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Lillith of Velor, Copyright, 1997, 1998, Infinity Bridge. All rights reserved.
Inside the Habitat, Cleaning Day
The sound of Lilliths shrieking voice made Flare drop to the floor immediately. The shattered remnants of a sculpted porcelain mug that was once emblazoned with the friendly thought Hello from Nashville, was scattered before her. With the evidence openly available, the trial and sentencing would be swift.
Youre a bad dog! BAD! Lilliths flailing finger and angry tone was worse on Flare than a whip. Each time she spat out the word bad, Flare blinked and cringed a bit more. The eyes of the guilty canine filled with regret as she waited for an opportunity to apologize. But Lillith was just getting started and the court allowed no appeal, no cross-examination, and no defense. Judgment was swift, the sentence to be carried out immediately.
Flare tried to nuzzle her arm. Maybe we could fix this whole thing if we....
As Flare shuffled slowly toward the door, she had the appearance of the most forlorn figure in the universe. Wronged, yet resigned to her fate, she approached the gallows, or in this case the door. With more than the usual labor she inched her way under the low doorway. Banned from the habitat until further notice. The door slammed with a finality behind her just as Phil came trundling around the corner of the habitat.
Ah, Flare! How nice that you have decided to come outside for a while. It is not a healthy choice to remain indoors on such a fine day as today. Flare collapsed with a groan down onto the dusty ground. Tan desert dust puffed outward from under the large dog, making Phil cough roughly. Flare inhaled deeply and let out a long, sorrowful sigh.
I detect a lack of enthusiasm. Perhaps the Mistress found disfavor with you yet again today? Flare rolled onto her back and over to her other side. This put her back to Phil. A move that only made Phil scamper around to the other side.
Flare, if you do not wish to discuss the matter, I can surely...
HEY! A voice came from a nearby outcropping of rocks. It was one of the local Tetrites. Phil waved to him.
The warmest of good afternoons to you, sir!
The warmest of good afternoons to you! Is this device yours? He held up a well-chewed tennis ball. Phil turned his head slightly.
I can assure you, sir, that I would have no purpose that would require such a device. I believe it belongs to this large blue creature.
That is what I had hoped to determine. I discovered it in my nest for yet the fourth time. I would be most pleased if there would not be a fifth time. Do you think the creature would accommodate me on that point?
On this point, Phil could help. I have information that you merely have to instruct the creature with the word NO and she will comply.
That is welcome information! The Tetrite flung the ball high into the air in the direction of Flare. As the ball was enroute, the Tetrite delivered a resounding NO, turned, and returned to his nest. The ball ricocheted off Flares forehead with a loud PONK. That was all the further evidence she needed that the entire planet hated her. A second huge sigh came out of her that ended in a whimper.
Phil sensed that there was a problem here. He moved over next to Flares head and lightly scratched behind her ear in the way she always seemed to like. Her head turned a bit as he did this, an indication that she was indeed enjoying the attention.
Do not despair, Flare. Whatever problems you feel today will pass soon enough. The William will be home soon and all will be well. Flare really looked like she understood Phils comforting words. She suddenly raised her head and licked Phils face with her wide, sloppy tongue.
MY GOODNESS! OH, MY GOODNESS!! HOW DISTASTEFUL!!! Phil retreated from Flare, rubbing his face frantically. Flare, knowing that she had once again done the wrong thing, collapsed back to the ground, groaned, whimpered, and wished in her heart that everything would somehow become right.
The habitat, that evening
Lillith was having none of Williams excuses. She was tired of the breakage every time Flare wagged her five-foot tail, tired of the blue dog hair everywhere, tired of repairing the bed and furniture everytime Flare forgot and climbed up on it, and tired of having to step over that huge sleeping hulk! I should not have to fly in my own house! William thought her lucky to have that option.
Eventually, William agreed to all of the conditions and peace returned to the habitat. Flare had become an outside dog. Her physical size just worked against her. When standing, she was a full six-feet from the ground to her shoulders. A normal, fully grown Scalantran Blue Dog. She could rest her head on top of Lilliths. An act which William thought was cute, but Lillith only found to be annoying. It wasnt that Lillith didnt love Flare, it was just that Flare had outgrown the habitat. Why William didnt see that was beyond Lillith. Part of her anger was with William for having to explain and convince him of all of these obvious problems. But convince him she did. She invoked a loophole in an agreement that they had made years ago to never go to sleep with a disagreement unresolved. She was holding him to that tonight by not letting him go to bed until he agreed to everything. It was a sleepy, weary, and worn William that finally nodded repeatedly and latched the door. Flares future was made as William collapsed face down on the bed. Lillith kissed the back of his neck sweetly.
Thank you, darling.
She turned off the light.
In the window, the outline of a huge dog head was silhouetted in the moonslight. Long, high-pitched crying became louder and louder as Flare could not come to grips with her new fate. William tossed and turned before finally sitting up.
Ive got to talk to her, hon. Lillith took his arm.
No dear, Ill go.
Lillith rose slowly and walked silently to the window. Flare wagged her tail rapidly as Lillith came into view. A long, slender Velorian hand reached out and stroked the eager head tenderly. Lilliths voice sounded soothing, caring, loving.
Flare, you must make the best of this time in your life. Nothing can go on forever in the same old way. You are grown now. It is time for you to begin to live a better way. We love you, Flare, that cannot change. But you cannot go back to before. You have become different and so life has become different. Do you understand?
Flares eyes glistened as they looked into the bright blue eyes of one of the most precious creatures in her life. Somehow, she understood. Somehow, some way, she knew. It was alright. Everything would be fine now. Flare lightly licked Lilliths hand, that made her smile. Good dog. Now go to sleep.
Flare moved to directly in front of the door, rotated three times, and flopped into place with her tail touching the tip of her nose.
New habits blended with old habits that night.
Near the habitat, almost 4AM
The coolness of the desert air condensed the humidity that had migrated inland throughout the day. A mist hung suspended on a gossamer breath of air currents leaving a gray patina on the moonslit landscape. It was as if the land was out of focus.
They moved like ghosts. Silent apparitions in a fog shrouded world. They would appear, then disappear. Always moving. All moving in one direction. Toward the habitat.
Then they were within sight of the structure. Small, subtle, hand signals from Kolb moved his team into position. There was no talk, no sound at all. Kolb, Tantrik, and Casan moved like vapor to within a few yards of the habitat. The Beta had stayed behind in the rocks for covering fire in support, if needed. Kolb scanned the area one last time. Tantrick was glancing from the habitat to Kolb, his look of anticipation and a quick nod confirmed to Kolb that he was ready to go. A quick glance at Casan caught her green eyes staring intently at him. Kolb looked her over and shook his head. She insisted on wearing that damn Geheim ceremonial rag during these missions - a Kitant.
All a Kitant consisted of was a single 5 foot length of light, white cloth draped over her hips and clipped with a silver clip in the front. Most of the Kitant hung down loosely between her legs. Other than that and a thin red strip tied around her head, she was nude. Something about fighting Velorians in the old way. Kolb didnt give a shit if she wanted to wear a clown costume, as long as she fulfilled the mission. She always had. The first time she wore it, Kolb went ballistic. He insisted that she wear standard-issue body armor. After all, without the Tachyon-deflecting body armor, she could be spotted easily. But her amazing strength and fighting abilities soon proved to him that she was indispensable on the team. So no more arguments. Even Tantrick tried like hell not to screw around when she was dressed for a mission. He was all business out here. Although hed kill to have her wear her Kitant for him in private.
Kolb noticed that Casan was sweating like crazy. Its a cool night, he thought. Whats the problem with her? He motioned a finger toward her and a tentative thumbs-up sign. Casans lips curled into a sneer as she made a fist. He arm exploded in a massive display of muscularity. She was ready.
Kolb nodded and closed his hand into a fist as well. They would go. He was just about to give the signal to enter the habitat when he heard a deep growl come from back at the rocks.
The Beta spun around to see the largest canine that he had ever seen in his life on the rocks above him! The huge teeth were bared, the ears were back, and the dog was slightly crouched. The Beta was stunned! By the gods! No one said anything about a dog! Where the hell did he come from!
Kolb froze for only a millisecond to decide whether to proceed or call it off. It didnt help at all that whatever had growled at the Beta was now attacking him! It sounded like the Beta was being torn apart back there! Shit! Voices in the habitat! Now! NOW!
GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! Kolb seemed to be yelling at a whisper. Screw the Beta. The priority target must come first or theyre all dead. The team lunged for the habitat.
Lillith was just coming out through the door when Kolb and Tantrick slammed into her from the outside, knocking her back into the habitat and down onto the floor. Kolb was on the stunned Velorian before she could react. Tantrick unshouldered an Arion Borer rifle and flicked the safety off.
William had just about made it to the window when Casan smashed through the outer wall and right into William. The impact of her flung him hard back onto the bed. Recovering quickly from the confusion, William lunged at the huge female only to have her meet his charge with a horrendous uppercut. William slammed headfirst through the roof and rocketed in a sweeping arc out into the desert night.
At the sight of her mate being attacked, Lillith went berserk. She pitched Kolb off of her in one violent move. Tantrick lunged at her just as she spun around once, whipping her fist backward across the faces of both Arions. The blows flung them off their feet, landing hard at the far wall of the room. Lillith spun back to face the powerful woman fighter.
Casan motioned to Lillith to come at her, wanting the challenge that only a powerful Velorian could give her. Lillith glanced once behind her to see the two Arions still on the floor. When she turned back to Casan, her face showed her anger. With a loud shout, she charged the red-haired challenger, intent on destroying her. As if in slow motion, Casans body turned at the waist to draw her fist back, then spun back driving her fist with every gigantic muscle in her upper body. When her punch connected with Lilliths jaw, the shock wave blew every window in the habitat out. Lilliths head was violently flung back as her body slammed hard onto the floor. Lillith was momentarily shocked at the power of the woman standing over her! Her ears were ringing and her eyes filled with tiny speckled stars. William might say that Lillith just had her bell rung!
Casan taunted her to get up and fight, flexing her massive body as if daring her to try. Lillith recovered quickly and flung herself backward off the floor. Her feet impacted Casans face four times in a blur of kicks before Lillith landed on them. The blows disoriented Casan for just long enough for Lillith to slam her fist into the long, steel-hard belly of the muscular redhead. The blow jolted Casan up into the air. A second gutpunch kept her in the air. Then another and another. Lillith was levitating the Geheim woman with the force of her punches! It was like hitting an immovable object! Casans body was more than indestructible, she was absolutely rigid! There was no give in her abs at all as Lilliths fists did little more than throw Casans body into the air. They were deflecting off the muscles! Lillith was shocked as she stopped punching and high-kicked Casan squarely in the face. Casan was thrown back a few paces but appeared unfazed. The surprised look on Lilliths face amused Casan as she openly laughed at the meek efforts of one of the most powerful beings in the universe. Standing with her feet far apart, Casan raised her arms from her sides in an incredible display of raw femme power! Her muscles were huge!
As Lillith hesitated, Kolb and Tantrick renewed their attack. When Lillith turned to face the new threat, Casan suddenly grabbed her from behind, pinning the powerful arms of the Velorian Protector in an unbreakable vise of Geheim muscle. Lilliths body exploded in expansive might as she strained against her captor. Casan held fast and Kolb seized the opportunity.
As Casans feet dug deep into the floor from the impacts, Kolb pounded Lilliths naked body with his massive fists. Casan tightened her grip, forcing Lilliths hard torso to curve back sharply. Giant fists sledgehammered her rippling belly, thudded against her breasts, and cracked loudly against her chin. The beating was merciless, yet Lillith continued to struggle wildly! She kicked back, using Casans hold as support. Casan would yank her to throw off her kicks, but Lillith still connected. When she did, an Arion male would see stars!
In the far corner of the room, Phil was trying frantically to get the bedsheet off of himself. Knocked there when Casan made her entrance, the confused Tetrite suddenly found himself buried in what seemed to him to be an endless fabric cocoon. Finally, Phil pulled long enough in one direction to uncover his head, only to see Lillith wildly fighting three Arions like a wildcat! An interesting thought suddenly came to him when he noticed the deep pockets of Tantricks pants.
Quickly he trundled toward the door as furniture and people were flung overhead and around the room.
Excuse me.......pardon me......oh, my!.............excuse me, please.........my goodness!
Finally, Phil made it out the door and ran as fast as he could to the weapons cache in the cellar.
Lillith was still fighting them as hard as she could when Tantrick suddenly snapped a gold collar on her. Immediately, Lillith went limp as the rushing feeling swept through her system. Her cheeks flushed with red as her mouth fell open to release the breathy moan of her fall into weakness. When Casan felt her suddenly go powerless, she released her hold and flung the limp body of the Protector to Kolb.
Dont use the weapon on her. Let me kill her.
Kolb didnt like last minute changes in plans. But he also knew that if Casan killed a second Protector by hand, Section 5 would benefit from the glory too. Besides, this Protector was young, powerful, and easily one of the sexiest yet. It might be fun to watch. Kolb held Lillith up by her golden hair and smiled.
Alright, Casan. Shes yours to do with as you please. The initial effects of the gold will diminish soon. Do you want us to restrain her? Casan shook her head slowly as she spread her feet a bit more. She couldnt believe how powerful she felt right now! So strong! So incredibly strong! She....
Suddenly, she cried out in pain as she clutched her chest! Staggering slightly, her grimace showed the extreme pain she was experiencing. Kolb wasnt sure what to do for her. To make matters worse, Lillith was coming around from the initial gold poisoning shock. Her strength was diminished, but she was easily still as strong as either Arion male. More gold was needed - quickly. More gold or a quick Velorian death.
Casan had recovered a bit as she waved Kolb and Tantrick away. Deal with her, Im alright. Kolb grabbed Lillith tightly to restrain her once again. Tantrick stood with his back to the door waiting with the Borer weapon in hand in case Kolb wanted to revert to Plan A. Kolb spoke to Casan.
Come, woman. Are you well enough to kill this yellow-haired animal or should I give her to Tantrick?
Casan immediately gathered herself together. She was still sweating so badly that her Kitant was soaked. Kolb could see that there was something terribly wrong with Casan, but if she could kill this Velorian, then what would it matter? Kolb urged Casan once more. His voice had an icy bite to it.
Kill her, dammit! Do it!
Casan stiffened as her fists closed. She was shaking a bit now. Her eyes looked glazed over. Yet, she was going to kill this Velorian with her bare hands. She was Casan, the iron-fisted Geheimite warrior. No one had ever survived one of her attacks. The red-haired warrior took one step forward.
A huge male crashed through the rear wall of the habitat like a flash and slammed into Casan so hard that they both blew through the opposite wall in an instant! Casan was gone.
The sudden departure of Casan seemed to energize Lillith. She strained and struggled against Kolb to free herself. Kolb pulled as hard as he could against overwhelming Velorian might. His hold was good for now, but not for much longer. He screamed his orders.
Tantrick! Do it!
Tantrick slung the weapon to his shoulder in one smooth move. His thumb instinctively checked the safety. He was just about to fire when he felt something fall into the back pocket of his pants. Without thinking, his hand quickly patted the pocket as the familiar outline of a thermite grenade became apparent. The sharp heat from the chemical fuse was felt both by his hand and by his ass. As he fumbled in panic to reach into the pocket and get the grenade out of it, he noticed a fast moving multilegged creature scampering out the door. He didnt recognize the creature.
Hey, what kinda bugs they got on this......
A sudden explosion from his left rear pocket launched the big Arion forward, over the struggling pair of Lillith and Kolb and through the opposite wall of the habitat. He ended up face down about 20 yards away, his butt exposed through the smoldering remains of the rear of his pants.
Shit! Kolb was right where he did not want to be! Alone with a Protector and this one was strong as hell! He couldnt win a test of strength. He had to outfight her, trick her, wear her down, and then go for the heart! Skietra! This is going to be a long night!
As Lillith overpowered the fast moving Kolb, Phil peered around the edge of the doorway. On the floor, immediately in front of him, the Arion Borer weapon was lying unclaimed and upside down. Phil knew he had to get that weapon out of there! Without another thought, he rushed in to grab the weapon. But, through a large hole in the opposite wall, he could also see an Arion outside, struggling to get to his feet. The Prime had his back to Phil as he remained on all fours, shaking the cobwebs from his mind. His smoking, blackened ass ringed with shredded uniform.
Phil thought about the function of a Borer weapon - the projectile seeks out an orifice in a body and drills mercilessly into the being, causing great harm and eventually death. Phil thought briefly about humanoid anatomy, in particular the limited number of orifices in the male of the species. He considered many things and raised the weapon.
Lillith had just flung Kolb off of herself. She jumped to her feet to counterattack just as Phil fired the weapon. The sound of it going off made her instinctively duck. The projectile whizzed noisily right over the top of her leaving a bright trail of white smoke. Simultaneously, Phil whizzed back out the door in the opposite direction from the heavy recoil. He left no trail of smoke.
Skipping noisily along the ground, the projectile instantly hit Tantrick on the back of his thigh, whirred, spun like a horizontal top, and relocated slightly before it bored inside with a vengeance. This all took less than half a second.
The screams of the Arion weapons specialist filled the Tetra desert night. Screams that built to a frantic level before becoming suddenly silent.
William landed hard on top of the huge woman, stunning her momentarily. Jumping to his feet, he grabbed her by her hair and pulled her up to her feet in one violent move that ended in a headbutt. Her head snapped back hard, but she didnt seem to be hurt by it. She quickly steadied herself, closed her hands into fists, and tore into him.
Casan pummeled William mercilessly.
There was only one reason Casan had such incredible strength. Casan was an addict. A Tantilone addict. Tantilone was a Supremis strength enhancement drug developed by the Arions in an early attempt to improve Prime strength to Protector levels. It was soon found that, although the strength enhancement properties were impressive, the effect only lasted 6 to 8 hours, the drug was incredibly addictive, and after the drug wore off there was extensive evidence of heart, muscle, and nervous system damage. Continued use resulted in accumulated damage until the body was eventually destroyed. Even the Arions understood the ultimate uselessness of Tantilone and banned the drug. The Arion military never accepted its use. But, as everywhere, there was a black market with needy customers.
Casan started using Tantilone secretly when she was 14. She was strikingly beautiful and unusually strong even at that age. Both attributes would invite rape by enthusiastic Primes. The Tantilone gave her the ability to fight them off. The sight of a 14 year old girl defeating an older Prime gave her a quick reputation and most Primes backed off. But not all. She continued using the drug to boost her strength. She soon found that to get the same feeling of power, she had to use a little more each time. At 14, it took just a few grams. By the time she joined the military, she was dosing in the kilogram range. Part of the addiction for her was how she now hated the feelings of weakness she had when she was off the Tantilone. To avoid them, she stayed hooked. To be stronger, she took more and more drug.
Her first battle came and she was so frightened that she tripled her dosage. That was the battle that she suddenly found herself face to face with a Velorian Protector. The drug had hyperenhanced her strength so much that she was easily 2 to 3 times stronger than the Velorian! Add to that the side-effect of an overwhelming rage that swept through her and the Protector didnt stand a chance. Casan made her reputation that day when she destroyed a Velorian Protector. A reputation that earned her a place in Section 5. But when that battle had ended and the Tantilone wore off, no one knew that Casan had nearly died when she hemorrhaged alone for seven hours. The experience scared the hell out of the Geheim warrior, but her new fame meant that she had to continue using Tantilone - no matter what her body was telling her. She was now trapped by her reputation and her job to always be what the drug had made her into. The drug, her most hidden secret, continued to make her life and to destroy her life at the same time.
William knew he couldnt win this fight. This woman was completely dominating him, pounding him while shrugging off his punches and kicks. He may not win, but he could keep her here, away from Lillith. Maybe her could do a little damage to her before she killed him. Something, anything to help Lillith fight these bastards!
Casan was enjoying watching William struggle at her feet. Everytime he would rise, she would slam another devastating punch into him. She felt so damn STRONG! If only she could get rid of this damn lightheaded feeling and that ringing out of her ears! She had been a little worried about this Protector. The stories about how she had brought down an entire task force! Maybe Casan overdid the Tantilone tonight. She must have taken well over 50 times her current amount. But look how strong it made her! Her body had no give to it at all! She was steel flesh! The mightiest Arion soldier ever! But she still had a Velorian to kill. She had toyed with this male long enough!
Casan clamped one hand around the back of Williams neck and the other hand gripped his thigh. In one smooth movement, Casan hefted the barely conscious male over her head. Casan knew she was the picture of female power and supremacy as she effortlessly held a large muscular male over her head. A male that she had defeated with her bare hands in a superpowered fistfight! She felt the arousal deep within her grow. Her body glistened in the moonslight, showing deep etched ripples of her powerful form. Casan looked at her arms as she held the minor weight of William overhead. Not even enough for a good flex. Casan wanted more as she shifted one hand to the small of Williams back so she could have a free hand. That free hand now closed into a tight fist as she curled her arm into a tight flex. Her forearm and bicep grew huge, bigger than she had ever seen! Such magnificent power! No Velorian had strength enough to defeat her! Now she knew no one could stand against her. She would slam this male to the ground, kill him, and return to the habitat to finish off the Velorian. What a glorious battle! What honors the Arion Empire will shower Casan with! She was indeed the best....
Casans body seemed to shudder. Suddenly, she found that she could barely stand. A look of surprise and confusion came over her face as she let William tumble to the ground. Barely conscious, he still rolled instinctively away from her. Casan clutched her chest and gasped loudly.
The world around her spun crazily as the ringing in her ears grew louder. What was happening? What was happening to her? She couldnt catch her breath! She suddenly felt so weak. Its only been 4 hours! Whats happening?
Her left arm suddenly dropped useless to her side. Try as she might, she could not raise it. The same arm that just a moment ago had been so gigantic! A shock of fear flashed through her. Could it be the Tantilone? Is it the dosage? She staggered as her legs buckled under her. She dropped hard to her knees. Not now! Not in a battle! Overdose! OVERDOSE! The word burned through her mind, filling her with terror! She could feel a wetness on her lips. A taste of blood! Wiping with her good hand, she saw that the hemorrhaging was back! Skietra! Not that!
Inside of her, her heart was pumping so fast that it could barely keep blood moving. Her blood pressure was catastrophic. Muscles failed and collapsed. Her lungs could barely keep working as she labored to breath. It was only moments until her heart would beat so fast that it would vibrate uselessly and cavitate. A cavitating heart cannot move blood. And a body cannot live without blood.
Suddenly, a thought came to her and she somehow knew everything. As her chest heaved from her labored breathing, her eyes flashed left, then right as if not sure what to do next. She finally looked upward to the night sky for a moment as the tears slowly came. William struggled to his feet as her eyes slowly moved to meet his. Her glistening green eyes were filled with fear, her voice so soft it was as if she wanted no one to hear. Each word took the last of her strength to say as she struggled for breath.
Voss.......vosst Skietra...... tindustu?
As William watched in horror, her breathing suddenly stopped just before she fell forward to impact the ground with a thud.
Casan was dead.
Lillith and Kolb had completely destroyed the habitat. Their fighting had become a frantic, wild melee where Kolb would attack while avoiding Lillith as much as possible. He was trying to wear her down, but she didnt look like she was tiring yet! She kept trying to reason with him. Kolb couldnt believe how naive this bitch was! As if he would suddenly just sit down and talk it all out! How incredibly stupid of her! All the time he was trying to kill her, she was not trying to kill him. To Kolb, that was proof enough of the incredibly weak minds in control of those amazingly strong Velorian bodies. Bodies that he secretly yearned for. Dreamt about. That gorgeous blonde hair that fueled his most secret fantasies! Thats why they had to die! All of them! No Arion Prime should ever be attracted to these Velorians pieces of shit! No true Arion Prime! How ashamed he was at the fact that his lust for blonde Velorians kept him from enjoying Arion females. So he remained isolated and alone. Because of these damn bitches! His shame at feeling such lust fueled his hate. Kill them! How dare they taunt me like that! Kill them all!
Kolb became wilder in his attacks. It was as if he was throwing away any caution that he had left! He became a mad man, his viciousness was frightening to Lillith, but she just could not bring herself to kill another one of these Arions. She had killed enough! But this one was going insane! He was clawing, biting, snarling at her. He kept grabbing her breasts as if he was going to tear them off of her! She was starting to feel terror as this powerful Arion so uncontrollably showed his insanity!
She tried to fly, but Kolb was quick enough to grab her ankle. In an incredible move, he slammed her down to the floor, stunning her. Lillith quickly looked up in time to see Kolb shearing away his body armor! He was going to try to rape her! The memories flooded Lilliths mind! No, she screamed! NO! Shell kill him first, she thought. Shell KILL HIM! Jumping to her feet, Lilliths own personal hell boiled and bubbled to the surface.
Out of nowhere, William instantly appeared between them, facing Kolb. His hand locked swiftly around Kolbs neck, lifting him off the floor. As he held the startled Arion up by the neck, William looked down at the now naked and aroused male. He looked back up at Kolbs face and shook his head slowly. William slammed Kolb violently against a wall. Speaking just inches away, face to face, William snarled I dont think so.
Kolb suddenly felt a powerful hand press solidly into his lower chest, pushing slowly, but steadily toward his heart. Kolb struggled wildly, yet seemed to realize that everything would soon be over. That his personal nightmare, now open for all to see, would end with the simple act of resignation. His struggling stopped just as William closed his powerful hand around the beating organ. Within a few short moments, it was over. Kolb, the master killer of Velorian Protectors, hung lifeless from the hands of a Terran.
Lillith blinked as if waking from a bad dream as she watched William take the body outside. He dropped it on the ground next to the macabre corpse of Tantrick, whose face was frozen in the last scream when his life ended. Going around to the front of the habitat, he collected Casans bloody body, which had hemorrhaged badly just as she died. The three assassins were together once again.
William found Lillith sitting on the end of the remains of the bed shaking badly. When he approached, her head snapped up to look at him. Her face showed that everything was catching up with her too fast. She needed him now. He held her tightly as she burrowed into his arms. She did just fine tonight, he though. Just fine.
Who were those people, Willm? She seemed to plead for an answer as she started to shake uncontrollably. Wh....why did they do that?
I dont know, honey. I honestly dont know. Arion killers of some sort. Military. Lillith turned her head as she peered from under Williams chin. She looked out at the pile of Arion corpses in her yard.
Do you think they were Section 5?
William thought a moment. That hit squad or whatever they were? He felt her head slowly nod. He looked out at the bodies and sighed. Could be, hon.
Lillith frowned. I dont understand. Why would Section 5 be ordered here? There arent any military operations in this quadrant. Why would they come after me?
Maybe theyre still pissed off about the war. Lillith pulled away slightly and shook her head. She was thinking deeply about the mystery.
No. No, that was too long ago. They would have done something sooner. The Arions like to do that sort of thing right away. They have a saying, Revenge grows stale. Theres something else going on. Lillith started to run her thumbnail over her front teeth as she thought - a recognizable habit of hers. William looked at the Protector of the planet as she deliberated so seriously. He was glad she was working on that mystery. It kept her from thinking too much about other things.
Well, hon, while youre figuring that out, Ill go get rid of our visitors.
Lillith suddenly dropped her hand from her mouth, as if she had just remembered something important. Her shaking returned a bit. They cant stay here. I will not have them buried on Tetra.
William nodded. She had made that plain after the war.
They wont be, Lillith. Well do what we had talked about before. Lillith nodded and looked out at the bodies. Casans bloody face was covered with her long red hair.
Willm? Did you really defeat that woman? Lillith had not forgotten the amazing strength of her during the battle. William slowly shook his head.
No, honey, she was kicking my ass pretty good out there. And then, the funniest thing. She just dropped dead. Strange. Said something too, just as she died. I think it was Velorian. She must have thought Id understand it. Lillith turned from the grizzly scene outside.
Do you remember what it was? Maybe it will give us some kind of clue as to who they were. William nodded. He stared at the corpses as he repeated the words.
Vosst Skietra tindustu. Whats that all about, hon?
Lillith looked a bit disappointed as she turned back to also look at the remains of their attackers. Leaning back into William, she sighed slowly before translating.
It means What will God do with me?
They gathered up the bodies and tied them securely into an old tarp. Lillith rose silently into the night sky with her bundle in tow. Slowly at first until they were clear of the atmosphere, then faster through the void of space. Lillith carried the Arion dead toward the sun of the Tetra system. When she was close enough, she released the tightly wound bundle to continue its way into the heart of the blistering star. She watched it disappear and suddenly felt as if the entire system was somehow cleansed. It was now over for her as Kolb, Tantrick, and Casan became a part of the source of life for the entire system.
The habitat was a total loss. So many huge holes in the ceiling and walls made the whole structure teeter dangerously. Most of their belongings were shattered as well. books, magazines, and clothing littered the surrounding area. Lillith returned in time to see William rolling up the Rolling Stones concert poster.
Saved it, hon! She nodded.
Lillith looked around at the devastated habitat. So many years in the structure. So many memories. Her sadness was filling her quickly, in danger of overflowing at any moment. She would not do that, she thought to herself.
Wilm? She turned toward him with a determined look. Do you want to start over tonight or in the morning? William chuckled.
In the morning? Honey, thats the sun coming up. It IS morning.
Lillith cleared her throat, feeling a bit foolish while trying to appear brave as hell. She could feel her ears turn red from the embarrassment. Well, pistu! Lets start now! She was a bit pissed off right at the moment. Well redo it all and go back to before!
No honey, William soothed. Lets settle down and find a place to live for a while until we get another house built. The habitat will wait for today. Youre going to have to deal with a bit of post-trauma, honey. Thats no time to make decisions. He had his arms around her waist, pulling her gently to him. His voice became even softer. Besides, that woman hit me pretty hard. I could use a rest.
Hit you? Where? Lillith was falling under the spell.
Right here. William touched the side of his chin with his finger. Lillith leaned up and kissed the spot so lightly, that it felt to William like a feather of air. Again she kissed him and he kissed her in return. The wonderful, familiar feeling of their lips caressing was the release they both needed. They both fell into the others arms to hold each other, giving each other strength and comfort. Her voice was almost pleading.
Oh, Willm. I love you so.
William buried his head in her neck and quietly began to cry.
Yes, thought Lillith warmly. We all have a bit of post-trauma to deal with.
It was quite a few hours before William and Lillith emerged from the habitat carrying bedding and other favorite things. They had decided to move into the hangar until they could rebuild. William kept looking around him as he walked to the hangar.
Honey? Wheres the dog? He sounded very concerned.
I dont know, babe. She was here last night. William was now officially worried.
FLARE! No bounding blue dog appeared.
FLARE! Dammit. Honey, Im going to go look for her.
Well, give me a hand here first, then well both go. I can cover a lot of ground by air.
"Good thinking. William continued to look around nervously. Behind him, large gray clouds swirled closer. Rain could be seen as a slanted gray image beneath them. The images were getting closer. Lillith swatted William playfully on his ass.
Come on, hon. Help me get the rest of the stuff into the hangar before it rains. Then well find the dog. Okay?
William nodded and walked back to the habitat with her. He looked around him all the way there.
Where the hell did she go?
The Hangar, that evening
The rain pelted the metal roof of the hangar. It was like living inside a steel drum. Occasionally it became so loud that William and Lillith found it impossible to speak. So they would snuggle until the rain let up, then start their discussion again. The discussion centered on where Flare had run off to. They had searched the better part of the day without any success. One good thing was that they hadnt found her dead or injured. So she must have run off in the night. Tomorrow, they would look again.
By the dim light of an oil lamp, they had buried themselves under a large and favorite comforter. Only their heads were exposed and then, only the top half. The bottom half of their heads were busily talking and kissing, giggling and joking. This was all a great adventure now for them, as they stayed the night under the yellow wing of the great biplane.
Phil, on the other hand, was miserable.
Try as they might, no one could locate Phils rock in all of the rubble. None of the hundreds of other smooth rocks in the area were acceptable replacements - they had tried them all, it seemed. William offered a prop spinner, but Phil found the metal shell cold as ice. Lillith solved that problem by heating a jagged rock with her heat vision. She then placed the hot rock under the prop spinner and Phil tried again. This time, it seemed to work reasonably well, but that was hours ago. The spinner was returning to its original metallic coldness. Phil had just made his mind up to complain when a series of sharp raps on the hangar door made them all jump. Phil was the closest, so he trundled over to the door and peered out through the crack.
Tetrites, mistress! Lillith freed a hand and motioned quickly.
Let them in! Hurry! It must be terrible out there!
Phil unlatched the door and slid it a bit to the side. From out of the darkness and the rain came two wet, dirty, muddy, exhausted Tetrites. One of them limped a bit.
Phil and the two Tetrites talked a bit in quiet conversation. Lillith and William both could make out a bit of it through the constant din of the rain above them, but not enough to understand the nature of the visit. Phil finally turned toward them and escorted the visitors forward.
Mistress, these two brothers have traveled all the way from the far side of the Faldref. There were six of them when they left. They are all that survived the journey. Lillith sat up and spoke with respect.
Please, dear friends. What brings you so far and at such a high price to see me? What can I do for you? The older brother spoke first.
It is not what you can do for us, Mistress Lillith. We have information. My brother has heard. It is most important that we tell you that the Arions are coming. They are coming once again to Tetra! They..... Lillith raised her hand to stop the tired Tetrite.
Yes, my friends, we know. They attacked last night, but we defeated them. There were three, but....
No, Mistress! The younger brothers insistent voice interrupted from the shadows behind his older brother. He stepped forward into the light where Lillith could see the frightened look on his mud-caked face. He was shaking from the fear. You do not understand, Mistress. That was nothing!
William sat up now as well. What do mean that was nothing! They attacked us right in the habitat. Did you see the destruction they caused.....
Sir! Mistress! You must understand! The Arions are coming. They are coming soon!
Lillith and William looked nervously at each other before Lillith asked her questions. How many Arions? A few? Many?
The young brother seemed to shake even worse as he stepped closer. His voice took on an ominous tone.
Mistress........they are ALL COMING!
Back to Before continues..........