The parts of this story that I did not actually witness came from credible sources. The historical details can be found in at least a half dozen libraries. So, check them for yourself. Oh, thats right. I forgot that the nearest such library is 112 light years from Earth. So, I guess youll just have to trust me on that. As for the exchanges that I was not present to witness I either got them from first hand accounts or from various personal logs that I picked up along the way. I do this in order to build a better picture of the various alien races that I am forced to deal with. (Id go on but the voice over my shoulder says that its time to get on to the story.)
Once upon a time . . . Sorry about that. I just couldnt resist it. Anyway, to be exact, 6243.51 Earth standard years ago a war came to an end. As it happened in a distant section of our galaxy youre probably wondering what this has to with the people of the Sol system. Well, dont get your knickers (thats panties for people across the pond) in a twist youre about to find out. As I was saying a war in a distant part of the galaxy ended. The two combative races were the Oulaeans and the Czebhinn. The reasons for the war are really unimportant, only that it happened and that it lasted 196.25 Earth standard years. As you can guess from its length the war was one of total annihilation not of conquest or any other type of gain. It didnt start out that way, wars like that seldom do. Yet, as time went on the original reason for the conflict became lost and all that remained was pride and the lust for revenge. It doesnt sound too different from humanity.
You dont know about the entire course of the war only the last few months of it. A conclusion was reached by the powers on both planets of the neighboring systems. Neither side could continue with their present effort for more than a couple of years before their society totally collapsed. Yet, neither the Oulaeans nor the Czebhinn even contemplated calling for a cease fire let alone a permanent peace. Each came to the same conclusion, that all that was needed was one last final push and their enemy would finally be dealt with at long last. Czebhinn and Oulaeans both rushed to complete their final ultimate weapon. The weapon that each was certain would win the war for the good guys.
The Oulaean solution was an engineered virus. It was so virulent and deadly that it would kill everything including bacteria and render the Czebhinn home world a lifeless and lethal hunk of rock and dust for more than a century. They began to produce their virus five Earth standard months before the end of the war. They had had the technology for a number of years but did not use until now. They were that afraid of what they were about to bring into existence.
The Czebhinn answer to the Oulaean problem was much different but just as deadly. For more than three decades they had secretly squirreled away their precious resources in order to create their final weapon when the time was right. Their answer was a war ship but what a war ship. It was egg shaped and was some thirty miles from end to end and ten miles tall at it widest. Nearly every square foot was covered by defensive weapons to protect what was housed along its longitudinal axis. Occupying over 25% of the ships structure was its principle weapon. A weapon so powerful that one blast was all that was needed to destroy a planet. This was the Czebhinn answer, a planet killer.
So, both the Czebhinn and the Oulaeans were in a desperate race with each other, although they did not know it. Each believed that the other knew nothing of what they were doing and they were right. This did not mean that they were safe because the race was on whether they knew it or not. Each poured time and resources into the completion of their deadly project and for a while it looked like a tie. In the end it was not. The Oulaeans won.
Two days before the Czebhinn dreadnaught was completely outfitted and ready for action the Oulaeans struck. Fifty small fast and maneuverable Oulaean scout ships attacked. Only three made it through the planetary defenses but three were two more than necessary. Each ship carried enough of the engineered virus to turn the Czebhinn home world into a organic dead zone for the next century and a half. The result was inevitable. The Czebhinn were doomed before they had even had a chance to start the engines of their planet killer.
There was only a skeleton crew onboard the Czebhinn dreadnaught. They could only watch in horror as the rest of the Czebhinn race died on the view screens in front of them. Yet, before all life on their home world was extinguished forever the chief of the high command gave one last order. The skeleton crew was not large enough to use the ships weapons systems but they were just large enough to pilot the powerful war ship. They were to make sure that the Oulaeans never got their hands on this greatest piece of Czebhinn technology.
As the three elated Oulaean pilots turned their scout ships around and headed back out of the star system they watched the immense ships engines fire and get underway. They feared that they had been too late and that their planet was doomed as well. Yet, the dreadnaught did not make for their system but took off in the opposite direction. They gratefully surmised the truth of the Czebhinn action.
Dont feel too happy for the Oulaeans, however, because their ultimate victory came with a heavy price. They had beggared the resources of the planet to fight the war. The resultant depletion of the resources plus the high levels of toxic contamination meant that they had to make a hard choice. They had to either leave the home that they had fought so hard for or give up much of their technology. They chose the later option. Un fortunately, they gave up too much. When the Burning Plague began a century and half later the Oulaeans could not fight it and they too followed the Czebhinn into oblivion.
Shock Commander Dreal leaned back into the padded command chair that was his and his alone. His lips curled back in a grin of smug satisfaction at thought that this was the only padded chair on the entire ship. The Kintzi were a warrior race and it did not do to coddle warriors. Dreal had put up with such inconveniences on his rise to the top and now the grizzled warrior truly appreciated them. The command chair fit his scarred body nicely and eased some of his constant aches. Yet, as comfortable as the chair was and the pleasure that the rank that it signified gave him Dreal was not satisfied with it. He was a many times scarred veteran of the Kintzi war machine. Dreal modestly believed himself to be one of his races greatest warriors. He should have been commanding a fleet or an army or at the very least one of the heavy capitol ships, not this insignificant Rage Class Cruiser. He would have been if only he had the right connections but cultivating friends was not one of his strong suits. As a result he was commanding an insignificant ship on an insignificant scouting mission.
Dreal, as he had done many times these days, mused about his fate. He was a survivor of over a hundred skirmishes, more than a dozen battles, and the personal victor in more than combats than he could remember. Yet, here he was, a commander of third rate ship, at least thats what his superiors believed. Superiors! Dreal snorted at the word. Why there were Kintzi over him that he himself had led into battle. Now those cubs were giving him orders. But it would not last this Dreal vowed each time he retired to his quarters for his sleep period. He was a courageous and inventive commander and he was sure that there had to be a way to achieve what was his by right. Yet, as he approached his first full year in command of the Bloodlust Dreal had still not found his opportunity. He was beginning to despair that never would.
"Report!" Dreal barked.
"We have just entered system 67/24019 commander. Preliminary scans have just commenced."
"I should have had them by now."
"I know commander but there was a fault in the primary sensor."
"And why were the sensors checked before we entered the system?"
"I dont know commander. Its not my area of responsibility."
"Correct. However, as a tactical officer it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the proper reports for your commander when they are required."
"Yes of course commander," said the now nervous tactical officer. Shock Commander Dreals discipline was legendary. "Report coming through now commander."
"Lets have it then."
"Twelve planets in the system. Two gas giants which could be useful as mining sights. The other ten are rather unremarkable bodies with no real outstanding qualities. There are no signs of life anywhere in the system. However, the fourth planet does show signs of having at one time supported a highly advanced technological race."
"Details," said Dreal sitting forward in the command chair. "Give me them details. How advanced?"
"Its almost impossible for the computer to give a clear estimation as the planet has been dead for several millennia and much has decayed over that time span. But it appears to be a level 9+ commander."
"Check it again."
"I have commander three times. The computer estimate is the same each time, 9+."
Now Dreal was really interested. The Kintzi technology level was somewhere between an 8 and a 9. A 9+, Dreal began to salivate at the prospect of what might be on that dead planet. Suddenly, life aboard the Bloodlust did not seem that dull and tedious. All it would take was for Dreal to find just one piece, the right piece, of useable advanced technology and then everything which had been denied him would be his at last.
"Plot course for the fourth planet," he ordered. "And get Captain Retchub to the command deck immediately."
When the lift doors opened and another grizzled veteran stepped onto the command deck Dreal allowed himself a brief smile. If he had any friends at all this was he, Captain Retchub who commanded the ships complement of fifty marines. The two warriors had served together for a long time and knew each other as only comrades in arms could. While Dreal had always sought higher command Retchub never had. He was content to stay precisely where he was but he to felt that his friend should have had greater responsibility within the Kintzi war machine. Together Dreal and Retchub had made the Rage Class Cruiser the most tightly run ship in the entire fleet.
"Yes commander," said the captain with the formal speech that he invariably used in public.
"Ah yes captain. Im glad that you were so prompt. It seems that weve discovered the remains of a level 9+ civilization."
"Thats what the computer says. We going to investigate. I want you to take personal charge of the expedition on the surface. Ransack everything. I want some new technology that I can use."
"Dont you mean the high command."
"Perhaps after Im done with it. But first it has to be found. You know what I want captain?"
"Of course commander," said the marine captain with a vicious little smile. He knew exactly what Dreal wanted. They had discussed the possibilities long enough. With the right discovery Dreal could have want he had always wanted, power.
From Arion scout ship E-178 to Central Processing Arion Supreme Command Aria: Message begins - - - Sub-Lieutenant Varn reporting. Have found and neutralized alien spacecraft sector 67/12. Three occupants all Syliads on apparent historical operation. Destination sector 68/10. As per standing order 230 aliens terminated and ships destroyed after all computer data was copied and transferred to E-178's system. Copy of confiscated data sent accompanying message. Continuing with assigned mission. E-178 out. - - - Message ends.
Whats that old soldier saying, constant and unceasing boredom interrupted by moments of sheer panic. Well, that was the way my new life was turning out only in the reverse order. I dont meant that I was constantly fighting alien threats to Earth. In fact I hadnt seen any since that first time with the two Arions and their virus bomb. No, the panic was all of my own making. Try and imagine it. One day youre a rather uninteresting Egyptologist and the next you have the powers of a god-like alien. I think that it would test the sanity of anyone. I know that it tested mine.
I was standing next to a small glacial lake in a remote part of the Rocky Mountains that I had visited a teenager once. As I looked at myself in my full Wanderer appearance in the still water my arms akimbo this thought rolled through my head. I was a colossus standing astride the world. I couldnt help laughing at the absurdity of the notion. I mean plain old Ross Archer a colossus. It was laughable even if I was laughing through a jackals mouth. Then it suddenly became less humorous. I didnt think of myself in that way because I had always thought of myself as just plain old Ross the nerd. Even while going up I had tried to live by the tenants written over the door to the temple at Delphi but what if I hadnt. What if I was like say Zack Harvey? The very thought made my skin crawl. With the kind of power that now ran through my body I could have set myself up a some kind of pseudo god and there wouldnt have been anyone to stop me. I didnt know if I was up to the job. My power scared the shit out of my and I always hoped that it would. Well, I couldnt just wish away the power that was now my to wield. So, I returned to my reason for coming to this remote location.
I needed practice with the new powers of mine, especially the force bolts that I could generate. I had without even thinking about it nearly vaporized an Arion, a Beta as I learned later but still it was a sobering demonstration of what I was not capable of doing. So, as soon as I could make the time I went to this remote location to practice. Did I need it.
I soon discovered that I could project force bolts from both my eyes and my hands. I think that this has something to with ease of aiming the projected energy. I use a similar method when I fly but thats not germane to this discussion. I began by placing a series of beer bottles on top of a granite boulder and then proceeding to destroy them systematically. This was when I made my first big discovery. I had to keep a tight reign on my emotions. By the fourth bulls-eye I was getting cocky and feeling real sure of myself. That was when the eagle screamed and gave me a start and the adrenalin rush went into my shot. Bang went the bottle and the half dozen unbroken ones with it and the boulder they were all sitting on. If it had only been the boulder then maybe I wouldnt have been so upset but I also gouged out a thirty foot crater around the edge of where the boulder had once been. As I was cover in a downpour of dirt and pulverized rock I was resolving on keeping a tight reign on just how much power I put into my shots. I spent the rest of the afternoon practicing after I had gotten some more bottles.
My days suddenly became very busy what with the various things I had to practice. There was the work with the force bolts and translocating and flying, which I enjoyed the most, and there was balance practice. You might not think that I need to practice standing but I did. Suddenly getting another eight inches in height and 90 pounds may not mean anything to you but then I dont think youve ever had to cope with it. I did and let me tell you it was a bitch. The Arion had knocked me on my butt too easily and I knew it. You may not have thought it to look at me before but I could take care of myself. When I was growing up I was picked on like the rest of the nerds in the world. In my case the teasing soon turned into punching and kicking and I was the target. I pestered my parents until they let me take karate lessons and I did pretty well. I did get my black belt. Unfortunately, this didnt stop me getting beat up because I didnt fight back. I couldnt because I would have seriously hurt someone. So, I took the abuse until they decided that I wasnt fun anymore. However, it did teach me about balance and how to fight and thats how I knew that I needed to practice. I did it by standing on one foot for hours on end and then on one toe until I was rock solid.
I was standing on my left foot looking I will admit pretty silly when Melythra came walking into the room. She was looking as lovely as ever and just as cold and distant. Since that one time after the fight with the Arions there hadnt been a repeat of her warmth toward me. I would have thought it all a dream but I could still remember the way she had mentally comforted me and it still made my knees weak. Just looking at her brought out all these unwanted feelings. I had stopped undressing her with my eyes after I had learned that she could read my thoughts. Yet, given the tight tank top and tight shorts she was almost wearing I didnt need to. Her sea green eyes danced over my still body with veiled amusement.
"You still practice."
"Damn straight I still practice," I said moving onto a series of fighting stances and moves. "Theres no way Im going to get caught like that again. If she had been so freaked out by the sight of my new head things probably wouldve turned out differently."
"You must do as you see fit. You are the One."
All our conversation seemed to end that way. One day Melythra was going to give me a straight answer and shock me into a coma.
"Just like youre the Companion," I said. It was part of a routine these days.
"Precisely. And it as the Companion that I must speak with you."
"Sounds serious," I said stopping my exercises.
"Perhaps," Melythra said with her usual enigmatic quality. "As the Companion it my duty to see to all of your needs."
"Id say that youve been doing a pretty good job."
"I think not. I know how you regard me in your unguarded moments. There is physical tension within you."
"So?" I asked. It didnt take a rocket scientist to know what Melythra was talking about. There were times when Id catch her in an unguarded moment that I ached to hold her in my arms.
"You are the one and I am your Companion. It is my duty to aid you in all things. You simply have to command and I shall relieve your tensions."
"Oh, thats all there is to it is there? I just say the word and were getting hot and sweaty together. Or is it us? What about you? How do feel about relieving my physical tensions?"
"I am the Companion. I do what I must."
"Thats what I thought." Great, my own walking talking inflatable woman, I thought and then realized that she might be listening in. "Look," I said trying to retain my temper, which was a new thing for me. Normally, I wouldnt have had the guts to say boo to any woman. I said I was shy. "Much as I appreciate the sacrifice and all Ill have to say no. And before you go all noble on me listen. Ive never had much luck with women. I never looked good enough or wore the right clothes or said the right things, when I could talk coherently. Ive got a couple good friends in college who tried to fix this by setting me up on blind dates and double dates. Hell, one of them even sent a hooker to my room to take care of my tensions. But the thing is I dont do pity, not from them and not from you. You may be the Companion but that doesnt mean that youre obligated to have sex with me. I wouldnt mind but not like this. I wont take something from you that you wont eagerly give. And correct me if Im wrong on this but youre anything but eager."
Melythra didnt say a word, which was all the answer I needed. She couldnt look me in the eyes and hung her head. The first time I had seen her being something other than cool and in control. I wanted to say something right them to smooth things over but I couldnt. Frankly, I was too upset and if I had started up again I knew that I was going to lose it. I had to get out and right that second.
Without even thinking about it I brought the image of the parking garage near the Exeter Museum to mind. It was nearly always deserted. I translocated without even considering the consequences. Lucky for me no one was there and I could put on my old human face and clothes without anyone seeing me.
The Exeter was a big sprawling museum built in the late 19th century by millionaire Archibald Exeter who fancied himself another Cecil Rhodes. He endowed a half dozen universities and an equal number of hospitals and charities but his greatest accomplishment was the museum which bore his name. It had a large Egyptology section and it was there that I worked in a small cupboard of an office on the top floor. I could have had a bigger office but I liked the one I had. It was far off the beaten track and kept the number of visitors down to only those who really wanted to see me and that was the way I wanted it.
The security guard gave me the briefest glance. He was used to me showing up at odd hours and didnt take my sudden appearance as anything unusual. I kept to the back corridors because I didnt want to have to talk to too many people. I was still working on my story to explain why I was back from Egypt three months ahead of schedule. I was that lucky because just as I turned the corner in front of my office I ran into Mary Howard. This wasnt too bad because Mary was the nicest person working in the museum and a good friend.
"Ross," she said, "thank God youre alright. Weve been trying to contact you for the past four days but nobody could find you at the dig. I was afraid that youd disappeared too."
"Yes, havent you heard!"
"No, Ive been out of touch for the past few days, small family crisis. Whose disappeared?"
"Dr. Martine and Jane Fellows. Nobodys seen them for the past five days. I wish that I knew more but the police arent talking."
"I know Jane. She probably forgot what day of the week it is. She does that sometimes. I wont worry about it."
"If you say so Ross."
"Of course I do. Worrying never helped anyway. Any mail for me."
"A stack of it. I havent had a chance to go through it yet and sort out the rejections. I didnt think youd be back so soon."
"Dont bother Im back and Ill go through it. Did you get a chance to refill the rejection drawer."
"First thing I did after you left."
"Ross! I am not a girl."
"No," I said leering at her petite stunning figure, "youre not are you."
"Oh, you are bad."
"Only around you my dear. Only around you. You sure you wont run away with me."
"Sorry Ross, you know Im already spoken for."
"Oh, thats right. How is Lisa by the way?"
"Good, Ill tell her that you were asking about her."
"Give her my best."
"I will," said Mary kissing my cheek in a friendly sisterly fashion. "Im glad youre back."
"Me too," I said returning her kiss in the approved brotherly fashion. "Take care."
Mary wasnt kidding. There was a mountain of mail on my desk. I had thought of just putting it aside and doing some other work but Id have to get rid of the mail in order to get to my desk. I was about a third of the way through the mail when there was a knock on my door. As no one who knew me never knocked this had to be a stranger.
"Come in," I said glad for the excuse to stop sorting my mail.
The door opened and in walked a vision. She was a tall drink of water with long blond hair and a figure that caused the hair on the back of my neck to stand on end. I didnt need the skin tight costume to tell me who she was. The electric blue eyes and the impossibly high firm bust told me exactly who she was. Besides I also scanned her energy signature, aura, before she entered the office. This was Aurora in the flesh.
"Hi," she said in a sultry voice that made me sweat, "Im . . ."
"I know who you are," I interrupted. "Id have to be dead not to know who you, Aurora. You can find your picture in every broom cupboard in the museum. The custodians are all big fans."
Her head turned away from me as she said, "Yes, I can see that." She turned back toward me. "My friends call me Fairchild."
"And I should call you what?"
"Fairchild I hope."
"Alright Fairchild. What can I do for you?"
"I dont think you understand. Im here to help you."
"Have you heard about the disappearances?"
"You mean Basil Martine and Jane Fellows, sure. Basil can stay lost for all I care. Hes one sick puppy has a thing for the Spartans and their love of discipline. And Jane, well Jane sometimes forgets what country shes in. The fact that shes disappeared doesnt mean that much."
"What about Isaac Rembert?"
"Isaacs disappeared as well."
"No, he was kidnaped earlier today by a group of Arions."
"Seems pretty weird for a bunch of aliens to abduct a cranky old archeologist but if you say so then I guess it must be true. That still doesnt explain why youre here?"
"I asked around and youre one of the most respected people in your field and Ive come to make sure that you stay safe."
"A bodyguard, Im flattered, truly. But its not necessary."
"Ill stay anyway if thats alright with you," said Fairchild taking the only other chair in the room. "Just to make sure. Besides I find all this fascinating."
"Sure no pro . . ."
I was interrupted by a grey cylinder crashing through the window. Even without any warning at all Fairchild reacted instantly.
"Look out," she cried as she threw herself in front of me.
I was pleasantly engulfed by a warm buxom body and did not see what happened next. There was a bright green flash and the effects were quite dramatic. Fairchild groaned and slumped to the floor mumbling about something called Orgone. I felt a tingling over my entire body which was enjoyable but not otherwise harmful.
I bent over Aurora to see how she was doing. It didnt take more than a couple of seconds for me to discover that she was turned on. Her eyes were rolled back in her head and her golden skin was flushed. Her nipples were fully unbelievably erect and there was an odor that I couldnt quite identify, something like wild flowers and honey. Even as I was looking at her I was finding it harder and harder to think. I heard the footsteps approaching but they didnt register at first. When they did I realized that however had thrown whatever it was they were coming to inspect the results.
The door to my office exploded and instinctively I duck from the flying glass and wood. As the man and woman entered I didnt have to read their energy signatures to know that they were Arions. They were both dressed in tight revealing clothes made of what looked like black leather. There was a blood red cape over her shoulders. She looked directly at me even though I was behind the desk.
"He is cowering behind his desk," she told her companion.
"Look Ydra, a bonus," said the male Arion touching Auroras flank with the toe of his boot.
"I know Drennat but first things first. Get what we came for."
That was me. I was thinking fast. I didnt want to change in front of them but I also didnt want them to get me either. Well, it was time to act like the wimp everyone thought I was.
Before Drennat got to desk I was on my feet. A look of abject terror was on my face. I took a step back.
"Get back," I shouted.
I didnt wait for the Arions to make a move I turned and dove out of the nearest window. I heard the cry of anger behind me and didnt move as I plummeted five stories to the ground. I hit hard and knew that normally I would have died but I only tore my clothes. I stopped my chest moving and at the same time listened carefully.
"Drennat, you fool! We want him alive. Dead he cannot answer our questions."
"Ydra, I did not believe that he would jump."
"Go check on him. He may still live."
There was silence and then the sound of retreating footsteps. I risked a peak over my shoulder. There was no one standing at the window. It was a chance. Arions could see through walls but I had no other choice. There was no way I was leaving Fairchild to their tender mercies. I was on my feet and in my jackals head in a fraction of a second. I knew my office like the back of my hand including the spot in the corner where my new taller body could stand. It was in my head and I was on my way as soon as the image was clear.
Fairchild was writhing on the floor. One of her hands was desperately kneading one erect nipple while the other was stuck beneath the bottoms of her costume. The roof was willed with that scent of wild flowers and honey and while it still affected me at least I could now think clearly. Although I wanted to pant.
Ydra was more deeply affected than I was. She knelt over the prostrate blond goddess a look of pure malevolence on her face. She licked her lips as she watched Fairchild being consumed by the fire within her.
"Play with yourself little Velorian," she said coldly. "Play for Ydra. Cum for me. Thats it cum and keep on cumming. Not that itll do any good."
Id seen enough.
"Hi there," I said stepping out of my dark corner.
Ydra looked at me and her mouth hung open. I had that effect on people. Before she could get a grip on herself force bolts flashed from my eyes and caught her square in the chest. I didnt use all my power because I didnt want to destroy the building. It was enough to send her shooting through the wall like a bullet.
"Bye there," I said to the hole in the wall.
I had to get Fairchild out of there. I didnt know how many Arions were out there. I could fight them but that would still leave the incapacitated Velorian completely exposed. No, I had to get us both out of there before they showed up again.
Fairchilds eyes flew open as I gathered her into my arms. She looked at my jackals head through a haze of lust and passion and I dont know what she saw but she must have liked it. The slender hand which had been playing with her left nipple touched my head and scratched me behind my right ear. Damn, it felt good. I swear that my leg started to twitch.
"A doggy," she said. "I like doggies."
"And I like you too. But nows not the time to discuss it."
I thought of the first place that came to mind. I didnt know its name. I wasnt thinking all that clearly at the time. I just locked onto the first clear image and we went. Fairchild just giggled and continued to scratch my ear. I was going to have to get Melythra to do that for me.
(To Be Continued . . .)
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