the Masks Part IV
Prince Vlad was in a strange mood- even for him. He was
with the fact that Delia's children had been born safely and with no
complications. Four children to add to the growing First Pride.
felt a pride in that as if they were his own blood- they were at
family, being the scion of his wife and husbands from long before he
crossed over to this side of death. He still did not understand
David could be descended from Ashleigh's lost son, but it was evidently
true; blood does not lie.
On the other hand he was not pleased by the other news his young
protégées brought him. His proxy in Atlanta was
dead, killed by a
vampire who'd decided to bypass all of the rules of challenge, and now
threatening to upset the delicate balance of power between the
nocturnals in that city. Worse yet, he had violated the covenant
which all nocturnals agreed for the right of residing in the city: he'd
fed off a child. Not just any child, he'd chosen the ward of one
the city's transhuman defenders, a child who was a transhuman himself.
He threatened to bring a force down onto the collective heads of
nocturnals that would be devastating. Moonwing and
bad enough, but Quantum could do things to all breeds of nocturnals
that made even the dead blood in Vlad's veins run cold.
That was why he had requested that one of his nocturnal advisors
him. Sheriff James Daniel, JD to his friends, Williams was the
of the small county in Northwest Alabama where Trey Greenbough, the
magecat and his wife Emory, the Sovereign Mage resided. He was
leader of the werewolf pack that joined Greenbough on his mission of
revenge across the verdant hills Vanaheim on the Night of the Howls,
and he was the Werewolf King of North America. Vlad did not
Williams, he requested his presence.
The two had exchanged pleasantries and were now sitting in the
offices for his chain of night clubs, the Forever Knight. Hiding
plain sight could sometimes be the most delicious of ironies. Now they
were engaged in the small talk of men who respected each other's power.
JD was a tall man with jet black hair and blue eyes and a
mind. He looked over his cup of coffee and asked, "What can I do
Vlad smiled and asked, "Your oldest son, I am told that he his
preparing to attend university at Georgia Tech. Is this true?"
Sighing the man nodded and his reply was a bit of a surprise to
Vlad. He said in a fatalistic tone, "Yeah."
Vlad raised a questioning eyebrow at the tone and said, "I would
that a father would be proud that his son was attending university."
Sheriff Williams nodded and said, "I am. I just wish it
or even Auburn." He sighed and said as if giving in to a grudging
point, "But he wants to be an nuclear engineer, and Georgia Tech is
probably the best school for that."
Vlad gave him a toothy grin and said, "Ah, I'd forgotten about
rivalries of the various universities in North America, especially
those here in the South. Florida is a bit more isolated from the
of the region and doesn't quite engage in the same level of agitation
as the rest of the region."
Sheriff Williams grinned and said, "Tell that to Tim Teebow."
"If I should meet the young man, I will," Vlad said with an
smile. "But that is not why I asked you here. I have a
favor I wish
to request of you and your oldest son. He is of course your heir
JD smiled and nodded, "Yeah. So far my youngest hasn't shown an
interest in pack politics."
"I thought both your sons were true breeds," Vlad asked.
JD chuckled and said, "Oh, they are. But Hunter wants to be
anthropologist. He wants to go to Romania and study the
over there and find our relatives in the old country. I keep
him we came from Ireland, but he won't listen."
"Your sons are true breeds, Sheriff Williams. That would suggest
very high likelihood that Ireland was only the most recent of your
bloodline's immigrations. He may be more right than you think,"
commented. "However, I am interested in the one going to Atlanta.
would request a favor of you and of him?"
"Depends on what the favor is, Vlad," JD said. "He's got
his own mission there too- besides getting his degree."
"Oh?" Vlad asked.
"There's a vampire over there that crossed the line. He fed
one of the kids from the Wolf Creek Academy, a young transhuman feral
that JJ is rather fond of. He's gathering the rest of the pack
going to Atlanta with him, and they plan on dragging the son of bitch
out into the daylight, staking him, ripping his head off, setting it
afire and roasting bratwurst on the flames."
Vlad listened, it sounded like James Junior was already willing
carry out half the mission Vlad was about to request. He could
this to his advantage. "Would information on the vampire in
be useful to your son?"
JD nodded, "We'll take whatever we can get. Right now, it's
everything we can do to keep Trey from going over and dealing with the
"That is part of Trey's commission. Why would you not want
him to deal with it?" Vlad asked.
JD grinned and sipped his coffee, his blue eyes flashing with a
humor. "Because Lee Plainwalker is one of Trey's students, and
now his idea on how to deal with this involves driving all the
residents of Atlanta out into the sunlight and burning the whole city
to the ground. I've only ever seen him this mad one other time in
life, and the things he did on that night still make my blood run cold."
"What are they doing to protect the boy from being summoned by
the one who fed off him?" Vlad asked.
"Wynn has taken him to Alfheim to stay with his and Trey's
He can summon all he wants, but the kid can't open the bridge,
the vampire tries to go to him, he's going to come face to face
deity. From what I've seen, Heimdall takes a very dim view of
nocturnals who try to pass him without good reason," Sheriff Williams
explained. "We convinced Trey to let JJ and some of the others
it. JJ's not taking a regular pack with him. He's taking a rather
unique band he's managed to pull around himself at the Academy."
Vlad asked, "Do tell?"
"There are three werewolves with him, but none of the others are
true-breeds like him. They're true, but not true-breeds. There's
werecat that's going along for what he calls shits and giggles, and a
little witch that he's hooked up with. To tell you the truth
wouldn't be surprised to get a call from JJ in a few years telling me
that there's been an accident and the witch is now officially part of
"We all take up with people of whom our parents disapprove when
young. It's part of growing up. You would not believe the
and lowlifes my brother surrounded himself with when he was young.
course he did not have much choice in the matter, but still they were
not the kind of men with whom a nobleman nor a free man associates."
"You sound like Trey," JD said.
"I can think of far worse people to whom to be compared," Vlad
replied with a smile.
JD laughed and said, "I can agree with that. Now what can
you tell me about this vampire?"
Vlad nodded and became serious as he gave the Sheriff the
that Noah had drug from the captured vampire's mind. "His name is
Todeshaus, Viscount Andre Todeshaus. He was a minor nobleman in
Austria in the middle of the nineteenth century. He is a rather
unusual damned. He is definitely a day walker, so Commander
Greenbough's strategy may not work. He had a particular taste for
blood of children and the company of other men's wives, if you
understand my meaning. The first was for food and the other was
far more diabolical pleasure. It was rumored that he actually
to father children from this side of the grave. We thought he'd
destroyed by the husband of the mother of his offspring, but we were
evidently mistaken. He has taken up residence in the city that
is too busy to hate."
"Any particular weaknesses?" Sheriff Williams asked.
"Like all damned, he is vulnerable to holy items wielded by one
true faith. He is from the Line of Nod, so he's vulnerable to
stakes but they won't kill him. Like all nocturnals, he fears
"Some of your kind can take a wolf's form," Sheriff William
commented. "What about him?"
"Not a wolf," Vlad told him. "He's been known to shift into
that of a large predatory cat, a black leopard."
JD snorted, "Just what JJ needs, a vampire who thinks he's a
"Sheriff Williams, I am married to a vampire who's other form is
of a large cat. It is not that unusual of a situation.
Those of us
who have shifting powers, sometimes have a wide variety of forms.
know of one in your own area who's other form is that of a peregrine
falcon. He can cover huge amounts of territory in a short time,
has as a servant a large Siberian tiger."
Sheriff Williams nodded and said, "I know who you are talking
He's one county over. Now what is it that I or my son can
do for you?"
Vlad smiled again and said, "The city cannot survive without at
a proxy. I am sending one to the city. I know that it will
long before your son becomes a force with which to be reckoned in
Atlanta. I would like his backing for my proxy. It will go
a long way
to keep the city from degenerating into a power struggle. If that
to happen, then I would have to step in with a much heavier hand
I would prefer."
"I'm not sure, Vlad. A great deal of it would depend on
what kind of
man, or woman he or she is. I know that he'll give them a fair
and I know he's not looking for the job himself."
"I think that he'll find Brett Dallas to be fair handed man, and
kind of chancellor that will keep the city safe for humans, nocturnals,
and even transhumans.
"I'll leave that up to him," Sheriff Williams said. "But JJ
will definitely help deal with vampire himself."
"That at least is a start, Sheriff," Vlad said with a smile.
wasn't what he hoped for, but it was the best he could get.
would have to prove himself to be a leader worth respecting before it
would be given blindly, and Vlad knew that was as it should be.
The two men continued to talk for a while longer, their choice of
subject matters ranging from the weather, to nocturnal politics.
was well after midnight when Janos, his right-hand servant interrupted
"Please excuse the interruption, Prince," Janos said in a thick
accent. "But there is a petitioner here to see you."
"A petitioner that you consider important enough to disturb my
meeting, Janos?" Vlad asked teasing the old Rom. "Who is he?"
"My Prince, he comes with your step-son Michael at his side.
Michael who wishes you to meet him. He says it concerns...,"
hesitated in his explanation, obviously uncomfortable the the choice of
words the petitioner had used, "...the kitties."
Vlad knew that the only people that Michael referred to by that
was the First Pride. He looked over to JD and said, "If you will
excuse me, Sheriff Williams. This is something to which I must attend."
Sheriff Williams smiled back at him and said, "Of course.
waiting on me. She says she wants to go shopping tomorrow before
head back back." He grinned ruefully and added, "I'm not sure
ready for Wanda's commando approach to shopping."
He chose that moment to flee her taunting words, flinging himself
into the void that was otherspace. Slowly she felt the strength
her emotions brought her begin to fade. The sadness, the pain,
bitterness came back to her. She looked down at the novel in
she'd lost herself earlier and blinked through the tears.
head, she returned to her own bedchambers and simply lay down crying at
the pain of old wounds reopened.
The attack had come out of nowhere. He'd been coming home
school when the road in front of his motorcycle had exploded into
concrete and hot asphalt shrapnel. He gunned the engine and
front tire, "popping a wheelie" as he launched the bike over the hole
in the ground.
Landing, he sat down, applied the brake and skidded into a stop
looked around. "Ah, crap," Kevin said to himself as he saw the
form of Hardcase taking aim at him again.
He reached up with his gloved hand and touched the spot under his
and said through clenched teeth, "Champion Armor Battlemode One!" He felt the incoming energy surge around him, and could hear
the armor plating begin to shift into place. Tesla
energy fields charged Bucky-tube molecules, and nanites reconfigured
the weaponry and functions of the armor as the motorcycle under him was
absorbed into the exoskeleton. As the lightning field around him died, his orientation
changed to slightly higher than before. After all, he’d just more than quintupled his previous mass.
He looked up to see where two missiles were streaking from
shoulder packs. He charged the field lifters in his armor and
accelerate into the sky to join her as the armor pushed against the
Earth's magnetic field. It was a little trick he'd picked up
to Cyberstar of the Lords of Atlantis. The missiles streaked
and impacted into the road below blasting a new crater into it.
Steadying himself, he keyed the heads up display and brought the
tactical computer online as Hardcase seemed to simply hover there
studying him as he rose to meet her. Finally, he hit the radio,
something he should have done before now, and something Jake would take
him to task for when they analyzed this tape later. That is if
there was a later. "Champion to Homebase," he
said calmly as he armor's scanners began to track Hardcase.
"Champion, this is homebase,' Jake's voice came in clear
over the receiver. "What's your situation?"
"I'm hovering over Iron Mountain Road facing off with Hardcase,"
tried to sound calm at the situation, but finding it somewhat
difficult. This was a woman who'd made it clear that she wanted
kill him and strip his armor of its secrets.
"The hell you are!"
he said. In the background, he could hear the base's emergency
signal begin to sound. It wouldn't be long before the rest of
Law was out here. but it could be long enough for her to do what she
came to do. They were several hundred miles away in the
Islands looking for this very terrorist. She'd set him up, lured
Murphy's Law away from him and left him to face her alone.
A light blinked on his HUD- he had an incoming signal. He
radio to receive it as he stretched out and he Hardcase began to circle
each other. The speaker flared to life, "You should have
stayed dead, Murphy," she was saying. "But,
I'm glad you're back. Now we get to find out which of us is the better
scientist. I spent ten years working at MIT, and got no
All I kept hearing about was this white kid from Georgia who was
fantastic things without a degree, without paying his dues. Now
going to find out which is better, raw talent, or hard work."
He hit his sensor suite and scanned the area. From the
detected a single form closing on the ground at close to Mach one.
From the south, over the city there was a large aerial gunship
with him too. It looked like a huge armored clothes iron with an array
of jets melded to its aft hull. The readings suggested that it
a very advanced design. "Jake, looks like I'm being out-manned
out-gunned," he spoke into his mic trying not to sound nervous."
"I've got the rest of the team on the radio, but they're engaged
can't spare anybody, Bro. Hundreds of civilian lives are at
Jake said. Kevin could hear the worry in his voice.
Kevin's head's up display began to blink as another new target
to rise over the city to the South, this one's readings were much
smaller. He felt something slam into the armor, and suddenly the
readings on the heat sinks started to rise, as the gunship's pulse
cannon expended itself against his force fields. "Better pay
attention," he whispered to himself. Looking over to his
saw the gunship was charging its weapons again as Hardcase was closing
to grapple with him.
He rocketed up and over grabbing her by the stabilizing wings on
back of her armor and twisting around to put her between and him and
the gunship fire. He could feel the thud of the particle pulse
as it slammed into her chest. He also noted that his heat sinks
not responding the way they should. He suspected that the
parameters would have to be adjusted.
In the distance he saw a blazing form slam through the gunship and it
rocked heavily onto its side and started losing altitude, but righted
itself as the the form came around for another pass. The ship was
changing its focus from Kevin to the newcomer.
As he let Hardcase go and she spiraled down toward the ground, he
zoomed in on the form attacking the gunship and realized it was
Dragonphyre. He was flying fast, his arms out to the side and his
phyre-field blazing like a halo of flames forming a lifting plane
around him. Kevin realized that he didn't recognize the other
because he wasn't wearing his own dragon armor.
Looking down to see Hardcase gain control of her fall and begin
to level out Kevin sighed as his radio sqawked. "What in the
hell are you doing Kevin?" Jake ranted. "Why did you
let her go? She's out to kill you!"
"I'm not going to escalate the fight, Jake," he told
"Kevin, I'm not some disembodied head who's going to take away
your powers if you take the fight to the next level," Jake's
voice was angry. "Proportional
response is a form of suicide! That's something I learned in
school. Now get out there and kick her butt, so the rest of the
can do it's job of putting what's left of California back together." That
was harsh. Jake was implying that Kevin's situation with
which was no fault of his own, was distracting the team from their
primary mission of dealing with the catastrophe of California being
sunk beneath the Pacific. Jake really had changed a great deal
Kevin had died, and Kevin wasn't sure he liked all of those changes.
He spun around to see Sister Slice stopping to look up at her
Kevin wasn't too worried about the speedster villain- after all
couldn't reach him, she couldn't hurt him. "Okay, you want me to
escalate the fight," Kevin said grimly. "I will." Spinning
brought the mini-cyclotrons online and sighted the rising armored form,
targeting the stabilizer wings.
"Hey Hardcase!" he yelled over the suit's loudspeakers.
He saw the head of the other armor look up and he fired.
atoms were stripped of their electron shells and hurled out of the
barrel of the disruptors at nearly a quarter the speed of light.
blasted a hole clean through the armored panels of the aerodynamic
structures and she started to struggle to stay in the air, but managed
to reply with a second volley of missiles. This time, his heads
display showed that they were using a radar lock.
"You wanna' play, Hardcase?" He called over the mic. "See
if you can
keep up." He accelerated straight up, watching the missiles begin
close with him. It wasn't long before he'd shattered the sound
as he pulled ahead of the missiles. He watched as they fought to
up and then began to fall away. When he was sure he was beyond
lock, he turned and fired the pulse cannons at them. There was no
in letting them fall back to earth where they might get a lock on a
In the distance he could see Hardcase streaking up toward him,
aerodynamic wings on her suit now discarded. She was using sheer
rocket power to accelerate. "You run well, Murphy. But
how well do you fight?" her voice came over the radio. "Bet
you cry when you get your nose busted," she said.
"I don't know what got your panties in a bunch about me Hardcase,
I'm starting to get sick of it. You're creating more problems
you're worth," he radioed back as she closed within grappling distance,
the blades on the forearms of her armor deployed. He let her
dodged at the last minute.
It wasn't fast enough and he felt the impact of the blow across
shoulder as they slammed into him at eight miles a second.
looked down and realized that they both had reached escape velocity as
his display winked in and out before stabilizing. Combat at this
and altitude had just turned deadly.
He turned and and poured power into his lifters, noting that the
higher altitude was at lease cooling his heat sinks faster. He
get off a few more blasts from his pulse cannons this way.
The two suits of armor continued to climb high in the atmosphere,
heading for space. Hardcase's backpack was spitting out fire and
like an old Saturn V rocket, and Kevin wondered where she was getting
the fuel for that kind of a climb as he closed with her. He
out toward the maneuvering vanes on her ankles as he slowly closed the
gap between them. Suddenly the sky went black and in the instant
his hand closed on the winglet, it detached itself from her leg and
blew up in his face.
The force of the blast scrambled his readouts and he heard a
hiss somewhere in his suit and something seared against his arm.
light began to blink on his image on the HUD. The suit had
on the back of his upper arm. The suit's autodoc was dealing with
damage in his arm and it's autorepair systems were already closing the
In the meantime though, Hardcase had switched over to maneuvering
and was closing with him once again. Panels on the right shoulder
her suit were opening up, and he saw another micro-missile launch
itself toward him. As it did, she began to spin out of control.
"Hardcase, for someone who claims to be so smart, you just
forgot Newton's Third Law,"
he radioed back to her as the missiles began to sputter just a few
yards in front of her. Evidently, she also forgot that that
need oxygen to fire in space. This was obviously not a planned
He watched as the rocket's engine died, and then drift lazily
him. Fortunately, for him, the Earth's magnetic field reached this far
into space so he was able to push against it to maneuver, but he had to
be careful. Too far out and he'd lose the ability to maneuver
watched as she began to fall back toward the Earth and the rocket began
to tumble out of control. His sensors told him that the warhead
armed and was on a proximity fuse.
He pushed himself down lower, out of its proximity fuse's
and tried to figure out what to do. He could follow Hardcase,
leave the rocket to float on by, but it could become a danger to upper
atmospheric travel, and if it fell to earth, it could blow up on
impact, hurting someone. If he destroyed it this high, it would
be that much more debris that Space Command would have to keep up with
when they launched other things into orbit. And there's no
telling what they think about me and Hardcase being up here.
He quickly began recalibrating his own presser ray. With a
luck he could pull it out of orbit and detonate it somewhere above
normal airline travel and out over the ocean.
"Kevin?" Jake's voice asked nervously over the mic
right when he was about to capture the rocket.
"Yeah, Jake," he sent back tersely.
"Where the hell are you?" Jake's
perpetually worried voice asked.
"I'm currently about two hundred kilometers up in what is
Low Earth Orbit. Hardcase has discovered that her armor will not
function that well up here, and has retreated, albeit clumsily back to
Earth," Kevin told him.
"You let her get away?!" he demanded.
am currently dealing with a live missile with an armed proximity fuse.
I could theoretically drift dangerously close to satellites,
stations, and or even space shuttle missions," was Kevin's
After a moment of silence, Jake
replied, "I'm sorry. You're right. You have to think
about the safety of others first."
"I'm so glad you approve, Commander Lee," Kevin
told him and immediately regretted throwing Jake's former rank in his
face. Jake was just looking out for his best interests, but still
comment about this situation with Hardcase had hurt.
There was a long silence on the radio as Kevin slowly drug the
low enough into the atmosphere where he was sure it would begin to
fall. When it did, he fired his pulse cannon at it and watched it
explode and then rain down below. He hit is his mic and said, "Champion
base, this is Champion, I'm returning home." Then closing
down the radio, he touched a control and said bitterly, "Champion Armor
The thinly spread high temperature molecules of the upper
suddenly lit up for kilometers around him as their energy was converted
into matter. The suit around him reconfigured itself into a long
red and blue aircraft. When the transformation was complete,
engaged the magnetic drive and headed back toward the base.
Winter Atlyn first princess of the House of At, felt the
into her rooms long before she saw it. She knew they were
against gifted, magical, technological, and psionic teleportation- that
just left temporal, and temporal meant one thing: Another time lord.
As the air around Merlin solidified, she noticed that he was much
younger in this time than when she knew him three thousand centuries in
the past. But that was of course the effect of the curse that lay
him- he aged backwards. As the finished materializing and shed
bits and pieces of otherspace that clung to him like cobwebs, she
"What have you been doing, girl?!" he demanded.
With the most innocent of expressions, she said, "Well, let's see
visited the main city yesterday with Mother to purchase things for the
nursery. I had my nails done this morning, Old Teacher."
"You know what I mean," he growled and came toward her fists
"A temporal field just dropped around one of Alpha Centauri's
a field that had time lord written all over it; a field that had your
signature all over it."
"So?" Winter raised an eyebrow.
"What did you do?" he demanded.
She put down the e-pad and stylus she was holding, genuinely
have her reading time interrupted. Noah Hale was an excellent
and she could not wait to find out in what mischief Tior Tinderflint
found himself . She crossed her hands primly in her lap and
only helped a couple of wayward children find sanctuary. That is what
we're supposed to do isn't it?"
"What wayward children?" he demanded.
"Kalleth's children," she said.
"Kalleth never had any children!" Merlin spit out.
Winter smiled and said, "Do sit down Old Teacher. I long
to be frightened or impressed by your ranting and raving at the top of
your voice. And if you continue to make loud demands, the guards
outside are very likely to come bursting in and start blasting away,
and that of course would alert my fathers, and my mother, and they
still have unfinished business with you."
"I am not afraid of your fathers," Merlin told her, but she could
see the hint of fear in his eyes. "I am a time a lord."
"And one of my father is immune to all of your magics, but you
immune to the raw power that runs through his muscles." She told
"I believe the last time you left him, he was seeing how many of
bones he could break."
"You are a terrible disappointment to me, Winter," Merlin said
down opposite her. "Of all my students, you have the greatest
yet you refuse to play by the rules."
"I play by the rules you taught me, Old Teacher," she said.
try to hide by the rules now. It was your involvement with the
Kheltians and with Shadu that have brought us to where we are.
helped them try to summon their Dark Gods back to Earth, you gave them
weapons to fight Kierra Atlan's children." Winter smiled and
"And everything you've done since then has been to hide your
complicity, the fact that you broke the rules. I'm simply setting
right what you destroyed, it's just a personal bonus that setting it
right preserves my family."
"The Thulian Empire must not be allowed to exist!" he demanded.
"You mean my family must not be allowed to survive," Winter
"Tell me, which beating my father gave you is it that is the
for this hatred of all things At? Is it the one where you gave
the technology to preserve his house and holdings in exchange for
allowing me to become a time lord; or is it the one that he is going to
give you when he finds out that you made a deal with the Kheltians to
open up the defenses of Earth, Meirria, and Thule to an invasion?"
"This is not about conflicts between myself and that overgrown
call father," Merlin said. "It's about insuring that this blasted
of genetic freaks don't start their great quest in ten thousand years.
Those secrets are not meant for mortals."
"My father is not a mortal, and the great quest is an attempt for
immortals in the Empire to find out exactly what that means. Why
it you don't want them to seek the answer to that quest? It is no
different than the quest you sent a bunch unwashed barbarians on in
order to keep them busy while manipulated several bloodlines in the
Britain. Did you really think you were going to keep my mother
being born by aiming a randy young knight at the queen? No, you
made a mess of a lot of people's lives."
A look of slow dawning came over Merlin's eyes. "Exactly how much
do you know?"
She smiled at him and said, "All of it."
"Why Winter? Why are you doing this? Why are you
working against me?
I was your teacher, your friend? Doesn't what we shared
to you?" he asked.
"I was fourteen, you stupid old gimp. You didn't take a lover,
forced yourself on a fourteen year old girl as some kind of spiteful
revenge on her father," Winter told him. "Since then you've done
everything you could do to see to the fall of all things Atlantean.
Well, I'm an Atlantean, bred and born into the only Atlantean
survive on Earth. Did you really think you could destroy my
hide it from me; that I would think it was only the natural course of
Merlin went to get up but she pinned him back down to the sofa
the force of her will alone. She stood and towered over him.
been waiting three hundred thousand years to have this out with him.
"You thought me a naive child. You thought you would take
pleasure from me and then twist the knife into my father at the same
time. But that night, after you'd gone to your own bed, after I'd
cleaned myself up, I knew who my real enemy was Merlin, and it was you.
Each and every time you came to my bed, each and every time you
yourself on me, I took a few more of your secrets. I found out
how you whispered in the Emperor's ear, encouraging him to make that
alliance marriage with the Hesperians, knowing full well the princess
was a Kheltian agent. I discovered how you set up Kalleth and his
brother Marhawk to be killed, and to drag the Mideanites into the war.
Luckily, both of them were far wiser than you, and had their own
temporal powers. Every move you've made to destroy the House of Atlan,
I've countered, all they way up to stepping outside of this reality."
"What have you done?" he asked suddenly very worried.
"I have protected my family, Merlin. The family you stole
from on the eve of the war. Look into your mind, Merlin.
Look at what
I made you give my father in exchange for the time lords training me.
Look at the memory I erased. You poor stupid old man.
You were so
worried about any gifts I may have inherited from my father that you
ignored those of my other four parents. It was easy to influence
and then make you forget. You are not quite so great a sorcerer
"You know we're not supposed to use our powers on each other!" he
protested. "I'll take this to the others!"
"You do that old man. You do that, and I'll show them what
you did to
me. You know how they feel about relationships between teacher
student. I'll show them where you bargained away the Temporal
in an attempt to hide what you did to the Atlanteans. You do
I'll make sure that you never even exist," she said. "Remember,
coming up on your birth in a few thousand years. I can make sure
mother doesn't survive that shuttle accident, or maybe that your father
is never born."
"The Thulian Empire will upset the balance of power in the
future, Winter. We cannot let it dominate," he said.
"Why not? Because it will keep your little reptilian
taking over, from summoning their dark Dragon Gods? Or maybe
they will find the answer to their great quest at a point in history
when the time lords no longer hold sway? What is it about that
that worries you, Merlin? Is it the fact that you know that you
not survive the end of the universe, and that they dare to find a way?"
She smiled and twisted the knife in him some more. "There
universes Merlin, and there are forces outside even the omniverse."
"I am aware of that Winter, and I have my own contacts among
Perhaps I should go to the Kregar and let them deal with this
upstart House that you want to see become a galactic power. I
how your father would fare against the likes of the Council of Umbra."
She spun on him and glared her eyes looking him up and down
The same arrogance that she knew three thouasand centuries ago,
just now starting to grow. It was time to bring him down a notch
two., "Go ahead old man. But before you do, look closely at the
various other realities. Look at those closest to this one.
see may surprise you. You may find that I'm already looking back
you. Look deep into otherspace, look at what is being built
You bring the Kregar here, and you will not survive it, I promise
"I can change your past," he threatened.
"Don't go there," she told him. "I can change yours too.
problem with your aging backwards. You know the future because
remember it, but I know your future because I remember it too. But
unlike you, I can travel anywhere along the line of my existence.
already know what revenge you are going to take on me. I've
lived it. I'm giving you an opportunity to end the conflict now.
my family alone, Merlin. You know the others don't like it when
strike at each other this way, and you've got much more to lose than I
"This is not over, Winter," he said rising from his chair. This
she allowed him to rise and pace. She could sense the turmoil
in his mind. She could sense that she was starting to get to him.
smiled at that thought.
"I know, Old Teacher. I know," she said. "But we
either agree to
keep this little fight among us, or we take it outside the omniverse.
Before you do that though, I think you should go and talk to your
Kregar friends. Find out what has happened to their leader; find
what my friends did to him. You may not like what you see.
not even be able to get them to consider coming here. They are
afraid of me and my friends right now."
"What have you done, Winter?" he demanded again.
"Only what needed to be done to keep as many realities as
safe from the Kregar; only what you and the others were unwilling to
do, or were afraid to do," she told him. "I believe your old
Morgaine referred to me as an upstart, who didn't know her limitations.
I know a little more of them now, and can live with what I know."
"You are rather young at this," he said. "But that's
neither here nor
there, what are you going to do about Alpha Centauri?" he asked.
"Nothing," she told him. "My job there is completed.
They are under
the Dark Mother's protection now. You can take it up with her if
like, but I wouldn't suggest it. She's not happy with what you
to do with her sons."
"You dare bring a primal into this?" he asked. There were
in the universe that disturbed the time lords like those they referred
to as primals- the first creations of any deity. They carried with them
immense power that was only slowly filtered through the generations
into something normal, something mortal. The Dark Mother was one
being, and now that she knew the truth about Merlin he would approach
her at his own peril.
"I didn't bring her in. I simply helped her preserve her
grandchildren. Children are very special to me now, Merlin,
woman's children," she told him bitterly,thinking of the
horrible-tasting draughts she was forced take over the centuries of her
studies with him. "There are forces at work here you do not
understand. If I were you I would stay away from the Alpha Cent
for a very long time." She smiled and then added, "On second
why don' t you go there and investigate yourself. I'm sure the
and Queen would love to see you."
Storm was stunned at the news. His mother, a fifty-one year old
retired admiral was getting married- he didn't even know she was seeing
anyone- and on top of that, she was pregnant! Damn,
moving awful fast. Evan on the other hand was taking the news
calmly for Jett's tastes. "You could at least be a little more
surprised by it!" he protested.
"Why?" Evan asked.
"Your mother is a very attractive woman, and these days having a
baby at her age isn't unheard of."
"She'll be seventy-two when he or she's twenty!" Jett protested
stalked around the kitchen of their midtown apartment in Atlanta.
Evan perched himself up onto the counter and smiled at his
lover. "What's really bothering you Jett?" he asked softly.
"The fact that I didn't know my mom was even seeing anyone," Jett
said. "We've been so damn busy, first with the Transhuman War,
with the dragons, and now this. I haven't been home to see her in
"What? You expected her life to be suspended in crystal
were gone so that when you went back to visit, nothing changed?" Evan
asked. "Come on, Jett, you know better than that. You lived
dad until he died, you knew your mom's life went on when you weren't
there." Then he stopped as if realizing something. "This
your mom at all, is it?"
"I don't know what you mean," the tall raven-haired young man
with his back still to Evan as he poured himself a cup of coffee.
Evan slipped down from the counter and took the cup from Jett's
and replaced it with the one he'd poured not three minutes ago.
is about your dad. This is about you finally realizing that's
really gone, that he isn't still living in San Francisco- not that San
Francisco is still even there- that he hasn't gone back to space, but
that he's dead and is not eventually going to remarry your mom."
Jett turned and stared at him, the pain evident in his cerulean
eyes. He shrugged and said, "Do you think so?"
"Look Jett, I've known you since we were sixteen. When you
live with your mom, you were broken. You'd just come out of that
and weren't talking to a whole lot of people. I know you saw your
die alongside all those other people when that virus got released.
know you never talked to me or anybody else about it. I respect
But don't let that color your relationship with your mom."
"It's not that," Jett seemed to struggle with his words. "I
even know this guy. All I know is that he's from a prominent East
Coast family, and that he and mom have been seeing each other for about
two years now."
"Right after we left for Washington," Evan suggested.
Jett nodded, "Right after we left for Washington. Why did
she wait until now to tell me she was serious about someone?"
"You have your life, and she has hers," Evan offered.
"Evan, we're all either one of us have left. My
grandparents on mom's
side are dead and she doesn't have any brothers and sisters."
Evan grinned, "And it's not likely that either one of us are
going to get pregnant."
"Exactly. I'm wondering if she's doing this to have a
legacy, to have
someone to carry on the name. She says she's keeping her own last
"What, she's going back to her maiden name?"
Jett shook his head, and said, "No. She's keeping Dad's name."
"Oh boy," Evan said. "That must have caused a row."
Jett shook his head and said, "I know. I don't understand it
She says that he's cool with it though. But there was
her voice," Jett told Evan. "Something that suggested that there
more to it than that."
"Why don't we go down and visit?" Evan said.
Jett shook his head and said, "No. Dustin and Seth need us
everything that's going on with these vampire attacks. My power
Quantum is just a little too effective against them."
Evan nodded and asked, "Yeah, I guess the ability to generate
is pretty useful against them. As for your mom, when's the
Jett grinned and said, "June, when else?"
"You know, we could always go to Massachusetts," Evan offered.
"This is coming from the man who told me that the didn't need a
of paper," Jett countered with a smile. "No. I'll wait
really want to get married and not just doing it to cheer me up."
"It's not that I don't want to get married, Jett. You know
It's that you're half Meirrian, and I'm well, according to
law, I'm property. I just don't want to hurt any chances for
advancement you might have with your father's people."
"That's a dumb reason," Jett said with a smile. "I'm not
going to go
off looking for my family in the Empire. They abandoned my father
because the university he worked for ran out of money. They
even send a ship to pick him up. Why should I go looking for
"To kick their collective asses?," Evan countered.
"There is that. But right now the Empire is in turmoil
least according to Panda. Evidently some of what's been going on
has had repercussions all the way to the Imperial Senate. They're
talking about all kinds of changes."
"Exactly where do you get your information?" Evan asked.
Jett smiled at him and said, "The new Meirrian ambassador to
Thule is evidently my cousin."
"So you are looking for your family," Evan teased.
"No, she came looking for me," Jett said. "We had a long
talk about you and about Storm Avionics."
"Me?" Evan asked worriedly. The mixed up mess that brought
being; the pirate attack on the cruise ship, the crash landing, the
mixing of his genes with those in the human graveyard was the kind of
situation that could result in the same thing happening to him that
happened to Sun Dancer- and he didn't have the advantage of being a Gem
Corpsman. They'd just kill him.
"Yeah, you," Jett said. "Evidently the Corps and the Senate
an understanding about enforcing genetic purity laws. As far as
Meirrians are concerned, they are to keep their hands off you."
Evan smiled and said, "I don't want every Meirrian
to keep their hands off me." He stepped closer until his body was
pressed up against Jett. He kissed him soundly, with the passion
six years of being together. He knew how to press each and every
of Jett's button and he was going to start at the top and work his way
"What are they fighting about?" Kym asked Leif as the two
the huge headboard out of the back of the truck. Although it
nearly half a ton, the man and boy moved it rather easily. The problem
wasn't the weight, it was that it was bulky, it was dense, and once it
got moving, it could damage the interior walls, floors and just about
anything else in the old Victorian Mansion.
"Evidently, Jake made a comment about how having to watch out for
was taking resources from the team's ability to help with
reconstruction of the California Islands. Kevin took it
Leif said. Leif didn't say exactly how personally, the young boy
taken it. The two were about to take the verbal knives to each
when Aerin stepped in. That of course left Leif shorthanded when
came to moving their stuff out of storage and into the new house they'd
just bought up around Indian Springs. It would be so much easier
with Aerin here. He could unload the truck, and then she could
and slide the furniture and boxes into the upper windows like a giant
doll house. Now he and Kym were stuck lugging it up all those
Again, it wasn't the weight, it was the number of trips.
"You think she can get them to talking?" Kym asked.
"Sure. Aerin will get the bottom of it, and before long
they'll be painting each other's tonsils again," Leif said.
"Man, that's rather Earthy way to put it," Kym complained.
Leif shrugged and said, "I'm a child of Freyja, we're an Earthy
bunch." He grinned at Kym and said, "Besides, I was under the
impression that you were't above getting your tonsils painted either."
The young blond blushed deep red and shrugged, "So far the only
people I've been interested in doing that with are either married or
dead." Leif could have kicked himself for making that comment.
last thing he needed to do was send Kym back into the funk out of which
he'd only recently began to drag himself.
"Sorry, man," Leif said.
Kym actually smiled at him, and it genuinely seemed to reach his
"It's okay, Leif. I'm just biding my time." Then he looked
mansion and asked, "I would have been willing to be a thousand bucks
that there weren't any buildings like this in Nevada."
"First off, you don't have a thousand bucks, and second off, you
probably would have won. We had this one moved," Leif told him as
set the huge headboard on the porch and walked back down into the
"Had it moved, or Corbin moved it?" Kym asked.
"What do you think?" Leif asked him with a smile.
He watched at the young dragonborn seemed to throw his golden
of focus for a moment and look around. As Kym scanned the
various out-buildings and the high stone and wrought-iron fence that
had been erected around the hundred acres of property the afternoon sun
made the freckles across his face deepen to a burnt orange.
the amount of residual magic I see, I would say that some major-league
warding has been done on the house, the gates, and the property in
general. I can see Corbin's touch all over the house, your's on the
fence, and Lorna's on the property itself. Corbin moved this
with a considerable amount of magic."
nodded and said with a smile, "Built and moved. Thought you were a
warrior, not a mage," Leif said.
Kym chuckled and replied, his Southern accent suddenly becoming
pronounced, "I couldn't cast a spell with a rod and reel, but there are
two basic powers possessed by all dragonborn; the first is phyrespeak,
and the second is phyresight. Magic and some transhuman and
abilities look to me like just another variation on the phyre. I
see them quite clearly."
Leif smiled at him and then looked back into the truck. The
had been the last piece. Now everything was at least unloaded.
they got it upstairs, all that would be left to do is unpack and then
put everything away. He liked the idea of having a place of
again that was not part of Murphy's Law. There were still things
do, and he knew some of what lay ahead was not for mortal perceptions.
He sighed and said, "Help me get this thing into the front
and I'll grab us something to drink and show you the garden.
Five minutes later, they were stepping out onto the back patio.
watched the slight shiver run through Kym's body as they crossed the
barrier between worlds. That barrier, and the effect it held on
property inside the fence had been a gift from Aerin's mother. It
brought a little piece of of the High Yard onto this world and
concealed it from the eyes of men. Beyond the half acre of formal
garden and swimming pool was another two acres of wild garden, and
beyond that was fifty acres of wild primordial Nordic forest.
looking at it from beyond the fence would see only similar terrain as
surrounded the property- desert scrub that was being reclaimed by the
moist air now moving in off the bay. Even flying over it would
an appearance of being much the same. But inside the walls, was a
rich Nordic forest with cool mountain streams and ash and elm pine and
"This is magnificent!" Kym exclaimed. "It's like nothing
seen before!" Leif enjoyed watching the boy's face light up.
been walking around like a rainy afternoon for months and this was a
good start to seeing him put his life back together.
"I'm glad you like it. Here" Leif said handing him a small
fits the back gate, come and go as much as you want. Just
shut the gate. We don't want the cats to get out."
"Cats?" he asked.
Leif smiled and nodded, "Cats," he said. Then with a low
sound that could not have been made by a human throat, he called out
over the yard. In a matter of seconds two golden furred cats came
flying in on matching bird-like wings, the female obviously
"My god!" Kym said. "Where did these come from?"
Leif laughed and said, "They were a birthday gift from Lorna.
the idea from a children's book. The birds in the area are out of
"I'll bet," Kym said.
The two cats began winding their way between his and then Kym's
ankles. "They like you."
Kym looked up at him and smiled again. "Can I pet them?"
"They'd be offended if you did'n't."
He watched as the young warrior squatted down in the lengthening
afternoon shadows and gently petted the rather unusual felines.
watched his motions, and was not surprised at the gentleness of his
touch. Of all people, warriors were the most keenly aware of the
fragility of life, and in many ways were much more respectful of it.
Leif reached behind him and handed the the blonde the Mountain
that was sitting on the steps. "Here."
Kym took it with a quick, "Thanks," and then resumed petting the
felines as Leif sat down on the steps and sipped his own soft drink.
Although he beer he had in he fridge would not affect him, he
preferred not to deal with a breathalizer if he was driving the truck.
"What are their names?" Kym asked.
"The female is Treegold, and the male is Beegold. I got
from a book. A certain writer. She suggested the names for
who pull my mother's chariot."
"It must be strange growing up with a Goddess for a mother," he
"You have no idea. And you have no idea the kind of
pressure that put
on me in school." Then he stopped and thought about it. "On
thought, of all people maybe you do." Then
quickly changing the
subject before they drifted too close to memories of Ridivari, he
asked casually, "How've you been coping with Adam and Steve?"
"Fine, I guess," the boy said. "They like to play like a
crotchety scientists with their heads in beaker, but they're really a
couple of all-right guys."
"Next year is your freshman year. You decided if you're
gonna play any sports or not?" Leif asked casually.
"Can't," he said. "One mistake on the field or diamond, or
people will be taking too close a look to see if I'm a transhuman."
Leif nodded his head and asked, "I'd suggest furball, but
rules about fliers and furball. It's just too much of a hassle to
to keep up with what's inbounds and outta' bounds."
"Yeah, and then I'd have to register," he said.
"There is that. You could cheer," Leif offered. "I know
they're letting those kids in Florida cheer."
Kym gave him a long, you gotta be kidding look. With
a smile he said, "Look there are a few stereotypes I'd like to avoid.
The gay cheerleader is one of them."
Leif grinned big and said, "I guess marching band is out too
Both young men laughed heartily at that. "How about track?
you could stick to the sprints where endurance is less of a factor."
"That may work," Kym said. "Why are you so interested in my
having an extra-curricular activity?"
Leif grinned and said, "Because if you don't find something to
your time, then you're going to go crazy. Trust me, I've been
and I've done that."
"What do you mean?" he asked sitting cross-legged on the
flagstones as Treegold climbed into his lap to be petted.
"Right after someone very close to me was murdered, I sort of
into a deep depression. Actually, it was pretty intense and it
Lorna and Corbin knocking me down and jumping my bones to bring me out
of it. Later when we were sent to Wolfcreek, I met up with a pack
werewolves and they introduced me to the controlled violence that is
"Shifter furball?" Kym asked. "There's another kind?"
Leif smiled and said, "Yeah. And you can blame that one on
Greenbough too. His grandfather introduced it to Alfheim about
or so years ago after watching Trey and some of his friends play it.
He said it was a way to channel the aggression of some of the
boys on the steadings. I think he just wanted something new to
on. Alfs love to gamble." He gulped down his own soda and
"Well, we'd better get the truck back, and I need to get you
He reached into his jeans and pulled out two bills, "Here's what
said I'd pay you for helping me."
Kym smiled and stuffed the bills into his pocket. "Thanks."
"You know, I've got an idea. "I'm planning a trip home in a
weeks. Why don't you come along. We could grab a couple of
friends, and go deer hunting up in the mountains east of my Mother's
Hall," he tried to sound casual. Leif knew just the thing to get
young dragonborn warrior's mind off his troubles. He also knew a
couple of alf lads about his age who would be panting after Kym on
sight. Besides, Kym carried with him his own tales to tell around
you really think I'm a drain on the team?" Kevin demanded of Jake from
across the table in the apartment Murphy had set up adjacent to
and Ethan's. They still shared a kitchen and a family room, but for the
most part it gave both young men a modicum of privacy. They'd
having this argument with Aerin trying to mediate for almost two hours
and it was getting nowhere. Kevin would not seem to listen to
and refused to use his powers to see that Jake was telling the truth.
It almost seemed that Kevin was trying to push Jake away.
"That's not what I said, Kevin and you know it. I said that the
situation with Hardcase was a distraction, not a drain," Jake shot
back. "There's a distinct difference between the two."
angrily, "Semantics, they mean the same."
"No they don't, Kevin, and if you took your time to think about
you'd see what I mean. Hell, if you'd just use your power, you'd
what I mean," Jake said beginning to tire of this argument. He
sure exactly what set it off, however something told him that it went
deeper than just a random comment. Something else was going on in
young genius' mind.
"Kevin?" Aerin interrupted softly. "Nobody on this team
a drain. An occasional distraction, but in a good way, but not a
by any stretch of the imagination." She winked over at Jake. "You
to tell us what's really going on?"
He looked up at her
and asked, "Or what, you'll just read my mind?"
She smiled at him,
shook her head, and said, "No, I won't do that. Why are you
acting so angry?"
Jake caught the word acting. He was starting to get an
watched as Kev sat down heavily in the chair and sighed. "I just
seem to fit in. I'm way out of date, and sometimes I have to
to figure out what's going on around me. I look at Jake, and I
same person I always loved, but there are times when he's not."
"We all change Kevin," Jake said, his heart hearting at Kevin's
"I grew up, but I never stopped loving you. There was
else but you."
Jake watched as the Kevin thought about what he said. He
and asked, "But don't you see. I can't live up to that kind of
devotion. You gave up a whole lifetime to come back to me Jake,
can I match that kind of gesture when I can't keep my own thoughts from
Suddenly it hit Jake. "Is that what's this is about?
impure thoughts about other people?" Jake couldn't believe that
someone so smart, something so simple had escaped Kevin.
The blond began to blush furiously and hung his head in shame.
looked over at Aerin who smiled as Kevin replied, "You gave up
everything for me, and I can't keep from watching Leif's butt.
afraid I might not be worth what you gave up."
It all cut back to the old problem- the one Jake had thought
put behind him: self-esteem. Jake sat down next to him and said,
okay that you look, Kev. First of all, you're a teenage boy.
hormones are raging like an inferno through your blood-stream.
are times when you'd get a spike in your shorts over corned-beef- and
trust me, there's a lot more to Leif Hunter than corned-beef.
looked too. That doesn't mean I love you any less, that I'm devoted to
you any less. It simply means I'm male and I react to visual
Kevin looked up at him
in surprise and said, "Really?"
"Oh yeah, really. The difference between love and lust is
tempers the lust. Yes, I can appreciate a handsome young man's
physical attributes, but just because I appreciate them, that I note
them, or even react to them, doesn't mean I have to act on them.
part of being human. Reacting to them means you're becoming
mature. Not acting on that reaction is the first step from being
sexually mature to becoming a man. Like the sperm donor; he was
sexually mature, but he's never been a man."
Kevin laughed at the
backhanded reference to the Kev's biological father. "I hadn't
thought of it that way."
"You haven't had much of a chance to think about any of this.
right. You're out of touch, out of time, but you'll catch up.
no definitely, I could have chosen my words better. But next time
get mad at me about something, do me a favor. Ask me about it
Don't just react and get angry." He pulled Kevin into a hug
mouthed a silent "thanks" to Aerin over Kev's shoulder.
She smiled, nodded and slipped out of the room. It took a
before Kevin began to return the hug. Soon though, Jake felt the
return the gesture with a fierce strength. "I'm sorry. I
just having to adjust to everything," Kevin mumbled into his
"It's okay," Jake told him pulling back. "We're going to
that's an unfortunate fact of relationships. But we can't wall
ourselves off to the point that it takes a Goddess to get us to talk,
Kevin nodded and said, "I was acting a little bit childish wasn't
Jake smiled and said, "Just a little bit. But you're
Kevin then pulled Jake into a gentle kiss and he felt Kev's body
against his. "You know, I hate it when we fight," Kevin said.
the making up is always fun."
Jake nodded and began to let his hands roam across the Kevin's
runner's body. Each time he held Kevin like this, each time he
him, he was forced to almost pinch himself to make sure he wasn't in a
dream. After Kevin died those long years ago, he'd simply buried
himself; first in school work, and then in his Naval career, becoming
the youngest man to ever make captain in the US Navy. But when
came back, when Corbin did whatever it was he did to bring him
from the dead, Jake continually wondered if he was just in some kind of
elaborate wish-fulfillment dream.
Lost in his own thoughts of awe and wonder, he felt Kev break the
and begin to undress him. Fingers that were so deft, so sure of
themselves in the lab, or with a wrench fumbled with the buttons on
Jake's polo shirt. Jake took them in both hands and kissed them
smiling. "You go lock the door and I'll meet you in the bedroom."
Kevin nodded eagerly and bounced off toward the door to their
of the quarters while Jake headed toward the bedroom they shared,
dropping first his shirt and then his slacks in a line of clothing that
led from the main living area to the bed. By the time Kevin was
from the door leading to the rest of the aparment, he was shucking his
briefs- he was still a brief's man, never could get used to the boxers
that Kev prefered- and was crawling onto the bed, his manhood already
Kevin wasn't far behind, his blue-green eyes gleaming with
Kevin already had a light dusting of amber curls across his
chest. His abs were bare except for a small passion trail that
from his navel to the mass of curls surrounding the thickest dick, Jake
could imagine. Kevin wasn't that much longer than Jake's own six
half inches, but his thickness was huge in comparison, almost two
inches across. Jake found his mouth watering at the sight of the
Kevin crawled into bed and stretched out top of Jake, trying to
as much full-body contact as possible. He devoured Jake's mouth,
tongue probing for entrance. Jake opened his mouth and began
Kev's tongue with his own as their bodies ground together, their now
fully hard dicks rubbing tight against each other, held in place the
weight of Kevin's body. He roamed his hands along the blond's
back, and widened his legs and locked his ankles around the back of
Jake let Kevin set the pace. For now he was content to lie there
simply enjoy the simple pleasure of being able to touch the great
treasure he'd lost so may years ago. He loved the feeling of his
fingers running up and down the strong back of the blond, his hands
cupping the hard muscle of his butt, kept in shape by morning runs.
He loved feeling his pelvis grinding against Kevin's as their cocks
spread pre-cum all over their stomachs. He loved just touching
Kevin finally pulled back from the kiss, taking in breath in hard
pants brought on by passion and desire. He started kissing down
sides of Jake's neck sending little thrills of pleasure all through is
body. He lifted his hips and backed off from the grinding so that
could kiss across the broad expanse of Jake's much larger chest and
nibble at the hard nipples. The tingle went to a surge, as he
reached for the deep drawer of the nightstand, pulling it open
finding the top to the pump bottle there. With a quick and
action he filled his hand with the slick liquid and the reached for
Kev's massive cock.
He spread the slick cool gel along the mass of Kevin's manhood
returned for more as his lover continued to nibble and lick along his
pecs. He gripped the pillar of flesh tightly and worked th gel in
deep, covering every inch as he arched his hips up. Kevin
what he was doing and smiled down at him. "You sure?"
"I'm ready and sure," Jake said as he positioned the tip of
Kevin's cock at the entrance to his ass.
Kevin smiled, kissed him, and eased the massive width of his dick
Jake. At first there was some pressure, and maybe a little
then as the head slipped past the tight ring. a smooth feeling of
fullness as he slid in all the way with a single slow stroke.
grunted in pleasure, reveling in the feeling as Kevin was balls deep
He reached up and pulled Kevin's face down to his, and kissed him
heartily as the smaller boy began with long luxurious strokes in and
out of his body. Kevin pulled back and smiled down at him,
on the tip of his nose. Jake simply watched his lover's face as
they moved against each other. To Jake this was the ultimate
expression of brotherhood; the sharing of their bodies in a a concert
of pleasure that was not about who was doing what to the other, but
what was being shared. This was what it meant to be in love.
Jake reached around and grabbed a double handful of Kev's butt
began push his hips up to meet the blond's thrusts. Kev for
reached over and pumped his hand full of lube and then began to stroke
Jake's dick between them. His hand felt slick and warm against
flesh of his cock, and it felt good. Kevin set the tempo of his
strokes on Jake's dick to match those of his thrusts into his ass.
wasn't long before Jake felt a familiar pressure in his balls. He
pushed his own hips straight up, pulling Kev's hand down tight against
the base of his dick and grunted loudly. The first spurt caught him
across the nose and lips. The second on his chin, the third and
on the chest and then a final dribble on his abs.
The contractions of of his ass must have set Kevin off, because
made one final powerful thrust deep inside him and leaned forward
trembling. When he opened his eyes, he looked down at Jake's
cum-covered face and licked it off. "Good?" Jake asked.
rolled off him, and Jake felt a sudden emptiness as Kev's huge cock
vacated his ass. He smiled and said, "Wonderful."
lay like that for a very long time, just holding on tight to each
the coast of Puerto Rico, Mariner tracked the great submarine as it
prowled the waters between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It
was one of the new experimental designs, but it already carried a full
armament of nuclear capable guided missiles. That of course was
bonus to Mariner's plan.
Not all of the transhumans employed by the UN during the recent
Transhuman War had been captured; not all of them were even on the
"official payroll". Mariner fit into both of categories. He was a
highly trained independent agent, who kept a villa in Morocco where he
would occasionally get a "mission" from various sources. Some of
were UN, others were- let's say freelance.
He was already starting to gain a reputation as a freelance
and had taken a few jobs contracted through the international cartel,
Richelieu Factor. However, this mission was going to mean that
Richelieu Factor would never touch him again. It violated one of their
most stringent rules. Since the mid nineties, Richelieu Factor
operatives did not take assignments against children.
Neither the UN, nor Mariner had any such compunctions. But
able to work through the Factor was something that was going to be
expensive for him, and was something his present employer was paying a
very handsome price for. They wanted to send an important
the Shan and to Illia. What better way to do that was to kill the
child of the First Pod?
Mariner grinned as the great vessel glided through the Caribbean
waters, two hundred fifty meters below the surface. The water
just north of Puerto Rico was very deep. This would be a good
opportunity to more than make up for what he was going to lose for the
taking this job. That sub and its missiles would bring him a nice
price on the market- after he killed the crew of course.
far below the submarine awaiting his signal were the creatures he'd
recently managed to hammer into a cohesive fighting force- a species of
highly intelligent sharks that were larger, more aggressive, than the
bull sharks they resembled. More importantly, they seemed to have
ability to shift their bodies into several configurations, including a
bi-pedal air-breathing form. They were going to make this
job most interesting.
The first thing he had to do was get Depth Charge's and Coral's
attention. And he knew exactly how to do that. He'd played
attention to Depth Charge's father's battle with the Chinese submarine
that attacked them when the Shan first crashed into the Gulf of Mexico.
The same tactics would be useful in taking the sub. He
the aft of the submarine and looked down at the two sets of huge screws
that where churning water behind them.
It took almost no time to set the charges on the cowling.
staying close to the hull of the vessel, he set four more on the
ballast tanks. When he finished he drifted backwards into the
the sub and hid in its turbulance. He watched and waited until
out of the blast zone and the sub was right where he wanted it, and
then touched the correct sequence of buttons on his pad.
The flashes of light reached him only a fraction of a second
the sound and pressure. Like a wounded whale, the great ship
the side and then began to sink to the bottom of he ocean. He
as it settled onto the edge of the Milwaukee Deep. He'd put her down,
right where he wanted, and when Depth Charge and Coral came to rescue
her, then he and his new friends would be waiting.