RICK JOHNSON'S
EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS WEBSITE

KARA


by: Rick Johnson
PO Box 40451
Tucson, Az.
85717
RikJohnson@juno.com


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I

I was drifting just outside Vanthi space trying to make some sense of my readings. Oh the information was correct, it was interpreting it that gave me a headache. I had copied as much of the Demon charts as they had allowed when we parted some twenty years ago and had added to them whenever I met another Demon or Mon ship that needed my services but still, Demons were warm-blooded reptiles who thought in Base-12 and had dozens of Ďsí sounds in their language that I couldnít reproduce. Even reading their writing was difficult and once when I asked why they used 14 different symbols for exactly the same sound and meaning when it would be easier to thin their alphabet a bit, the Demon said, "then the language wouldnít be as beautiful."

The English used 26 letters for their alphabet and some made no sense at all. With the Brits and their American descendants you never knew if a Ďcí meant Ďsí or Ďkí. Vanthi had 28 letters, 25 from their original Saxon language and three added after the Diaspora, and would easily combine two letters into one to create new sounds as needed. My native Gaelic was easier with but 18 letters and an accent to determine the sound of certain letters.

I was an Irish Noblewoman from 17th century Earth who owned a Vanthi Merchant-Raider the Demons had captured when I was around 21 or 23 years of age? You never knew how much time you spent with the Demons. I preferred to speak 17th Century Gaelic though I could also converse in English, Latin and Greek for unlike the English who felt that the world should talk in their language and knowing how to spell Ďcatí was literate enough, my people treasured language and literature. My ship spoke a modern version of the Saxon speech that had left Earth in the 11th century. The Mon were Norman from the 11th century who now spoke Spanglic and the DemonsÖ well, I spoke a half dozen languages well from Earth and a dozen worlds I had explored but none of those helped me make any sense of the Demon space-charts.

I could navigate easily and often overlaying the Vanthi and Demon and Mon charts helped, but the Vanthi never went more than a hundred light-years from their new home and the Mon were so busy fighting the Kris that they never left their local area. So once we got more than a c-century from the Commonwealth, the charts I could easily read were useless and I had to figure out the Demon ones.

Six-hundred years ago the Demons had abducted a bunch of humans from England, cured them of their ills and released them into Demon space. Many had banded together in their own racial groups, the Celts in Kentaurus, the Saxons in Vanthi, the Fairie in Sítyr and so on. Most had intermarried and spread, the Demons helping expand their limited DNA base and encouraged local mutation, adaptation and variation until the Holy Empire had exploded out, conquering and killing all who were different from Adam and Eve and all who refused to submit. Now the Mon were pushing the Kris back and Pagan nations were forming, Londinium and Edward being the first and most powerful.

But there were rumors of Ďlost coloniesí out there. Ships that had left during the Diaspora to found homes of their own. The Vanthi and the Sítyr were two of these and there were moreÖ somewhere among the thousands of planets the Demons had terra-formed. Those were what I was seeking for after twenty years in space and nearing my 40th birthday, I wanted to marry. Find a good woman and settle down, maybe even have children.

The problem is that when the Kris Wars started, the Demons decided that they needed soldiers and so they changed not only themselves into Fiends and Termagants but also the humans in Demon Space into the Mon, nine-foot tall soldiers. They never asked for permission, they simply did that and as I was barely five foot tall myself, a Mon woman was easily half again taller than me. Kissing a woman whose breasts could easily rest over my head wasnít conducive to romance.

The Vanthi remained normal humans but they had a horror of lesbians that made them gang-rape women who loved other women in the hopes that repeated forced sex would somehow cure what they saw as an unnatural desire. They tolerated my own sinful desires only because I was an alien, and because they needed the technical abilities that Demons gave me when they changed me from human to Weir. And because I was now easily twice as strong as any Vanthi male and Vanthi respected size and strength and having a five foot girl throw a six foot six inch man through a wall embarrassed them all.

The Kris were fanatically human but saw my physical changes and emotional desires as an abomination to god. Maybe they were but I had stopped believing in god when those English soldiers sold my mother into slavery, burned my home, hanged my father and gang-raped and shot me. Where was god then? And a god who would allow those crimes deserved no respect when it came to my own loves.

So, with the Kris unwilling, the Vanthi closed to me and the Mon physically incompatible, I was seeking a Lost Colony where I could hopefully find a human woman who liked other women, even one as alien as I was now.

Fifteen years ago I was given this ship, renamed the Mairayd after my lost mother and with a Vanthi crew we returned to Earth with a hold full of modern weapons to free Ireland and, I suspect, my crew to carve empires of their own among the primitives of the mid-1600s. But Relativity is strange and we arrived long after humanity had destroyed itself. We returned to Demon space and aside from a couple trips back that ended badly, I had remained here, plying the merchant trade, smuggling and selling my technical skills as my crew left one by one for other ships and lives. Fortunately, the last dozen years had given me ample opportunity to convert this six-man Merchant-Raider into a single-crewed ship. True, having an Engineer, Load-Master and Pilot would be nice but they were no longer necessary.

"Mairayd?" I called.

"Yes, Lady Eibhlin?" the ship responded. Vanthi hated their ships being sentient but I found the company pleasant and so had added a personality matrix patterned after all of my former lovers. As I took more, the shipís personality changed as well to prevent boredom. Too bad she couldnít give me the physical and emotional love I needed. Perhaps an avatar? I could build a female cyborg that linked to the ship and give me the physical sex I needed to survive. Mairayd could think and talk and even listen but she couldnít repair herself or love me as I needed, a cyborg could do both. Something to definitely consider.

"Position check please."

"Same as before, Lady. Seventy million miles from stellar center, just within the Class-M eco-sphere. About five million miles from the nearest planet and twenty-eight million miles from the Class-M, with us just above the orbital plane. No drift worth mentioning."

"And still no radio from this system?"

"None, lady. No evidence of space travel or technology. This appears to be a terra-formed system but one un-colonized."

Un-colonized. The Demons spent ten million years slowly terra-forming world after world for a future use that never came. Most were empty but some had been colonized by the abducted humans during the Diaspora. When humans terra-formed a world, they did so in decades and dumped a colony on them immediately, often before the planet had been fully re-formed. Thus many human colonies had died off from the quirks every new world possessed. This could be a perfect Demon world waiting for use or a problem-beset human world that had killed its population.

"Then let us move in closer." I plotted the course that would take us near, but not at, the Class-M. Mairayd could do that faster and better than I but I needed the practice lest I loose the skills. Then under thrusters we headed outward at .01c that would make a six hour trip. Slow enough to avoid Relativistic distortion and to appear harmless to anyone on the planet but fast enough to get there and still give me a four hour nap. As a human I needed a good eight hours sleep nightly but the Demons had seen fit to change that and now I could easily do four hours every couple days and still remain healthy.

Once alone, I asked the ship to talk to me as I jilled myself to sleep. Since the Demons changed me into what I am now, I, once a virgin on Earth, found that I needed sex far more often than I desired. Without sex, I would die as surely as I would without food or water or air, only death by celibacy would take longer and be more painful. I needed a man every month or a woman every week to stay alive. And now, alone with naught but fingers and tail and phallus, I jilled myself daily and often more than daily to slow the pressure building inside me. Five years ago Kevin and Cyndi, humans I had picked up on Earth after my lover dumped me, had left the ship. The parting was pleasant but they wanted to see more of the Commonwealth than I was prepared to show them so they took passage on an Edward ship and since then I had had no steady lover. Somehow an endless stream of bodies kept me alive but not emotionally satisfied.

"Who would you like me to be, Lady?"

"Jean," I blurted out then stopped, "No, Cyndi and Kevin please." I didnít want to remember the woman I had loved for six months and who had betrayed me to the criminals in Las Vegas. I loved her still but after ten years I could accept that I had pressured her into a lesbian relationship she didnít want. So her leaving me for a man was only to be expected. Still, the thought of her hurt.

For the next half hour I pretended that my phallus was Kevin and my fingers were Cyndi as I climaxed almost continually until I cried, "Enough! Dim lights please and wake me when we are an hour out."

"Of course, Lady."


II

"Lady Eibhlin, time to wake up. We are an hour from the Class-M."

"Thank you. Anything interesting happen or likely to happen?"

"All is calm. Still no evidence of colonization and no ships in the vicinity."

"Very well. Iíll take a bath and have something to eat. Call me in a half-hour please."

Normally a Merchant-Raider like this ship allowed for five gallons of recycled water per person for cleaning and whatever I used, was re-filtered for the next bath. But alone and with an almost empty hull, I could actually afford to fill a bathtub and relax. Mairayd called me all too soon but freshly bathed and with clean hair (how did I ever survive in Ireland with a bath but once a month?) I entered the flight deck combing my raven hair dry. When I was abducted, my hair reached past my waist. Chlareissah had cut it to just below my shoulders and it took forever to get used to the lack of weight though the freedom of shorter hair was nice. Now I kept it between my waist and shoulders, depending on my mood. I also was wearing a bra, something I learned from the Vanthi but far more comfortable than the corset I wore in Ireland, though my larger Weir breasts were firm enough to need no support. But their moving under my silk blouse would get me excited and then my tail would find itís way up andÖ well sometimes it was better to constrain myself.

"Report, please," I asked. I didnít need to be polite to the ship but still, good manners were a habit and worth the effort to retain.

ĎThree million miles out and no evidence to show that we are not the first. No radio on any frequency but itís too far out to find heat signatures in orbit or on the surface."

While I combed, I used my tail to touch a few controls and reveal that the ship was well. The deck gun was loose and primed, the engines ready to flash out, the airlocks locked and vermin control active. I was ready to run, fight or repel borders as the need arrived.

It wasnít long before we spiraled into orbit and looked the planet over. Like all Class-M worlds, it was a jewel in space, beautiful to behold and one could stare at the clouds over the lands and seas forever, forgetting to even eat. But I had a purpose and had only a couple weeks to find a lover before I died from celibacy.

"No heat signatures, no cities, no technology at all. Not even ruins. I donít think this world was ever colonized. Well, weíll sweep the planet for another half-hundred orbits then leave."

A half-hour later the ship called, "Lady Eibhlin, Ion signature in quadrant 432 by SFX."

Sitting erect, I stared, "Ion? Change orbit and full scan."

There it was. A narrow path where the land had a higher concentration of enriched carbon where the carbon had been converted to c-14. Normally this was undetectable but the Vanthi sensors were designed for ion trails and this one was too narrow and defined to be natural. "Pass over but passive scan as we do. I donít want to alert whomever is down there."

"Of course, lady."

Then as we passed over the horizon, I brought up the readings. "There, definitely an Ion trail. The hydrogen burned by the Vanthi engines left residue which was absorbed by the plants. One or two flights would mean nothing but this concentration implies a regular flight path. The path was a narrow fan pointing to a hill which implied a descending flight path to a hidden base. "These were clumsy to leave such a defined trail. It implies that they want to be found or that they didnít realize that they were leaving such a trail. Still, there should be something to show their presence, some buildings or such."

"Nothing Lady. There is an overhang at the point of the trail."

"Then they wish to remain hidden and arenít smart enough to know that they are creating a sign. Were we scanned?"

"No lady, not that I could detect."

"Then another pass, passive scan for farmland, any construction and any evidence of life from trash to waste heat to pollution to walking paths to the local shimming hole."

"As you wish, Lady."

Unless they were constantly watching the skies, theyíd not notice my first active scan. And unless they knew I was here, one ship in orbit would be invisible. I looked over the maps the ship had made and found a landing path that would keep us hidden. Come down low over the horizon then slow to avoid heating the atmosphere and keeping the hills between me and them. Then a quick hop over the pass and land near enough to walk. By the time I had the route calculated, we had done the last pass and the new information revealed a foot path from the hill to the lake and what could be either a dead tree or a hut. "Looks like a vacation spot for someone who is tired of staring at rock all day. Set us down please."

I let the ship handle the landing which took time as we came in so slow we were far sub-sonic. Then while we came in, I looked for anything to indicate I was noticed but if so, it was all passive which Iíd not detect. Once grounded, I turned the Mairayd away from the hill and the deck gun towards the hill so we could run and fight at the same time. Then I changed into coveralls for freedom, strapped the sword I bought in Las Vegas to my back, my beamer under my sleeve and a laser and slug-thrower at my sides. Then ensuring my kit had adequate water, food and medical supplies, I returned to the flight deck and asked, "Anything yet?"

"No Lady. All is still. Some animals and birds but they seem normal. Air, water and biota appear to be safe."

"Good, this will be easier without a suit or mask. Keep watch and Iíll contact every ten minutes until I reach the hill.


III

Moving around was simple. I had learned that art of stealth when I was a guerrilla fighter in Ireland, fighting Cromwellís soldiers so unless they had sensors about, and my antennae detected no em-fields, I was probably undetected. So I slowly moved around to the opposite side of the hill, using cover and pausing often. It took much of the day and twice I stopped to eat a quick snack before moving on.

Like any Class-M, the biology was similar to Earth though the variations were enough to show that this was a Demon world and not a human terra-formed one. Humans liked to make worlds identical to Earth even down to the trees. Demons only cared that they could eat and breathe easily and allowed nature to evolve as it wished so long as the food was edible and didnít eat them. One thing that was common on most worlds was that the local pests avoided garlic so I had made certain that my meals contained massive amounts of the plant. Thus I suffered few bites or stings though my breath stank. And unless I met a nice girl, that wouldnít matter.

Once in the ion plume I relaxed and tasted a leaf. I had hoped to taste the C-14 but no, the concentration wasnít high enough so I moved in slowly then aside when I found the trail to the lake, I followed it away from the hill. If there was someone at the lake, Iíd rather not be caught from behind but luck was with me and the lake and hut were empty. The hut was more of a grass house than anything else and showed signs of recent use, probably within days but was currently empty so I followed the trail back to the overhang and looked over the opening.

The original overhang was natural but had been carved out with a digger of some sort for there was no debris around. Also I could see nothing inside for it was too dark and I should have seen IR or UV or other EM fields so security was very lax. So I settled in and relaxed to watch the place for awhile. There were no blast marks so they entered and left by anti-gravs then when away used thrusters which converted some of the carbon of the forest to C-14. So who were they and what were they doing here in secret? Smugglers? Pirates? Slavers? Kris? It simply wouldnít be natural for honest people to seek to hide their presence like this.

Somewhere I fell asleep and took a short nap, awaking when I heard voices from the cavern. The voices were indistinct but slowly getting louder though still no IR signature which meant that they were deep in the cave. But eventually I saw the glow of their heads and hands as their voices became clearer so the cave was very deep. There were three of them, all women and all casual about their movements which spoke of a comfort level which implied that they feared no attack. And as they exited the cave and turned to follow the path to the lake, I noticed no weapons but towels of a sort so they were going to bathe or swim and felt themselves alone.

Depending on how many were left would determine my next move then I decided to follow the three to the lake and watched them strip naked and splash around in the water like nymphs from the legends. They were definitely human and had the usual hairy legs, arms and armpits and with their long dresses I accepted them as Vanthi.

Well, I always was impulsive so I stepped to the shore and called out in Vanthi, "Good afternoon!"

Immediately, they fell down to use the water to hide their nakedness so I sat by their clothes and waited as they screamed and searched for others, then when they saw that I was a woman, and alone, one stood and called, "At least toss us our towels."

"Why? Iím enjoying the show and besides, I have questions to ask and have your clothing to trade for answers."

"You are that Weir that destroyed our isolation twenty years ago, arenít you?"

"I am. And who are you and why hide here?"

"What makes you think we are hiding?"

"Your ship in a dug out cave hidden from view. No comm antenna. Even this path and hut are hidden from view."

"How did you find us if we are so well hidden?"

"Answer my question first and I will answer yours. Ok, I can wait all day and when the sun sets it will get very cold in that water."

They moved together and whispered for a long time then one spoke up, "Ok, we are smugglers. We bring stuff the Mon of Londinium want without paying tariffs. Now can we get dressed?"

"What kind of stuff? And how do you get past the Fleet?"

"We donít. They come here and beam it to their ships then how they get it to their world is their problem. Since we are outside their and our borders, the Fleet cannot arrest us."

"You still havenít told me what you smuggle?"

"Does it matter?"

"I suppose not. Here, dress as you will. Still, if you cannot be arrested, why hide?"

"Because, Weir-girl," she made it sound like an insult, "There are others who would be happy to take our business from us. Some people find it easier to steal than trade. You should know this since you were a smuggler and pirate yourself. No wait, you were a grave robber, stealing from your dead home-world." She was goading me but that wouldnít work for a Vanthi insult fell from my Irish back like rain. "Why are you here?"

"Searching for a lost colony. If you know about me, then you know I need sex regularly or I die and as my time approaches Iím getting desperate and hope to find a decent lover on a lost colony world. This was just one of many Class-M worlds I was searching."

"You never told us how you found us!"

"Your ship leaves an ion trail when you use your thrusters at take-off and landing. The partially burned H2 and H3 are absorbed by the vegetation and converted to C-14. A few flights arenít enough to matter but a hundred in the same area show on orbital sensors. You should either tune your engines better or alternate your flight path."

They talked a bit more then one, dressed now, said, "Iím Kara Etheswitha. My friends are Darlene and Aefentid. You are Eileen Oobrien? You look much younger than they say you are or are you immortal?"

"Not quite, I laughed. But I am only forty or so and will look like this for another four hundred years."

"Forty! You look sixteen! Helís Prison, to look that young for four centuries, Iíd let the Demons change me too." Kara called. "Come with us and share salt and bread and mead."

"Fine with me, Iím tired of shipís rations anyway." When a Vanthi shares salt, it means that you are free to come and go in peace. Itís when they only offer food and drink that you have to worry. I keyed my comm and sent the safe message and a recording of our conversation to the Mairayd as we walked the path back.

Almost to the hill a man came running and called, "Darlene, we picked up a communications, hide andÖ" then he saw me and froze.

Darlene introduced me, "Thankbern, this is Eileen Oobrien, the Weir Demonspawn. She found us by the ion trail of the ship. Sheís safe though and means us no harm, probably."

"Probably?" he asked. "Landing in secret and carrying a sword?"

"I was as secret as were you." I commented. "Kara offered me bread and mead AND salt!"

Thankbern gave Kara a dirty look then said, If she offered bread and mead, then welcome to it."

"And salt," I reminded him, conscious of his omission.

"And salt," he added grudgingly. Now with both offering salt, any betrayal would force these two to protect me with their lives. Vanthi may be Saxon pirates but they held to their honour.

When we entered the cavern, he asked, "Please leave your weapons here."

"Will I be safe if I leave my sword at your door?" I deliberately omitted mention of my beamer. Two can play this game.

"I offered you salt," he said in anger as if I had insulted him.

"You and Kara did but the other two did not," I mentioned casually, refusing to be baited. "Nor did any other in your base offer anything." If I became angry and insulted him after the offer of salt, he would be justified in whatever he chose to do and I had no desire to be a Vanthi slave.

"The others will accept my offer and these are but women." He then stood there waiting so I shrugged and handed him my blade, which he carried inside. "Why a sword and not a blaster?"

"I didnít expect trouble." With Vanthi it is a good idea to bring some weapon to show how much you respect them, then you hand it over to show how much you trust them. Still, I was gay and Vanthi tend to gang-rape lesbians. "And Iíve always been on good terms with your people."

Inside we two continued on as the women were sent away with a glance. Despite the fact of Vanthi women being technically equal and given equal opportunity, to the Saxons, a woman was still preferred on her back or knees. I was tolerated only because I was an alien and they valued my technical abilities. Even after twenty years of forced contact, old habits die hard and little trade was made between the Vanthi and the Demon or Mon worlds. But most of the raiding did end.

Once alone I commented, "You mentioned bread and mead and salt? Iíve been on shipís rations too long and could use a real meal." Our truce didnít start until I actually was given salt so I wanted to put this out early.

"This way, Eileen Oobrian," he pointed.

Continuing on I commented, "I am Lady Eibhlin inghean Ui Bhrian and Captain of the Mairayd."

"As you wish Captain Oobrian." Vanthi were a democracy and disliked titles, unlike the Mon who were mostly still monarchies or Parliamentary Monarchies. Thus heíd not acknowledge my Nobility which they saw as an accident of birth but would accept my legal title of Ship-Captain which I had earned in flight school, a Vanthi flight school which graduated very few women.

Sitting in their cafeteria, we held casual conversation until their leader arrived and we were introduced, "Captain Eileen Oobrian, this is Captain Hrothgar Swithgar. Captain Oobrian has left her sword at the door and I have offered her bread and mead and salt." This last he emphasized looking at me. Captain Roger Strong-Spear was what his name meant once I had translated it into Gaelic and Roger meant Fame-Spear. I didnít know if that was relevant but like their Saxon ancestors, most Vanthi took their fatherís name as their own so he may have earned his own last name and so be very proud of it just as my name meant Eileen, a daughter of Brian Boruís Clan.

As I ate, ensuring that I added a bit of salt to my bread and cheese Captain Swithgar asked, "I am told how you found us, but why you found is us still unanswered Captain."

"Simple, Captain. I was looking for one of the lost colonies that are rumored to be in this area. I find it is time to marry and raise children and the Mon are too large for me (I saw one man standing aside laugh as he spread his hands a yard apart for all knew how large the Mon were under their belt) and you Saxon too manly." That was a good word to describe their machismo but not too insulting. He took it as a compliment.

"I think there is one a dozen light-years skar-ward but donít know much as we stopped raiding twenty years ago."

I pretended to believe him for even I smuggled and raided on occasion, though I pretended to be an honest merchant. The question now was, was he telling the truth or hoping to send me away quickly? "Captain, one thing I am curious about. Sometimes, not often but sometimes, people recognize me as a Weir. This implies that there are more of my kind out there somewhere. Perhaps a world the Demons settled after changing humans into Weir or a lost colony that the Demons changed as they did me to make their harvesting easier. Hear you of any such rumor?"

"We hear many rumors and spend much gold seeking them out. Yes we have heard of others like you, always on a Demon ship but you are the only one I ever saw. But you know how stories spread. You are quite infamous among our people and it may be that a dozen stories about you were made to sound like a dozen different people."

"Then Captain, if I may beg charts to this lost colony, I shall leave you to your lawful business."

As I stood, he asked, "Why leave so soon? Remain with us a few days and be our guest."

This could be an honest offer or something devious. The way he looked at me implied he hoped to bed me for men are always curious about my tail. Kevin said it was a latent homosexuality thing where most men wanted to be ass-fucked but feared being thought of as a faggot so my tail was a safe way to enjoy the fantasy without the stigma. Women just enjoyed my tail as a surrogate penis while exploring their own lesbian fantasies. As for me, I enjoyed a hard penis as much as the next girl but preferred it attached to a woman though I needed a man occasionally and that occasionally was fast approaching. I calculated time and concluded that if this lost colony was true, I was probably safe, but if not, I'd have to rush back to a Vanthi station and hire a male whore to service me. But if I found someone here, it would give me another month to search. So long as I kept my lesbian desires hidden, they would have no reason to attempt rape but would feel justified in seduction. "Thank you Captain, I would enjoy that. Especially if your food is as good as your bread and cheese and mead."

Honestly, I had no desire to turn them in to the authorities. So long as they harmed me not, they could smuggle or raid as they wished. Though the first time they broke the Law of Salt, I would feel justified in robbing them. And that Darlene would make a hot pleasure slave for she had lips made for kissing both above and below. Plus no Vanthi defense could stand against a Demon beamer which I still kept hidden and I was stronger than two Vanthi men.

Over the next day or two, they showed me nothing of interest, keeping their cargo hidden and I respected their wishes for smugglers have their secrets and guard them well. It was apparent that they had been doing this for years and knew their customers well for the areas forbidden to me were easily accessed by transporters which the Demons did not have but sought and they asked me a number of times if I knew that technology. I answered truthfully, "I know of this and can repair it but cannot build one without Demon equipment and neither does my own ship have one."

"Where is your ship, Captain?" he asked.

"Hidden." He had the good manners to not ask but probably sent men to find it.

I did seek out Darlene but she refused my advances as perverse. Maybe they were but I cared not for my first caring lover was a Sítyr woman and my first experiences with men was repeated gang-rape so I was happy with women. During this time it seemed every male Saxon sought me out and left rejected and often angry. After the dozenth such, I met Kara who asked to speak to me and once alone, she asked, "Captain, when you leave, I would go with you."

"Why for?" I asked.

"Youíve lived among us. You are famous for your acts. Unless I am special like Darlene, I am seen as just breasts and vagina for any man with a desire for me and I tire of their constant pounding. You have made a name for yourself despite being a woman and I would share in your fame."

I laughed, "So you would leave your own people and travel with an alien to avoid sex and seek fame?"

"Is that so wrong?"

"Kara, I need sex often lest I die and if you travel with me, that will be one of your duties. And I prefer my lovers passionate and desirous of me."

She never hesitated but kissed me deeply and teased my tongue with her own. I felt her smaller breasts press against my own as she slid against my body and he hands sought my hair. When she parted, I was panting and wanted more but she said, "I can learn. I can be whatever you wish."

"You," I gasped, my passion rising, "youíve done this before."

"No Captain, in all truth, you are the first woman I ever kissed."

"HowÖ?"

"I did to you what I wished a man would do to me. Take me and I will gladly be yours." She breathed into my ear, "giving you all the pleasure that you wish. Any way you wish. As often as you wish. I know I am not as sexy as Darlene but she is a frigid bitch and I care about your pleasure." Then she licked my ear in such a manner I shuddered in desire, her tongue following the folds of my ear, her hot breath driving me to the point of ecstasy. Were she to touch me between my legs, I would have moaned in climax. Then she was gone.

I was still panting when Thankbern passed by and asked, "Captain, you look different. Are you wearing more cosmetics for you look more attractive? More sexy?"

I started to snap at him for his useless and stupid comment them, it took a moment to understand before I replied, "No, just thinking of leaving soon." When he left I sought my mirror and found my lips to be red. Kara had pushed my Need forward and Iíd need to have that taken care of soon. Until then, the pheromones I was producing would attract every man in the base and Iíd either have to choose one or risk rape from all. Unfortunately, soon I would look forward to gang-rape so had to settle the problem now!


IV

I immediately sought out Kara and when I found her working in the kitchen, asked to speak a moment. "Kara, Iíve been thinking and plan to return to Earth when I leave here. Itís a six month journey and if you can keep me alive, you can come." Remaining calm was difficult. I wanted Darlene for her beauty and attitude but needed Kara. It took all my will to keep my hands off her and myself. "Can you return to my ship for a few hours and discuss this?"

"My shift ends in an hour, perhaps then." She was looking at me strangely.

"I donít think I have an hour. Tell your Captain that I wish to show you my ship. That may settle the case. I will be outside."

I was doing my Dance with my sword to control my Need as I do to control my werewolf nature when she arrived. "The Captain said I could go with you if I reported back to him all that I see."

As I led her away I added, "Some of this you may not want to tell."

She made small talk until we were out of sight and I could hold back no longer. "What you said, what I said. Itís time. See how my lips and nipples are reddening?" I opened my shirt and bra to show her. "I need you now or Iíll run back and go through your men. Kara," I was near begging but she didnít know what to do this time so I kissed her and she soon melted and we were rolling on the ground, she giving more pleasure that she received. The sun was low when I finally was satisfied enough stop. For a virgin, she certainly was enthusiastic and willing to learn. So I lay there, holding her and said, "Iíll need that often, at least a number of times a week."

"At least I wonít walk away with bruised hips," she laughed.

"Perhaps bruised hips is what you need!" a gruff voice called as one of the Vanthi men came from the shadows. I had been too occupied to detect them for there were three.

"Eileen, they mean to rape us for our act," Kara was terrified for she knew the Vanthi attitude towards lesbians.

I pulled my shirt over my nakedness as one said, "Youíll only have to take it off again." Then he pointed a slug-thrower at us.

"If you try, you will die!" I said as I buttoned up. I had been raped once in my life and all who tried since were dead.

"By who? The Captain? You are no longer under his roof. And we know what dykes need!" he grabbed his crotch as they all laughed at his wit. "No, stay away from your sword and that thing that looks too much like a weapon. Hold them! As senior I am first!" and his companions took our arms, one for Kara and one for me, holding us as Kara began to scream.

"Be silent Kara, Iíll get us away," I cautioned. "Screaming will only get you beaten."

"Listen to your animal-slut," the one said. "Take it like a woman!" and they laughed again.

I waited until the first had lowered his weapon for rape is difficult enough and near impossible when you must hold your weapon and your victim. Then I wrapped my tail around the neck of the one holding me and pulled. I wasnít strong enough in that limb to hurt him much but he had never seen a person with a prehensile tail and saw it used only as a phallus so ignored itís other possibilities. As he loosened one hand to grad what was choking him, I pulled free and using the Empty-Hand taught to me by Brount and the Martial Arts I learned on Earth, I broke free, back-fisted him hard and as he went down I stepped forward, kicked their leader in the crotch as hard as I could then as he bent over, took his head and twisted until the bones snapped. Then I turned to the third who let Kara go to defend himself and I leapt and kicked him in the face. Vanthi unarmed combat is more wrestling and punching and so had never seen what a Martial Artist could do. Especially one who possessed twice their strength and reaction-time. He tried to block my kick or grab my foot but to me it was as if he were moving in slow-motion. His face pulped before he even touched me.

I grabbed my clothes, weapons and ordered, "Get your clothing now! There may be more." And took her hand and ran, dragging her along. I may be stronger and faster but not even I or a Demon could outrun a Blaster. Soon, panting and me near carrying my lover we reached my ship and I called, "Mairayd, protect!" Then I felt safe as the deck gun raised and primed. Vermin control snapped off as I opened the air-lock then returned as I passed through to the inside. Designed to keep out pests and bugs and bacteria, it worked as well against enemy forces.

Once inside I took Kara to the flight deck and called, "Full sweep, active scan please!"

"Nothing Captain. We are alone and no communications."

"Can you scan the men I killed?"

"No Captain, the hill and forest interferes."

"Kara, KARA! Do your people have warships?" half naked I started pre-flight.

"No,Ö you killed them. Oh Freyja, save us. Why did you kill them? They would have used us and then let us go but nowÖ"

"Because Iíve been gang-raped before and will die before submitting again. Now tell me, what weapons do they have that I must fear?"

"A gun, a big anti-ship in the hill. Cloaked and shielded. If you try to leave they can destroy us. Itís used to keep those we deal with honest."

"Mairayd, scan the hill."

"There is something, possibly a cloak but I cannot determine more."

"Damn! We landed right in its kill-zone. Well, nothing to do but talk. Kara, I killed them, not you. You may still return if you wish."

"No! I mean, maybe I can survive with a beating and public whipping. If you can get me away alive, then Iím with you."

"What can you tell me about the gun and its defenses? Is it shielded too? Can I damage it with my deck-gun?"

"I donít know. I think I heard that itís shielded from attack. I donít know if the shields are over or all around."

"It cannot be manned constantly as we came in undetected. Or maybe the gun-crew only watches when needed. If they havenít found the bodies, we may have a chance."

"Captain," the ship announced. "Radio traffic. Vanthi on audio from the beginning."

"Öve found Sigeberht and the others. He is dead, the other two unconscious and badly injured. Orders?Ö"

"ÖWhat of the Alien and Kara?Ö"

"ÖNo sign. Wait! Underwear. A bra too large for Kara, maybe the alienís. Also Sigeberhtís pants are undone. I suspect he came upon the alien naked and sought to have funÖ."

"..Donít make conclusions without more evidence. He could as well been pissing when surprised. We donít know if the Weir Captain is working for the competition or seeking to take our cargo. Collect evidence and take no action save self-defenseÖ"

I commented to Kara, "Your captain seems a wise and honest pirate. Will he talk? And more importantly, can I trust him to talk honestly?"

"I donít know for certain. There is no love lost between the Captain and Sigeberht but he IS the Captainís man and you are an alien. Also you are no longer under his roof so the protection of bread and salt no longer apply."

I opened a channel and started, "Captain Swithgar, this is Captain Ui Bhrian. Your men interrupted me and tried to rape Kara and myself. I defended myself and her. Can we talk in peace and settle this matter?"

It took a moment for the reply, "We can talk, Captain. Where do you suggest?"

"Captain," the ship called, "Energy spike on the hill. I believe their gun is powered and locking upon us."

"Return lock and power our gun and raise shields," I ordered. I had no hope as a shipís gun would be no match for a land emplacement designed to take a warship from orbit. But I needed to try.

"Captain Swithgar, you have a weaponís lock on me. I have returned the same. It seems we must talk to avoid damage and death."

Another long pause then, "I will come in truce to your ship. You can scan the area for safety. One hour?"

"Agreed! But remember that I was trained as a Demon Tech. They allowed me to upgrade the Mairaydís shields, weapons and engine. You may find that I am more powerful and dangerous than I look. In an hour Captain."

Turning to Kara I commented, "If I get us out of this, you had better be worth it. Iíll tell them I forced you from lust but were interrupted before I could abuse you. Theyíll believe that. What might I expect?"

She explained as I returned to the airlock and dressed in my armoured Demon space-suit. Designed to resist meteor impacts and engine blast, it would de-polarize blasters, lasers and deflect slugs. It would be useless against the main gun though. "If you can convince the Captain that you were defending yourself, he may rule the killing justified. Perhaps he may ask a fine to the men you injured."

"Pay a fine to the men who sought my rape! Never! I do have a couple suprizes though. I havenít lived this long by being helpless. Now, do you wish to go with me or not?"

"Your lips are still red. You still need me and exile is better than a whipping. Besides, you cared enough to give me pleasure which my countrymen too rarely did." She laughed then added, "Also, here I am a low-rating doing menial jobs with little hope for advancement or the travel I signed up for. With you, I can see more of the galaxy and if you will teach me to fly and help me get my Captainís papers, I can promise loyalty and love and passion."

"Agreed!" I kissed her long and well then broke panting for I wanted her so much. Looking down, I said, I cannot feel your hands through this suit but when done, I will expect to learn what you can do." Then I kissed her again.

When the hour was done, I was waiting my opposite who arrived with one man. Both were armed as was I though my beamer was a much better weapon than their blasters. Within twenty yards, I could cut them in half and the trees far beyond them with one sweep. Plus my suit would deflect most of their hand-blasters. I feared only that main gun which could take me out before we lifted off.

Safe behind my ships deflector shields which were directed forward, I depended on the Mairayd to keep scanning for others surrounding us. I would have sent snipers before communications were ended.

"We have a problem, Captain Oobrian. You have killed one of my men and severely injured two more. Plus you have another captive. How do you expect to solve this problem?"

"Your three men tried to rape me. I defended myself and regret that I left the two alive. Kara is not a prisoner but wished to end her service with you and ship with me. I can offer her advancement that you will not."

"Iíd like to hear that from her. Kara!" he called loudly.

She stepped down and approached, her clothing adjusted and hair braided as if nothing had happened. "Yes Captain. Captain Oobrian speaks the truth. We were coming to this ship as I said and paused to.. rest when we were attacked. Sigeberht pulled his weapon on us and threatened our lives. Captain Oobrian had to defend herself and ran to her ship in case others attacked."

"Iíve had complaints about his inability to listen to a womanís refusal. Still killing is extreme. What of Captain Oobrianís claim that you want to go with her?"

"Captain, with you I shall never rise more than a few ratings. With Captain Oobrian, I may aspire to a ship of my own. I beg you to sell her my contract and release me from your service."

He thought for a moment them turned to me, "Captain, Kara has three years on her contract to me. Her leaving normally wouldnít be a problem but I cannot afford to loose two crew permanent and two temporary until they recover. If you pay me thrice her remaining contract, I will release her with no ill will."

"Thrice! Damn Kara, you had better be worth that. Very well. I will agree to thrice her contract and no bad marks on her service record."

"Now my other men."

"No! They tried to rape me under threat of death. No reparations, no fines, take their lives and injuries as a learning experience." I snapped at him with such anger that he stepped back.

"We may not be able to accept that. They have friends and family that must needs be pacified."

We argued for what seemed like hours, me getting as angry as was he. Finally we came to am agreement. I would promise to keep his base a secret and he would not pursue any retribution for his injured. The deal made me angry but I won for I had no intention of telling anyone about the place. "Agreed, Captain. Will it be safe for me and Kara to return for her belongings?"

He turned to his man and ordered, "Shipman Kara is released from my service. She serves Captain Oobrian now and is her man. Escort her to her former quarters and ensure that NO trouble occurs. Do you understand? NO trouble at all lest you face her new Captainís wrath which I cannot reduce."

"Aye, Captain. There will be no trouble at all."

"Captain," I called as they started off. "The Demons made me telepathic so I will know if any lies are told or acts committed." The escort looked back, "And another thought like that an Iíll cut your dick off and shove it up your own ass!" and I sent the strongest thought-image I could to show I was telling the truth. I had the satisfaction of him blanch and shudder then turn away, cowed.

"While we await their return, how do you intend to pay me for her contract?"

"My hold is empty save food and drink and your larder is better than mine. How about star charts? I have both Demon and Mon charts. I propose that we exchange charts. We both search each otherís data-bases and take what we will. As mine extend ten thousand light years and yours barely a hundred, you will get the better of the deal and those charts should be worth her contract."

Greed shone in his eyes for good charts are worth more than gold and he could sell them for a very good profit. "Agreed. Your ship is Vanthi and unless you have replaced the mappers and memory, we should be able to do a mutual exchange from our own bridges."

"No Captain, I upgraded the ship but most of her is still Vanthi. And so we will both know if either seek to hide anything."

"Good! An acceptable deal. I wouldnít suggest you to return to my base for fear of my men taking revenge and I cannot afford for you to kill any more." He was looking over my suit which was centuries more advanced than any he had ever seen. "Iíll return to my deck and we can exchange memories then. Good sailing Captain, and may our next meeting be less dangerous."

"Good dealing, Captain," and I watched him leave before returning to my ship. It wouldnít take him an hour to return so I prepared my side of the deal and had Mairayd scan for Karaís return.

Two hours later, I broke orbit, alive and safe with Kara by my side. She sat in the co-pilotís seat and I showed her what I was doing to start her training per my part of the deal, then as we left the planetary plane to seek that lost colony on the Vanthi charts, I took her to my cabin and to be honest, our flash into hyper-space was delayed some hours. The woman was definitely worth the trouble I suffered for her.

END


To contact me or to request topics to be covered, send to RikJohnson@juno.com
by: Rick Johnson
PO Box 40451
Tucson, Az.
85717


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