Plan of the Shusheen
By Vic James
Copyright 2013 by Vic James
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Michael grew quickly. He was the most beautiful baby ever born and nobody better argue about that with me! I knew absolutely nothing about babies. Someone would tell me to do something and I would do it while Ar-Tan-Bey would tell me it wasn't necessary.
His crib was in our bedroom and he never once woke us up crying. He ate, he waved his hands, he made cute noises, and he slept.
He stopped breast feeding on his own. Everyone except Ar-Tan-Bey insisted I keep trying to get him to suck, but he had lost interest. I was secretly delighted. Breast feeding made me feel way too feminine. I never mentioned that to anyone, not even Mike.
Suddenly, the most disgusting looking baby food in horrid combinations held his interest. What kind of sick mind thought up sweet potatoes and liver all mixed into a nauseating color? And why call it lasagna when it looks exactly like spaghetti and also like carrots, for that matter? Michael loved it all, but he loved fruit the most.
When Michael was still only a few days old I asked "Ar-Tan-Bey, if you are a Shusheen and not a copy, how did you end up in an occupied body?"
"That is a really good question. I would say it proves I am a copy, but my mate, or Ar-Tan-Bey's mate disagrees.
"I haven't told you this before because it is pure speculation, but he thinks you must have temporarily left your body after you were born. He thinks it is possible you died, I occupied, and then you were revived."
"That makes sense."
"It doesn't explain why I entered a human at all. Why wasn't I in an animal? For that matter, why aren't the other Shusheen members of the expedition in animals? My mate thinks they are and we are simply unable to detect them. Even though I am going along with his plan, I won't be at all surprised if I don't enter the Null. The presence of the Null might save one of the other Shusheen, so it's not a waste of your time."
"I am really going to miss you. Almost as much as I would if I lost Mike. I feel like I ought to be happy for you that you'll be with your mate and in a Shusheen body again. But the implant Ar-Tan-Bey won't have experienced my life. She will be a stranger again."
"I know, Ben."
"I will be happy for you eventually. I'll stay focused on that.
"Is it possible to birth two Nulls at the same time for the other Shusheen?"
"Yes, it is. You can give birth to up to four."
"If the other expedition members aren't here, will the Nulls die?"
"Yes. But they aren't persons and we won't have to kill them. They will stop breathing on their own."
"Has the Null already started growing?"
"I'll ask Mike how he feels about more Nulls before our second child. I won't mind waiting. I want more time with just Michael. I don't mind giving birth to four of them. It's not like it's painful. Or will it be with four?"
"No. You'll be bigger, but there won't be pain."
When Michael was four months old, I gave birth to the ugliest baby I ever saw.
"Are you still there?"
"Yes. Just like I was thirty seconds ago when you asked."
"Michael was cuter."
"It's a zombie baby, Ben. If it wasn't lying there looking dead, it would be cuter."
"How long does it usually take for someone to move in?"
"Usually the same day. That's on Shilleen, of course."
A couple of hours later the baby kicked and opened its eyes. It smiled at us and wiggled its little fingers."
"You were right! Much cuter! Are you disappointed?"
"A little. I believe I am a copy, so I'm definitely not surprised. Ar-Tana-Bin will be disappointed."
"I wonder who it is."
"Me, too. It could be the real Ar-Tan-Bey."
"Can we tell her the position has already been filled?"
She laughed. "I don't think she will understand the humor of it. She may have been in animals for thousands of years."
I called for Mike who was on the veranda and told him to let Ar-Tana-Bin know.
When Ar-Tana-Bin looked at the baby, he seemed unhappy. I guess he had really hoped he would have his mate back. Baby Shusheen like to sleep in the sun, so we went into the backyard with it. Fortunately the weather was nice.
They next day the Shusheen baby started trying to talk. It made clicking noises, but I was told the Shusheen didn't have enough control of the baby to make sense yet.
The next day the baby started clicking.
"This is Ar-Tan-Bey," At-Tana-Bin said to them. He clicked at it for bit and said "The original."
"Do you want to talk to yourself?"
"I feel guilty about being glad."
"I wonder if At-Tana-Bin will continue working on Vin-Ta immortality."
"I know for a fact that the original Ar-Tan-Bey will want it as much as I do."
"That's good to know."
"What should I call you now that there are two of you? How about Ar-Tan?"
"That's fine with me. Never tell Ar-Tana-Bin that though."
"Yes, my love."
"As I am currently without alien child, and Michael is with his grandparents, I would like to refamiliarize myself with certain fascinating parts of your anatomy."
"You can see my nose from over there."
"Think how much better I could see it on my back with my legs in the air."
"Please, not in front of the aliens."
"Ar-Tana-Bin, do you want to keep your mate in your room?"
"Yes, Ben. Thank you so much for bringing my mate back to me."
"You are welcome. Please don't forget the Vin-Ta."
"Ar-Tan-Bey would never let that happen. We will continue working on the project. With her help, we may solve the problem more quickly."
They left the room.
Mike asked "Ar-Tan-Bey, is it safe for Ben to exercise this soon after giving birth to the Null?"
"At the risk of upsetting Ben, I would recommend waiting a couple of days for the seal to disappear and the muscles to remesh."
"Sorry, Ben. You heard the embedded alien."
I walked up to Mike and knelt in front of him. I unzipped his pants and reached in for his cock. I took it into my mouth and moaned at the taste of my mate." Mike moaned too. I sucked him for a couple of minutes and then pulled his balls out and sucked them.
"A gentleman would let me suck him in bed this soon after giving birth," I said. Mike laughed.
Mike bent down and kissed me. I wrapped my arms around my handsome mate.
"I love you, Mike."
"I love you, Ben."
Mike stripped and got in bed. I stripped and joined him. He pulled me into his arms.
I fell asleep! There are times when your body just doesn't cooperate!
I woke up to Mike stroking my hair. I sighed.
"See. You tried to do too much, too soon."
"I suppose. The thing is, I want you so badly."
"Well, you've got me and we will have sex. Just try to be patient. Your abdomen was open three hours ago. Why don't you sleep some more."
"Will you hold me?"
"No one could drag me away."
Two days later, I woke Mike up by sliding down his cock.
"Oh, baby! What a way to wake up!"
"If you slept on your back more, I could do it all the time!"
"I can't really hold you when I'm on my back."
"Good point! Never mind.
"I got the go ahead from my alien physician. She said it was safe for me to have sex with men with little cocks."
"And you were right there! Convenient!"
"For that, I am going to bury my cock down your throat."
"Really? I'll have to insult you more often!"
I began moving on his cock and Mike moaned. He ran his hands over me and then he began stroking my dick. The spasms in my hole began and I leaned forward to kiss him.
We both moaned into the kiss and then I came, shooting on both of us. That triggered Mike's first orgasm.
I pulled away and started licking his face.
"Damn, you taste good!"
I kept moving a little on his cock, enough to keep the spasms going.
Mike began thrusting up into me and he shouted as he came again. He pinched my nipples hard and that made me come again.
I grinned at him and he grinned back.
He rolled us over so he was on top and he began to fuck me. I reached up and ran my hands through his short hair.
The spasms made me come again and I shouted his name.
Mike sped up his thrusts and a few minutes later, he said "Aah, fuck!' as he came. He stopped moving and closed his eyes as his cock unloaded inside me.
He dropped on top of me and I wrapped my arms around him. We kissed for several minutes and then he started thrusting again. He reached down and wrapped his hand around my cock. He stroked it in time with his thrusts. Then he leaned down and licked my cheek. He sucked on my earlobe and then bit it.
I came hard and he shouted as he came.
He laid there on top of me, which I loved.
"Come on. Let's get a shower."
He pulled me out of bed and we got in the shower. He washed me and I washed him. While I was washing his cock, I began to stroke it. I looked up at him and he gave me a sexy smirk that made my cock hard again. I rinsed the soap off it and began sucking him while I stroked the shaft. A few minutes later I was rewarded with a little of his come. I had been hoping for more!
Mike did the same to me. While he was sucking me, he pushed three fingers into my hole and I came immediately into his mouth.
We finished out shower and Mike asked "What do you feel like doing today? Ar-Tana-Bin is not planning to go into the lab today."
"I wouldn't mind going to the mall to shop."
"That sounds fun! We can go after we give Michael his breakfast and have ours."
Mike said "He's already eaten. I got up early and he was awake, so I gave him his breakfast. Sweet potatoes and spinach. Yum!"
"Mike, please ask Mrs. Lawry to never offer that at dinner. The color alone would make me vomit!" Mike laughed.
It was summer and it was already hot on the veranda. Mike turned the water misters on and they made it bearable.
After breakfast we went to the mall. I was looking for large shirts. If I was going to be even larger in the belly with four nulls, I needed bigger clothes.
I bought several extra-large shirts and stretch pants. When I tried some of them on, one of the clerks looked like he was dying to ask a question. Probably 'Are you planning to become fat soon?' He didn't though, so I didn't have to use my line about my morbidly obese twin brother who likes my fashion sense. I am the gay one, after all!
We left the mall and the limo was pulling around to get us when it exploded. Carl, the driver jumped out of the limo and did a roll. He jumped up with a gun and shot someone around us. I heard a gasp, so I guess he was hit. Then another guy with a handgun joined Carl. Mike grabbed me and we turned to run back in the mall. A guy ran out the mall door. I thought he was running to see what was going on, but he pulled out a gun and shot Mike. I saw him fall and then someone grabbed me from behind and that was all I remember.
I woke up strapped to a table.
"Not again! I am never leaving the house again!"
Then I remembered Mike.
"Ar-Tan-Bey, I can't live without him!"
"I'm so sorry, Ben. You don't know that he's dead. Try to think positively. People survive gunshot wounds all the time."
"I don't care what they do to me. Without Mike nothing matters!"
"What if Mike survived? If you give up and die, you will cause his death, too. And what about Michael. He needs you."
That was true.
I had no idea who had attacked us. It happened so quickly that I wasn't sure exactly what had happened. I knew the limo exploded and Carl was shooting at someone. The guy that ran out of the mall and shot Mike had been wearing black, but I didn't even notice his face. I had no idea why we would be attacked in public in a mall parking lot. There were police in the parking lot!
Then I realized if I let whoever did all this kill me, they would also get away with killing Mike. I wasn't going to let that happen. I would make them pay, somehow, if I could.
"Ar-Tan-Bey, get ready to kill people."
"Ben, please don't say that."
"We should let them get away with it?"
"We can escape."
"If I need a weapon are you going to assist me or hinder me?"
"It would depend on the circumstances. Are you going to kill anyone you see? What if they don't know what's going on? What if they are under duress? Are we going to kill them first and not bother to find out if they are even guilty?"
"You are being too logical, but I see what you mean."
"Ben, I will do my best to get you out of here. If someone is threatening you, I will not hesitate to allow you to attack. My problem is killing people if we don't know they will attack you or whether they are guilty."
"OK. I understand."
I looked around. I was in a room. There were metal shelves on one of the walls, and there were tools on them. I saw axes, hand saws, knives, pliers, and heavy duty cutters. There were other things made of metal that I didn't recognize. I saw a garden hose coiled up on one shelf. Next to the hose were some things I didn't recognize. Then I realized they were huge dildos. That was very strange. When I turned my head, I saw two chairs next to the table. There was a door and it looked very solid. I thought it was possibly metal. In front of me on one of the walls was a large mirror. I could see the wall behind me in it. That wall held a painting of a group of people at a long table eating. It looked a little like the last supper, but it wasn't. That was all I could see while I was strapped down to the table. The room also had a strange odor.
"Can you boost my hearing?"
I still couldn't hear anything. After a couple of minutes, though, I could hear footsteps.
"Keep your eyes closed, Ben. It may help if they think you are still asleep."
"Don't we need to see who are captors are?"
"I will make eyes they won't be able to see."
I heard the door being unlocked.
I heard a man's voice say "He could be awake by now."
A different voice said "It doesn't matter. His implant has been permanently deactivated. He's just an ordinary human now."
"Why does His Majesty want him alive?"
"Does it matter? Does he ever explain his orders or his actions?" There was no answer.
Two men dressed in black pants with black shirts entered the room. One of the men walked up and slapped my face hard. I guess Ar-Tan-Bey kept me from jumping.
"He's still out."
"It will be fun watching whatever Majesty is planning. Screaming is guaranteed." They both laughed.
"I saw your daughter outside. Is today her special day?"
"I sure hope so."
"Oh, fuck! I hope I get to watch First!
"What's your body count this year?"
"Thirty eight. Twelve virgins. Two kids."
"I sent him ten last week."
"Where do you get them?"
"Homeless, mostly. A couple of teenage runaways in that bunch, too. I started a homeless shelter. I told them I had temporary work for them." They both laughed.
"Do you think virgins taste better?"
"No. I can't tell the difference. First can, though. He knows instantly when he tastes them. Someone told me he could tell from a single drop of blood whether it was from a virgin.
The man sighed. "He is so wonderful!"
"Yes. We are so lucky to know him."
"What nice people! They are definitely not innocent! These two are in desperate need of death."
"Hopefully they will get what they deserve."
"What they deserve is death."
While I was trying to decide whether I should attempt to kill them now or wait for more information, both men looked at the mirror. And suddenly I could see the mirror up close.
"Do I have eyes in my feet now?"
"More or less."
Instead of showing the contents of the room, the mirror showed another room, or maybe a cave. The walls looked like unfinished rock. There were many oddly shaped things with holes in them hanging on the walls. The rock was a brownish-orange color. There was elaborate furniture in the room that didn't seem to fit in with the surroundings. Then a Fithar appeared.
"Oh, shit. They are on Earth!"
"Maybe not. A lot of the rock on Fithome is that color. I think that is First. And he definitely couldn't be on Earth."
"What are those things hanging on the wall?"
"I believe those are Shusheen and human skins."
The two men held both hands in front of them with their palms facing the mirror and bowed.
The Fithar said in English "Has my Shusheen agent arrived yet."
One of the men said "No, Majesty. He should be here any minute."
The Fithar asked "Have you tested...that...to ensure it is species three and not one of those useless hybrids? I need understand how they create nulls."
After a couple of minutes, First started screaming in another language. He looked like he was having a temper tantrum. Another Fithar approached him and First grabbed him, bit part of his face off, and then gutted him with his claws while the Fithar screamed. First dropped him and the Fithar twitched as a pool of blood appeared on the ground under him. First dipped his fingers in the blood and then licked it off of them. It seemed to calm him. The Fithar on the ground tried to crawl away and First screamed, jumped on him, bit his neck three times, and then pulled his head off.
"Oh, he is."
"I expect entertainment from my followers," he snarled.
"Yes, Majesty," one of the men said. He quickly pulled a knife out of his pants and turned and slit the throat of the other man. That man clutched his throat with his hands as the blood pumped out of him. It sounded like he was trying to say something. The man with the knife stabbed out the other guy's eyes and I think he tried to scream, but he only gurgled through the blood. The man bit one of the other man's fingers off and swallowed it. Then the man fell to the ground.
"Well. Wasn't that quick?" First sneered.
"I wanted to please you quickly Majesty! Besides, in a fair fight, I would have died," he said. He was visibly shaking.
First laughed, apparently pleased with the explanation.
"Very good. Were you friends?"
"Ah! Even sweeter! You will enjoy his flesh even more for that.
"Do you have children?"
"Yes, Majesty. Two boys and a girl. The youngest boy and girl are both virgins.
First smiled horribly.
"Have they been fed human flesh?"
"No Majesty. Not yet. I wanted you to have the pleasure of completely debasing them in any way you choose.
"Would you like my daughter, Majesty? I brought her for you to enjoy today. I can have my son here shortly. There is nothing that would please me or my wife more than for you to enjoy them however you wish. My wife is pregnant again. We will have an infant soon for you. I know how much you enjoy the taste of those. We hope to have a great many children for you."
"How old is your daughter?"
"I would barely get a moment's enjoyment before she died. Humans are disgustingly fragile at that age. One good mouthful, even a foot, kills them. Do you have any older children?"
"We have a son in college."
"Is he a virgin?"
"He has a girlfriend."
First laughed. "Are you truly that stupid?" First asked.
"Majesty, I do not know if he has been used by men."
"Do you mean you never used him?"
"No. Majesty. That was before I became your follower."
First looked angry. "And before that, you were not the type of person who did that sort of thing?"
The man looked terrified. "Majesty, you debased me totally! I was a good man! Now I offer my children for your enjoyment and torture! I will happily eat any of their scraps you leave for me."
First smiled and nodded.
"I hope you can keep me from throwing up."
"I can, Ben."
"Bring all three of your children to me. It will be family day on Fithome. Tell them something wonderful will happen. I want them smiling right up to the moment they begin screaming."
"Yes, Majesty. It will take a little longer for my older son to get home."
"Very well, as a reward for your loyalty you and your wife may watch me play with your children."
"Thank you, your Majesty! Thank you!"
"Afterwards we shall feast on their flesh. You can keep their skins as permanent reminders of your love for me.
"But first a reward." First pointed a finger at the man. The man moaned and slid down the floor. He started groaning and whimpering.
"Aah! Aah!" he moaned.
"Is he being punished, I hope?"
"I think First is rewarding him with orgasms. I suppose First figured out what part to the human brain to stimulate to produce orgasms. Perhaps that is the reason he is able to attract followers. Aside from his appeal to their own brutal natures."
The man's groans intensified and he screamed. Then he went back to moaning.
"Will it never end?"
His moans continued and it sounded like he was rolling around on the floor. He screamed again.
"Ben, I believe pleasure like that could very well be addictive. Humans get addicted to drugs that provide less pleasure."
"I think you are right. I wonder if his followers can just drag someone off the streets, get them addicted, and bang! One more follower."
The man's whimpering gradually stopped and he pulled himself to his feet. He was covered in blood, but I supposed he liked that. I guess that was why they needed a garden hose in here.
The man opened the door. He dragged the body out of the room. I saw him cut an ear off the corpse and put it in his pocket. Then he shut the door behind him. I heard a lock click.
"I understand Et-Tin-Nar's obsession much better. Have the Fithar ever tortured you, At-Tan-Bey?"
"I don't know, Ben. I would have removed the memories as soon as I was able."
"I really can't believe the Shusheen put up with this for so long. Can you think of any way to stop them? I can't let him rape and murder children. Maybe we can destroy the portal."
"Ben, I want to prevent that as much as you do. I have no idea what the portal is, much less how to destroy it. I wish I knew how many of First's human followers are around. It seems very unlikely there is only one. First is not stupid. This place will be well guarded. If we grabbed the children and ran, I feel certain the Fithar or their humans would have no problem catching us. While we can probably escape by careful shifting, we can't do that with the children. I imagine we will have difficulty merely keeping them quiet if they are very young. I will try to think of a plan. Hopefully he will be gone for a few minutes. Are you certain you don't want to try to escape now while he is gone?"
"Do you, Ar-Tan-Bey?"
"I want to, but I want to prevent their deaths, too."
"I agree. I very much want to escape, but I can't let those kids die without trying to prevent it."
"Can Fithar travel through the portal?"
"I don't know. I'm fairly certain First can't. He dies when he tries to leave Fithome. The other Fithar can leave Fithome, but when they die, they are always reborn on Fithome. Since that man is planning to give his children to First, travel through the portal must be possible, at least for humans."
"I don't think we are going to make it this time."
"Don't give up. We may be able to escape, Ben. If Mike is alive, he needs you."
"And take the children when we escape?"
She didn't reply.
"I am very, very proud of you, Ben. I can prevent you from feeling any pain at their hands."
"If we can't stop them, can we kill the children to keep them from suffering?"
"Please don't ask me to do that, Ben. I can't watch you kill innocent children, even to prevent their suffering."
"I understand. I don't think I could do it anyway. Can we inject a pain killer in the children?"
"That's something, anyway."
While he was waiting, First began fucking the dead, headless Fithar on the ground.
As I lay there waiting, I realized I was almost certainly going to die. They could torture me, but I wouldn't feel it, thanks to Ar-Tan-Bey. I wasn't really afraid, but I was sad.
I thought of Mike and the day I'd met him. I could picture everything. The dark bar, At-Tan-Bey speaking to me the first time, the incredible first sight of Mike and his scent. I was so glad I'd had the opportunity to be his mate. I was very lucky. If I had the chance to do it all again, even this, I would. I so hoped he was alive. Michael, at least was safe. Hopefully they had only been after me.
If Mike was alive, I hoped he would find a reason to live in our son. I knew Michael's grandparents would be there even if Mike couldn't go on without me. Michael could be happy with them even if Mike was dead. He was so young he wouldn't remember us and that was very sad. And yet, it was good. He would not mourn us. He would miss up, but the pain would be less.
I hoped Evie and Ernie would have a child of their own soon. I thought of our mornings on the veranda and our evenings in bed. I saw Mike's beautiful eyes in my mind, and I sighed at the happy memories.
"Ben, here is the only plan I've got that might save the kids. We cross the portal and try to kill First. If we succeed, he will have to be reborn. He won't be able to do anything to the children or anyone else for a while."
"What do you think our chances of killing him are?"
"Very slim, but not zero. I'm certain he has protection of some sort. I doubt he would open the portal if he thought he could be in danger. He absolutely hates dying. It's impossible to be hateful and cruel when you are an infant. But we may be able to overcome whatever protection he has."
"If I'm going to die, I'd rather have a better chance of accomplishing something. I only get to die once, unlike the Shusheen. Do you think we should do it?"
"Ben, I've decided I want to save you. Having you and the children die is the worst possible outcome. I don't want you to die any more than the children. Your knowledge of the portal and First's followers shouldn't die. It's very possible we might be able to accomplish more when we are better prepared and know something about his defenses. Having the three of you die is worse than having two die. But I understand your priorities may be different and I respect them and will abide by them."
"I have no idea what to do. I know if I escape and leave those children to First and their parents, I'll never forgive myself."
Just then the door opened and a Shusheen came in holding two struggling humans, a man and a woman. The Shusheen's arms had lengthened and narrowed and were wrapped completely around their bodies pinning their arms to their sides. One was the man who'd left the room, still covered with blood and I assumed the other was his wife. A stream of Vin-Ta vampires followed the Shusheen through the door and flew into the portal. Four attached themselves to a struggling, cursing First who was still trying to have sex with a corpse. I think his penis got stuck. His struggles became violent and he threw two of the Vin-Ta off him. He bit one of the ones still attached, but it seemed to have no effect and he screamed in frustration. Another Fithar flew into sight and two other Vin-Ta attached themselves to it, pulling it to the ground. The two Vin-Ta First had thrown off leaped back on him. His struggling gradually slowed and his screams turned to moans. Finally he stopped moving. Vin-Ta continued to fly into the portal and they flew out of sight into Fithome.
"It is Et-Tin-Nar. I assume he was the agent and he has managed to get the Vin-Ta to attack the Fithar."
"A double agent! Can you get us off this table?"
My body came apart and then the parts rejoined outside the straps on the bed. It made me nauseous watching it.
"Is that how we got away from Mike and his family when they were chasing us?"
"If I didn't know better, I would say Et-Tin-Nar looks extremely happy."
"He looks triumphant, Ben."
"Should we say anything to Et-Tin-Nar?"
I heard clicking. Et-Tin-Nar looked shocked. He clicked back. That went one for a while. He held the two humans the whole time. By this time, they were unconscious. Maybe he drugged them.
Vin-Ta continued to fly through the portal onto Fithome.
"Ben, this may take a while. Do you mind?"
"No. Can I sleep?"
"Sure." I fell asleep.
I woke up.
"Ben, he plans to keep the portal open. He says with only six hundred sixty-six Fithar, each Vin-Ta will have to spend very little time keeping them drained and drugged. He said he has activated all the Vin-Ta implants remotely so there are no longer any Vin-Ta who don't know they are Vin-Ta.
"He said with the huge number of new Vin-Ta, each will only need to spend less than thirty minutes a year on Fithome. The rest of their time is their own. He said considering the extended life span we provided them, it is a fair exchange. He pointed out that the new Vin-Ta will live vastly longer lives than they would have had he not activated their implants. His plan also prevents First from hurting humans through his followers. He said once the Fithar are all weakened and drugged, the Vin-Ta will deal with First's followers. Apparently the Vin-Ta can easily detect them.
"He said First discovered how to make portals and he used them on Earth thousands of years ago. First had hoped to use the portal to escape Fithome and take Earth as his new home. He died when he entered the portal and was reborn on Fithome.
"After that he used the Earth portals as a sort of entertainment. His followers provided a constant stream of victims for his amusement. They also performed shows for him, torturing and killing people themselves. Apparently cannibalism is an important part of his followers' activities. He said one of First's favorite activities was watching humans eat their children, preferably raw. The painting on the wall shows his followers eating two of their children in a disgusting parody of da Vinci's Last Supper. That was the preferred way to prove their loyalty to him. They give birth at home and don't let their children outside. No one notices when they are gone. Whenever his followers do something horrible for him, he rewards them with lengthy orgasms. The more horrible the act, the lengthier the reward. The followers quickly become addicted and will do anything at all for him to get more. Even mutilate themselves. Et-Tin-Nar gave me many examples of things they did for First, but you get the idea.
"Evidently First is also capable of controlling his followers bodies. His connections to their brains extends beyond orgasms. When one of them displeases him, he often takes control and makes them punish themselves. Self-castration is a punishment First particularly enjoys. Many of the followers are missing fingers because he has punished them by having them bite them off and swallow them. He can also reanimate and control dead followers for a while after their deaths."
"It sounds like it.
"As you said, Et-Tin-Nar was a double agent. He volunteered to help First in exchange for protection for his family. He actually joined to find out how the portal works and how to make one. He found out and created a portal to Shilleen. The other expedition members used it to get home. They didn't bother to deactivate the beacon. He was unable to reach Ar-Tana-Bin or At-Tan-Bey, but since he intended to return to Earth, he said he assumed he would be able to find them when he had more time.
"Et-Tin-Nar said that First used portals to launch an assault of Shilleen. The Shilleen weren't prepared for that kind of attack. The Fithar pumped toxins through the portals and killed most of the life on the planet, sea life as well as land life. About ninety percent of the Shusheen died and are now Seekers. With no animals, they will remain Seekers a very long time. That was why Et-Tin-Nar didn't spend longer searching for Ar-Tana-Bin and At-Tan-Bey. As soon as they arrived back on Shilleen, the expedition members began assisting the surviving Shusheen."
"Ben, I think the man is a genius. He has been planning this for forty eight thousand years. I don't agree with all his methods, but he confirmed that no Vin-Ta will die from their work on Fithome."
A Vin-Ta vampire came back through the portal from Fithome and acted like he was sniffing something. Et-Tin-Nar dropped the humans on the floor. The Vin-Ta sniffed them and then ripped their throats out.
"Ar-Tan-Bey, I guess now we know what 'deal with' means."
She clicked at him for a couple of minutes. He clicked back.
"Ben, he said it was humans killing humans and I, or my original was the one who insisted the Vin-Ta be allowed to defend themselves against other humans. All First's followers have to be at the very least murderers. From what he described, the nice couple on the floor were typical."
"He also said the two children are fine."
"Does he know where we are?"
"Yes, we are in Houston apparently. He showed me a mental picture and I recognized the skyline."
"Did he say how the Vin-Ta are going to get to Fithome? If Mike is alive, he will be going there and I'd like to know."
She clicked at Et-Tin-Nar. He clicked back for a while.
"This is going to take a while. Do you want to sleep again?"
"Yes." I fell asleep.
I woke up. "He said he has created permanent portals to Fithome for the Vin-Ta to use."
"Oh, that does not sound like a good idea."
"That's what I said. He said he was able to make the Fithome portals so they only worked for humans. Neither Shusheen nor Fithar can use them. He told me the open portals are integral to the plan. It's the smell of the Fithar that will cause the Vin-Ta to shift and fly there. The Fithar smell different when they are comatose from being sedated and drained than when they aren't. The Vin-Ta will detect when there are Fithar they need to drain. Without portals, he would have had to get the Vin-Ta onto Fithar by travelling through space and that definitely would disrupt the Vin-Ta's lives. His original plan was to have Vin-Ta living on Shilleen who would protect the planet, as well as travelling to Fithome to sedate them. He was prepared to offer inducements to recruit volunteers. One of the inducements, Ben, was immortality. He has already figured out how to give them immortality."
"No, I don't believe he mentioned any." I laughed.
"Did you ask how to do it?"
"No. I wasn't interested, Ben."
"I'm kidding! Yes, of course I asked!"
"Apparently only Vin-Ta near enough to one of the permanent portals will smell the Fithar. If Mike is alive, he won't ever shift unless he happens to come near a portal when there are Fithar that need draining.
"He also said the portals are protected four ways. Ordinary humans cannot see the portals. Three of the ways they are protected are secret.
"He also told me one of the skins on First's wall belong to his second offspring. She was very young when she was tortured and killed, about twelve years old. She has been a Seeker ever since. He believes she was so traumatized that she does not wish to live again. He blames himself for allowing her to be captured and he hopes that now she will recognize somehow that she is safe from the Fithar, and will choose to be reborn.
"He told me the last thing he wanted was for the Fithar to take over another planet. He told me a lot of thought has gone into his plan. I definitely believe that, Ben. He asked us to trust him. And after all, First was creating portals to Earth already."
"OK. I'm willing to trust him," I said.
"His obsession makes perfect sense to me now. It wasn't insanity at all."
"I don't know if he is correct about his child, but he could be.
"Ben, do you think you might be willing to go to Shilleen and help rebuild? Every Null you can produce is desperately needed. Rebuilding the ecosystem will require a lot of Shusheen."
"If Mike is dead, I don't know. I'm willing to try. Michael needs me, too. If Mike is alive and willing, then I am. Oh, and it would have to be safe enough for Michael.
"Oh! Wait a minute!"
"No one would be able to kidnap me on Shilleen, would they?"
"You won't be in any danger from the Shilleen, of course. I can make sure you and your family are very well guarded from the Fithar if any manage to escape Fithome and attack. Et-Tin-Nar said he and the survivors of the attack boosted defenses of Shilleen."
"I'm tired of being kidnapped."
"Me, too. One of these times, we won't be able to escape.
"Ben, I don't expect you to risk your lives. Et-Tin-Nar said the toxins have all been broken down. Mike will do anything for you. I picked him. I know."
"How do we get there? Does a permanent portal to Shilleen exist?"
"Et-Tin-Nar told me how to create one to Shilleen."
"So could we create one inside our house?"
"The backyard might be safer. Especially the first time."
"That is really cool! I wish I could call home!"
My hand turned into a cell phone.
"Now that is a nice trick!"
"Thank you. I practiced while you were sleeping. It ended up being easier than I thought it would be. I'm emulating your phone's sim card."
"He'll think you are calling from your real cell phone."
I called Mike.
"This is Mike. Ben, is it you?" I started crying. He was fine!
"Hello! Ben! Are you there?"
"It's me, Mike. How are you?"
"Ben, I've been going out of my mind! I haven't been able to eat and I make Michael cry every time he looks at me!"
"You were shot!"
"They only grazed me. Unfortunately, I didn't see who got you. They drove off, and we ran after them, but I couldn't even get a license number. The limo is toast.
Are you OK? What happened to you? Where are you? Are you hurt? I checked David's corpse. It wasn't him this time." Yuck!
"Houston, evidently. We got kidnapped again, but we are safe now. We hope to leave soon. I'll call back when we get away."
"I meant Ar-Tan-Bey and me."
"How is Michael?"
"He's fine. He misses you. He cries and doesn't want to eat."
"Tell him his Modad misses him."
"I will try to tell him that."
"I will. I will call you a Modad. That is how much I love you!"
"I love you, too! Thank god you're OK!"
"How would you like to visit a distant planet we can get to from our own backyard? At-Tan-Bey has figured out how to create a portal, a doorway, to Shilleen."
"No. I am about five feet from Fithome right now!"
"It's a long, long story."
"That will be great for Ar-Tana-Bin and the original At-Tan-Bey. It was going to take centuries for them to get home the way they had planned. Ben, have At-Tan-Bey create a portal from Houston to the backyard first. It will be good practice for her."
"At-Tan-Bey? Can you?"
"No. I don't know enough about how to make them right now."
"Mike, she isn't certain how to create one from here to home. We aren't that far. We'll just fly. Kiss Michael for me!"
I hung up.
"How do I say 'Thank You' in Shusheen?" She made two short clicks, the second one a little longer than the first.
"Is there any possibility I might screw it up to annoy him?"
"It's for Et-Tin-Nar?"
"Go ahead. If you mess it up, I will explain."
Et-Tin-Nar was watching First through the portal. I made the clicks. He turned and stared at me. Then he smiled and I smiled back. He bowed to me.
"Should I bow back?"
"Can we leave?"
"Let me tell him."
She clicked at him. He clicked back.
"He says goodbye and you are welcome. Let's go."
I got off the table and ducked under the Vin-Ta who were still flying into the room and over to Fithome.
"Et-Tin-Nar said he sedated the children and locked them in a room next to this one. He said he was keeping an eye on them. I'm sure he means that literally. He said he will drop them at a police station anonymously once he is sure First is fully controlled."
"What do you mean 'literally'?
"He probably has extended an eye into the room."
"I had to ask."
"He is going to toss the corpses over to Fithome and then close this portal. The permanent Houston portal is elsewhere."
We walked out of the building. When we got outside, I saw it was a cement plant. There was a gate, but no one was there. Then I saw a man just inside the gate on the ground. His throat was torn, so he was a follower. I looked around the parking lot and saw a few other corpses. The only living people I saw were Vin-Ta.
"I wonder what the humans are going to make of the Vin-Ta vampires."
"He told me that. They won't see them. Evidently Fithar can't see them very well either."
"I hope those poor kids never find out what their parents planned to do to them.
"Let's go home!"
When we finally arrived home, I was starving. Mike and I ate and then I held and fed Michael. He was all smiles and he made me smile. I put him to bed and he fell asleep immediately.
I really needed a shower. I had to use very hot water to feel clean again. Mike washed me, but the hot water made him uncomfortable.
We got out and got in bed. We made love for an hour or so.
Then Mike asked "Do you want to talk about it?"
I told him about the men and about First. I told him about the kids and eating them and the followers and the other victims.
"Oh, Ben! Did you have to watch that?" Mike had tears in his eyes.
"No, they were stopped. Permanently.
"Before the asshole could give his kids to First, a Shusheen burst into the room with the man and his wife. He was followed by hundreds of Vin-Ta vampires. They flew through the portal and attacked First. They drained his blood and drugged him until he was comatose. Then the Vin-Ta took care of the other Fithar. One of the Vin-Ta killed the man and his wife. They, or you I guess, can detect First's human followers. The Vin-Ta can detect when the Fithar need draining and they will fly to Fithome, drain them, and return home. There are so many Vin-Ta and so few Fithar, that each Vin-Ta will spend very little time on Fithome. It was estimated at thirty minutes a year. All Vin-Ta who were not aware they are Vin-Ta have had their implants activated, so there really are a lot of Vin-Ta.
"The Shusheen was Et-Tin-Nar. He had planned ever since the Vin-Ta were created to have them control the Fithar. He had the mating bond implanted that included the anti-Fithar abilities."
"Ar-Ten, did the mating bond actually select mates to assist in the development of the vampires?"
"No, Ben. I asked. It was a ruse to implant the capabilities. It did cause mates to be attracted to each other, but the vampirism capability was fully developed when the first implant was given to Ar-Ta-Bon. All the mating bond does is stimulate endorphins in the mates when they are near. There is a selection process, but it has nothing to do with vampirism. It also does nothing for genetic advancement."
"How did he know how to make them transform into something other than wolves when you didn't?"
"The implant came about two hundred and fifty years after Ar-Ta-Bon's birth. He had time to figure it out. He was also more experienced than the rest of us. He is considerably older."
"Oh, my! Older than you!"
"Yes. Did you think I was the oldest Shusheen?"
"What do I know?"
"Anyway, First was the one who discovered how to create portals. He created portals to Shilleen, the Shusheen home world and poisoned the planet in an attempt to eliminate the Shusheen. He killed almost everything, including ninety percent of the Shusheen. There are hardly any births of Nulls and no animals so the Shusheen cannot be reborn."
"Before the portals were invented, Et-Tin-Nar hoped to recruit volunteer Vin-Ta to live on Shilleen to control the Fithar. He had figured out how to make Vin-Ta immortal and had planned to offer that as an inducement to help the Shusheen.
"Once he realized First had access to Earth through the portals, he decided on a new plan of having a huge number of Vin-Ta controlling the Fithar from close to their own homes. There are several permanent portals which the Vin-Ta can use to detect whether any Fithar need to be drained as well as to travel there to do it.
"Et-Tin-Nar did this because First had tortured, killed, and skinned his twelve year old daughter She has never been reborn and Et-Tin-Nar hopes that she will want to now that the Fithar are controlled. They can no longer attack Shilleen or Earth and First's followers are being eliminated."
"What affect is killing the followers going to have on the Vin-Ta?"
"They won't remember any it, Ben. In the same way Mike was not aware he had attacked you."
"They won't be aware of what they have done on Fithome or Earth.
"Anyway, Shilleen needs to be rebuilt and I'm tired of being kidnapped. That's why I asked if you wanted to travel to Shilleen."
"What would we do there?"
"I would give birth to Nulls to help them rebuild and we can help in other ways, I suppose."
"So you definitely want to go?"
"It's not like travelling to another planet. It will be like walking into another room."
"If we leave the portal open, can't people go through who don't want to help? Could they kidnap you from Shilleen?"
"No, Ben. This portal will not be left open. I will create it when needed and then close it. Et-Tin-Nar insisted on that and I agree."
"No, At-Tan-Bey will create it us and then close it."
"What kind of place will it be for Michael?"
"Well, I assume his family will be with him, so it will be like it is now. When he's old enough, he'll have a new planet to explore. So will we."
"Can we easily travel back and forth, At-Tan-Bey?"
"Yes. It isn't hard to create, for Shusheen, anyway. That is the most amazing thing about it. We spent millennia creating the deep space form for space travel. It was completely unnecessary."
"Yes, we can."
"Did you really think I would say no?"
"I want you to be happy, Mike. I don't want you to do something that will make you miserable."
"I understand. I agree on one condition. I want us to have another child of our own before you start trying to repopulate a planet."
"I love him! Did you know that?"
"Yes. I picked up on that early in your relationship."
"That sounds like a fantastic idea, Mike! Maybe we can have a daughter!
"I hope we can convince everyone to come with us, especially your parents. Your father said he and your mother were bored. This won't be boring!"
"I think you would have a hard time keeping them away from their two grandchildren."
"I've got plenty of Mike's sperm here in your colon. You want me to start on a daughter? Or two?"
"We can have more than one at a time. Do you want to have twins?"
Mike grinned at me and then he hugged me.
"They'll be sterile, won't they?
"If they are your species. They can be Vin-Ta, immortal Vin-Ta."
"Mike, girls of my species are sterile. They can be Vin-Ta and then they wouldn't be sterile."
"Make them Vin-Ta. I don't want to explain to them in twenty years why I decided they couldn't have kids."
"Yes, please start them, but keep them out of my colon. That's a terrible place for little girls."
"Two on their way!"
"Mike. I have good news. I'm pregnant with twins. We will have two daughters in four months!"
Mike looked shocked, then pleased, and then in love.
I wasn't shocked.
Six months later we were ready to leave. We had a group going with us. Ar-Ten and I had gone through the portal at the same time as Ar-Tan-Bey and Ar-Tana-Bin to make arrangements for where we would live. Basically, I just picked a house. They were all empty. That was very sad.
We met a few survivors and the two Shusheen explained what I would be doing. The survivors were pathetically grateful for the help and welcomed me and my family to the planet. I headed back home, leaving Ar-Tana-Bin and his mate to help with rebuilding.
Ar-Tan-Bey was now a very small Shusheen. It was very strange talking to her. For one thing, her English was not very good. But she was very much the same person as my Ar-Tan. When I told her immortality for the Vin-Ta was now possible, she began crying. I knew she was thinking of Ar-Ta-Bon.
She was shocked at many of the things I had experienced. She was very pleased that her implanted mind had helped save my life both times I'd been kidnapped. When I mentioned that my Ar-Tan was my best friend next to my mate, she cried again.
She loved Michael. She spent a lot of time with him. She was about the same size as him, but she was very maternal. She taught him a few simple Shusheen words like 'Hello' and 'I love you'. The human vocal cords can't make the clicks perfectly, but she said everyone would know what he meant.
Ar-Tan had told Ar-Tana-Bin how to make Mike immortal. Ar-Tana-Bin was able to produce a liquid which did it. He explained what it did, but I really didn't understand a word he said. Mike was injected with the fluid, then Evie. Mike convinced his parents and they were next. Jack didn't need convincing. He was injected as well. Jack decided to come with us to Shilleen. He was really fascinated about the prospect of rebuilding an ecosystem and wanted to help. We never could convince Mrs. Lawry to take the injection. She said if she still had her mate, she would do it, but forever was too long to grieve for someone.
Ernie and Evie planned to stay behind with Mrs. Lawry, at least for a while. They were still trying to get Evie pregnant. They planned to eventually join us on Shilleen once she got pregnant or they gave up. She was warming to the idea of Ernie having my child through artificial insemination.
We stood in the backyard. Belle and Anna, the twin girls were in a stroller. Belle is named after Mirabelle and Anna was my mother's name. It was Michael senior, Mirabelle, Jack, Mike, Michael, Belle, Anna, and me.
The portal appeared and we stepped across it to begin a new life.