Lucas lounged around in bed for an hour later than usual; however,
their internal clocks woke them at their usual time. They lay
there and talked. They both were sporting roaring erections, but
it didn’t seem to bother either of them. They lay together with
the obvious fighting for room between their closely pressed
bodies. Lucas never had much affection shown him by his family,
and he certainly wasn’t going to pass up any chance he got to be close
to Lazarus. It was a new world for him to be able to enjoy the
luxury of another person’s touch, especially someone he had come to
love and admire. He soaked up Lazarus’ attention like a
landlocked sponge at high tide. Lazarus wondered if he was being
too familiar with the boy, but what the hell, Lucas was his
slave. He owned the boy. He made the rules.
Lazarus knew the
rigid ideas of the so called religious right; however, curiously enough
they looked the other way when it came to slaves. They were good
at segregating from their narrow minds that which they chose to pass
judgement on and that which became acceptable through manipulation of
their own twisted thinking. What was taboo for freemen together
was considered acceptable between Master and slave. Even then, it
depended on the level of self-adjudged holiness of the self-righteous
bible thumper who felt it their God given right to interpret the law as
well as God’s holy word; however, while it varied from pulpit to
pulpit, there was very little consensus. Beliefs and practices
became a hodgepodge of chaos. They held little rhyme or reason in
relation to their original intent.
one to put up with nor tolerate the hypocritical neo-fascist conduct
codes of the extreme right. He felt each individual situation
merited its own consideration. In Lucas’ case, he was laying next
to a young man, who less than three months before was about to be sold
for dog food by his ultra-conservative Christian father when Lazarus
rescued him from certain death. Now, Lazarus was showing him some
physical affection by holding him in his arms. He chastised
himself for questioning his motives. Motives be damned.
This was one of those times Lazarus knew his actions were right without
question. He was above any man or god’s judgement at that
moment. It felt meet and right for him so to do. His
compassion for the boy was considerably more holy an act than ignorant
fools rolling on the floor babbling in tongues.
“You know, I
haven’t said nothing to you about your heroism Halloween evening.
saved the sheriff’s life. I hope you know I was only kidding
about turning you over my knee. What chu’ done was a courageous
act of selflessness which only springs from the heart of a man who is
strong and full of compassion; so full of the need to live and be a
part of the greater good he willingly thinks of those he loves before
himself even if it places him in harm's way. Such a man is born
and not made. He is to be treasured and should be treated with
equal compassion and selflessness by others. By rights and by
conscience, as your owner, I’m morally obligated to offer you your
freedom. I’m ready to set you free this day and raise you as my
own son, Lucas, if you so wish.”
know if Lazarus was serious or not; however, he didn’t think he liked
the sound of what he was hearing. He held onto Lazarus tighter
than before. Lazarus could almost feel the fear pulsing through
the boy's body. It was almost palpable. He stroked, petted
and generally tried to soothe Lucas.
I don’t want that. I’m perfectly willing and happy to be your
slave and take care of you as long as you need me. I never had me
no purpose in life until you come along and rescued me. I live
because of you. You give my life definition. You told me
who I am. I'm Lucas Long, yore' slave. If you take that
away from me, I have no reason to be. Better you should a' let
'em make dog food out of me than to set me free. I'd be packed in
cans, sitting on a shelf in some warehouse, waiting to be delivered to
a supermarket for somebody to buy me, take me home and feed me to their
pet; but, I would have a purpose. I know how to be your slave,
Master Long, but I don't know how to be a free-boy or your son.
I’ve come to
love you like no man I ever know'd. You’re the first man I’ve
ever known other than ma’ brothers and ma’ dad. I never knew
there could be men like you and Master Charlie in the world.
Until I met you I jes’ assumed all men were like the men in my family;
at least that’s what they told me. Please, Sir,— I didn’t do what
I done to be no hero or to get out of being your slave. I did it
because the Kryscellians told me to. They didn’t exactly tell me
to do it, they told me what was going to happen and what the results
would be if’n I didn’t make an attempt to save the sheriff. I
knew he was important so you could establish a greater family
here. While I certainly didn't want the sheriff to die, what I
done, I done for you, Sir, not Sheriff Lassiter. If I could save
him, I knew he was more important to you than I am in the scheme
true, Son. You’re ever’ bit as important to me as Sheriff
Lassiter. You’ve become very important to me. Do you think
I’d be laying here this close to you, holding you like I am and not be
very much in love with you?”
“Ain’t never had
nobody hold me like this before, Sir, but I love it and I feel
comfortable. I’m afraid if’n I ain’t chore’ slave no more and
become yore’ son,— maybe we couldn’t do this no more.”
“Well, there is
that possibility. I tell you what,— how’s ‘bout we let it be for
a while, and you think on it. There’s no hurry, we can discuss it
later. Right now, we better git a move on, honcho.” Lazarus
said quietly as he stole a kiss from Lucas. The boy sighed
deeply. He longed to lay in Lazarus’ big cowboy arms a while
longer, but he knew his first duty was to his Master’s needs. “We
need to git chu’ to the ship, because my partner, Arlen, is due through
the portal with his assistant from the jungles of the Amazon at
eight. I want you to meet him, and for him to be there when the
med-bots run your tests. Over the years, I sent him to medical
school and he specialized in neurosurgery and diseases of the
brain. He would be better able to tell us what’s going on with
you. He’s been up to visit before, but we stayed on the
ship. Now that we have a house to ourselves, it will be more
comfortable to bring him here and introduce him to Master Charlie and
Lucas nodded his
head he understood, gave Lazarus a final good morning kiss, got out of
bed and laid out his Master’s clothes for the day. Lazarus was
beginning to know what outfits Lucas was most likely to pick.
There were certain combinations of clothes Lucas like to see Lazarus
wear. The boy helped his Master dress and held his boots for him
to put on, then he went to his room and quickly dressed himself while
Lazarus shaved and took care of his morning toiletries.
They walked to
the big house together and were greeted by a raucous group of
cowboys. Waco, Travis, Little Bear, JR, Hank, and Charlie were
all in a good mood. Even Ida Mae joined in the fun. After
Lazarus and Lucas arrived, they were fair game for kidding. Waco
knew without asking Lucas told Lazarus all about his reading and
telling the Kryscells about the books he read. Lazarus asked Waco
how he found out about Lucas’ ability to remember entire books.
watching a DVD of an old movie from the Twentieth Century about a world
where they burned all the books and folks had to memorize a complete
book to preserve the classic literature. They each would become
the book they memorized and it would be passed down from generation to
generation. The last scene, they were walking around the woods,
each one reciting his book. Lucas watched and called them “light
weights” under his breath, except we heard him. We asked him why
he said it, and he told us he could remember every book he read.
We didn’t believe him and got several of the books I knew he’d
read. He could recite every one of them.” Waco laughed, “We
don’t watch a lot of Television no more. We jes’ git Lucas
to recite us a couple of chapters from one of our favorite books.”
Charlie and Hank
listened to all of this and just shook their heads. Nothing
surprised them anymore from the boys. They noticed dramatic
changes in the boys since they started drinking lummox milk.
Their bodies were developing at an enormous rate. Lazarus
suggested they might want to cut back on the lummox milk or they were
going to be giants living among the Lilliputians when they go to school.
that was funny, but they groaned at the suggestion they should limit
their intake of lummox milk. They liked the fact they were
growing bigger and faster than their school mates. They liked
being the biggest men on campus. Waco, Travis, Little Bear and JR
were already beginning to look like young body builders and Lucas
started working out with them. It wouldn’t be long before he
would begin to look like them.
“So we get to
meet Mr. Jones this weekend?” inquired Charlie of Lazarus.
“Yes, Sir, he’s
due on the Bandersnatch at eight this morning. We’ve got plenty
of time to get there. I’m gonna’ have the med-bots run some tests
on Lucas to find out exactly what the Kryscellians have done to him, if
anything. Arlen is an expert in the field of neuroscience.
He’ll be able to explain to us what’s going on. It’s possible
Lucas had this talent all along and no one ever knew about it or he
never had the chance to use it. One way or the other, we’ll git
to the bottom of it so we can have a better idea how to work with him
and give him some ideas how to use his gift.”
forward to meeting your partner, ramrod.” Charlie said sincerely. “It’s
too bad he couldn’t make it for Thanksgiving.”
“He had other
obligations for the day that couldn’t be postponed. While the
holiday has been a national holiday since 1863, Arlen doesn’t miss the
holiday because it wasn’t celebrated much when he grew up and became a
young man. We’re looking forward to a couple of days
together. I think he’s bringing him first mate with him.”
“Bring them to
supper this evening if you like, and I’ll let Ida know.” invited
“Thanks, Boss, I
Lucas said their goodbyes and left the house. Waco and the boys
wanted to go with them in the worst way, but Charlie admonished them
their ramrod needed some time to himself. He reminded them
Lazarus was always generous with them and allowed Lucas ample time to
be with them. He also reminded them, just like Travis and Little
Bear had their responsibilities to their Master, Lucas had his duties
to his Master. Charlie didn’t have any feelings of being left out
by his ramrod. Lazarus was good to his word. Anytime he
needed his itch scratched, Lazarus was willing.
The men arrived
at the ship shortly before eight and went to a large room which acted
like a cargo bay receiving dock. Lazarus explained it was a
larger portal than the ones they normally used. It was for moving
large things from one long distance to another. It was also
decidedly more powerful than the small portals they used locally.
If his buddy needed to bring something with him of good size there
would be no problem, or if he needed to take supplies back with him
they would be more easily transported through the larger gate.
Right at eight
Arlen walked thought the gate followed by a younger man who looked for
all the world like Lucas might imagine Lord Greystoke from one of
Waco’s books he read by Edgar Rice Burroughs, “Tarzan, Lord Of The
Jungle.” Lucas was undoubtedly impressed by his Master’s partner,
Master Arlen Jones; however, he was stunned by the masculine beauty of
Arlen’s assistant. Arlen went to
Lazarus, gave him a hug and a kiss in greeting, then his companion had
a hug and a kiss for Lazarus as well. Lucas noticed the young man
called Lazarus 'uncle.'
gentlemen. So glad you could both make it. Allow me to
present to you my new slave, Lucas Long. Son,— ” Lazarus
snapped his fingers and Lucas was kneeling in front of Master Jones in
an instant. They went through the ritual together. Arlen
picked Lucas up
and rested the boy on his huge chest to give him a good kiss.
Lucas felt like he was laying on a man-mountain as he returned Arlen’s
“Master Jones is
Captain of his own vessel, 'The Raven,' and you may call him ‘Master
Jones’ or ‘Captain Jones,’ or since he’s my partner you may call him
‘father’ as well.” Lazarus told Lucas.
“I visited the
Bandersnatch for a weekend, and I seen you while
you’s still recovering, Son. Your father done a good job on
you. You look great. Glad to finally meet you, boy.”
Arlen said to him.
Sir. It’s good to meet you.” Lucas responded politely.
Bryce Cannon to Lucas as his Science Officer, collections expert, and
First Mate on his ship. Lucas was about to go through the ritual
with Mr. Cannon when he stopped him.
“I’m not a
master, little brother, but I’m not a slave either. Jes’ call me
‘Bryce.’ However, I would very much appreciate a big hug and a
nice kiss from one so handsome as you.”
The kiss Cannon
gave Lucas was incredible. The man moved things down deep inside
Lucas’ soul. He didn’t have to ask to know if Mr. Cannon was as
impressed by him.
hearing about you, young man. Captain Long sent us pictures, but
they didn’t do you justice. It’s good to finally meet you in
“It’s good to
meet you, Mr. Cannon.”
jes’ call me ‘Bryce.’
“Thank you, Sir.”
gentlemen, we have to run a couple of test on my slave. It seems
he’s developing some remarkable abilities, and you can help me
determine if they’re natural or if our Kryscellian friends are nudging
him in that direction.” Lazarus explained to the men.
through a portal and were directly in sickbay. Cable, David and
Jonathan were there to greet them. Lucas noticed the androids
called Master Jones ‘Captain Jones’ but referred to Mr. Cannon as
‘Bryce.’ Then the thought occurred to Lucas, ‘Could Bryce be a
bio-man?’ He was so different from Cable, David and
Jonathan. While he was a perfectly formed male, he didn’t seem to
have the perfection they had.
The androids had
a hug for their little brother. They helped him undress and get
on the table in a small room adjacent to the main room in
sickbay. There were all sorts of instruments and electronics in
the room. They covered him with a warm blanket and left him alone
on the table while they and the men went into a side room to watch
Lucas through a window.
afraid, Son. You can see us through the window." Lucas
heard Lazarus' voice through a speaker, "We can’t be in the same
room with you while we run these test. Our brain signals and
vital signs would interfere with yours. This won’t take long, and
we’ll have you out of there in no time. Are you comfortable?”
think we’re ready to begin.”
silence for a few minutes, but Lucas could hear the soft hum of
machines and the men talking softly to each other. Finally his
Master spoke to him.
reciting the first chapter of “Moby Dick” for me.”
and continued for sometime. He could hear the men talking, but he
couldn’t quite make out what they were saying as he had to concentrate
to recite the text.
commented Arlen, “That’s incredible. The boy's using almost
eighty percent of his brain capacity. The average human uses less
than six percent total.”
about that.” said Lazarus. “I knew to be able to recall even one
complete novel, especially the size and scope of ‘Moby Dick’ he’d have
to be using a lot of his brain. Of course we have no idea exactly
how much the human brain can store or how it does it. Do you
think it’s a natural evolutionary progression in the boy or do you
think he’s been enhanced by the Kryscells?”
to say without a marker to compare. You say he has brothers?”
“Yes, but I
doubt we could get one for testing unless we staged a phoney ‘alien
abduction’ like them nasty little grey critters. Then again, with
us what’s doing the abducting, maybe it would seem pert-damn alien.”
thought about just asking the Kryscells?” Arlen asked.
“You know me,
brother, I always do things the hard way.” Lazarus laughed. “However,
believe it or not, that was going to be my next step after seeing what
the boy’s brain was doing. That’s enough for now. Cable,
will you men help the boy get dressed, please.”
Father.” Cable replied.
“He certainly is
fine looking, Uncle Lazarus.” said Bryce innocently.
“Even though he
was sexually abused for years by his brothers by making him suck them
off, surprisingly they never fucked him. He’s a virgin anally,
Son, and I’d like to keep him that way for a while. I’m going to
guide him in the ways of a slave and master very carefully. I
want him around for a good while, and I don’t want him damaged beyond
what he’s already suffered at the hands of his previous family.
It’s almost like I’ve got a clean slate to work with the boy. He
ain’t naive, but he is simple and still trusting in a childlike way.”
suggesting I would do such a thing, Captain?” Bryce asked with more
than a little annoyance and a bit of anger in his voice.
never take advantage of the boy, brother, you know that.” Arlen
came to Bryce's defense.
suggesting anything of the sort. I meant no disrespect,
Bryce. I trust you completely. I was just stating my hopes
and ambitions for the boy.”
concerned, I’ll be happy to return to our ship so you won’t be
troubled, Sir.” Bryce offered curtly.
didn’t mean anything by what he said, Son. Perhaps he could’ve
chosen his words better, but don’t blow this out of proportion.” Arlen
acted as the great arbitrator.
Son,— I could’ve chosen my words better, and I apologize for any
misunderstanding or discomfort my words may have caused you. Of
course I don’t want you returning to your ship. I want you here
as much as yore’ father. Forgive your insensitive old uncle,
relax and enjoy yourself.”
Bryce didn’t say
more, but he nodded his head he would stay. Lazarus could see he
unwittingly hurt his nephew’s feelings. He felt bad, but he
didn’t know what to do about it at the time. Any further
concessions he might have made might seem disingenuous. It was
one of those unintended slights that occur between humans from time to
time and what was done with no malice aforethought nonetheless cut to
the bone. Wounds of that nature usually don’t lend themselves to
self-healing. One needs to tend to them to have the proud flesh
return to normal. Fortunately for Lazarus, Bryce was a forgiving
man or at least he thought so.
* * * * * * *
Ping devised a
binary program with a sophisticated algorithm to enable humans to
communicate directly with the Kryscells. If a person lay in front
of their rays long enough like Mary, Elsie and Lucas and even the brief
time Waco and his men stood before them they could learn enough of
their language to communicate with them. The computer program
allowed immediate one on one communication.
Lazarus spoke into the interface which changed his voice into a digital
message. “this is Captain Long speaking. We have noticed our
slave, Lucas, has developed some unusual gifts for a young man his
age. Have you enhanced his brain?”
it is a pleasure to hear from you again. It’s been a while.
Before we answer your question let us say how much we appreciate you
allowing us to dwell on your ship and within our savior’s
domicile. We are very grateful and we are most comfortable.”
“I’m glad to
hear that, Sir. You’re most welcome here and we greatly
appreciate your generosity in seeing some of our folks who need your
“We are only too
happy to oblige, Captain Long. We didn’t enhance anything in our
young friend’s brain. He already had a brilliant mind for an
organic; however, he suffered a massive contusion when he was younger
when one of his brothers hit him in the head with something they call a
baseball bat. He almost bled to death within his brain. We
saw evidence of massive cerebral hemorrhaging. No one did
anything for him, and consequently he lapsed into a coma for about a
week. He was young and strong and by some unknown force of will,
we cannot discover, perhaps a staggering need to survive, he healed
himself and forced his body to rid itself of the blood that was
surrounding his brain. He willed it to pass through his liquid
and solid waste.
We have never
before observed this in another organic. We could only attribute
it to his higher developed brain functions already present at the time.
We simply repaired his brain to it’s original condition and rejoined
some neural pathways he enjoyed before, but no longer had use of after
the blow to his head. We taught him how to access those portions
of his brain which were cut off to him. They were just sitting
there unused like fallow ground waiting to be tilled and planted.
Now, he should be operating at almost ninety percent of his brain
capacity with a ninety-three point eight percent chance of reaching
even higher percentages. Did we do wrong, Captain?”
absolutely not! You did fine and we greatly appreciate your
help. I understand you are enjoying exchanging stories and ideas
Captain. He has revealed a new world to us of the lives and
experiences of organics we could only heretofore dream about. He
has been a revelation to us.”
“And have you
done the same for Mrs. Gibbon’s infant and Mrs. Jessup’s baby?”
Captain. They are doing it themselves. They asked us to
join certain neural pathways so they could develop faster. They
were bored and felt so alone within their mothers they wanted to be
able to communicate with the outside world like they were communicating
with us. They are now able to converse with one another, and they
will until they’re born. We are trying to help and guide them,
but they are of a new generation of organics who are following in the
genetic wake of an evolutionary development flowing from where we do
not know. We suspect there is a connection between our young
Lucas and these infants; however, they are developing mental abilities
far beyond what even he is capable of. They will be able to
communicate when they emerge from their mother’s womb.
The most amazing
fact we’ve discovered for organics and ourselves, is evolution doesn’t
take millions of years to occur. It is happening every day all
around us as well as within ourselves. It happens in jumps and
spurts or as we’ve heard used in your language, by leaps and
bounds. Why, only a short time ago young Lucas sang to us another
form of mathematics we were totally unaware of. We are still
digesting the significance of this discovery. It is a far more
fluid system and has greater applications than we were capable of with
our binary system. We never knew just how limited ours was until
We are on the
verge of a huge evolutionary jump for our species. We’re looking
forward to learning more from Lucas as he grows. There are
mathematical probabilities that are inconceivable to us right now that
we feel he might be able to bring us. We are most excited.
For us, new information is like growing a new limb for you, or in
Lucas’ case, sweeping out the cobwebs and clearing the dammed up flow
of his natural brain processes. He’s always had the ability, we
only opened a spillway, but I’m afraid the dam burst. We are most
anxious to continue with Lucas and the other three boys our savior,
Garron, brought before us. We have decided if they are willing
they could help increase our knowledge base considerably.
But the most
astounding discovery we think is happening we will share with you even
though we haven’t completed all of our calculations. We feel
strongly your species is evolving into a much more advanced race of
organics. You may be evolving into three separate sexes. We
add the qualifier ‘maybe’ because all our computations aren’t in
yet. It may take us a number of years, but we will share with you
what we have as we go along.
The final thing
we’ve discovered is too fantastic to tell you about. We don’t
want to embarrass ourselves by presuming we have been singled out as a
species or race to have this information evolve with us, but when we’re
sure of our findings we will share it with you as well. In the
meantime, are we helping or hindering young Lucas and the infants?”
friends, you have done nothing wrong, and you are doing nothing
wrong. You have done wonderful things for us for which we can
only thank you. I only wanted to know what was going on with
Lucas’ brain to best be able to help him and the infants. Their
mother’s asked me some questions about things they’ve experienced with
their babies, and I couldn’t answer. Now I know and can give them
reasonable answers. You have answered my questions eloquently.
We are most
grateful for your help. Seeing to your comfort and protection is the
very least we can do for you. It is an honor and a privilege to
have you on board the Bandersnatch. Our offer is still open
ended, if you find you would be more comfortable on a world by
yourself, it would be our honor and privilege to take you there and
check back on you occasionally. In the meantime, I will allow
Lucas his regular visits with you and speak with Master Waco’s father
about allowing the boys more exposure to you. As I see it, it
could only be a good thing for both species. Perhaps what they
can bring to you will expand your knowledge base to allow you to reach
your conclusions sooner.”
“Ah, that would
be wonderful, Captain Long. Never worry about asking our
help. We’re glad to be of service. It allows our species to
grow and know each other more. Thank you for our last solar
feeding period. It truly was a wonderful feast and the sun in
this system tastes particularly delicious. You’ll be happy to
hear we have twenty-three females pregnant who will give birth by their
side in three of your solar years. We are most excited. We
feel our species has been given another chance, and you have become our
guardians. You humans speak of angels from another realm who
guide, protect and assist you in your journey through time and space,—
we have accepted that analogy for you and your kind. We are most
grateful for a second chance.”
“I hope our
species may coexist and enjoy each other for a long time to come,
Sir. Our best wishes to you and your expectant mothers. May
your lives be filled with joy and a continuous flow of new information.”
Sir. Please stay in touch.”
down the computer and sighed.
they did for me, Father. I didn’t know how to explain it, but now
I understand. I thought it was all a dream, but I guess they did
it while I was sleeping. I remember now. They removed the
dam. I watched them do it. I think I’ll be able to
communicate with Mistress Gibbon and Mrs. Jessup’s babies soon. I
jest feel it.” Lucas told Lazarus.
Son.” Lazarus opened his arms to Lucas and held him for a
minute. “Are you comfortable with all this? Do you want to
keep visiting with the Kryscellians?”
Father. I enjoy them very much, and they need me. I like
being needed. That’s part of why I love you,— you need me.”
and so did Arlen and Bryce.
“I do, indeed,
need you, Son. We all do. You’ve become a part of us.”
I’m looking forward to seeing the ranch where you and Lucas are
living.” Arlen spoke and he rubbed his hands together in anticipation.
Let’s go then.” Lazarus ushered them out of the room and to the
portal to the ranch.
Arlen and Bryce
were already dressed in Western clothes when they came through the
portal onto the Bandersnatch. They each brought backpacks with
them with a change of clothes. As the men exited the old barn
they were met by three young cowboys running toward them followed by
what looked like a giant ‘cousin it’ wearing heavy tall boots, a
leather harness and an overcoat made out of fur. Ox’s Winter
pelt, Waco wanted him to grow for his warmth and protection, was almost
completely grown in. The boys took constant care of Ox’s new coat
and it shown a bright redish-brown in the sunlight and flowed smoothly
with the big creature's movements. Ox looked more handsome than
Arlen or Bryce could remember. He positively glowed. Arlen
called out to him.
son! You look wonderful! I’ve never seen you look
better! It’s so great to see you again!” Arlen hugged him
followed by Bryce who was also pleased to see the giant lummox.
The boys looked at one another when the tall, handsome man with Captain
Long and his mate called Ox, 'Dad Garron.'
Jones, this young cowboy is Master Waco Goodnight, my boss’s son, his
little brother JR and Waco’s two slaves Travis and Little Bear.”
Lazarus introduced Waco and his men. Waco and JR shook the men’s
hands and welcomed them to the ranch. Travis and Little Bear went
through the slave/master ritual with Master Jones, but once again Bryce
told them he wasn’t a master, and it wasn’t necessary for them to pay
homage to his boots; however, he would like a hug and a kiss from each
of them. They gladly gave him both.
The boys were
concerned about Lucas, and he told them pretty much what the
Kryscellians told Lazarus. They all walked to the big house where
Lazarus introduced the men to Charlie, Ida Mae and Hank Morgan.
Hank surprised Lazarus and paid homage to Arlen’s boots. Lazarus
told Curley Jones and Hank if they paid homage to him at the start of
every week he would be happy. Every Monday morning, in front of
all the slaves the crew leaders would each pay homage to his boots for
themselves and their men for the week. It was fine with
Lazarus. He wasn’t into a lot of bowing and scraping. Lucas
noticed Bryce insisted Hank not pay homage to his
boots. Instead he offered his hand for Hank to shake.
Lazarus took the
men to his house to get them settled. They were impressed by the
size and comfort of the old foreman’s house. It was just
understood among the men Arlen would be bunking it in with Lazarus;
however, Lucas asked Bryce if he would like to bunk it in with him in
his room as he had a large, comfortable bed.
the offer, Lucas, and I’m sure I’d enjoy staying with you; but, I think
it would be best if I stayed in a room by myself.” Bryce replied
without the least edge to his voice, but he looked right at Lazarus as
he spoke. “If you don’t have another room I could stay on the
Bandersnatch, Captain.” he volunteered.
“Son,— ” said
Arlen in a soft voice to Bryce, but he didn’t finish because he knew
his boy was right to feel the way he did.
Bryce was still smarting over his territorial bull-of-the-woods comment
about Lucas earlier. He decided he deserved the point Bryce was
making, but he felt awful about it.
“We have three
other bedrooms fully furnished. Take yore’ pick. Lucas,
please show Bryce the other three bedrooms.” Lazarus had a perturbed
look on his face.
it was Lazarus’ way of dismissing him by having his slave boy show him
the rest of the house. He smiled a half smile at Lazarus, nodded
and bowed slightly. He knew he’d gotten his point across.
Lazarus into his bedroom and closed the door behind them. Lazarus
knew what that meant. Arlen threw his backpack in one of the
overstuffed chairs, but he didn’t say anything. He just stood
there with his arms folded across his huge chest. Lazarus looked
up at his silence.
Lazarus, “I apologized to the kid,— what more does he want?”
“The only thing
he’s ever wanted from you, brother,— yore’ love. He’s had to
fight all his life for your approval. He’s convinced you don’t
care about him, and all his hard work and devotion don’t amount to a
hill of beans to you. Bryce has worked his ass off, and the boy’s
come a long way from what he was when he was younger. He had a
rough time adjusting to having four fathers,— well, three fathers and
an uncle. He didn’t know whether he was coming or going.
made some mistakes. Who the hell ain’t? You’ve made yore’
fair share, bubba. The only difference is, you don’t never let
him forgit about his, and you jes’ expect ever’ one to overlook
yours. When you step on somebody you pass out apologies like
they’s fresh baked brownies, hot out of the oven you made yourself, but
chu’ never follow through. It’s like folks you slight is so much
road kill you don’t even slow down to see the damage you done.”
“Now, wait a
minute,— !” Lazarus protested.
“No, you wait
jest a damn minute! You jes’ done snipped that boy’s balls off up
to his neck and now you wanna’ slap a band-aid on his boo-boo. He
ain’t no kid no more, brother. Bryce is my strong right arm and
your left arm. I wouldn’t a’ know’d where to start the job you
give us to do if’n h’it weren’t for him. Damnation,— do you have
any idea how much fuck’n shit is in the Amazon? Do you have any
idea the things we’re discovering no man has ever seen before? We
can’t get it into the ship fast enough. We’ll be collecting
another eight to ten years at least. Bottom line, brother,— I
need Bryce and you need him.
Ah, what the
hell a’ my talk’n to you for?” Arlen barked in
disgust, “You got a harder head than a damn Kentucky
mule. You been jealous of my love for that boy since I give birth
to him. God knows I don’t know why. He loves you as much as
I do. Who’s idea was it for me to have Joe Cannon’s son in the
first place? Huh? I ain’t sorry I done it. When Joe
was dying, we promised him we’d see to it he had a son with or without
him, and we kept our promise. You know I think on Bryce as ma’
own son. I wanted you to think on him as yours, but you never
done it. You kept him at arms length all his life. You
always had him call you ‘uncle.’ You’d never allow him to call
you ‘dad.’ Anytime he come to you for some’um you’d tell him to
go see his dad.
How do you think
Bryce feels. He comes up here and sees this beautiful new slave
boy you created for yourself and the love what flows between you is
palpable. You could stir it with a stick. You even allow
him to call you ‘father.’ Some’um you ain’t never allowed Bryce
to do, yet on the other hand you keep Lucas at arm’s length from you by
insisting he’s your slave. What’s wrong with this picture,
bubba? The kid would do the same damn things for you even if he
weren’t no slave,— he loves you that much. You only want him as a
token son. You’re doing the same damn thing to him you done to
You promised Joe
jes’ like I done. You swore to him on his deathbed you’d see to
the boy’s happiness. Do you think you can stand there, in all
honesty, look me in the eye, and tell me you’ve worked very hard to
keep yore’ promise?
right! All right! You win! I know I hurt the
kid. You tell me what to do. I’ll do anything it
takes. I was wrong,— dead wrong. You’re right about ever’
damn thing you said. You know I don’t do “smoothing over” very
well. How many times I hurt chore’ feeling, apologized, kicked
you in the butt, and told you to be the cowboy you is and git over
“Which century?” he asked.
with him. “Yeah, well that’s my point. You got to know the way I
am,— you managed to stuff yore’ pride back in yore’ britches and go
on. Although, I will admit it took me some fast talking and some
major love’n to git chu’ to come around a couple of times,” he
grinned at Arlen, “but we made it through.”
there’s more to this than just you being a horse’s butt. There’s
something in yore’ past what’s traumatized you to having kids get close
to you. You let ‘em get only so close, and then you push ‘em
away. You’re already doing it to Lucas and the boy worships
you. You’ve become his guardian angel, the kid will accept
anything you dish out as God’s gospel truth. You know I ain’t an
abolitionist, but why keep a kid that beautiful for a slave.
Raise him as your son, Lazarus. He even looks like yore’
son. Does all this have something to do with yore’ boy you won’t
never talk about? The one what refused to be manipulated by you
and gave up his life for what he believed in?”
had nothing to do with it. He refused to obey his father.”
What da’ ya’ want, Lazarus? I’ve done told you a hunnert’ times
I’ll have yore’ son if’n you want me to. Garron is here.
Fuck it! Knock me up while I’m here, and we can have you a little
one to bounce on yore’ knee this time next year. I ain’t never
stopped loving you, Lazarus. Even when I’s carrying Bryce I never
said ‘no’ to you. Have I ever denied you when you needed me?”
Arlen didn’t wait for an answer, he knew the answer, “When I threw my
lot in with you, I didn’t know what the hell I was git’n myself
into. I could a’ found myself in some alien stew pot. I’s
jes’ about the dumbest damn cowboy on the planet, but I took yore’
offer to be your partner seriously. I fell deeply and madly in
love with you, and damn it, after all these years, I still am.”
pot?” Lazarus slapped his knee and fell out laughing. “I don’t
think so, brother, you ever tried to clean one a’ them cowboys?
Hell, you gotta' soak 'em for a week!” Lazarus roared with laughter.
“All joke’n aside, partner, y’ain’t told me what to do about it yet,
and I jes’ know you got an opinion!” Lazarus emphasized the word
‘know,’ smiled and rolled his eyes.
“You wanna’ know
what to do? I’ll tell you what to do. Go to the boy, lay
yore’ cards on the table, do some of that fast cowboy talk’n yore’ so
damn good at and lay some major love’n on the boy. I know damn
well you’re capable of it. He deserves your love and
right! I’ll do it. I ain’t real good at eat’n humble pie,
but I’ll do it for Bryce. I’ve gotten this far in my life by
realizing there’s a few things,— well, maybe one or two,— I shy away
from, but I ain’t afraid to try ‘em; otherwise, I wouldn’t a’ ended up
with you for a mate.”
buddy, that really warms the cockles of me old heart.” Arlen sneered.
“It’s shit like that what got you in this mess in the first
place. Once upon a time that would a’ hurt my feelings,— today,
h’it rolls off’n my back like a Sou’wester. I know what chu’
mean, but most folks don’t. Since you be trying new things, try
make’n shore’ yore’ brain is running afore you put chore’ mouth in
pod’na.’ Now, gimme’ a kiss for luck.”
“I’ll give you a
kiss, but it won’t be for luck. You don’t need no luck to do the
right thing. How many times you done told me that?” Arlen
“I didn’t ask no
cowboy to become my mate, I asked a damn parrot.” Lazarus laughed.
which, we discovered a new species of flightless parrot what lives on
the jungle floor of the Amazon. Remarkable birds. Biggest
damn parrots on Earth. The size of a tom turkey or bigger.
All they do is eat, shit, and squawk. Makes you wonder how
researchers could miss some’um 'at big. They be mean
bastards. Som'bitch took off one of our android collector’s
fingers. We had to keep him on board the ship for a week the poor
thing was so traumatized.” The men shared a laugh. “They’s
intelligent birds. Found out them squawkers can communicate with
one another. Bryce is beginning to understand their language, and
he’s teaching them ours. We rounded up several pair and when he
explained what we was doing they settled right down and marched onto
the ship two by two. All the test results ain’t in yet, but we
think they might be sentient.”
bro.” agreed Lazarus.
Lazarus left and
went to Lucas’ room and found him reading at his desk.
“What room did
Bryce pick, Son?” Lazarus asked quietly.
downstairs off the kitchen, Master. Is there something wrong,
Sir? I got the feeling Bryce feels left out. He didn’t say
nothing, but he was awful sad about something. I told him I wish
he’d stay with me, but he said ‘no.’”
there is some’um wrong. Your Master was an asshole to the young
man earlier this morning, and I hurt his feelings. I got to go
down there and set it right. Should I tell him you still want him
to bunk it in with you?”
“Yes, Sir, I’d
like that. I think he’s very handsome.”
“He is,— he’s a
damn good looking man. His daddy was one of the finest looking
men I ever did know, and he looks jes’ like him.”
Arlen his dad, Master?”
“He is and he
ain’t, Son. There’s a little more to it than normal human
reproduction. I’ll explain it to you latter if’n you’ll remind
“Should I get
something ready for lunch, Master? We have all that food in the
fridge Ms. Wallace gave us.”
“That ‘ud be a
good idea. If I git through talking with Bryce soon enough, I’ll
come in and give you a hand. Come, I’ll walk downstairs with you.”
The men walked
downstairs and Lazarus went to knock on the door to the bedroom Bryce
picked. He knocked lightly.
“Come in.” he
heard Bryce’s voice.
the door, walked into the room and closed the door behind him. He
sat down in a large, comfortable, overstuffed, wing-backed chair.
He sat there for a minute looking at how handsome Bryce was and
marveling at how much he looked like their old buddy, Joe Cannon.
There was no doubt Bryce was his father’s son. Lazarus could see
the young man had been crying. He didn’t try to hide it from
Lazarus. Lazarus leaned forward in the chair and rested his arms
on his knees with his hands together.
“I’ve got some
things to say to you, Bryce. First of all, I’ve been an asshole,
Son. I know I done give you an apology for my words before we
left the ship, but I realize that weren’t enough. I come to beg
Lazarus,— ” Bryce couldn’t finish and held up his hand like he didn’t
want to hear anymore. It was like he had just given up on his
“Okay, yore’ dad
and I had words, but he was right. Ever’ damn thing he said was
true. I ain’t been the parent to you I promised yore’ daddy I
would be. I thought if you called me ‘uncle’ and thought on me
that way it might make it easier for you to accept how you came to
be. I was wrong, Son. You needed two parents, even if they
was both daddies, and like Arlen accused me, I admit, I've stiff armed
you all your life. I don’t really know why. Maybe it’s
because Arlen loved you so much I felt like you was taking his love
away from me. Whatever reason, h’it weren’t right. I never
thought about it before Arlen brung it up, but I guess I’m doing the
same thing to Lucas. I find myself thinking on him as a son, and
yet I keep insisting he be my slave. I know you have an aversion
to slavery of any kind, but I also know you don’t like to be labeled an
abolitionist. I won’t go into some of the possible better
arguments for slavery, because I know you already know all the pros and
to re-think my position, Uncle.” Bryce admitted.
never hurt a man to re-think some things. When you come to a
consensus with yore’self, I’d like to hear your thoughts, Son.
The point I wanted to make is, by insisting Lucas be my slave it’s
really sort of a way for me to train him,— ”
“— and to have
him sexually even though I know your strong opinions about the age of
taking a young slave.” Bryce interrupted and completed Lazarus’
sentence for him.
what I was gonna’ say, but I’ll admit, there’s some truth to
that. What I was gonna’ say is, I see it as a way to train him to
be a son to me outside the parameters of the society we’re forced to
live in on this planet. Then, maybe later,— ”
“On this ranch,”
Bryce interrupted him again, “miles away from nowhere, who’s gonna’
know one way or the other how you live your life and what relationship
Lucas is to you? You already gave him your last name, and you had
him re-created in your image. Most folks would think you were
father and son. You let him call you ‘father.’ Now, they’re
just gonna’ think you enslaved your own son.”
see he was losing ground fast. He had to get to the point of his
visit and soon. He was going down for the last time.
that. I’ve thought about it, and it has been brought up to me by
several others; however, Lucas ain’t the reason I come down here to
talk with you. I ain’t trying to git out of discussing it with
you,— I’ll be happy to talk about it after I’ve said what I have to say
Mainly, I jes’
wanna’ tell you how sorry I am for not thinking before I opened my damn
mouth this morning. I’m also sorry for any neglect or lack of
love you feel I didn’t show you over the years. I’m asking your
forgiveness, but I know simple apologies and seeking forgiveness is
empty if’n it ain’t followed through with action. If you can find
it in yore’ heart to forgive me and gimme’ another chance, I’ll make
you a promise I’ll try to be more loving and more considerate of your
feelings in the future.”
Bryce sat on the
bed not knowing what to say. He had been hurt pretty bad by
Lazarus numerous times before, but he realized they were all similar
situations where Lazarus spoke before he thought or Lazarus snubbed or
ignored him. As Bryce grew older, he developed a shield against
Lazarus, but every now and then, his uncle could say something that
would really eat on him for days. Usually a good talk with his
dad would help him see things differently, and Bryce would over look
it; however, he was dangerously close to writing Lazarus off. He
felt he had a right to speak his mind, but he knew his position as
First Mate and Science Office on board a star ship in a fleet under
Admiral Long might be in jeopardy.
“Are we speaking
as superior officer to a line officer, Captain Long, or are we speaking
with each other as uncle and nephew?”
labels,— we’re talking as family to one another, Son. Say what’s
on your mind.” Lazarus braced himself.
Bryce sat there
for a long while not saying anything. Lazarus didn’t push him.
“All the things
I’ve ever wanted to say to you leapt into my mind, and now,— they don’t
seem important no more. Not because of your apology or promise
you wanna’ make to me, but because I can’t worry about it any longer,
Uncle Lazarus. I’ve always loved you, but I never felt you loved
me or cared a damn about me beyond being Arlen and Joe Cannon’s boy.”
Lazarus hung his
head in shame.
“I forgive you,
Uncle Lazarus. I forgive you for implying I’m a sex crazed hound
dog what’s got no control over himself and couldn’t keep from raping a
young slave I just met for the first time. I forgive you for all
the other times you slighted me and ignored me, but it jes’ come to
me,— h’it ain’t for me to forgive you, Uncle. It’s for you to
loved you and tried my damnest to gain your love and approval, but you
always had other things more important to do. I was always in the
shadow of your and my dad’s love. I was just a necessary nuisance
to you. Over the years I watched the way you treated slaves
you had some affection for and wondered why you couldn’t show me a
little. Most of the time you treated them better than you treated
Do you know I
talked with dad one time about giving myself to you as your personal
slave? I thought if I became your slave, maybe you might show me
the affection or attention I wanted from you. Hell, you show your
androids more affection than you ever did me. I don’t care how
damn sophisticated they’ve become, they’re still robots. It said
to me, ‘Bryce, you’re less important to me than a damn machine.’
true, Bryce.” Lazarus said shaking his head.
“You don’t want
it to be true, but you know it is, Uncle Lazarus.” Bryce said quietly,
“Once in a great while you’d throw me a crumb when you felt bad about
neglecting me; after all, your mate gave birth to me. But it
wasn’t until my dad started showing me a little physical love you
withdrew from me altogether. You thought I was in competition
with you for his love. I ain’t. I never have been. I
have my dad’s love in a way you never will. What little physical
love we share, on a mutually agreed basis, is completely different from
anything you’ll ever have with him. I don’t mean it to sound
smart mouthed, as an affront or to hurt your feelings because, on the
other hand, what you have with my dad, I will never share. I will
never know the greatness of your love for him or his for you, and
that’s as it should be. All I’ve ever wanted was to be a part of
both of you.”
out of the corner of his eye as Bryce tried hard to be strong and not
show any emotion, but his eyes wouldn’t cooperate. A couple of
big tears escaped and ran down his cheeks. Lazarus got up and
went to the young man, sat on the bed next to him and took him in his
arms. Then Bryce really did break up. Lazarus held him
tight and stole a kiss from him.
“I’m so sorry,
Bryce. I’ve always kept myself a bit apart from you because I
didn’t wanna’ come between you and yore’ dad. You have a close
relationship, and I always felt like a third wheel. I always felt
like an outsider, but one thing I didn’t take into consideration is you
were growing up and needed two parents.
What can I do to
make it right with you, Son, beyond jes’ trying to be a better parent
to you? I guess I ain’t never told you enough how much I love
you, but I do. Yore’ daddy is a good man, and he done raised you
right. He couldn’t a’ done the job in the Amazon if’n it weren’t
for you and your knowledge. I know it must be hell crawling
around that jungle in the heat and rain, but it’s gotta’ be done.
I’m damn proud of Arlen, but I’m just as proud of you, Son.
The bottom line
is I do love you, Bryce. I love you like you was my own
son. If’n it would help call me ‘dad,’ I don’t care
anymore. Many years ago, more than I’d like to recall, I lost my
boy in a tragic accident, after he refused to obey me jes’ to prove a
damn point. While I admired my boy for his convictions, I felt
betrayed, humiliated and guilty I lost him as a direct result of those
convictions. All these years I could never stand the thought of
another male child calling me ‘dad.’ I ain’t never allowed nobody
but Garron to call me that again. It was jes’ too damn
painful. Like I said, it happened many years ago. Arlen
tells me I’m still carrying that baggage around with me. I
learned my lesson the hard way, the lesson my son was trying to teach
me, and I should let it rest with him. I guess it might also
account for the way I’m treating Lucas; however,— ”
“Are you serious
about doing anything to set it right with me, ‘Dad!’” Bryce interrupted
him again. This time he emphasized the word ‘dad’ at the end of
his sentence to make a point, then grinned wickedly at Lazarus.
Lazarus knew better, but he was backed into a corner. He winced
internally knowing he just set his head inside a bear trap and the
spring was about to be sprung. The huge jaws would be snapping
shut on his neck at any moment.
said Bryce, “Give me a little brother to bind us together as a family
unit. Share him with dad and me, and I can promise, neither of us
will butt fuck him.”
there for a long moment and hung his head again. He tried twice
to tell Bryce he already offered Lucas his freedom. He thought
he’d play this out a little differently than he originally planned.
“Will that set
things right between us?” he asked Bryce.
“Yes, Sir, up to
this point in time. I can’t promise about the future because
that’s gonna’ depend on how serious you are about making it up to me,—
now, won’t it?”
“I guess yore’
right. Sounds fair to me. I’ll offer him his manumission
over lunch today.”
“No,— no offer
of manumission. It has a slightly different connotation than
emancipation. He’s young and he’d be anything you wanted him to
be. If he thought for a minute you’d be happier with him as your
slave, he won’t go for it. You tell him you’ve decided to free
him and raise him as your boy. Then you let him call you ‘dad,’
“Damn, boy, you
drive a hard bargain.”
“Not at all,
Dad,— remember, I’ve seen you in action for years. I know how you
operate. Put chore’self in my position. For years I’ve been
on the outside looking in. You done opened a door for me, why
shouldn’t I walk in and demand my piece of the pie. After all,
you were the one what offered.”
“You’re right, I
did. All right, I’ll do it.” Lazarus spoke softly.
“But chu’ gotta’ gimme’ a hug and a kiss to seal the deal.”
Bryce and kissed him on the mouth with more than a fatherly kiss.
He meant it to convey his love for Bryce and convince him of his
seriousness. Bryce was almost taken off-guard, but caught himself
and responded in kind. He couldn’t remember a time he ever kissed
Lazarus on the mouth before. There came a knock at the door.
Lazarus over his shoulder still holding Bryce in his arms.
The door slowly
opened, and it was Arlen. He came into the room and smiled as he
saw Lazarus and Bryce in each others’ arms. He grinned real big.
right in here?”
You okay, Son?” Lazarus asked Bryce.
Dad.” Bryce meant for Lazarus, but Arlen thought it was for
him. Then he raised an eyebrow. He wasn’t sure, but he
wasn’t about to comment.
That’s just fine. Lucas has lunch ready for the three of
us. He didn’t make himself a sandwich because he didn’t know what
his Master wanted him to eat for lunch, and he wasn’t about to disturb
the two of you.”
“Ah, hell, tell
the boy to make himself a sandwich. We’ll be there in a minute,
nodded he understood, turned and left the room closing the door behind
“Let’s try that
one more time,— shall we, honcho?”
Dad.” Bryce chuckled. They kissed an even more passionate
kiss and both got roaring hard.
“Does that mean
what I think it means?” Lazarus felt Bryce’s hard cock through
his Wranglers. Bryce felt Lazarus’ hard dick in return.
straight! It does if you want it to, Sir. My dad don’t have
no anchor tied to my ass, and I’m over legal age. It ‘ud go a
hell of a long way toward mending fences, don’t you think?”
that, Son. I’ve mended a lot of fences with my old hammer.
I think repairing yore’ hole would be a sweet job.”
“You could a’
had it anytime you wanted. All you had to do was ask.”
“I jes’ always
thought on you as Arlen’s boy, Son,— I’m sorry.”
“I’m willing to
make up for lost time, if’n you are, Dad.”
“Sounds good to
me. C’mon let’s us go git a bite to eat and tell yore’ little
brother the news.”
“Oh, and by the
way, Dad. I will be bunk’n it in with my little brother for our
boy could use an older brother to share things with.” grinned Lazarus.
* * * * * * *
The men sat down
to lunch. Things were touch and go, but they were basically
upbeat. Arlen knew better than to asked what transpired, but he
could tell his boy was happy. Maybe, for once, his mate dropped
his ‘old ironsides’ persona and decided to try to be a dad to Bryce,
but Arlen was unprepared for what came out of Lazarus’ mouth next.
after discussions with my partner and our son, Bryce, I’ve decided it’s
time we formed a family. Therefore, I’ve decided I don’t wanna’
raise you as my slave. I want you to be a free boy, Son. I
want to raise you as my son. So, I’m freeing you as of today;
however, since it’s a long weekend the paperwork and legal stuff will
have to be done later.”
Arlen’s mouth dropped open, but Lucas surprised the two men. He
burst out in sobs. That’s exactly what Lazarus was hoping for.
matter, little brother? Why the tears?” inquired Bryce, “Ain’t
chu’ happy to hear the Captain wants to raise you as his son?”
suppose, but I don’t wanna’ stop being Master Long’s slave. I
feel safer than I ever felt in my life. That means a lot to
me. My brothers made me their slave from the time I could
understand. The only thing I knew was taking care of their needs,
but my dad almost killed me. Master Long rescued me from becoming
dog food and fixed me up. Now all I wanna’ do is take care of
this house and my Master. I been kept in a cage all my life and
made to be a slave for my family. I wouldn’t know how to be a
free boy. Please, Master Long, Sir, I’m happy being your slave.”
say a word he just left it up to Bryce. He was the one who wanted
Lucas freed, let him convince him he should accept his Master’s offer.
“You would still
take care of Master Long, Lucas, only now you’ll be taking care of him
as your dad. You can go to school as a freeman and not have to
worry about people being mean to you.”
buying any of Bryce’s explanation. He only started to sob more,
like his heart was breaking. Arlen was beginning to put two and
two together, and while he was thrilled and moved by his partner’s
magnanimity he could understand where the catalyst behind his decision
originated. It was part of Bryce’s negotiation with
Lazarus. He had to admire his son, but he was beginning to wonder
if it was such a good idea after all. Lazarus continued to remain
mute. He wondered how much of Lucas’ protestations were real and
how much was for Bryce and Arlen’s benefit. Whatever,--- the boy
was convincing. Lucas got up, ran around the table and threw
himself at Lazarus’ boots. He didn’t stop to ask permission, he
just started paying homage and making love to them like he was a
Long, don’t free me! I’m a’ beg’n you, Sir. Them slave
papers say I belong to you, Sir. I know I belong to you,— it says
to the world I’m yore’ slave, but if you free me there won’t be nothing
to say you own me no more. I don’t need that right now,
Master. I need to be your slave. What if you free me and my
daddy finds out you done took me in and fixed me up? I know my
dad, he’d do ever’ thing in his power to git me back only to sell me
again for more money, and next time, I might not be so lucky. As
yore’ slave I have some protection against him. He don’t own me
no more,— you do. I’m yore’ property. You have a receipt
showing how much you paid for me.
I been working
hard to learn to be a good slave for you, Sir. Ain’t chu’ happy
with me, Master? You already done told me you might not keep me
as a slave all my life if’n I worked hard for you and pleased
you. I trust you, Master Long. I don’t think you’d ever lie
to me. Please, Sir, I’m a’ beg’n you, Master, don’t do it!
I’ll do anything you ask, Sir, jes’ don’t make me a free boy!” Lucas
broke down again at Lazarus’ feet sobbing his heart out.
“Git up here in
my arms, Son.” Lazarus ordered the boy.
Lucas jumped up
into Lazarus’ lap, threw his arms around his neck and continued to sob
on his shoulder like his heart was breaking. Bryce had a defeated
look on his face, and Arlen saw something click in his son’s
head. Arlen thought it was time for him to say something.
“Lucas had a
really rough time with his previous family, Son.” Arlen spoke to
Bryce. “He ain’t like yore’ average young slave. He don’t
only come with baggage, he comes with a complete set of luggage and a
large steamer trunk. Would you take his security blanket away
from him just when he’s starting to learn to walk in the world?
For many young slaves, slavery can be a molding situation what allows
them to function in society with training wheels. They’re taught
manners, given parameters to operate within, and they quickly learn all
of life is that way, even for free men,— especially in this world
today. Lucas is right. His slave papers say his Master owns
him. Nobody can take him away from his Master. Are you
insinuating yore’ uncle is such a bad master Lucas should be freed
against his will?”
“No, dad, not at
all,— on the contrary,— I ain’t never known me a better master than
quietly looking at the table stroking Lucas and trying to comfort him,
but the boy wasn’t to be consoled. For the first time since
Lazarus brought him home after his stay in sickbay, Lucas was really
afraid. Obviously, the boy had time to think about their
conversation from earlier that morning and came up with some damn good
arguments why he didn’t want to give up being Lazarus’ slave.
Lazarus was a bit smug and proud of Lucas.
didn’t tell me he planned to free Lucas after he was a slave for a
while. When did you plan to free him, Sir?” Bryce inquired.
“I ain’t decided
a date, Son.”
“Yes, you did!”
interrupted Lucas, “You done told me after I served you for a couple
hundred years you’d gimme’ an option. You said you’d give me the
option of being a freeman or continue as yore’ slave, ‘cause I might
not wanna’ be freed,— I might find out I enjoy being yore’ slave and
serving you. I might feel differently then, but right now, I
don’t wanna’ be a free-boy, Master. Shouldn’t I have a say in
statement, there was no doubt in Lazarus’ mind, Lucas was playing to
his audience. He was milking this performance for all it was
worth and making his Master look like a hero.
“Of course you
have a choice, Lucas.” Bryce spoke for Lazarus. “It’s my fault, little
brother, I asked your Master to free you to give me a little brother to
“Can’t chu’ love
me as a slave, Bryce?”
“Of course I
can. I didn’t know enough about your background to make that
decision. I apologize, Dad. I guess if you plan to free him
eventually and have agreed to a time, if’n he want’s to remain your
slave, it should be his decision.”
still quite, but started kissing Lucas to calm him.
accept him as your little brother even if he was a slave?” Arlen
“I already have,
Dad. Calm down, Lucas. Is that offer to bunk it in with you
still open, little brother?”
“Yee, yes, Sir,
Bryce. I’d be pleased to have you bunk it in with me, but I don’t
wanna’ be no free-boy. Please say you won’t free me, Master
Long. I promise, Sir, I won’t never call you ‘father’ again.”
“Why would you
punish me, Son?”
punishment,— jes’ respect for my Master, Sir.”
“Okay,— I want a
full agreement from ever’ one at this table. What is to be Lucas’
fate? Obviously, Lucas votes ‘no’ on freeing him. After
hearing his well thought out plea I vote ‘no’ as well. If either
of you vote to free him, it will be done.” Lucas shot a look of
anticipation at Bryce and Arlen.
“I vote he
remains a slave.” said Arlen.
“I guess I do,
too, Dad. I can understand his fear. It’s real. Ain’t
never seen a kid express that much fear. I suppose this is one of
them unusual situation what’s beginning to make me look at slavery in a
different light, Captain.”
“Okay,— then let
it be understood, Lucas will remain my slave until his eighteen
birthday, at which time he will be given the choice of his freedom or
remaining my slave on a renewable option basis from year to year or for
a longer period depending on his decision. I’ll have it written
up and notarized as an addendum to his slave papers. Until his
eighteenth birthday, he will be treated like any other slave. Is
it still all right if’n I think on you as my slave-son?” Lazarus
h’it’s fine with me, Master. Thank you, Master Long. You’ve
put my mind at ease. I thought for a minute there, my heart would
break. Thank you, Sir.” Lucas was all over Lazarus kissing
and hugging him. Bryce smiled, but shook his head in wonder.
“Maybe I should
a’ followed through with my plan to give myself to you as a slave,
Captain, if’n that’s the way your slaves feel about you.” Bryce
“You told him
about that, Son?” Arlen asked.
“I ain’t ashamed
of it, Dad. If’n I ever lost my freedom I wouldn’t want no other
master but Dad Long.”
“Why do you call
them both ‘dad,’ Bryce?”
“It’s a long
story, little brother. I’ll tell you later this evening when
we’re alone in bed together.”
“How would you
men feel about helping to take care of a baby brother?” Lazarus
spoke to Bryce and Lucas.
“You mean it,
Captain? That would be great! I’d love it! I’ll do my
part.” promised Bryce.
“I would love to
have a baby brother, Master, especially if’n he was yours.” said
“Is your offer
still open, cowboy?” Lazarus spoke to Arlen.
I’m call’n yore’ bluff, partner. You borrow the boy’s lummox for
tomorrow evening, and I can be pregnant before midnight.”
“You men up to
being witness’s at the conception for your new little brother.”
“I am. I
wanna’ see how I was created.” allowed Bryce.
“I’m curious as
can be, Master.” Lucas responded.
can tell us when your dad’s pregnant, Son.” Lazarus said to Bryce.
Lucas clean up after lunch. Arlen and Bryce went off to another
part of the house together.
“Guess you had
time to think on what we discussed this morning,— huh, Son?”
I was gonna’ talk with you later, but I got the feeling you were being
“Was it too
much, Father? Did I over do?” Lucas smiled.
Lazarus put his
arm around Lucas and hugged him tight.
me. No,— as the Brits are wont to say,— you was spot on,
Son. I’m proud of you. How does your eighteenth birthday
sound to you?”
“It makes me a
bit nervous, but I might feel differently then. It makes me feel
better knowing I’ll have a choice. My greatest fear about going
to school is Caleb’s brothers attend the same school. Even though
they might not know who I am, it would still be difficult for me to see
them ever’ day, Master.”
worry none about them. I’ll have that situation taken care of
before you ever walk through the door of that school,— trust me, Son.”
“I do trust you,
Father. You ain’t never lied to me yet, I don’t expect you will,
“Bank on it,
boy! Are we all right?”
right, Father. We be fine.”
They shared a
right. One more thing,— since you and I have an understanding
between us, and I've given Bryce permission to call me 'dad,' how 'bout
you drop the 'father' thing and call me 'dad' when we're in private
or with our immediate family. After all, you agreed it would be
all right for me to think on you as my slave-son, and since it's pretty
much the android's thing to call me 'father,' I think it might make a
difference for both of us. It would help me git used to having a
young man I love and take care of call me his 'dad.'
"I'd be proud
and honored to call you 'dad,' Sir. It seems less formal than
'father.' I promise, I will still show you proper respect as my
Master around others. Are Master Arlen and Bryce our immediate
also, Ox and the androids." Lazarus replied. "And if you slip and call
me 'dad' around Master Charlie, the boys, or anyone around the ranch,
you won't be corrected or punished." Lazarus grinned and winked at
Dad. Thanks." Lucas smiled back.
"You earned the
right, Son." Lazarus assured the boy.
* * * * * * *
At supper that
evening, the boys and Charlie were interested to hear about Captain
Arlen and Bryce. The boys knew a little about them from Ox.
He didn’t tell them too much because he didn’t know how much his
Godfather would want them to know. He left it up to Lazarus to
fill in the details if he wanted to.
Lucas came to
the big house early to see if he could help Ida Mae. She welcomed
him with open arms and could tell he was troubled. He didn’t want
to tell her about what happened earlier, but Ida had a way about
her. He told her everything and cried again. She consoled
him and told him she didn’t think Master Long would do anything like
that to him. If he wanted to remain a slave she didn’t see Master
Long going against his wishes.
They got supper
on the table and Ida Mae called the men to gather around the
table. Lucas volunteered to get anything else the men needed and
Ida asked Charlie if she might be excused to get supper for her
family. Sometimes she liked to prepare a meal for Hank and JR
separately so she could enjoy their company over a meal. Charlie
told her to go with his blessings. They could handle
everything. The boys said they’d help Lucas with cleanup.
impressed by the size and gentility of Arlen Jones. There was no
doubt he was or had been a cowboy in Charlie’s mind. He seemed
forthright and honest and had a big hardy laugh. He was the exact
opposite of his cool, calm, collected, never ruffled mate, Lazarus
Long. Charlie could see how they seemed to fit together
like two bookends. One complemented the other. If Charlie
didn’t feel so secure in his relationship with Lazarus he might have
Bryce Cannon was
somewhat of a conundrum for Charlie until Arlen said something about
Bryce being his boy. While Bryce was an exceptionally fine
looking young man, he looked nothing like Arlen Jones. He was
more Lazarus and Charlie’s size and instead of ruggedly handsome good
looks like Arlen and Lazarus, Bryce was a handsome man. The only
rugged thing about him was his solid body. There was no question
he worked out and kept himself almost but not quite as buffed out as
Bill Birdsall and Charlie’s baby brother.
“If Bryce is
your son, Captain Jones, how is it he has another name?”
really. His full last name is ‘Cannon-Jones.’ A close
friend of Lazarus and me named Joe Cannon was wounded real bad in a
battle we had against the same aliens what have been visiting your
planet for centuries. He didn’t make it and on his deathbed,
Lazarus and I promised we’d see to it he had a son to carry on his
name. So, I carried Joe’s baby and gave birth to Bryce. I
was his primary parent. Our Godson was his secondary parent.”
eating amd put his fork down. There was a hush around the table
you could feel. Waco, Travis and Little Bear were sitting on the
edge of their seats.
you have advanced medical and surgical techniques, but how it that
intermediate sex, Boss.” Lazarus spoke, “You remember me telling you
Ox’s species is one of the most remarkable and adaptable in the
universe, and he has talents you have yet to know about?”
remember. When we were riding back from your ship the first time.”
as far as we know, is unique in the universe. Although they
evolved along similar lines as us, they have several unusual things
about them. They are one of only a handful of species which
evolved with more than a double helix strand of DNA to define
them. Ox's species, the Volgorons, have an extra strand of DNA,
and it makes them highly adaptable. All life on Earth evolved
from a double strand of DNA, and we are limited to one form of sexual
reproduction; however, according to the Kryscells we may be
evolving into three separate species. The Volgorons are not so
limited. They are capable of reproducing in several different
ways. Ox’s species is not only capable of procreating their own
kind, they can act as an intermediary sex for other mammalian species,
and believe it our not, several non-mammalian species.
Ox is capable of
having sex and procreating normally like any other mammal; that is, a
male lummox and a female lummox. He can produce his own sperm to
impregnate a female's egg of his species; however, his sexual abilities
go much further than ours. His body also produces proto-embryos
that are pristine unto themselves. They can be fertilized in a
number ways. They can be injected by means of his penis into the
womb of a female of any other mammalian species, and if fertilized with
his sperm, will produce another of his species, almost an exact
duplicate of him; not a clone, but a genetic double. Will it be
just like him in every way? No, there will be some minor
differences in appearance and personality. Personality can be
closely mimicked due to DNA similarities, but it won’t be an exact
copy. The variables of life and experience are too great.
One of the more
remarkable feature of the Volgorons is the ability of their
proto-embryos to be implanted in the lower digestive track of any male
of a mammalian species and in the case of humans, four and a half
months later out pops a baby what’s completed its first half of
development; however, it has four and a half more months to bake in a
secondary parent's womb. Like the marsupials on your planet,
where the babies are born as proto-infants and must crawl into their
mother’s pouch, so must the newborn human baby crawl from its primary
parent into the pouch of a male of Ox’s specie. There it will
reside in perfect contentment for another four and a half months, only
to come out when it’s hungry to crawl to his daddy’s teats for
feeding. Thus you have the reason for male lummox milk.
It’s also one of the reasons Ox’s specie is so hairy. The infant
has something to grab hold of to aid in its trip from the pouch to his
daddy’s teat and back again.
The females of
the Volgorons only carry their babies for half their bearns gestation
period. Their infants are called ‘bearns.’ Their gestation
period is twelve months to our nine. The female carries the fetus
for the first six months, then after she give birth, the male carries
it for the last six months. This isn’t unprecedented within the
biological diversity of your own planet. In many species the male
is the one responsible for the gestation of the young. It also
makes it possible for a Volgoron male to make his mate pregnant while
he’s still carrying their first bearn. It’s almost like an
assembly line baby factory. It increases the probability of
specie survival by fifty percent. Surprisingly, infant mortality
among Volgorons is almost unheard of. In all my years, I’ve never
heard of a Volgoron losing a bearn.
“Are you telling
me that’s the way Bryce was born?” Charlie asked in amazement.
Boss. Captain Jones gave birth to Bryce and Ox, or Garron as we
call him, carried him for another four and a half months in his pouch.”
“We bathe Ox
every day, Master Long, how come we ain’t never discovered his pouch?”
“It closes up so
it can remain sterile until he gets ready to receive a young one, then
it opens up."
exclaimed Waco with a big grin on his face looking at Bryce the
cool!” allowed Travis.
cool!” laughed Little Bear.
at his boys enthusiasm and shook his head in disbelief.
“If’n any man
told me this six months ago I’d a’ called him a damn liar;
however, I’ve seen too much. How did you have Mr. Cannon’s son
Mr. Goodnight.” Arlen spoke up. “Once Ox released the proto-embryo and
it attached itself to the wall of my lower intestine, it began looking
for genetic information to tell it what to become. If Ox were to
release his sperm into me shortly after the embryo attached itself, it
would produce another Ox.”
genetic information from you, its primary parent?” Charlie asked.
question. It won’t take information from its host unless Ox tells
“You mean he can
communicate with his,— ?” Charlie didn’t know what to call it by this
proto-embryo, Sir? Yes, he can to a limited degree. After
seeing what he can do so far would you doubt it?” Lazarus smiled at
“We know what he
can do! Ain’t no doubt in our minds.” added Little Bear.
“Okay, so where
does the father’s genetic information come from?” grinned Charlie like
he wasn’t sure he wanted to know.
“From his sperm,
Sir. The embryo looks for genetic information within the host
digestive track. There’s three ways to get the information to the
embryo. The father’s semen may simply be ingested if
there’s enough of it or in Joe Cannon’s case his semen was injected
into my lower track immediately after the proto-embryo attached
itself. There’s a little more to it than that, but Captain Long
has an instructive and informative video of an inception of a pregnancy
between a male Volgoron and a male human he can show you on the
ship. The proto-embryo may also be fertilized prior to a lummox’s
ejaculation by the father having ejaculated into his lower digestive
tract by way of the lummox’s anus. There it’s quickly absorbed
and the information sent to the embryo before the lummox releases it
into the host’s lower tract.
human body have a tendency to reject the embryo?”
All embryos,— even normal human embryos are parasitic by nature.
They take over the host body whether it’s male or female and tell the
body what to do to insure its survival. It immediately floods the
host’s system with anti-rejection enzymes that won’t allow the body’s
defense mechanisms to recognize it.
there stunned. The boys were on the edge of their seats.
Lucas had been silent during the whole discussion; however, he did
something that almost tore Bryce’s heart out of his chest. He was
sitting next to Bryce, simply reached over, took Bryce’s hand in his
and held it as a gesture of understanding and brotherhood. Bryce
almost lost it.
have gone into such detail over the supper table, but you seemed to be
interested,— and we have a favor to ask.” Lazarus told Charlie.
“No,— it’s all
right. You know we can discuss most anything. Lord knows we
discuss breeding and calving cattle over supper. Ain’t too much
difference. Besides, listening to all this is like watching a
cross between ‘Wild Animal Planet’ and ‘old Jerry Springer re-runs’ on
T.V.” he laughed. “What favor do you have to ask of me?”
things have come up family-wise between me, Arlen, Bryce and
Lucas. Arlen and I’ve been talking about raising a family for
years, but we jes’ ain’t never got around to it. We ain't never
had us a place where we planned to stay long enough to consider
it. Arlen and I already have two fine young men and a Godson to
claim as family. We couldn’t be more proud of Ox, Bryce and
Lucas, but I think we need one more to bind us together as a
whole. I got to think’n about being here in a pretty stable
environment for a number of years, and thought we would ask your
permission to have one more kid, another son for us?”
Waco and high-fived his brother Travis sitting next to him, “Another
little brother! Wow! How great is that?” he went on.
commented Little Bear. The boys were like a Greek chorus in an
“You don’t need
my permission to have a child, Lazarus.”
pardon, Sir, but we do. You see, we have to borrow Master Waco’s
lummox for an evening to make it happen. Arlen has volunteered to
have my baby, but that means Ox will have to carry it for its last four
or five months. Usually the baby ain’t ready to vacate right away
at the end of four and a half months. Eviction can be traumatic
for a bearn, and it will run back to the safety of his daddy’s pouch
for another couple of months after that. Of course, as your
slave, you and Master Waco have the right to attend and watch Ox
impregnate my partner.
Do my brothers get to come?” Waco blurted out without thinking.
“No, only me.”
shot back Lazarus with a grin. Everyone at the table broke up.
“When do you
plan to do it, ramrod?” asked Charlie.
be here through Sunday, we thought tomorrow evening would be good for
us. We’ll do it on the ship where we have facilities in case an
Boss. Ox has to fill Arlen’s lower colon with a fluid similar to
amniotic fluid in humans. In fact, it’s exactly the same degree
of salinity as human fluid. The proto-embryo uses it to
swim in to anchor itself. The fluid may also act like a swimming
pool for my sperm to fertilize the embryo should we choose to inject it
directly into my mate’s lower tract. We may try both ways to
insure conception. Once the proto-embryo attaches itself, Arlen’s
body will absorb the fluid, but sometimes a little slips out,
especially after having a penis as large as a lummox’s up his butt for
an hour or more.”
Lazarus was so
matter of fact about his explanation, Charlie didn’t know whether to
laugh at him or not; however, the boys couldn’t contain their giggles,
so he compromised by laughing at them.
“Of course you
have my permission. Are you kidding? If I said ‘no’ I’d be
lynched by my own family.” Charlie roared with laughter, “Furthermore,
it shore’ as hell will beat watching re-runs boring political rants on
the boob tube for a Saturday night. What are you gonna’ name him?”
“We ain’t even
talked about it. We probably will this evening.” said Arlen.
“Since it’s gonna’ be Lazarus’ son,’ I’m gonna’ let him name him what
we’ll look forward to it. Do my boy’s slaves git to attend?”
Charlie laughed making sure he didn’t make the same mistake Waco did.
“Don’t see why
not.” A cheer went up from Waco and his men. “H’it’s gonna’ be a family
affair for us. Bryce and Lucas will be there to witness the
conception of their new baby brother. Travis and Little Bear are
family. I’m going to invite Hank, but I think JR is a little
“I agree with
you, ramrod. I think Hank would be honored and could handle it as
well as any man.”
“I may want to
invite a couple more people if’n that’s all right with you, Boss.”
Lazarus said, “It’s a tradition with the Volgoron to have whole
families present for the conception of any bearn. Arlen and I
have adopted their tradition. It jes’ seems right somehow.”
“In a way, it
has a lot more going for it than jes’ two people in a dark room.
It sort of celebrates the beginning of a new life.”
felt that way about it. We had several families of Volgorons
present when Arlen conceived Bryce.”
minute! I mean no disrespect, Son,” Charlie spoke to Bryce, “but
are you half human and half lummox?”
Master Charlie. I’m completely human. Well, to be totally
honest, I’m one tenth of one percent Volgoron. So, technically,
Garron or Ox is one of my three fathers.
“You see, Boss,
that’s the beauty and simplicity of the Volgorons. They can, but
they usually don’t leave their genetic imprint on another
species. In most cases they choose to keep the integrity of the
species they’ve been asked to reproduce.”
“I have a
feeling the next ten years is going to be a never ending rodeo.”
Charlie laughed. “That’s all right, it keeps life from getting dull and
boring.” he allowed. “We’ll certainly look forward to tomorrow
evening. Now, is this all the talents our lummox is capable of?”
There’s a couple more what’s almost equally mind blowing. I know
I didn’t believe it until I saw it with ma’ own eyes. You won’t
either, Boss.” Lazarus laughed.
ask.” Charlie smiled.
“Best you don’t
until you witness it for yore’self, Sir.” Lazarus winked.
* * * * * * *
The men said
their goodbyes and returned to the foreman’s house. Waco wanted
Lucas to stay and talk with them some, but he was still charged from
the conversation at lunch and begged to be excused to return with his
Master. Waco was disappointed, but he understood.
pleased to see Bryce throw his backpack into Lucas’ room. The two
of them had become thick as thieves since lunch. Bryce was blown
away by how much Lucas learned in such a short period of time. He
was convinced the Kryscells were good for him and encouraged him to
continue his visits with them.
The time came
for bed and Lazarus and Arlen were anxious to retire early. They
said they had a lot to discuss. Bryce and Lucas laughed at
them. They knew what they were going to do, and it didn’t involve
Bryce with his boots and then his clothes. Bryce wasn’t used to
anyone helping him, but he went along with it. He got the feeling
it was what Lucas wanted to do for him as opposed to doing it because
he was trying to be a good slave. He wondered how much if any
thoughts entered Lucas’ head about being a slave. The kid seemed
so natural in his role and for all Bryce could tell was very happy
being Lazarus’ slave.
Bryce felt more
comfortable around Lazarus since their talk and Lucas’ insistence he
didn’t want to be a freeman. He wondered why he felt that way
because, it all went against his beliefs and convictions. Had he
misjudged Lazarus all these years? Was he too critical and
analytical of his uncle? Why was he back to thinking of Lazarus
as his ‘uncle’? Because it felt more comfortable. He felt
like he didn’t need to think on Lazarus as a dad, he had Arlen, Joe
Cannon and Garron to think on that way.
Bryce and Lucas
got into bed and Lucas asked Bryce to hold him.
“I’ll be happy
to, little brother, but you know I ain’t gonna’ get involved with no
hanky-panky. I gave my uncle my word, and I’ll keep my word to
“I don’t care
about that none.” said Lucas. “I jes’ don’t want you to be mad at me
for not wanting what you wanted for me.”
“I ain’t mad,
Lucas. In fact, I’m happy for you if it’s what you're comfortable
with and it’s what you want.”
“It is what I
Bryce. I love Master Lazarus. If I’m to become his son one
day, I want to be worthy for him to think on me as his son. In a
way, it will be better than being born his son.”
“I will have
earned his love as a dad.”
healthy way of looking at it, Lucas. You don’t have to do no work
to be my little brother. You done earned that right in my eyes.”
Bryce. I know you’re a good man.”
As Bryce drifted
off to sleep he thought about a video of his dad, Joe Cannon, Arlen and
Lazarus made up from bits and pieces of recordings taken on the ship
and personal recordings the three of them made together. He
watched it many times. He couldn’t remember how many. He
kept coming back to one scene on his deathbed Joe spoke directly to him.
“It ain’t gonna’
be easy for you, Son. Without me you’re always gonna’ wonder what
it would a’ been like to have me by your side. I’m sorry I
couldn’t be there in person, but Arlen and Lazarus will take good care
of you and raise you right. Follow your heart, Bryce. Stand
up for what you believe in and show compassion in all things.
Temper all your judgements with love and a good heart. Always
remember, you’re Joe Cannon’s son, walk tall and you’ll never walk
alone, boy. Save room in your heart for me, and I will always be
with you,— I will always be by your side. The love of a father
for his son knows no grave. It's one of the few cosmological
constants in the universe. I love you, Son.” and then,— Joe
Cannon allowed himself to slip away.
End Chapter 14 ~
Copyright 2006 ~