AU - Early Worlds


First Protector

Part One





By Shadar




Scalantran Trading Update: 1013-4-0315

Posted by Senior Trade-Captain Selwan Tithzareny

There have been reports from outer rim planets that the Arion Empire has been testing a crude copy of a Vendorian weapon called a Star’laz, a hand-held weapon designed to burn through the hulls of the latest generation of shielded warships.

A secret field deployment was reportedly conducted recently on Gebron with the loss of all lives and marketable equipment and tools on the mining colony. It is believed this was a final test by the Arions prior to wider field deployment among their forces.

The Arion derivative weapon, the so-called Garzoldan Assault Rifle, or GAR, is a quantum leap forward in deployed military power compared to any other weapon outside of Vendorian control.

It is expected that an Arion force armed with GARs will be unstoppable by anything we Scalantrans or the humans possess. It remains to be determined how effective it is against Velorians. It is essential that we obtain, examine and if at all possible, reproduce this weapon in quantity, both for our own protection and for that of our trading partners.

Naturally, if we can secure or produce sufficient quantities, they could form the basis of a highly profitable trade with human colonies, with estimated gross profits in the range 1 to 10 million credits per weapon, at least initially.

The first of our trade ships to secure a GAR will be rewarded with Trade-Intellectual Ownership of this item and receive a full 50% front-profit claim on all Guild sales.


Factor General Bensalem, who represented Scalantran interests on Selene, read the report with interest and alarm, and shared it with his mate group. The date was Scalantran, of course, and it had taken nearly four Terran years to find its way to his desk. Who knew how long it took the original reports from Gebron to reach Tithzareny. The Terran year, as brought to Selene by the Seeders, was 1487 AD.

Vagaries of interstellar travel being what they were; the report did not include the even more disturbing conquest of Tanzrobi, which was as far from Selene as Meetpoint 15, but on a different trade route. That news had arrived only a few days earlier.

Had the Spirit of Youth obtained a working model of the GAR, it would of course have qualified for the TIO. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Indications from the Far Wanderer were that Velor had been informed of the situation by one of the Companions and a delegation of Tanzrobians who had taken passage with that ship. Unfortunately again, the Far Wanderer was not privy to Velor’s response, which was being communicated only to Companions in message crystals.

Bensalem duly noted that in his amended update, putting highest priority on finding a working example of a GAR. To date, the Vendorians had a virtual lock on the weapons business, using the Scalantrans merely a traders. That entitled his people to a mere 30% share of the sales proceeds.

Leaning back in his chair, he stared out the window and savored the golden dream of all traders – having a product so valuable that they could ask any price for it. He’d learned enough about the war-prone humans and the ambitious Supremis to suspect there would soon be billions to be made in arms sales. 

If only he could get his hands on a working GAR, he knew people who could reverse-engineer it and mass-produce it.

He smiled as he watched the golden leaves fall from the Denthin trees overhead, each of them seemingly hammered from 24K leaf. Glory and wealth beyond counting would surely follow.


Chapter One

Tazzi’s World, 1488 (1013-10-333 Universal)

I slumped in my favorite chair in the sunny corner of my office as I read the translated Scalantran document from Factor General Bensalem. It described a new Arion weapon, but unfortunately, there was nothing in the document that described the basic technology, its range, energy source, recharging technique or, most importantly, the intended usage.

I tossed the folder on my desk and spun my chair around to stare out the window. Everything was in bloom as the warm Tazzian spring weather worked its magic. The dress code for coeds had seemingly changed from sweaters to shorts and miniskirts overnight, and their bright plumage was even more inspiring than the greenery. Tazzi was a very fertile world. In all ways.

I turned away from that delightful scene to pick up the Scalantran report again. I knew I shouldn’t be surprised at the sparseness of it. The Scalantrans know something about everything, but as anyone who has encountered a Scalantran knows, their trade updates don’t give away any more than is necessary to establish a claim. Upon discovery of a new tradable item, the finder would claim Trade-Intellectual Ownership. That gave him a right to a portion of subsequent profits made by any other Scalantran who traded that item.

The best I could figure out from the report was that the Scalantrans had seen evidence and heard accounts of the GAR, but hadn’t actually found one yet. Anyone with a technology that advanced would surely protect it, and the Arions were obsessive about their security.

What the Scalantrans didn’t know — and nobody here was about to tell them — was that we had been fortunate enough to actually come into possession of a GAR, courtesy of a crashed Arion scoutship that had failed to self-destruct.

Which is where I came in to the picture.

The military intelligence people (what an oxymoron!) at the Armory tried to test the weapon, only to badly injure several soldiers in the process. The Chief Armorer had subsequently come to ask my boss, Mitchel Vanoort, for help. Mitchel was the Dean of Academia, a pompous man obsessed with fundraising and politics. 

Mitchel started the game by puffing himself up and claiming the university could not possibly get involved in military matters. It was against the Third Amendment which declared a total separation between the military and the Intellectual Service.

The Chief Armorer wasn’t deterred by the usual bureaucracy. He knew how the game was played too. He simply made a substantial “donation” to the Research Fund and suddenly the Third Amendment became a frivolous detail.

 That’s when I was summoned to Mitchel’s office, and introduced to the Chief Armorer. We went through the usual formalities, and by the time the meeting ended, my department, High Energy Physics, had been directed to develop a suitable form of armor to defend against the GAR.

Which is how I came to be reading this Scalantran TIO.

The Chief Armorer punched up a video showing their first attempt to fire the weapon, and it turned out to be horrifying and fascinating. The visuals and data stream revealed a small cloud of charged particles surrounding the weapon when it was charged for firing. Those stray particles were energetic enough to strip skin and flesh from the shooter’s hand, preventing him from pulling the trigger. The poor man barely escaped with his upper arm intact.

The Armory’s second firing attempt involved encasing the soldier in battle armor to deflect the charged particles, but the pre-firing impulse heated the armor enough to deliver third-degree burns.

Subsequent attempts to remote trigger the weapon via a robot failed. The weapon seemed to sense whether it was being held by a biological or a robot.

Bottom line... they never got a shot off.

Now they'd dumped it in my lap. I should have been angry, even terrified, but instead I was so excited I couldn't sleep. This was big. Very big.

I arrived at the lab before six... just in time to find a heavily armed guard detail delivering the weapon. They said they'd been ordered to stay and keep guard over it, day and night. I wasn't happy about that. 

As soon as everyone on my staff arrived on campus, I called a department meeting. We gathered around the horrific-looking weapon, nobody saying a word a first. The GAR looked like something out of a horror movie, with dials and wires and various protuberances that made no sense. It had a malevolent kind of look -- thoroughly alien.  This was not a weapon invented by or intended to be carried by a man.

Part of the reason for that was the weight: nearly a quarter ton, presumably most of it due to a massively shielded energy cell. It was bulky too: a meter and a half long and a quarter of that in width.  

I told the my staff and students that the first order of business was to protect the shooter. I showed them the horrific video from the Armory -- the one where the shooter's arm was eaten away to leave a bare skeleton. That got everyone focused in a hurry.

We quickly settled on using a Grade 2 forcefield over top of an insulated and heat-reflective body armor. The field would hopefully stop the charged particles, albeit with a bit of heat, but it wouldn’t put a dent in the stray x-ray emissions. Fortunately, the dosage of x-rays was low enough to allow an older man – someone who wasn’t going to sire any more children -- to make a few dozen shots before requiring anti-radiation treatments.

We had to rig a cable to support the weapon’s weigh, although it seemed to have some kind of anti-grav that stabilized it once it was activated.

Finally, after weeks of work, we were ready for a first firing. One of my older lab technicians, Jim Gibbons, volunteered to man it, and we managed to get off a shot.

The weapon gave off a horrific scream that made everyone’s skin crawl, almost like fingernails on a blackboard except at 120 decibels. The emitted beam, a laser initiator followed by particle beam, was so brilliant that we all saw spots despite wearing the darkest glasses obtainable. The evacuated tunnel that the beam created on its way to its target collapsed with a crack of thunder that flattened our clothes against our bodies.

It looked, sounded and felt like the crack of doom itself Terrifying!

Yet that was nothing compared to what it did to the target. The end of our test range had briefly turned into a miniature sun that nearly melted its way through our heaviest shields, and we were two-hundred feet away. There was nothing left of the end of our test range -- just a crater lined with melting glass that used to be concrete and stone.

It didn’t go well for the shooter either. We found Gibbons lying on the floor, his heart fibrillating. We were damn lucky to save him. Apparently the collapse of the weapon’s ionization field had sent a powerful electric shock through his heart.

The power of the weapon was shocking, far worse than I'd anticipated, which made it too dangerous for my HEP staff to continue testing. We were way out of our league here.

So I locked the GAR up and put the project on hold. Helping the military was one thing, but killing my students and staff in the process was something else entirely.

The Chief Armorer got word of my actions, and promptly called the Dean for help. Mitchel in turn called me back to his office for one of his little talks. The kind that starts with a friendly question about how my career and tenure prospects were proceeding.

As if the bastard didn’t know… he controlled both of them.

Mitchel got down to business quickly enough. He started by handing me a glass of amber-colored brandy.

“So, what are the prospects for mitigating the electrical conduction effects, Kev?”

I shook my head. “Not good at all. The weapon locks out if it doesn’t sense a bio-electric field, so it has to be man-fired. But we can’t find shielding or armor that will adequately protect the shooter. We almost lost Gibbons.”

Mitchel nodded, gently changing the subject as he turned the bottle of brandy around. I was stunned as I saw the label: Excelsor. It was forty-five years old and expensive beyond measure.

“I know how much you appreciate the finest brandy, Kev, so I broke out a bottle of my best stuff. I currently own all the remaining stock of Excelsor.”

I lifted the glass and closed my eyes as I inhaled the complex aroma, and for a brief moment, I was back in that monastery in the Piton Mountains, searching for the ultimate brandy. I’d spent a six month sabbatical searching for the origins of Tazzian brandy, a pursuit that was as distant from the study of physics as possible, but I’d never found anything as rare as Excelsor.

“I didn’t think any of this stuff still existed,” I said in awe. I turned the heavy, leaded glass around to study the reflections from the liquid inside, viewing it with all the reverence of a talisman from the gods themselves.

Mitchel settled into a well-worn leather chair and took a sip from his glass, waiting for me to get over my wonder.

“So, Kev, so far you’ve merely described the problem. Now, how do we go about solving it?”

I shook my head, the exotic brandy putting me off guard. “I don’t see a way, Mitchel. We can’t shield the ionization field without first encasing the shooter in a full body conductive suit. But then we get that bio lockout.”

“Surely there are other approaches to try.”

I shook my head again. “Not without significant risk to our people or students. We have a responsibility to return the weapon to the Armory and tell them it’s simply too dangerous to test.”

Mitchel frowned, clearly just as disappointed with my answer as the Chief Armorer had been.

“And here I am, Kev, ready to name the department head of HEP. A man who, of course, has to have a clear vision for the future of Tazzian physics. A man who doesn’t know the meaning of the word impossible.”

I glared at Mitchel as his words hit home. The department head job had been open since Ed Sanders died. I was the leading candidate for the job, or so most people thought. My only real competition was Hendrickson, a smiling, convivial professor whose sole talent (in my opinion) was politics. He taught the entry level physics courses at the university.

“Don’t look so surprised,” Mitchel continued as he saw the sour look on my face. “The feuding between you and Hendrickson has put the entire department on edge. I need to resolve it.”

I gripped my glass longingly, and then slowly set it down on the table, never having taken a sip. My hand was shaking slightly. Mitchel’s threat was clear enough.

“Whoever winds up department head changes nothing when it comes to testing the GAR,” I said, struggling to feign indifference.

Mitchel sensed my mood and shifted gears so smoothly I didn’t see it coming.

“But think of the power of that weapon, Kev! A single shot destroyed your target. More than that, the entire end of your firing range was annihilated. It simply ceased to exist. After seeing that, the Armory will never accept your failure.”

I stared at him for a moment, my blood boiling as his words stabbed me like a sword. “Failure?” I shouted, leaping to my feet as my temper got the best of me. I leaned menacingly over Mitchel’s desk. “That bloody weapon damn near killed one of our people, Mitchel. It’s a hazard to anyone around it. Let the fucking Armory sacrifice their own damn soldiers.”

“Please, please, sit back down, Kev,” Mitchel replied, his voice smooth and controlled despite my outburst. “I understand your concerns, surely I do, but we both know the Armory isn’t qualified to research such an advanced weapon.”

I slumped back in my chair, the strength draining out of me as my burst of anger faded as fast as it had hit me.

Part of me knew that Mitchel was right, but I had my students and staff to consider.

“Besides that, this will give us a chance to guide the development of derivative weapons, Kev. We’ve long talked about bringing more accountability to the Armory.”

I swirled the brandy in my glass, and felt myself weaken. I knew I should just walk out the door, but damn it, I wasn’t going to waste Excelsor. I took a tiny sip, and the explosion of wondrously complex flavors nearly took my head off. 

“Besides, Kev, you’ll find life working for Hendrickson distinctly uncomfortable if I make him department head. Not to mention missing out on the department head’s share of Excelsior — Hendrickson’s pallet is better trained for beer.”

I stared at Mitchel, mouth hanging open. If clubbing me over the head with the department head job wasn’t enough, now he was trying to bribe me with brandy?

“I can always quit,” I blurted, realizing as I did that the brandy was going to bother me more than the department head job. Pure research was my forte, not administration. “There are other universities with a physics department.”

“None that would offer you a research position, Kev. Not after the Armory declares you a security risk.”

I gripped the leaded glass so tightly I nearly crushed it. I had a vision of it crashing through the picture window behind Mitchel as I stalked out of his office, my scribbled resignation on his desk.

“It would be exceedingly sad to see you give up such a promising career in physics. You are by far our best researcher.”

I just glared at him, suddenly realizing how far he was willing to take this. Physics was the only thing that mattered to me and he knew it.

Still, my stubbornness won out as it always did when I was angry. I started to shake my head, only to have Mitchel shift gears before I finished.

“But let’s assume for the moment that I’m completely wrong, Kev. Let’s say you could go out and find another research job. That still doesn’t solve the real problem.”

“It fucking well solves mine…” I blurted out.

Mitchel vigorously shook his head. “What’s really important, Kev, is that the survival of our entire planet hangs in the balance. If the Arions come at us with these weapons, our soldiers will die horribly. We must have a defense, and clearly you are better acquainted with these kinds of ion streams than anyone else on Tazzi.”

The bastard! As if my career wasn’t sacrifice enough? Now he has to toss in the fucking whole planet?

“So says the Armory?” I spit out, trying not to sound as disgusted as I was. “They always see bigger weapons as the answer to all problems of planet security.”

Mitchel held his arms out to his sides, palms up. “As I said, we could have some continuing influence as far as this weapon goes.”

He was good. Damn good. Which made me even more determined not to fall into his trap of mixing politics with academia. I didn’t want to wind up like him someday – pimping for the military.

“And if I refuse?”

He shrugged and turned his back to walk over by the window. “Then I’ll be forced to promote Hendrickson to department head and let him lead the GAR project. Something we’ll all be poorer for.”

“Bullshit. There’s no way Adams will agree to this insanity. We all know Hendrickson is an idiot.”

“He is a Tazzian first, Kev. He values our security and survival ahead of any personal goals.”

“Yeah, as long as you’re willing to kill a few students for his so-called security,” I growled. “I want to hear this from Adams.”

“Be my guest,” Mitchel shrugged. “The holo is on my desk.”

I called his bluff and walked over to pick up the holo and dialed Jeremy Adams, the University President. Jeremy had recruited me to come to the university.

While waiting for the call to go through, Mitchel gave me that infuriatingly insolent smile of his and sat back down to calmly sip on his brandy.

Adams answered on the first ring, and I launched into my rant. He listened for a few minutes and then interrupted me.

“I’m sympathetic, Kev. You make some very good points. Under normal circumstances, I’d certainly agree with you. But think for a moment of the future of all Tazzians. Uncovering the secret of this Arion weapon might be your ultimate calling in life. A fork in the road for the future of our entire planet.”

I just stared at his image on the screen in disbelief. Damn it, either the Armory or Mitchel had already gotten to him.

“So, the bottom line is that I either lead the effort or Hendrickson will? And in the later case, my career is ruined. Is that it?”

“I know this hard, Kev, but these are desperate times. Home Security claims these Arions are likely to become the scourge of the entire galaxy if we don’t find a way to stop them.”

My emotions rose again. Home Security was a bunch of idiots in search of new ways to spend billions of credits, all in the name of dubious defense projects.

I put the phone on Private mode, and a wall of opaqueness surrounded me, blocking light and sound. “Jeremy, you know that Hendrickson would do anything Mitchel asked him to, and Mitchel is only interested in the millions of new funding the department could get. Plus Hendrickson doesn’t know half what I do about managing high-energy ion streams.”

“I disagree with you on Mitchel’s motivations; he is a patriot. But I do understand your concerns about Hendrickson. Which is why I’m appealing to you, my friend.”

 The bastard. He’d let me neatly corner myself. I had to protect my students. Hendrickson was as arrogant as Mitchel, and even worse, he was dangerous. God knows what he and the Armory would do together. Probably blow a hole through the entire planet, killing God knows how many soldiers and students, all in the name of “patriotism”.

Jeremy saw the look on my face. “I know you now understand what’s at stake, Kev. Stop by my office tomorrow and we’ll we if there is anything more the university or the Armory can to to assist your research.”

I was numb as hung up the holo, knowing I was defeated. I turned off the Privacy field.

Mitchel saw the look on my face and rose to walk over to hold out his hand. 

“No hard feelings, Kev. We just needed to impress on you the importance of this. Research on this GAR is far too important to let personal feelings get in the way.”

I wanted to put my fist into his smug face. Instead, I shook his hand. If for no other reason that to convince myself I was really doing this: succumbing to bribery.

Mitchel’s cold hand reminded me of a lizard.

The bastard even smiled like one.


Chapter Two

The Armory sent two of their test technicians to the HEP lab bright and early the next morning. Supposedly to perform the tests.

I sent them away; I was no more willing to sacrifice them than I was my own staff. Instead, I sent everyone back to upgrade the forcefield to a Grade 3 and change to a ceramic-iron armor to better handle the electrical field and the heat. Lastly, I would fire it myself. I’m bigger than most men at 6’4”, and my heart was strong. Between the improved shielding and my mass, hopefully I’d be better able to handle the surge.

Still, I had to play it safe, so I attached grounding straps to my wrists to direct the current away from my heart, and then made sure a doctor was standing by with a defib machine.

The weapon weighed more than 500 pounds, so I used the same carbon-fiber cable we’d rigged up earlier to hold it up. When I powered the weapon up, I could actually feel the prickling buzz of the ion field through both the armor and force field. It wasn’t uncomfortable, but I knew the collapsing field would be far more intense. 

I swiveled the GAR on its cable support and aimed it at the target we’d prepared. Then, while holding my breath, I squeezed the trigger stud. Instead of firing, the weapon froze where I was pointing it as the tingling buzz of an anti-grav field surrounding me. The first stage of the trigger locked the weapon on target. The trigger unlocked after a moment to allow me to clench my teeth as I pulled it aft to the firing position.

Strangely, I didn’t really feel or hear the GAR when it fired — I think I lost consciousness for a half second when the electrical field zapped me. The initial shock slowly turned into excruciating pain as the collapsing field sent my nerves into spasm, leaving my entire body feeling as if I’d pinched a nerve: numb and aching at the same time.

But I was breathing and my heart, while racing, wasn’t in vfib. My ears were ringing and I was even standing, albeit unsteadily.

I struggled to lift my head to stare into the miniature sun at the end of range, but my eyes started to tear heavily despite the dark goggles. It took minutes for the glow to fade enough to reveal the beam’s effect on the enhanced target.

What I saw was mind-boggling.

The weapon had melted a perfectly circular hole through twenty feet of high-carbon steel and then through the fifty-foot concrete backstop behind it. A hurricane of molten steel had blasted out the backside of the target to thinly coat the backstop. Most of the steel from that hole had simply vaporized.

A quick scan of the instruments revealed a momentary spike on the face of the target to an astounding 100,000 degrees!

We studied the data most of that night, the telemetry and high-speed cameras telling the story. Apparently, the weapon emitted an extremely powerful, circular laser beam that created an evacuated, uncharged tube from the weapon to the target. The laser itself was more powerful than any we’d seen.

But that was only the beginning.

The weapon’s main punch came from highly charged particles that it propelled down the evacuated tube at three times the speed of sound.

Clearly, we were going to have to shield both the laser and the particle beam at the same time. Just as clearly, nothing we had in our current military inventory was going to be helpful at all.

As expected, the generals in the Armaments Ministry rejected my report after reading just the conclusion page. They claimed we’d failed because we used obsolete shield generators and ordinary target materials. They claimed their latest technology armor could withstand it.

Unfortunately, that technology was far too classified for my team to have ever seen.

They demanded we test the GAR against their target.

I argued it was useless, unless perhaps they’d found a way to made Vendorian steel. The Chief Armorer just smiled and showed us his pride and joy — a huge forcefield-protected warship they’d secretly built in orbit. The Admiral Kirkland.

The warship had triple-thick ablative armor mixed with ceramic and carbide layers. The outer surface was mirror-bright and protected by the largest force field projector they could carry into orbit: a Grade 8. A Tesla electromag shield surrounded the entire ship as well. Clearly, their design goal had been to deflect nuclear detonations and charged-particle weapons in space.

I refused to run the test without them evacuating the ship. I’d seen the GAR. I  wasn’t sure anything could stop it.

The Armory accused me of making ridiculous demands – how could they run a warship without a crew? We argued back and forth until Mitchel got involved again. He negotiated a compromise: only two technicians would stay on board to monitor the fusion engines, but they’d wear battle armor and have life rafts close by.

Once again, Mitchel had cornered me with my own demands.

The test itself was conducted from an open shuttle bay of a patrol ship. Despite being nearly a mile away, the Admiral Kirkland loomed so hugely that it blocked out most of the stars.

Fortunately, the weightless GAR was easier to handle in orbit, but when the anti-grav cut-in, the patrol ship’s systems had to struggle to compensate. Still, I got the GAR locked onto the middle of the Admiral Kirkland. The Armory had insisted I fire a full five-second burst, so I set it accordingly and pulled the final stage trigger.

The usual electric shock and nerve pain assaulted me, but I was getting used to it now and wasn’t blacking out any more. Encouraging, the beam seemed to have little effect when it intersect the ship – just a few sparks at the impact point. Most importantly, it didn’t emerge from the far side. That surprised me.

Then, I saw the first hint of trouble – plumes of gas escaping. Then a brilliant glow began to spread outward along the length of the interior from the impact point, the windows lighting up as it traveled faster and faster. The superheated shockwave hit the ends of the warship… and kept on going.

The patrol ship captain slammed the shuttle bay closed and thrusted away at full power as the warship came apart, exploding into a gigantic fireball.

I collapsed on the deck as the hard G’s pinned me down, gasping in horror – there was no possibility those two crewman had survived the destruction of their ship.

It took two days to pick up enough debris to figure out what had happened. The charged particles had pierced the hull to annihilate the bulkheads and equipment inside. That destructive reaction had sent a burst of anti-plasma from one end of the ship to the other, essentially eating everything it met, finally bursting the ship open like a firecracker.

What followed could only be called governmental panic. The Armory was desperate to hide the loss of their capital ship from the Legislate, given it had taken them years to get a financial commitment to build it. So they swore all of us to absolute secrecy. One word, and we’d rot in some jail cell for the rest of our lives.

I believed them.

Then they cancelled the GAR project and sent us back to the University. They were the ones who locked it away this time, burying it somewhere deep in the archives of the Armory.


Chapter Three

Despite feeling strangely vindicated that the GAR had proven as destructive as I’d predicted, I couldn’t understand this “hide your head in the sand” approach. The weapon still existed and the Arions had more of them. Besides, somebody would eventually discover that the military no longer had the Admiral Kirkland.

But there was no accounting for the paranoia of the Armory and its legion of arrogant incompetents. Especially when they were terrified.

The thought of them running scared placated me for a few days, but that quickly faded into a sense of angry despair. I had personally failed my planet.

I tried to rationalize that, reminding myself that my advice had been right on target. It was the Armory that hadn’t listened to me. It was a military matter now. Top Secret. None of my business.

But I knew that if the Arions came armed with these GARs, our Guards wouldn’t last out the day. Without effective shields, Tazzi would fall, just like the stories we’d heard about Tanzrobi, possibly even be destroyed down to the last woman or child. We didn’t have any Tanzrobian warriors to defend us. We didn’t even have the Admiral Kirkland any more to draw the Arions away from the planet.

We were completely naked.

Now I was the one arguing to continue the research, but nobody would listen. Mitchel and Adams just looked at me blankly, claiming to have never heard of the GAR. They weren’t going to risk their careers.

Still, I couldn’t let it go. I lay awake nights struggling with even more radical ideas for a shield, often rising in the middle of the night to go my office to run simulations on ablative materials, reflective materials, polarized shields, phase-shift shields. I was so focused on finding some kind of defense that I neglected my other research and even failed to show up to teach some of my classes.

Yet every new idea that I ran through the simulation model turned out to be a dead end.

I grew more and more obsessed with the GAR, working day and night now, my world narrowing down to my simulations and the lab.


I was working late one night when I heard a strong knock on my door. I ignored it, just like all the other knocks that had come and gone. My research assistants had learned to shove food under the door and then go away.

But this visitor refused to leave.

I finally leaped up from my desk and barged across the room to angrily unlock the door to give someone hell for violating my privacy. Instead, my angry words never made it out of my mouth before a tall woman pushed her way into the room: Jana Sondestrand.

I hadn’t seen Jana in ten years, but we’d been an item back during our undergraduate days. But then I went off to grad school and she married some corporate type who could buy her the things she wanted. At least that’s how I saw it.

“Kev, baby, just the fucking man I need,” she smiled. I smelled alcohol on her breath.

 I tried to push her back to the door, but she managed to slip through the door before I could stop her. Jana had been a top athlete and she’d kept in better shape since her college days, so before I knew what was happening, she’d fastened a pair of plastic zip-cuffs around my wrists, trapping my arms behind my back.

She wrinkled her nose at the smell as she stepped further inside my office. Empty food boxes and wadded up papers filled every bit of space in the room.

“Whew… how long have you been living in this shit  hole?” she gasped, alternately breathing and then holding her breath.

“Look, Jana, I’m fine, I’m just working really hard… please leave.”

She ignored my protest, and instead reached up to tear open my filthy shirt.

“What the bloody hell…!” I cursed, trying to twist away from her.

Jana laughed and kneeled down to unbutton my pants, and then jerked them down, also tearing off my three-day old underwear. Before I knew what was happening, she was dragging me out the door and down the hall toward the nearest communal shower.

“Help, I’m being abducted,” I called out to a grad student who was coming down the hall.

He just laughed, obviously finding it amusing to see his missing professor being dragged naked down the hallway by a woman who looked she belonged in a wrestling ring.

Jana stuffed my body in the shower and stripped off her clothes to join me. Warm water, slippery soap and her firm body worked its magic, smothering my protests as my long denied libido woke up with a vengeance.

“Oh, my, you aren’t dead after all,” Jana laughed as she wrapped her soapy fingers around my erection as she carefully washed it.

It was like the last ten years had passed in the blink of an eye. Jana had always liked making it in the shower.

I found myself gasping for air as I tried to catch up with events, and just when I was going to lose it, she spun he around. Her soapy hands began to scrub my back now.

 “Get the cuffs off me, Jana. We can do it like you always liked.”

She’d always loved it when she jumped up to wrap her strong legs around my hips as I grabbed her ass, using the wall to fuck her while standing in the shower. 

She just laughed and stepped out the door before turning the cold water on full, then slamming the door to lean against it.

I shouted and banged on the door as I tried frantically to get out of that icy spray, but she held the door closed until I was blue and shivering and no longer dangerous to her marriage vows.

Then she pulled me out and dried me off, leaving my hands cuffed.

“So, you ready to go dancing now?” she winked.

I was shivering violently, but I still had a legendary erection. “Dancing… what… but what about this?” I nodded down at myself.

“I’m married. Remember?”

“You didn’t feel very fucking married in the shower,” I growled, still feeling her strong hands on my erection. Besides, waving marriage vows around while I was standing here naked in this state of mind was akin to someone waving plastic garlic in front of a vampire. I could taste the animal passion in the room. Not all of it was mine.

She laughed and tossed me a bundle of clothes that I’d left at her house long ago. 

“You’re a bitch, you know that, Jana?”

She winked at me. “I just wanted to make sure all the good parts of you are awake. One of your students said you’d been locked in your lab for days.”

“God, you’re killing me, Jana.”

“We’re just going dancing, Kev.”

She got dressed and then helped me do the same, except for my shirt. She left the cuffs on as she shoved me out the door and dragged me down to the parking lot, finally wedging me in the back seat of a flitter cab.

“I suppose I’m supposed to dance with these cuffs on?”

"When we get there."

"Not exactly like old times is it?" We used to make a sexy game out of having sex in taxis. I’m surprised we never got arrested. 

She hesitated and then shook her head. “As much as I'm tempted, I have a surprise for you waiting at the club. Someone who asked about you earlier.”

I groaned. So that’s what this was about. "Let me guess. A newly divorced friend of yours?”

“Not exactly. But trust me, Kev, you’ll like her a lot – she’s the best dancer on the planet. And you love to dance, right?”

"Best dancer...? She sounds a bit full of herself."

I’d put myself through undergrad school by dancing professionally. One thing I’d learned one thing back then -- that dancing and sex are both part of the same ritual. I’d never slept alone those years, but I had awoken to some very awkward mornings. The “wife of a professor” kind of awkwardness.

“I can’t even walk this way, Jana, let alone dance."

She glanced down at the ground. “OK. We're close enough now.” She cut the cuffs free.

I massaged my wrists as I debated demanding that the cabbie land to let me out. I’d take my chances on the street. I was reaching for the intercom button when the cab started to drop like a rock, then it flattened out and came to a stop just outside a brightly lit building. Laser patterns of every describable color formed intricate shapes in the air, and loud music boomed through the walls. Jana grabbed my wrist and dragged me inside, reminding me how strong she was.

I stopped fighting her as the music and lasers filled the air around me, giving the room a surreal look. The pounding music was as familiar as yesterday. Before I knew it, Jana had me on the huge, transparent dance floor.

My rationalization process was hard at work now. The GAR could wait… it might be decades before we saw an Arion ship again. And to hell with Jana’s husband. She deserved a night out once in a while. Marriage wasn’t supposed to be a sexual prison. Then she reminded me why she’d dragged me here.

“There she is, Kev. The woman who asked about you.”

I turned to see a tall, slender blonde woman dancing on the far side of the stage. At first I dismissed her as just another coed, albeit with the longest and leanest legs I’d ever seen, but her expensive outfit said she hardly fit into the starving student category.

“Who the hell… who…?” God, she was gorgeous.

“Like I promised you. A goddess.”

“Pretty, I’ll admit. But a little young for my taste. And coeds are off the menu for professors.”

“She’s not a student, Kev.”

A closer look revealed that the girl was far too pretty, too blonde and too young. The three deadly toos. She radiated beauty like the sun gave off warmth. That and an athleticism that came from thousands of hours of dance training and exercise. I knew the type: they were always so hung up on themselves that they destroyed everything and everyone around them.

 Yet, despite that, I couldn’t take his eyes off her. The way her azure blue dress fit her perfect figure, the metallic-looking fabric seemingly painted on. Plus that long, blonde hair and those cerulean blue eyes. Then there was that tiny skirt and the longest legs I’d ever seen. More than just pretty, she could really dance, spinning around like a figure skater, her long hair flying outward to envelop her upper body in a golden glow.

And then something amazing happened: she leaped upward to float over the heads of the other dancers to begin the most exotic of dances – an air dance. An elegant blend of classical grace and acrobatics mixed with aerobatics.

That was impossible! We weren’t in an anti-grav chamber.

It took a few seconds for it all to click. There was one woman on Tazzi who could air dance without an anti-grav: the Velorian who worked for Sal Gazrall, the richest and most powerful man on Tazzi. But nobody had seen her in more than twenty years.

“You gotta be shitting me? The Velorian?”

Jana nodded. “Told you. A real, live goddess.”

"And she asked for me?"

"Even more amazing," Jana mused.

There had been a thousand rumors started about the Velorian when she first arrived on Tazzi two decades ago, but Gazrall had insisted that no articles be written about her. No pictures of any kind published either. And since he owned all the media outlets, he got his way.

Eventually, the wild speculation and rumors died out for lack of feeding. Nobody had seen her since her arrival. Some rumors said she’d taken one look at Gazrall – he was probably the ugliest man on Tazzi – and fled back to Velor.

She looked far younger than I’d expected – late teens, maybe early twenties. A few freckles on her nose -- kind of cute. Yet I clearly remembered reading that she was sixteen when she arrived here two decades ago. 

“She doesn’t age very fast, huh?”

“A dream for any girl,” Jana sighed.

“Yeah, but given Gazrall is in his seventies, this girl looks like his granddaughter. Maybe great-granddaughter.”

“Hardly. She’s his Companion.”

“His what?”

“Most expensive concubines in the galaxy. Tens of millions to procure. Maybe hundreds, nobody is sure. They’re indentured for a hundred years to their patron.”

“No shit!” I gasped. “A sex slave? In this day and age?”

“The indenture is voluntary. Most of the Companions actually work as bodyguards. Gazrall is probably too old for sex anyway.”

Bodyguard? That was the last thing I'd expected, given her looks. She had the slenderness of a young model yet an athletic litheness that reminded me of a tigress. Not to mention the kind of stunning beauty that belonged on the cover of fashion magazines. Her raw sexuality was electrifying the room.

"Some bodyguard."

“If rumors can be believed, Kev, she’s actually one of the most physically powerful beings in the universe. The strength of hundreds of men. Maybe thousands. Bulletproof too.”

“Which makes her the perfect bodyguard for an enormously rich man with over-reaching political ambitions. And the old fart can keep her close. She probably warms his bed.”

 “Yeah, and damn, she really is gorgeous, isn’t she?” Jana breathed over my shoulder.

I remembered that Jana used to swing both ways back when we were undergraduates, but then, bi-sexuality had been in fashion back then, at least for women.

“I’ve read so much outrageous speculation about her," Jana continued, "but she’s way cuter in person.”

I shrugged. “She’s just one of the perks of being richer than God. I bet she never has a headache though.”

Jana giggled. “Every man’s dream girl.”

“Maybe a few women’s too?”

Jana laughed and hugged my arm.

I closed my eyes for a moment and tried to push the erotic memories of Jana from my head. We’d been very good together once upon a time.

Jana continued with a sigh. “Vels are reputedly the ultimate sexual beings. They’re always horny.”

“What pulp fiction novels have you been reading?” I laughed.

“I did my research after she approached me this morning. A Companion must serve her contract-holder in any way requested, as long as it doesn’t injure him or was necessary to protect his physical wellbeing. Absolutely any way at all.”

“Is everything really about sex and power with you?”

She winked at me. “Incredible sex is a kind of power. Like it used to be with us.”

“You had your chance in the shower, Jana. That and waving around all that marriage vow crap.”

“Then I guess my job is done, Kev. Go dance with her.”

I didn’t need encouragement for that — the dance floor used to be my first home. Plus I was enthralled with watching the Velorian’s air-dancing. I’d once tried it, but anti-grav time was too expensive for a student to indulge in. Or a professor. Yet watching her now, I felt as if I was up there with her, luxuriating in the ultimate freedom: flight. I frequently had dreams of flying. I hated to wake up on those mornings.

 I felt Jana nudging me forward as she whispered in my ear. “What I don’t understand, Kev, is why such a beautiful, young woman would submit to such humiliation. She could choose any man, and with her power, she could even live on any planet, not on a corrupt world like Tazzi. She could inspire and protect the weak, not just use her power to prop up the wicked and strong.”

Jana had never made a secret of her contempt for the powers-that-be here — she knew I’d never rat her out. Yet despite her criticism, I heard envy in her voice. It was understandable. What woman wouldn’t want to be a Vel?

“But most of all she can fly,” I added. “Even between the stars. What a dream that would be.” That thought got me wondering. I turned to face Jana. “So when she asked about me this morning, what did she say?”

Jana just gave me a wink and spun on her heel to walk away.

My first instinct was to catch up with her and find out exactly what they’d talked about. But then the Velorian floated closer overhead, and I felt myself drawn irresistibly to her, those long legs moving so gracefully. I caught a faint whiff of a floral perfume in the air. Inhaling it, I felt myself invigorated. It seemed as if the very air around the Velorian was charged with invisible energy.

Even more fascinating, I was astounded by how closely her movements matched my exotic and seemingly impossible dreams of flight. I gawked up at the spectacle of pulsing lights as they reflected from her golden hair, her azure dress teasing me with what it barely covered.

Yet all the while, a strong sense of deja-vu kept growing, drawing me to her as if we’d danced before. In my dreams?

I was still trying to sort that out when the music died and then changed into a slower, softer song. My heart leaped as the Velorian floated down as light as a feather to land in front of me. Her dazzlingly blue eyes met mine, and she smiled, reaching out to take my hands in hers.

“Would you like to dance?”

Her voice was soft and melodious, yet as clear as the song of meadowlark.

I was so taken with her that I could barely nod. She promptly floated into my arms; enveloping me with the most amazing perfume I’d ever inhaled. The scent reminded me of flowers and sun-warmed honey, and just inhaling it made me feel as if I could fly as it sent a quickening wave through my body of something that I could only describe as well-being. The kind of extreme healthiness I’d felt when I was sixteen. My skin prickled like I was blushing the way I also had back then, making me feel so intensely alive.

Fortunately, my well-learned dance instincts came flooding back, the muscle-memory if nothing else, and I took her hands in mine and led her into the first steps of the romantic Capreceous, the most complicated but intimate dance I knew.

She knew the Capreceous nearly as well as I did, moving as light as a feather in my arms as she followed my lead perfectly. Resting her head on my shoulder, her glowing tresses fell over me, her hair so warm that it felt like spun gold.

Yet despite her delicate touch and lightness of foot, her body felt frighteningly firm when I held her close. Like infinitely flexible steel, yet wrapped in the softest skin. Yet at the same time, she was intensely feminine and nearly weightless, yet with massive power coiled just below the surface. I don’t know how else to describe it.

The song ended to slowly morph into a Morango, a very athletic dance, and the one I used to dance when I won my contests. Few people are strong enough or flexible enough to master it. She clearly was.

The two of us swirled across the dance floor, the rest of the clubgoers moving to the fringes to give us space. Whether it was her inspiration or just the release of my long building frustrations, I soon found myself dancing with more energy and skill than ever before. Her body was light enough that I could toss her high into the air, spinning her around several times before I caught her, the two of us moving as fast and gracefully as a figure skating pair, her long hair flying wildly to the sides.

Then she reversed the roles and threw all 220 pounds of me high into the air. I tried to overcome my surprise as she lightly caught me up near the ceiling, and I tried to follow her lead, dancing on nothing but thin air now. It was completely disorienting being led by a woman, especially without any support except her body, but I loved the way her taut body moved against mine, even more the way she brushed herself enticingly against my ardor, proving she understood the true intent of the Morango. The Morango made no apology for being little more than an elaborate form of public foreplay.

 “You are quite the dancer,” she whispered as she swept me into the final moves of the dance.

Before I could answer, she wrapped her legs around me as she flipped over on her back and somersaulted both of us in a move I’d never seen before. She released me just above the floor, and I had the presence of mind and quickness to catch her this time. She didn’t weigh more than a child, despite standing nearly six feet tall. Clearly she was still half flying.

I held her close as the dance ended in the obligatory kiss and intimate embrace. A kiss that must be held until the audience finishes applauding.

Her breath was as sweet as her perfume, and her lips melted sexily against mine. I daringly kissed her deeply, something the dance didn’t call for, and she returned my kiss hungrily, her long, blonde hair falling silkily over us.

The applause lasted a very long time, probably as much for that amazing kiss as for our dancing. Even the band was standing and applauding, seemingly unable to start the next number.

I prayed that the applause would go on forever. She tasted so sweet, her kiss so sexy that my entire body was getting seriously into it now.

She gently broke our kiss as the applause finally faded, standing close to hide my out-of-control arousal. She held out a slender hand. “My name’s Vespyr, by the way.”

I took her hand, remembering her strength, and gripped it as tightly as I would a man. Her skin was warm and dry, and surprisingly soft, yet I could feel a hint of her massive strength as she returned the grip.

She smiled and her eyes sparkled blue in amusement as she looked down to see how turned on I was, her other hand tracing low and suggestively over my abs.

 “I’m Kev…” I started to reply dumbly, “but you already knew that, didn’t you?”

She smiled and touched her finger to her temple. Before I could say anything else, the beat of the music rose, and she jumped up to lock her legs around my hips again. The number said this dance was going to be the playful and athletic Foxla.

She locked her ankles behind me as I spun her around and around, thrilling to both her lightness and the way her hair flew so golden and free.

“I hope this doesn’t, you know, sound funny, Vespyr, but you dance just like an angel.”

“That’s because I am,” she winked at me. “You just can’t see my wings.”

She leaned her body all the way back to the horizontal, her legs tightening further around my waist to take all her weight, her silky hair playfully lashing the backs of the dancers nearest to us. One of the skills of Foxla is to spin your partners so their hair swishes against the next person’s, but without cracking heads together.

“That’s a beautiful dress.”

“Ah… so you are man who likes fine clothing,” She laughed, smoothly flexing her abs to rise and face me, her lips inches from mine. “But I’m told most men would prefer to see me without any clothes.”

“A naked angel? They’d repossess your halo.”

 She laughed. “But obviously you are some kind of dervish based on the way you dance.”

“I’ve been called worse.”

“But you are really a devil for the way you turn me on. I feel so wicked when I’m in your arms.”

The promise of her words made me smile, reminding me of all the other invitations I’d received while dancing this way. Those had been very good years.

But this was Gazrall’s woman, an alien goddess, not some infatuated coed.

We were just dancing.

The music changed, and I lowered her back to the floor, and then slipped behind her to hold her tightly to myself, feeling her body moving with an animal athleticism that reminded me of a tawny cat. She arched herself backward as my hands closed around her tiny waist, the golden glow of her hair enveloping both of us again as she slipped lower, encouraging my hands to rise.

I suddenly found myself cupping the breasts I’d been admiring, so high and firm, those warm globes perfectly filling my hands. I held her more tightly than I usually did my Foxla partners, for this intimate embrace was a normal part of the dance, and she pressed her perfectly rounded backside against my ardor, teasing me both her firmness and the way her body fit so perfectly against mine. She moved herself up and down along my hardness, stroking me, guiding me deeper into the luscious fold between her marvelous cheeks.

Between cupping heir partner’s breasts and the backside action, it wasn’t unusual for a guy to loose it completely during the Foxla, although that would get you disqualified during a contest. I found I was struggling like I never have before when the music thankfully faded and the wonderful agony of the Foxla came to an end. Just in time!

Vespyr slipped from my arms to face me, seemingly excited by my flushed face and profound erection. Then the pounding beat of a faster number started. I reached for her, but instead of taking me flying as I so fervently wished, she closed her eyes and swayed to the beat as she floated off to dance with someone else. Moments later, I saw her lifting some other lucky guy off the floor to swirl high overhead.

Two lovely coeds came to my rescue, teasing me about my obvious obsession with the Velorian, one of them daringly tracing their fingers over my arousal as the other started whispering erotic promises in my ear. Jana arrived just in time to keep me from being bodily carried away, but the coeds didn’t leave.

Jana nodded toward the Velorian. “She’s the mistress of a billionaire, Kev. A rich man’s ultimate trophy, and a light-year out of your league. Better for you to focus on present company.”

The coeds heard that, and giggled as they wrapped themselves around me even tighter, making promises with their bodies that I’d normally be more than happy to cash in. There was a time back then that I entertained several women in my bed at the same time. Jana liked that, given she was bi.

They might be coeds and decidedly off-limits, but I said to hell with it. I wasn’t going to fight the inevitable. The girls were guiding me toward the door when Vespyr magically descended to land inside my circle of female admirers. The girls quickly moved away, Jana too, sensing they were terribly outclassed.

They were, in every way a woman can be. To my eyes now, Vespyr was the only woman in the room.

“My lady of light, floating so free,” I gushed, my body so alive, so hungry. “My lovely Companion. Who is your master to be tonight?”

 “You are,” she whispered in my ear, her perfume filling my senses. Then louder. “If your friends will excuse you.”

I opened my mouth to reply, but her kisses found my lips first. A kiss I returned, forgetting about everyone else in the room.

Vespyr giggled and slipped from my grasp to stand a few feet away. “But do you think you can handle a truly wild mare? Maybe even… a tigress.”

I growled at her, and she laughed again. I loved the way she laughed; like an innocent girl.

But innocent she wasn’t. She wrapped her arms around me from the back and used her height to lean over my shoulder and bite my earlobe -- hard enough to draw blood!

The shock of that unexpected bite turned my desire into liquid fire.

Vespyr laughed sexily as she pulled her hand free of mine, and made a show of tasting the blood on her tongue. She suddenly looked surprised, and then closed her eyes for a moment, and then opened them wide.

“Well, what do you know. A family secret, perhaps?”

My heart froze.

She leaned forward to blurt out my biggest secret: “As in… the Arion kind of secret?”

A cold chill stabbed me as she blurted out my biggest secret. One that would get me fired from the university and possibly deported from the planet if anyone else knew.

I stared at her, confused and off-balance and a little afraid as she kissed me deeply again, this time allowing the coppery taste of my blood to blend with her wondrous scent, fanning the smoldering fires into a bonfire of desire. My body seemed to vibrate with a growing sense of power as she traced her fingers down over my hard arousal again.

“You are such a stallion you know. Why don’t we try to release this superman who hides inside you?”


Chapter Six

The next minutes were a dream. Vespyr guiding me to the door. The disappointed coeds trailed behind. Vespyr kicking off her heels to pull me behind her as she half ran, half flew to get us away from them, the wind rushing in my ears as my feet barely touched the floor. The door banging open as she leaped over three rows of cars and the crowd outside with me trailing helplessly behind, then flagging down a taxi by standing directly in front of it until it screeched to a stop.

Before I realized what was happening, we were in the flitter taxi and I was tearing at her dress. Her body felt so hard beneath it; like silky skin stretched drum tight over warm, sculpted steel.

While I struggled to undress her, she put on a thin, golden necklace, one end hanging down in her broad cleavage. She’d no soon fastened it behind her neck when I felt her body soften dramatically in my hands. She spun around to straddle me, pressing herself tightly against my ardor. 

I grabbed her ass to pull her closer, my fingers digging into firm softness instead of steel now, and she helped me tear the rest of her dress off. As soon as it was free, she pulled my face between her warm breasts, brushing her shoulders from side to side to trace her ripe nipples across my three-day old stubble. Far from hurting her, my wiry beard seemed to excite her further.

I grabbed one of her nipples with my lips, trapping it, and then clenched it gently between my teeth.

She gave off a little squeak of pleasure and her nipple grew harder yet in my grip.

Vespyr pulled herself from my grasp despite my best effort hold onto her nipple, and then leaned down to gently kiss my neck, tracing her kisses upward to whisper in my ear. “You don’t ever have to be gentle with me, Kev. Give me all of it. Hurt me, if you can.”

A slice of pure fire pierced my soul as her words registered true. Words I imagined an Arion femme might have uttered!

Yet she was Velorian. The enemy of anyone born on Aria.

Strangely, I wasn’t afraid of her. Instead, a strange surge of strength filled me, giving me confidence. Without considering the consequences, I clamped down on her hard nipple, this time with all of my misbegotten strength.

She cried out and leaned into me, burying my face in her soft breast, her fingers closing around my hardness at the same time, gripping me so tightly my pants tore. I grabbed her ass with all my strength, kneading her as I worked my finger between her cheeks, tracing low around toward the front, finding warmth and wetness. I felt her fumble with my zipper as I pushed my finger into her, and she cried out, tearing my pants open to take me out. She wrapped her long fingers around me so tightly that it almost hurt.

“Oh, Skietra, you are so hard,” she cried. “Truly, a superman.”

I felt her hand trembling from excitement as she rose to straddle me, her back pressed against the ceiling of the taxi. She smiled as she guided me confidently to herself, stroking my head along the length of her sex, wetting me thoroughly, teasing me with her wetness and warmth.

I tried to take her right then, pressing myself hard upward, only to find that she was very tight, almost virginal. How could that be?

She tried to help, lowering her full weight over me, and I thrust myself upward again, this time with every ounce of my strength I had, lifting her body upward so hard that her head slammed against the roof of the taxi.

She cried out and pressed her hands against the ceiling to increase her weight, and the delicious warm wetness of her body slowly began opening to envelop me, taking all my remarkable size.

For the first time in my life, taking me all the way down to my root!

I went crazy now as I felt her inner strength holding me so tightly. My muscles bulged, tendons standing out like steel cables as my body turned to Arion steel.

Vespyr responded like the instrument of passion she was, rocking back and forth as she held me so deep, then moving slightly up and down my shaft, working on developing a rhythm. She cried out every time I thrust into her, her chest heaving as she gasped for air. Astoundingly, her vagina started rippling in powerful waves, something I’d never felt before, her inner strength forcing me to thrust into her with ever increasing strength. It was like she her body was testing me, trying to keep me out, deciding if I was worthy of her.

The contest of intimate strength seemed to drive me wild, triggering some wild animal that lived deep inside me. My strength seemed to double, my fervor knowing no bound.

“Oh, Skietra… harder… go way harder!” she cried out in encouragement; digging her heels into my ass to encourage me to let it all go.

I gave in to the wild abandon that coursed like fire through my veins, my strength building and building until I fell into a berserker’s passion. I’d never been remotely this strong, never this vital, never this virile!

I was so lost in my newfound power that I was only barely aware that her head kept hitting the roof of the taxi hard enough to dent it, or that the taxi was gyrating around in the sky as the taxi tried to keep control. My body was surging with all the endurance in the world now, the only sound reaching my brain was her song of passion.

She came amazingly fast the first time, crying out as her body stiffened again, the steel I’d felt earlier returning for a few seconds, her arms and legs holding me so tightly that I couldn’t move or even breathe, my very bones creaking from the strain as her body shook wildly. She spun around so I was on top of her, arching her back to lift her hips as she wrapped her long legs around me, her mouth opening into a perfect O as she came again and again, relaxing only slightly for mere seconds before the next burst of fireworks was upon her.

“Oh, Skietra… it has been so LONG,” she cried, her quick, violent orgasms telling me everything I needed to know about the paucity of her sexual relations with Gazrall.

I held nothing back now; my only goal was to keep those machine gun orgasms going. Our berserker fucking shook the taxi so much that the poor cabbie couldn’t keep his machine pointing in the same direction or even on the level. I barely noticed and didn’t care that her head was slamming against the door on each of my thrusts as I rolled her on her back and used my toes to push off from the far door and into her on each thrust.

My strength seemed to soar up and up, and it felt so awesome to use all that power against her body, slamming myself so hard into her that her head finally tore the door latch open.

The cabbie looked back in fear, and his taxi tilted wildly in that direction.

“Oh ssshhhiiittt…” was all I could scream as we slid head first out into the blackness.

The slipstream hit us hard, slamming us against the back of the door, and then we stopped, hanging below the bottom of the taxi. Vespyr had somehow managed to open her legs wider at the last second and caught the bottom of the door frame with her toes, leaving us dangling a thousand feet from the ground, the lights below blurring as her hair whipped around us.

“Don’t stop! Oh, Skietra, please don’t!”

The hell with that!

I flailed around frantically, trying to reach behind me, trying to get a grip on the cab, but I was too far outside to reach it. I tried to withdraw from her, hoping to climb back up her legs, but she tightened herself inside, holding me so tightly I could barely move. The dizzying weakness of acrophobia wash over me as I stared down at the lights so far below, and I clung frantically to her, barely aware that she was trying to continue our frantic fucking.

This wasn’t anything like my flying dreams, especially when I saw that the lights were coming closer every second. The taxi’s anti-grav started to spin down despite the cabbie’s best efforts to regain control. I caught a brief image of him staring back at us in his side view mirror: his face was a mask of terror as he wrestled with the controls.

He tried to recover by stabbing frantically at the Restart button, but the antigrav just gave off the kind of low hum that said it was going into cold restart mode.

There wouldn’t be time for it to develop any power before we hit the street seventy stories below!

Then I remembered: Vespyr could fly!

I reached up to deliver a slap that would have broken a lesser woman’s neck, but she just tried to keep her rhythm going, another hot burst of fireworks coming her way. I hit her again, harder yet, then again, and finally she opened her eyes to glare at me.


The cab was twisting around crazily now, giving us both a terrifying view of the street rushing up at us. Vespyr looked behind her and her eyes opened wide.

“Get it off me!” she screamed.

I wasn’t sure what she was talking about.

Me? The taxi?

Then I saw the bright sparkle of gold around her neck and remembered how her body had softened when she put it on.

That was it! She couldn’t fly while wearing gold.

I grabbed for her necklace, trying to find the catch, but I couldn’t feel it. I slipped my fingers under it and pulled, but it didn’t break. That’s when I saw the hairlike strand of purplish metal that ran through the center of the necklace.

Vendorian steel!

I turned to the side and lunged upward toward the taxi again, but Vespyr’s legs were so long that my fingertips barely caught the edge of the door. I traced my fingers desperately along that edge until I found a strip of metal that formed part of the broken latch. I gripped it and used all my unnatural strength, I managed to wrench it off the bottom of the cab. The steel shard slipped from my fingers and began to fall, but I caught in mid-air. I spun it around and desperately jammed it into Vespyr’s neck, trying to pry behind the necklace to get it off. The sharp steel tore into the soft gold, but hung up on the Vendorian thread. I jammed the shard upward as hard as I could behind the necklace and twisted my wrists outward with all my strength, prying it against her juggler vein. Instead of taking her head off, the force was just enough to snap that tiny threat of Vendorian steel.

I was instantly blinded by a blaze of blue light that exploded from Vespyr’s eyes. At the same time, an unbearably hot flash of what felt like electricity surged from her body to mine, traveling through my erection to explode deep inside my pelvis. My arms and legs started to shake wildly at the same time her vagina clamped around my erection like a steel vice, the extreme pressure sending a tidal wave of blood racing up the shaft of my penis, my blood pressure rising so fast my eyes seemed to bulge out of their sockets. All trace of softness vanished from her body to be replaced by spring steel.

She smoothly flexed her abs to reach up and grab the bottom of the cab, and then her body tightened even harder around me. At first the pressure around my erection felt incredible, making me feel even harder. Then it started to hurt as the tension of her vagina increased as she exerted herself – and I knew without seeing that she was using her extreme strength to lift the cab, and that she was flying -- she was saving us all.

I gave up trying to withdraw and hung there, hugging her so tightly to myself that her hard nipples bored painfully into my chest, praying desperately that I’d find a way to get out of this intimate trap with my manhood intact.

Below me, a parking lot full of cars spun dizzily into view as we fell toward the center of it.


Chapter Seven

The taxi landed hard, metal crunching and glass shattering as the cab cracked right down the center. Part of the taxi rolled on top of me, crushing me on top of Vespyr. I couldn’t breath.

“Are we… did we just do… did you just do… what I thought we did?” Vespyr gasped, reaching up to push the taxi off us as if it was merely weightless.

I gritted my teeth and groaned as I tried to withdraw, the pain starting to really get to me now, but I couldn’t budge, despite all the wetness. I imagined myself being castrated right there in the parking lot, a horrible vision of her sex snapping closed, cutting me off at the root!

I tried to push that nightmarish image away, only to see the cabbie staggering around, looking stunned as he picked up the broken necklace. Clearly it was worth a king’s ransom, as pure as it was, not to mention for the thread of Vendorian steel. Unobtainium as far as most of the universe was concerned.

“Bring me my necklace,” Vespyr called out, holding out her hand. “Quickly.”

The cabbie looked at her, then at the heavy gold, then at the way we were coupled together, and turned to start running away.

Vespyr’s eyes flashed as bright as a blue arc welder, and the light pole just in front of the cabbie sheered off at its based in a shower of sparks. The pole fell to block the cabbie’s path.

He turned back to stare back at her in terror.

“The next burst is for you,” Vespyr screamed. “Now bring me the fucking choker!”

I groaned in pain, knowing she was bluffing; she’d never kill anyone that way.

Instead she’d kill me?

The cabbie started to turn away again, and her eyes lashed out again, this time scorching the paint off a fire hydrant a few feet in front of the cabbie. The edge of one beam touched his pants to set them on fire.

He spun around while frantically patting his burning pants out, and then threw the necklace our way. His eyes were as big as saucers.

Vespyr deftly caught it, and our hands met as I desperately helped her put it back on. It wouldn’t close. She reached up to mush the soft gold together with her fingers to temporarily join it, only to soften like magic, her body collapsing under my weight.

Mercifully, the painful pressure vanished, to be replaced by the slippery softness of a normal vagina. I collapsed on top of her, and gave praise to the mother of all gods for the gift of withdrawl.

I rose to stagger to my feet, holding my penis in both hands, a little astounded that it was still attached to me. Even more that I still had an erection.

Vespyr rose to kneel in front of me, gently replacing my hands with the soft, warmth of hers, caressing me, then softly kissing the end of my penis.

“You… you have been killed when I went super. Thank Skietra for your Arion blood.”

I started to nod, and then shook my head, confused. “Aren’t you Velorians and we Arions supposed to be mortal enemies?”

She tightened her fingers around my erection. “Yeah. And you deserve to lose this thing after that crummy sex.”

I laughed, remembering her machine gun orgasms. Crummy, my ass!

She rose to face me, our clothing forgotten in the wreckage of the cab. “The question now is what is an Arion doing pretending to be a human?”

“Half Arion. My father was a deserter who settled here. But nobody knows.”

“Except me.”

“Does this mean you have to kill me?”

She tilted her head and studied me. “Not sure. I have to do more research first. Research on this.” She jumped up to wrap her legs around me, impaling herself on my ardor once again.

I staggered back to fall on my back in a filthy alleyway, the two of us falling into perfect rhythm. 

The alley might have been filthy, but all I saw that night was those blue eyes and all that blonde hair. And the way she smiled so wonderfully when the fireworks began once again.