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World Without End

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Title: Comfortable and Safe 

Author/pseudonym: Tinnean 

Fandom: World Without End 

Pairing: Herbert Ellis/Deen 

Rating: NC-17 

Email address:  

Disclaimer: <sigh> Not mine. They belong to Edward Bernds who wrote the story and screenplay, and to Warner Bros. and Allied Artists who offered it in Cinemascope. Not 3-D, so instead of those red and green glasses, I present it to you through slash-colored glasses. 

Status: new/complete 

Date: 4/01 

Series/Sequel: no 

Summary: 500 years in the future, a quartette of space travelers land on a planet that had been ravaged by war. To their shock, they realize this is Earth, and it doesn’t look too good for the remnants of humanity. 

Warnings: non-consensual sex, but trust me on this one. Have I ever steered you wrong? m/m, spoilers for the movie 

Notes: For those who haven’t seen this movie, there are two factions left of mankind: those who were forced to eat foods that were poisoned by radiation and whose DNA was severely damaged, resulting in gross deformities. These mutated humans resorted to prehistoric behavior and live above ground. The ‘normal’, civilized ones who managed to survive on what was grown below ground remain much as the populace of today. This movie was released in 1956. It will be told from various POVs. Thanks, as usual, go to Gail for formatting, encouragement, and other things. And as always, to Silk, who actually shares the other half of my brain.


Comfortable and Safe

Part 1 

Deen’s POV


I was one of the different ones. 

Throughout my younger years I had been beaten for being different, but in spite of that, it was not I who chose to leave my people. 

Naga decreed it, he of the handsome, single eye, who had been chief for as long as I could remember. In a fit of rage, for what reason I was never to know, he took the shaft of his spear to my back until I was forced to give way before him or die. 

And away from our caves, the odds that I would die anyway were overwhelming. 

Those my people called The Others found me in one of their tunnels, badly beaten and half-starved. And while they had no use for The Beasts, as they called us, because I looked so much like the subterranean dwellers, they took me in and cared for my injuries. 

Once I was healed, they ignored me, having greater concerns than rearing a child of The Beasts. But I learned the language of The Others and found ways to make myself useful. I did not fear the outside, as they did, but I did fear the isolation that would come to me if I ever left this place and went into the light of day. 

I had been living below ground with The Others for two years before I was able to see the sky again. 

It came about because I was seeking to avoid the one called Mories. He spoke derisively of my people, thinking I could not understand his tongue. He treated me as a thing not quite human, cuffing me when there was none nearby to witness his casual cruelty. 

But it was the way he looked at me, as if he wanted to devour the flesh from my bones, that frightened me. Of course, I was young then, although not by the standards of my people. 

I found the tunnel by chance. It was old, abandoned, supported by materials they no longer had the ability to manufacture. Its age was what lured me into its darkened passageways, past walls that were coated first with dust and cobwebs and then wept with condensation. The obscure, side corridor ended, finally, in a pitted door that was sealed by a series of bolts. 

My heart beating suffocatingly at the base of my throat, I spun the lever and listened as the tumblers fell into place. As antiquated as that door was, it slid aside smoothly, silently. And opened to the cool, sweet air of that spring night, and the magnificence of the huge, silver moon that hung, uncaring, in the sky. 

I spent that night in the little grotto, curled in on myself, shivering, and happier than I had been in two years. 


There were many times after that night, when I traversed that path and passed the night alone and on the outside. And somehow, afterwards, I was able to deal with The Others more easily. 

But I was never able to deal with Mories. 


Timmek, the President of the Council, seemed ancient to me when I first saw him. His advisors, Elda and James, were also elderly men. The youngest of the council was Mories, who was assistant administrator. Word in the underground warren had it that the old man was grooming Mories to replace him when the time came for him to step down. 

Mories was cementing their relationship by courting Timmek’s beautiful daughter, Garnet. He was polite and courteous to her, wooing her in the fashion of The Others, but when she turned away from his kisses, that was when he came to seek me out. 

I was lounging in my quarters. All too soon it would be time for the evening meal, and I would be required to serve the people of the subterranean city. 

The door slid open and Mories strode in, his eyes searching the area feverishly. My mouth went dry with fear. And something else. He was the only one who ever touched me, even if it was only to strike me. And lately, his blows had come to feel more like caresses. 

“How may I help you, Master?” 

The look he gave me was scorching, and my lips parted. 

I had seen young lovers share looks like that, taking refuge in the older tunnels, their hands fumbling with clothing that had become too restrictive. My skin would grow tight as I watched their dalliances. Kissing. Fondling. Making love. 

I wanted that, that closeness, even though I knew I could never have it. It would not be permitted. 

And the possibility that I might plant my defective seed had forever been nullified when they cut me shortly after they took me in. In spite of their vaunted civilization, they had me neutered as they would any other mongrel. 

But perhaps, as a pet, I might find acceptance? 

There were no kisses for me, no soft words. Mories threw me down onto the narrow platform that was my bed and stripped off the snug black garment I wore. I twisted frantically, excitement stealing my voice. 

His hand shot out and caught me on my mouth, crushing my lips and leaving me dazed. 

I was flipped over onto my stomach and my buttocks were parted roughly. And then sensation washed over me as he thrust a finger into my hole. His palm slammed over my mouth, to prevent me from crying out. 

Something blunt and smooth and slick began pressing for admittance, shoving me up onto my knees. 

And then hot fluid spurted over my skin as the older man climaxed prematurely. 

My own erection was quivering and leaking precome, but before I could reach for it and stroke myself to orgasm, a harsh voice hissed into my ear, “*Animal*! Filthy beast!” A blow to the side of my jaw caused my head to snap back and hit the wall. 

Another painful slap had my ears ringing. I tried to scuttle away from the enraged man, but only succeeded in falling off the platform. His face flushed with rage and thwarted desire, his fingers curled into fists; he loomed over me and swore until spittle flew from his lips. 

As abruptly as the verbal abuse started, it ended. Mories tucked his flaccid cock away, straightened his silver tunic with a tug and settled his skullcap on his shorn head. “Tell no one of this, do you hear, animal? Or I will have you sent back to the surface!” With one final glare, he left my quarters. 

Stupidly, I stared at the door panel as it slid shut behind him. I would have begged him to love me, this man who considered me a beast. I struggled to my feet and managed to make my way into the bath. My lip was cut and swollen and a large bruise was starting to form over my cheekbone. 

I washed myself free of all signs of his passion, dismayed to have found myself willing to accept whatever he would have done to me, just to have the closeness of another human. 

I crept through the corridors until I came to the hidden door. My eyes were so clouded by tears that I couldn’t see to throw the lever. But finally the door opened and I went out into sweet air of the surface.  

And through the night sky, a shooting star blazed the heavens, brighter than any I had ever seen before. 


Note: You don’t go into Space with a full stomach, but then neither do you pack Colt .45s when you have no intention of leaving the ship. This is the 50s remember, and they did stuff like that back then. 

Part 2 

Herbert’s POV


“Ah, come on, sugar. Don’t be like that!” I listened as the voice on the other end of the line became more and more strident. “No, I’m not seeing another woman! You know I love you, honey. But this is my job we’re talking about.” 

I winced as the phone slammed down in my ear and gingerly hung up the receiver. 

“Well, that didn’t go too badly!” 

I looked to where my shipmate, John Borden, sat grinning evilly and glared at him. 

“You think this is easy?” I demanded as I dialed another number. “You try canceling six dates you made for the same night, with the same hokey excuse!” 

“But it’s the truth, Herbert.” 

“You think they care? Or believe me? Not in this lifetime, pal!” A voice so sweet it could cause cavities answered on the fourth ring. “Hi, honey, it’s Herb. Yes, I know you’re looking forward to our date tonight. So was I, but something’s come up and I won’t be able to make it. No, sugar, I’m not breaking our date to see another woman, I swear it! I’ve been called back to the base and…Ah, baby, you know you’re the only woman I love! No! Wait, please, don’t slam the phone...” 

John rolled his eyes and burst into laughter. “Too late, huh?” 

I scowled at him and cupped my ear protectively, trying to dull the ringing. “I don’t know why she doesn’t believe me when I tell her I love her. I do, you know.” 

“Yes, I noticed. You love baby and sugar and honey and…” 

 I shrugged and dismissed the women in my life. “I hope the Skipper appreciates me! I’m going to have a lot of groveling to do when I get back to town.” 

“I doubt that. You’ll come back, covered with glory, and they’ll trip over themselves to see you again. I don’t know how you do it Herb!” 

“It’s a gift, Johnny, m’boy! Some of us have it and some of us don’t!” This time it was my turn to give him an evil smile. John Borden hadn’t been out on a date in all the time I had known him. 

Granted, he’d only joined our crew six months before, but I wondered if he was even acquainted with his hand. If I did without any kind of sex for that long, I’d be in serious pain and walking with a permanent gimp. 

I offered to take care of that little matter for him, purely in the interests of brotherhood, you understand. John had a totally different perception of what I meant. He thanked me and told me he could get his own woman just fine. 

Either the man was completely without a clue, or he was so straight he had a corncob up his butt. 

If he gave me the least indication, I would have relished replacing that corncob with my dick. John Borden had one fine ass! 

And just because I liked women, didn’t mean I couldn’t appreciate it. 

“Come on, Herb,” he said, swinging his feet off the desk in our quarters. He missed the look I was giving the part of his anatomy that flowed from the long muscles of his thighs, and I sighed. He stooped to retrieve his gear and started for the door. “Time to get ready for our flight.” 

I picked up my cap and slapped it on my head. My backpack was lying on the bunk and I slung it over my shoulder, sparing one last glance around the room to make sure I had everything I would need. 

If I realized then that I would never be coming back, would I have packed differently, I wonder? 


Our mission was so top secret that no one outside that room was aware of it. The Press, bless their inquisitive little hearts, thought this was just another flight to circle the Earth outside her atmosphere. 

There was more to the XRM than a journey into the stratosphere, however. That was why we were taking off from White Sands, rather than from Cape Canaveral in Florida.  

We were actually going on a reconnaissance trip, to map and photograph the surface of Mars. 

Elton Galbraithe, the leader of our small band, had his arm over the shoulders of the major who would be liaison officer between the Air Force and the Press, once permission had been granted to inform the outside world. He was pointing out strategic areas of interest. 

“We’ll do this sequence around the equator from about 30,000 feet, and then we’ll do this series of equations from pole to pole.” 

“The same distance, Doctor?” 

“Hmm? Oh, no. We’ll run those at 20,000 feet, and see what we come up with.” 

Our entrance into the room broke up the discussion. “Major Petrie, this is John Borden, who will pilot the XRM, and Herbert Ellis, the best radio man in the business.” 

I tried to look modest, but I was the best. I gave him a cocky salute instead. “Who’d you round up for navigator, Skipper?” There were some sandwiches laid out on the table and I helped myself to one. It was stale and somewhat wilted. 

Doctor Galbraithe looked distracted. “Henry Jaffe.” 

“Jaffe? You can’t be serious!” Borden was shocked. “He’s married and has two children!” 

“And he’s not only the best navigator around, but a brilliant mathematician. Believe me, John, if he wasn’t the one man we had to have, if I had any other choice…” 

“Sorry I’m late, gentlemen. You’ve all met Carolyn, my wife, haven’t you? And this is Ginny and Hal, my children.” Jaffe led his perfect family into the room. 

The little girl was silently crying, and her brother was fighting to keep a stiff upper lip. Mrs. Jaffe, a petite brunette, was smiling, but I could see the strain around her mouth. 

“We’ll take good care of Hank, Mrs. Jaffe. Don’t you worry your pretty little head about him!” John said heartily. 

“He’s right, Mrs. J. We won’t let anything happen to him, and we’ll be back before you know it!” I transferred the remains of my sandwich to my left hand and extended the other to take hers. Automatically I began rubbing my thumb over her knuckles in a caressing manner. 

I didn’t even realize I was doing it until John clouted my shoulder and frowned at me. Hank just laughed and his wife patted my cheek. “Keep him safe for me, Herbert. Well, it’s getting late, and the children really need to be in bed. Say goodnight to Daddy, children.” 

Hank went down on one knee and his kids ran to him, hugging him tight and whispering a final goodbye. He buried his hands in their hair and kissed their cheeks. Hal brushed the tears off his face and led the sniffling Ginny out into the corridor while their parents bid each other farewell. 

Carolyn’s shoulders trembled and the kiss she shared with her husband was so intimate I felt myself aching for something I had never known. And wishing that I might experience a love like that just once in my life. 

She stepped back and gave us each a glance as she held onto Hank’s hand. “God bless and keep all of you, and bring you safe home to the ones who love you.” One last look at her husband, and then she was gone. 

Hank’s eyes weren’t the only ones that were wet. I turned away and made a production of studying a chart on the wall. John pretended to examine the selection of sandwiches, and Doctor Galbraithe merely pulled out a handkerchief and blew his nose, a great, honking blow. 

“If you’re ready, gentlemen?” Major Petrie ran a finger under his lower lashes. 

“I just need a minute.” I started to walk out of the room. 

“To compose yourself, Herb?” John was approving for once, and I really hated to disappoint him. 

“No, actually, I need to use the bathroom.”


Note: My high school Social Studies teacher first mentioned Malthus, and that was a lot of years ago. Basically, Malthus said, too many people, not enough resources, results =cannibalism. If anyone begs to differ, you can let me know. I won’t change anything, but you can let me know. Robert A. Heinlein had the idea of using the initials E.C. to form the nickname Easy (see The Glory Road). I just borrowed it.

Part 3 

Dr. Galbraithe’s POV


Lift off was smooth. 

Oh, John griped the whole way out to the launch pad that Herbert was delaying us by that last minute pit stop, but the younger man just grinned at him. “Johnny, didn’t your momma ever tell you to make sure you ‘went’ before you left home?” 

Hank and I laughed with him, but Borden huffed and pointedly turned his back on us. 

The view of the moon as we passed it was breathtaking. It hung there like a huge, silver Christmas ornament, the craters and valleys and seas beckoning us. But the terrain was too barren for our purpose. 

Unbeknownst to many, the vast population of Earth was fast reaching critical mass. If we could not find a planet suitable for colonization within the foreseeable future, then Malthus’ theory would unfortunately come to pass. 

So while the XRM was heading out toward Mars, her sister ship, the XRV was cruising toward Venus. 

And a third ship, Noah’s Ark, so highly classified that her name was not even listed on the rosters, was launched amid even greater secrecy. Her crew was representative of every nation on Earth, and her destination was simply: out there, somewhere. Once safely out of Earth’s atmosphere, the entire crew would go into suspended animation. The computer was programmed to awaken them every hundred years. If nothing compatible with human existence was found, they were to spend a specific period of time making sure the ship was functioning properly and then go back into S.A. 

A shipload of colonists, our last, best hope for the survival of the species if the XRM and the XRV failed in their missions. 


Hank stood by the viewport, watching as Earth grew smaller and smaller. 

“Beautiful, isn’t she?” he asked as I came to stand by his shoulder. “And all I want out of life is right there.” 

“I’m so sorry I had to bring you along with us, Hank. If I’d had any other choice…” 

He turned and gave me a lopsided smile. “I know, Doc. This is the price you pay for being the best. I owe it to the future of humanity. It’s just …” His breath snagged and it took a moment before he could continue. “I miss them so much it hurts!” 

I patted his shoulder awkwardly, and was relieved when John called me over to check some of his calculations. “How’s he doing, Doc?” he asked me softly, his eyes cutting toward our navigator. 

“He’ll be all right,” I said, more to reassure myself than John. “His sense of duty to mankind wouldn’t have permitted him to refuse this assignment, no matter what he would have preferred. Our loved ones are held hostage by the future.” 

Borden nodded, but his family had been wiped out in a plane crash in the mid-Pacific; he left no one behind on Earth. I took my seat and motioned him to roll the telescope toward me. 

Before us, slowly drawing nearer was the red planet. Perhaps the last chance for mankind to survive in this galaxy. 

Herbert reclined in his seat, the contours molding his well-muscled body. “Y’know what would be too ironic for words?” 

“What, Herb?” John didn’t really care, but he wanted to get his mind off the wife and children who were forever lost to him. 

“What if we brought back photos of Mars, showing it already was inhabited?” 

John looked startled. “You mean like those tentacled creatures H.G. Wells described in War of the Worlds?” 

“No, I was thinking more along the lines of the green, six-legged beasties of Barsoom, who fought side by side with Captain John Carter.” 

Hank burst into laughter. “Edgar Rice Burroughs! My Hal loves those Fighting Man of Mars stories!” 

We began to speculate on the kind of inhabitants that might be found wandering the terrain of the red planet. Herbert voted for big-breasted babes in skimpy clothing. 

And Hank lost the pensive look that had taken a permanent home in his eyes. 

John might lose his patience with the youngest member of our team, but Herbert had been the one to give our navigator something to think of other than the family he had left behind. 

As I listened to the heated debate on the pulchritude of Martian women, I smiled and gazed up at the plates that formed the ceiling of the XRM. And I remembered the single night Herbert Ellis and I had together. 


My wife died after a long, painful illness. That’s what they called cancer, in those days. As if not referring to it by its rightful name could make it any less deadly. 

But Beth had fought it as valiantly as any soldier in battle. She lost her hair, she lost weight, in the end she lost even the ability to control her bodily functions; but she never lost the gaiety of spirit that had seen us through so many years of marriage. 

We knew the end was just a matter of time. “Easy,” she whispered, that last night, “no one gets out of this life alive! Grieve for me, then set it aside!” She tried to squeeze my hand, but there was no strength left in her. 

I nodded, turning my head so she wouldn’t see the tears streaming down my face, but she knew I was lying.

“Elton Charles Galbraithe!” She only used my full name when she wanted to make a point. “You will find someone else to share your life with, or so help me, I’ll come back and haunt the hell out of you!” 

I found no humor in her words. “I wish you would, baby. No, don’t be cross with me, Beth. I promise. When I’m done grieving, I’ll find someone.” 

She was too far gone to pick up on my choice of words. I would never be done grieving for the woman who had filled my life with love and laughter. 

Herbert was there that night, when she passed away. He was the best friend of my oldest boy, Tony. Herb had been with us through those last, nightmarish months. 

And he was with me in the months that followed her burial, when I tried to drown my sorrow first in alcohol, and then in… other ways. 

He tracked me down to the whorehouse in one of the worst parts of town. “Doctor G., you can’t keep doing this! Beth would hate what you’re doing to yourself!” 

I pulled my arm free of his hold and snarled at him, “She was the one who told me to find someone else!” 

He stood there while I stalked to where I had parked my Nash Rambler. “I don’t think this is what she had in mind, Easy.” 


That was the first time he ever called me by the nickname Beth had given my when we first started keeping company. “I can’t call you Elton!” she had laughed at me. “What’s your middle name?” 

“It’s Charles.” 

She pouted. “Charles is such a common name. Everyone around here is called Charles.” 

“Well, you could call me Chuck?” 

“Like a woodchuck? I don’t think so, sweetie. I’m going to call you E.C.” 

I pretended to misunderstand her. “If you call me easy, all the girls will be after me, thinking they can have their wicked way with me!” 

She burst into laughter, and on our wedding night three months later she told me that was when she decided to marry me. 


I leaned my head against the roof of the little Rambler and wept. It was the first time since I had buried Beth that I cried. 

Warm arms wrapped me in an embrace that offered solace, and held onto me. The scent of his aftershave filled my nostrils and I felt dizzy. Suddenly the embrace went from comforting to erotic, and I found myself kissing a path up his neck. 

He made no move to free himself. But when I felt tremors running through his body I was appalled by what I was doing and tried to step away from him. 

“No!” he moaned. “Please don’t stop. Easy!” He turned his head and his lips claimed mine. 

Something hard was prodding my hip. I let my hand drop down to shape Herb’s prick. I pulled my head away far enough so that I could speak. “I want to touch you, Herb. I want to taste you!” 

My mouth was back on his, not giving him a chance to say yes, no or maybe and I unzipped his pants. His hand on my wrist stopped me. “This might not be the best part of town in which to go exploring, Easy. Take me to Lovers’ Lane!” 

I could feel my shorts becoming uncomfortably snug as I got into the car. I waited for Herb to open the passenger door and get in before I turned on the ignition. “Have you done this before, Herbert?” 

He went very still. “Does it matter?” 

“Yes, it does. If you’ve never done this, I’ll need to take my time with you. I don’t want to hurt you.” 

His teeth flashed white in the darkness of the car. “You won’t hurt me, Easy. Didn’t Tony ever tell you how much I like sex?” 

“Well, yes, he used to regale me with tales of your exploits, but I assumed he meant with girls.”

“So did he. You know what happens when you assume, Easy.” 

I steered the Rambler down the dark road that led to the local Lovers’ Lane. I had traversed it many times to get my kids when they were out too late. And sometimes I had slipped away there with my Beth. I found a secluded spot and parked the car. 

“Have you done this, Easy?” 

“A very long time ago, before I met my wife.” 

“You’d better do me, then. What is your pleasure, mouth or ass?” 

I hesitated. “Do you mind?” 

“I like it anyway I can get it! It’s not safe to get naked around here, but if you want to fuck me, I’ll get my pants down, and you just need to open yours and let the little scientist out to play.” 

I laughed, as he had meant me to. “Do you have something to ease my way in? I remember how uncomfortable spit was.” 

He reached into his pocket and pulled out a small tube, waggling it in front of me. “Never leave home without it, Easy.” He coated his fingers and began to prepare himself for me. 

“I just have one question for you, Herbert.” 

He stopped, his fingers still in his ass. “Am I going to be sorry I gave you enough time to think about this?”

“No.” I took the lubricant from him and squirted some into his palm. Then I used his hand to coat my prick, which was leaking precome by now, and he gasped. “Why do you keep calling me Easy? You always called me ‘Doc’ before.” I pulled him back onto my lap. He spread his buttocks and began to sink down on me. 

I turned his head and sucked his lower lip into my mouth as he rode me. His inner muscles gripped my prick rhythmically. He rose and fell on my length, and I pierced him again and again. I brushed his hands away from his own prick and began to stroke him in time to my fucking. He leaned forward and the angle sparked something inside him. I watched in fascination as the dim, dashboard light revealed the flush mounting the broad muscles of his back. 

My hands were flooded with hot semen, and I moaned and felt my balls tighten. And then I was coming in that hot channel, and he milked me until I was dry. 

Our breathing was harsh and ragged, and the windows of the little Rambler were all fogged up. I pulled a handkerchief from my pocket and handed it to Herbert. He cleaned himself off, then gave it back to me and lifted up carefully. I wiped his hole, which startled him, and was pleased to see I hadn’t torn him. 

Once everything was back in order, pricks tidied and put away, he turned toward me. “Just one last favor, Easy? Mark me?” And he opened the collar of his shirt. “I want to know that I was yours, if only for this one night.” 

My mouth went dry and a jolt of pure lust went through me. I licked a patch of skin on his neck, below the collar line, and settled in to suckle it. When I was finished, a livid bruise stood out against the pale flesh of his throat. And he sighed. 

“Thank you. Doc.” 

I opened my mouth, but he placed his fingers over my lips. I licked them, and they tasted of him. And of me. 

He shivered. “I called you Easy, because you were the man I wanted. A very sexy, older man. But you’re my best friend’s father, too. If I called you Easy in front of him, or your other children, they’d know something happened between us. I won’t do that to you. As much as I might want it, this can’t happen again.” 

“How’d my son get such a smart kid for his best friend? I understand, Herbert, and I appreciate your kindness.” 

“You don’t understand, Doc, if you think this was just an act of kindness. I’ve always liked you. The first time Tony brought me home to visit, I wished you were my Dad. Then, after I got to know you, I wished you were my lover. Now…” 

“Now?” I pressed, fearing where he would take this. 

“I think I’ve fucked up big time, Doc. I’m afraid that I can’t have you as either.” 

“Then how about as a friend?”


Part 4 

Herbert’s POV


The Chinese have an ideogram that stands for trouble: two women in one kitchen. 

I guess they had no clue about four men in a rocket ship. 

By the time we got to the skies above Mars, tempers were getting decidedly short. 

Take John and me. Well, of course, there was no John and me, not in the sense I would have enjoyed, but I could live with that. I mean, I’m not a savage. I like sex, but I can control myself if I can’t find a willing partner… 

Hmmm. That would be unusual. I can always find a willing partner. However, on those extremely rare occasions when I can’t, there’s my right hand. 

Or my left. I can be ambidextrous if I so choose. 

But all of a sudden, there was no living with the man. 

“Goddammit, Herb, if you pop that gum, one more time, I’m going to pop you!” 

“Oh yeah, Borden? You and what army?” I mean, how snappy is that for a comeback? 

Doctor Galbraithe thought the whole situation was highly amusing. Until John started tearing into some of his pet theories. I had to step between them before fists flew. 

The only one who maintained an even temper was Hank Jaffe. And that was simply because, unless he was working, he was mooning over a picture of his wife and kids, or bringing his journal up to date. He thought a written account of man’s first trip to Mars would be valuable for posterity. 

I thought that was a bunch of hooey. 

It’s possible that I was biased, though. I had a hard time just filling out a requisition for radio parts. 

Then we entered Mars’ magnetic fields. 

I had contacted Earth, and Hank was in the middle of a transmission describing the wind-swept canyons of Syrtis Major when our equipment died. I could imagine the frantic tries at White Sands to re-establish contact with us. 

 “Um, Skipper, we might have a problem here.” 

Dr. Galbraithe looked down from the ceiling, and his blue eyes were warm with memories. Just like that, I knew he was thinking of the time we spent together after his wife had passed away. 

Involuntarily, I rubbed the spot above my collarbone where he had marked me that night. There were no regrets. We were good friends, and sometimes that’s better than a body next to yours in the dark hours of the night. 

Doc saw the gesture, and his smile deepened. “What’s the problem, Herb?” His voice was mellow, and I couldn’t help returning his smile, even though I had a feeling we were about to step into deep shit. 

“Something’s knocked out our radio equipment, Skipper.” 

Hank looked distraught. “A lot of people are going to be worried about us.” The only ones he was concerned about were his wife and children. 

“I’m sure once we’re away from Mars’ magnetic field, Herbert will be able to contact White Sands again. We have all the information we could gather this time around anyway, and we’ve completed all our assignments. Why don’t you set the course for Earth, Hank? When we finish this orbit we’ll head for home.” 

The navigator looked relieved and set about plotting the coordinates to Earth. 

Doc spun the telescope over to the pilot. “A final view of Mars, John? Check out ten degrees right, fifteen degrees depressed.” 

John took the instrument and looked through the eyepieces. “That green stuff? What do you make of it?” 

“Possibly moss or lichen. Which means that Mars might be able to support human life!” 

“If that’s true, what a reception we’re going to get! My creditors will be deliriously happy!” I tossed over my shoulder as I tried tapping out a coded message. Maybe that would reach Earth. 

“Hank, you ready with the initial heading?” 

“Sure thing, John. Cut off is set at fifteen miles per second.” 

We fastened our seatbelts and reclined at our stations. The ship began to accelerate and the force shoved us back into the padding. For the time it took for us to shake free of Mars’ attraction, a weight that felt like a baby elephant kept us pinned to our seats. 

And then all hell seemed to break loose. Instead of decreasing, our speed increased. It crept up past thirty miles per second, and continued climbing. The ship began spinning, our core temperature reached the danger point; I was unable to reach the lever that would reverse the rockets. 

The XRM was totally out of control. 

That baby elephant turned into a herd of the big beasts, and one after another, we all blacked out. 


It could have lasted minutes, or hours. 

Gradually each of us returned to consciousness. 

“Oh, my head!” the Skipper moaned. “I’ve got the world’s worst headache!” 

“Stand in line!” 

“What the hell happened?” 

“You’re the pilot,” I said sourly to John. “You explain it to me!” 

“We’re not moving!” 

“Nice deduction, Sherlock!” 

“Oh, Jesus! Would you look at this?” Hank was white as a sheet and shaking. I unfastened my seatbelt. The ship had come to rest at an angle, the portside lower than starboard, and I staggered to where his seat was still reclined. 

“What is it…Oh, my sweet Jesus!” 

Doc and John managed to get to us, and stood staring in dismay at the acceleration indicator. Marked in increments of miles per second, it went as high as a hundred mps. And the indicator was knocked completely off the scale. 

“We could have been going ten times that speed!” John whispered in horror. 

“Or a hundred times!” 

“Where do you think we are, Skipper?” 

He shrugged as we crowded around the porthole. “We could be anywhere in the galaxy.” The sunlight glinting off the snow was so bright it was painful. “We were closest to Mars; this could be one of the polar ice caps.” 

“Thank God for this snow. It made our landing easier.” 

I turned away. “I’ll break out the pressure suits and oxygen masks.” 

“Wait, Herb. It feels like we have plus gravity. If this was Mars, the density would be one tenth Earth normal. Hank, shut off the ship’s artificial gravity, would you?” 

Hank swallowed audibly. “It is off, John. I don’t know how long it’s been off.” 

Stunned silence met his announcement. 

“Well. That rules out Mars. I guess there’s just one thing to do.”  John cracked the hatch open and stuck his head out, taking a deep breath. “Oh! This is wonderful! Smell that fresh air!” After the stale, recycled oxygen of the XRM, we became almost giddy on the breeze that blew into the cabin. 

“All right, then. Let’s get some warm clothes on,” the Skipper said. “It’s cold out there! Herb, the Geiger counter? We’ll need to know what the radiation count is on this planet.” 

“I’m on top of it, Skipper!” I slapped my cap on my head and slid my arms into my flight jacket, then picked up the Geiger counter and stepped out onto the snow. 

The air was biting cold and invigorating. I walked about a hundred yards from the ship. A click sounded, sporadic and then steady, as the counter marked the radiation. “The background radiation count is three times higher than Earth, but it’s still well below the danger level. We’ll be okay I think, Skipper.” 

John came sliding down from the starboard side of the ship. 

“How bad is it, John?” 

“There’s some damage to the control surfaces. It can be repaired, but we’ll need help.” 

Hank laughed bitterly. “Where will we get help on this godforsaken planet?” 

Doctor Galbraithe sighed. “Let’s pack up some gear and get down below the snow line. Herb, check the radio one last time, would you?” 

I went back into the ship, put on the headset and set about scanning the airwaves. What I discovered disturbed me. 

There was nothing. It was as if radio waves had never been created. And I got that feeling along my spine, like someone was taking a midnight stroll on my grave. 

I grabbed up my backpack and hurried out to join the others. Doc was handing out military issue revolvers. I checked to be sure there was a round in the chamber and holstered the weapon in my belt. 

“Y’know, if this is Venus, or some other strange planet, we’ll probably run into some high-domed characters with green blood in their veins. They’ll blast at us with their atomic death ray guns, and here we’ll be with these old-fashioned shootin’ irons!” 

“Not funny, Herbert!” John retorted. “You’ve been watching too many Saturday afternoon matinees!”

But Doc grinned at me. “I figure we have about four or five hours of daylight left. Let’s get a move on, gentlemen.” 

In single file, we started down. 

Four hours later, we had reached the area where scrub brush grew. The legs of our trousers were wet and clammy and our boots squished. Doc was pale, and sweating. 

“Can we take a break?” I asked. “I need to rest!” 

“Sounds good to me,” John said, catching my nod toward the Skipper. 

Doc groaned and slid his pack off his shoulders, and sank to the ground. “How far have we come?” 

Hank pulled out the binoculars. “I can still see the ship above the snow line. I’d say we made about twelve miles.” 

“Twelve miles in four hours. That’s the dazzling speed of three miles an hour.” 

“Yesterday at this time we were just cruising along at about 38,000 mph!” John murmured. 

We laughed, but Hank was finding nothing humorous about our situation. He was burning to get home. “I’ll go ahead and check out the terrain.” 

“Be careful, Hank,” Doc said softly, but Hank didn’t hear him. “If only he wasn’t the one man we had to have.” 

I took a sip of water and held it in my mouth, letting it saturate the tissues of my cheek and tongue before I swallowed it. Doc and John both drank the same way and then capped their canteens. We hadn’t come across any water yet, and we needed to use what we had sparingly. 

“Let’s continue on, shall we? It will be dark before we know it, and we’ll need to find someplace safe to bed down for the night.” The rest had done the Skipper good, and he hoisted up his pack and followed the path the navigator had taken. 

And then we heard Hank, his voice tight with excitement. 

“Doc! Doc! Look what I found!” 


Part 5 

Hank’s POV


I was almost dancing with excitement by the time they rounded the outcropping of rock that shielded the cave. There might not be anything in it to help us fix the XRM, but we could spend the night inside, protected from the winds that were beginning to rise. 

And from anything else that might go bump in the night.

“Look, Doc! Can we explore it?” The wheedling tone in my voice was so reminiscent of my son Hal, when he wanted to do something he wasn’t quite certain I’d approve of, that I subsided in embarrassment, while Herb and John exclaimed over the dark maw. 

But the sight of the cave had taken my mind off the fact that it might be a very long time before I saw my family again. 

Doctor Galbraithe was examining the entrance of the cave, assuring himself it was not manmade. 

He drew in a satisfied breath. “By all means, let’s explore it! Nature keeps most of her ancient secrets in caves!” 

Herb took out his flashlight and started in cautiously. There were two other passages, aside from the main corridor, and we split up to see what they held. 

The youngest member of our team suddenly called out. “Doc! Would you look at this!” 

We converged on his passage, to find that about a quarter of the way down, it was blocked by what appeared to be silken filaments. Herb stepped back so we could get a closer look. 

Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw something move in the shadows, high up on the wall. Before I could turn to investigate more closely, a multi-legged, spike-haired monstrosity leaped out and attacked the young radioman. I went spinning out of the way, and into the sticky mass. 

Shouts filled the cave. Mine? The more I struggled with the web, the more enmeshed I became. Herb’s? The creature was slashing at him, trying to find his most vulnerable spot. 

Doc pulled out a knife and managed to slice the threads, getting my arms freed. 

John had his revolver out and was shooting point blank at the huge insect. The roar of his pistol was magnified in the confines of the cave. 

When silence came, it was deafening. The spider lay dead, its ichor spattered over Herb, and the walls and the floor. John got an arm under the younger man and helped him up to his feet. 

We stumbled out of the cave. I was trailing strands of the web, which in the fading light we could see were covered with the corpses of numerous tiny animals. 

“Get it off me! Please!” I was shuddering in reaction. John took the knife from the Skipper and began the tedious job of removing the sticky filaments. 

Doc went to Herbert, gently feeling for broken bones and looking for blood. 

“I’m…I’m okay, Doc.” He leaned against him.

“That might well have been poisonous, Herbert! Are you sure you weren’t bitten?” 

He nodded. “Let’s…let’s…ah, shit! Let’s get the fuck out of here!” 


We found the clearing by pure, dumb luck. It was just as dusk was falling, and we were all excessively relieved. John and Doc gathered up some rocks and dried branches to make a campfire, while I cleared off enough space for one that would last through the night. 

Herb had knocked over some furry animal with a rock and he skinned it while we walked on, searching for a place to camp. He spitted it and set it over the fire. Fat spattered into the flames, and the scent was mouth-watering. The little carcass became rather charred, but it was the best-tasting meal I could remember eating. 

We were supposed to draw lots to see who would take first watch. Between the three of us, we made sure Doc got the last one. Whoever drew first watch would also do the last one, and we’d make up some story to satisfy the Skipper. 

I hadn’t realized the toll this might take on a man his age until Herbert made such a production of having to rest after we came down from the high altitude. And I hadn’t realized how much the younger man cared for Doctor Galbraithe. He was always watching out for him, as unobtrusively as possible. 

Maybe there was more to Herbert Ellis than I had given him credit for. 

I had a solid, loving relationship with my wife, and it rubbed me raw from the first to see the way he played with the opposite sex. He was forever seeing a different woman. John told me Herbert had cancelled six dates the day of our departure! 

I, myself, had seen him flirting delicately with John. Oh, John hadn’t appreciated the come on, hadn’t even known it for what it was, but I knew what was what. I never said anything because it wasn’t any of my business. And, I assured myself, I didn’t want to get the young man in trouble. 

But … sometimes I found myself wondering about that mouth of his. 


I pulled the first watch, and the other men settled around the banked fire and slid easily into sleep. As physically fit as we all had to be, it had been a strenuous day. I kept the fire going and every once in a while would walk the perimeter to stay awake. Time crawled past. It was only a couple of hours, but it felt like the entire night. 

Finally I was able to shake Herbert awake. “It’s been quiet, and I’ve stacked some wood by the fire. Remind John to wake me after his watch.” I turned to go to my sleeping bag. He stopped me and nodded toward the edge of camp. We walked away from the others silently. 

“I just wanted to tell you how sorry we all are you’re in this predicament, Hank. Doctor Galbraithe feels especially bad.” 

“I know, Herb. Thanks. There’s always an element of danger in our profession. I just thought the odds were in our favor. And after what the prognosticators told us, I felt I owed it to my children.” 

“Yeah, your kids.” 

It was the way he said it that made me glance at him sharply. “You don’t like kids?” 

There was something in his eyes. The reflected firelight was very dim, but I could just about make out his expression. And then it was gone, and he was grinning lopsidedly. “Nope!” he said cheerfully. “Got no use for the little demons! Get some sleep, Hank. Three o’clock’ll roll around before you know it!” 

I touched his arm, not sure what I wanted to say. In the end I just said goodnight. 


I was dreaming of Carolyn. We were separated by what seemed to be a mist. The harder I tried to get to her, the thicker the mist became, until I could no longer see her. But I heard her voice. “Hank…Hank…” 

“*Hank*! C’mon buddy, wake up!” John was shaking me hard. 

“What?” I sat up and vigorously ran a hand over my scalp, wanting nothing more than to sink back into my sleeping bag and woo Morpheus. 

“It’s your watch, Hank!” 

I groaned. “I’d sell my soul for a cup of coffee!” 

“I’d sell your soul for one too!” he chuckled. “You awake?” 

I nodded and he waited until I got to my feet and stamped the kinks out of my legs before he turned in. 

I rubbed my eyes, and found them wet. I didn’t want to believe that the only time I would ever see my wife again would be in my dreams. I sat next to the fire and built her picture from memory, determined I would never lose it. 

Somehow, this time, it was harder to stay awake. A couple of times I caught myself nodding. Finally the sky began to lighten and I heaved a sigh of relief. I stood to rouse my crewmates. 

And something came barreling out of the darkness, growling and snapping and howling demonically. I barely had time to yell a warning when I was knocked over backwards, into the dying fire. 

There were too many of them; they came at us from all sides. If it wasn’t for our guns the battle would have ended right then. As it was, those pistols made all the difference, and our attackers broke and ran, leaving their dead behind. 

“Anyone badly injured?” Doc asked anxiously. 

“I’m okay, Skipper,” John said. 

“Me too, Doc.” Herbert’s voice was calm as he methodically reloaded his weapon. 


“I’m a little singed, Doc, but otherwise, I’ll live.” 

“What attacked us?” he wanted to know. 

“They looked like men.” 

I rubbed my shoulder, which had taken the brunt of the fall when I had gone over. “Well, man or animal, they had inhuman strength!” 

It was getting lighter now, and it was easier to see. We walked over to where the two creatures Herbert shot lay. They were on their sides, matted hair hiding their faces. 

With a cautious move he toed one over, to reveal a single, off-centered eye in a grossly misshapen face. 

“Sweet, baby Jesus! What have we gotten ourselves into?” 


Note: I’ve used the term ‘fresher’ before, denoting a shower-type arrangement in the bathroom. This did not originate with me. I have been assured that Robert Heinlein came up with this one, too. If he didn’t, then apologies to the author who did. Apologies also to Beatrix Potter.

Warning: nonconsensual raises its nasty head once again.

Part 6 

Deen’s POV


The next morning, I was able to get back to my quarters unseen by any of The Others. The swelling on my cheek had gone down, but the bruising stood out starkly. 

Not that it would matter. If they bothered to think about it at all, they would just assume I had walked into a door. Mories had seen to it that they considered me nothing if not clumsy. 

I stripped off my clothes and dropped them into the disposal, then stepped into the ‘fresher, letting the jets of water soothe my aches. 

Somehow, the sight of the shooting star the night before raised my spirits, and I was able to eat the meal I dialed up from the automated menu in my tiny dining area. 

That was the one thing I missed most of the outer world: real food. What The Others ate was created in their laboratories, processed and shaped and colored to look like foods that were available on the surface. I thought of the flesh of the furry, lop-eared creatures it had once been my task to snare, and my mouth watered. 

I sighed as I tidied up and then set off to the crèche, where I spent the days caring for the little ones, who once they were born, never saw their procreators until they reached their middle teens and were deemed likely to survive. 

“Deen!” Garnet, daughter of the council president, stopped me as I passed her chambers. “I have time to give you your lesson.” 

“Lady, haven’t you given up yet?” I smiled at her enthusiasm. Her violet eyes sparkled as she seized my arm and drew me into a room. 

“I’ll never give up, Deen! Sit down and read this for me.” 

I obeyed her orders and took up the primer that lay on a table. As usual, the words on it made no sense to me. Why would a god named Tops and a tac chase each other? 

However, I had an excellent memory, and I could recite the story as long as someone read it to me first. I spoke carefully, as if I was actually reading this ridiculous book. “See Spot run. Oh, oh. He is chasing…” My mind was on ways to avoid Mories, and I couldn’t recall the damned animal’s name. And then I did. “He is chasing Flopsy.” 

Garnet burst into laughter. “Deen! Flopsy is from another story!” 

I felt heat flood my cheeks. “Of course, Lady. Pardon my stupid error. I meant to say Fluffy. They begin with the same sound.” 

“You mean they begin with the same combination of letters!” she corrected me. 

“Of course.” I hated these sessions. I would never be able to read. I could see that. Why couldn’t she? 

“Never mind. I don’t really want to do this today. I have some interesting news, and I’ve got to tell someone!” She was smiling, but her eyes were anything but pleased. 

“I would be more than happy to listen to your news, Lady,” I said dutifully, knowing she needed to speak of what was disturbing her, even if it was only to a lowly servant like me. 

“Mories is going to ask Father for permission to pair with me.” 

I choked. Garnet was not stupid. It was evident to anyone with half a brain that Mories wanted her because of her connection to the president of the council. Of course, she was a beautiful woman, with hair the color of the sun, and eyes that were unusual even for The Others, who were universally fair. 

Mories would be a fool not to want her, and he was not a fool. 

Why then, had he come to my quarters and tried to pair with me? 

“Lady.” This was a delicate subject, and one I was not sure how to broach. But I did like her, and wished her only the best. Finally I just blurted it out. “Mories is not a good man…” 

The slap came from out of nowhere. While The Others tolerated me, Mories was the only one who had ever struck me. 

And now the Lady Garnet. 

She was pale, her gaze fixed behind me. “You will not speak of your betters in such a disrespectful manner!” she hissed, and I recoiled from the anger and disgust in her eyes. “Get out of my sight, Beast!” 

I dropped the book and ran from the chamber, straight into Mories, who was at the door. The color drained from my face. 

But Garnet was calling to him gaily, “Mories, how very delightful to see you! Do join me!” She dragged him away from me and flashed me a look, then fluttered her lashes at the man and somehow appeared to be gazing up at him, even though they were the same height. 

Shaken, and shaking, I hurried to the Crèche, knowing I would have to find a way to bar my door or see to it that I was never alone. Mories had overheard what I had told the Lady Garnet, I was certain of that, and he would make me pay dearly for it. 


The Crèche was empty of adults when I got there, and one of the little ones in a cradle was starting to fret. I went over to pick her up, and she smiled, a gap-toothed grin, and raised her chubby arms to me. 

So many of The Others’ children were lost before maturity that they feared to bond with them. And so they kept contact to a minimum, touching them as little as possible. They didn’t know that I routinely took them from their cribs and cots and cradles and played with them. 

Which might have been why the survival rate had been rising. 

“Hello, my little woog-in-a,” I said, nuzzling her belly with my nose. I remembered the endearment as something my mother called my younger siblings, who were not cursed as I with the look of our forebears. I spoke to the baby in a mixture of nonsense syllables, words of my own people, and phrases of hers. 

Settled comfortably on my hip, she chortled and blew spit bubbles and carried on a conversation all her own as we went from one tiny occupant of that room to another. 

“*Deen*!” The voice thundered in the room and upset the children, who started wailing. 

And I was struck yet again. I managed to avoid stumbling, although the blow knocked me backwards. 

“Put that infant down before you drop it! You clumsy oaf!” 

“Master James, please…” 

He raised his hand again, and I ducked and returned the little one to her cradle. “How dare you speak that infernal tongue to our young? How dare you touch them! You know this is forbidden! If you had dropped it…” 

“*Her*, Master. She’s a girl.” How could he not tell the child was female? 

“Leave the Crèche, immediately, and do not return until you are given permission!” 

“Master, at least let me get them quieted down!” 


As I made my way down the corridor, I heard part of his conversation with someone who had joined him. “I cannot thank you enough, Mories, for your timely warning! It seems the boy is indeed trying to injure our children. Imagine, someone as uncoordinated as he picking up one of these infants! I shudder to think what might have happened!” 

I reached my quarters, so upset I was beside myself. How had my life turned so sour, so rapidly? I stood in the middle of the room, not knowing which way to turn. 

The door to my room slid open, and Mories stalked in. I backed away from him, more frightened than I had ever been in my life. 

“You seem to need a lesson, Beast! I am master here. You will do what I say!” As he approached, I retreated, until my back was to a wall and I could go no further. “On your knees, Beast!” 

I dropped before him and bowed my head, unwilling to look at the man who was tormenting me. There was a rustle of clothing, and then his hands wound in my hair, and he jerked my head up. 

“Open your mouth, Beast, and take me in! I could not get in your ass, but I will have your mouth!” 

The appendage that dangled between his legs was like nothing I had seen before. The males of my people were large, and usually flushed a dusky rose. This was more like something that had never been exposed to the light of day, pale and wrinkled and tiny. 

To my horror, it began to swell and grow in size. A drop of clear fluid beaded at the tip. His fingers tightened in my hair, and I gasped, and he shoved it into my mouth and began thrusting. 

His taste was bitter, and I gagged, but he held my face between his hands and rammed it between my lips. My eyes started to tear, and I fought for air, fearful I might suffocate. 

And then he began to come, and I had no choice but to swallow. 

With a final spurt down my throat, he flung me away from him and straightened his clothing. 

With a frantic moan, I managed to drag myself to the commode. My insulted stomach vomited up its contents. I was gasping for breath, tears streaming down my face now, when I was grabbed by the collar and yanked backwards.

"I will allow this unseemly reaction this one time, Beast, but be assured, the next time I fuck your mouth, you will keep what I give you! Is that understood?” He hit me one final time. 

Blood poured from my nose, and he reared back in horror. None of The Others ever struck one of their own kind, and so, with no experience of violence, had no idea what the results could be. 

Shocked, and not a little frightened, he hurried from my quarters. 

Wearily, I got to my feet and found a small piece of cloth. I used it to mop up my face and apply pressure to my nose. I knew it wasn’t broken. 

When the bleeding finally stopped, I sat with my head tilted back and stared dully at the ceiling. 

I had been forbidden the solace of the children I cared for. 

And Mories made it plain that I was his for the taking. 

No one in this place would take my side. 

I could not stay below ground any longer. 

I got to my feet and began gathering what I needed. I ordered as much food as I dared without drawing attention to myself. I rolled spare clothing into a couple of blankets. And I got the knife I had been found with, and which I had kept in good repair. 

I would not stay below ground any longer.


Part 7 

John’s POV


The Skipper insisted we bury those…things. Well, I suppose worms need to eat as well as the buzzards. But I turned away when it appeared he was actually going to say a few words over their graves. 

By silent agreement we didn’t stay there to break our fast. Hank, who like the others, seemed to know more about camping than I did, kicked apart the remains of our fire. We shouldered our packs and walked away from the clearing and the two cairns that marked the final resting place of whatever had attacked us. 

We munched on some dried rations as we walked along, conversation desultory at best. 

And then over a rise, we saw monuments and obelisks canted at odd angles…a cemetery. 

“Well…well, obviously the people of this planet are civilized, if they bury their dead,” I said through dried lips. 

“What do you make of those beauties we left behind in camp?” 

I wheeled around to snarl at Herb, certain he was making fun of me, as he had done a number of times. But his eyes were on one of the tombstones, and color leached from his face. 

“Oh…” The sound was hushed, almost a moan. 

Etched into the stone was the name Nelson. Below it was listed Father, John C.; Mother, Nancy Ann. 

“God help us!” I said hoarsely. “This is Earth!” 

“How can it be Earth?” Hank demanded angrily. 

Doc shook his head helplessly. “I…don’t know!” 

Herb grabbed his arm in a grip that was unintentionally painful. His knuckles were white. He nodded toward another stone. One whose dates were 1965-2068. 

“Am I insane? Are we all insane?” Hank whispered. 

Doctor Galbraithe was the one who answered. “No, Hank. This is Earth. I didn’t want to face reality but…” He scrubbed his face with hands not quite steady. “A week before we left I paid a visit to Doctor Ellender. He’s said, in effect, that if you go fast enough, time slows down. It’s already been proved experimentally!”

“We’re familiar with his theory of time as a fourth dimension. At least, I am,” I sniped at Herbert. 

Normally, he would say something accompanied by that cocky grin of his, something that would confuse me. This time, he looked at me blankly, and simply said, “I recall the boys of the Press had a lot of fun with Ellender’s phrase, breaking the time barrier. Well, it looks like we’ve gone and done it!” 

The Skipper nodded thoughtfully. “Man has unlocked the secrets of nature one after another. We’ve broken the sound barrier, unleashed the power of the atom. And now this.” He sighed heavily, and under his tan, his skin had a grayish cast. 

Hank looked even worse, if that was possible. “While we lay unconscious for what seemed like minutes to us, the slow centuries were passing on Earth! My wife and children grew old, and died, years ago!” He sat down abruptly and buried his head in his hands. His shoulders shook, and I was surprised to see Herbert kneel next to him and put an arm around him. 

Doc glanced around at the tilted gravestones. “Let’s check out the dates on the rest of these monuments. Maybe they can tell us something.” 

I nodded and reluctantly began examining the numbers that remained visible, keeping an eye on Herbert and the devastated man he was comforting, although I wasn’t sure what I was watching for. Finally, I was back where I started from, although the Skipper had covered more ground than I had. 

“2188 is the latest date I found,” he said. 

“I found several 2188s. They were really worn, though, as if they were very old.” I was pleased I had at least that much to contribute. I didn’t want anyone to know how distracted I had been. 

“All right,” Doctor Galbraithe stated calmly. “Let’s assume that 2188 was the year of a great catastrophe.”

Herbert kept his eyes steady on the older man’s face. “An atomic world war?” 

Doc hunched a shoulder and he gave a reluctant assent. “Armageddon. The earth and the air above it would be poisoned.” 

“If that’s so, it would take, what, about two hundred years for the radiation to get down to what it’s reading now?” 

“At least.” 

Hank glared around at us all. “And those brutes who attacked us?” 

“Probably the descendants of survivors whose reproductive organs were damaged by the radiation.” 

 “Are they all that’s left of the human race?” 

“There may be pockets of normal people. We’ll just have to find out.” 

I was stunned by this revelation. “Those one-eyed monsters we buried in camp are all that are heir to ten thousand years of human progress?” 

“Johnny, m’lad, didn’t you hear the Skipper?” Herb was back to his impudent self. “We’re just going to have to go looking. Hank, can you manage? I don’t want to spend the night in a graveyard, thank you very much! Even if they have gone to dust two hundred years or more!” 

“Yeah, Herb. I can do it. Give me a hand up, will you?” He reached up, but Doc brushed the younger man aside and took Hank’s outstretched hand. He helped lever him to his feet. 

Doctor Galbraithe was already leading the way out of the cemetery before I could snap out of my reverie. I brought up the rear, more disturbed than I wanted to admit by the care Herb was willing to give our navigator. 

We walked until the sun was overhead, and then took a break for lunch. The rabbity creature we had dined on the night before was just a fond memory, and we tapped into our freeze-dried meals. It was like eating sawdust, but we were so hungry, even sawdust tasted good. 

The Skipper took his field glasses from their case and searched the distance, trying to get some idea of where the fuck we were. And then he stilled. 

“John! Look!” He thrust the binoculars at me, hitting me in the chest with them. 

I fitted them over my eyes and scanned the direction he indicated. My heart swelled with emotion, and my eyes blurred. “Well.” I cleared my throat. “That settles where we are. There’s only one set of mountains on Earth as majestic as that: the Rockies!” 

‘Then this could be Montana, or Idaho!” Hank was getting excited. 

“No,” Doc mused, “it’s too arid. Colorado or Northern New Mexico, perhaps.” 

“But the cities, Denver, Albuquerque, where have they gone?” Hank’s emotions were yo-yoing out of control. 

I shrugged. “Destroyed in the aftermath of a great war, Hank. Like most of mankind, I imagine.” 

“Oh, you are a cheerful so and so, aren’t you, John Borden?” 

“I’m just telling it like I see it, Ellis!” 

“Yeah? Well, fuck you and the horse you rode in on!” 

“Huh? What are you so angry with me about?” 

I could see he wanted to whale into me, but with an almost physical effort he got himself under control. “You really don’t know, do you?” 


“Oh, forget it. Let’s get going. We need to find another place to camp before it gets dark. And if we could find a stream, and maybe another rabbit, or gopher, that would be fine with me, too.” 

He gathered up his gear and struck out blindly. Hank hesitated, not knowing whether to follow Herb or wait for us. 

The Skipper patted my shoulder. “Don’t take offense, John. Herb gets like that when he’s on short rations.” 

“Doc, we’ve all been eating the same amount of food!” 

The older man burst into laughter. “*Not* what I meant, Johnny! Let’s go before we lose our boy completely.” 

A shout had the three of us running. “Over to the North! Smoke!” Herbert was pointing to a chimney of rock. “That’s too contained to be anything but manmade!” 

We looked longingly at the white plume. But the path that would lead us across the ravine to it was surrounded by brush and outcroppings of rock that made it a perfect spot for an ambush. 

I shrugged off my pack and unholstered my gun. “It’s good military procedure to send out a scout. Cover me.” 


“*Cover* me!” 

I was halfway across the path when they attacked, shrieking with insane ferocity. I got off a round of shots, hitting at least three, but there were too many of them, coming at me from all sides. The other men were shooting and shouting, and then a blow to the head took me out of the battle. 

When I came to, I was draped over Herb’s shoulder and he was pelting up the opposite side of the rock fall. Hank and Doc were covering his rear. 

“Cave…Doc…up…ahead!” he panted. 

And then suddenly there came an ululation that sent shivers up and down my spine. I felt Herb shudder under me. A harsh, guttural voice roared out from above us. 

“What the…?” Doc’s shout was nonplussed. “They’re running! They’re cutting and running, with their tales between their legs!” 

I groaned. “Don’t tell me they have tails, as well as only one eye!” 

“Just a figure of speech, Johnny. Welcome back!” Herbert eased me down onto the sandy floor of the cave. Pouring out some water onto a scrap of handkerchief, he wiped the blood from my face. He raised his voice. “He’s come to, Doc.” 

“John, how are you feeling?” The Skipper was kneeling beside me, his hand on my hair. 

“I’m okay, Doc. No broken bones. Hank…?” 

“He’s guarding the doorway. I told him to go sparing on the ammo. We only have thirty or forty rounds left now.” 

“We’re safe in here,” I murmured. 

“A pessimist would have said we’re trapped in here!” Herbert muttered in response. 

“Doc! Doc!” The shouts from Hank were panicked. Herb and the Skipper ran to see what new threat we would have to face. I lurched to my feet and staggered to join them. Where the opening of the cave should have been, sealing it off, was a pitted, stainless steel door. “I couldn’t stop it, Doc! I couldn’t stop it!” 

A bright light spilled into the small area. Reflexively, we all went for our guns. From out of nowhere a voice spoke to us. “Put your weapons away and step into the tunnel.” 

A man of average height, dressed in a silver tunic and leggings with matching skullcap gestured elegantly for us to follow him. We had no choice but to do so. 

The walls of the tunnel dripped with condensation. They gradually dried the deeper into the mountain we ventured. 

I noticed that Herbert was lagging behind. “Herb?” 

He kept looking over his shoulder. “I’d have sworn…Sorry, John. This place must be getting to me. I’d have sworn someone was following us.” 

I looked back the way we had come, but saw nothing. He caught my eye and shrugged. I nodded. “It makes sense. They’ll want to make sure we aren’t dangerous.” 

He agreed, but reluctantly. “I can’t help wondering…” 

“Wondering what, Herb?” 

“Out there.” He gestured behind us, deadly serious. “You don’t know how bad a jam we were in, John. They would have gotten us for sure except for that wild cry.” 

“I was conscious enough to hear that,” I told him. “It’s the most frightening sound I ever heard.” 

Herb tensed. He had not expected me to admit to being scared. Then he relaxed and grinned, but it was the ghost of his familiar, cocky grin. We hurried to catch up with the Skipper and Hank. 

“But I’d really like to know who saved our asses.” 


Part 8 

Deen’s POV


The door to the outside world slid open, and I walked cautiously to the tumbled boulders that concealed this spot. I spotted movement through the trees and brush that surrounded the area below. My people were on the prowl, searching for food. They feared this place, and their need must be desperate for them to come so close.

I ducked down low so I wouldn’t be seen and prepared to wait for them to pass by. 

The sun was high in the sky. I tipped my head back and let its warmth caress my face. A sour taste lingered in my mouth, but I was determined not to think of the reason for my leaving the only home I had known for the last twelve years. 

Suddenly there came the howls that signaled the start of a battle. I was surprised, as from my vantage point I had seen no other bands. But whomever they might be fighting, I knew there would be dead bodies abounding before it was done. 

My heart was thudding painfully in my chest, and I wondered if I should retreat back into the tunnel. 

And then I heard the thunder. 

But there were no clouds in the sky, and the sun was shining brightly. 

Cautiously I peered over the lip of rock to the depression below and dropped my supplies in shock. 

The men who were battling my people looked much like those who dwelled in the subterranean caverns. They appeared to be pointing their fingers at their attackers, and then the thunder would roar again, and one of my people would fall to lie motionless on the rocky ground. 

 I was torn between wanting nothing to do with them and wanting to help them. 

What finally decided me was the thought of the weapons that would be left behind. I would need them if I were to survive on my own on the outside. 

And secretly, I was impressed by the valiant fight these men put up. Outnumbered, cut off from escape on every side, still each fought with no regard to abandoning his companions. 

They were trying to reach the safety of this higher ground. While two hung back, hurling their thunder at my people, the younger one bore an injured comrade up the slope, carrying him easily. I couldn’t take my eyes from him. He was…magnificent! 

Realizing that if I didn’t do something soon, they would all be killed, I backed into my tunnel and activated the lever that would open a lower doorway that would be closer to them. The men would find refuge in there, while I did my best to halt the attack, or at the least, slow it. 

Years ago, before I had been driven from my tribe, I had learned a cry that proved to be most effective when my tormentors would not let me be. I would hide in the recessed passageways and let the cry reverberate. None in my cave could produce it because their vocal cords had not enough flexibility. And none suspected that I was the author of that terrifying sound. 

Now, I threw back my head and voiced the call, a sobbing wail that had been known to frighten my entire clan into bolting. Even Naga, once, had run. It started low, rose to a near scream, and then dropped abruptly, only to start again. 

Below, the results were gratifying. My people stopped dead in their tracks. I deepened my voice, and snarled out a warning in their language. “Flee!” I bellowed. “Flee, for this is the mountain of the Great-Footed One! Disturb him and you die!” 

They fled. 


I hid my supplies and made sure that this door was secured, then followed a short, steeply angled tunnel that would take me to the level the strangers were on. The younger one was caring for his comrade who was bleeding from a head wound. I watched with interest as the one he deferred to approached. 

There was something, a warmth, between those two, and I felt a loss for what I had never known. 

The one who watched the entrance to this tunnel shouted, and they all rushed to see the door slide shut. 

Timmek’s voice seemed to come from nowhere. “Put your weapons away and step into the tunnel.” 

Mories’ image gestured for them to follow him. 

They must have been startled, yet they concealed their unease and walked forward with remarkable assuredness. 

Well, they would have no need of my assistance. And there was no need for me to stay any longer. 

Then the youngest one stooped to retrieve his burden, and when he straightened, he seemed to be looking directly at me in the shadows where I hovered. 

I froze, afraid to move a finger. I closed my eyes to conceal the pupils and breathed as shallowly as I could, hoping he would think the dimness of the cavern had deceived his eyes. 

“Herb?” I heard one of the others call to him. So that was his name. 

“I’d have sworn…” 

The tone of his voice seemed to coil about me. I moistened my lips and dared to open my eyes again. He was gone. 

In shock, I looked down at myself. My leggings were molded over the hardened length of my cock, and the snugness felt so good. I stroked my hand over the bulge, feeling the small patch of dampness. 

I leaned back against the wall, my lips parted, and I rubbed harder, thinking of that voice, and the man it belonged to. I slid my garment off my hips and took my hot arousal in both hands. A drop of fluid was at the tip, and curious, I touched a finger to it and brought it to my mouth. 

I sighed in relief. For whatever reason, my own taste did not nauseate me as Mories’ had done. And I felt a small amount of liquid spurt onto my other hand. I coated my shaft with it and began to pleasure myself, all the while picturing this man…this Herb, doing these things to me. With a stifled groan, I came. My orgasm was intense, and I shook with it. 

I licked my hand clean and pulled my leggings back up. 

I was staying. 


I slipped into the back of the council chamber as Timmek strode in and took his seat. He nodded to the men who stood before him. 

“I am Timmek,” he said, “president of this council.” 

The older man stepped forward. “Sir.” He bowed his head politely. “I am Elton Galbraithe. This is John Borden, Herbert Ellis, and Henry Jaffe.” 

“What were you doing in our tunnel?” 

“We were under attack and took refuge there.” 

“This is highly unusual, Timmek,” Mories hissed. “Those tunnels are never supposed to be open!” 

Fortunately, Timmek was inclined to shrug that off for the moment. And perhaps Mories would be so involved with his courtship of Garnet that he would forget to look into that. 

“You say you were attacked?” 

The one who called himself Elton Galbraithe nodded. “Yes, by savages. We took them to be mutates.”

“Mutates? I am not familiar with the word.” Timmek appeared annoyed. 

“It means the changed ones,” Elda, the scientist, murmured. 

“Ah, changed ones indeed! We call them The Beasts!” 

I flinched. That small movement drew the attention of Herb. He turned and idly glanced back. And then his attention zeroed in on me. His blue eyes slowly ran over my frame, and I could feel myself harden again. A blush stained my cheeks. I tried to make myself as unobtrusive as possible. His lips tilted in a slight smile, and I wanted to moan and run away. 

The other one, John Borden, elbowed Herb in the ribs, and he turned back to face the council. I looked that way as well, and found Mories watching me. I turned pale. 

And he smiled. I wanted to moan and run away. 

Elton Galbraithe was saying, “We left Earth on March 17, 1957.” 

Elda looked interested now. “And in space you encountered an exponential time displacement! Fascinating!” 

“You know of Dr. Ellender’s work?” 

“His is one of the great names of our past. Mankind was on the verge of proving his theories when the Great Blow fell.” 

The four men looked at each other as if they weren’t too surprised by his words. “The Great Blow?” 

“The slaughter of humanity!” Timmek was infuriated by the useless waste of it. “An atomic war that no one wanted, but which no one had the wisdom to prevent!” 

Elton Galbraithe had one more observation. “We have assumed, by the level of radiation, that we are almost four hundred years from our time.” 

“It is closer to six!” Timmek stated smugly. “The year is 2508 A.D.!” 

“Six hundred years!” The one called Henry Jaffe looked ill. “Doc…!” 

“Hang in there, Hank! Thank you, sir. You’ve been most patient in answering our questions.” ‘Doc’ was pale but in control. 

“Just one thing!” The one called John Borden stepped forward. “The radiation level is down; it’s safe to go on the surface. Why are you still living in a hole in the ground?” 

“*John*!” Elton Galbraithe yanked his arm. “I beg your pardon, Timmek. We are strangers here, a long way from home. Please forgive any misunderstandings on our part.” 

Timmek’s mouth, which had tightened in irritation, eased, and he permitted himself a smile. “Of course,” he agreed graciously. “You must be very tired.” 

The door behind him slid open, and Garnet stepped in. John Borden drew in a sharp breath. The others just watched her expectantly. 

“Father, aren’t you going to introduce me to our guests?” But her eyes were on the tall man. 

“Forgive me, gentlemen. This is my daughter, Garnet. She will show you to your quarters and arrange for anything you might desire.” 

She smiled at them and walked toward the back of the chamber. “Your burdens have already been taken to your rooms.” As she passed me, her gaze fell on the bruise on my cheek, and she winced. Her lips barely moving, she whispered, “I’m sorry.” 

“No need, Lady.” I answered just as softly. “You did not cause this.” I bowed my head and slipped away. 

But not before I heard Herb say, “Is he going to be looking after us too?” 

And he sounded…interested.


Note: At her best, Miz Scarlett’s waist was 16 inches. Talk about sick!

Part 9 

Doc’s POV


The quarters the lovely Garnet showed us to were strictly utilitarian. We each had our own sleeping chamber that spiraled off the large, communal area that served as dining, living and meeting room. 

Herb was already eyeing the nubile young ladies we passed on our way to the rooms we had been assigned. 

They were enchanting, I must admit. Unlike the men, who wore tunics and leggings and kept their shaven heads covered, the women were dressed in outfits that emphasized their femininity. The tops molded their breasts lovingly, framing the milky-white skin of their upper torsos, while the miniscule skirts flared out from waists that would do Scarlett O’Hara proud. Curvaceous legs, which seemed to go on forever, were supported by spike-heeled sandals. 

We learned, during our stay, that a glimpse of toe was as erotic to the men of this place, as décolletage was to us in our own time. 

Garnet was explaining the various amenities to us, when a dark-haired boy came out of one of the bedrooms, a stack of linens in his arms. 

Everyone we had seen so far had been fair in the extreme, but his hair was so black that when light stuck it, blue streaks were visible. He kept his head bowed and went about his task in an uncertain manner, as if this was not something with which he was familiar. 

She watched the boy until, reluctantly, he looked up. I sucked in a breath, trying to keep it inaudible. A handprint marred the smooth skin of his cheek. Silence fell over the room. 

With a regretful sigh, Garnet nodded, and the boy turned and hurried into another room. “He’s very willing, but quite uncoordinated, I’m afraid,” she mused. “Lately…” She sighed again. 

“His coloring is very unusual too,” I remarked. “He’s the first of your people I’ve seen with dark hair.” 

“Oh, Deen isn’t one of us. He’s from the world outside.” 

Herb had been lounging against a doorframe, watching the boy as he worked. He straightened abruptly. “*He’s* one of them?” 

She seemed amused by his shock. “Not all of The Beasts look like those you fought with. Some can be quite normal, remarkably attractive even. Well, observe Deen. If he hadn’t been neutered, he would prove a danger to some of our more impressionable young girls.” 

“You neutered him?” Herb was almost sputtering with outrage. 

“Oh, not me personally.” Was she deliberately being obtuse? “I’m not in medicine. But that’s done routinely when one of The Beast offspring, like Deen, finds their way into one of our tunnels. Our population has become so reduced that we can’t afford the possibility of damaged children.” 

“How many of your people are there?” Hank inquired casually. 

“There are about two thousand of us here.” 

“And elsewhere in the world?” 

Her eyes opened wide. “Oh, we no longer have contact with any of the other pockets of civilization. Communications failed ages ago. We’re quite certain we’re the only ones left now.” She smiled, proud of her people’s status as sole representatives of the genus homo sapiens. “I’ll leave you gentlemen to rest. Deen will take care of all your needs. He has been assigned to your quarters. I’ll arrange for a tour of our various departments tomorrow, if that would suit you?” 

“Yes, that will be fine.” I just wanted her to leave so I could discuss this turn of events with my crew. 

“Allow me to walk you to the door,” John offered, taking her arm. 

Hank came up behind me as I watched the couple walk into the outer room. “And another one bites the dust,” he laughed quietly, his chin on my shoulder. 

“This is the first time I’ve seen him show any interest in a woman since the death of his wife. I just hope he isn’t leaving himself open to a world of grief.” 

“All right, gentlemen,” John almost bounced in, rubbing his hands in anticipation. “Shall we get something to eat and discuss this amazing situation in which we find ourselves?” 

“Sure. If Herb can tear himself away from the scenery.” 

I glanced back at Hank in surprise. Was there a touch of jealousy in his tone? He loved his wife deeply, and joked that faithful was his middle name. He hadn’t struck me as the kind of man who would be open to a proposition, which is why I never approached him in that manner. 

If he was planning on becoming involved with Herbert Ellis, perhaps I’d better enlighten him. A word to the wise? I no more wanted to see him hurt than I wanted to see John brokenhearted. 

Especially since I’d have liked a chance at him myself! 

“Herbert!” I called. “Let’s order something! I’m starving!” 

Herb came into the common room, an expression on his face that I had never seen before. He paused in the doorway from the last bedroom and glanced over his shoulder. His tongue ran over his lips as if he was tasting an intriguing flavor. 

The boy slid past him, his mouth pouty-looking. That might have been the results of the blow to his face, but somehow I doubted it. He left as if he was being chased by the hounds of hell. 

I reserved my comments about Herbert’s behavior, contenting myself with giving him a sharp look. He just grimaced and shrugged. “Don’t scold, Doc! It was just a kiss! But…the weirdest thing. It was if he had never kissed anyone before!” 

“You kissed that boy?” 

We all turned to stare at John. 

“Yeah. So?” Herb asked aggressively. 

“But…but…he’s a boy!” 

“What’s your point, John? I like boys!” 

I could see the wheels turning. John considered all the little remarks Herbert had made to him, all the little innuendoes, and he flushed to the roots of his hair. “And you thought I might be like that too? That I’d let you…” His mouth opened and closed, like a beached fish. “I ought to…”

”Oh, fuck off, John. You’re a big boy. I already got the idea you don’t want to play in my ballpark. Your virtue is safe from me!” 

He went to the menu and began dialing up almost everything on it. 

“Are you planning on eating all that yourself, Herb, or are you going to share?” 

He looked startled at the number of plates that were accumulating in front of him. “Sorry, Doc. Help yourself, gentlemen. For tomorrow, who knows what we will face.” 

We took the plates and began to set them on the table. A bottle of what was purported to be a rose wine was the last thing Herb took from the menu. He poured some for each of us, assuring John he was not trying to get him drunk so he could have his wicked way with him. 

I took a bite and chewed thoughtfully. “Well. This is…interesting.” 

“It’s got quite a texture to it,” Hank contributed as he took a deep swallow of the wine to wash it down. And choked. 

Herbert finally managed to manfully swallow his mouthful. “Do you think they’ll let us reprogram that menu tomorrow? I’d kill for a hamburger!” 

Of one accord, we retrieved our field packs and broke out our own rations. 

“Do you really think these are the last normal people left in the world, Doc?” Hank asked, finally bringing up the subject that was on all our minds. 

“I hope not, Hank. But we’re going to have to go on the assumption that they are.” 

“What do you make of Deen?” Herbert wanted to know. 

“His being born to those brutes, but looking like these people down here? I don’t know. Perhaps the genes that were damaged took a few centuries to be replaced. I’d like to question him about his people.”

“Is it likely he’ll tell you anything, Doc?” 

“I can only ask, Herb.” 

His eyes were troubled. “Do you really buy Garnet’s story that he’s uncoordinated?” 

“You saw the bruise on his cheek. Remember Tony’s girlfriend from college?” 

“The redhead? Yes. She swore she was always getting hurt because she was so clumsy. And meanwhile, it was her father beating the hell out of her.” 

John’s mouth dropped open. “You think these people are abusing that boy? But this is the year 2508!” 

“So? There’s no statute of limitations on assholes. And if I find out who’s doing it…” The smile on Herbert’s face was downright deadly. 


Part 10 

Deen’s POV


It was mid morning. The Crèche was empty of all adults. 

I missed the children too much to stay away from them. And so, having tidied the strangers’ quarters, I was back there. 

Cautiously, I crept in and closed the door behind me. In a room that was seldom used, I dragged cushions off the furniture and stacked them on the floor and around me. I could hear the laughter that was too excited to stay subdued for long. 

When I had the cushions just the way I wanted them, I began to speak. “This is my castle! This is my throne!” I said in a deep, rumbling voice, as I settled myself on top of them. “I am king! If anyone one of those little people from the land below tries to take it from me, I will grind their bones to make my bread!”

I thought I heard a horrified gasp, but when I whipped my head around, there was no one there, and I breathed a shallow sigh of relief. 

“Fee fi fo fum!” I growled, nonsense words from my own childhood. If they had any meaning, it was lost in the mists of time. 

And then, from out of their hiding places, a half a dozen little bodies came charging at me, flinging themselves on me with wild abandon, knocking me backwards off my throne of pillows. One little knee landed right in my crotch, and I grunted from the unexpected pain. 

But I laughed with them, and hugged them to me, relishing their unquestioning acceptance. For this time, however brief it might be, they were my children. 

If I was caught in the Crèche, after being expressly forbidden to be here…  I didn’t want to think of what my punishment might be. 

Yesterday, I could have left, without many regrets. 

Today, that was all changed. For I had been kissed. 


I had seen the young people of this place kiss in the shadows of the tunnels, but the mechanics of the action eluded me, and I didn’t think that anyone would want to place his mouth on mine. 

And then, last evening, while I had been awkwardly trying to complete a task that had never before been mine, ‘Herb’ had come into the room and stood watching me. My movements became stiff and ungainly, and I could have wept with frustration. 

With an economy of motion, he took the linen from me and tossed it over the mattress, smoothing and tucking until he was satisfied with its placement. 

“Duck soup, kid,” he smiled and began walking toward me. “You’re Deen?” 

“Yes, Master.” I was fascinated by the deep mahogany of his hair and the vivid blue of his eyes. I had never seen such coloring, not among my people, nor here below ground. 

 “So you understand me.” There was satisfaction in his words. “Herb. My name is Herb.” 

I ducked my head and backed away from him, not precisely alarmed, but not sure what he wanted of me. 

His fingers reached out and tipped my chin back. “You’re a very pretty boy, you know that?” 

“I’m not a boy, Master.” 

“*Herb*!” His hand feathered through my hair, and pulled it loose from the thong that kept the long, black strands off my face. My eyes widened in shock as his head dipped low. 

And then his mouth was on mine, brushing back and forth across it. His lips were firm and warm. They parted and pressed gently. It felt…strange, but nice. 

My arms hung at my side, and his palms slid down to my hands, then lifted them and put them around his neck. His own arms went around me, and one hand skimmed lower to cup and caress my bottom, bringing our bodies into intimate contact. I could feel his cock, hard against my abdomen. 

His eyes, which had been watching mine, drifted shut. The absurdly long lashes fanned out against his cheek. 

Cautiously, I kissed him back, my mouth closed. 

The tip of his tongue stroked the seam of my lips, and he tried to nudge them apart. “Don’t tease, Deen!” he groaned. “Open to me!” 

I shivered. Warmth pooled low in my gut, and I did as he bid me. His tongue surged in to fill my mouth. 

The pressure of his lips became harder, and all I could think of was Mories fucking my mouth with his hurtful organ. 

Shaking, I tore out of Herb’s embrace, rubbing my lips. 

We stared at each other in silence until I could bear it no longer and dropped my gaze. And when he would have reached for me again, I jerked away. 

Then the one called Doc summoned him, and Herb stood there, undecided, for a moment longer, before turning to leave the room. 

I was able to breathe again, but I wished things could have been different. I wished that Mories had never touched me. 

 I wished that I were not a Beast

I could feel the eyes of his companions on me as I hurried from the chamber, and I knew they were aware of what had happened in that other room. I vowed to make sure no one was in these quarters when I had to return to perform my new duties. I would stay as far away from the temptation of Herbert Ellis as I could. 

If it became necessary, my escape route was still open to me. 

But I couldn’t leave. Not now. Not yet. 


The children had grown silent, and faded quickly out of the room. I looked up, the smile frozen in place, to find Mories standing before the door. The smile on his face made me feel sick. 

“On your knees, Beast!” He was already taking his organ out of his leggings, and I knew I was pale. 

“Master, please…” 

For once, whatever Being looked over Beast and Other came to my aid. 

The outer door opened as staff came in to see to the noonday feeding. 

Mories had himself tucked away, and he seized my wrist in a painful grip, dragging me after him through another exit. 

I thought I heard someone behind us, but the blood was pounding so loudly in my ears that I was sure I must be mistaken. 

Mories threw me against a wall and shoved his face close to mine. For a split second, I feared he meant to kiss me. 

Instead, he began speaking venomously, his breath sour in my nostrils. “You will obey me, Beast, or I will inform Timmek that you have expressly gone against orders and interacted with our children, causing irreparable harm! They will be subject to intense re-programming. You wouldn’t want that, would you, Beast?” 

The little ones would not survive re-programming. I wasn’t sure The Others would do that to this generation of their young, but how could I place them in that danger? “What would you have me do, Master, that I have not already done?” 

“You will go this night to the bed of the one called John Borden. You will seduce him, and let him do anything he wants with your miserable body! Is that clear?” 

I couldn’t bring myself to speak, so simply nodded. 

“When Garnet sees the surveillance tape of this man she…*admires*…so much, she will realize how much better a man I am, and return to me. My position within the council will be assured!” 

I was filled with self-loathing. I did not want to go to this other man’s bed, but I would do it. 

Mories wanted to strike me so badly it was almost possible to smell the desire on his skin. But he was afraid to draw blood again. Instead, he reached between my legs and squeezed. “When this is all over, I will have you, Beast! And then…” 

The threat hung there between us, and then he turned and left me there. 


Note: Captain Queeg is from The Caine Mutiny Court-martial. And apologies to Charles Schultz. 

Part 11 

Hank’s POV


I hurried back to the quarters these people had set aside for us, hoping Doc would be back from the tour of the administrative facilities. What I had discovered at the Crèche was extremely disturbing. 

Doc was sitting at the table, sipping a cup of what the menu listed as coffee. Or some caffeinated beverage, at any rate. Of course it wasn’t, but Doc just sat there drinking it, thumbing through something Timmek had given him to read, rolling a couple of ball bearings in his other hand. 

I stood by the door, just watching him, and recalled what he had told me earlier that morning. 

“Herb’s a tomcat, Hank. Inventive, exciting, and sexy as hell--- but don’t make the mistake of falling in love with him.” 

“Like you did, Doc?” 

He smiled sadly. “Oh, no, Hank. I was too smart for that. Herbert was too young for an old warhorse like me. And then, I had just lost my wife. I assured him it would be better if we just remained friends. As we have.” 

“But do you ever regret not giving him the chance to love you unreservedly?” 

“Don’t we all have regrets, Hank?” 

I had known and worked with Doctor Galbraithe for a good long time. We were friends, colleagues. I never wanted or needed more, because I had Carolyn. But now… 

Now I didn’t know if he was warning me that he couldn’t love anyone, or if he was telling me he was off limits because he still cared for Herbert Ellis. 

I always hated riddles; not only did they give me a headache, but they made my stomach hurt as well! 


“Hey, Captain Queeg!” I teased. 

Doctor Galbraithe looked up as I entered the room. He face relaxed in a welcoming smile, and he glanced at the steel balls in his palm. They clicked together loudly. “Find out anything interesting, Hank?” 

“You bet your ass, Doc. We’ve got troubles! You know how Garnet seems to have taken a shine to John?” 

“If I wasn’t a gentlemen, I’d say the young lady has the hots for our pilot!” 

I had to laugh. I sat across from Doc and folded my hands on the table. “Well, apparently she was promised to someone else, who is not happy about this turn of events.” 

“Let me guess? A certain, silver-outfitted individual? No, I wouldn’t think that Mories has much love for us right now.” 

“That’s the truth, Doc! That scumbag is planning on getting John in bed with Deen and taping it to show to Garnet.” 

“*John*? Our John? In bed with a man?” 

I nodded. “I imagine he plans on having Deen sneak into his bed, but I know what you mean. Even drunk, I can’t picture John making a pass at someone with a Y chromosome!” 

“And Deen was willing to go along with this?” Doc shook his head sadly. “He didn’t strike me as the sort who would do something like that.” 

“I don’t think he has much choice, Doc.” I explained what I had seen as I lurked in the corridors of the Crèche. “He really seems to love those kids, Doc. And if this reprogramming Mories threatened them with is as nasty as it sounds…” 

“God, that shower arrangement is wonderful!” Herb came in from his room. He had a towel secured around his waist and was vigorously rubbing another over his hair. “Are we trashing Mories?”

“You don’t like our dear friend?” Doc remarked, sitting back casually in his seat. 

“Pompous, supercilious prick!” Herb sneered, and dropped into another chair. 

“You’re going to like him even less when you find out what he plans for that pretty boy you’re so intrigued with!” I said seriously. 

Just then, the door to our quarters slid open, and a stunningly beautiful redhead sauntered in. Herbert sat up, interested. “Well, hello there!” 

“Hey! What about the boy?” I demanded under my breath. 

“What boy?” He grinned at me and got to his feet, lounging casually against the table. The knot of his towel gave a little, and it rode low on his hip 

The woman eyed the expanse of naked flesh, and her lips parted. “I’m…” 

“Gorgeous! Of course you are! And I’m Herbert Ellis!” 

I had heard of Herb’s ways, but this was the first time I had seen him in action, and I was taken aback by his flirting manner. 

She smiled at him, and it was a hungry smile. The kind of smile the spider flashed at the fly. Oh, she wanted him in her… parlor! “I’m Elaine, Elda’s assistant. I work in the scientific section. I just wanted to extend an invitation to you…gentlemen,” but she was directing it at Herbert. “Come and visit us any time you’d like. We’ll show you…everything!” 

Well, she would! She was stripping that towel off Herbert in her imagination, and he was loving it. 

“We can do that now! I’ll be right with you! Just give me a chance to put on some clothes,” he told her. 

“Oh, you needn’t go to all that trouble on my account!” she all but purred. 

That grin! Oh, that cocky grin! He went to stand in front of her. Even though her spiky-heeled sandals added inches to her height, Herbert looked down into her pale green eyes. 

His smile slowly faded, and for a moment, he looked startled. And then he stepped back, away from her. “Sorry, honey. It looks like my dance card is all filled up!” 

Her gaze caressed him once more, regarding his groin with interest. But when the towel didn’t stir by a centimeter, she shrugged. “Pity. Garnet told me how attractive all you men were. It would have been interesting to see how accurate the old biology books were. Oh well.” She turned to leave. “But just in case you should change your mind, Herbert Ellis, I’m never too busy or too disinterested. Let me know when you want that tour.” 

The door slid shut behind her. 

Herb glanced over his shoulder to where Doc and I were watching the incident with broad grins on our faces. Confusion was in his blue eyes. “Did I just turn down a beautiful, willing woman?” 


While Herb was dressing, I brought him up to speed on the situation we were facing. 

“And the boy was willing to do what Mories told him?” he demanded, shocked and disappointed. “*Shit*! Where’s my shirt?” 

“Where are you going, Herb?” Doc asked cautiously. 

“I’m going to find that little redheaded girl and take her up on her offer! I can’t believe I misjudged someone so badly!” 

Doc grabbed his arm and pulled him up short. “Don’t be going off half-cocked, Herb. I don’t think the boy had any choice in the matter. Hank says Mories threatened the children if Deen didn’t do as he ordered.” 

“And he believes these people would harm their own children?” 

“Herb, he’s lived with them a long time. We’ve only been here a day or so. We can’t presume to impose our values on a group of people six hundred years removed from us.” 

The line of his mouth hardened, and I suddenly realized that in spite of his youth, and sometime arrogance, Herbert Ellis was not someone to fuck with. 

“So, what do you suggest we do, Skipper?” 

“*We’re* not going to do anything. You’re the one who’ll be doing it all: you’re going to switch rooms with John!”


Part 12 

Herb’s POV


“I don’t want him!” I cringed at the petulant tone in my voice. 

“Herb. You want him so badly you’re almost salivating!” 

I scowled at the Skipper. “Well, I shouldn’t want him! He intends to betray us!” 

Doc sighed. “I’m sure he doesn’t see it that way.” 

I opened my mouth to refute that, but I could think of no argument that would be an intelligent rebuttal. “Shit! They’re not his people!” 

“Neither are we, Herb.” 

I turned on my heel and threw myself into a seat by the table. There was a half-filled cup before me. I picked it up and took a sip. “*Shit*!” I repeated. “This tastes like turpentine!” 

“Why do you think I didn’t finish it?” Doc was fighting a grin, and even Hank was laughing quietly. 

I should have realized. Doc loved coffee more than I loved chewing gum. I’ve known him to drink the vilest of brews, just to have his jolt of caffeine. If he couldn’t swallow it, then it had to be unpalatable in the extreme. 

“So, what am I supposed to do?” I asked glumly. Doc was right. I wanted Deen, and under normal circumstances, I’d have jumped at the chance to get in his pants. Now I was so conflicted I didn’t know which way was up. 

If I switched rooms with John, and Deen came to me, I’d hate myself for taking him under false pretenses.

On the other hand, if I didn’t play ‘who’s that sleeping in my bed’, I’d hate myself for not taking Deen when the opportunity arose. And for giving John what I wanted, and he didn’t. 

Just then, John came breezing in. His hair was slightly mussed and his mouth was swollen. 

“Did you gentlemen have as interesting an afternoon as I did? No, that would be impossible, because the beauteous Garnet spent it with me!” he gloated. 

“We managed to keep ourselves amused,” Doc told him with a slight smile. “Did you manage to learn anything of interest?” 

John sobered quickly and gestured for us to draw close to him. “This place is wired for sound and movies. Anyone can spy on us!” 

Doc glanced at Hank, who nodded. “We had an inkling, John. How did you find out?” 

“Garnet was showing me around the electronics lab and one of the remotes triggered the pictures for these rooms. Fortunately, all that was going on right then was totally uninteresting; Doc was sitting at the table, reading something. Then Hank walked in, and I could tell something was up. I knocked a cup of coffee all over the technician’s panel. It was a beautiful sight to see: sparks all over the place! Anyway, they won’t be able to use it to watch us for at least another few hours.” 

“Well, that’s a relief. I wasn’t looking forward to having my performance filmed. That would definitely throw me off my game!” 


“You’ve missed a brand new twist to the situation, John. Mories is sending Deen to your bed tonight to discredit you with Garnet, and her father, I imagine.” 


I glared at our pilot. “Oh, keep your shirt on, John! You sound like an outraged virgin! You’ll switch beds with me and no one will be the wiser.” 

“Think so, lover boy? Well, video may be out, but sound isn’t! You’d just better make sure you don’t make a lot of noise!” 

“No need to worry, John. Herb is a silent lover,” Doc murmured absently. This was the first time he had ever spoken of that time we had spent together in front of others. John looked incensed. Hank looked…ambiguous. I’d have to have a talk with him when we had a spare minute. 

As for being silent; I could when I had to, but I much preferred letting my lover know how much I was enjoying myself. I’d just have to remember that the grown-ups would be listening in. 

We kept our heads together and John filled us in on the rest of what he had learned from Garnet. The younger people had discovered an extremely old tunnel that led to a tiny escarpment on the mountainside. They would sneak out there on moonlit nights, to neck and sample the delights the adults had forbidden to them. 

Garnet was going to take John there after dinner. 

He had nearly blown his chance with her, once again demanding why her people still dwelled underground. 

“But we’re safe, and comfortable down here. Everything we want is provided for us! Why should we live above ground?” she had asked him in return. 

“’Safe and comfortable’ she kept telling me! As if that was the most important thing in the world! Man was not meant to live in a hole in the ground!” John spat. 

Doc nodded. “I got the same thing from Timmek as well. They’re comfortable and safe in their subterranean caverns. They get power and light from the earth’s core, and they use petroleum for just about everything else. I don’t think we can persuade them to return to the surface.” 

“It may be comfortable and safe for them down here, but I’ll tell you something, Doc!” Hank exclaimed. “Their community is growing smaller. Do you know how many of those are children? Fourteen! Fourteen kids, Doc, out of a population of two thousand! I’d say in one more generation, this branch of Homo sapiens will be extinct!” 

“What about Australia? Greenland? Might there be normal people left there?” My mouth was dry with tension. Ever since a bout of mumps when I was sixteen had left me sterile, children were not an option for me, but there had to be something we could do to insure the continuation of the human race. 

Doc shrugged. “There might be pockets left here and there, but there’s no way for us to find out. They refuse to help us repair the ship. No, I didn’t get a chance to tell you that, did I? Every time I thought I had Timmek convinced it would be in their best interests to help us, Mories would throw a spanner in the works, playing on their fears. We’re going to have to talk to Timmek when he’s not around!” 

“Mories, again!” Hank growled. 

“And the fact that Garnet likes me better has certainly upset him,” John said, a faint smile on his lips. 

“I think ‘upset’ is a fairly mild word to use in this situation,” I muttered. He hunched his shoulder and turned his back on me. “Ah, c’mon, Borden, lighten up! I was only kidding!  Anyone can tell you’re the better man, anyway!” 

“Yeah?” John wasn’t sure if I was making fun of him. 

“*I* always thought so!” I said, batting my lashes at him. I pounced and got him in my arms, planting a sloppy kiss on his cheek. 

He sputtered and wiped his face dry. But he was laughing. Before I could step back, he grabbed my ears and pulled me to him, and kissed my mouth. His lips were dry, and his mouth was closed, and I knew there was nothing sexual in that kiss.  

He rubbed my hair and pushed me away. “Go make yourself handsome for the boy. I don’t want my reputation suffering because you’re inadequate!” 

I felt a twitch of relief. He had been cool to me since he discovered my yen for the servant boy, and I missed teasing him. “I may be many things, Johnny, m’lad, but inadequate is not one of them! I’ll have the boy swooning with delight!” 

“Herb.” Hank pulled me aside as I was about to go into my room to start packing my things. 

“Yeah, Hank?” 

“Take it easy with the kid, okay? You said yourself that he kissed as if he never had before.” 

“Maybe he was just being a tease.” 

“Do you really think so?” 

“No.” I slanted a look at him. “How come you’re so interested, Hank? I would have sworn you were straight to the core. You want to take a crack at the kid?” 

His shoulders stiffened, and for a moment I thought he was going to take a swing at me. And then he slumped and the fight went out of him. “Not the kid, Herb.” 

“Then who… Doc? You want Doctor Galbraithe?” I couldn’t believe it. And then I didn’t know why I hadn’t seen it. The two men were closer in age than Doc and I, and they'd be much better for each other. Doc would always look at me as his son’s friend. 

Hank couldn’t meet my eye. “He’s a great guy, Herb. But if you’re still involved with him, I’ll understand and not say a word.” 

“Wait a minute. You think I have a thing for Doc?” 

“Don’t you?” 

“Once, maybe, a long time ago.” I huffed at him. “You know something, Henry Jaffe? You’ve gone and hurt my feelings! I know I have a reputation for playing the field, but do you really think if I had someone as terrific as Easy in my bed, that I’d be screwing around?” 


“That’s what his wife used to call him. It’s what I called him, for one night. I never will again, since he doesn’t want me that way!” I crowded close to him and thrust my jaw forward, trying to look dangerous. “You call him that, if you decide you want to do this, if you want to love him. But make sure you’re very certain you do! Because if you hurt him the least little bit, if he sheds one single tear over you, I will make you sorry you were ever born!” 

“Well.” Hank let out his breath. “I thank you on setting me straight about the way things are between you and Doc. I’ll think over what you’ve told me very carefully, but I like Elton Galbraithe a good deal, and the last thing I want to do is hurt him.” 

“Fair enough. Doc’s a good man. And so are you, Hank.” 

“Umm…” Hank’s face became very red. “Can I just ask you one question?” 

He looked everywhere but in my eyes, and I became intrigued. I waited patiently. 

“Umm, what’s it like, Herb? Taking a cock up your ass?” 

“You’d bottom for Doc?” I pulled him to me and hugged him. 

“Huh?” Confusion was writ large upon his face. 

“It depends on your partner. The first time tends to be uncomfortable; I know mine was. But Doc will see to it that you aren’t left at the gate.” 


“Let’s go for a walk, Hank, and I’ll tell you everything you ever needed to know about loving a guy!” 


Part 13 

Deen’s POV


I tried to speak with Timmek, truly I did, but he was busy with the council and I didn’t dare approach him.

Mories’ voice was strident, rising above the others. He insisted vociferously that the strangers’ weapons must be kept secured, that with the weapons they would be the masters and The Others would be the slaves, being sent out to battle the strangers’ senseless wars. 

He wanted the guns in his keeping. 

However, Timmek, for once, stood against him, selecting James as the most appropriate councilman to deal with the task. 

I slipped away without being seen and spent the ensuing hours on the tiny ledge outside the tunnel opening. The air was hot and close, and I could remember summer days when the oppressive heat gave our chief the excuse to expend his discomfort on anyone who ventured too close to him. 

As if he needed an excuse. It was the custom for the chief to show his dominance by seizing any who displeased him and buggering them. It was not unusual to see Naga toss up a subordinate’s furs and part quivering buttocks, driving his massive cock in deep for a few hard strokes. Then he would go on to the next one. 

Even those who supported him could not expect to be safe from his rapacious attacks. Every male in the tribe, at one time or another, had been fucked by Naga. 

Except those, like me, who were different. We were untouched by anyone, for it had been learned over the long years that we bred true: any children we had would look exactly like us. This was the reason that the chiefs had once slain those children who were unlike the others. Until they realized that we made excellent slave labor. 

Before I had angered Naga, and he had driven me from our caves, I used to watch in awe, and longing, as he would growl at a male. The response was invariable: the male would present his ass to the leader, and a cock dripping with precome would pierce his hole. 

To be buggered in this manner signified acceptance. I wanted that, more than anything. 

And I would never get it. 


I remembered how some of the males of my people would put animal fat in their opening, whenever Naga began to work himself into a frenzy. It appeared to ease Naga’s way into them, and they actually seemed to get enjoyment out of the buggering. 

As the sun went down, and I returned to the caverns through the tunnel, I determined to prepare myself in this manner. I didn’t think I would enjoy having anyone’s cock in my ass except Herbert Ellis’, but at least I would be able to walk away from the encounter untorn. 

I stopped at pharmaceuticals and picked up a tube of lotion that I hoped would prove suitable. It was colorless and odorless, a thick, viscous gel. 

My heart was thudding heavily by the time I entered my chamber. I stripped off my garments and stepped into the ‘fresher, letting the sprays of water mist over my torso and shoulders. I tipped my head and the heavy weight of my wet hair dragged it further back. 

Filling my palm with shampoo, I worked the lather through the black strands and lost myself in the sensual feel. Long, luxurious moments drifted by, but I couldn’t put off the inevitable, so I rinsed off and stood before the jets of air that dried my body while I toweled my hair. 

Then I picked up the gel. My cock was half hard as I squeezed out a generous dollop of the lotion. I braced my foot on the sink and stroked it over my hole, gasping at the sensation of cool against hot. 

My cock was harder, and I wanted more than just that tantalizing touch. I took more gel and this time pressed against the opening. The ring of muscle was tight, but then it gave way under the steady force I was exerting, and my finger was in up to the knuckle. 

And it slid across a small bump that caused my cock to quiver and my breath to snag in my throat. Frightened, I pulled my finger from my ass, and winced at the sting. 

This wouldn’t do. I was not supposed to be getting pleasure from this! I had to do this thoroughly. I squeezed the tube and took more of the gel, and briskly prepared my passage. 

I concentrated until my arousal diminished, and I washed the lotion from my hands and dressed in a fresh tunic and leggings. I shook out my hair, which was still damp, and moistened my lips. 

It was time to obey my master’s orders. 


The corridors were dim, simulating the hours of night. 

If anyone saw me skulking through the passageways leading toward the chamber the strangers had been given, they would have totally ignored me. 

They would have ignored me anyway, and determinedly I tamped down the guilt that was gnawing at my gut. I had no desire to betray the man, John Borden. 

But this was a rite of passage for my people, and there was something deep inside me that hoped that by submitting in this manner, I would finally gain acceptance. 

And yet, there was no way I would let the little ones pay for my shortcomings. No matter what the outcome, I would go through with this. 

The journey to their quarters was no great distance, yet I accomplished it sooner than I would have preferred. Fine tremors shivered through my hand as I passed it over the sensor. The door slid silently open. 

I knew which chamber belonged to John Borden, and resolutely I walked toward it. A cloth barrier blocked what little light the outer room contained. I pushed it aside and entered, letting it fall back into place behind me. 

But I didn’t realize how very dark the sleeping chamber would be. 

I was barely able to make out the platform where John Borden lay sleeping, unsuspecting. This was not the man I wanted to be doing this with. This was not the man I wanted. 

But it was not a question of my desires. I shed my clothing and approached the bed. Carefully I lifted the coverings from his naked body…his naked, aroused body. I could just see that in the dimness, and breathed a sigh of relief. I hadn’t been sure how I was to go about getting him hard enough to penetrate me. 

Well, that would make it easier for me to accomplish my task. I never thought to wonder why, in the middle of the night, he should be hard. I lifted myself onto the platform and crouched over the muscular body. Gently I ran a hand over his chest, his scent filling my nostrils. The light covering of hair tickled my palm; so different from the furry bodies of the males of my people. 

Straddling his hips, I reached back and parted my buttocks, then began lowering myself onto his swollen manhood. He slid in so easily I was startled, and clutched at him to steady myself. My hand touched his cock and slipped off him. 

He, too, was coated with something to ease his way in. And he surged up, his arms going around me and holding me in case I thought to elude him. But his movement had caused him to brush that spot inside me, and I had no intention of going anywhere. 

I rose up slightly on my knees and then sank down lower, taking him deeper into me. I moaned and lost myself in the magic of the sensations. His arms tightened, and he let me fuck myself on his cock, urging me to ride him faster and harder. My breathing became as erratic as my movements, and then he took my thumb. Rubbing it across the tip of my erection, gathering up the moisture that was beading there, he raised it up and sucked it into his mouth. 

I gasped and began to come, pouring the warmth of my semen over his abdomen. My inner muscles clenched around the fullness that was penetrating my ass, but he squeezed the base of his cock and slowed his need to orgasm. 

Bonelessly, I hung in his embrace, feeling his rough-textured cheek against the skin of my throat. His teeth nibbled a path up to the space just below my jaw, and then he bit down, the pleasure/pain bordering on exquisite. I whimpered, and he wound his hand in my hair, pulling my face toward his, seeking my mouth. 

At the last minute I was able to avoid his kiss, turning away from his lips. 

“Kiss me!” he demanded in a hoarse whisper. 

I shook my head, my hair brushing over his skin. “No, Master.” 

“*Kiss me*!” 

“*No*!” I tried to lever myself off him. 

And then his hand slid down my spine, holding me firmly in place, and he flipped me over onto my back. He leaned into my legs, forcing them almost to my chest, and he smeared his hand in the fluid that coated my stomach. He wiped it over my lips, and I gasped, astounded by his action. And then his lips were on mine, licking the taste of me from them. 

Somehow, I managed to tear my mouth away, denying him the kiss, and he growled and began to pound into me, muttering words that were dark and sexual. 

It was a punishing fucking, and it burned and set me on fire. “*Master*! More!” 

With a muffled shout, he started to come, his semen a hot flood deep within me. 

He released his hold on my legs and let them ease down onto the mattress. My hips protested the change of position, and I bit my lips to stifle my groan. His cock slipped out of me, and I rolled over to get to my feet, hoping Mories had enough on his film. 

I could not spend the night with this man. I had enjoyed what he had done to me too much! 

I was so confused. And my ass was sore. 

But he wrapped an arm around my waist and yanked me back against him. “Going somewhere, Deen?” 




Part 14 

Herb’s POV    


The words that spilled from Deen’s mouth as I pulled him back onto my bed and against my body, were unintelligible, but it was obvious he was swearing at me. The language was harsh and guttural, and I suddenly realized where I had heard it before. 

“You! It was you who frightened those be--brutes away from us when we were attacked!” I passed my hand over the nightlight sensor by the head of the bed, and subdued lighting sprang up, allowing me to see Deen’s face. 

He was pale, the bruise on his cheek still standing out starkly. Reluctantly, he nodded. “I could not allow my people to harm you. Or your friends.” 


For a moment, I didn’t think he would answer me. Then, “It is the way of The Others. Although I am a Beast, I have been with them so long that I follow their ways.” 

Why did his response leave me feeling disappointed? Had I really expected him to say he acted as he had because he took one look at me and could not help himself? 

I forced him to turn in my embrace, pleased to feel a nicely growing hard-on brush against my own. I ran my hands down the curve of his back and palmed his ass. “You’re not a beast, you’re as human as these people who live below ground.” 

He shrugged and dismissed my words as unimportant. “Master, how did I make the error of coming to your bed?” he asked, his voice not quite steady. His eyes remained fixed on a spot just over my heart. 

That little movement of his shoulders put some distance between us, and I frowned, although he didn’t see it. “How many times must I tell you to call me Herb?”

“You truly wish me to use your name?” 

I huffed a little and drew him closer to me. “Haven’t I been saying that?” 

A little of the tension left his body. “If I call you Herb, you will tell me how I made such a stupid mistake?”

”Yes.” And I waited. And waited. Until he realized what I was waiting for. I would not answer until he spoke my name. 

He sighed in defeat. “*Herb*. How did I wind up in the wrong bed?” 

I just couldn’t resist him. As I leaned forward and snatched a brief kiss, my fingers traced the crevice of his buttocks, stroking across his puckered opening. He was still slick from a combination of lube and semen, and he moaned into my mouth and pressed closer. When I withdrew, he uttered a soft sound of protest and tried to recapture the kiss. 

I began to hope that I would get him to accept my kisses. I had never had that problem before. 

As a matter of fact, I was a damned good kisser. All my lovers said so! 

“You didn’t,” I told him, needing to assure him that any bed we were in together was not the wrong bed. “This is John’s room. I switched with him. Hank discovered Mories’ plan. We decided we’d play by our rules, not his.” 

Deen leaned his forehead against my shoulder. “He hates John Borden, you know. Your friend interferes with Mories’ dreams of being next president of the council. And of having the lady, Garnet, by his side.” 

“Will you go back and tell him you failed?” 

“I will not need to, Mas…Herb. He will find out for himself when he views the film he made of this night’s activities.” 

“Not likely; John spilled something into the panel that controlled the feed for this room. All he’ll see is static. Which is kind of a shame.” I nuzzled the cool silk of his hair. “That was one of my more inspired performances.” 

“I must return to my chamber.” His abrupt statement burst my balloon of self-satisfaction. 

“Do you have someone waiting for you there?” The thought bothered me. I knew so little about Deen. 

“Why would anyone be waiting in my quarters?” 

“Sunshine, do you have any idea what a pretty boy you are? I’d be surprised if you had no one to share your bed.” 

“Mas…Herb. You forget that I am a Beast. None here would pair with me; it would offend their sense of…self. I have been told that my nature is too feral. They fear that in the throes of passion, I might become violent.” 

I snorted as I fingered the black hair that hung to the center of his back. Then it struck me what he said. “*No one*? You’ve never had a lover?” 

He shook his head, and that soft hair feathered over my torso. I grew harder. “No, Mas…Herb.” 

“Fucking idiots!” 

“You aren’t afraid that I might lose control, …Herb?” Clearly, the idea that someone wasn’t intimidated by that aspect of his nature startled him. 

“They’ve really made you see yourself as a creature too vile to love, haven’t they? But let me tell you something, Sunshine: the wilder you get, the more I like it!” 

His lips shaped a silent ‘O’, and I took advantage of his surprise and slid my tongue between them, lapping gently at his tongue. When I had tried to french kiss him the first time, something about it had frightened him, and I was determined to go slower. 

Hesitantly, the tip of his tongue touched mine, to retreat so quickly that I smiled. Our lips still touching, I murmured, “Would you rather put your tongue in my mouth?” 

“This is allowed?” 

“Umhmm.” I waited to see if he was willing to take me up on my offer. 

“You would not mind?” 

I rolled us over so that he was lying on top of me like a blanket, and then flung my arms wide. “I’m yours, pretty boy,” I said, grinning. “Do whatever you want.” 

“I’m not a boy!” he objected, but his eyes were on my lips, and I could see the heated flush color his cheeks. He leaned up until our mouths were a breath apart. The movement rubbed our cocks together, and I groaned a little from the delicious friction. 

I didn’t move, didn’t breathe, as he decided what he wanted to do. I shivered from having to restrain myself, while, as fastidiously as a cat, he licked my mouth, letting his tongue taste my lips. 

His hips rocked gently as he dipped into my mouth. Maybe it was the results of genetics marred by radiation poisoning. Maybe it was simply that I never noticed before. But his tongue was rough as a cat’s, and the feel of it left me breathless. 

Tentatively he explored my mouth, testing the ridges of my teeth, caressing my tongue. He was exciting me more than many of my more experienced lovers ever had. I sucked on his tongue, and he jerked away from me, leaving me empty. 

“Deen, please! Fuck my mouth!” 

“I don’t want to hurt you…Herb.” 

“My mouth hasn’t been virgin in a dog’s age! You won’t hurt me!” But the boy turned his face away. And through the fog of my lust, it suddenly dawned on me why he may have been so frightened by my aggressive kisses. “Did someone hurt you, Sunshine?” 

He went still on top of me, and I wanted to commit murder. I could feel him withdrawing into himself, and I knew that if I didn’t manage to reach him soon, he’d be lost to me. 

“It was Mories, wasn’t it?” It was my turn to swear, and I did it long and savagely. “Goddamned cocksucking, motherfucking, son of a syphilitic whore!” I finished with a vicious flourish. Then I took in a deep breath. 

Gently I eased Deen over onto his back and began to kiss my way down his body. I nibbled at his collarbone, teased his flat nipples to pebble hardness, tickled his ribs with lips and tongue, dipped into the shallow depression that was his navel, and generally mapped his body as I made my way south. 

He was too awash in the sensations that were inundating him to realize my goal. As I nuzzled the curly hair at his groin, his erection brushed against my cheek, leaving dampness behind. I turned my head, and this time it crossed my lips, and I drew it into my waiting mouth. 

Angling up, I began to work his cock, taking it deep into my throat, and then pulling back until only the broad, weeping head remained captured by my lips. I teased the slit at the tip with my tongue, and then swallowed him down. Helplessly, his hips jerked, and he drove himself even deeper. 

His hands found my hair and began tugging at it, distracting me from the enjoyment of sucking his cock. Somehow, he managed to stop his movements, but I refused to let him stop mine. I got my hands under his ass and tried to establish a rhythm of his fucking my mouth. 

The boy had a will of iron, not to mention a cock to match. He refused to let me pleasure him. 

I’m good. I’m better than good, and I didn’t need the verbal praise of the many lovers I’ve had to make me aware of that. Male or female, I knew how to make love to them and bring them to an earth-shattering orgasm. 

Why wouldn’t Deen let me do this? 

I slipped my fingers between his buttocks and found his tightly guarded opening. With a forefinger of each hand, I breached his hole and devastated his control. 

It didn’t take long after that to make him come. He bucked and shivered, and I could almost tell the moment his balls tightened to signal eminent climax. He began to come, pouring himself into my mouth. And happily, I swallowed. 

He was still shuddering as I licked him clean and then made my way back up his body. I wanted to feast on his lips and share his taste with him. Until I saw the tears streaking his face. 

“Master, why did you make me do that to you?” 

“Deen, I wanted that! I wanted you fucking my mouth. In fact, I made damned sure that you would come!” 

“You…you wanted that? And I didn’t hurt you?” 

“Sunshine, I’m a big boy; I can take it! A boy your size could never hurt me!” 

“I’m not a boy…Master.” 

I buried my hands in his hair and tilted his head back. “How many times do I have to tell you to call me Herb?” Suddenly I wasn’t quite so sure of myself. “Didn’t you like it at all?” My tone was plaintive, but I had never before felt as if I had made a grave misstep. 

“I liked it very much,” he said in a small voice. 

“But you’re back to calling me master.” 

Carefully he fitted his mouth to mine and blew his breath into it. 

“And you call me sunshine.” 

He pushed me onto my back, settled his lips over my heart and suckled. 

Marking me. 


Note: Monsters from the id is taken from Forbidden Planet. If you haven’t seen it, suffice it to say that we all have nasties living in our subconscious minds. Theirs just got free and destroyed a planet. 

Part 15 

Doc’s POV


I knocked. Truly I did. 

Well, a cloth door doesn’t have much resonance. It wasn’t my fault they didn’t hear me. 

I peeked in, to find Herbert wrapped around the boy, nuzzling the skin below his jaw. “I’d better shave, or you’ll be raw from whisker burn!” I could just hear him whisper.

“Fuck me first!” Deen begged hoarsely, arching into his embrace. “Please, Master!” 

As I told Hank, Herb was inventive. He had one of Deen’s legs beneath him, while the other was rubbing restlessly against Herbert’s back The moans as my friend slid into his lover’s body hardened my cock. 

Ashamed to spy on their evident enjoyment, I backed away, letting the barrier fall back into place. 


I walked to the menu, wondering if I could get something decent for breakfast. The keys waited patiently for me to punch in my choices. 

John came out of Herbert’s room. “Morning, Doc. How’d loverboy make out?” he asked, nodding toward his own room. 

I shrugged. I would not talk to him about my friend. “Did you find out anything of use?” I hadn’t been waiting up for him; I didn’t do that any more, since my own children were grown. But I was still awake when he got in from his rendezvous with Garnet. 

He sighed. “If we could set up outposts every few miles, we’d be able to safeguard a route back to the XRM. We might be able to convince some of the younger men to come with us and make repairs.” 

“Would we use electrical fences to protect the outposts?” 

“Yes, these people use them routinely to guard their air vents.” He glanced glumly at the menu, as reluctant as I to touch it. “Garnet will back our plan, and she’ll try to convince her father that this is the best solution to all our problems.” 


“It’s Mories. It all boils down to him. He keeps playing on their fears. Maybe we can use Deen to distract him while we talk to Timmek on the side.” 

“Do you really think Herb will allow the boy to be placed in jeopardy?” 

“C’mon, Doc. These people don’t believe in violence! Who’d hurt Deen?” 

“John, someone already has, or have you forgotten that bruise on his face?”  

It was clear from the look on his face that he had tucked that bit of information into the recesses of his brain where the monsters from the id dwelled. I regarded him thoughtfully, and a dull flush mounted his cheeks. 

“Maybe you should get Herb up?” 

I turned toward the other room. “He already is.” 


The chamber was empty when I entered it, but I could hear voices in the bath; lazy, sated voices. My attention was drawn to the sleeping platform, and I couldn’t help eying the state of the bed with interest. Linens were bunched at the foot, scattered on the floor, and one even looked to be torn in two. The heavy scent of sex filled the air. 

My prick was aware too, and I had to adjust my trousers. It had been a good, long time since I had anyone to share my bed. 

I heard someone behind me, entering the room. “Herb, you’re a pistol! I’m surprised the bed is still standing! Did you wear out the boy?” I was grinning until I turned and saw that it was Deen who stood there. 

Hurriedly he drew on his leggings and tunic. “Shall I leave, Sir?” 

I noticed that he did not call me master this time, but all I felt was relief. I shook my head. “I beg your pardon, Deen. I’m sorry you heard that.” 

He shrugged. “I’ve heard worse, Sir.” He turned to straighten the sleeping platform. 

“Uh, we were just about to have some breakfast,” I murmured. 

The boy found a strip of cloth to tie his hair back. “I’ll order up something for you.” 


“Sir, I have lived here for twelve years. And I have never forgotten what I am. They have never let me forget it either. I am a Beast.” 

He went into the other room. 

“Shit! Shitshitshit!” 

“Problem, Doc?” 

“Ah, hell, Herb. I thought it was you coming in here and shot off my mouth. I think I hurt Deen. Oh, who am I trying to kid? I know I hurt him!” 

Herbert rubbed my arm. “His upbringing has been so strange. We’re bound to hurt him unwittingly. I’ll just have to make sure it’s not too frequently.” 

“I’m really sorry, Herb.” 

Just then, Hank called out to us. “Doc! Herb! Hurry up or you’ll get what the littlest pig got!” 

We suddenly realized an appetizing aroma was wafting in from the other room. “What smells so good?” Herb demanded, hurrying through the doorway. I was right on his heels. 

I nearly tripped over the backpacks that had been abandoned near the door. “What’s this?” I asked, toeing them. 

“We thought we’d be breakfasting on our own supplies again!” Hank said, watching with interest as Deen set the platters on the table. 

“Why would you want to eat that when there is fresh food available?” Deen asked. 

“The food didn’t taste that fresh when Herb ordered it!” 

“Obviously, someone wasn’t paying attention when the lady Garnet told you how to use this menu.” 

I couldn’t believe Deen was actually teasing Herb. He was watching him from under his eyelashes, a tiny smile on his lips. Herb crooked his finger at the boy and beckoned him. Deen shook his head 

“Deen.” Herbert began stalking him. 

Hardly seeming able to breathe, the boy licked his lips. “Herb?” 

One hand on his shoulder, the other in his hair, Herb pulled his lover to him and kissed him. I knew how his lips would feel: they would be warm and firm. And they nuzzled Deen’s mouth until he opened to Herb with a helpless moan. “*Master*!” 

I swallowed a grin and took my seat, filling my plate with the tempting items Deen had somehow gotten the menu to deliver. Hank looked pleased, as well. John moodily pushed the food around on his plate. 

“Tell me something, Deen. How is it that you were able to get palatable food from that monster?” I asked.

“The menu? This is an old unit, and if you don’t treat it kindly, it takes its revenge.” He walked to the unit and ran his fingers over the keypad. 

“Don’t we know it! The food that’s been coming out of it has been god awful!” 

“Well, Deen will be able to program it for us from now on. He’ll be staying here!” Herb took his seat and ignored the commotion he had set off. 

John was the one who finally made himself heard. “Do you really think that’s a good idea, Herb?” 

“I don’t give a flying fuck if it’s a good idea or not. I don’t want Mories having the opportunity to get near him.” 

I chewed on my lip and winced as I bit down too hard. “He’ll try to question you about last night, won’t he, Deen?” 

“Of course. He’s probably waiting in my chamber for me. I must return there.” 

“Will you be all right? Will he beat you again?” 

That startled him. “How did you know he caused my bruises, and not clumsiness?” 

Herb and I exchanged glances. “We knew.” 

He dismissed our knowledge. “It isn’t important. He is afraid to strike me now, since he made my nose bleed.” 

“That shit on a stick gave you a bloody nose?” The sound of Herb’s teeth grinding together was audible in the suddenly silent room. He began breathing deeply to contain his anger. “And he wouldn’t hesitate to rape you, would he?” 

Deen shrugged. “He tried, but he climaxed too soon. Mories will not do that again.” 

“No, he’ll go for your mouth, like the last time! Fuck! I’m going to find him in a dark passage one night and demonstrate what happens when a man hurts someone who can’t fight back!” Herbert was furious. 

Deen touched his arm and said softly, “Master, it is not necessary.” 

“The hell you say!” His fist wound in the front of the boy’s tunic and he dragged him onto his lap. “You’re mine, Sunshine! If Mories wants to get to you, he’ll have to go through me to do it!”

“Well, I think that’s about as plain as you can make it, Herb!” I said, biting my cheek to keep a grin under control. “If I was Deen’s father, I’d take that as a declaration of your intentions.” 

Deen was mildly interested. He had never heard the term before. Herbert looked surprised, and then supremely satisfied. 

I knew it had  only been a matter of time until he found what he was searching for. I just never expected it to be centuries. 


Part 16 

Deen’s POV


It was much easier to straighten the other bedchambers without someone watching me. Someone whose hot eyes stripped the clothes from my body. 

I finished the last chamber. As I turned to re-enter the outer room I walked into Herbert Ellis. “Excuse me, Herb.” 

But he blocked my way, and began crowding me back toward a wall. My mouth was dry with excitement, and I couldn’t tear my gaze from his mouth. He had taught me how good two lips could feel on mine, how good they could feel sucking my cock. 

“I must return to my chamber, Master,” I told him, breathless. 

He ignored my words. His hands slid under my armpits and he lifted me up, until our eyes were level, and my toes were off the floor. He held me like that, letting me dangle, and I felt myself grow hard. 

“Put your arms around me!” he whispered, his blue eyes all that I could see. When I hesitantly did as he ordered, his hold on me shifted, and his arms encircled me, pressing me snugly to his aroused body. 

And then his mouth was on mine, branding it with his heat, teasing it until I had no choice but to open to him. 

My cock was aching, and my leggings dampened with pre come. I needed to rub myself against him, needed him to make me come, but without any purchase, I was helpless to do anything about it. Frantically, I began twisting in his grip. 

Startled out of his haze of lust, afraid that he was hurting me, he dropped me and took a step away from me. But I followed him, throwing myself at him, flowing over him like honey. And the friction I needed was there, in his hard thigh. 

Begging, biting at him, I came apart in his arms. And I felt him shuddering as he responded to my loss of control. 

Behind us, someone cleared his throat. Herb glanced over his shoulder. “Go ‘way, Doc!” 

I started to release him, but he held me tighter. “I really must return to my chamber now!” 

He laughed softly, and I shivered at the sensation of his warm breath and moist tongue dipping into my ear.

I shivered and moaned, and wanted him again. 

“*C’mon*, Herb!” John’s voice was impatient. “We have to go speak to Timmek if we don’t want to be stuck in this hole in the ground for the rest of our lives!” 

Herb set me away from him. “John’s right. Get your things from your room and return here. You’ll be all right?” 

I raised my hand to stroke his cheek, but stopped it short of its goal. I was unsure if he would appreciate gestures of affection. It was not uncommon among my own people, although not with those of us who were different, but The Others did not like me touching them at all. 

Herb took my hand and brought it the rest of the way to his cheek. I felt the freshly-shaven smoothness of his chin and jaw. He turned his face to nuzzle my palm, and then pressed a kiss into it. Then he turned me around and urged me out of the room with a caress to my bottom. 

I wanted to lean back against him, and have his hands all over my body. I wanted to have him drag me over to the bed that I had just made. I wanted him to tear off my leggings, which were sodden with come, and bend me over the platform and take me, and take me, and take me, until I was a puddle of goo from his love-making. 

Instead, I walked away from him. 


As I expected, Mories was waiting for me when I returned to my chamber. My insides turned to water as I saw him pacing the confines of the small room. 

But I remembered that I now had someone who cared about me. 

He glared at me. “The machine did not work! I have no film of last night’s activities. Did you manage to spend the night in John Borden’s bed?” 

I nodded. “Yes, Sir.” No longer would I call any of the men below ground ‘master’. 

Mories sneered at me. “Should I believe you, I wonder?” He seized my crotch before I knew what he was about, and squeezed, his eyes gleamed evilly at the damp condition of my leggings. “Well, it looks as if you are able to follow directions, Beast! Did he enjoy you?” 

“He seemed to, Sir. He wants me to return to his chamber.” 

“Excellent! Even better than I had planned! Although why he would want a beast in his bed is beyond me! Come along. I want Garnet to hear who her gallant lover had in his bed! I may not have a film of his bestiality, but I have you to tell her all he did to you!” he declared avidly. 

I rather thought that he, himself, desired to hear what my lover had done with my body the night before. “May I change my clothes, Sir?” 

He wanted to strike me. I could read that in his stance, in the way his hands clenched impotently into fists, in the odor of his body. Instead, he spun around sharply. “No, Beast! I want Garnet to see the condition of your clothing. You will tell her with whom you spent the night, and she will no longer have any use for John Borden. She will be mine once more!” 


At this time of day, Garnet was most likely in the council chamber, overseeing some of her father’s administrative duties. Mories was almost dancing with anticipation when we finally arrived there. 

Garnet had her head together with the scientific assistant, Elaine. The petite blond and the statuesque redhead made a stunning contrast, the cool and the fiery. There were none more beautiful to be found in the underground caverns, if that was the way a man’s taste ran. 

Mories licked his lips, his eyes hot as they raked over the smaller woman. “Garnet!” 

I could see her mouth tighten, and then she smiled and turned toward her sometime suitor. “Mories! I didn’t expect to see you here this morning. What can I do for you?” 

“It’s what I can do for you,” he smirked. He nodded toward me. “Tell her.” 

I opened my mouth, but he was too ebullient to allow me speak. “He spent the night with John Borden!” 

Garnet stared at him blankly. “Excuse me?” 

“This Beast had sexual congress with the man you think is so special!” 

She turned pale. “Deen, is this true?” 

Again I opened my mouth, and again Mories interposed. “Of course it’s true! Feel his leggings!” 

The lady reached out her hand and gingerly touched the front of my garment. Elaine was covering her mouth to hide a most unladylike grimace. Garnet looked at her fingers as if she could not believe they belonged to her. Then she glanced back at Mories. 

With a growl, he grabbed her hand and thrust it under her nose. “Smell! The scent of sex!” 

She swallowed hard, and her eyes were frigid. “Deen?” 

“Lady…” Again, I was interrupted, this time by raised voices from the rooms behind the council chamber. 

“Do you condemn them to death? Do you condemn your children to die?” I recognized Hank’s voice, and the pain in it. 

“Such dissension! Such discord! I do not know how to deal with this!” Timmek burst into the room, closely followed by Hank and the three men who were his companions. They all paused when they saw that the chamber was already occupied. 

“Goddamn!” John spat. Then he went to Garnet. “Sweetheart!” He tried to embrace her. 

She stepped back, out of his clasp, and glared at him. “You will explain yourself, John Borden!” 

He stopped abruptly, as he realized that the daughter of the president of the council was not someone to be trifled with. “Of course, Garnet. What, exactly, do I need to explain?” 

She sank her nails into my shoulder and dragged me forward, almost throwing me at him. “*This*!” 

Herb sauntered forward and caught me before I stumbled. “Hi, Sunshine.” He dipped his head, and his lips brushed mine. “Miss me?” Then he straightened. His arm was around me, and his eyes were flat and cold as he stared at Garnet. 

Violet fire flamed in her eyes. “Do not try to protect your friend!” she spat. “I know that he spent the night with that…” 

“Watch what you call what’s mine!” Herb snapped. 

“*Yours*? Mories has told me that the Beast was with John Borden last night!” 

“You’re lucky you’re a woman, Garnet. If a man called Deen what you just did, I’d have to beat the shit out of him. Deen is not a beast. And the boy was in bed with me!” 

“That’s impossible!” Mories sputtered. “The film of your chamber revealed nothing!” 

“And how would you know that, Mories?” Doc asked blandly. “Are our rooms under surveillance?” He turned on the president of the council. “Is this a measure of your hospitality, Timmek?” 

The older man was wringing his hands together. The Others never fought with each other, and so he had no knowledge of how to deal with quarrels. I thought he was about to weep. 

Mories was trying to cover the error he had made in announcing that he knew the state of affairs in the strangers’ rooms. “I was… He said…” He drew himself up to his full height, which even Hank, as the shortest of the strangers, topped, and gave his tunic a brisk tug. “I have no idea what is going on here. Obviously this is an attempt to discredit me with the esteemed President of the Council, and his daughter, who is my betrothed! The Beast told me he was with John Borden last night! He is a part of this conspiracy, along with these strangers, and needs to be expelled from our community! They all do!” 

“Is this true, Deen? Did you tell Mories such a foul lie?” Timmek demanded. 

“No, Sir. I do not lie. He asked if I spent the night in John Borden’s bed, and I said yes.” There was an outburst of dismay, and I stiffened, not knowing what to expect. Herb smiled into my eyes, encouraging me to continue, and the tension in my shoulders eased. “I just didn’t spend it with John Borden.” 


Note: Minor character death, but it’s no one we know and love, so no need to get into a swivet. 

Part 17 

Mories’ POV


I hurried from the council chamber, outwardly under control. Inside I was a mass of raging emotion. 

So close! I had been so close! 

The position of President of the Council had been within my grasp. I looked down into the palm of my hand. 


Only days ago, it had all been mine! Timmek was about to agree with my proposal that the lady Garnet and I pair. Once that was accomplished, it would have taken the merest hint to get him to step down as President. He was growing old and tired. 

Having Garnet in my bed would just be an additional bonus. I would be a devoted husband to her, and she would obey my every…whim. 

And I would no longer have this sick desire to fuck an animal! 


Other offspring of The Beasts had found their way into our tunnels, and they had been taken in. Some had thrived. Most had not. 

But none had the fine-boned looks of the battered whelp who was brought to us, barely alive, his ribs cracked, an arm broken, and his back so badly scored that not an inch of flesh was unbloodied. A ratty fur, more hide than hair, was all that protected his thin, beaten body from the freezing winds of the surface winter. His hair was matted with dirt and leaves, and things best not looked into too closely. 

James, who supervised the crèche, carefully washed off his filthy hide. Once clean, it was revealed how very…unusual-looking the whelp was. Hair the color of midnight. Eyes, now dull with the pain of his injuries, that were a half dozen shades lighter than his hair. 

 The cub was taken to medical, where it was ascertained, through examining his teeth, that the creature couldn’t be much older than eight years. 

Once he was released by the doctors, those in the crèche saw to the whelp’s care. Surprisingly, he healed quickly. And once they were certain that he would survive, they let him run loose. 

Fools. Letting a beast have the freedom of our caverns! Perhaps they had no conception of what such a creature might do, but I was not so stupid! 

I watched as he grew, and he grew rapidly. But his height never equaled mine, even at his maturity. That was when I began having these unsuitable…desires. I took every opportunity to cuff him into obedience, which was the only contact I would allow myself. 

I would strike him, feeling myself grow hard. It was so pleasurable. 

And then it became more than pleasurable: it became necessary, the blows almost caresses, and I could not come unless I had my hands on him. 

I sought him out more and more frequently to satisfy this twisted need. None in the caverns were aware of this obsession of mine. 

But he knew. Whenever I thought I was observing him unseen, he would turn those fathomless grey eyes on me, and I would be lost in them. 

I became frightened. 

Quite casually, I mentioned to James that I had seen how the girls in their mid-teens regarded the whelp with interest. 

The man was a xenophobe, and it was so simple to play on his fears. If that beast impregnated our women, I told him, the pure genetic material of we who survived below ground would be tainted, and our caverns would be overrun by little, one-eyed monstrosities. By the end of the day, the cub had been taken to medical and neutered. 

I was awarded a position on the council for my devotion to the welfare of my people, for seeing the danger when no one else had. 

Of course, James later learned, to his remorse, that the cub had no interest in our females, indeed would have preferred being mounted by one of our males. He passed that information on to me, and I shuddered with what the other man thought was revulsion. 

But instead of destroying my unnatural fascination with the creature, it made it worse, for now, whenever I released my seed after handling him, I burned to know what it would feel like to be enclosed in the hot, tight passage of the animal. 

When I finally seized that opportunity, my excitement was so great that I came before I could get inside him. 

But the next time, his mouth had proved even more satisfying than my fantasies of his ass. 


I sought out James, who had possession of the strangers’ weapons. He looked up in surprise when I stormed into his outer chamber. 

“Mories! What is wrong?” 

“Those strangers! They are working on Timmek, trying to get him to accede to their demands! They say they want only to help us, but they will be the destruction of our people!” 

He shook his head sadly. “Are you sure they are so deceitful? The one called Henry Jaffe truly seemed concerned about our dwindling number of children! And Garnet appears to like them.” 

I scowled at him. “Our women seem to have lagged behind in their evolution! As to the children, you know our scientists have the solution to that problem within their grasp.” 

“Perhaps.” He turned away to pour us both a beverage. 

“James, they will try to convince Timmek that they must have their weapons for our own best interests. They must not get their weapons!” 

“No need to worry, Mories,” he said indulgently. “I have them safely hidden, in a place they will never think of searching!” 

This was what I needed to know. “Oh?” I kept my tone casual. 

“Yes,” he said as he took a sip, complacent. “I am keeping them in my chamber at the crèche. They will be quite secure there.” 

“Of course.” As soon as I could, I excused myself and made my way to the crèche. 


The man was a packrat. And a sentimental one at that! I found worn out toys, tattered books and formula-stained clothing. 

And then, finally, I found the weapons, hidden in a cabinet that didn’t even have a decent lock! 

I took them out and clutched them to my chest. I would conceal them in the strangers’ chambers, and then Timmek and Garnet would have no choice but to see how very primitive and dangerous those men were. 

I began to swell and harden. Perhaps I could take the time to stroke myself to completion before I set my plan in motion. I licked my lips at the lovely thought. 

And then James bustled in, officious fool that he was. “Here, who’s that?” My back was to him, and he couldn’t identify me. “What are you doing here?” he demanded, rushing toward me. He saw that the cabinet was opened and its contents were no longer there. “Return those weapons at once!” 

He seized my shoulder and spun me around, and it was only then that he realized who it was. I could see awareness color his eyes, and I knew he would not hesitate to inform the council of my actions. He turned to hasten from the chamber, and bile rose up in my throat as I saw my status in my community fade to nothingness. 

My hand settled heavily on his shoulder, and I refused to release him when he tried to shrug me off. The struggle was silent but violent, and the weapons spilled from my hands. 

All save one. The one that came into vicious, sickening contact with James’ skull. 

With a small, surprised sound, he sank to the floor, and I stared in horror at the blood that pooled beneath his head, mingling with brain matter. 

My own blood was thundering in my ears, and I could hear nothing beyond the pounding words, “Doomed. Doomed. DOOMED!” 

This could not be happening to me! I had done nothing to deserve this! 

Scooping up the weapons, I hid them under my tunic and hurried from the crèche. 

This was all the fault of the strangers! They were the ones who should be made to pay! 

And I would see to it that they did! 

I slipped into their chambers. As much as I disliked the one called John Borden, it was Herbert Ellis who was the object of my hatred. He was the one who had successfully taken the beast. My beast. 

I concealed the weapons in his sleeping platform. He would be made to pay, most of all! 


Note: f/f, implied m/f 

Part 18 

Elaine’s POV


I went to see the strangers after Garnet told me how intriguing they were. 

“The one called John Borden is quite attractive,” she said in her flirtatious manner. She never used that with any of the men of our community, only with me, knowing how it drove me wild. “But I have selected him for myself! Go and see them, Elaine. Perhaps you might find Herbert Ellis to your liking.” 

“Why do you torment me like this?” I had demanded. “*You* are the one who’s to my liking!” 

We had been lovers since she had come out of the crèche. I had taken one look at her violet eyes and blond hair and knew I had to have her. I got her to my chambers on some flimsy pretext, and then introduced her to the delights of the flesh. 

Now, I often thought that I loved her more than she loved me. 

But to please her, I had gone to see the strangers, and had thrown out lures, as I had known she wanted me to. Although their glances over my body seemed appreciative, none of the men appeared interested. Or interesting. 

I knew that eventually I would have to pair with someone, if only for the sake of the progeny such a union would produce. 

However, I would put off that moment for as long as I could. Garnet was the only one I wanted without reserve. 


“He wants to pair with me!” The blond beauty turned eyes the color of drowned amethysts toward me. 

“Garnet, as the daughter of the president of the council, you have always been near the seat of power. Now you will be the wife of the president.” 

“But Elaine. I don’t love him!” She said it patiently, as if explaining it to a backward child. 

I looked up from the slide I was preparing and shook back my hair. I always regretted being a redhead, instead of having luxurious blond hair, like the woman who was pretending to studiously examine a chart on the wall. 

If she married someone she could love, where would that leave me? “Whom do you love, Garnet?” 

The blond stepped closer to me, our breasts separated only by a trembling breath. “Must you ask?” 

I raised my hand and wound my fingers through that lustrous, pale hair. “Yes, I’m afraid I do.” I brought our lips together. “Will you come to me tonight?” 

“Yes! But I want you now!” 

I wanted to smile at my lover, but she needed this too much. The news that Garnet’s father was pairing her with that unctuous, censorious Mories, had shaken her to the core. I settled her against the table I had been working on. She shivered. “Someone can come in!” 

“They’ll just have to wait their turn. I’m going to have you now!” 

The blond’s eyes drifted shut, and she parted her thighs further, tilting her hips, inviting me to explore her humid core. 

But I had no intention of doing that. Yet. I was going to make her beg me to touch her. 

As if of their own accord, my hands lifted and came to rest on the petite woman’s torso. I could feel her nipples through the material of the saucy little outfit Garnet wore, stabbing my palms. 

Carefully I lowered the top of the dress, imprisoning Garnet’s arms, and feasted my eyes on the lush curves before me. I moistened my lips, and then dragged my tongue across a pouting nipple before drawing it into my mouth and sucking it to pebble hardness. My fingers toyed with her other nipple, pinching it gently, scraping it with my thumbnail while I cupped the weight of her breast in my hand. 

Her breath hitched. “Elaine!” 

“What, beautiful?” 

“Touch me!” 

“Touch you, how?” I really intended to torment her, only I was torturing myself at the same time. There was an ache between my thighs, that was building, and I needed her touch as much as she needed mine. I wanted her clever fingers to part my folds and rub the tiny nub hidden there. I wanted them gathering the moisture that was preparing my body for her tender invasion and smearing it over my lips, and then licking it from them. 

But I had to see to her pleasure first. I reached under the minuscule skirt and ran my carefully manicured nail over Garnet’s dampening femininity. “Yes!” she whispered huskily. 

Sliding a forefinger into the hot, wet depths of Garnet’s passage, I set up a steady movement. With my thumb I found the knot of nerve endings and began rubbing it in rhythm with my finger. 

The friction was driving the petite woman to the edge. Garnet’s head fell backward, as if too heavy for her slender neck, and her breathing became raspy. Her hips rocked forward, wanting to take in more of what I was giving her. 

I abandoned the sweet nipple and watched with slitted eyes as the younger woman came closer and closer to climax. I could almost come myself, just by watching my blond beauty. I moaned and seized her lips, the pressure of my mouth forcing them apart. My tongue began to glide and tease in Garnet’s mouth. And then, as if sensing that I desperately needed some attention myself, the woman in my arms inserted her thigh high between mine. 

“Ride me, Elaine!” she whispered. 

I shuddered and settled myself on the toned muscle of her upper leg, not even thinking to ask why she would do this for me now. But the sensations became illusive, as the nub retreated into my folds. My breath whined in desperation. 

“Free me, Elaine!” 

I yanked the top of her outfit all the way down, and freed her arms. Then Garnet placed her hand under my skirt. She hummed with pleasure to find me so wet. She parted the flesh that was plump and swollen with desire, and licked my lips. “Again, Elaine,” she said into my mouth. “I want you to come, riding me!” 

This time the feelings were bright and hot and shimmered within my reach. She stroked down over my lower back, her fingers tracing the crevice of my buttocks, seeking my puckered opening. And then she pressed on it, forcing the ring of muscle to surrender to her. 

I leaned against her, angling my hips back to give her better access to all my intimate secrets. Her finger pulled all the way out of my ass, and I moaned its loss. But then two fingers were gliding in, deeper than before, and I moaned from their possession of me. 

She was pushing me toward the brink. 

I didn’t want this to end. I wanted to belong to this woman, to have her in my bed for the rest of our lives. 

She took my mouth in a ravaging kiss, sucking hungrily on my tongue. The fingers of one hand plucked at my nipple, while those of her other hand fucked my ass and I masturbated myself on her thigh. 

I went into sensory overload and came with a choked cry. 

Exhausted by the intense climax, I could do nothing more than murmur, “I love you!” 

“Yes,” she responded, but her hand had abandoned my nipple and she began searching for her swollen nub. 

“Let me…” 

“No,” she brushed aside my offer. “You’re tired. I can do it faster.” 

She pulled her fingers free of my ass, and I winced at the sting. I leaned back to watch as she slid up on the table and spread her thighs wider, and found that little bit of flesh. As she rubbed it, she teased her own nipples. 

I was hurt that she wouldn’t let me do this for her. I could see the pouting lips concealing her opening, and I had two fingers in her, curling and pumping, before she realized what I was about. With a shriek, she came. 

There was a discrete knock at the door before it slid open. “Everything all right in here, ladies?” Elda inquired. “I thought I heard a cry.” 

Garnet smiled at him sweetly, her outfit once more sedately in place, as was mine. “Oh, no, Elda. Everything is quite all right.” 

“Are you sure? You look a little flushed.” 

I was bent over my microscope, which prevented him from seeing the blush that covered my cheeks, and barely bit back a laugh. 

“No, we’re fine. But thank you for asking, Elda.” 

He smiled fondly at the beautiful daughter of our president, and returned to his experiments. 

“I’ll come to your chamber tonight, Elaine.” 

She would come to my chamber. And we would make passionate love, and come. And I would wonder if she really did love me.


~End Part A~

On to Part B