“I know there’s
been talk. Everyone’s been worried about the possibility.”
replied Keekepata softly to her adopted brother. “How are you dealing
beginning to question things. He want’s to know why he has
feelings and thoughts separate from mine. He’s only partially
aware; however, now that I’m thinking and talking to you about it, he
hears and is beginning to understand a few things. He learns very
“Is he a part of
“No, I don’t
think so. He’s raw. He’s young and vibrant, but he’s
distinctly original. He’s who he is. He’s a spark of
intelligence. Whether it came from me or elsewhere, he is
developing on his own. If we, as sentient beings, imagine such a
thing as a soul which is separate from consciousness, who’s to say when
or where it begins or when it ends; or, if it ever ends? For all
religions’ theories and beliefs, in reality, that’s all they are is
ideas and theories made up by individuals. We really have no
conclusive proof of either; we just don’t know; however, this comes the
closest to verifying a fundamental truth for me personally than
anything I’ve ever experienced. Chief Tin Penny advised a group
of us cowboys not to judge a man until we’ve walked a mile in his
moccasins. I’ve walked much further in this body than a mile.
When I was
stationary, as a young Kryscell, I was aware of great individuals and
distinctly different intelligences all around me, but none tried to
impose theirs onto me. I was shielded by my parent until I was
old enough to participate in the mainstream of intelligence which made
up the total of our family. I got parts from one and parts from
another and so on until I began to form my own knowledge base and
opinions about things; however, I always knew, and my peers were always
honest with me, they were not me. They were separate from
me. They made it clear I was not them and should not try to be
them; yet, in a greater sense I was a part of the whole; however, I
didn’t just reflect the whole, I was an individual. I haven’t
done that with the knowledgeable organ inside this water-bag. I
just didn’t realize it could have its beginnings like I did or any
human child, for that matter. It humbles me and makes me consider
these creatures we silicon life forms consider intelligent bags of star
dust and water, who are, in content, little more than the mud of the
Earth, are far more advanced than we originally thought. I have
to discuss my findings with my Kryscell family after we return from
this small vacation. They’re aware something is happening,
because I would never shut them out totally, but I haven’t shared
details. It confuses the young one inside because he hears their
voices. I can select, edit and chose, but he hasn’t learned
yet. Even as I explain to you, he hears and is not so frightened,
but one question leads to many.”
“Will you speak
with someone about it?” Keeke urged.
I will advise my brother Waco, his father, and our ramrod. It’s
crossed my thoughts to confer with the Ancient intelligence of Jesse
Watkins and his faithful companion; perhaps, Chief Tin Penny might be
able to help. He is a man of uncommon wisdom.”
“Is it cause for
concern, right now?” Keeke gently probed.
“I don’t think
so. He calmed down a bit when he heard me discuss it with
you. He’s feeling less angst. He knows there’s someone else
in his body with him, but I think he understands I mean him no
harm. If he wishes, I will withdraw and allow him complete
control of his person. It is not our nature as a species to
inhabit a space or intelligence that isn’t ours. If he becomes
greatly agitated I will simply have Master Waco remove me and return to
“But that would
mean giving up your freedom of movement you’ve come to cherish.
More selfishly, I would lose my beloved brother.” Keeke
empathized almost on the point of tears.
no. My family has some mobility of their own now, thanks to
Master Waco and our brothers, but staying inside this body under false
pretenses or because I might have the power to dominate the other
intelligence growing inside would be wrong. I just can’t do that,
Keeke. It’s not who or what I am, nor is it what I want to
be. Maybe we can co-exist; I think I might be willing if he
would, but it will take time. This sort of thing isn’t easily
resolved quickly; however, in the world of movement, time is on our
they hurry back to the auditorium to enjoy the movie with the rest of
their family. That thought gave the ‘other’ inside Blue a warm
feeling, and he relaxed for the evening.
* * * * * * *
cowboys stayed for the movie. It was almost like a brotherhood
thing. Even Burt talked his partner into staying so he could
enjoy the time with his brothers. The older folks retired to
their cabins for the night. Since the critters wanted to stay and
watch the movie with the boys, Jack and Warren stayed as well.
They took them for another walk in the woods before the movie
began. They were refreshed when they returned. Many of the
boys went with them.
The chairs in
the auditorium were comfortable and there were couches in the center of
each row where several could sit together. Moe sat between Stan
and Jimmy-Bob and one or the other had their hand on him the whole
time. He was in heaven. Patty sat between Jack and
Warren. Larry sat on the other side of Jack and Shep sat next to
Warren. Jack and Jill perched on the back of the sofa near Jack
Waco and Ox
went to the bridge to watch the movie. They had first watch for
the night and would be relieved in four hours by Lucas and Little
Bear. Little Bear and his granddad retired after Keeke’s
performance. He decided he needed the sleep if he was going to be
sharp for his watch.
Strom and Lyle
Chambers went to their cabin and prepared for bed. By the time
the trip was suggested, Lyle was an old hand, broken to the saddle at
pleasing his huge lummox partner. Strom was a great lover and
spared no amount of compliments and foreplay to build his mate to a
point of passion where poor Lyle would beg to be taken. The
actual act of sex between them had become close to a religious
experience. Lyle wondered if all human males who bonded with a
lummox experienced such heights of ecstasy. He thought he might
talk with Commander Fielding at the next Grange meeting. Lyle
noticed the strangest thing. He was slowly making friends with
the older cowboy, Warren Steele, and Warren seemed to want to know a
lot about how it was with a lummox. Lyle tried to be as honest as
best he could with the old man. He was surprised when he
questioned Warren’s curiosity.
something about them giant furry men I find damn near
irresistible. I’m s’damn glad for you and Strom you’re thinking
seriously about bonding; otherwise, if the big lummox looked at me
twice I don’t know’s I could turn him down.” Warren threw back
his head and laughed at his own blatant honesty. Lyle joined
him. He understood how Warren felt.
Strom and Lyle
lay together after cleaning themselves. Lyle actually bathed both
of them. He learned from the boys how to care for a lummox.
He loved brushing out Strom’s beautiful fur and using the warm hair
dryer on him. Most of the time he came out looking like a giant
power-puff but a couple of shakes and movement brought everything back
into perspective. Strom was an incredibly handsome beast.
Lyle felt it was his duty to take care of his mate and keep himself
clean for his pleasure should Strom want him. Strom always
did. If nothing else, Strom was a steady lover. He couldn’t
get enough of Lyle’s ass and loved having his little human suck him
off. Strom was not one way. He gave as much or more than he
got. Lyle never woke up from sharing a bed with his lummox he
didn’t feel completely satisfied. Strom was using one of his
large fingers to relax and open his partner’s sphincter muscle for
“This is almost
like a honeymoon cruise only it’s in outer space rather than on
water.” Lyle observed pushing his ass further down on Strom’s two
fingers. “Use three, my love.” Lyle urged him and Strom
smiled to himself as he complied. Strom knew it wouldn’t be long
before he was inside his little human enjoying the warm of his giving
body. “I spoke with Ramrod Long and he told me again he’d back us
buying the farm in Parson. The town's offered me a teaching job
the school they're starting in the fall. It won't be as much
money but enough we could get by."
again as he continued his relentless gentle finger fucking and
stretching his lover’s anus.
“What are you
trying to say, little one?” Strom spoke softly in his booming deep
voice. The sound of his voice made shivers run up and down Lyle’s
“I don’t want to
wait any longer, Strom. I want to feel my belly full of your
“Don’t you want
a human bairn first?”
“No, I want your
bairn, Strom. I talked with Commander Fielding and he told me he
loves all his kids equally, but his lummox bairns are special to
him. I believe him. I can see the love that passes between
them. I want our first to be a lummox; your son, Strom. Oh,
God, I’m so ready, Strom. Take me now.”
Strom was lubed
and ready; he slowly slipped his enormity inside his smaller
mate. Lyle’s ass was like pulling on a tight pair of gloves only
for his huge dick. It was like the universe made Lyle’s ass just
for Strom to fit inside. Strom didn’t stop until he sunk his huge
shaft to his testicles. Lyle could feel Strom’s big, full lummox
balls slap against his butt cheeks. Strom let out a sigh of a
contented man; a contented lummox; a contented beast. Lyle
wiggled his butt to get more comfortable. Strom filled him like
no other. Lyle had no doubt he was using his ass for the purpose
it was made other than voiding.
“Will you bond
with me, Lyle Chambers? Will you become my mate.” Lyle heard
Strom’s booming voice speak softly and longingly in his ear.
Volgorons have a
ceremony they prefer between two males which bond them for life.
It was a serious consideration and not to be taken lightly. Strom
and Lyle discussed it many times, and Lyle knew of its binding import.
“Of course, I’ll
bond with you, Strom. I can’t think of anything else but bonding
with you, living with you, coming home to you, having your bairns,
loving you and having you love me. I’ve never loved anyone so
“Not even your
cowboy brother?” Strom asked cautiously.
“I love Chet,
but I’ve always had to hold a part of me back. I knew I could
never have him for a mate. He’s always known there was a chance I
might find someone with whom I might wish to share my life. I
just never counted on it happening in such a small town, nor did I
count on it being someone with whom I could share a full life.
Certainly I never counted on the remote possibility it would be with
someone of a different specie; but, the moment I first saw you, Strom,
wanted you from the core of my being. I want it all with you,
Strom. Everything I couldn’t have even if I was with Chet.
I want to have young ones with you we can call our own and raise
together. I want to give you sons and daughters we can be proud
“Are you asking
me to impregnate you this evening?” Strom asked cautiously.
have a bonding ceremony first? Is that the way Volgorons do
“Either way is
acceptable.” Strom allowed. “If your anus shows you’re pregnant,
there’s little anyone can say against our bonding. We could ask
either Captain Waco or Admiral Long to perform the ceremony. The
Buttercup is a recognized ship where it is legal to perform bonding
ceremonies which would be officially recognized by our communities.”
“What about the
Grange and those who love us? Remember Carol? She would
feel terribly left out and probably hurt. She put up with a lot
over the years to turn her head the other way with Chet and me. I
couldn’t do that to her; however, we could have the ceremony on the
Bandersnatch when we get back. Chet has this idea, as my brother,
he wants to be the one to give me away as sort of magnanimous gesture
on his part. I think it would be symbolically important for him
and Carol. It would also mean a lot to me to include him and
other member’s of the Grange who stood up for Chet and me when we
could’ve been ruined by the religious looneys. Then, there’s our
newer family, the folks of Parson and the other colonies to
consider. As good as they’ve been to accept us, they deserve to
point. In the heat of my passion, I forgot for a moment. Of
course, you’re right. It would be wrong not to include them;
after all, a bonding or marriage of any sort should be a happy thing to
be celebrated with those we love and who love us.”
“On the other
hand, so what if I’m a little pregnant? We’ve been talking about
it for months. It won’t be like no one’s expecting it. We
can just tell them we got the cart before the horse; we decided to take
our honeymoon cruise early, get me knocked up and do the bonding a bit
later. We could have a mock shotgun wedding.” Lyle
chuckled. Strom laughed. He fully understood the
analogy. Strom knew the boys loved him, but they were fiercely
loyal and protective of one of their favorite school teachers.
“Do you remember
what’s involved?” Strom asked.
better review it again with me.”
explained the procedure to his mate as he slowly fucked him. His
description was enough to light Lyle’s inner fires of his own passions
for procreation. It was just too great a temptation for both of
them. After a couple of
hours of laying together to allow Lyle’s body to absorb most of Strom’s
amniotic fluid he produced to allow his male proto-embryo to swim and
attach itself to his new birth father’s lower colon, Strom slowly
withdrew. He gently spread his mate’s ass cheeks to check and
smiled. Lyle’s asshole was a bright, cherry red color. He
was pregnant. Strom made sweet love to his partner, and an
exhausted Lyle fell asleep in his big beast’s protective arms.
They made the first step in their long journey together.
* * * * * * *
The next morning
came as early as Captain Waco warned it might. Everyone stumbled
to the bridge for coffee and to see the looming sight of Pluto and its
moon Charon off in the distance. It still looked a long way off;
however, it had grown in size in the short time they were enjoying
their coffee. It was obvious a number of folks watched videos
until the wee hours of the morning. The only two who seemed
really refreshed and relaxed were Lyle and Strom. Lazarus walked
up to them and greeted them. The huge lummox had a big grin on
gentlemen. I don’t need to asked if you had a good evening.” he
chuckled. Charlie laughed. He knew the tone in Lazarus’
voice; he was up to something. “Congratulation.” Lazarus
said more quietly and Charlie knew. Strom grinned from ear to ear
and Lyle blushed a dark red color. “What will our new family
member be?” Lazarus asked knowingly.
Admiral Long, for your words of congratulation. It will be a son
for Strom. We saw this opportunity as a pre-bonding honeymoon
cruise. We plan to have our bonding ceremony in Parson as soon as
possible upon our return. Strom and I envisioned a mock shotgun
wedding with the boys as protectors of their teacher’s virtue.” the
men shared a laugh. “We would also like to take you up on your generous
“Say no more,
the farm will be my bonding gift to you.”
“You’re a very
generous man, Ramrod.” Lyle Chambers said quietly.
Look what you and Strom have brought to us. You are family.
We expect you will continue to provide us with well educated students
and Strom will become a gentle-lummox farmer. I always thought it
would be a good calling for him.”
“Since Parson is
on the Bandersnatch, could we further impose on you to perform our
at all. It will be my honor.” Lazarus assured them.
Little Bear just
happened to overhear their conversation. The news traveled like
wildfire. Mr. Chambers was carrying Strom’s baby. Sonny and
Vivian Steele laughed at Sonny’s dad.
thought of that turns me on so bad I may have to excuse myself.” he
really!? That’s a little more information than we need.” Sonny
said indignantly to his father with a chuckle. Sonny wasn’t
yourself, cowboy!” exclaimed Vivian with a giggle, “I wanna’ hear all
about it, Dad.” she said as she took Warren by his arm and walked
him away from his son.
All the boys
came to congratulate them. There were hugs for their teacher and
manly, well-done-you-old-dog, handshakes and pats on the back for
Strom. Everyone was in a party mood and Pluto and Charon couldn’t
have come at a better time. They circled both and took lots
of pictures. Most of the boys and many of the adults had small
digital camera, and they were taking picture after picture.
* * * * * * *
gave a brief talk about Pluto and its moon Charon. He really did
“There has been
a lot of controversy over the years about the classification of Pluto
and its moon Charon. It was originally classified as the ninth
planet shortly after its discovery by Clyde W. Tombaugh of Lowell
University in Arizona, and remained so for seventy-five years. In
August of 2006 the International Astronomical Union decided on a new
definition of ‘planet’ which did not include Pluto. Pluto was
downgraded to a ‘dwarf planet’ or planetoid. There is still great
sympathy for Pluto’s former planetary classification and some
justification for it.
Pluto rotates in
the opposite direction from most of the other planets or planetoids,
and its orbit is highly eccentric. At times it is closer to the
Sun than Neptune. Pluto is locked in a 3:2 resonance with
Neptune; i.e. Pluto's orbital period is exactly 1.5 times longer than
Neptune's. Its orbital inclination is also much higher than the
other planets'. Thus, though it appears that Pluto's orbit
crosses Neptune's, it really doesn't and they will never collide.
The unusual nature of the orbits of Pluto and Neptune’s largest moon,
Triton, and the similarity of bulk properties between Pluto and Triton
suggest some historical connection between them. Some consider
Pluto’s moon as or more interesting than the planetoid itself.
(Kay-ron) in Greek mythology, is the ferryman of the dead. The
souls of the deceased are brought to him by Hermes, and Charon ferries
them across the river Acheron. He only accepts the dead which are
buried or burned with the proper rites, and they must pay him an obolus
(coin) for their passage. For that reason, a corpse always had an
obolus placed under the tongue. Those who can’t afford passage,
or were not admitted by Charon, were doomed to wander on the banks of
the river Styx for a hundred years.
Charon is the
largest moon with respect to its primary planetoid in the Solar System,
making the Earth’s moon the largest to orbit any planet. Some
prefer to think of Pluto/Charon as double planetoids rather than a
planet and a moon. Pluto and Charon are also unique in not only
does Charon rotate synchronously, but Pluto does, too: they each keep
the same face toward one another. One might call it a ‘missionary
position’ orbit.” Waco finished his small overview of the two
bodies with a droll joke. A few groaned. Several
applauded. They all offered him complements and encouragement.
The close view
and orbits around the two bodies were great eye openers for
everyone, but they had to admit there really wasn’t a lot to see on
either Pluto or Charon. They all went into breakfast as the
Buttercup began to leave Pluto and Charon behind and headed for
Neptune. Waco gave a brief announcement before breakfast, and
said if everything went according to plan they hoped to approach
and orbit Neptune while lunch was being served. The plan for the
rest of the day was to have various activities or free time as they
traveled to Uranus, they hoped to orbit Saturn by Supper. Later
in the evening they hoped to orbit Jupiter and then to reach Venus by
morning. Venus would begin the final stage of their journey.
making a bad joke about Uranus will be personally banned to the galley
by the Captain until the next meal is served.” Waco said laughing; then
added, “Your Captain reserves the right to be the only person on board
to make bad jokes.” everyone laughed.
served buffet style and everyone took what they wanted. They had
a leisurely time eating and socializing. Everyone was so taken
with Lyle and Strom they could talk of little else. The wanted to
know if they decided a name for their new bairn and when their bonding
ceremony would be?
before hand what his name will be. I suggested we name him Strom
Junior; however, my mate tells me it’s a Vologoron custom never to name
a bairn after someone still living; however, it is acceptable to name
them after a deceased relative. They believe to name a bairn
after a living person unfairly takes something away from the living by
the same name. The best description or analogy I might make is
it’s psychically similar to usurping someone else’s bandwidth on the
Internet? Strom told me an anagram of a parent’s name was often
used, like his father was named Stronk; Bron named his first born
Bronc, but Bronc was also his deceased grandfather’s name. After
much consideration we decided to name him ‘Storm.’”
‘Storm’ seemed like a good name for a young lummox and they
pressed for details for a bonding ceremony.
“We haven’t set
a date for a ceremony, because we have to meet with the folk’s of
Parson when we return. We will be settling down there.
Strom will farm and I will teach in the local school being
founded.” A big cheer went up. “We plan to have our
ceremony in Parson and everyone is invited.” there followed more
cheers and congratulations.
* * * * * * *
Jack Hall once again announced another walk in the woods. The
‘critter walks,’ as they were affectionately named, were gaining in
popularity. This time Bill Birdsall and Shane joined them.
Stan and Jimmy-Bob went along to walk Moe. Sonny and Vivian
Steele joined them. Strom and Lyle decided it would be good to
stretch their legs and get some exercise in the oxygen heavy air of the
outdoors. Lazarus and Charlie decided to tag along. Several
of the Stamper boys wanted to go and Little Bear and his grandfather
tagged along. Several others joined them including Jessie and
After they were
walking for a while, the dogs and Jack and Jill were going off in all
directions taking care of their business and returning to the group
when finished. Suddenly there was some movement which caught the
eyes, ears and noses’ of a couple of the pups. They reverted to
their native instincts and began to bark. Utah joined them.
“What is it,
Utah?” Jesse asked.
Master, something of good size. It’s not a bear. May we
“Sure, check it
out. You could use a good run. Just be careful.”
Utah was away and the other dogs fell in close behind. Everyone
started heading in the direction the dogs went. Lazarus noticed
Jack and Jill caught sight of whatever it was and scurried up a high
tree to see if they could get a better look at the critter.
Soon the dogs
returned out of breath. They couldn’t talk they were so
winded. Little Bear had a canteen of water and poured some in a
hollow rock face. They took turns drinking.
“What did you
see, Patty?” Jack asked.
managed to get out, “Not big as Ox or Strom. Smelled bad.”
commented Lazarus smiling at Charlie. “Did you lose him?” Lazarus
asked the dogs.
“I was closest,
Master Long.” said Utah, “I almost caught up with him. I tried to
send him a message we meant him no harm, but he was frightened.
He simply disappeared. Vanished into thin air.”
suspect.” Lazarus mused.
“‘At’s what I’m
thinking.” Lazarus pulled out his com unit. “Lucas, Son, do your
old man a favor and ask Ms. Myra if she ever scanned this section of
forest for critters?”
“She heard you,
Dad. Shall I put her through?”
Admiral, I scanned it several times before we decided to lift it into
the Buttercup. I have a list of critters who were caught up in
the lifting of the property. There’s no large carnivores, or
lummox; only several deer, a couple of mountain goats, and various
small critters; birds, rabbits, voles, squirrels, and a beaver family;
however, if it’s a lummox, and he was hiding in a cave or phased-out my
scanners wouldn’t pick him up. You want me to scan the area
“No, that won’t
be necessary. Wait until we leave, then check periodically.
If we have a brother on board we don’t know about, we should check on
him to see how he’s living. There might be enough food and fish
for him, but better to check than be sorry.”
Admiral, honey.” Myra said in a professional voice, or as professional
as calling an Admiral ‘honey’ might seem. Charlie grinned.
Lazarus shook his head, but smiled and ignored it.
“Maybe he saw
Strom and was curious, Admiral.” Lyle suggested.
“I could stay by
myself and see if he reappears, Admiral. I probably wouldn’t have
any problem finding him.” volunteered Strom.
“It’s up to you,
Strom. I don’t think he’ll be violent with you.”
“I don’t think
so either. I’ll stay around for a while after you leave.”
“You will be
careful, won’t you?” Lyle asked Strom.
“Of course I
will. I have too much to lose not to be.” he smiled at his mate.
returned through the gate and left Strom by himself. Larry and
Shep volunteered to stay with him, but Strom assured them he’d be all
right. Lazarus reminded him they had three robo-cams on him all
the time and Myra would be monitoring him. After they left he
headed off in the direction he saw the dogs return from. It was a
mountainous terrain, and he had to climb a good way up the side of a
steep hill. He came upon some bushes he saw move. He walked
slowly to the area and found what he suspected he might, a cave.
He carefully walked into the entrance. He decided to send out a
<< I am
Strom. I am of your kind, a lummox. I’m here to help
you. I will not harm you. Show yourself. >> he
waited, but there was no response. << This is no ordinary
forest. There are boundaries you can not go beyond. You
were caught up within this area when it was lifted from the
Earth. We are worried about you. Do you have enough food?
>> Strom sent to the young lummox. He could almost
swear he felt another presence; perhaps, an even younger bairn in the
cave. He heard a whimper.
him, Kuluke. Tell him I’m hungry. You haven’t brought me
any food in days. I’m so hungry. >> he heard in his mind
and his sensitive ears caught whimpering and the soft crying of a very
young bairn. Strom smiled to himself and at his body’s
response. His teats began to fill with blood, expand and his
breast began to fill with milk.
little brother. He will go away. >> he heard the older tell
<< No, I
won’t go away, Kuluke. I am a brother, like you and your brother,
only I’m a lot bigger. I am Strom of the Far Northern Lummox
people. I come from colder climes. I mean you no
harm. Come out and let me have a look at you. Don’t be
afraid. I will help you; I’ll protect you. There is nothing
to fear. Me and my friends are concerned about you. >>
Kuluke. My leg hurts so bad, and it’s not getting any
better. Maybe he can help me. I don’t want to die in this
dark cave. >> said the younger voice.
be foolish, little brother. It might be a trap. >>
trap, Son. What is your name, little one? >> Strom asked.
<< Make a
sound T’kan so I can find you. I can help you. My breasts
grow strong with milk. I have lots of sweet lummox milk for you.
<< I can
see you. You’re big. >> he heard the little one say.
seen the snow fall many seasons, T’kan. How many have you seen?
>> he replied.
Strom eyes were
adjusting to the dark. He saw the young bairn laying on a ledge
toward the back of the cave. He made his way to him. Kuluke
jumped down from another ledge in front of Strom to challenge the huge
lummox to protect his little brother.
very brave to want to protect your brother, Kuluke; however, you don’t
want to challenge me, Son. What kind of brother are you?
Would you deny your little brother food? I have plenty. At
least let me feed him. >>
wait for an answer and moved swiftly past Kuluke. The young
lummox grabbed for him, but didn’t even get a handful of fur. For
a huge creature, Strom was incredibly swift and nimble on his
feet. Strom was by the smaller lummox’s side in an instant.
He had the young bairn in his arms in a second. T’kan
winced. Strom could feel his pain. His left leg was
broken. Strom stroked him a few times to offer him comfort.
He offered T’kan his teat and the little lummox didn’t wait for a
second invitation. He began to drink like he was starved.
The young bairn couldn’t help project his thoughts and joy to the world.
soooo gooood! Mmmm, more, more, more! Oh, so good!” he
purred with a deep rumbling in his young throat.
not too old to partake of a warrior’s milk, Kuluke. >> Strom
<< I’m not
hungry. >> he shot back.
have you been eating? >> Strom sent.
old raw fish, insects, grubs, snails, mushrooms, wild berries, lichen,
greens and some bad deer meat when Kuluke found a dead one. >>
projected T’kan as he sucked away.
Son. Have some nourishment. There’s plenty for both.
>> Strom held his big paw out for Kuluke. The young
lummox was too hungry and the sight of his little brother’s belly
swelling from warm warrior’s milk was too much for him. He
remembered the many nights his father fed him his warm milk before
singing him and his little brother to sleep. Kuluke took Strom’s
big paw and allowed himself to be gently pulled to his knees and his
mouth to find the big lummox’s other teat. It was silent in the
cave. The only sound was the two young bairns sucking for all
they were worth. Strom started to sing an ancient song known to
all lummox in his deep, bass voice. It was part song, part
lullaby, part growl, but it resonated with the two young lummox.
<< Our dad
used to sing us that song on special occasions. We miss him so
much. >> Kuluke sent to him.
see to it you get back with him, Kuluke. My friends don’t want
you to be captive. They didn’t know you were here. I will
bring you some solid food later this evening, but for now, enjoy my
milk. Drink your fill. It will relax you and make you
Lazarus when Strom made contact. It was all being recorded and
sent to holo-vid screens around the Buttercup. Everyone was
watching as Strom shared his milk with the young bairns. Warren
Steele watched with a roaring erection in his Wranglers. Sonny
noticed and laughed at his old man. If looks could
kill, Sonny Steele would’ve stopped breathing on the spot. Warren
grinned, and they both laughed.
many seasons are you, Kuluke? >> Strom sent him.
Warrior Strom. >>
makes you think I’m a warrior, Son? >>
size. You told me I wasn’t too old to drink warrior’s milk.
right, I did, but I was born on Earth, like you. I have never
been in battle other than to protect my family. >>
<< Do you
have bairns of your own? >>
<< Yes, I
have several adult lummox children. One is on board the ship
where this forest resides. He is a great warrior. He was
brought to me from our original
home world of Volgo by some kind and benevolent humans. I lost my
female mate several years ago in a terrible flash forest fire. I
bonded with a human male, and I made my human mate pregnant just last
night. I am going to be a father again. >>
mated with a human male? >>
<< Yes, he
was with me earlier on our walk. We have to walk our animals in
this forest. You see, you’re on a large space ship which has only
this section of forest on board. Until we return to Earth and can
look for your parents, you must share it with them. They won’t
cause you any problems. They are good and can communicate with
you. They can project their thoughts. >>
<< I heard
one of the wolf-like creatures call to me, but I thought he might be
trying to trick me. I became invisible. >> said Kuluke.
of the humans can shift now. They figured that’s what you
did. They sent me to see about you and tell you not to be
afraid. They will see to your needs until we return to Earth.
will that be, Strom? >> Kuluke asked.
<< Only a
couple of sunrises from now. >>
not long. >> said T’kan
<< I need
to get T’kan back to my friends. They can take care of his leg
and make it like new again. I’ll return him to you as soon as
possible. In the meantime, I’ll return a little later with some
solid food and stay the night with you. >>
lifted T’kan and sang to him to ease his pain as he carried him down
from the ledge and out of the cave. Kuluke walked Strom back to
the portal. It frightened him when it sprang up and Lyle walked
through. Kuluke fell back but Strom encouraged him not to be
<< This is
my mate, Kuluke. His name is Lyle. Lyle this is Kuluke and
his little brother, T’kan. >>
Kuluke. Hello, T’kan. It’s good to meet you.>> Lyle
<< Good to
meet you, Lyle. >> said T’kan.
<< I have
to go with Lyle now, Kuluke, but we’ll be back later this
evening. >> Strom told him.
Strom and Lyle
walked through the gate and closed it behind them. Kuluke had
never felt so alone in his life, but he would be brave. He was no
longer afraid. Strom reminded him of his dad, only the huge
lummox seemed nicer than his father.
* * * * * * *
Ox and a couple of med bots were waiting for them when they came
through the portal. Strom laid the bairn on the anti-grav Gurney
and they took him into sickbay on the Buttercup. David left
Jonathan in charge of the service bots. David worked closely with
Cable over the years and was almost as accomplished a medical
technician as his older brother. The first thing they did was to
remove all fur from T’kan’s leg and get him cleaned up. He smell
horrible. He wasn’t unpleasant to the androids and med bots, nor
to Strom or Lyle, but he was to the other passengers.
The ship’s sonic
showers rid him of most of his odor and a good old fashioned soaking
and scrubbing with a strong soap and lots of hot water did the
trick. David gave T’kan a sedative and it made his being cared
for seem like a dream. A couple of times he even imagined he was
enjoying the attention. Once he was clean, David put him under a
scanner and they could see the damage to his leg. T’kan’s femur
was broken. It looked like it had been broken for sometime.
T’kan told the young handsome human they called Blue, he and his
brother were tossed about some ten days ago in a cave they were playing
in. The time corresponded exactly to the period Lazarus and
Charlie lifted the property. Myra scanned the area, but her
scanners didn’t find them in the cave. The wound was beginning to
be infected. The bone needed setting, but it would be
painful. Lazarus suggested David pump him full of antibiotics and
give him enough sedative to knock him out for the ordeal.
Jesse came in to
help T’kan and managed to heal a great portion of the internal damage
done to the bairn’s leg during the ten days it was broken. After
David and Lazarus set the bone, the usual plaster cast was
applied; however, Blue came in and spent a couple of hours while T’kan
was still unconscious inducing immediate healing to the bone. He
was well on his way to recovery. Blue’s own young voice spoke to
him as he was applying his blue light though his hands to heal T’kan.
<< Why are
you doing this for this creature? He isn’t one of us. >>
<< Ah, but
he is one of us. He’s like Strom or Ox. He’s an
intelligent, highly sophisticated, sentient creature. He deserves
our help and attention. If you were hurt, frightened and faced
the possibility of dying would you want someone helping you? >>
<< Yes, of
that should be a lesson for you. It should be the answer to your
<< Can all
humans do what we’re doing for him? >>
<< No, the
part of us that’s healing him isn’t human. I’m of another race of
beings made of silicone. I dwell in your chest cavity. >>
this power to heal make us special? >>
Somewhat, but it doesn’t make us better than others. It’s just a
gift we’ve been given. >>
whom? >> It asked.
nature; by the Universe; by the process of evolution; by the
development of abilities and intelligence over many eons. >>
you always be with me? >>
up to you. You already know I won’t continue to dwell within you
if it upsets you or you feel threatened by me. It was never my
purpose to usurp another’s body. If you are awakening to your own
consciousness and feel you must exist separately, then I will have them
remove me from you. >>
can do that? >>
put me into you. The Captain of this ship gave the genetic
information for you from his own body. You are an exact duplicate
of him. >>
<< He is very handsome. >>
<< So is
our person. I’m quite pleased to look like him. >>
Nothing more was
said. The clone withdrew to consider what was discussed.
* * * * * * *
It was turning
out to be a more interesting trip than anyone might have predicted;
except, Lazarus. When they were alone, he slapped his leg and
broke up laughing with Charlie.
“This could only
happen to you and me, boss.” he laughed and Charlie joined him.
“Never a dull
moment, ramrod! I thought my life was pert-damn full until the
day you walked over the hill carrying your saddle slung over your
shoulder. Nothing’s been the same since. We just seem to be
gathering folks and critters as we go along, but somehow it all makes
perfect sense. I couldn’t wish for a fuller life.”
“It makes you
wanna’ hang around to see how it all comes out, don’t it?” Lazarus
asked shaking his head in wonder.
* * * * * * *
agog over all the happenings and getting to see the planets. Just
the fact they were on board an advanced spacecraft was thrilling enough
for him, but talking dogs, a pregnant male school teacher, a dancing
fairy, incredibly sexy and handsome naked androids, a stomping of
Bigfeet,* a redwood forest on board the spaceship and two
critters with tails so colorful he could swear Walt Disney threw up all
over them, made him realize he was learning unusual things by leaps and
reached culture shock two planetoids ago and was now adrift in open
space ready to accept anything that came his way. Nothing would
surprise him anymore, or so he thought. Stan gently reminded him,
seat belt cowboy, the trip ain’t over yet. With this crew, you
never know from minute to minute what might happen next.” Stan laughed.
just grinned and shook his head. Stan was right, by the time he
returned to the Holy Plaza Dorm for Semi-vestal Virgins, he would no
longer have such a narrow view of his world. He was becoming a
young man of the Universe. He was beginning to think there was
nothing on Earth he couldn’t overcome with a little help from his
friends. That’s exactly the message Stan Edmunds wanted him to
learn from their holiday together.
* * * * * * *
Young T’kan was
resting peacefully, but still hadn’t come out from under the
anesthetics. David woke him several times to make sure he was
cognitive, then told him to go back to sleep. He would awake him
periodically to make sure he was all right. Several of his new
cowboy brothers, Strom, and Ox checked in with his mind to make sure he
was dreaming peaceful dreams and monsters weren’t after him.
Strom put into his head the promise of more lummox milk when he
awoke. T’kan relaxed and slept better than he had since his leg
All of this was
accomplished before noon. Several cowboys joined the android crew
in the galley and volunteered to help get lunch out. They were
skilled workers. They knew how to get the job done. They
worked swiftly and everything was ready sooner than expected.
They all got to watch the approach to Neptune. They gathered on
the bridge to once again ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’ over the approaching
beautiful planet. It was truly a jewel in the sky. Captain
Waco gave another short speech about the planet they were about to
“Neptune is the
eighth planet from the Sun and the fourth largest in
diameter. Neptune is smaller in diameter, but larger in mass than
Uranus. Neptune is the most distant planet from the Sun.
(Remember Pluto is no longer considered a planet) Its blue color
is largely the result of absorption of red light by methane in the
atmosphere (the presence of
quantities of methane suggests organic syntheses);
however, there is some additional as-yet-unidentified
chromophore which gives the clouds their rich blue tint. Some
suggest it might even be a water world. The planet has
rapid winds confined to bands of latitude and large storms or
vortices. Neptune's winds are the fastest in the solar system,
reaching 2000 km/hour.
Like Jupiter and
Saturn, Neptune has an internal heat source. It radiates more
than twice as much energy as it receives from the Sun. Neptune's
rings are very dark but their composition is unknown. Neptune's
magnetic field is, like Uranus', oddly oriented and probably generated
by motions of conductive material (probably water) in its middle layers
or surface. Neptune has thirteen known moons, of which, the
largest is Triton.
("Try-ton") is the seventh and by far the largest of Neptune's
satellites. In Greek mythology, Triton is a god of the sea, the
son of Poseidon (Neptune); usually portrayed as having the head and
trunk of a man and the tail of a fish. Legend has it, while
Triton weren’t much to look
at, he was a hell of a catch.” Captain Waco added for comic relief just
see if anyone was listening. They were listening; there was more
groan and a few chuckles.
is retrograde. It is the only large moon to orbit "backwards,"
the only other moons with retrograde orbits are Jupiter's moons Ananke,
Carme, Pasiphae and Sinope and Saturn's Phoebe all of which are less
than 1/10 the diameter of Triton. Triton could not have condensed
from the primordial Solar Nebula in this configuration; it must have
formed elsewhere and later captured by Neptune. Because of its
retrograde orbit, tidal interactions between Neptune and Triton remove
energy from Triton thus slowly lowering its orbit. At some
distant future time it will either break up (perhaps forming a ring) or
crash into Neptune.
interesting (and totally unexpected) feature of this unusually
interesting moon is its ice volcanoes. The eruptive material is
probably liquid nitrogen, dust, or methane compounds from beneath the
surface. If you look carefully you can see several erupting as we
pass. Triton, Io and Venus are the only bodies in the solar
system besides Earth which are known to be volcanically active.
It's also interesting to note that very different volcanic processes
occur in the outer solar system. Earth and Venus' eruptions are
of rocky material and driven by internal heat. Io's eruptions are
probably sulfur or sulfuric compounds driven by tidal interactions with
Jupiter. Triton's eruptions
are of very volatile compounds like nitrogen or methane driven by
seasonal heating from the Sun. What purpose do these eruptions
serve? No one knows for certain; however, one might wonder
whether they do this to tease, or do they do it just to get their
rocks off?” Waco finished his talk on Neptune and Triton with
another bad joke; however, this one got a bigger laugh and even a
little applause. Then he added.
remember, the Captain is the only one allowed to make bad jokes.” they
all laughed again. “I understand several of our honored guests,
Shane, Jeb, Zeke, Sam, Stan and Jimmy-Bob helped with lunch due to our
head steward and a couple of med bots being called away for medical
duties. Their help is greatly appreciated.” Waco stated,
applauding for the men and everyone else followed suit. “So, we
invite you to join us on the galley deck. Lunch will be served as we
orbit the beautiful planet Neptune.” One of the crew piped in the
soft music of “Neptune the Mystic” from Gustav Holst’s “The
Planets.” It was a perfect complement to viewing the planet.
taking multiple pictures of Neptune as Waco was droning on with his
speech about the planet, but now they were looking forward to enjoying
a light lunch while watching the planet below. It was truly an
impressive sight. Lunch was wholesome and light. It was
once again served buffet style. Waco commented the only ‘sit
down’ meal of the day for their cruise would be supper.
* * * * * * *
enjoying coffee and dessert as the Buttercup made its final orbit of
Neptune to be on its way to Uranus. The Captain hoped to be
coming upon the almost twin planet of Neptune around
mid-afternoon. He announced there would be snacks and drinks
served on the bridge and he would give another ‘stimulating’ lecture
about the planet. A few giggled at Waco’s emphasis of the word
‘stimulating.’ Waco grinned. Then he announced right after
lunch Jack Hall would be, once again, walking their four legged
guests. This time almost everyone wanted to go along.
Jimmy-Bob could hardly wait. Lazarus made certain Strom and Ox
had several containers of slave chow for Kuluke to eat. Lazarus
told them to invite him aboard to visit his little brother if they
could talk him into it. He was welcome to stay on board as long
as Strom took responsibility for him, and he was cleaned up.
Strom and Ox said they would talk it over with him.
through the portal and Kuluke watched as they all streamed into the
wilderness. The pups and Utah picked up his scent immediately,
but they were warned not to give chase this time. They stayed
with their human companions only venturing far enough to go behind a
bush or tree to have some privacy to answer nature’s call. Strom
and Ox each carried two large containers of slave chow and several
bottles of fresh water for their young lummox brother. They took
the lid off one of the containers and left an open bottle of water next
to it. Strom sent a greetings to Kuluke.
little brother’s leg has been mended, and he’s doing well. We
brought some food and water as I promised. You’re welcome to
return with us to the main part of our ship to visit T’kan.
You’re also welcome to stay with me and my mate Lyle, but our Captain
says you must clean up and rid yourself of your powerful smell.
Once you get used to it, it ain’t so bad. Ox and I have been
clean for sometime now, and we’re used to it. We had to clean
little brother to take care of his leg. Come, walk with us.
>> Strom invited him.
thank you. I’ll just stay behind and eat something. I can
smell the food from here, and I’m hungry. I would like to see my
little brother, though, but I don’t want to stay. >>
you think about it while we’re gone. You can tell us what you
want to do when we return. >>
Strom and Ox
lumbered off to join the others. Kuluke warily came down to the
rock where the lummox left his food and began to eat and drink.
The slave chow was like ambrosia to him and the water was clean and
pure; although, it did have a funny aftertaste from the plastic
container. He wondered whether he should trust them? He had
strong feelings for the big one whose milk he drank. It’s a very
strong bonding thing for an adult male lummox of Strom’s stature to
offer to share his milk with young bairns who weren’t his. Kuluke
thought just maybe he could trust Strom, and his mate seemed genuine
enough. He also felt something stir between his legs at the sight
of such a fine looking human male. He dismissed it by telling
himself the man was already carrying his mate’s bairn, even if it was
only last night. Kuluke was still sitting on the rock eating more
slowly because he was getting full. The dogs, Jack and Jill ran
ahead of the folks and stopped in a ring away from him so they wouldn’t
rush him or frighten him.
Mr. Kuluke. >> sent Patty.
Kuluke. >> sent Moe.
day! >> projected Larry and Shep.
for chasing you this morning. >> added Utah. << We didn’t
mean any harm. >>
<< Are you
wolves? >> he asked. << And what are those two with many
colored tails? >>
first cousins to wolves but our kind have been domesticated for
centuries to live in peace with humans. Jack and Jill are from
another world. They mostly speak mind to mind; however, we’re
teaching them to talk. We can speak like humans. >> Moe
I.” Kuluke said out loud.
“Good, then we
don’t have to think when we talk with you.” said Larry. The rest
of the dogs howled with laughter at his faux pas. Even Kuluke
laughed. “Awh, you know what I mean.” said Larry in his own
“Have you made
up your mind, Son?” Strom boomed out loud to Kuluke. “Would you
like to come with us to visit your little brother or stay here?
If you go with us, I’ll bring you back after your visit.”
“I’ll go with
you, but last, after everyone else has gone through. Is it safe?”
“Sure, we go
through it all the time.” said Patty. “C’mon, guys, let’s show
him.” Patty bounded off toward the gate. It sprang up with the
recognition of her DNA, and she ran through it. The rest of the
critters followed. Then the humans went through and only Ox and
Strom were left.
“Come, take my
hand, I’ll be by your side. Close your eyes if you want.”
the covering on the tub of slave chow he was eating from. He
wanted to find it there when he returned. Ox suggested he carry
it to the other side of the gate, and he could bring it back with him
when he returned. He wasn’t sure he understood, but Ox was too
big for him to argue with. He took Strom’s hand and walked
through the portal with him. He felt nothing; except, when he
opened his eyes he could tell he was in a totally different
environment. There were walls and doors everywhere. He felt
closed in. There was a tightness in his chest, and he began to
labor in his breathing.
deeply, Son. I happens to everyone who first comes into a
confined space. It happened to us, but you quickly adjust.”
Kuluke did as he
was told and quickly began to feel better. Soon they came upon a
door and Strom ushered him into a room. Laying in a beautiful,
clean bed was his little brother. He had just awakened and was
glad to see his big brother. He held out his arms for him, but
Kuluke looked at Strom.
“Go to him,
Son. He’s much better, now.”
holding his little brother and shedding a few tears.
“How are you,
better. I don’t hurt no more. Look at this thing they put
on my leg. They put my bones back together, and now they say this
has to stay on for about ten days. Gosh, you smell awful,
brother.” T’kan said.
looked a bit hurt.
“Well, just as
long as you’re okay. That’s the main thing.” Kuluke chose to
ignore his little brother’s comment.
Kuluke stood and
talked with his little brother for a good while. He was satisfied
and impressed his little brother was being well cared for. He was
clean and looked better than he had in weeks. Kuluke was afraid
his little brother was going to die in the forest. Occasionally,
one of the
good looking naked men would come in and check something then leave as
quickly as they came. They would smile and nod to Kuluke, but
they didn’t speak to him. Strom and Lyle were the only others in
the room. The walls of the small room began to close in on Kuluke
and he decided he’d been there long enough.
<< Can you
take me back now? >> he sent to Strom and Lyle.
Sure. Come with us. >> Strom turned to leave the room
followed by Lyle. Kuluke followed until they came to the funny
looking gate. He closed his eyes again, but this time he walked
through it himself. They found his food next to the gate and
Strom and Lyle carried it to the other side for him. They walked
him to his cave and made sure he put his food away and stored his
water. Strom told him he would return when the folks walked the
critters later in the evening, and he would check on him. He
would return later to stay the night with him.
not necessary. I’m old enough to stay by myself. Stay with
your mate. >>
<< Oh, he
won’t be leaving me behind, Kuluke. Where he goes, I go.
I’m carrying his bairn inside me. I have that right. >>
Lyle sent proudly. Strom grinned.
<< I don’t
need anyone looking after me. >>
<< We all
need someone looking after us, young one; however, we’ll come and you
can decide then. >> Strom insisted.
say anything. Strom and Lyle turned and left without further
comment. On the way back to the gate Strom spoke to his mate.
“You don’t have
to stay in that cold, drafty cave tonight. You’re pregnant.
You carry my bairn.” Strom
spoke to Lyle like a concerned husband in his booming deep voice.
“Oooh, yes, I
do!” emphasized Lyle. I meant what I told Kuluke. I go
where you go. I already checked. They have thermal sleeping
bags on the Buttercup and Little Bear got one out for me, made sure it
was sanitized, and left it in our cabin. Besides, with you I’m
never cold. I could swear you’re capable of adjusting your body
temperature to keep me at the same perfect comfort zone all night.”
“I am. I know
the exact temperature that seems to make you the most comfortable, and
I have an internal thermostat that increases or decreases my stored
body heat according to your needs, especially now you’re
pregnant. It’s a part of my specie’s preservation instincts.”
“I didn’t know
that.” Lyle exclaimed.
“Few people do.”
smiled Strom. “It takes a while for them to figure out why they love
sleeping with a lummox, other than . . .” Strom looked down at
his crotch and they shared a laugh.
* * * * * * *
Because of their
size and food requirements, the two lummox and Jack and Jill didn’t eat
with the humans. They ate mostly slave chow and some green
vegetables. They had a separate area where David and Jonathan fed
them. They were perfectly happy with the arrangement. They
didn’t like sitting in an enclosed area for long anyway. That
evening as they were having their dinner Lazarus and Charlie visited
them with Lyle and Waco. Waco spent as much time with his lummox
as he could on the trip.
interested in integrating Kuluke into our society, you might want to
consider letting him stay by himself. I’m not trying to sound
cold or heartless. I know the first lummox instinct is to father
him since he’s so young. If I remember correctly, Garron was
about his age when we brought him to you, Strom. My point is, if
he gets lonely enough, it might speed his need to be around folks
more. He knows he will have some contact with his kind through
you and Ox.”
“I just can’t
leave him out there by himself. I’d never do that to a bairn
whether he’s mine or not. If my bairn was lost and needed a
friend, I’d want someone like me or you looking after him. Kuluke
is at a critical developmental stage in his life. It’s lessons he
learns now that will stay with him for life. Look at the lesson
you taught Garron. You and Captain Jones took him in, healed his
wounds, took care of him and raised him as your own until he was
capable of living with his own kind. If I don’t show Kuluke
compassion and offer him comfort, he will never be imprinted with such
values. He could grow up cold hearted and ruthless. Our
species learns their values and principals from adults, and they’re
passed on from generation to generation.”
sighed. “Yes, I’m well aware of your values, and your species
devotion to such things make you the great people you are. I just
wish my species could learn to be so devoted to their young. Some
have come to understand your ways. By and large, Native Americans
are better parents than their white brothers. They learned from
you. Perhaps, as our people interact we will begin to learn from
“I would say we
already have begun to learn from them.” allowed Charlie, “I thank God
every day for having the good sense to listen to my boy when he wanted
to buy a huge monster of a man from our local slave dealer. I’ve
learned more from Ox than I ever did my parents about child rearing.
Best money I ever spent.”
sweet heart?” she paged him.
Myra. Speak to me, lovely lady.” Waco winked at Lazarus.
“Is Admiral Long
there with you, dumplin’?” she cooed.
What can we do for you?”
scanning the forest, and I’ve found another unexpected life form that
must have been hiding in another cave. The area is rife with
caves. Those small mountains are honeycombed with them.”
“What kind of
life form, Myra?” Lazarus asked cautiously fearing the worst.
“A large, female
predator, Admiral. A mountain lioness, with four, small, hungry
“She wouldn’t go
after a lummox, I don’t think. They smell too bad for her to mess
with.” Lazarus expressed his thoughts out loud.
“But, Kuluke is
a young, small lummox, Admiral, and if she couldn’t bring down enough
wild game to feed her young she might go after him in desperation.”
said Lyle Chambers.
teach!” Lazarus smiled at Lyle, “Well, I ain’t gonna’ kill her just to
protect Kuluke when other arrangements can be made. We have
options. We have a number of frozen beef carcasses on board from
cattle what died of natural causes. We can offer her enough meat
to satisfy her needs until we return to Earth. That way, everyone
will be happy. We can still go for walks. As long as our
critters don’t stray too far from the path, I don’t think she’ll bother
“Sounds like a
good plan, Admiral.” said the Captain, “Shall I make it so?”
Captain Waco. We’ll take the meat to her on our next walkabout.”
* * * * * * *
Uranus began to
loom large in the holo-vid viewing screens. Captain Waco ordered
a pipe to be blown announcing refreshments were being served on the
bridge as they orbited Uranus. Everyone gathered and were agog
over seeing another wonder of the Sol system. Uranus was
more beautiful than anyone expected. After everyone had
been served refreshments, the Captain began his brief speech about the
“Uranus is the
seventh planet from the Sun and is the third largest in the Solar
System. It was discovered by William Herschel in 1781. The
atmosphere of Uranus is composed of 83% hydrogen, 15% helium, 2%
methane and small amounts of acetylene and other hydrocarbons.
Methane in the upper atmosphere absorbs red light, giving Uranus its
blue-green color. The atmosphere is arranged into clouds running
at constant latitudes, similar to the orientation of the more vivid
latitudinal bands seen on Jupiter and Saturn. Winds at
mid-latitudes on Uranus blow in the direction of the planet's
rotation. These winds blow at velocities of 40 to 160 meters per
second (90 to 360 miles per hour).
twenty-seven known natural satellites. The names for these
satellites were chosen from characters from the works of Shakespeare
and Alexander Pope. The five main satellites are Miranda, Ariel,
Umbriel, Titania and Oberon. The two largest moons, Titania and
Oberon, were discovered by William Herschel in 1787. The Uranian
satellite system is the least massive among the gas giants; indeed, the
combined mass of the five major satellites would be less than half that
of Triton alone.
In 1977, the
first nine rings of Uranus were discovered during the Voyager
encounters. These rings were photographed and measured, as were
two other new rings and ringlets. Uranus' rings are distinctly
different from those at Jupiter and Saturn. The outermost epsilon
ring is composed mostly of ice boulders several feet across. A
tenuous distribution of fine dust also seems to be spread throughout
the ring system.
distinguished by the fact it is tipped on its side. Its unusual
position is thought to be the result of a collision with a planet-sized
body early in the solar system's history. Consequently, for part
of its orbit one pole faces the Sun continually while the other pole
faces away. At the other side of Uranus' orbit the orientation of
the poles towards the Sun is reversed. This gives each pole
forty-two years of continuous sunlight, followed by forty-two years of
darkness. Between these two extremes of its orbit, particularly
at the equinoxes, the Sun rises and sets around the equator
normally.” Waco finished his comments and asked for
question. No one seemed to have any.
announcement. It has been brought to my attention by our lovely
AI in residence, Ms. Myra, there’s another large animal who went
undetected upon lifting the forest when it was brought here to reside
on the Buttercup. It is a mountain lioness and her four
kittens. In discussion with my dad, Admiral Long and our lummox
guests, it has been decided to take a frozen side of beef to her and
her young. We will take care of that on our next walkabout which
will follow our viewing period.
I would like to
offer a word of caution to our smaller brethren and sisters.
Don’t stray too far from the trail so you may be in sight of your human
companions. I know it may be embarrassing for you, but suck it up
kids, it’s for your own protection. We’re hoping we can negotiate
a peaceful arrangement with her until we return to Earth. So just
this once, for your own protection, keep my warning in mind.”
Captain Waco.” Patty said. The others joined her and
agreed. They seemed pleased they were looking out for their
On the afternoon
walk, Strom and Ox were noticeably absent. Myra beamed them
within a hundred feet of the cave where the mountain lion had her
kits. Each lummox had a large chunk of frozen beef on his
shoulder. They set it down on a big rock to thaw. Strom
called to her in his mind.
cat. We come bearing food for you and your kittens. >>
dares call me ‘sister’? Are you a two-footed furry-one? >>
<< We are,
sister cat. We are two large furry-ones. What is your
mother called me Ah-ne-purrna. I can smell you, but you don’t
smell bad. As a matter of fact, you smell delicious. >>
<< I am
Strom, and my adult cub is Garron. We are clean, but we are not
food for you. Don’t get any ideas. We are large enough to
break you in two. Then your kits would go motherless. We
have brought you food to satisfy you and your kit's hunger. There
is little game in this forest. You will need food. We have
a small, smelly brother who resides in a cave not far from here.
We will bring you food, but in exchange, you must agree to leave him
<< I have
smelled him. He stinks worse than rotten meat. You need not
worry. Ah-ne-purrna not go near such awful smell. He is
enough to gag a vulture and rob him of his dinner. >>
Strom and Ox
couldn’t help laugh. She was right. A lummox’s odor was a
great protective device. Ah-ne-purrna came out of her cave
followed by her rambunctious kits. She turned and growled at them
giving them each a warning swat with her big paw to wait for her in the
cave. They didn’t argue with their huge mother or her well
developed climbing gear. They high-tailed it back to the darkest
recesses of the cave to wait for her to call them.
came to see the meat the lummox brought her. She had to admit to
herself she was no match for the two of them. They were
huge. She wouldn’t stand a chance against them. She sniffed
at the fresh frozen meat.
frozen, like in winter, sister cat, but it will thaw and be a feast for
you and your young. >>
As hungry as she
was, it was like a banquet spread before her.
<< It is
acceptable. >> she allowed with some disdain.
glad you think so. We will check with you later to see if you
need more. In the meantime, remember our agreement. >>
<< I will
honor our agreement as long as you provide food for me and my young.
Goodbye, Ah-ne-purrna, and good health to you and your kits. >>
The two lummox
simply disappeared before her eyes. She had seen that happen once
before many years ago when she was stalking another lummox who didn’t
smell so bad; however, it startled her and she jumped back. Then
she went back to the meat and started licking it. The flavor was
wonderful, and she called her young to join her.
* * * * * * *
Ox and Strom
were beamed back to the trail not far from the folks. Lyle came
to Strom and gave him a hug. Waco did the same for Ox. He
was happy to see his slave again.
Waco.” Strom said, “She will abide by our agreement; however, I’ve
decided I don’t wish to leave such a young bairn alone in that
cave. Neither am I willing to have my mate stay with us in such
bad conditions. It’s my opinion Kuluke is too young to make such
decisions for himself. He needs to be under the direction and
control of an adult. I’m asking your permission to take my son,
your slave Ox, with me to the cave and forcibly remove him if he
doesn’t agree to come with us. I will be responsible for his
cleaning and keep him with me and Lyle for the rest of our journey.”
have my permission to take Ox with you, but let’s bring my dad and the
Admiral into this decision. I don’t consider myself a full
fledged adult yet, and would appreciate their counsel. They might
have other ideas we haven’t thought about. They’re just over the
rise with Jack and Jill and they’ll be here in a minute.”
Waco no sooner
said the words when Charlie and Lazarus strolled over the hill.
Jack was holding Charlie’s hand and Jill was holding Lazarus’ bouncing
and bounding over the ground like they were using the men’s arms as
slinkys. Charlie and Lazarus seemed to be enjoying the game with
them. They came to Waco and the lummox. Waco explained about
Ah-ne-purrna and what they discussed.
“I think under
the circumstances we have a right to consider your and Lyle’s safety as
well as Kuluke’s.” said Lazarus. Charlie agreed.
“It might be
different if the big cat wasn’t in the picture, and T’kan wasn’t in our
infirmary after spending almost two weeks with a broken leg.” added
point! Well, said, boss.” Lazarus told him. “You have our full
support, gentlemen. Go! If he absolutely refuses, we’ll be
following your progress by robo-cams. If necessary, I’ll send
David with a sedative to calm him until we get him cleaned up and get
him used to the idea of interrelating with others.”
returned through the gate, but Ox and Strom remained. They made
their way to the cave and explained the circumstances to Kuluke.
Even though he and his brother had seen the mountain lion on several
occasions he refused to believe he was in any danger. He simply
was not going to cooperate.
Son. I don’t want to have to force you to go with us, but you’re
too young not to have adult supervision and guidance. Now, once
we get you cleaned up you can join us on our walks. As you know,
we come here several times a day. Please, cooperate with us and
come with us. Look at it as an adventure, and you can spend as
much time with your little brother as you wish. >>
<< No, I
will stay here! You can’t make me go with you! >>
<< Yes, we
can. Garron, I’m got going to fight him. We may injure him
or he might get in a lucky kick or bite us. I want us to be able
to enjoy the rest of our trip with those we love. I’m taking the
Admiral up on his offer. >>
agree, dad. >> Ox sent to Strom.
are you going to do? >> projected Kuluke at them loudly.
will you please send David in to help us. We’ll be waiting for
Strom spoke to
no one Kuluke could see. In a few seconds a bright light appeared
at the entrance of the cave and the naked human who smelled different
from the others stood at the entrance with something in his hand.
Ox lunged for Kuluke and tackled him. Strom grabbed his arms and
folded them behind his back. He struggled for all he was worth,
but he was no match for two mature, adult, male lummox. David
walked over to him, smiled and gave him a hypo of a strong
sedative. It took only a moment to work and Kuluke went
limp. Ox released him and Strom held him in his arms to keep him
from falling. Strom picked him up and threw him over his shoulder
like a sack of potatoes and the lummox and bio-mechanical man left the
It was a good
while before the fog wore off from Kuluke’s brain. By that time
he was placed in the sonic shower with Strom and Lyle who brushed
him clean. Then they carried him to a huge spa in a separate room
on the Buttercup that provided an advanced form of filtering for the
water. The dirty water would leave the spa and run through
various sub-filters and all impurities and particulate matter
would be removed. By the time the water returned to the jets it
was as pure as a mountain stream. They kept bathing and brushing
Kuluke’s fur until all his bad odor was gone and he was as clean as a
new born bairn.
this, Kuluke’s brain was fighting against his forced captivity, but
every now and then some word of comfort Strom would say or something
Lyle would do began to feel so good, he began to wonder about his
doubts. They weren’t hurting him. They just wanted to see
to his well being, and they were willing to go out of their way to
follow though with their convictions. He had to give them credit
for that. He knew better than to ever try to talk back to his
dad. He suffered some violent rages from his father;
although, his dad never physically hurt or attacked him, he could
be awfully frightening.
At the last,
when all was done and the three were relaxing in the warm, moving water
of the spa, Kuluke started to come around and gain control of his
body. His head was laying above the water against Strom’s big
shoulder. All Kuluke could smell was the sweet, gentle odor
of Strom’s teat not far from his mouth. Strom could see him
looking at it and saw him drooling from the corners of his mouth.
“Would you like
some milk, Son?” Strom boomed softly to him.
shook his head.
“You won’t do
anything stupid and try to bite me, will you?” Strom asked.
him in his eyes and shook his head. Strom allowed him to move to
his teat and Kuluke began to drink his fill. Strom’s milk had to
be the best he ever tasted. He was angry with Strom, but he just
couldn’t bring himself to hurt a lummox who was so giving to him.
He drank and drank until Strom’s milk began to make him so sleepy he
could hardly hold his head up. When he woke up, he was laying in
bed between Strom and Lyle. His fur was dry and powdered.
He was cleaner than he’d ever been in his life, but he wasn’t
uncomfortable. Strom was awake and laying there looking at
him. He turned to Strom and threw his arm over him. Strom
better? >> Strom sent to him.
Sir. I’m sorry, Strom.>> he projected.
<< No harm
done, Son. I’m sorry we had to force you, but it was
necessary. Are you ready to explore your new world? >>
you and Lyle be with me? >>
step of the way, Son. Do you know what happened to your family,
Kuluke? >> Strom asked.
<< I don’t
know what happened to our mom. She was missing shortly after she
gave birth to my little brother. My dad was still carrying him
when she wasn’t around any more. T’kan never knew our mom.
I don’t remember much about her. Dad never would tell me where
she went or why. We were traveling across country; moving from
cave to cave. Dad went out to find another place for us and said
he’d be back in a day or so. We were playing in the cave when the
Earth started to move. It threw my little brother off the ledge
you found him laying on. I knew he broke his leg, but there
wasn’t anything I could do. I knew if we didn’t get help he would
probably die or be killed by a big cat. Crippled lummox bairns
don’t last long in the wild. >>
right, Son. I’m sorry you had to go through what you did.
Admiral Long and his partner, Mr. Goodnight, wouldn’t have lifted that
piece of land if they knew any of our people were on it. They
scanned the area, but didn’t find any animals of large size. I
think this has been a good lesson for them. They will try to find
your dad when we get back. In the meantime, accept what we have
to offer you and your little brother. You will see some wonders
you never could imagine. You are on board a ship that sails the
heavens. You know when you look up at night and see all the
bright lights in the sky? >>
<< You are
traveling among them right now. We are soon coming upon one of
the largest worlds in our night sky. You will get to see it with
* * * * * * *
Kuluke to visit his little brother again. T’kan was so happy to
see him and to see him clean. He hugged and kissed his brother.
very brave, Kuluke. I think you did the right thing by joining
these folks. >> T’kan sent to him. << I think they’re good
people and will find our dad for us. >>
<< I hope
you’re right, little brother. >> Kuluke replied.
The young bairns
began to fit into the routine of the ship. There was a lot for
them to learn, but they learned twice as fast as human children their
age and were far more dexterous. Strom was right. Kuluke
was introduced to such wonders he couldn’t imagine how he might ever
describe what he and his little brother experienced to his dad.
He went on the forest
walks every time Jack Hall announced he was taking the critters for
their outing. He didn’t try to get away or return to his
cave. He came to accept the intelligence and power of these
people; he knew he couldn’t escape them. If he tried to run away
and hide they would find him and bring him back. Why should he
cause them more trouble than they already were put through with
him and his little brother? With Strom’s firm but loving
guidance, he thought he would try to make the best of the
situation. As time passed, he was glad he did.
* * * * * * *
Holy City, Washington, Earth.
“What are these reports two of my newest Semi-vestal Virgins are
missing from their dorms?” Jeremiah Scudder yelled at Officer Brick
missing, your Holiness. They’ve been staying at my condo in the
Plaza. They came down with terrible colds and have been in bed at
my place for the last several days. Me and Timmy Kelly have been
taking care of them. I thought it might be best to keep them away
from the general congregation so they don’t infect everyone.”
very considerate of you; being a good Samaritan and all. We
certainly don’t want an epidemic of colds or flu going around, now do
we? But what about you and your friend, are you in good
health?” Scudder raised an eyebrow.
We’re taking lots of vitamin C and Zinc to keep us strong against
getting a cold. We sterilize everything. Tim is really
quite thorough. He takes good care of them and me.”
paused, “I’m sure he does. And have you given more thought to
joining the Holy Order?” Scudder asked. Once again Brick was
I’m praying about it and trying to see myself as worthy. I’ve
asked God to give me a sign.”
“You don’t need
no sign from above, boy! I’m the closest you’ll ever get to the
voice of the Almighty. I’m the one what will tell you whether
you’re worthy or not, not some imaginary voice you dream up in your
head. Are you following your routines and taking your holy
supplements as ordered?”
Holy Father. I don’t want to lie to you. I’ve stopped
recently, because they were causing bad reactions.”
“Did you go to
the Plaza Clinic and get checked out?”
I just thought if I laid off of ‘em for a while, give my system a rest,
my body would reset itself, and I could start taking them again.”
thought? You thought? When did you ever get the idea you
could think for yourself? I will do your thinking for you,
boy! Don’t you never forget it! If you aspire to be one of
the Holy Order and insure your salvation for eternity, you will do as I
say and as I command you! Is that understood?”
Holiness.” Brick answered quietly.
“Are you a
medical professional? Are you a
doctor? Are you capable of making medical decisions?”
“Well, one would
think so. All of a sudden you stop taking your supplements and
your hormone shots
because you thought it best and now you’re playing doctor and nurse
to two of my Semi-vestal virgins? What do you have to say about
“I was just
trying to do the right thing, your Holiness. I was trying to care
for myself and others in a selfless way, like you’ve taught us over and
over. You are all wise and knowing. When you preach about
loving and taking care of our fellow men, I take it to heart. If
I’ve misinterpreted your teaching, then I’m terribly sorry and would
ask you instruct me in the error of my ways.”
quite for a while watching Brick’s face closely for any sign of
insincerity. There was none. Brick was a better actor than
Scudder was an amateur psychologist.
“Notify the Dorm
directors the two Semi-vestal Virgins are staying with you
temporarily. How long do you anticipate their absence?”
“They just came
down with these colds yesterday. It usually takes seven days for
a cold to run its course, Holy Father.”
“So be it!
As for you taking your supplements, how long do you plan to be off
“Only until we
can get the men back to their dorm, Holy Father. I don’t want to
overload my system with a lot of drugs right now. It might
possibly lower my immune system, and I might catch their cold.”
idea, I guess, but I want you to understand something, Officer
Armstrong. You are never to take an action like that again on
your own! Do I make myself clear!”
Holy Father. I will consult with you or the doctors first.”
“Okay, now be
off with you. Don’t come around me again until the boys are over
“No, Sir, your
Holiness. Thank you, Sir. Praise God for our Holy
Father.” Brick said as he turned and walked out.
He pulled his
neatly folded handkerchief from his back pocket. He never thought
to put one in his pocket. Tim insisted he wear one. He was
glad of it as he wiped the sweat from his brow. He made a mental
note to slowly choke Stan and Jimmy-Bob until they were about to turn
blue, then let them live to repeat it several more times before he
finally choked them to death. He smiled to himself knowing he
would never do such a thing, but it warmed his heart to fantasize about
it. What the hell could those two be thinking putting him and Tim
in such a position? He and Tim agreed to protect their
secret. The least they could do was cooperate. Now they
were off on some junket and didn’t even have the decency to share it
with them. Well, why would they? Would he have approved and
told them to do what they needed? Probably not.
to nag at him. How did they get out of the compound without being
noticed? Was Timmy right? Was there something special about
Stan? Brick felt it himself; Stan giving himself to him
after what Brick put him through. Stan’s devotion to his
What was that all about? Now his union with Jimmy-Bob seemed like
it was planned by a greater power than he could account for. Did
Stan know something he didn’t? Was Stan a warlock, a male
witch? No, no, he couldn’t imagine there really was such a
thing. Maybe some old ladies or kids dabbling in the supernatural
for shock value, but nothing real. Only faith in good men who
were religious leaders of the country were really in touch with a
higher power; however, there was just something different about
Stan. What about that talking, disappearing dog? Where did
he come from and where did he go? Where the hell were they?
For all he knew they could be on a spaceship headed for Mars. No,
maybe Saturn. Wherever they were, their note said they’d be back
in a couple of days. Brick hoped so, he didn’t want to suffer the
wrath of the Holy Prophet again.
35 ~ Waco’s Lummox
Copyright 2007 ~
* "A stomping of
Bigfeet" A collection, as in “a murder
of crows” or “a gaggle of geese.”