By Waddie Greywolf

Chapter 24

The boys played another great football game.  The three coaches were having a wonderful time refereeing a relaxed game with the young men.  Most of the major talent for their school teams were present.  Lyle Chambers and Carol Baker stood on the sidelines and cheered the boys on.  It was one of the best afternoons at the Goodnight ranch anyone could remember and Lyle was thoroughly enjoying himself.  Even though Lyle grew up in the community, he never felt like he really belonged.  He just felt like he didn’t fit in.  

The only person left he felt connected to was Chet Baker.  They grew up together on neighboring ranches and were each others’ main buddies all their lives.  They thought nothing of sexual play with each other when they were boys or when they got older.  They just didn’t talk to anyone about it.  They were wildly in love with one another, but as they matured they began to date girls.  Even though they continued to get together, Lyle could see Chet was falling in love with his highschool sweetheart, Carol Evans.

Lyle knew he would never marry and went through a rough period when he knew he’d have to give up his buddy.  Chet convinced him nothing had to change.  They could still get together.   Lyle would just become a part of his greater family.  Fortunately, Carol was a progressive spirit and understood.  She had no problem with Chet and Lyle spending quality time with each other.  She gained Lyle’s trust and love through her understanding.  If it wasn’t for his attachment to Chet and his family, Lyle would’ve moved away years ago to one of the greater metropolitan cities where he could live his life with a modicum of anonymity.  For once in his life, that afternoon, Lyle felt like he actually belonged.

The day wound down and folks began to thank their host, say their ‘goodbyes’ and began to leave.  Charlie asked Lyle and Chet if they would remain for a while.  Lazarus and Charlie wanted to talk with them about something.  Chet looked at Lyle, he smiled and nodded his consent.  Chet could see Carol was involved with Ida Mae, Mary Gibbons, Elsie Jessup and several of the other ladies.  He knew they would keep her entertained for hours.  He went to her and told her they would be staying for a while.  She didn’t ask any questions.

Finally, Lazarus and Charlie took the men to the old barn.  Lazarus activated the portal to the Bandersnatch.  Lyle laughed as Chet’s eyes grew large.  Lyle acted like he was an old hand at it and talked his buddy through the gate.  They were welcomed by Cable, David and Jonathan.  Chet’s eyes bugged out even bigger at the handsome, naked men.

“You didn’t tell me about all this.”  he whispered accusingly at his mate.

“Would ju’ have believed me?”  Lyle chuckled.

“Probably not.”  admitted Chet.

“This way, gentlemen.”  Lazarus took the men down a corridor to a plush theater with comfortable seats.  “Have a seat, gentlemen,. . . make yourselves comfortable.”

In the theater, already seated, were Sheriff Lassiter, Chief Tin Penny, Ranger Gibbons, Captain Trong, Commander Fielding, Captain Arlen Jones, Hoot Austin, Cotton Daniels, Angus Goodnight and Hank Morgan.  They greeted the men warmly.

“We don’t want this to seem too mysterious.  We brought you men here to warn you of some bad things going on in our community and to offer you our protection.  Don’t be alarmed by what we’re about to show you, as it’s all being taken care of.”

Lazarus sat down and clicked a remote control and a video came on a huge screen in front of the men.  On it was Lyle and Chet in Lyle’s bedroom buck ass naked and going at it like two dogs in heat.  Chet Baker was fucking his mate like he was one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse and the Devil was breathing fire on his ass.  Both men sank in their seats and groaned.

“Oh, my God!” sighed Chet.  In a whisper he asked,  “Did you know about this, Lyle?”

“I swear, I didn’t, Chet.  Oh, fuck!  Our lives are over.  We’re ruined.”  bemoaned Lyle.

“Lyle didn’t know, Son.  He was as much in the dark as you.”  Angus spoke.  “We all seen it earlier, but we ain’t real concerned about it.  I think they done seen enough, Lazarus, shut it off.”  Angus yelled to him.
Lazarus hit his remote and the video ceased.

Chet was almost in tears.  Lyle was devastated.

“So you men love each other.  So what?”  said Angus.

“Them Jesus freaks, Bud Robeson and Putty Ames, of the Jesus Patrol brought this video into the station for me to see Friday morning.”  stated Sheriff Lassiter, “I watched it and was disgusted; not with you men, but with them.  They bragged about how they secretly broke into your apartment, Mr. Chambers, and planted two micro-miniature video transmitters the day before and recorded this Thursday evening.  What they done was against the law.  I don’t care what they thought they was doing, or in what god’s name they were doing it, it was still against the law.”

Chet was shaking and Lyle was trying his best to comfort him.

“They’re both in jail awaiting arraignment with the local judge for illegal breaking and entering.  While they thought they were doing the Lord’s work, as they put it, they were actually breaking man’s law.  In some instances, not many today, man’s law still supercedes their trumped up holy laws.  As far as I’m concerned, this video don’t exist.  It will be destroyed.  I checked first thing with ‘em to make sure they didn’t make no copies.  Without any evidence it’s my word against theirs, and my word is a lot stronger.  It may not always be, but for now, with a judge in our corner, it still is.  From their admission of breaking and entering, they could get five to ten years indenturement.” explained Don Lassiter.

“We ain’t here to condemn you men.  We’re here to offer you a bit of advice and extend an offer of our help.  Don’t do nothing with each other in town anymore.  If you need to get away, meet out here, and we’ll provide you with the privacy you need.  You can use my stateroom here on the Bandersnatch.  My sons will treat you like you was my own and see to your needs.  Most of all, we extend to you gentlemen, our hand of friendship and ask you to join our family of dissenters.”  Lazarus spoke softly to them.

“What is this place?” asked Chet.

“It’s a starship, brother.” answered Lyle.  “It’s one of many, but I learned from the boys this afternoon, Captain Long here, is the head honcho of all of them.  Captain Jones is the captain of another starship called the ‘Raven’ in the Amazon jungle and Captain Trong, over there with his mate, Commander Fielding, are from another starship called ‘The Archimedes’ up near the arctic circle.  They are essentially arks to gather people, animals, the flora and fauna of this planet to relocate to another world when the end comes.  I take it, for some reason I’m not sure of yet, we’ve been chosen to survive the end of this world.”  Lyle told him.

“Then the bible stories are true?”  Chet asked amazed.

“Yes, and no, Coach.”  Charlie spoke.  “Yes, in the sense there will be a mass exodus of good people from a doomed planet, but ‘no’ in the sense it won’t be from supernatural reasons, and it won’t be those who preach the loudest they are the one’s to be saved.  They will wake up the morning of the end and find they’re the ones what’s been left behind.”

“Why us?” asked Chet.

“Because you’re names are on my list of folks to save.  It is a computerized list of good folks who are, by and large, secular humanist and flexible enough to understand a new way of living who would most likely succeed in a new environment on another, similar world.  This list was compiled long before you were born by a collective intelligence, of which, we have little concept.  We just know it exists and it communicates with us.”  said Lazarus.

“Amazing.” said Chet.

“Furthermore,” spoke up Chief Tin Penny, “You and your families will be given a DNA altering shot which will increase the longevity of your lives ten to a hundred fold.  We’ve all had the shot.  Look at me.  I had it last year when I was damn near seventy years old.  I was having difficulty getting around.  Now I have the body and sexual apatite of a man half my age.”

“Is it the voice of God you hear?”  asked Lyle.

“Some might look on the voices of the ancients as gods, but we don’t.” answered Lazarus, “ To us, they are simply a highly evolved and intelligent force in the universe who sometimes get involved when they see things are going in a wrong direction against the designs and common sense of the harmonic progressions and natural evolution of the cosmos.  Such is the case of this world at present.  It’s out of balance.”

 “Our people have a word for it, ‘koyaanisqatsi.’”  interjected the Chief.  Lazarus continued.

“This planet is on a headlong collision with self-destruction.  Things are past the point of no return and have been since the turn of the century.  We know the end is coming.  There’s no doubt about it.  It’s only a matter of time.  Until then, it is our duty to advise and protect those whose names are on our list to be saved at the end of this planet and to provide them with the knowledge to help us by protecting themselves.”

Lazarus paused waiting for a response from the men.  Chet looked at Lyle and saw an excitement in his eyes.  He knew without asking, his mate had made up his mind.  That was enough for Chet.

“Of course we’ll join you.” Chet Baker said quietly, “I don’t know how you done it, but you managed to save me and my partner’s butts.  What can we say but ‘thank you’ and tell you how beholden we are to you.  You not only have our gratitude, you have our trust.  We’d be honored to join you.  Who wouldn’t want to be saved from the end of the world?  Just to get away from the insanity of our current regime would be wonderful.”  he added.

“Chet speaks for both of us.” Lyle said.

“That’s as it should be, Son.” Arlen Jones smiled at him and winked at Lazarus.

“Lucas told me the boys know all about this.”  Lyle stated.

“Of course they do.  We don’t keep nothing from them boys.  That’s why they’re more well adjusted and considerate than most kids their age.  They would lay down their lives for you men; they think that highly of you.  You have nothing to fear or need to suffer any embarrassment from them.  They only have the deepest respect for you.”  Charlie responded.

Lyle was beginning to put some pieces of the Goodnight ranch puzzle together.  Although he was thrilled and had faith in what he learned from the boys earlier in the day, he had unanswered questions.  He couldn’t get his mind around a boy as talented and decent as Lucas becoming indentured, let alone becoming his dad’s slave.  With the love he had for Captain Long and vice versa, something just didn’t add up.

“What is the real reason Lucas is your slave, Captain Long?”  Lyle looked up at Lazarus.

“Do you know the story of the Stamper boys, Son?”  Lazarus asked.

“Yes, Sir.  There was one other named Caleb, I believe, who was either retarded or malformed.  The other boys were using him as a sex slave.  Their old man beat him up pretty bad and took him to the sheriff to sell as a slave.  Mr. Tennent couldn’t sell him as a slave, but sold him for dog food instead.  I’m sorry I didn’t hear about the boy in time, I would’ve bought him for my personal slave just to save his life.” said Lyle sadly.

“We know you would’ve, Lyle, that’s the kind of man you are, Son.  What you heard was the story we made sure got around.” said the sheriff.

“Later, Captain Long bought the rest of the Stampers to be his slaves?”  asked Chet.

“‘At’s right, and Master Austin and Daniels are their masters.  They’re still in training and have a boss, Blake Tindell, a slave-cowboy from Master Charlie’s ranch.  Captain Long owns them.”

“What has the Stamper men got to do with your son being your slave, Captain Long.”  asked Lyle again.

“Think about it, Son,” offered Angus, “from what little you’ve observed of us men, do you really think we’d let Caleb Stamper be sold for dog food?”

“Oh, my God!” exclaimed Lyle.  Chet was clueless.  He looked to his partner for help.  “Lucas Long was Caleb Stamper, Chet.” Lyle carefully explained.  Chet looked at Lyle and blinked his eyes in disbelief.

“Bright young man.” said Sheriff Lassiter.  “Captain Long’s medical team— them fine looking naked men you met— rebuilt him.  With their expert work and the help of some aliens you ain’t met yet, they managed to slowly put him back together.  It took them several months, but we think they did a damn fine job.  He looks a lot like Captain Long, don’t chu’ think?”

“I thought he was Captain Long’s son.”

“Oh, he is, I assured you.” added Charlie.

“He’s an amazing young man.” said Lyle.

“He sure is.” added Chet.  “That explains why he’s a slave, Lyle.” he added.

“Wait a minute!”  Lyle exclaimed to himself, “If Captain Long bought the other Stamper boys and made slaves of them, it wasn’t for punishment or because they did anything wrong; it was to save the Stamper boys from themselves and to possibly enlarge your resistance base.”

Chet’s face registered enlightenment, like he could see the connection Lyle was making.  He smiled at his partner with the pride one close partner has for another.

“‘At’s right, Son!  The sheriff was right, you’re a smart man.” complimented Hoot Austin.  “Them boys ain’t always gonna’ be slaves.  Compared to the potential length of their lives, a few years spent in slavery won’t hurt ‘em a bit.  We plan to make it a character building experience for them.  A word of caution, though, the other Stamper boys don’t know Lucas used to be their youngest brother.”

“Glad you said something.  That’s amazing.  Lucas seems to be adjusting well.” Lyle responded.

“Better than any of us expected.  We’re leaving it up to him if or when he wants to share his story with them.  As of right now, I don’t think he has any intention of telling them anytime soon.”  Lazarus explained.

“But what of, Captain Jones, Strom and your twin sons, Captain Long?”  Lyle asked.

“The boys decided to leave that explanation to us.  Since we shared your video, we think it only fair we share a couple of ours with you.  Perhaps you won’t feel quite so embarrassed.”

Lazarus went to a control panel and waved his hand across a board and punched in some numbers.  In an instant there stood the three dimensional holographic figure of a fine looking man who proceeded to tell his audience what they were about to see and why.  A number of the men had seen the video before but several hadn’t.  It was the complete film of the next to last Volgoron bairn Captain Trong and Commander Fielding concieved.  

Lyle and Chet were stunned.  Not only was the three dimensional holographic images an unknown concept to them, it was totally erotic and sensual.  They weren’t the only men who shared their feelings.  The old Chief kept squirming in his seat and moving his tackle about in his breech.  Captain Trong and Commander Fielding were the least affected in the room.  They sat together holding hands.  Captain Trong had his huge hairy arm thrown over his Commander’s shoulder pulling him close and smiling at him from time to time as if remembering the ecstacy of their coupling.
The second video was of Captain Jones’ conception and giving birth to the twins.  Lyle watched with awe as the young bairns crawled up Strom’s giant chest to his teats and began feeding.  Lyle could only wonder what it would feel like to give birth to a child laying in the arms of such a handsome creature as Strom.  He couldn’t have been more sexually aroused.  Lyle could feel Strom looking at him several times and smiling.  Lyle didn’t have to use his newly developed talent for hearing others’ minds, he knew what was going on in the big monster’s head and he almost came in his Wranglers.  Lyle blushed a deep red color which only caused Strom to smile bigger.  Chet noticed Lyle blushing, put his arm around his shoulder and pulled him close.  It was an act he had longed to do in public since they were teenagers.  The other men pretended not to notice.  

By the time the videos finished, Lyle Chambers and Chet Baker were thoroughly convinced these men were good and were worthy of their trust.  They realized they would be pledging their very lives to become involved with them and protect the ideas and goals of their resistance.  Chet and Lyle spoke to each other many times about just how much a man could be expected to take of the right-wing, looney Christianist’s bullshit, and had no problem drawing their lines in the sand.  They would pledge themselves to these men and to their cause.  They were still a bit unsure of what the future held, but at least, there was a light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel.
* * * * * * *

And so it came to pass, as the days of the year grew shorter and the nights longer, there came to power, followed closely on the heels of the Bush regime, a little known evangelical preacher by the name of Jeremiah Scudder. The corporate powers finally had enough of Bubba Awol and cut his strings.  Without money from his power base, the puppet who had less intelligence than a dim-witted moron, was cast aside like yesterday’s used toilet paper and died a bitter and broken little man.  He passed in a similar fashion as Joe Mc Carthey in the fifties, who died from complications from advanced syphilis,. . . alone and forgotten.

Unknown to his evangelical followers, ‘Dubya’ contracted AIDS from his homosexual liaisons with several male prostitutes he cavorted with while in the White House, and died from the debilitating disease.  He probably could’ve been helped and his life prolonged with medication; however, he refused to believe the doctor’s diagnosis or listen to the advice of his friends and political allies that he did, indeed, test positive for the disease.  Even when presented with a notarized copy of the lab results, he steadfastly refused to believe it, stating he was sure it was just a minor infection and with time and prayer it would go away.  It didn’t go away, but fortunately for the country, he did.

Doctor Scudder, as Jerry Scudder billed himself, never had more than a highschool education.  He was a poor student and finished dead last in his small class.  After he rose to prominence as a spirited evangelical, hell fire/ damnation preacher and gathered considerable wealth, he bought himself a couple of honorary ‘doctoral’ degrees from small, struggling West Texas bible colleges.  Few knew, Jerry Scudder could barely read or write.   Little did his worshipful followers know, when the corporate monied power base looked for a new puppet to lead the divine flock of sheeple, they were getting more than they bargained for.

Jeremiah Scudder took over with a vengeance to rival the wrath of God, himself.  It seemed like he was born to become a ruthless dictator of the United States and quickly understood what power was all about.  He preached  he was the second coming of John the Baptist and had come to prepare the way of the Lord.  He proclaimed that no man, woman or child would be allowed to come into the presence of Jesus when he returned nor allowed into heaven without his blessing.  While he granted individual churches to teach their own brand of Christianity, he insisted they all, no matter their denomination, pay a tithe to him and his ministry.  

It was done under the guise of income taxes but the churches were taxed as well, and those who didn’t believe he was God’s chosen prophet paid a lot more taxes than those who dutifully followed him.  He proclaimed himself God’s holy prophet and promptly set himself up a hierarchy of his own devout followers.  Among the closest to the holy prophet were his muscular roid-eunuch prophet protection commandos.  Those among his personal temple guards wore black leather uniforms, tall boots with leather pants which sported hard leather codpieces at the crotch.  Their uniforms looked like they were designed by a hardcore leather fairy from the nineteen sixties.  

It was the highest honor a serviceman could achieve to volunteer and be accepted into the Commando Guards of the Holy Prophet, and to become a sexual eunuch from massive doses of steroids to artificially build their bodies to enormous proportions.  The bigger their bodies grew, the smaller and more insignificant their male genitals became until they made the final transition to secure their place in a hereafter near the throne of the Holy Prophet by having them surgically removed.  As fierce and imposing as they appeared, they were said to have reached a state of religious peace because they knew by giving their lives and their all to the holy prophet, their place in heaven was secure.

Next in the Holy Prophet’s hierarchy was the vestal virgins of the temple, the semi-vestal virgins who attended the vestal virgins and a stable of young, succulent boy slaves to please the holy prophet and put him in a mood which would allow him to speak with and hear the word of God.  The people were told, it was during those times, God would reveal to Dr. Scudder his wishes for his kingdom he commanded him to build for him here on Earth.  Such hypocrisy, abuse of power, and decadence had not been seen upon the Earth since the time of Babylon.

* * * * * * *

Chet never told his wife about what Lyle and he experienced that afternoon.  Carol knew it was something unusual and perhaps even profound, but she couldn’t tell for sure.   She and Chet were not only husband and wife, they were good friends and lovers.  Over the years they developed an unspoken communication that made it difficult for either to hide anything from the other.  Chet was so attentive and considerate of her for the rest of the evening and the drive home he made her feel young again.  He was responding to her like he did when they were in highschool and first dating.  The kids were fast asleep in the back seat. They fell asleep shortly after the tires on their SUV hit the blacktop to drive back into town.

“You had a good time today.”  Carol spoke quietly to her husband.

“I had a very good time.  The boys played a great game and I felt like I got to show them off to the other coaches.  Did you have a good time?”  Chet asked.

“One of the best times I’ve had in quite a while .  Everything just seemed to be right, and it was good to get away from all the problems we face today.  When we visit at one of the Goodnight ranches, it’s like going into another world.  After a while, everyone begins to relax and let their hair down.  I don’t have to watch every darn thing I say.  I know the other folks there understand if I complain about something.  I love going out there because I can see you and Lyle begin to relax the minute you get out of your cars.  Something happened to the two of you today.  Can you tell me about it?”

Chet paused for a long time.  He didn’t know what to say.  Carol thought she understood.

“That’s all right.  You don’t have to tell me.  I have a feeling I know pretty much what it was about.”

“Really?”  Chet asked quietly.

“Ladies share with each other.”  Carol said smuggly.

“You mean they gossip, don’chu’?”  Chet shot back with a chuckle in his voice.

"And I suppose men don't?"  Carol said raising an eyebrow.  Chet knew he'd been checked.  He figured bold honesty was his best bet.

"Oh, hell, yes!  We're worse than women by a long shot.  We just don't call it that.  We say we're talking business."

Chet winked at her and Carol laughed.

“With those ladies, it goes beyond just idle gossip.  Mary Gibbons and her woman, Elsie Jessup told us about some strange and miraculous things what’s been going on at the Goodnight ranches and you have to admit those huge, hairy men and that dog that can talk ain’t exactly normal.  They seem to fit in there at the ranch, it sort of all makes sense in some weird way, but they would seem out of place anywhere else.”

“You got that right.”  Chet added.  “Lyle and I learned some pretty remarkable things this afternoon.”

“I want to know more about those folks.  Their boys are not the normal, run of the mill kids.  It’s like they know things we don’t, things I want you, me and the kids to be a part of.  Chet, they give me the feeling there’s a better way of living than having to live in fear all the time.”  Carol was almost in tears.

“Calm yourself, my dear.  We are going to become a part of them.  It’s a done deal.  Trust me.  Lyle and I pledged and dedicated ourselves to them and their cause today.  I can’t tell you a lot more than that because I don’t know everything yet, but Carol, it’s far larger than you could ever imagine.  It’s far greater than anything I could’ve imagined.  You could never guess what those men are capable of.  Just trust me, darling, everything is gonna’ be all right for our family.”

“I hope, by our family, you’re talking about Lyle, too.”  Carol stated.

“Yes, Lyle is definitely included.  They know he’s my brother, Carol.”

Carol was quiet for a minute.  She didn’t have to ask Chet to explain.  She knew the word ‘brother’ was a euphemism for Chet and Lyle’s relationship.  It was the first time in their fifteen years of marriage Chet had made such a near declaration of his love for Lyle to her.  It hit her in a strange way.  She wasn’t the least threatened.  She felt warm inside.  It was his roundabout, cowboy way of letting her know he loved and appreciated her understanding.

“So, obviously they’re all right with it.” she stated almost like a rhetorical question.

“Very much so.”  Chet paused for a moment then added, “You know how much I love you, Carol.  I have never loved you more than I do at this minute, and I promise you I will always love you and take care of you and the kids.  If anything should happen to me, I want you to go to Lyle.  My brother will take care of you and the kids.”

“Don’t you think I know that?  You’re so silly.  Nothing’s gonna’ happen to you, but to put your mind at rest, Lyle is the first person I would go to.  Let’s have no more talk of anything happening to you.  Okay?”

“Okay, love, but you know as well as I do, in today’s world a man can never be sure from one day to the next what his fate might be.”

Carol knew she wouldn’t get a lot more out of Chet.  She didn’t push.  She knew she’d find out the rest soon enough.  She made a mental note to have Lyle over for dinner the following Wednesday night.  She knew she could wheedle anything out of Lyle.  They never saw each other as a threat to their love for Chet.  They were like brother and sister and Lyle was like wet clay in Carol’s hands.  They didn’t swap notes about their man; however, beyond that, they had no secrets.  Chet sometimes suspected the two of them were co-conspirators, but they were too clever for him to ever catch them.  Lyle did eventually spill all to Carol and she was as flabbergasted as the men. Over the following months, Carol watched her husband grow closer to her and his family, and that included his brother Lyle.
* * * * * * *

There was some talk in the town about the two church men who had been arrested and sentenced without a public trial.  They gave up a trial by jury.  They agreed to go before the judge and throw themselves on the mercy of the court.  They were given defense lawyers, but they’d been caught red-handed by their own admission of breaking and entering.  They were allowed to see their pastor and their families only under the watchful eye of the sheriff and his men.  They plea bargained their way to a lower term of indenturement by agreeing not to talk to anyone about what they tried to do.  They were told when the sheriff went to look at the tapes there was nothing on them.  They were blank.  Their lawyers encouraged them to accept the prosecution’s offer and to keep their mouth’s shut or they would be facing twenty years of slavery instead of ten.

Their preacher, David Yates, a closeted cross dresser, of the Four Square Pentecostal Church of the Sacred Holy Blood of the Redeemer Jesus Christ and His Saints, was suspicious.  He knew what the men were up to, but he kept his mouth shut.  He knew if he let on he was knowledgeable of their act, he might be considered complicit with their crime.  He was cool, calm and collected, but beneath his pious facade, he was furious.  He was the one who talked the men into doing it in the first place.  He just didn’t count on their gross stupidity.  They were suppose to take the film to him, and let him take it to the sheriff.  He would’ve told the sheriff the tape was dropped off at his church office by some concerned, anonymous citizens and what did he plan to do about it?  He couldn’t even talk with the men about it when he visited, or he would be found out.  The preacher may have had little education other than bible courses, but he wasn’t a stupid man.

They were tried, convicted and sold into ten years of slavery to a rancher in New Mexico, who just happened to be a cousin of the sheriff.  Don Lassiter let his cousin know they were available for a cut-rate price.  The sheriff’s new extended family wanted them out of the state as quickly as possible and in the hands of a man who wouldn’t allow anyone to visit or communicate with them while they were indentured.  It was his right as their owner.  They no longer had any rights and wouldn’t have for ten years.  If they performed well and kept their noses clean, they could be released in ten years.  That didn’t mean they would be.

* * * * * * *

“Are you sure they’re coming?”  Waco asked Cable for the fifth time.

“Calm down, young master.  They’ll be here soon.” he replied.

Waco, Ox, Travis, Little Bear, JR, Lucas, Gavin, Jerry, Strom, Jack and Jill, Ping and Pong, along with Cable, David and Jonathan were waiting in one of the larger scout ships from the Bandersnatch, whimsically named ‘Buttercup.’  Cable no more than got the words out when a ship appeared on the screen in front of them.  Ping pointed to it to draw the men’s attention.

“Is it a Visallian ship, Ping?”  Cable asked.

“Ping smiled and nodded.”

“You men prepare yourselves.  The Visallians are a warrior race.  They are a rough lot.  They have absolutely no inhibitions and sometimes find other races particularly to their sexual liking, especially humans.  They also have a thing for Volgorons, so if they get pushy, Master Waco, and insist on having one of your men or a Volgoron for a temporary playmate, you let them know they are your brothers or slaves and under your protection.  The delivery of their cargo to us and the collection of their fee depends on their completing the transaction and keeping goodwill between you.  If they fail to do so, they will be breaking your contract and you don’t have to honor your end of the deal.  They won’t let that happen, but they will push you to the limit to see if they can get you to break.  All in all, they may seem fierce and animal like, but they are strong warriors who, I’ve heard it said, are also considerate lovers.  If one of your men gets a hankering for one of them, they should let you know and you can use that as a tool for further negotiations.  They consider it a great honor to be asked to bed someone of another species.

As is occurs in many species in the cosmos, they live in symbiosis with another species that will be totally new to you; however, they have come to Earth from time to time along with their brother race, the Visallians, and exist in Earth’s folklore as fairies or pixies.  No one knows exactly how or when the two species became interdependant upon each other, but for all the roughness of the Visallians, their symbiotes are a delicate, ephemeral race with beautifully colored, gossamer wings.  You will like them and find them very charming, but be aware, they are devoted to their partner race and will barter your body for the pleasure of their masters quicker than you can holler for help.”

“What if things get out of control, Cable?”  Waco asked concerned.  He caught a smile from Pong out of the corner of his eye.

“We have two aces in the hole, young master.  Ping and Pong can have them under control in seconds with their pheromonic abilities.  They can instantly produce scents that will have both races subdued very quickly; however, we’re hoping it doesn’t come to that.  You men need to be exposed to other races as they are.  You need to learn to deal with them one on one and stand up to them as equals.

Just treat them with the utmost respect, mind your manners, but be strong and forceful in your decisions.  You don’t have to be belligerent or bellicose with them, but be firm and don’t waver.  They will admire and respect you for not accepting any bullshit from them, and trust me, they will try to find your weakness.  This will be a great experience for you men.  You may, one day, find yourselves fighting side by side with the Visallians and their brother race the ‘Shushonni’ against the dark forces in the universe.

And yes, their name does sound very much like an American Indian tribe.  There has been some speculation of contact between the races.  Indian legend has it Kokopelli was a visitor from space who was stranded on Earth among their people.  He was reported to be the bringer of mirth and known as somewhat of a trickster.  A perfect description of the Shushonni.  Even the name, Kokopelli, sounds like a Shushonni derivative.  

The contingence of the Visallians and Shushonni arrived and docked next to their ship.  The air-locks were activated and fifteen of the most magnificent humanoid creatures marched in lock step into the entryway of the Buttercup.  Waco heard several audible groans from his men and knew they were not from fear but from raw sexual attraction to these alien men.  He hoped they were not overheard.  The obvious leader was as fiercesome as he was ruggedly handsome and Waco didn’t know if he could be as strong as Cable said he must be.  He felt himself becoming a bit weak in the knees.  He heard a voice in his head.

<< Remember, young master, they very probably have the same feelings for you.  You can do it.  We’ve given you the strength and the power.  We will help you.  You are not alone. >>  He heard from the Krysallians.  They were seeing everything through his and his men’s eyes.  Waco and his men would never consider locking out their friends at a moment like this.  

“Who is master or captain of this vessel?”  demanded the lead Visallian in a deep booming voice.

Waco stepped forward a couple of steps and spoke in a strong voice.

“That would be me, Sir.  I am currently captain of this ship.  My name is Captain Waco Goodnight.”

“You are but a young boy.”  The commander of the other ship bellowed.

“You’re correct, Sir.  I’m glad to see you can tell the difference between a young man and a midget of our race.”  

There was a deafening silence on deck and then the Visallian commander broke up laughing obviously enjoying Waco’s retort.  His men joined him in laughter and soon the whole ship was enjoying a tension breaking laugh.

“Good answer, young man!  So be it, Captain Waco Goodnight!  Permission to come aboard your vessel?”

“Permission granted, Captain, and welcome to the Buttercup.”
Waco advanced toward the huge grizzled creature with his hand out.  The Visallian commander locked forearms with Waco with strength and shook once.

“I am Captain Vinceeth of the Ninth Visallian fleet.  It’s good to meet you Captain Waco Goodnight.”

“It is an honor and a privilege to meet you, Captain Vinceeth.”  Waco bowed to his counterpart.

Then Waco and his men saw the Shushonni flying around and about over the heads of the Villasian men.  They were all sizes from less than one foot tall to a couple who were about four feet in height.  Most came to rest upon a shoulder of the Villasian warriors.  One came to land lightly on the commander’s shoulder and made himself comfortable.  One even flew to Waco’s shoulder and landed.  It was a small female with the most beautiful wings.  It was about eight inches tall and sat gently on his shoulder.

“This is my companion, Thurlix and the youngster on your shoulder is Keekepata.  She finds you acceptable as a companion.  She has good taste, Captain Goodnight.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Thurlix.  I’m pleased and honored Keekepata finds me to her liking.  She is welcome on my shoulder.”

Keekepata smiled, leaned over and lightly kissed Waco on his cheek.  Waco blushed a deep red color.  That was cause for more laughter.

“You responded correctly, young Captain.  Keekepata is pleased.” spoke the commander.

Waco noticed the coffin shaped container in the middle of the Visallian men obviously being held up by a gravitronic field.  He smiled and nodded at the container.

“I see you have brought our order, Captain.  We are pleased, but before we take possession and settle our agreement will you, please allow us to offer you,  your men and companions some refreshments.  I think we are prepared to entertain you.”

“And are you and you men prepared to satisfy any of our needs, young Captain?” He asked with a sly smile.

“As your host, Captain Vinceeth, it would be rude of me to deny any request you might have as to you or your company’s needs.  We will do our utmost to provide you with the finest refreshment and comfort; however, as I’m sure you’re aware, our race doesn’t consider it necessary to provide for another’s sexual apatite, as flattering as your offer might be to us.”

Captain Vinceeth threw back his head and laughed again as did his men.

“Ah, I can see you are either advanced in your knowledge of diplomacy, or you’re a mind speaking race who is being prompted.”

“To be honest with you, Captain, a little of both.”

“Good.  I can appreciate and accept honesty even if I can’t have my way with you, Captain Goodnight.”

Waco led the men into the ship’s galley where David, Jonathan and Cable were already setting out refreshments and food for all three species.  The Visallian warriors mingled with Waco’s men and within an hour everyone was old friends and having a good time.  Some of the Visallian men couldn’t keep their hands off the three bio-engineered men.  It was unusual for them to see nude men taking care of them, and they found it highly erotic.  Waco smiled to himself and wondered how wonderful David, Jonathan and Cable were to put up with the pawing, groping, and feeling they were getting.  Rather than be upset, they seemed to be enjoying themselves and were gracious to the rough and rowdy Visallian warriors.  Captain Vinceeth sat at the head table with Waco and Ox.  Strom was sitting with them.

“I hope you will forgive my men.  Our race finds your race and the Volgoron race particularly attractive.  I know several of these men are your slaves.  Are any available to pleasure my men, Captain Goodnight?”

“Not unless one comes to me and has a request of his own.  Otherwise, I hope you understand they are my personal property and under my protection.  I wouldn’t asked that of them.  Being a slave and giving up one’s freedom is a large enough burden for any race, but to add to that something they might not wish to do is not acceptable to me, Sir.”

“You are a man of conscience, Captain Waco.  I like that in any race.”  

<< You find my master attractive, don’t you, Captain Waco? >> Waco heard a small voice in his head.

<< Yes, extremely, Keekepata, but if you tell him I must warn you.  I have strong mental abilities.  I will project bad thoughts that will make you feel like I’m pulling your wings off one by one! >>  Waco laughed in his head and heard a high pitched squeal and giggle.

<< Only because you didn’t lie to me, I promise I won’t tell him. >> she responded smiling and kissed him again on the cheek. << You like me, too, don’t you? >>

<<  Of course I like you.  What man, Visallian or Human, wouldn’t.  You are a delightful creature.  I can understand how your races became dependent upon one another. >>

<< Most other races don’t understand, Captain Waco, but we’ve been bonded to the Visallians for eons.  No one can remember when or how it began.  Our recorded history doesn’t go back that far.  Some say we were once pets or slaves of the Visallians.  It’s been written about and discussed endlessly, but no one really knows the reason.  We just know we can’t exit without each other, so we don’t try. >>

<< And do you witness everything the Visallian’s do? >> Waco asked a loaded question.

<< Yes, everything.  We have powers to enhance their pleasure and abilities.  Visallian men and women are known throughout the universe to be the best of lovers.  While they are strong and demanding they can be just as compassionate and understanding.  I’ve never known a Visallian man to hurt a sexual partner.  I’ve heard many beg them to. >> she giggled.

Captain Vinceeth was watching Waco out of the corner of his eye and saw Keekepata whispering in his ear.  He could see Waco’s facial expressions and knew she was up to no good.

“Be careful, young Captain.  She is a trickster.  She will betray your deepest confidence to me.”

“And that would be bad, because. . .?”  Waco trailed off his sentence to Captain Vinceeth.  The Captain responded with a hardy laugh.  Waco added, “She would only be telling you the truth, Captain, and the truth never hurt any man.”

“Well said, Captain Waco.”

Waco got tapped by Travis, Little Bear, JR, and Gavin.  They found the Visallian troopers hot beyond belief.  To say the Visallians were a lusty lot would be an understatement.  They reminded Waco of the men from Pirates Of the Carribean.  Waco sent back a blank ‘no’ to all of them; especially JR and Gavin.  Neither had a sexual experience yet, and they weren’t going to on his watch.  Now, if he could only dodge getting into the sack with Captain Vinceeth.  Waco was always the aggressive sexual partner with his slaves and never experienced anal sex himself.  While he was curious, he just decided to wait until the time was right, and as a free man that necessitated being sixteen years or older.  He had to admit the temptation to have Captain Vinceeth take his cherry was almost beyond his control.

“And you, Captain Goodnight, could I tempt you to share my cabin on my ship for a while?”

Waco heard Keekepata giggle in his mind.

“You could easily tempt me to your cabin, Captain Vinceeth; however, as you pointed out, I am a young boy and still a virgin to what I know you have in mind.  While I would be honored to share your cabin, I’m not yet ready to give up my virginity.  Our customs, and laws demand a free man may not have sex of any kind until his sixteenth birthday.  I would ask you to understand my situation and know I’m honored and pleased you find me enough to your liking you would care to share yourself with me.”

“What a disappointment; however, I do understand.  Virginity in our culture is respected and placed above all other considerations.  Our society gives the harshest sentences to those who take someone’s virginity before they are ready or without their consent, and that includes coercion.  I would never consider such a thing, but I can’t help be disappointed.  Perhaps when you’re a little older, and we run into each other again?”

“I would be honored to share myself with you at that time, Sir, but in the meantime, please don’t hold me to a promise.”

“I like you, Captain Goodnight.  You are wise beyond your years.  I could fall in love with a human like you.”

“I share your feeling, Capatin Vinceeth.”  Waco spoke softly and blushed.

“Let us seal our friendship, young Captain.” Captain Vinceeth said standing.  Waco stood and Vinceeth threw his huge arms around him and gently pulled Waco to him.  He placed his larger mouth over Waco’s and began to kiss him.  Waco felt his rough, cat-like tongue within his mouth and swooned at the erotic ecstacy of the big male’s embrace.  His dick started getting hard and the Captain felt Waco with his hand.  He gently squeezed his cock then took Waco’s hand and placed it on his huge member.  Waco could feel it straining against the big warrior’s leather kilt.  Vinceeth broke off their kiss.

“I envy the man who will claim you as his for your first time.  I wish to the gods it could be me.  At least let me cast my lot among your possible suitors, Captain.  I would travel galaxies to share that with you, young human.”

“Your lot has been accepted, Captain Vinceeth.  It would be an honor to consider you one of my potential suitors for my virginity, Sir.”

The two captains settled up between them.  The Visallian’s payment was beamed on board their ship.  Waco included a number of extra gifts meant as a gratuity for the Captain, his crew and the Shushonii.  At Ox’s suggestion, Waco carefully wrapped a gold framed eight and a half by eleven inch color photo of himself in all his cowboy clothes sitting astride his huge pony Ranger and put a label on it as a gift for the Captain.

There was much physical hugging and some kissing to say goodbye.  After a few drinks they were a very hands-on race of warriors.  Keekepata wanted to stay behind with Waco and begged her captain to let her.  She knew they would be in the area for a while and they could pick her up on their way back.  Waco wouldn’t have minded, but having an alien to care for might prove difficult no matter how charming he found her.  Fortunately, Captain Vinceeth was a wise man and gently told her they would all visit again sometime in the near future.  They had an obligation to see the product they delivered for the Dalaks survived and was in good working order.

The Visallian ship departed and all the men including the two Volgorons were exhausted from the sexual tension.  It didn’t take them long to return and dock with the Bandersnatch.  The boys helped Cable and his men unload the casket-like crate.  It looked more like an escape capsule Waco had seen on the Bandersnatch and all the scout ships.  They pushed it into the infirmary area.  The Krycellians were waiting for them in their new mobile home.
Cable came to Waco and told him there was a recorded message for him in the control room of the Bandersnatch.  Waco invited Ping to go along with him to receive his message.  It was from Captain Vinceeth.  It was sent over a deep space secured transmission.  It was a holographic image of him wearing only his leather kilt.  Waco could see the rest of the warrior’s massive body and muscles.  Waco was stunned by his raw boned, rugged masculine beauty, and his young body responded to the stimulus.  The captain was holding the picture Waco included in his gifts, and he was looking at it.  As the video played he began to speak.

“You should never have given me such a wonderful gift, Captain Goodnight; however, it is greatly appreciated.  I will treasure it always.  Your native dress is quite handsome and the animal you’re astride looks as if you are his god.  I envy him.  I can only wish you were astride me, riding me at this very moment.  I know I would surely look upon you as my young god.”  With that Vinceeth reached to his side and dropped his kilt to stand completely nude in the video.  The holographic camera began to slowly rotate around the Captain so the viewer could get a 360 degree view of his body.  Waco decided the captain was as handsome from the rear as he was from the front.

“This is my picture for you, young Captain.  Save this video and play it when you think of me.  If you or your people need us, let us know and we will do everything in our power to assist you.  In the meanwhile I will count the time until we meet again.”

The Captain stood for a while playing with himself and looking at Waco’s picture.  He got an enormous erection which was almost as large as a Volgoron’s.  Waco was embarrassed but flattered at the same time.

<< Looks to me like you’ve made a friend, Master Waco. >>  Ping chided gently.

<< I know, Ping, but why don’t I feel annoyed or putout by his boldness? >>

<< Because you’re flattered, and you are interested in him.  He is only being open and honest with you.  That’s just the way his species is.  They have nothing to hide. >>

<< But I have other obligations. >>

<< You’re too young to have obligations.  You just turned thirteen.  You will live thousands of years, Master Waco.  There’s time enough to love more than you see in your limited vision now.  Garron won’t throw a net over you and insist you limit yourself to him alone.  Captain Long’s main man is Captain Jones, but he has enough room in his heart for others.  He shares his love with your dad and several others. >>

<< Do you think I’ll adjust to these ideas, Ping? >>

<< Of course you will.  You’ve already started, my who-mun son.  You’re learning to balance your love between your slaves and your brothers.  You don’t show any one more love than another.  You share equally with all of them.  You give the same love to Jack and Jill.  They worship you.  Pong and I have to be after them all the time to give you some peace.  They want to be around you as much as they can.  So it will be with Garron and even Captain Vinceeth if you wish.  He is a fine Visallian warrior, Waco.  He is well thought of throughout the galaxies.  He is a man of honor, position and wealth.  He is not only a Captain, he is the Admiral of the Visallian Ninth Fleet.  He commands a fleet of over a hundred thousand ships.  He would be a good man to have as a close ally.  To share his bed a couple of time could cement a bond to last until the end of time. >>

<< Wow!  That long, huh? >>  Waco laughed at his radiantly colored  tutor.

<< You understand hyperbole, don’t you, Master Waco? >>

<< I do now. >> Waco chuckled, << Thanks for your wisdom and guidance, Ping. >>

Ping smiled and let out a big sigh.  

<< Now, if I could only get Jack and Jill to feel the same. >> she stated in a resigned manner.  Waco couldn’t help but laugh at her.

<< They do, Ping.  They’re just not as demonstrative as us who-muns. >> Waco gently mocked Ping’s pronunciation of the word ‘human.’ << Did you show your parents the respect they deserved? >>

<< No, I suppose I didn’t.  I see what you mean, Waco.  You’re learning faster than I can keep up with you.  I thank you for your astuteness. >> Ping lightly touched Waco’s arm with her small hand.

<< For all you’ve done for us, it’s a small favor, Ping. >> Waco bowed to her slightly and smiled.  He made a mental note to have a serious conversation with his smaller, brightly colored brother and sister who were growing tails much more full and beautiful than either of their parents.

<< Shall we return to the infirmary, young master, to open your purchase from the Dalaks? >>

<< Come, my fair lady, we will go together. >> Waco extended his hand to Ping.  She placed her smaller one in his an they walked through the portal  into the infirmary where the rest of his men were waiting.

“Come, Waco.  Come, Ping.  You must see what magnificent work the Dalaks have accomplished.”  encouraged Cable.

“Waco!  Ping!”  exclaimed Captain Jones who had arrived only moments earlier.  He came to direct the final steps that would be required to achieve what Waco and his men planned for the Kryscellians.

The Kryscells were floating about head height in their new, mobile bio-chamber the boys designed and built with the Kryscells, Ping and Pong’s help.  It was a project Captain Long gave them a year earlier.  Ideas poured in from all the boys until just the right set of values were agreed upon and a vehicle to make them more mobile was constructed.  It was a project by committee and all the boys had a hand in its construction.

It was an elongated, football shaped cylinder constructed of the strongest metal know in the universe, a hydrogenized form of titanium that was lighter than aluminum and stronger than diamonds.  It’s overall length measured about five feet which was plenty big enough to house the entire population of Kryscells with several decades or room to grow.  There was a three feet viewing window built into the curvature of the container made of a lightweight aluminum based hydrocarbon form of plexiglass.  It could withstand pressures of several hundred atmospheres.

In essence, the Kryscellians new home could exist in deep space on their own for an extended period of time.  It was held aloft by an antigrav unit that was powered by renewable battery cells beneath the platform they were mounted on and could be recharged from the Kryscells own small, but constant flow of energy.  One end of the cylinder was positively charged and the other negatively charged so they could move about at will.  It gave them a new found freedom, and they were ecstatic with their new mobile home.

One of the most interesting features was the metal binding rings around the cylinder that seemed, at first glance, to be merely decorative; however, they added considerably to the overall strength of the vessel.  Numerous design ideas were created on the boy’s computers and a couple of notebooks of hand drawings and sketches were accumulated.  The final vote for the external design went to JR who, in his research on decorative applications, became interested in Art Nouveau from the early Twentieth Century.  The final banding and decorative finish looked like something from that era that gave the overall appearance not only one of stunning engineering but also one of intricate craftsmanship and attention to detail.  Several observers were heard to remark, it looked like it could’ve come from H. G. Well’s production of “The Time Machine.”

The cylinder became more than a simple transportation device for the Kryscellians.  It transformed what could’ve been a plain device into a pearl of great price, a thing of great beauty which easily and gracefully reflected the spirit of joy, thanksgiving, and high esteem the boys held for the Kryscells.  It became a testament to their faith and trust in another race of beings who unconditionally shared much with them.  Anyone who saw it for the first time, not knowing who or what the Kryscells were, would be instantly struck by the love and care that went into the design and construction of the vessel.  They would have to know, the intelligence contained within was a non-threatening life form.  Above all, when the Kryscells began to glow and emanate their light, the cylinder became them.  It became an extension of their being.  It was later remarked, no one would ever be able to think of the Kryscellians again as simply sedentary mineral deposits who had developed as a highly intelligent life form.  By their goodness, they had met and befriended another life form who, for all practical purposes, gave them wings.  

JR grew another six inches in stature after having created the winning design, which was unanimously agreed upon.  Ida Mae and Hank Morgan tried to pry out of him why he was walking taller, more self-assured, seemed more well adjusted and content than they had ever seen him before.  JR just smiled and told them he won a prize, but they would have to wait until it was ready for all to witness for them to appreciate his work.  Ida Mae and Hank were stumped.  

“What was the prize, Son?”  Hank asked JR one evening.

“No prize as such, Hank.  The prize was winning.”  JR smiled.  

“Oh, Lord, Hank, I knew it was gonna’ happen one day, but now is too soon.  H’it just ain’t fair.”  moaned Ida Mae as she wiped away a tear with her apron.

“What’s too soon, ma?”  JR asked his mom with concern.

“You’re growing up, JR.  It’s ever parent’s joy, but it can be devastating  at the same time.  In a way, it’s hard for your ma and me to know one day soon you’ll be your own man and won’t need us no more.”

“Aww, I don’t see much chance in that happening.”  JR brushed off their concerns.  Hank winked at Ida Mae and got a smile out of her.

* * * * * * *

The cylindrical, coffin-like container was standing on end when Waco and Ping returned to the infirmary.   Arlen Jones was about to connect it with a power source that would allow the walls of the cylinder to become transparent so they could view its contents.  It was connected and in an instant the entire cylinder became transparent.   Everyone gasped.  Within the cylinder was a perfectly shaped human male.  It was created from a sample of Waco Goodnight’s own DNA and was an exact duplicate of his physical person down to his fine cowboy appendage.  The young man was surrounded by what seemed like an amniotic fluid and looked like he was breathing the liquid with ease.  He didn’t seem to be conscious.

“Oh, my God!”  whispered Arlen.

“Great Spirit Father!”  echoed Little Bear in awe.

“Incredible!”  mouthed Travis.

“Unbelievable!” added Lucas.

“Dayamnation! Handsome cuss, ain’nee?” exclaimed Waco and then laughed at his response.

“Handsome, indeed! Perfect in every detail.  Remarkable!”  commented Cable.

Ox and Strom had big smiles on their faces.

“Congratulations, Master Waco!”  David and Jonathan patted Waco on his back.

“Should I pass out cigars?”  Waco asked and the boys laughed. “How is he?”  Waco deferred to Arlen.

“His stats are coming in now.  Watch the screen.”  The screen at the top of the chamber was reading out facts and figures. “He’s fine.  All he needs now is what the scarecrow asked for.”

“But I thought he’d have a brain.”  Waco looked at Arlen.

“Oh, he does.  He just don’t have no intelligence yet.  That’s the way we wanted him, remember?”

“Yeah, of course, I got confused for a second.”  Waco turned to the Kryscellians who were glowing brilliantly.

<< What do you think, Blue?  Are you ready to become my brother? >>  Waco asked the beautiful blue crystal who had contributed so much to the health of their community.

<< I think he’s beyond my wildest dreams, Master Waco, and it would be a great honor to become your bother.  I’m ready. >>

Arlen did some final checking and found a container inside the body cavity of the clone where he would soon transfer the blue crystal.

“Blue’s ready, Captain Jones.”  Waco nodded to Arlen.

“Cabel, let’s begin the process.  Blue I know you can hear me.  Don’t be frightened when you first arrive.  It will be dark and you will be alone for a while, but you will have your family and the boys to communicate with.  We don’t know how this is going to work out, but we’re here to immediately extract you if there are any complications.  Here we go.”

Arlen flipped a switch.  Cable raised an attenuator to its highest position.  The men watched as the blue crystal shimmered, then disappeared.  They looked at the body and saw it twitch in the fluid.  Its legs jumped and its arms moved about a bit, but nothing more.

<< Can you hear me, brother? >> Waco tapped.

<< Those are sweet words, Master Waco.  Yes, I can hear you, my brother. It’s dark but I don’t feel alone.  I can feel this body’s potential all around me. >>

 << Correction, brother.  You can feel ‘your’ new body’s potential. >>

<< Correction noted. >> there was a gentle acceptance, a resignation of Blue’s new found position.

We are now going to transfer you from the tank onto a table, Blue.  There will be some trauma expelling the amniotic fluid and learning to breath in air.  Don’t try to control too much.  The reptilian portion of your new brain will take over the autonomic functions of your body and began breathing for you.  Then we will quickly sever the umbilical cord and tie it off.  You will feel no pain.”

Several more switches were thrown and Blue and his new body were laying on one of the stainless metal tables.  The body began throwing up and gasping for air like a person rescued from drowning.  Cable and Jonathan were moping up his effluence and urging him to take deep breaths.  Arlen quickly clamped his umbilical cord and with a sharp scalpel swiftly severed it above the clamp.  Some turned their heads away.  Others watched and grimaced.

“What?”  Arlen laughed at them. “You’ve all been there.  You’ve all had it done to you.  You just don’t remember.  It’s part of being human.”

“It’s one memory I’m glad I don’t have.”  said Little Bear.  The rest of the men laughed nervously.  

<< Did you feel that, brother? >> Waco inquired of Blue.

<< Yes, and it was delicious to feel. It’s part of being a carbon based life form.  It’s remarkable.  I shared it with those of my family who wanted to experience the feeling.  It’s different than sharing Lucas or Sam’s pain when they were hurt.  Theirs were no less meaningful, but having one of their own involved puts a new and different perspective on it for them.  Not all felt like they could share the experience. >>

<< I think I understand that. >> said Waco.

“Should we sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to Blue?”  asked Travis.  Everyone laughed.

“Hell, I don’t see why not!  It is his birthday.”  Waco started and all the boys joined in a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday complete with harmony.”  The watched as a smile crossed Blue’s lips.

“Are you doing that, Blue?”  Arlen barked at the body on the table quickly gaining normal color.  The head nodded just slightly.  Blue’s breathing relaxed and he was now on his own.

“Good!  Don’t try to rush it.  You’ll figure out how to control your new body as time goes on.  As you know, it takes a while for human children to learn to use their bodies.  We don’t expect you to be tap dancing on the front row of the chorus tomorrow.”

Another brief smile appeared on Blue’s lips.

“Well, maybe next week, after you learn the ‘shuffle off to Buffalo.’”  Arlen added and laughed. “I have to give it to you men.  If this works out, it will be the most remarkable experiment I’ve been a part of in all my years.  I never would’ve thought of something like this, but I have to say, this boarders on genius.  I hope you men realize the importance of what you’ve accomplished.  This is more than just a simple experiment.  It’s a major historical event.  It is the symbiotic joining of a silicon based life-form with a carbon based life-form.  Hopefully, Blue will become an improvement over both.  Maybe ‘imporvement’ ain’t the right word.  Perhaps, it’s better to say we hope Blue will become the flowering of the finer things of both species.  This, gentlemen, is history in the making and you are a part of it; you have a front row seat.  I can tell you one damn thing.”  Arlen paused, “I wouldn’t stand too close to Captain Long or Mr. Goodnight when you boys introduce the new mobile Kryscellians and Blue.”

“Why’s that?”  bit Little Bear.

“They’re gonna’ crap their Wranglers.”  Arlen gave a hardy laugh.

There was much laughter from the men.

“Is he going to be considered like Cable, David and Jonathan, as a bio-mechanical man?”  asked Jerry, Gavin’s little brother.

“Good question, Son,”  Arlen responded, “but no, his body is technically a clone of Waco’s body and there are no mechanical parts.  Blue will supply the intelligence for this body, and it will basically become him.”

“If Blue were not inside would it develop intelligence on its own?”  asked Travis.

“Another good question.  Theoretically, yes, he would begin to learn but he would have to start from the beginning like other human children.  He would be a baby in a young man’s body.  He would have to remain in diapers and we would have to take care of his bodily functions just like a mother would a newborn until he learned to control his body; however, that’s not what this clone was created for.  It wasn’t to create another Waco, it was to create a body, a housing if you will, for Blue.  From what I’ve observed today it won’t take long for Blue to be up and around controlling most of his body.  Not to embarrass him but we’ll keep him in diapers for a while.  Accidents are bound to happen.”

“The Kryscellians renew themselves from direct light from a class “M” star.  How is Blue going to renew himself?”

“Same way.  By exposing his body to direct sunlight several times a month.  We tried an experiment the last time the Kryscells were exposed to our sun.  We covered Blue with the same amount of material he has covering him now, and he still received enough of the proper rays to renew himself.  He may have to expose himself a bit more often, but being more mobile, it won’t be a problem.”

“How’s he gonna’ see being in Waco’s gut like that?”  Ts’gan asked before he thought it out thoroughly.  The boys laughed.

“Now wait a minute, guys.  That ain’t such a bad question.  Ts’gan don’t know how all this is gonna work, and it’s an honest question.  There was a time, many years ago, I wouldn’t have any concept of what we’re doing here today.  The answer, Son, is Blue will see through the Waco’s clone’s eyes.  He will be able to see, hear and speak just like you and I.  Do you understand?”

“Yes, Sir.  That makes sense.  Thanks, Captain Jones.”

“You’re welcome, Son.  Don’t never be afraid to ask any question.”

“I won’t, Sir.”

* * * * * * *

Before Waco and his men left the ship they watched as Cable, David and Jonathan lovingly bathed Blue, powdered him thoroughly, diapered him and moved him to a regular bed in their ICU.  To be safe they hooked him up to monitors and an IV drip.  They had him sitting at an angle in bed, but his eyes were still closed.  They were going to feed him intravenously until he learned to control his mouth.  They didn’t want him chewing his tongue off accidentally.

They sat with him for a good while.  The Kryscellians were hovering near to spread their healing rays over him and the boys.  Each carbon based life-form had to sit and hold Blue’s hand for a minute.  Even Strom and Ox held his hand which immediately made them start lactating more and their breast began to swell.  They had another young man to care for and bring along.  The boys laughed at them, but they didn’t say ‘no’ when they were offered a little Lummox teat.

The boys left before sundown.  They knew when Ida Mae served supper and left the ship early to help her.  They were in great spirits at what they accomplished as they walked across the compound toward the big house to wash up.  They were met on the way by Scraps and Happy.  Scraps was all over them asking questions about what they’d been up to.  He was disappointed he didn’t get to go with them, but they explained this was something they had to do alone.  They assured him he would know everything in time.  They planned to take him with them the next day to visit Blue.  One thing Blue expressed he wanted to do one day was to pet Scraps, Happy and Ranger. He thought they were wonderful creatures.

“C’mon!  Gimme’ a hint!”  Scraps added a couple of barks to emphasize his frustrated curiosity.

“We can’t, pal.”  Lucas sympathized, “Look, we’re gonna’ take you and Happy with us tomorrow to see what we done.  We’ll be able to fill you in then, but for right now, you’re just gonna’ have to be patient.”  

 “Awe, shucks!” said Scraps, “Sometimes being a dog really sucks!”

The boys almost fell on the ground laughing at him.  Waco feigned indignation through his laughter.

“Really, Scraps!  I ain’t never heard you use language like that before.”  The boys couldn’t stop laughing.

“Sorry, Master Waco.  Please don’t tell Ms. Ida.  She thinks I’m a good dog.”

That only made the boys laugh harder.  It was hard for them to think of Scraps as a bad dog.

“You ain’t no bad dog, Scraps!”  Lucas came to his rescue.  “You’re our buddy.  We won’t tell Ms. Ida nothing.  Just don’t tell her what you learn tomorrow.  We don’t want it get’n back to my Master or Master Goodnight.  We plan to surprise them.”

“You know you guys can trust me.  I won’t say nothing.”
 * * * * * * *

The boys pitched in and helped Ida Mae get supper on the table in no time.  Foreman Long stopped by his house to clean up before coming to the big house for supper.  He didn’t call to Lucas because he knew he’d be at the main ranch house helping.  After he washed up, and was drying his hands and face Lazarus heard something downstairs that made a crashing sound like something fell and broke.  He put on a clean shirt and on his way to the main ranch house he looked in the kitchen and on back porch.  There he found a small jar of preserves which fell off a shelf and broke.  He was running late and didn’t bother to pick it up.  He made a mental note to tell Lucas about it.

As he was walking to the front door something sped by him and up the stairs so quickly he didn’t get a good look at it.  It was like a shadow moving with no feet; almost like a phantom poltergeist.  He stopped at the base of the stairs and looked up to see if he could see any movement, but there was none.  He waited for a moment to listen, but he didn’t hear anything either.  He turned and walked to the door.

As he walked away from the house, something told him to turn and look back.  When he did, he caught sight of something moving at great speed past the window in Lucas’ room.  He began to wonder if Lucas was harboring a pet he hadn’t told him about.  He couldn’t imagine Lucas doing something like that.  It would be unlike him.  Lucas was about as thoughtful and considerate a young man as Lazarus ever knew and was to a large degree the reason he loved Lucas so much.  Lucas always responded to Lazarus’ honesty.   Perhaps Lucas would tell him at supper.  If not, why not just ask the boy?  

Hank came to supper to be with Ida Mae and JR.  Ida Mae joined the men that evening.  It was not her custom, but Charlie began to invite her more often.  Talk was lively around the table.  The boys were still feeling the rather uplifting effect from the attention of the Visallian warriors and they fell in love with the idea of the beautiful gossamer, ethereal Shushonni as their symbiotic race.  After all, how many boys their age actually got to see and relate with real fairies?  It seemed like such a dichotomy.  They were the anthesis of each other, and yet, they balanced each other completely.  The boys didn’t discuss what they witnessed, but it was obvious they had an eventful day.

“You men have been on the ship almost all day.  I know Ping and Pong have been holding computer classes for you and Cable has several of you on a regular rotation with the Kryscells, but you really seem to be animated about something this evening.  Care to share your day with us?”  Lazarus asked.

“Yeah, I wouldn’t mind hearing about what you men have been up to.”  added Charlie.

The boys could hardly contain themselves, but Waco was proud of them.  They looked to him for leadership.

“We just been going over some more ideas and plans for the mobilization of the Kryscellians, Captain Long.  We’re about finished with our planning phase and will move to the next phase within a week or so.”

“Good!  That’s good!  Glad to hear you men are still interested.  You haven’t shown us any plans or drawings.  You’ve spoken little about it.  I thought perhaps you’d forgotten.”

“Oh, no Sir.  It’s just we’ve been busy with other things and haven’t had the time to fully devote to it; however, after finals this spring we plan to spend more time on the project this summer.”

“Good!  Fine!  Well, keep us up to date.”

The boys muttered their assurances and a couple bit their tongues to keep from laughing.  They knew Lazarus rarely checked in with the Kryscells unless he was needed or he had some business with them.  He thought it was best he keep a low profile so the Kryscells wouldn’t get the impression he was watching their every move.  He knew the boys were interacting with them on a daily basis and if they needed him for anything the boys would relay their message.

“By the way, Son,” Lazarus spoke to Lucas, “do you have some small animal or bird what's injured you’ve been keeping in your room to try and help?”

“Naw, Sir, Dad.  If I found a hurt animal and he’d let me help him, the first place I’d take him is to Cable.  I wouldn’t keep an animal in our house without first asking you.”

“No, no!  I know you wouldn’t, Son.  I just thought maybe one got in and you didn’t know about it.  I heard something fall on the back porch and when I went to check there was a broken jar of preserves on the floor.  Be careful when we go to the house you don’t step on it and hurt yourself.”

“I’ll clean it up as soon as I get in, Dad.”

They finished supper and as Hank, Ida Mae, Lazarus and Charlie were having coffee, the boys were busy in the kitchen cleaning up.  It was a regular routine which they automated like an assembly line.  They were through in no time.  It helped Ida Mae a lot and gave her some free time to be with Hank.  Lazarus was proud of Lucas because it was his leadership along with Waco’s humanity that got the boys interested in helping.  On a ranch as big as the Goodnight’s everybody pitched in to get a job done.  After they finished, the boys came back in and sat for a while with the adults.

“You ready to head out to our bunkhouse, Son?”  Lazarus asked as he stretched and covered a yawn.  He was tired after a full day in the saddle and wanted to get an early start to bed.

As they were walking toward the house Lazarus pointed up to Lucas’ window and told him that was where he saw something flash across the window.

“Maybe we have a ghost, Dad.  Wouldn’t that be exciting?”

“Not really.  I’ve run across ghost before and for the most part they’re unpleasant spirits who haven’t found their way into the greater harmony of the universe.”
Before he could get the words out they both saw another flash across the window of the room.

“Did you see that, Son?”

“Yes, Sir, I did.  C’mon, Dad.  Let’s see what it is.”  Lucas broke into a run with Lazarus close behind.

They hit the front porch in their heavy boots clomped across to the screen door.  They made enough racket to scare any self-respecting poltergeist to death a second time.  Lucas hit the stairs and was to his room in a flash.  Lazarus wasn’t so fast and as he was about halfway up the stairs he heard the screen door on the back porch slam shut.

“Whatever it was, Son, we scared it away.  It just went out the backdoor.”

“How do you know, Dad?”  Lucas asked.

“I heard the screen door slam.”

Lucas ran past Lazarus out into the backyard, but it was already dark and he couldn’t see anything.  There was no movement in the still spring air.  He walked back into the house and found the broken jar of preserves all over the floor.  He quickly cleaned it up and helped his master get ready for bed.  Lazarus was convinced it was a racoon who learned to get in the screen doors and let himself out.  Lucas wasn’t so sure.

“If it was a racoon, Dad, it would’ve eaten some of the preserves, and I would’ve found paw prints in the mess.  I didn’t find anything.  Nothing was eaten.”

“Humm, you got a point, Son.  We may never know, except let’s start latching the rear screen and shutting the big door when we leave.”

“Sounds good to me.”  agreed Lucas.

* * * * * * *

Scraps and Happy were snuggled in their favorite place in the kitchen and didn’t hear the folks begin to leave the big house.  They didn’t care anyway.  Many nights they stayed in the big house and slept in the bedrooms with the boys.  The boys made them 'comfort corners' all over the house.  Charlie had his cowboy carpenters put a doggie door on the rear porch so they could come and go as they pleased.  Scraps heard a sound out in the yard.  The Goodnights kept cats around to keep the mouse and rat population down.  They didn’t feed them very much to keep them hungry.  The sound was just too interesting for Scraps to pass up.

<< I’m gonna’ check that out, dear. >> he sent to Happy. << I need to answer nature’s call anyway. >>

<< Yeah, me, too, love.  I’ll go with you. >> Happy replied.

In no time they hit the doggie door and were in the yard going to their favorite spot away from the busy portion of the yard to do their thing.  As they were walking back they saw a flash of some animal across the yard followed in hot pursuit by one of the larger cats.  There was something about it that wasn’t right.  Scraps looked at Happy and without anything passing between them, they were away after the chase.  They got to the old barn where the portal was and saw the cat already caught what he was chasing and jumped up on a bale of hay.  He was getting ready to leap to the loft, but Happy cut him off.  She was standing with her fangs bared daring him to move.

<< Whatever you have in your mouth, drop it, cat, or you won’t live to see another dawn. >>  Scraps sent to the cat in an ominous tone.

It rattled the cat so badly he spat out what he was carrying onto the bale of hay, jumped down and ran away as fast as he could.  Whatever it was, it was still alive and whimpering.  Scraps looked at it and turned his head from side to side.  He didn’t know what to make of it.  It looked like a small human with wings.

<< What is it, husband? >>  Happy asked.

<< I don’t know, wife, but it’s hurt, and we must help it.  There, there little one, we won’t hurt you.  Can you hear us? >>  he projected.

<< Yes, I can hear you.  Please, don’t kill me. >> it begged.

<< We won’t.  Can you crawl onto my back? >> Scraps asked and gently nudge it with his nose.

<< I think so, but I hurt so bad. >>  it said.  It managed to pull itself up onto Scrap’s back and tried to put its small arms around his neck.

<< Feel for my collar, little one. Hold onto it. >>

The small entity found it and Scraps could feel it grab hold.

<< Now, hold on tight.  I will take you to some men who will help you. >>

<< I’m ready. >> it said, and Scraps tried to get down from the bale of hay as gently as he could.  Happy followed him and he quickly went to the post were the portal was and scratched three times at the base.  The portal sprang up.

<< Come, mate!  We will take it to Cable.  He’ll know what to do.”  The dogs went through the portal and into the infirmary.  It was dark.  The only light in the place was shining on a man in bed.

<< It’s Master Waco! >> Scraps exclaimed to his mate.

<< No, I’m not Master Waco. >> Blue responded to Scraps. << What’s the matter, Scraps? >>

<< I have a hurt critter on my back.  We’ve come to see our friend, Cable. >>

<< Call out for him, Scraps.  He’ll hear you.  I can’t help you right now. >>

Scraps barked once and called out for Cable.  Cable was there in a flash and the lights came on.  

“Oh, my God!  Where did you find her, Scraps?”

“Big cat had her in his jaws.  Happy and me, we made him drop it and bring her to you.  Can you help her, friend Cable?”

“I can, Scraps.  You did the right thing.  Go get Master Waco and Lucas.  Tell them it’s an emergency.  Cable needs them.  Try not to get any adults out here.  We can handle this ourselves.”

“We understand, friend Cable.”

Cable gently picked up the small winged creature.  She passed out in Cable’s gentle hands on the way to the table.  He could see she had several puncture wounds and one of her wings was almost torn off.  Scraps and Happy rushed out of the infirmary into the barn and to the big house.  They ran up the stairs and into Waco’s room.  Waco was just about to fall asleep in his Lummox’s huge arms when he heard Scraps and Happy run into the room.  Scraps put his paws upon the bed and spoke softly.

“Master Waco, you must come with me and Happy to the ship.  Cable said to get you and bring Lucas with you.”

“What is it, Scraps?  What’s wrong?”

“Me and wife chase cat.  Cat caught something we never see before.  Little person with wings.  It was hurt.  We take it to Cable.”

“Oh, my God! Keekepata! You did the right thing, Scraps.  Go back and tell Cable we’ll be there as fast as we can.”

Scraps and Happy sped out of the room.  Ox was already getting up and ready to accompany his master to the ship.  Waco took his nine volt lantern and flashed it into Lucas’ bedroom three times.  It was their signal to meet outside.  He tried to tap Lucas’ mind, but there was so much antistatic material on both buildings he didn’t know if he would be successful.  He saw Lucas get up and head for the door.  He and Ox ran down the stairs to meet Lucas in the yard.

Lucas got up, threw on his Wranglers, his shirt, grabbed his boots and tiptoed down the stairs barefooted so he wouldn’t wake Lazarus.  He could hear his master’s soft snoring in his bedroom and knew he was out for the night.  When he got to the last step of the porch he sat down to put his boots on, but Waco and Ox were on top of him.  Waco had his boots in his hand.

“Carry yore’ boots, brother.  We gotta’ get to the ship.  I think we done had a stowaway on board our ship.”

“Who?  What?”  begged Lucas.

“If I’m right, I think it’s Keekepata, the Shushonni female who sat on my shoulder all afternoon.  She wanted to stay with me for a while, but Captain Vinceeth wouldn’t let her.”
They came to the barn, opened the portal and passed through.  Sure enough there was Cable, David and Jonathan leaning over the operating table mending Keekepata.

“Ah, Waco, Ox, and Lucas.  Thanks for coming.”

“Is there anything we can do, Cable?”

“No, I think we have everything under control.  If it weren’t for Scraps and Happy she would have been big cat’s supper.  They’re heroes.”

“I know!  I’m very proud of them.”  Waco replied.

“Is she gonna’ be all right, Cable?”  Lucas asked as he watched Cable doing microsurgery reattaching Keekepata’s wing.”

“I think so.  I hope so, but we won’t know until she begins to heal.  She may have to learn to fly again, but I feel confident she’ll pull through.  Master Waco, please go to the control room and contact the Raven.  Tell Master Jones we have an emergency situation and have need of him to check my work.”

Waco agreed and left.  Soon a sleepy eyed Captain Jones was standing beside Cable looking through microscopic lenses at his handiwork.

“You done fine, Cable.  You didn’t need me, but you done the right thing by having Waco summon me.  I think she’ll be fine.”

“Master Waco, how can you be here and in that bed at the same time?”  Scraps asked him.  Waco chuckled.  Lucas and Ox smiled.

“That’s not me in there, Scraps.  It’s a copy of me.  Remember that beautiful blue crystal that sang to you to help you after your longevity shot?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“It’s a human body for him.  He’s inside.”

“I heard him speak to me.  He told me to call out for Cable.  How did he get inside your body?”

“That’s what we were going to tell you about tomorrow, but since you’re here, you and Happy may as well meet him.  He might not be able to speak yet, but you can hear him in your mind.”

Waco took Scraps and Happy into the ICU room and told them to put their paws up on the bed to get a better look.  They did and could see it was the very image of their young master.  Blue could feel them and smiled.  They watched as his eyes fluttered and opened.  Blue saw through his new body’s eyes for the first time.  His first sight was Waco, Scraps, Happy, Lucas and Ox.  He began to shed tears.

End Of Chapter 24 ~ Waco’s Lummox
Copyright 2007 ~ Waddie Greywolf
All Rights Reserved ~
Mail to: waddiebear@yahoo.com