back, “I found a way, tell them to not worry!” and I was gone, dropping my quiver in the mud as I slid down the slope.
I rushed down the slope, recklessly because I really did want to find the man before he was killed. It wasn’t hard to pick up his trail, the screams and blood led me on. There he was, huddled as the raptors swarmed over him, some dead by his hands and the stick he had found, so I ran in, screaming, swinging my bow to drive them away. Then as they ate their own dead, hissing at me, I helped Steel to his feet and up against a tree where I shoved him into a space between the roots.
“Are you ok?” I asked, holding the raptors at bay.
“I’ll live,” he called to my back, weakly.
“No you won’t. I didn’t come here to save you, I came her to watch you die! You killed those men who trusted you. You’ve arrested and tortured innocent people back in America. And you did it in the name of the Law! But you don’t believe in justice, only your own badge. See in your executioners the faces of your victims!” Then I ran, slinging my bow across my shoulders, and climbed a tree inches ahead of the raptors, raptors that now turned to Steel, still bleeding and weak and now unarmed. The Movie was wrong, they killed him before they fed but it took them a very long time to kill him.
When I returned, I said simply, “I need a bath.” Steel’s blood covering me and the occasional cut from a raptor claw was proof of my failure.
“What happened?” they demanded.
“I found him, tried to carry him but he was too heavy. And there were too many. He was almost dead when I found him, they were all over him. I beat them off with my bow,” I showed them the weapon, feathers still stuck in the string, “but I was too late and they kept coming again and again and….” I couldn’t talk and Paul took me in his arms, away from the police who lowered their heads.
He took me to the stream, washing the blood away and then stopped. “You didn’t!” there was horror in his voice.
“I did what I had to. Let them have their fantasy. You have the truth. Who is the better. Now we can go back. ALL of us! No one else has to die.”
“Janice, I… you murdered him!”
Washing my clothes, his blood came out easier than I expected, I replied, “You knew what I was going to do. I told you before. Are you going to tell them?”
“How many more will have to die?” he asked.
“Obey my directions and no one else. I told you that I’d get them and you back. I told you Steel would remain behind. Paul! I never lied to you. But I did do what had to be done. Accept it or not.”
I dressed then we continued on, silent for we all had our own thoughts.
We ran, the wolves getting closer. Maybe on Earth the Timber Wolf never harmed a human but these were Dire Wolves, large as a pony and they had never read Never Cry Wolf so they didn’t know we weren’t on their diet. Their baying was creating nightmares within us, nightmares of being dragged down and eaten alive. And I had lost my spear and the last of my arrows long ago. Even my knife was gone.
“The Gate is just ahead!” I screamed, Savage falling so I pulled him to his feet, no easy task for he outweighed me by a hundred pounds easily but fear and adrenaline gives one strength. “There! See it! Go! before it collapses!” then I fell.
I fought the vines that entangled my feet, screaming in pain. Douglas was already through, Grandier following while Savage and Moody tarried. “Go!” I screamed. “My foot’s sprained, maybe broken! I’ll follow as I can. Hurry!”
“Obrien,” Savage yelled, “Hold on, I’m coming!”
“NO!” I yelled, “Get Moody through then come back for me. I’m almost free! I’ll hold off the wolves.” But my feet remained entangled. Savage looked again, then the wolves convinced him and he dragged Moody through the gate, calling, “I’ll be back. Hold on!”
No you won’t, I thought. Then yelled, “Phillip. Hurry. Before the gate closes.”
He knelt and struggled with the vines, “Stop fighting me, you’re only making it worse.”
I took his hands and looked at him. “I don’t love you. I’ll be ok, go! You have your life there, not here. Save yourself and come back for me later.”
“Shut up, I won’t leave you.”
“Phillip, listen to me. This changes nothing! When I go through there, they’ll arrest me for killing Steel. Saving the rest won’t matter when they find out I killed another cop. No matter how many cops he sent to their death, he had a badge so could do that. I don’t, so I must suffer their wrath. I’ll find another way back, or wait a year and go through when it reopens and they’ve given up waiting for me. Please go.” All this sappy scene needed was a good soundtrack of sad music. “Hurry, the wolves are almost here!”
“I love you Janice,” he said, meaning it.
“No you don’t. I’m just a willing girl and here,” I laughed, “There isn’t much of a selection for either of us.”
“Dimmitt! I’ll carry you and drag those vines back to Earth if I have to.”
“To Guantonomo Bay? Once they arrest me, you’ll never see me again. They won’t even admit I exist. Go, please. Write your papers, be famous and forget about me.”
He sat next to me, “No. I’m the man and if those wolves are going to eat you, they’ll have to kill me first.” He took my hand, felt for a rock and waited.
“Ok, Paul, help me get free and we’ll still make the StarGate.”
He looked at me, saw my determination and said, “You’ll back away at the last moment or push me through and remain here. Janice, promise that we go through together, back home or I’ll stay behind with you.”
“Don’t play games, Paul. I’m not that important.”
“You are to me.” And leaned to kiss me one last time.
Sighing, “Well then, I suppose if you are that stubborn, we should go get my spear and arrows,” I said as I easily slipped free and stood. He stared at me, then to the wolves, their howling fading in the distance.
“You planed all this?”
“Of course. You really should have gone through with the rest. Now you’re stuck here for the next year.”
“Chasing a deer herd. Don’t you mean why I pretended to be crippled?” he nodded. “I needed them to go back with a story of my willing and courageous sacrifice. That way they’ll spread wonderful tales about how good I am and carefully ignore my killing Steel.”
Then, seeing the look on his face, “I also wanted to see if you really wanted me. So, that bread you all ate? Laced with ergot fungus, LSD! Not enough to trip but strong enough to distort reality and make you all believe what I said about the wolves and such. I needed them too scared to think or they’d drag me back too. By the time they tell their story, filthy, vermin infested, half naked and telling crazy stories about dinosaurs and the Earth being hollow, they will be taken to a hospital where a simple urine test will reveal the LSD in their system and no one will believe anything they say.
“Combined with that unfortunate fire back at the first StarGate and the loss of all documents save some obviously faked photos of toy dinosaurs that replaced the real ones, Steel’s reputation will be ruined and the Gates will be protected for another few years.”
“All this to stop the government from time travel or teleportation?”
“Consider what they would do if they had a time machine.” I reached up and kissed him. “Better the gates remain in private hands for awhile.”
I took his hand and led him back to fetch my spear and bow. “I just guess you’ll have to put up with me for awhile. But there will be compensations. I will keep you alive, show you how to make paper and ink and quills, help you with your research and bounce ideas off you.
“I will also be sexy and sexual for you. I’ll fulfill every sexual fantasy you have to the best of my ability. I’ll never say no to you and give you all the sex you want, any way you want and any time you want. I’ll ruin other women for you.
“And when our time here is done, I’ll get you back to Earth with your notes intact. But I will NOT marry you or give you children. This is a short-term arrangement only.
“But, my dear, there is one thing you must do for me. My sleeping with you doesn’t change the fact that I’m gay. I still want a woman.” Then I squeezed his hand, “But until I can find one, you’ll be a pleasant distraction. So please stay shaved so I can pretend. If you can’t live with that, I’ll have to figure out how to open the StarGate early.” I didn’t tell him that I could open it any time I wanted.
“I think I can handle you wishing I were a woman. I don’t mind you being one at all though so while you are wishing I were female, I hope you don’t mind me being happy that you are one.”
“Not at all, though there is a problem there, with that female thing. But I’ll save that for our first really big fight. Care to share a bath and a tub of bad wine?”