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This series will include detailed
descriptions of sexual encounters between a human male and other males from various alien races in a science fiction setting.
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About the story:
series tells the story of an ordinary man who's life is near its
natural end, but who suddenly finds himself, at the moment of the
unexpected destruction of his world, the victim of an alien
abduction with a bizarre motive, that ultimately opens the entire
universe to him and propels him into a life of adventure that he'd
imagined was even possible. He eventually finds himself thrust
front and center into events that could, both figuratively and quite
literally, change the shape of the entire known universe.
I hope that you enjoy it.
Look for more of my stories under the pseudonym JakeXtraTall at http://www.nifty.org/nifty/authors.html#JakeXtraTall
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Favors of the First Ones - Chapter 16
Jake knelt with his eyes closed, thinking of the ones he loved and
waiting for his end while the two armed bulls ran towards him, he
suddenly felt a powerful inward tugging like he
was being sucked into himself. Then he felt as though he was
going to explode, but then immediately felt himself sort of being
compressed while air blasted in at him in a deafening rush all around
him that felt as though the source was right at the surface of his
skin, and then
there was silence.
He was still on his knees, but
the smell and temperature of the air had changed, and the sounds of
birds and insects and animals and wind that had surrounded him had all vanished in the wake of whatever had
He opened his eyes and saw that he
was inside a tall and wide, vertically cylindrical chamber with a
thick, clear wall that had several tubes and hoses attached to the side
of it and large vents in the floor.
To his utter shock and
immense relief, standing outside the curved glass wall he could see Mak
and Rhokki smiling in at him. He also saw the zeth, who was still
holding his disrupter rifle, and two other black lions who stood behind
a wide bank of controls on a pedestal.
Mak was grinning at him through the glass and Jake smiled back, wondering what the hell had just happened.
was a slight hiss and a door opened at the front of the cylinder and
rose upward and he stood and walked out into the large room to join the
"What the hell is going on?" Jake asked Rhokki, "Where are we?"
big cat grinned and said, "Welcome aboard the Shadow's Claw, Jake.
We are on my people's ship. They tracked my location and
yanked us up. It turns out my friend the zeth here decided the
risk to me was too great to ignore. He discovered our escape the night before last when
his link to me faded to such a weak state that he couldn't reach me and he immediately contacted his counterparts on this ship
and asked them to instruct the captain to accelerate at maximum rate to
reach us as quickly as possible just in case we got into trouble.
I am quite certain I'll be hearing from the captain concerning
the stress on the antimatter generators and the engines and reaction ports, as well as the
exorbitant cost of fuel to push the ship so hard, but she is quite
reasonable and we get along well most of the time. She will understand when I explain it all to her."
Jake looked over at the zeth and smiled and said, "So we have the zeth to thank for our rescue then."
"Yes, his message to this ship is what allowed it reach us in time. Even beyond that, when
Troska returned to the camp in a rage and quickly took control and rushed off to track us down, the zeth realized they might
reach us and kill us before we could be yanked from the planet, so he
armed himself with one of his people's weapons and came after us on
foot to try to help. He could not communicate with me from such a
range through our link, but he could feel it and it allowed him to
use me as a sort of living tracking beacon so he was able to reach us
"What did you mean when you said they 'yanked us up'?
Do your people have some sort of matter transporter on this ship? Is that how I ended up in the chamber?
I wasn't aware that any such technology existed."
suppose you could call it matter transportation, though I'm not sure
why you would give it such a ridiculous name. We call it
'yanking'. The technology allows us to move people or objects
across a wide distance almost instantaneously," Rhokki replied.
that's impossible! There's something like that in some fiction
from back on my world, but the idea is beyond ridiculous. They
scan every molecule of your body and magically change it into energy
and then 'beam' it up and magically change it back to its original
state while reassembling everything exactly right and somehow making
your heart start beating and your brain start functioning again.
convert matter into energy without destroying it, and you can't turn
raw energy into matter without it going through all the middle phases.
You can't make helium without fusing hydrogen, or lithium without
fusing helium, and so on. It's impossible to jump from raw energy
straight to lithium, never mind carbon, calcium, iron, or even heavier
elements. It takes the power of a supernova to go beyond iron, yet our bodies contain elements that are far heavier!
A ship could never hope to have enough energy to produce even one
atom of anything as heavy as calcium, never mind all the other elements
you'd need," Jake explained.
"Yes, that would be
ridiculous indeed," Rhokki said, "It couldn't possibly work in any way,
shape or form. Higher elements can only be formed in the great
fusion engines that are the stars."
"So how do you do it?" Jake asked.
an already well established technology that we bent to our needs.
Our best scientists joined our bogus religion and purged their
long ago if you recall. They have been working to advance several
technologies and this is just one of them. They became quite
adept at manipulating wormholes. I don't know how much you know
about them, but they are used to jump across gaps when space has been
bent by a warp generator. While the wormhole link ignores
distance and can stretch to infinity, the range across which they can
be initially generated by our technology is extremely limited. It
turns out the
range is based on the size of the wormhole being generated.
Normally we generate wormholes that are several miles to hundreds
of miles across in order to bring our massive ark ships through.
They are so large that we can only create the two ends no
more than a few miles apart. The amount of energy consumed in
creating the hole is based on its size as well. It takes a
massive amount of energy to generate holes that are many miles in
scientists found that if the size of the wormhole was dramatically
reduced to a nearly microscopic size, the range between the two ends
could be increased,
ultimately from several miles to several hundred miles, and it would
take very little
energy to produce such a small hole. The other thing they
discovered was that the inherent danger of opening a wormhole between
two unequally charged areas shrinks away to nothing as the hole itself
shrinks because the potential difference shrinks down to microscopic
levels, so it is quite safe in the case of a very tiny wormhole.
Despite the fact that on the
surface of it, a microscopic wormhole would seem completely useless,
they saw this as a possible way to move things through space quickly,
from the surface of a planet to a ship in orbit for example.
devised a system of scanning an object or a living being, sort of
like you suggested your fictional transporter does, but they are not
able to scan every single molecule
and identify its makeup, nor do they need to. They merely scan
the outline and volume of the person or object of interest even
including anything they are wearing or carrying. The outline
is all that is needed. Once they have a three dimensional volume
with the precise shape, they can fill it with millions of overlapping,
very small wormholes with the other end of the wormholes generated here
in the chamber in exactly the same shape. The holes overlap
completely such that the end effect is to generate what is for all
intents and purposes a single wormhole with the exact shape of the
object being moved. It is the same as how a three dimensional
projection of a hologram appears to be one solid object, but is in fact
made up of millions of overlapping pixels. We generate a three
dimensional pattern matching the shape and fill it with wormhole
'pixels'. It can all be done by
our computers inside of a fraction of a microsecond.
if a wormhole were generated that filled your space and connected you
to another, your body would have no preference as to which side it
should occupy so it would simply stay right were it is. It would
still not come across the link without a 'push' of sorts. The
chamber is used to provide that push, or in this case a pull. The
pumped out of the chamber to form a vacuum and then the
person or object to be yanked is scanned, and the wormholes are plotted
their shape and outline, and they are all opened at once. As I
said, the scanning and generation process occur within a microsecond so
even slight movement of the person being yanked won't have any effect.
moment the link between the space in the chamber is formed with the
volume of space the person occupies down on the planet, they are
exposed through the link
to the vacuum of the chamber and they are sucked into it. A great
deal of atmosphere is allowed to rush in behind you to repressurize the
chamber so that you are never fully exposed to vacuum and any
additional pressure is added at the same time from tanks below the
chamber to completely repressurize it to perfectly match the pressure
you came from, and the wormholes are collapsed.
process is still somewhat experimental but has so far proved to work
well. No one else knows we have this technology yet. We
call the process 'yanking' because that is what it feels like.
The wormholes are opened and you are yanked through by the
vacuum on this side. We can also use it to send things out into
the vacuum of space by simply keeping the chamber pressurized normally.
When the wormhole opens, the object is yanked out into space
along with the air from the chamber that rushes into the wormhole
behind it before it is collapsed. Objects can also be sent down
to the surface of the planet despite the fact that the target location
is under atmospheric pressure. In that case we simply pressurize
the chamber to a much higher level and once again the object is yanked
down to the planet's surface by the lower pressure there. We can
send a person through in that way as well, but they must be wearing a
pressure suit in order to withstand the high pressure of the chamber
and the sudden shift to normal pressure when they are yanked down to
the surface, or the sudden vacuum if they are sent out into space."
"It's an amazingly clever design," Jake said, "but I'm glad you didn't tell me in advance what was going
to be happening to me. I'd be in fear of some of the holes not
overlapping properly or some not forming properly and bits of me being
"It is a fear we all have. Our scientists assure us it is highly unlikely though."
shrugged and said, "The phrase 'highly unlikely' doesn't exactly
instill a great deal of confidence when your life is on the line.
In any case, they can assure all they want. I don't think
I'll ever be comfortable with the idea."
will I, but it has been done many times already with no failures
whatsoever. It has proved to be a safe way to travel so far,"
"The term 'yanking' seems a bit odd. Couldn't they come up with a more technical name for it?" Jake asked.
chuckled and said, "There is a technical name for it that is so long I
can never remember what it is. The technology is still quite new
and a proper name has not yet been created for it so we started calling
it 'yanking'. Some actually argued that it should be called
'squirting', since you could easily say you are squeezed into the
wormhole by the weight of the pressure of the atmosphere and squirted
out here. We've settled on calling it 'yanking' when we bring
someone up, and 'squirting' when we send them down. I'm sure some
day our scientists will come up with an official name that we can
remember but it may be too late by then and the current terms will
Jake laughed and then he looked around at the
equipment in the room. There were hoses and bundles of electrical
cables running all over the floor connecting to the control panel, the
large chamber, and some sort of massive device above the chamber that
must generate the wormholes. It reminded him of a scene from the lab in the
remake of 'The Fly'. It really did look like an experiment of
some mad scientist. He hoped he wouldn't have to use the process
again any time soon and that it wouldn't have to be used on anyone he cared about.
He looked back and smiled at his lovers again and felt relief that they were both still with him.
He walked up to Rhokki and hugged him and then moved to Mak and wrapped his arms around him and held him tightly.
thought I'd lost both of you," Jake said, "You disappeared with a bang
and I thought you'd been vaporized by the zeth, until he disappeared
pulled back and Rhokki said, "Yes, the bang is caused when the high
pressure of the atmosphere
rushes in and slaps together in the void left behind by you. The
air surrounding you is rushing in at high speed and flowing through the
link into the chamber to pressurize it, and the moment the wormholes
collapse and breaks the link, a vacuum in the shape of you is left
behind down on the planet. The intense pressure of the atmosphere
smacks together to fill the void and generates a 'bang' that is
essentially a miniature version of what happens when a bolt of
lightning superheats the air, causing it to expand rapidly outward,
then the pressure of the atmosphere causes it to crash back in causing
a clap of thunder. It was likely as much of a surprise to the
zeth as it was to you when we started popping, until he realized what was happening."
zeth suddenly approached Jake.
His head was shaped vaguely like
that of a mantis, though narrower and longer, and his eyes were black
and lidless and had the odd property of almost looking shiny, yet not
reflecting anything back off their surface.
slightly taller than Jake and much more slender to the point of being almost stick-like. His legs and
arms looked disproportionately long for his torso. Up close he
was so utterly alien that he looked insect-like. Jake found him more than a
little creepy looking.
The zeth put one hand on Jake's shoulder and stood quietly.
Jake felt a presence in his mind. It was like something was
shouldering his own personality aside slightly to make room for itself.
He felt a strange sort of communion with the presence like he
could feel what it was feeling while it could sense his feelings as
He knew immediately it was the zeth trying to communicate
with him. He tried hard to focus on the presence and the act of
it seemed almost to squeeze it right out of his head.
relaxing instead and letting his mind look elsewhere, almost like
trying to see someone out of the corner of your eye while looking
straight ahead so they can't tell you're looking at them. Now the
presence grew stronger and he could actually feel its pleasure at his
quick recognition of what he needed to do.
He sensed a sort of
happiness and at the same time a sort of slight regret. Out of
context the feelings didn't make much sense. He wasn't sure what
the creature was trying to tell him but the one thing he could see
above all was that the zeth was indeed a kind and gentle soul.
Jake could sense no ill intent or any sort of secrecy behind the
presence in his mind. It was bared to him and he was almost
soothed by its gentle aura.
Suddenly, as he stopped trying to
focus too hard on it and allowed the presence to wash through him, an
image formed in his mind of a hand shake from back on Earth while he
felt the creature's pleasure. Was the zeth trying to tell him it
was pleased to meet him? How did it summon the image from his
memory of how greetings are done among humans? The gesture isn't
even used by any of the other races he'd encountered yet. The
zeth must somehow be able to push his mind to go and find the best fit
for what is being presented to it without knowing what that image might
actually be. It was fascinating. He wondered how difficult
it must be to communicate more sophisticated ideas. It must take
years of practice.
He thought about his own pleasure at meeting
the zeth and his gratitude that he had come to their aid. He
wasn't sure how to communicate that back but he simply focused hard
on his emotions and then shifted his thoughts back to the zeth
The presence in his mind seemed almost to smile at him and then it pulled away and vanished.
The zeth turned to face Rhokki and stood silently.
eyes went wide and he said, "Amazing! He tells me you understood
when he communicated that he is pleased to make your acquaintance.
He says he recognizes your gratitude towards him and that he was
more than happy to do what he could to help us. There must be
something about your race that makes you a good candidate for
communication with the zeths, Jake. It is unusual for anyone to
get that far on their first attempt unless they are rhuxus."
not sure if I could ever get much further. It must be hard to
have a real conversation with him. I can't even imagine how he
could ever tell me anything more complex than even that simple
greeting. What else does he say?" Jake asked.
Rhokki waited while the zeth communicated with him again, then he said, "He says he has
learned much about you already from what he has sensed through my emotions for
you and he feels you are to be trusted as a friend. He says that
he recognized the love I feel for you and realized he had to act to
help us both. He apologizes if he caused you fear when he appeared out of nowhere armed with a weapon."
Jake realized that must have been the source of the slight regret he'd sensed in the zeth's presence in his mind earlier.
He smiled at the odd looking creature and said, "Tell him I owe him my life.
The giant predator would have had me in another second or two if he
hadn't vaporized it."
The zeth raised his hand with the palm facing out and nodded his head as if to say it was nothing.
is no need for me to tell him, Jake. He can understand you.
They have managed to modify the First Ones' translators and
interfaced them to their own auditory systems. Whatever anyone
says is translated into the rhuxus language which they have learned,
and that is what they hear."
Jake nodded and turned to the zeth
and said, "Thank you for saving my life, and for risking your own life to come out to help
Rhokki and me. I'm in your debt."
The zeth bowed slightly.
He did not appear to have any sort of facial muscles with which
to show expression. Jake supposed facial expression would be completely
unnecessary for a race that evolved to communicate through electric
fields and emotional links to begin with.
"What happened down there, Jake?" Mak asked, "Is Troska still alive?"
That giant bird-thing cut him right in half before it got vaporized. He's dead.
Two more of his men came out from the trees with plasma rifles
and I was probably seconds away from being filled with holes if it
weren't for getting yanked up here."
"Yes, they will have to
work on how long it takes to bring multiple people up. As I said
before, the technology is still fairly new. They will be
installing multiple chambers and multiple scanners in future but for
the time being they can only move one at a time and then they must
rebuild the vacuum in the chamber between each. It doesn't take
very long but it adds a delay. Also, the scanning technology
needs to be improved. It is somewhat slow to acquire the next
target if its proximity is far from the previous one. They were
able to bring Mak up as soon as the air was evacuated from the chamber
because he'd been right next to me and they quickly acquired a lock on
him. The zeth was their next priority so they scanned for him and
it took quite a while longer to get a fix. I was quite anxious as
we waited for them to finally get a fix on you and pull you through,"
"Well, we all made it. We're safe at last," Jake said.
smiled and said, "Yes, indeed. I told you we would have no
problem getting off the planet once this ship arrived. I have
been sworn to secrecy about the technology and that is why I couldn't
tell you why it would be easy to get us up. Even the men from
Troska's group don't know about it. I imagine the two you say
were gunning for you are quite puzzled right about now by your sudden
disappearance right before their eyes. With the destruction of their only other
transportation, all of the rest of them are trapped on the sacred
planet for now. I'll have to have a word with the captain about
their disposition. I am quite certain she will be more than a bit enraged at their treatment of you.
"Which reminds me, the captain contacted me while we waited for you and the zeth to be yanked up. I must
leave you for a while as she would like to debrief me, and no
doubt chew me out for forcing her to stress her precious ship so hard
to reach us in time. She
will need to decide on the next course of action now that Troska's
group is out of the picture and she'll want my input as well as the
zeth's. Someone will be
along shortly to escort you and Mak to quarters that are being set up
I have asked that the three of us be allowed to share one space.
We are all exhausted after our long flight and it will be good to
get a thorough night's sleep. I will come and join you both there
as soon as I can."
Jake smiled and said, "Perfect. I'm nearly dead on my feet. We'll see you soon."
nodded and turned and went through a door that slid open automatically
and he disappeared down the hall and around a corner followed closely by the zeth.
Jake turned to the two big cats who were standing behind the control board and said, "Thanks for bringing us up in one piece."
They smiled and nodded.
door swished open and a lioness came through and said, "Hello,
I am Elliki. Follow me please; I will escort you to your
Jake and Mak followed her out and down the hall.
They went into an elevator that rose up for a while and then
sideways for a bit and then finally stopped. They emerged into a
hallway that looked much the same as the previous one and she led them
past several doors that all looked alike, other than a different symbol above each, and then she stopped and indicated one.
"These will be your quarters while you stay
aboard. If you require anything or need an escort please tap the
communicator panel next to the door and ask for me. If I am
unavailable someone else will be sent in my place."
Jake smiled and said, "Thank you, Elliki."
She smiled and nodded and went back down the hall toward the elevator while Jake and Mak entered the room.
Their quarters were quite small and obviously designed for nothing more than resting.
was a large and thick memory foam mat in the center of it against one wall for sleeping.
The three of them would have plenty of room on it.
were large, comfortable looking chairs in two of the corners that must
have been added just for Mak and Jake. The lions seemed more comfortable
sitting on the floor so they wouldn't need them.
There was a
door to the side of the back wall next to the sleeping mat and Jake
approached it to look in. The door opened and he saw that it was
a bathroom with a large shower.
He hadn't had a proper shower in so long that he decided he would make that his current priority.
turned to Mak and said, "I'm gonna take a nice hot shower.
Rhokki's been washing me for so long now I hope I can still
remember how to do it for myself."
Mak chuckled and said, "Mind if I join you?"
Jake smiled back and said, "I'd love it."
untied his shorts and slid them down his legs and stepped out of them
while Mak sat in one of the chairs to untie his big hiking boots and
pulled them off.
went into the bathroom and reached into the shower and turned on the
spray to let it heat up while Mak continued to undress.
the temperature of the water was comfortably hot Jake stepped in and
went under the spray to wet himself all over. He lathered up with
soap that came for a dispenser built into the wall.
He took a luffa-like sponge from a small shelf on the wall of the
shower and scrubbed himself from head to toe. He was already
rinsing off when Mak stepped in to join him.
Jake smiled and moved out of the spray to let the massive young bull move under it.
took more of the liquid soap into his hand and began to lather up the
bull. Mak turned to face him and smiled and waited to be cleaned
by his man.
Jake leaned in and kissed him and then went to his knees to begin washing the bull from the bottom up.
lathered Mak's big feet and the bull lifted one, then the other to
allow Jake to clean them thoroughly with the sponge. Jake then moved up the
massive legs and lathered them thoroughly then rubbed at them with the luffa.
He stood and began working at the young bull's torso and lathered him all over and under his arms and then scrubbed him clean.
last he went back to his knees to work on Mak's crotch. The bull
turned around so Jake could lather his butt crack and then clean it
thoroughly while Mak playfully slapped at Jake's face with his tail,
then the young bull turned with a smile on his face as his growing cock
smacked against Jake's cheek.
Jake smiled and slowly
lathered up the young bull's massive balls and he gently caressed them,
rubbing the soap all over them as Mak's huge, thick penis continued to
extend out from it's sheath-like base to stand proud and straight and
oozing right in front of Jake's face.
He got a bit more soap and
then, with both hands, he began to lather up the rock hard tool.
He ran his hands up and down the shaft, twisting and squeezing as
Mak began to moan at the sensation.
Precum began to ooze
steadily from the piss slit in the middle of the blunt end of the
massive penis and Jake licked up the treat as he began to jack at the
bull's long rod more vigorously.
Mak moaned as Jake
squeezed both hands tightly and pulled and pushed harder and faster,
his tightly gripping hands sliding up and down along the full length of
the bull's throbbing cock.
young bull's knees bent a little and his hips began to buck
slightly as his huge ball sack began to tighten up, lifting and
squeezing his balls to send his sperm rushing up the shaft of his long
cock as he gasped, tensed and shot a massive jet of semen right at
Jake's face. It never ceased to amaze the man how much power was
behind the bull's ejaculate. He could actually hear an audible
squirting sound when the thick spurt of semen shot out.
Jake moaned and opened his mouth slightly and put
his lips against the fat, blunt end of the bull's penis and continued
to jack his thick cock as Mak pumped jet after jet of his thick cum
into the man's mouth.
Jake reached down with his right hand and
began to jack his own straining cock furiously while he continued to
pull at Mak's cock with his left hand and sucked out every drop he
could from the thick, hot tool at his lips.
Mak moaned and
lightly bucked out the last of his orgasm while Jake's rapidly built up
and he tensed and shot his cum out onto the floor of the shower.
mouth was full of warm, thick bull semen and he relished it while he
slowly swallowed it all down and continued to work his own cock,
shooting spurt after spurt of his seed until finally his orgasm began
to fade and he released his grip on his tool.
Mak sighed as his
thick cock began to quickly soften and drip out the last of his cum
while it quickly retracted back into its thick, leathery base.
Jake gently cleaned it once more and then washed and rinsed his own face and then his crotch.
He stood as the young bull wrapped his arms around his man and pulled him in to a tight hug.
two stood together under the soothing hot spray for quite a while and
then Mak whispered, "Let's go lie down for a bit. I could use
Jake nodded and they rinsed off one last time and then got out and dried themselves.
went onto the comfortable, memory foam sleeping mat and Jake got into
position on his side and Mak lay behind him and spooned against him,
wrapping his massive muscular arm over Jake and pulling him in tight.
Still under the effects of their post-orgasmic glow, they drifted off to sleep quickly.
woke much later to find himself in the middle of a sandwich. Mak
was still behind him and snoring lightly and Rhokki was now in front of
Jake with his back pressed up against his man. Jake had draped
his arm over the warm, soft fur of the big cat automatically while he slept and that
was how he found himself now.
The room was nearly completely
dark. Rhokki must have dimmed the lights when he'd come in and
joined them on the mat. Jake must have been sleeping like a rock
because he had no memory of waking at all when the big cat had come in.
He felt fully rested and refreshed, but he was in no rush to get up.
He began to stroke the soft fur of the big lion in front of him and he felt Rhokki stir under his hand.
cat softly said, "Computer...lights, time," and the lights began to
brighten and Jake heard a sort of growling sound come from the walls.
The computer must be telling Rhokki something in the rhuxus'
that was not being translated for Jake.
Jake was struck by how
odd it seemed that they used the exact same method of instructing their
ship's computer as they did on Star Trek. He couldn't really
think of any other way it could be done so he supposed it shouldn't
seem so strange. Then he thought about how he couldn't understand
what the computer had said and it suddenly occurred to him that the
computer on the Slirkstrith worked exactly the same way when it had spoken
to Srythryn in the zero gravity sex room. Somehow the translators
must have to be given a signal that would allow the computer's speech
to be translated for him and since he was not a crew member and the
speech was not being directed at him, he wasn't getting a translation.
morning, my sweet man," Rhokki whispered as he rolled away from Jake onto his belly and
then turned his head in to kiss him on the forehead.
Jake smiled and said, "Is it morning? How long did we sleep?"
is late in the morning by the ship's time. I joined you here over
ten hours ago. We have been sleeping that long."
Jake chuckled and said, "Wow. I guess we needed it."
felt Mak begin to stir behind him and the young bull said, "'Morning, boys. I'm
starving. Who do we call for room service in this hotel?"
said, "This establishment is not quite of that caliber. We'll
have to get off our lazy rumps and go get our breakfasts in the mess hall like everyone else."
The cat stood and with his forepaws out in front of him he had a long and powerful stretch, and then he moved toward the door.
two are free to roam the ship naked if you wish. The rhuxus do
not wear clothes of any sort. I took the liberty of placing your
clothes in the cleaning hamper in the bathroom if you prefer to get
dressed. The ship is fully equipped with the First Ones' favors,
though of course their command link has been broken. Your clothes
will be clean and fresh," Rhokki said.
"I can't stand the feeling of my dick swinging around all the time. I'll put on my shorts," Jake said.
"I'll put my shorts on too," Mak said, "I don't want to intimidate anyone with my massive balls."
Rhokki laughed and Jake chuckled.
Jake went into the bathroom, relieved himself, washed his hands, then took his shorts out of the hamper and put them on.
Mak went in to the bathroom after him and emerged shortly afterward dressed and the three of them stepped out into the hallway.
have asked the captain for permission to give the two of you command
links to the computer. She has agreed and it will be done
shortly. You will be able to command the computer to direct you
back to this room or to any area that is not off-limits to non-crew
members. I would be lost on this ship myself without it.
All of the hallways look the same to me," Rhokki said.
smiled and said, "How do we follow the directions it gives? I
can't read the symbols on the doors or anything. I'm not even
sure which doors are other rooms and which are elevators."
surfaces in the ship are coated with the standard transparent display technology
that is used everywhere. Computer...mess hall," Rhokki said.
was a 'bong' sound and a green line suddenly appeared on the floor of
the hallway that started at their feet and ran down a ways and suddenly
jogged to the right and ended at a door that was pulsing green.
"Wow, that's pretty cool," Jake said.
is much the same on any ship in the collective. The computer will
use whatever means makes the most sense to show information to you.
Once you've been given command links it will understand who you
are when you speak and will know what areas you should have access to
and what information you are allowed to receive," Rhokki explained.
"Cool," Jake said.
got in to the elevator and it whisked them along and came to a stop and
opened. Once again there was a green line on the floor that led
down a long hallway to a large set of doors at the end of it.
They walked to the doors, which slid open as they approached,
and they walked into a very large room full of tables that looked just
like a normal cafeteria with a long counter at the back where the food
was being served.
"This looks so much different than the
Slirkstrith," Jake said as he looked around at the low-ceilinged
room crowded with various sized cats of various shades of black and
grey who were sitting, talking and eating, or lined up to get food.
"The Slirkstrith? You've been on it?" Rhokki asked excitedly.
"Yes, it was my resurrection site. You know it?"
knows it! It is only the single most powerful vessel in the known
universe and one of the largest ark ships!" Rhokki exclaimed, "It could
easily fit a half dozen of my people's ark ships inside of it end to
end and there would still be room left over. You never said you'd
been on it. What is it like?"
"It's massive. You
would absolutely love the living space there. It's sixty miles
long. Half of it is steamy jungle and the other half is ocean and
there's a giant water park at the back. The mess area is wide
open and you can see all the way around even to the upside down tables
and people a mile over your head. A lot of the spaces are wide
open and you can see right across the cylinder."
I would love to see it myself someday. I suppose that will
not be possible, since you would never be able to return to it
yourself," Rhokki said.
They walked toward the back of the room to get in line at the counter.
"Why wouldn't he be able to go back there?" Mak asked.
quickly explained the duplication issue and the fact that there was
going to be another Jake popping out on board that ship in two and a
half months or so.
"Holy crap! I never even thought of that!" Mak exclaimed, "There's gonna be another you!"
smiled and nodded, "Yeah. It's a weird feeling and I still can't
really wrap my head around it. I suppose it's not really a big
deal. We'll never run into each other."
smiled and said, "I can't help but wonder what it would be like for me
to get to have the two of you with me at once. The possibilities
in bed would be intriguing."
Rhokki grinned and said, "Indeed.
I'm afraid it will remain nothing but a fantasy though. We
cannot allow our Jake to be seen by anyone with functioning favors,
especially his other self or anyone close to him."
Jake's shoulders slumped as he was suddenly reminded of a depressing fact.
never get to see Srythryn again. He's the captain of the
Slirkstrith and we fell in love during my time there. You guys
would love him. He's an incredible sweetheart."
a paw on Jake's shoulder and said, "I am sorry, my love. It is
unavoidable. Perhaps someday if we are successful and the threat
of the Lawkeepers is removed from the universe you can be reunited with
him. It will not matter at that time if you are seen by anyone."
realized he was right. It gave him all the more reason to do whatever he
possibly could for the cause, to try to make it happen. He smiled
at the cat and nodded.
Their turn came at the serving counter and they got
their breakfasts, and then walked back to a table to sit and eat. All
three were famished and went back for more as soon as they'd finished their first helping.
When they were finally satisfied they talked some more.
"So, what now?" Mak asked, "Now that Troska's gone, is there still a miquanowan movement?"
Rhokki said, "I suppose for the time being, you are it. You are the entire movement, and its leader."
said, "Oh no you don't. I'm no leader. I refuse.
Technically, I'm not a man for another thirty-nine days so I
can't be a leader anyhow."
Jake chuckled and said, "You have to be. There's no one else now."
my first command as leader is to make you a member of our group, and
appoint you its leader," Mak said, "All hail Jake, leader of the
Jake laughed and said, "If that's the
way you want it. Just remember, as leader I can make you do
anything I want so I expect you to jump when I say jump."
"We'll see about that," Mak said, and he smiled.
think the most logical man for the job is really your dad. After
your fake ascendance is done and he goes to pick you up on the planet and takes you back home,
you can bring him up to speed and get him on board. I don't mind
holding the leadership position until then, since it won't mean a whole hell of a lot in any case," Jake said, smiling.
chuckled and said, "It's done then. You are the leader of the miquanowan
movement, Jake. I like that because if I tell our captain that is your
position, you will be included in our strategy meetings from this time
forward. I would like you to be there."
Jake nodded and said, "Sure. I don't know what I could do but I wouldn't mind being included."
what about my ascendance?" Mak asked, "Is the ship going to stay here
so I can be taken back down to the surface at the end of it to keep up
Rhokki nodded and said, "Yes, for the time being
we have no other pressing engagement and the zeth has stated his
interest in getting the miquanowan involvement back on track as quickly
as possible so it is our current priority. It was our hope to
set up this planet as a base of operations, as well as a manufacturing
facility for the satellite warheads that are used to cut off the favors
for an entire planet. The fact that this whole world is off
limits makes it the ideal location, and that is the primary reason we
want the miquanowans to play a major role in our resistance."
seems so weird to go through all of this crap. Can't we just
approach my father directly? Do we really have to continue with
the fake ascendance?" Mak asked.
is important for
you to realize how critical secrecy is at this stage," Rhokki said,
cannot risk doing anything out of the ordinary. At least until
your father is purged of his favors and we can communicate freely and
openly with him. Right now your father truly believes he is
joining your religion to be closer to you and he knows that having his
favors purged is part of that process. Even his physiological
parameters would indicate to the First Ones that everything is normal
with him and no alarms will be raised. Once he's done the purging
we can bring him up here and speak to him directly. Until such
time, anyone could be watching and your entire race would be at risk if
the First Ones caught
wind of what we are doing. Our need for secrecy is the driving
force behind our construction of this ship, and the selection of this
uninhabited and even off-limits planet as our base. The
miquanowan movement was going to help us develop our manufacturing
facility here. We will need a great many satellites in order to
prepare to free more worlds."
"Where are the satellite warheads being manufactured now?" Jake asked.
first facility was on my home world. We had three warheads aboard
the Shadow's Claw that were built there and they were ramping up to build a great many more. That facility no longer
exists as it was liquefied along with the rest of the world. We
lost one of our warheads in our failed attempt to block the Lawkeepers
from sending the command to the favors on the planet. We have
only two left. Another facility is close to being brought online
at another world. It's the planet I mentioned to you before, Jake.
The one populated by the other race that is able to communicate
with the zeths. They are a bear-like people who are black and
white in color. Their movement is growing to the point of being
almost too large. It is becoming more of a challenge to hide
my debriefing I was informed of another
of the duplication incidents happing there. It occurred not long
after your duplication. A meeting was being
set up between zeths and some of the bear people in a remote location
their planet to try to get them to bring their resistance movement
under control so as not to alert the First Ones of the possible threat
to them. It is standard practice to put up one of their
devices to cut off QECH comms in case anyone should stumble onto the
meeting site so that nobody's favors could alert the First Ones to the
presence of zeths on the planet. It's a much shorter range
version that essentially would only come into play in the unlikely
event that someone actually came right to their meeting location.
A pair of bears who were out on
a camping excursion in the remote location happened to stumble onto the
site and their favors
were cut off. They were caught and taken off planet immediately
to mitigate the risks. They are currently being shipped out of
the heliosphere of that system and they will be brought here and taken
aboard this ship for their own protection, and to protect the secrecy
"You said it was another duplication issue. So they had resurrection contracts?" Jake asked.
both of them did. One is a female of the small, black and white race
bears and she is a member of the security force for their people and
had a contract through her employment. The other was her match.
He is a member of a race of large and impressive, pure white
bears. Their timing was most unfortunate as they came upon the
site just as the zeths were setting up and activating the device.
There is a high chance that when they wake from their
resurrection, they will have a recollection of seeing the zeths in the
act of setting it up just before their memories go blank. It will
be assumed they were caught in the act of spying and vaporized from
behind by other zeths with disrupters. It will not tell the First
Ones much of anything but it will certainly make them suspicious and
they will no doubt closely investigate. The site has been
scrubbed and all activities of the resistance on their world have
temporarily been shut down, at least those groups who could be
convinced to disperse temporarily. Still, it is not a good
situation. If the First Ones look too closely they may learn of
the resistance movement that is building there and the entire world
will be at risk of the same retribution by the Lawkeepers that was
brought against my own world."
favors are really a pain in the ass," Jake said, "The First Ones have
eyes and ears absolutely everywhere. All this need for extreme secrecy is
sure slowing things down for you."
It is a painstaking process moving forward but we have come a
long way and we are patient. The loss of the rhuxus world was a
major setback as well as a tragedy, and we cannot risk letting it happen again."
"Do you think my world will be at risk of something like that happening?" Mak asked.
is always a possibility, at least until the favors can be cut off.
That is why we must be extremely careful. We will be
keeping this ship here for that reason as well. Should anything
happen that would put your world at immediate risk we can launch a
satellite warhead at it and cut off the favors. Our ultimate
goal down the road is to set up the satellites in secret around as
many worlds as possible in advance. They will act like networks
of regular radio communications satellites to mask their real function. When we are ready to
move forward in earnest, all of the worlds that have been covered by
the satellites will have their favors cut off at once. We are
many decades from that stage but we will continue to push onward
towards it. The large manufacturing facility we will be building
on this world will aid us in getting there sooner."
like such a long, drawn out, and dangerous way to do things," Jake
said, "When we talked about this a couple of weeks ago when we first
you mention a possible attack on the QECH hub that deals with
communication with the favors? It would make more sense to shut
that down and cut off all of the worlds in the universe at once.
There would be no risk of any worlds falling if the First Ones
catch on to what's happening, like there would be while doing it the
slow way, one world at a time."
They haven't given up on the possibility of a direct attack on the hub. The zeths have
an improved version of the spy technology that they used in the past
that was purged by the First Ones. If they can find a way to
inject it into the First Ones' computer network they may be able to
destroy the hub from the inside. It would not be an easy task.
The only access to the network would be through a resurrection
site. The lackeys guard those connections closely and their
resurrection sites are only found at extremely secure facilities to
begin with. Nobody who is free of favors would ever be allowed
anywhere near one, which means we could never even attempt to work with
anyone who is in a position to gain access. Doing so would allow
the First Ones to see what was happening through the favors in their
heads. It is a difficult problem."
"The way your 'yanking'
system works with a scanner, I guess you couldn't just transport someone into one of
those secured areas, right?" Mak asked.
The scanning technology we use to do the
yanking cannot pass through active shields. The First Ones
always have active shields around their resurrection sites and another
active shield around the room that contains their network links to
secure it against physical attacks, scanning and targeting systems, and
any sort of electromagnetic eavesdropping or interference.
Yanking is not an option," Rhokki replied, "We would have to find
a way to work with someone who can gain access to the lackeys' section
of a resurrection site
by simply walking into it because they have permission to."
A thought suddenly occurred to Jake and he said, "The Slirkstrith is a resurrection site."
it always has its shields raised as well. All ark ships do.
We couldn't squirt anyone aboard it," Rhokki said.
know, but like you said, if someone could just walk in with the
necessary access they could use the zeth technology to inject the
program into their network. I sort of know someone who is very
close to the captain of that ship and he could possibly gain access,"
Rhokki thought for a moment and then his eyes went wide as he said, "You mean the alternate version of you?"
"Exactly. Just after Mak crashed us on the planet..."
"Hey!" Mak exclaimed.
chuckled and continued, "...we talked about how we could get
resurrection contracts and be together by getting certified to fly the
Slirkstrith's fighter ships and become members of Srythryn's crew.
I have a knack for working my way up to positions of control and
authority. That's how I became an executive for a major
corporation though I had started right at the bottom.
I'm willing to bet, given my close relationship with the captain,
that if I were a member of the crew I would move up through the ranks
quite quickly. I would likely rise right to the top levels
Wouldn't that give me access to the resurrection area of the
"Yes, in most cases high-ranking officers have access, or
at the least have enough control over the systems to give themselves
access. It wouldn't help us as it wouldn't be you who gained that
access, it would be a version of you that has functioning favors.
We couldn't approach that version of you without completely
exposing ourselves to the First Ones," Rhokki said.
"Right, but how exactly is that access granted?" Jake asked.
a collection of biometric controls such as voice, DNA, iris, retina,
fingerprint, or any combination of those," Rhokki paused a moment as he
realized what he was saying and said, "I see what you're getting at.
Your other self would have been printed up from precisely the
same model as you were. All of the biometrics would be
matches far beyond even what identical twins would have. This
sort of perfect duplication is unprecedented as the First Ones are the
only ones with the technology and they would certainly never do it
themselves, at least not knowingly. The system would not
be set up to handle the possibility.
If your other self were to gain that level of access, and if we
were to somehow replace him with you, you would be able to get into the
secure area. The trick would be getting you on board the
Slirkstrith. It might somehow be made to work. We could use
the fact that we accidentally created a perfect genetic clone of you
without the First Ones knowing about it as a way of gaining access to
their systems. It is a brilliant idea."
Jake said, "I
don't know how we would arrange to replace my duplicate with me once he
has the necessary access, but we should be able to figure something
the very least, we should try to put the idea of becoming a member of
Srythryn's crew in the other Jake's
head. His contract has already been canceled by Mogwo at Mak's
When that Jake wakes up in the resurrection chair he's going to
be informed of that. If we could somehow get the idea planted in
his mind to join the Slirkstrith's crew, then I'm sure Srythryn will
help him to achieve that goal as
quickly as possible. The captain won't want Jake walking around
without a contract any longer than necessary. Even if we don't
know yet how we would go about getting me aboard to replace him, we
should get the wheels in motion to get him certified and a member of
the crew. In time he'll be an officer, and we can try to
figure out how to take advantage of that fact later on."
Rhokki said, "This is an important enough idea that I would like to
approach the zeth and our captain with it immediately. Excuse me
The big cat stepped away to a communicator on the wall and spoke into it for a quite a while.
came back and said, "The captain is very impressed with you. I
mentioned that you are the new leader of the miquanowan movement and
she said that was a wise choice. She
would like to meet with us right away. The zeth will be in
attendance as well. Come with me."
They left the mess hall
and Rhokki instructed the computer to guide them to a briefing room.
They followed the line on the floor to an elevator that whisked them further
along the ship.
As they rode, Jake asked, "How big is this ship, Rhokki?"
is considered to be in the class of capital ships, but is right at the
lowest end in size. It is less than a mile long and has a crew of
slightly over one thousand. It must seem like a puddle jumper
having spent time on the Slirkstrith," Rhokki said.
chuckled and said, "Anything would seem small after that. Is it primarily a war ship?"
sorts, though it is modeled after my race's style of stealth and
efficiency over brute force. Due to its small size coupled with
an over sized propulsion system the Shadow's Claw can accelerate and a
tremendous rate. It has sensor masking technology of our design,
as well as using enhanced and higher power versions of the display
technology that is normally used on interior surfaces on its exterior.
They double as imaging sensors as well as displays and what is
seen from one side of the ship is projected on the other so that there
is no obvious visual sign that the ship is there. We have an
energy cannon at the front as most war ships do and since we cannot
have the surface covered in turrets, which would compromise our
stealth, we use a few small cannons hidden under the surface that are
based on zeth designs. They act as disrupters similar to the one
the zeth used against your predator, but on a much larger scale.
They are used primarily for defensive suppression of fighter
"That all sounds like a massive energy drain. Does it have a big buffer?" Mak asked.
buffer is not large at all. More than half of the ship's length
is the engineering section with an antimatter
generator of my race's design. We use an antimatter buffer that
roughly the same volume as normal for a ship of this size, but we use a
generator of our people's design that is vastly improved over the one
initially designed by the First Ones that has never been advanced.
We can produce antimatter at a
such a high rate that our buffer would empty only very slowly even if
our shields, thrusters, and weapons systems were all fully engaged at
once. It allows us almost limitless capacity. Anyone who
takes this ship on would be quite surprised by the fact that we could
keep our shields up at full power yet continue to fire our disrupters
repeatedly for an indefinite period all while thrusting under
power. The buffer is needed
only to enable jumps, which use all of the stored power at once to bend
space and open the large wormhole."
"How big is the ship across?" Jake asked, "Are there any open areas where you can see right
across the cylinder?"
is not a spinning cylinder like most
other ships are. This ship was built with another zeth technology
other race has had access to before. They have provided us with
artificial gravity generators that use directed graviton fields to
induce gravity over short range. The technology can also be
focused externally to pull objects into the ship."
way! At last, a real
high-tech space ship! I was sort of disappointed at the lack of
technologies out here in the universe compared to what's been imagined
in our fiction back
home. This ship is closer to what would be in one of our stories.
It has a transporter of sorts, cloaking technology, disrupters,
and now artificial gravity and tractor beams," Jake said.
nodded, "The First Ones are responsible for most
of the technology used in the collective, but they stagnated long ago
and do not advance their technologies at all, nor do they allow any
member races of the collective to advance beyond what is available.
It is another way of keeping the races under control. The
zeths have a few tricks that are not available to the collective.
Artificial gravity is one of the biggest. The technology is
expensive from an energy point of view, but it is enabled by our
extremely efficient antimatter generators. Artificial gravity
makes much more effective use of space and allows a ship that is as
small as this one
to have a compliment of crew almost as large as a ship twice its size
because no space is given up to zero gravity along an axis. In
other ships the only truly useful space for people performing regular
duties requiring normal gravity would be around the inside of the outer
wall of a cylinder. We can use the entire volume of the ship.
The lowest floor of the ship contains a generator that produces
gravity that is felt throughout all of the floors above it. The
generator does not extend all the way to the front and back to allow
small gravity free regions at the extreme fore and aft sections for
certain functions that are better served
by such an environment.
"There are also generators facing
near the front and back of the ship and at the top and the sides.
They are used
to cancel out the effects of acceleration during all but the most
extreme maneuvers. We can be accelerating forward through a
heliosphere at ten g's, a force that would render us all unconscious
within seconds and kill us if sustained, but the gravity generator
at the front of the
ship will apply ten g's of artificial gravity to pull us forward within
the ship at the same rate as we are being pushed backwards, the effect
being to perfectly cancel out the effects of the
acceleration for everyone inside the ship. We can walk and work
as though we
were not accelerating through space at all. The computers
constantly adjust the generators to keep things perfectly steady
inside. Having generators on all sides means the computers can
cancel out any acceleration even from sideways or end over end
maneuvers so that the net effect for those of us inside is normal
gravity pushing us downwards."
The elevator stopped and they disembarked and continued to follow a hallway.
"That's amazing. Do you have anti-gravity?" Jake asked.
That technology has not been pursued as the existing anti-fermion
technology is a much more energy efficient approach to 'hovering'."
followed the line on the floor to the end and it stopped at a door with
a pulsing green frame. Rhokki touched it and the door slid open.
entered the room and found only two other occupants, the zeth, and a
beautiful jet black lioness who sat at the end of a long table and
smiled as she watched them enter.
Rhokki approached her and the
two rubbed cheeks affectionately. Jake found it an odd way for a
crew member to greet his captain.
Rhokki said, "Captain, I would like you to meet Jake and Komakwa."
captain smiled at them and stood and said, "It is a pleasure to meet you both.
I am Sintas. My brother has told me
of your brilliant idea to make the best of the unfortunate situation of
your duplication brought about by that maniac Troska. Please, sit."
"Your brother?" Jake asked as he and the others sat down at the table.
smiled and said, "Did I neglect to mention my relationship to the
captain? She is my sweet sister and she worships her older brother."
laughed and said, "I love you, dear brother, but I would not go so far
as to suggest I worship you. At least, I haven't since I grew up.
I have explained Jake's proposal to the zeth, would you be so
kind as to tell us his response?"
Rhokki sat quietly for some time while looking at the zeth, then he smiled and said, "He is excited at the opportunity presented
by this unique situation. It is something they had not
considered. He would like us to proceed to put it in motion.
They will work on the technology needed to inject their
programs into the First Ones' network so that it can be operated by Jake. They will also develop a
smaller version of the technology used to cut off the favors.
They want one small enough to be carried on board the Slirkstrith by Jake
so that it can be set off if needed, to cut off all QECH communications
from the lackeys back to the First Ones and to protect Srythryn's ship
from possible retaliation by the Lawkeepers by cutting off the favors
Sintas nodded and looked back at Jake and said, "My
brother also told me earlier that you have all agreed, though somewhat in a
joking manner, that you would be the acting leader of the miquanowan
faction of our resistance movement. I would like you to take that
role more seriously. In the brief time you've been here you've
already showed the type of thinking we need to advance our cause
dramatically. If we can make this one idea of yours work we could
reach our ultimate goal decades, or even centuries, sooner than
otherwise possible, and at a minimal risk of life. Doing so,
however, would place the Slirkstrith and all aboard her at risk.
Rhokki told me you have a romantic interest in the captain of
that ship. Are you willing to put it all at risk in such a way?"
thought about it and nodded and said, "Yes. I think Srythryn
himself would do exactly the same if he knew what was at stake.
What happened to your world could happen to others and billions
more lives could be lost. You
can't free the worlds one by one without all of the others down the
being placed at risk. The decades it would take you to put
everything in place to try to cut off all of the planets at once using
satellites would increase the chances of getting caught and bringing
about the retaliation of the Lawkeepers. The best approach by far
is to cut them all off by destroying the QECH hub for the favors from
would need assurances that we could mitigate the risk to the
Slirkstrith by cutting off the favors just as the zeth suggested, and
more importantly, I think we would need to position ourselves to launch
satellites at the siskreth home world to cut the favors off there as
well. If the First Ones were to catch a whiff of what we were
do on the Slirkstrith they may see it as a siskreth conspiracy and
retaliate by attacking their home world.
If we cut off their home world first then they will know we're up
to something and will attack the Slirkstrith. We need to cut off
the favors of both the Slirkstrith and the siskreth home world at once,
and the timing would
have to be nearly perfect."
Sintas smiled broadly and looked at
her brother, then back at Jake, and said, "Rhokki was right about you.
You have what it takes to make a great strategist. We can
position this ship anywhere we like and it would not be a problem to
park ourselves in orbit at their home world to launch a satellite
warhead when the time comes to make our play. We would simply need to find a way
to lure the Slirkstrith into orbit around it at the same time.
Right now our only concern would be
to put the wheels in motion to get your alternate self on track to
becoming an officer of the crew on the Slirkstrith. Can you think
of how we might ensure that your other self proceeds in the right
direction without raising any alarms or giving any hints of what we're doing?"
I was thinking about that earlier. If I know Jake, and I
think I do, he's gonna want to come after Mak to patch up their
relationship. We need to get rid of any reason he might have to
do that. We could have Komakwa kill any idea Jake might have of
coming here, and also give him the push he needs to head in the right
direction. Mak could compose a message for him explaining
how he never wants to see him again."
"Why would he think our relationship needs patching up?" Mak asked.
thing he'll remember is you yelling at him on the ship just before we
crashed. You were so pissed off at me from what you thought was a
betrayal that I was terrified I'd never be able to wipe out the damage
Troska had done. They cut off our favors within an hour of that
memory would end before we got back together and cleared the air
between us. He would think you're still pissed off at him and he
would want to make sure that you didn't end the contract just because of
that. You would need to let him know that everything is fine and
that you know how much he loves you and that everything is absolutely
fine between you two and nothing else needs to be resolved. You
would have to make him
believe that you're happy where you are and that you really don't want
him back in your life anymore. You could smooth the hurt that
would cause by reminding him how much Srythryn loves him and how much
he loves the captain. Let him know that the best thing for him
would be to stay right there on the Slirkstrith. Then you tell
him how best to make that happen. Give him the idea of getting
certified on the fighters and becoming a member of the crew. It's
such an obviously good solution that he would jump right on it and tell
Srythryn, who would also be all for it. I know me and I know that
would work on me."
Sintas nodded and said, "That approach is
sound. I would appreciate if you would prepare that communication
immediately so we will have it ready when the time comes to send it off
through Komakwa's father. I am most impressed with you, Jake.
I know that your
own fortunes are now in question. If you would be interested, I
would like to take you on as a member of my crew. We can
always use more thinkers and I'm certain my brother would be happy to
have you aboard and working closely with him. I spoke with him
privately after our
debriefing earlier and he explained the situation between you two.
I can only say that I am thrilled with you for
making him so happy. I do love my brother and I know how lonely
he's been. I love you for what you've done for him and I would
like to keep you here as part of our family. Komakwa, you would
be most welcome to stay aboard indefinitely as well of course."
young bull smiled and said, "Call me Mak. Would we be required to
get certified to fly your fighters in order to be members of your crew?"
The captain smiled and said, "No, Mak, it wouldn't be a requirement."
Mak looked disappointed, then he said, "Could we do it anyway?"
chuckled and said, "Of course. We have a bank of simulators at
the back of the ship if you wish to pursue certification. Once
you have a command link established with the ship's computer simply
have it direct you to the simulator section and speak with the trainers
on duty there to get you started on the program. I'll instruct
them to give you priority. It shouldn't take you very long to
complete the program if you apply yourself, since you already have
Mak grinned and nodded.
"Jake, I'll be calling on you occasionally to attend high level
planning meetings. I'll want you to get up to speed on all of the
details of all aspects of the resistance's operations in the meantime.
You will be quite busy from now on and you will be working quite
closely with the zeths through my brother. Once Mak's father is
brought into the resistance you will work with him to advance our plans
for the construction of the satellite manufacturing facility here and
to coordinate bringing the miquanowan military fleet back to their home
world to protect it in the event that we cut off its favors.
expressed such a strong interest, I'll expect you to complete your
certification for the fighters within forty days. I've already
made arrangements to have you and Jake recognized as guests for command
the ship's computer. I'll have that upgraded to give you access
as ensigns immediately. As entry-level officers you'll have
access to all of the main areas of the ship and you'll be able to
contact me at any time. I know it may seem odd for a ship's
captain to take two complete strangers and make them junior officers
aboard her ship, but I trust in my brother's judgment completely.
If he trusts you then so do I. With the destruction of our
world I find myself one of the three highest ranked rhuxus in the
universe. The only others that are equal to me are the captains
of the two ark ships that are currently hiding in locations that are
unknown even to me. That means I get to make whatever rules I see
fit as I have no one to answer to. I have no doubt you will both
give me reason to feel nothing but delight for having made this
The captain then stood and said, "It's been an extreme pleasure meeting you both. You are all dismissed."
They all rose to leave, but Sintas said, "Jake, if I could have just one last word please."
others went to wait outside and Sintas walked up to Jake and gave him a
hug, then she kissed him on the cheek and grinned at him and said, "I
really am thrilled about you and my brother. He's the only family
I have in the universe and he means everything to me. I worried
that he'd be alone forever, but now I realize he was just waiting for
the perfect mate to come along, and at last you've arrived.
made him so happy, and that makes me happy. As a member of my
you need to look at me as your captain, but just like Rhokki does, I
to also think of me as your sister. I will certainly be thinking
of you as my brother from now on. I'm happy to have you join my
family and I look forward to getting to know you better."
smiled and wrapped his arms around her neck and hugged her once more
and said, "Rhokki's made me incredibly happy too. I'm thrilled to
think of you as a sister. I've never had one before."
squeezed him again and pulled back and smiled at him and said, "Having a sister can be a challenge at times as you may find out,
but something tells me you're up to it. I'll see you again soon."
She kissed him once more on the cheek and he smiled and then turned and joined the others out in the hall.
The zeth headed down one way and Rhokki led Jake and Mak back towards the elevator.
"Your sister's terrific," Jake said.
smiled and said, "Yes, she is. As I'm sure she's informed you,
she will think of herself as your sister too now. We lost our
parents when she was still very young and I took care of her myself
until she was old enough to take over and take care of me. She is
incredibly strong and very intelligent and has always been driven to
take charge and lead others and has never shied away from any
responsibility no matter how daunting. We both joined the space
academy the same year when she was old enough and she shot past me to
become a commanding officer in no time while I trained to work in engineering.
She is the youngest ever of our people to captain her own ship
and the Shadow's Claw is the most technologically advanced ship that has ever existed
in the collective. She makes me very proud, always."
"I guess we should look at making that recording right away as she requested," Jake said.
"She's the captain, Jake, despite the way she worded it it was an order, not a request," Rhokki said, and he smiled.
Jake chuckled and said, "Sure, OK. It might take me a while to adopt a more military state of mind."
"There is a room a couple of floors up from here that is set up for holographic recording," Rhokki said, "We'll go there."
took the elevator up and Rhokki led them to a small room with what
looked like three cameras surrounding an empty area of the floor and aimed inward.
"Stand in the middle, Mak," Rhokki said, "I'll set up the equipment to record."
"What should I say?" Mak asked.
"Just say what Jake said earlier in the meeting. Jake? Can you help him?" Rhokki asked.
"Sure," Jake said, and he stood next to one of the cameras and just behind it.
Mak went into the center and turned to face Jake.
said, "I don't want to give you a speech to follow. It needs to
sound natural, like you aren't being coerced or anything. It
needs to come from your heart. Just tell him in your own words
that you've given a lot of thought to what Troska told you on that
night that he wrecked our relationship and you've realized he was full
of shit. You recognize that we were truly in love and that it was
beautiful and natural. That will make him feel better
immediately. Make sure he understands that there's nothing
unresolved between you two and that you're happy and content right now.
Tell him that you intend to join the movement because what it
stands for is important and you believe in it and you don't want him to
get involved or get in the way of it. As far as the First Ones
know your movement is
nothing more than a traditionalist push to bring your people back to
their old ways so don't give him any more details about it. Tell
him you'll probably even disappear into the underground and you don't
want him to come looking for you. Once you've given him all of
those assurances and convinced him you don't want him around and he
won't be able to find you anyway, tell him
that you know about him and Srythryn and how much they love each other.
Give him the idea of joining Srythryn's crew. At that point
I'd start to feel better if I were him and my excitement at the idea of
joining Srythryn's crew would make all of this much easier to take.
His focus will instantly shift from trying to get back to you, to
trying to get a permanent place on the Slirkstrith with his lovable
captain. I think it will work."
Mak nodded and said, "Got it. I'm ready."
and don't forget, he's not gonna see this for a couple of months yet,
but make it seem like you sent it just before he woke up. Let him
know you got home safe and got through your ascendance and so on, but
don't go into any details about how you got off the planet."
Mak nodded again.
"You may count to three and begin," Rhokki said as he touched some controls at a panel on the wall.
looked at the camera in front of him and gathered his thoughts for a
moment, then he began to speak while Jake stood just off to the side
behind the camera, smiling at him.
Jake. I know your memory only goes as
far as a short time after the crash and the last thing you probably
remember about us is me yelling at you on the ship. You died
quite suddenly shortly after you started to make your way towards me
and before we could meet up so we didn't get a chance to settle things.
I want you to know that I've been giving a lot of thought to what
Troska said to me and the things you and I did in the creek bed that
night. I am not angry with you anymore, not at all. I
know that Troska twisted things around and made it seem worse than it
was. I know that you really loved me and I want you to know that
I really loved you back. I don't want you to think there's
anything unresolved between us. I know you're a terrific guy with
a great heart and that everything that happened between us was natural
So far so good,
Jake thought. The young bull nailed it, and the Jake at the other
end would start to feel a sense of relief already with his worst fear
allayed right up front. He would know Mak really loved him and
knew that Jake loved him back.
"All of that is going to make the rest of what I
have to say a bit hard to understand, but it's the truth and you'll
have to accept it. I don't want to ever see you again. I
know that may sound harsh but it's really not. We only just met and spent only a few hours together so you should get over
me pretty easily. I am happy that we had the time together
that we did and it taught me some important things about myself.
My life is going to be completely different than I ever imagined
it might be and it's all because of you. You gave me the
confidence I need to do what I'm going to have to do.
Again, Mak got it just right. Now the
other Jake would know that Mak is grateful for the time they had, but
doesn't want him back.
know you must be wondering what happened to me after the crash but
there's no point going into any detail about it. Just know that I
got back home safely. I
went through my ascendance and it all went well. I've spent the
rest of the time since then with the leader of the movement and have
come to understand that what they are trying to achieve is important
for everyone even though it will require some hard sacrifices. The leader has explained everything to me in such
a way that I see no other option but to stay with them and help them with
their cause. He's a great man and I admire him. I've come
to love him more than I thought was possible in fact."
Jake grinned, but
made a cutting motion across his throat and shook his head. There
was no reason to say anything about loving the leader of the movement.
The other Jake would have no idea what he was talking about and
it just might get him thinking something strange is going on.
young bull paused and his eyes looked over at Jake uncertainly for a
moment wondering if he should start over, but Jake just nodded and made
a rolling motion with his hand for him to continue. It would
too rehearsed if they did multiple takes.
Mak realized he was
starting to give away too much information and he should just let the
other Jake know without doubt that he shouldn't even try to find him or
communicate with him or his dad.
He looked straight ahead at the
camera again and went on, "I can't
tell you any details about our cause or its leader but it's
important that you understand; I completely believe in what he is
doing and I am jumping in with both eyes open. In order to do my
part I will be going underground. You won't be able to find me
so don't bother to try. I have warned my father not to even
accept any communication from you. Do not try to reach any of us
and don't think you need to save me. I am exactly where I want to
be and it's the only place I want to be.
young bull thought back about how things had been when Jake first met
him and he realized he should also let Jake know that Mak's
relationship with his father had been healed. That would help to
keep him from trying to come back to try to fix anything.
father and I are
really close again and it's because of you. We talk together
about everything now. He's come to understand why I've joined
the movement and he's planning on joining it as well and will be using
his influence to help bring our entire race around to our side.
simply nothing you can do to change any of it so don't bother trying.
Jake sighed. Mak didn't need to tell him
anything about bringing the whole race aboard and all of that.
The rest was good though. It would help cement the fact
that the other Jake should just forget about coming back here to butt
in. He wasn't needed here anymore. Everything was just fine.
heard Jake's sigh and realized it was time to move on to something
else. He should move on to the idea of joining Srythryn's crew
now. He thought about how much of a jolt it would be for the
other Jake to suddenly be told that he wasn't going to live forever
anymore unless he could find another way to get a contract. It
was time to remind him of that and give him a way out.
know it has to be
a shock to be told that you would be immortal and then suddenly have it
taken away but I want to give you an idea that may help you by giving
your life a new direction. I've
learned that the captain of the ship you will be resurrected on is
called Srythryn and that he cares for you very much. He loves you
in fact. He is the one you should focus on now. I want to
give you an option that might not have occurred to you yet. If
you train to become a certified pilot of one of their fighter craft you
will be able to join his crew and get a resurrection contract. I
think it's the best way for you to go. You can't go
wrong being the most important person in the life of the captain
of the most powerful ark ship in the universe. The two of
should be immortal together. I think that would make you happy
and in the end that's what I want for you.
Jake smiled. That was
perfect. The other Jake's heart is suddenly going to be pumping
faster as he realizes he has a future after all, with Srythryn.
thought about how much he loved Jake, and even though the one who would
be getting this message was a duplicate, it was still the same Jake
that Mak had made love to that first night in the creek bed. Mak
would probably never meet that version again due to the complications
it would cause, but he wanted him to know that he really was a terrific
guy and he'd really changed his life forever.
want to thank you
for the great time we had that evening with the kwarrens. Even
though I'm now twenty four years old I sort of feel like my life really
only just began there, with you. That was the time you first
showed me who I really am and how happy I can be. It's
something I will never forget until the day I die. I suppose our
paths might cross someday but I wouldn't count on it as it may create
some serious complications."
Jake sliced at his throat again to try
to cut Mak off of that train of thought. There was no need to say
anything like that as it would make no sense to the other Jake that
there would be 'serious complications'.
The young bull's eyes
flicked toward Jake again and he realized right away that he should
just quit before he blurted out anything else he shouldn't.
looked back toward the camera and said, "Be happy where you are and look
there for your future. Don't dwell on what might have happened
between us. I could not be happier than to be where I am
now, so don't worry about me. Goodbye, Jake."
Rhokki said, "Good. That will work well I think."
smiled at Mak and said, "It will work perfectly. That last bit
was the best way to end it. Right after you fade away he'll run
out into the hall and jump into Srythryn's arms full of excitement at
the thought of their future together. He's gonna feel regret that
he can't come back here to see you and it will bug him, but it won't
eat away at him so bad that he won't be able to resist it. I
think you got it just right."
smiled and said, "It wasn't
too hard. I just spoke from the heart. It was a bit weird
telling you goodbye forever when you were standing right there next to
the camera. I'm sorry about
slipping and saying how much I loved the leader of the movement.
I couldn't help it."
chuckled and said, "It made me feel great, but the other Jake will be
wondering what that was all about. It's best if we don't cut the
recording in any way or try to redo it though. We can't have it
look doctored or coerced or practiced so he doesn't get suspicious
about anything. I think it'll be fine just like it is. I
know me better than anyone else and I would buy it."
get the recording to the captain. Perhaps we can have your father
record his own once you get back to your world after the forty days are
up, notifying the other Jake of the cancellation of his contract, and
we can tack this on to that one and have him send it along. We'll
have him apply destructive quantum encryption so the other Jake will
not get the opportunity to scrutinize it too closely through repeated
viewings. He'll see it once, and then it will be gone," Rhokki
"Sure, I'll have a talk with my dad when the time comes
and explain what we need him to say to keep Jake satisfied that there's
no reason for him to come back here," Mak said.
They all exited the room and walked back towards the elevator.
was still too early for lunch and Jake was anxious to get started as a
member of the crew.
He turned to Rhokki and asked, "Can we get started going over everything the captain wanted me to learn about the resistance?"
"Yes, of course. We can use a small briefing room just down the hall. Follow me," Rhokki said.
was suddenly a 'bong' and a female voice came over the
intercom and said, "Jake, Mak, this is Elliki. I've just been
informed that you've both been granted voice command access to the
ship's computer as crew members. You should be able to find your
way around no problem now. If you need anything else from me
please let me know."
Mak grinned and said, "If you
two don't mind. I'd really like to go to the simulators and get
started. I'll meet you at the mess hall later on for supper."
Jake smiled and nodded.
"Computer...fighter simulators," Mak said.
was a 'bong' and a green line ran along the floor from Mak's feet to
the pulsing green door of an elevator. Mak smiled and walked off
down the hall.
As the young bull disappeared into the elevator
Rhokki said, "Do you not wish to join him? I have played in the
simulators and it can be quite exhilarating. I am not much of a
flier as I said before, but pretending can be fun. The simulator
uses miniature gravity generators on the outside of a sphere that spins
freely to apply acceleration forces on the subject inside from any
direction with any range of intensity. The inside of the sphere
perfectly replicates the cockpit of one of our Stiletto fighters and the inner wall uses display technology to project an
artificial universe for the pilot in training. The effect is
Jake smiled and said, "I would just hold
him back. He can fly already so he'll be getting into the more
advanced stuff right off while I would need to start with the absolute
basics. I might go and mess around if I have time later on just
for fun. From what Sintas was saying, I'm going to be very busy
for the next while so I probably won't have much time for it."
nodded and said, "You're right. You will be very busy indeed.
We'll be working closely together from now on and I look forward
to it immensely.
Follow me and we'll begin."
Jake nodded and followed the big cat.
they walked into a small briefing room to begin the first of many busy
days going over all of the information the captain wanted Jake to learn, it struck him
how easily his fortunes had suddenly shifted once again. He'd
gone from being a corporate executive, to essentially a tourist on
board the Slirkstrith, to a match for an elaborate dating service, to a
prisoner on an uninhabited planet, and finally to a junior officer on
the crew of an advanced stealth ship, all in a matter of what felt like
He briefly wondered what more the future had in store for him.
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