By Waddie Greywolf

Chapter 37

“You know why whalers never say anything?  Because they’ve said it all.” Herman Melville
“That’s why I stopped writing; I said all I have to say.” Kurt Vonnegut
“And that’s all I got to say about that.” Forrest Gump

And So It Goes ~

It was a time of coming together.  There were no secrets the next morning.  It was clear who belonged to whom.  There was no need to ask if Lucas got his ticket punched.  Everyone knew.  The electricity which passed between him and his big Visallian warrior was palpable.  Gradually all the cowboys came around to give him a hug and a word of encouragement.  Even Caleb’s brothers came around.  It moved Lucas when Burt told him he was proud of him.

There was no doubt of  the further bonding between Captain Waco and his handsome Visallian suitor, Captain Trey Vinceeth.  While they didn’t have sex they got to know each other a lot better under the watchful eye of Waco’s lummox.  Fortunately, the Visallians had as much or more respect for Volgorons as humans, and Trey Vinceeth saw his complete package potential as not only Captain Waco Goodnight, but his lummox slave and his handsome twin brother.  He was not a greedy or overly needy man.  He was not born nor raised that way.  On the contrary, Visallian warriors were trained from birth to never expect anything from life, but to always be mindful of the goodness which came their way.  Trey Vinceeth had an all encompassing personality; he was a man who could recognize a wonderful opportunity as a possibility when it presented itself, and he would do nothing to discourage what he saw as the inevitable with the passage of time.   

Even with a broken leg and suffering a huge setback at the hands of the Reptilian race, life for Trey Vinceeth was sweet— at least for the moment.  He and his ship limped onto Venus with the help of the Venusians.  He was at a low point in his life, when suddenly a ray of hope appeared in the form of another ship, the Buttercup.  Everyone needs to find a calm and supporting oasis from time to time where the life-waters of love and appreciation flow like milk and honey.  Captain Vinceeth found his fortifying healing milk in the teats of Waco’s huge lummox and his  honey in the arms of his young cowboy human.  Like any animal with needs he longed to express more with his young human, but he was a trained warrior who knew how to wait for the goodness life could bring.  He saw Waco as someone he was willing to set aside his momentary need for passion for a greater pleasure for the future.  The possibility of bonding permanently with his young man was worth more to him than all the riches in the Universe.

One might make an argument that male bonding could possibly be considered an infective mental state.  There seemed to be a lot of it going on, from the obvious with Strom, Lyle and the young bairns to Captain Waco, his first mate, his slave Travis, and the Visallian warriors; all the way to the more quiet and unassuming of the Buttercup’s passengers like JR Goodnight and his father’s slave, Hank Morgan.  They had been inseparable during the trip.  Charlie Goodnight made it a point of putting his number one trustee slave, Hank Morgan, in charge of his youngest boy.  JR never argued for a minute.  He loved Hank and they got along great.  Hank simply let JR take charge, and he accompanied him everywhere.  Their get-away trip became a great bonding experience for them the two men couldn’t have gotten any other way.  Hank couldn’t have wished for more.  It was exactly what both of them needed.  Hank appreciated the fact his owner and Ramrod were responsible for making sure it happened.  He couldn’t be more grateful, and vowed to himself to be all the more dedicated to his master and work harder for his Ramrod.  Neither ever considered Hank’s work or dedication less than excellent.

That evening, following the after-supper walk, JR decided he wanted to retire to their cabin and be alone with Hank to watch videos or whatever they decided to do.  He talked Hank into taking a shower and a hot tub soak in their room under the pretense Hank was his slave, and he needed help scrubbing his back.  Hank would’ve done it anyway, but he wondered at JR’s need to place his wish on a different level than a simple request.  They enjoyed the hot tub.  Hank rubbed JR’s back and JR insisted he return the favor for the big cowboy.  They were pretty relaxed after they got out of the tub and made their way to bed.  JR didn’t seem to be interested in watching a video and lay there with Hank wanting to hold him in the worst way, but he was afraid to ask.  He didn’t want to appear unseemly nor put Hank in an uncomfortable position.

“I know how much you love mom, Hank, and you gotta’ know I love her, too.”

Hank wondered where JR’s statement came from?  “Yes, I do love your mother more than there are words to tell you, and I know you love her, too.”

“You know I love you, Hank.”

“Yes, I know you love me, and I love you, too.”

“Good, then what I’m about to say won’t be misunderstood.  I’m glad mom didn’t wanna’ come along on our trip.” JR said and slightly emphasized the word ‘our.’

“I understand.  There’s jes’ some things us men gotta’ do by ourselves, right?” Hank smiled at him.

“Right.  I been put’n it off, but there’s something I gotta’ talk over with you.  We ain’t got much time left on this trip, so I need to talk about it this evening.”

“You know you can tell me anything, Son.” Hank encouraged

“I’m afraid I’m attracted to my dad, Hank.” JR said quietly like he wasn’t sure he should be saying the words.  Hank lay there for a minute looking at the ceiling of the ship, thoughts rushing through his mind looking for an intelligent answer.  He wanted to sound as accepting as he could for his boy.  Male sex was no longer a great mountain Hank had to climb.

“Why are you afraid, JR?  I think that’s pretty natural for a boy your age.  You’re right smack dab in the middle of puberty, you’re filling out all over the place, your voice dropped last fall, and you got hair popping out in all the right places.  I’m gonna’ have to tell yore’ ma to buy you yore’ own razor by the end of the summer if’n you keep growing hair on your face like you’re doing.  I know you been borrowing mine.  You attended your first slave ceremony last year.  With Lucas, Master Waco and his slaves, there’s sex going on all around you at the ranch.  It’s got to be having an effect on you.   Have you told Master Charlie you’re attracted to him.”

“Naw, Sir.  He ain’t the dad what I’m attracted to.”

Hank’s heart leapt to his throat. ‘My God, what does the boy know?’ he thought to himself.  

“You wanna’ tell me what you mean by that, Son?”

“It’s you!  I’m attracted to you, Hank.”

“JR, Son,— ” Hank was taken completely off guard. “I ain’t chore’ dad.”

“Bullshit!  How dumb does everybody think I am?  Look at me, Hank!”  JR shoved the sheet down on the bed to expose himself to Hank.  He grabbed his dick, skinned back the head and waved it at him. “We got the same dick, my body is shaping up to be an exact duplicate of yours; ever’ time I look in the mirror I see you looking back at me, my hair even has the same damn cowlick yours does.  Our skin color is the same.  I don’t look nothing like my big brother and his daddy.  You been sleeping with my mom as long as I can remember.  H’it don’t take no rocket scientist to put two and two together to figure out I was an unplanned for mistake.  I’m your son.  I’ve always know’d it in the back of my mind, but I been afraid to say anything because I love you s’damn much.  I thought if I said anything it might make my dream go away.”

“You weren’t no mistake, JR; an accident, perhaps, but certainly not unwanted.  You been the light of me and yore’ momma’s life.  What do you mean it might make your dream go away?  What dream?”

“Ever since I can remember, I always wanted you to be my dad.  I always wished and dreamed you was my dad.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Master Charlie.  If it weren’t for him, I’d be a slave right along with you.  I know that.  I ain’t stupid.  I know what ya’ll done for me, but I’m tired of playing your young master.  I know you’re my dad.”

“What can I say, Son?” Hank said with a defeated sigh.  JR grabbed Hank and hugged him to himself and gently kissed him on his cheek.  He could feel his dad’s full day’s growth of stubble.  It turned him on.  

“Y’ain’t gotta’ say nothing.  I didn’t tell you to put you in a bad place.  We can go on like we are, but I jes’ had to tell you I know, and I love you.  I’m proud of you, Dad.  You’re one of the best men I ever did know and whatever I grow up to be as a man will be the direct result of your influence and love for me.  I’m entering high school this next year, and I got me four good years of football ahead of me.  I’m gonna’ bust my butt to make you, Master Charlie and ma’ brothers proud of me, but most of all, there’s only one man I really care about making proud and that’s you, Dad.  That’s my dream.”

“But what about this attraction thing?”

“I’m serious, Dad, I wanna’ suck yore’ dick?  As my slave, I could order you to have sex with me, but as my dad, I’d never consider placing you in a position like that.  I don’t want you to do something because you have to.  If I do it, or later we chose to do more with each other, it will be our decision and not because I’m a freeman and you’re a slave.”

“What about chore’ ma, Son?”

“What about her?  We both love her.  You’re expected to have male sex on the ranch.  She understands that.  How often do you think we’d ever get the chance to enjoy each other like we done on this trip?  How many times you and I ever got off by ourselves in all my thirteen years?  I can count on one hand.  So we share a little love now and then, it ain’t gonna’ short change ma none.  It ain’t got nothing to do with her.  The last thing in the world I got in mind is to compete with my own mother for the affections of my dad.  That ain’t it at all.  I jes’ wanna’ chance, if we can find the time, to make a little love with my old man.  Is that wrong, Hank?”

“No, no, I guess it ain’t.  To be honest, I don’t know, JR.  I’ve asked myself questions like that ever since I been a slave.  Being a slave changes a man’s perspective about a lot of things in life.  You know I been forced to have sex with men, but when Master Charlie bought me, he let me see your mom.  It weren’t my idea, but I shore’ as hell didn’t turn it down.  It was because your ma took a shine to me and asked Master Charlie’s permission.  She was my oasis of sanity in an insane world.  She still is, Son.  We always used protection.  I wore a condom.  Then she wanted to start using another type device called an IUD, and I guess it just weren’t as effective as a condom.  She got pregnant with you.  We was worried silly.  Mistress Anne came to our rescue and insisted Master Goodnight claim he was yore’ daddy on the birth certificate.  It caused a lot of raised eyebrows in the community, but those folks what knew the score thought Master Charlie and Mistress Anne were just about the finest folks they knew.  So do we, Son.  They kept you from having to live a life of slavery like Travis Jessup.  Now Ranger and his wife, Ms. Mary, is doing the same for the Jessup’s new son.  I would give my life for Master Charlie or Ramrod Long for what they done for us.”

“I thought you’d understand if I was honest with you, Dad.”

“I do understand, JR.  I’ve had to adjust my old straight cowboy prejudices against sex with men.  I didn’t have no choice.  I had it forced on me, and I had to change my way a’ think’n to survive or die.  I chose to live.  It was forced on me long before Master Charlie bought me.  Living as a cowboy on the Goodnight ranch, it’s still expected of me, but things is a lot more relaxed.  Sex on the ranch is more about pleasure than it is domination.  Being a cowboy at our ranch is heaven compared to what I lived through my first ten years in prison.  I still have sex with Master Charlie and occasionally with the cowboys under me.  If one gets uppity or a little mouthy, I send him to the showers to clean himself, and he gets fucked in front of his cowboy brothers.  That’s the domination part, and when I fuck a cowboy that way, it ain’t for pleasure, Son.  Well, it is for me, but h’it ain’t for him.  It’s for correction, humiliation and punishment.  That’s just the way things is, Son.  It’s part of ma’ job being a lead cowboy.

The Ramrod don’t wanna’ fuck all them men regularly, neither does Master Charlie, so they leave it to me and Curley.  Ramrod Long, he done got Master Charlie and his own mate, so most of the time it falls to Curley Knight or me to fuck ‘em.  I’d be a damn liar if’n I’s to say I didn’t enjoy it some times.  I’ve learned to enjoy sex any way it comes; however, I still hold out the greatest and most satisfying sex for me is with yore’ ma.  With Master Charlie’s approval, I have sex on a regular basis with Blake Tindell.  Blake sort a’ looks on me like a second dad, and we have a go at it once in a while.  He come to me earlier this evening hotter’n a two dollar pistol want’n to git fucked, but I told him I had to look after you.  I still pay homage to Master Charlie and suck him off about once a month.  I’d do it more often, but he keeps pretty busy with his Ramrod, and he fucks Blake regularly, too.  I think that’s where Blake was headed next.  I think Master Charlie and his ramrod took Blake in for the evening.”

“So, is there a problem?” JR asked. “If you think on Blake as a son how much different would it be for us?”

“There ain’t as far as sex is concerned, but put yourself in my position, JR.  You’re ma’ boy, my son, my flesh and blood.  What would you do if your son was to come to you and tell you he wanted to suck yore’ dick?”

“Let him!” exclaimed JR quietly.  “I’d lay back and enjoy the feeling my boy could provide me knowing he was doing it because he loved me, he needed to show me his love, and that was the way he chose to do it.”    

“Don’t you think you’re rushing things a bit, Son?  You just turned thirteen a couple of months ago.  I’ll admit your argument sounds pretty good, but I don’t do nothing without Master Charlie or Ramrod Long’s approval.”  Hank was grasping for straws hoping Charlie or Lazarus would come to his rescue.

“That ain’t no problem.  I see my big brother having sex with his slaves and his lummox.  Ox is all the time suck’n on my big bro.  He offered to suck me one day with Waco’s approval, but I told them I weren’t ready yet.  I guess I could ask Waco to use one of his slaves, but they’re older’n me and more experienced.  I just wanna’ feel free to mess around with somebody I feel comfortable with, and that’s you, Dad.”

“Damn, JR, you don’t know how good it makes me feel to have you call me ‘dad.’  You know I’d do anything for you, Son.”

“Glad to hear it, Dad.  I ain’t never asked Master Charlie for much a’ nothing.  I always knew there was something different between Waco and Master Charlie and me, but I never felt left out.  They include me in everything, but I had a world outside of them Waco didn’t have.  I never felt like I didn’t have enough.  I still feel like Master Charlie’s one of my dads and there ain’t no doubt Waco thinks on me as his little brother.  I’ve slept in his arms too many nights while we’s growing up to think otherwise.  Master Charlie sat me down the other day before we come on this trip and asked me if I needed to talk with him about the birds and the bees?  I told him I didn’t think so, but I shore' would appreciate his opinions on which wines went best with cock sucking and cunnilingus.” JR laughed.  Hank hugged him tightly and started tickling him.  JR got a roaring hard-on.

“See, Dad!  See what you do to me?” JR paused for a moment, then continued.  “We talked about other things, and I told him I done figured it out, you was my biological dad.  He didn’t deny it, but he insisted I keep referring to him as my father for my own protection.  I gotta’ love Master Charlie for that.  It took a big man to do what he done.  I told him the same thing I told you; I’s crazy attracted to my own dad, and did I have his permission to order his slave to let me suck his dick and him to suck mine, if’n you’s a mind to?”

“What’d he say, Son?”

“He said he’d leave it up to you whether you thought it was a good idea for us or not.  He said for me to listen to what you had to say, but if you didn’t think it was the right thing, I wasn’t to push you.  He told me like in all things, I was to obey you like you was my dad.  I promised him I would.”  

“Humm, so that puts me in the position of being your old man.” Hank mused.

“Don’t know’s I’d want it any other way, Dad, no matter what chu’ decide.” JR said quietly.

“One thing I’ve learned over the years is sex or making love to anyone is, or should be, an act of enjoyment and pleasure, but it also can be an expression of love between two people.  H’it don’t matter whether it’s between a man and a woman or two men.  I’d rather you wait until you’re older, but I suppose once in a while, a special occasion, would be all right.  You think this trip would quality as a special occasion?”

“A trip across our solar system?  What do you think, Dad?” JR laughed.

“I suppose it is a special occasion.  I never thought I’d live to see some’um like this.  I thought sure I’d be dead by now, but once I met Ida Mae and we had you, I’ve fought even harder to survive and tried to be the best cowboy-slave I could to protect my love and interest in you and yore’ ma.  Now, if all goes well, we got many years ahead of us, Son.  I even hold out a little hope, if I continue to work hard and keep out of trouble, one day I may be a freeman again.  There’s time for us, Son.  Let’s don’t rush it.  The discovery of sex should be a part of growing up.  I won’t deny you when your older if it’s still what you want.”

“How old do I have to be, Dad?”

“At least sixteen.  I’d like for you to hold out until you’re eighteen, but I know I probably won’t win that one.  I’ve had to make a lot of compromises in my life, but I want more for you.  I suppose every father wants more for his son than he had out of life.”

“I promised Master Charlie I’d abide by your wishes and I will, Dad.”

“You’re a good boy, JR.  I’m proud of you.”  Hank said as he hugged his boy and stole a kiss.  

JR was disappointed; however, he knew Hank didn’t have a lot of control over his life, and if it made Hank feel more like his own man and of some importance to be able to set boundaries for their relationship, that’s what JR wanted.  He would respect his father’s wishes.  He learned a lot about Hank that evening he never knew before.  He learned some things about himself he didn’t know he was capable of.  It was at that moment JR began the slow, sometimes frustrating journey of growing up.  He began to accept responsibility for his actions.  He was beginning to understand the greater part of love can sometimes be putting another person’s wishes and feelings ahead of your own needs.

* * * * * * *

The albino Venusian found a place in the hearts of the critters on board the Buttercup.  They found him charming and warm in a way the average Venusian wasn’t.  He was highly intelligent and communicated well with everyone.  Even Kuluke and T’kan were taken with him.  His name was D’Airelleian; however, the pups couldn’t pronounce his name properly, and with their best attempts it came out 'Darryl.'  That was fine with him.  He had a good sense of humor and delighted in his new name.  With their Captain’s permission the critters invited him on board the Buttercup to observe and enjoy their company.  He was thrilled to be singled out and was granted permission by the Venusian Counsel.  Ms. Myra, the Buttercup’s on-board intelligence (she insisted there wasn’t anything “artificial” about her) told him the name ‘Darryl’ on Earth means “loved one” or “beloved.”  He couldn’t have been more pleased.  He spent the evening on board the ship with the creatures he’d come to befriend.

The next morning, after breakfast and a walk in the woods, Captain Vinceeth and Captain Waco along with Charlie Goodnight and Admiral Long explained to the Venusian High Counsel they would like to make a brief trip to Mars.  They planned to be back as soon as possible as they were on a tight schedule; however, depending on what they found, they might stay for one eight hour sleep period.  Since their man D’Airelleian had become so favored by their traveling companions they asked the Counsel’s permission to take him along as an observer and ambassador of goodwill.  Lazarus explained only Captain Vinceeth, his second in command, his Sergeant Major and three other Visallian warriors would be traveling with them.  They graciously agreed and all was set for the Buttercup’s departure.

The Buttercup boasted several modes of propulsion.  The standard inner solar system propulsion drive was a negative ion or fusion drive.  While it was quite fast it wasn’t nearly as fast as the second and third drives.  The second was a phase shift drive that worked similarly to the technology used in the portals, the robo-cams and physical transports.  It simply phased the entire ship out of sync with the rest of the universe into a physical void which existed as a buffer between eleven known dimensions.  There was a separate buffer between each dimension.  For centuries this form of propulsion was observed by man when viewing UFOs from Earth.  Since early man had no concept of phase-shifting they didn’t understand what they were seeing.  The craft would seem to simply wink out of existence.  It looked like they just disappeared.  The third and fastest drive was the sub-light hyper drive.  It was hardly ever used within a system.  It was for longer flights between galaxies.

Lazarus instructed Waco and his crew to employ the second drive and their travel time to Mars would be greatly reduced to a matter of hours.  The Buttercup arrived at Mars around ten o’clock in the morning Earth time.  Captain Vinceeth sat next to Captain Waco and guided him into the Valles Marineris to one of the deepest parts of the great trench.  Waco began to notice dark holes in the side of the valley walls.  They looked like they might be caves.  Trey explained that’s exactly what they were.  He and his men discovered them accidentally when they were trying to get away from the lizard men.  They hid in one of the caves until the Reptilians stopped looking for them.  They stayed a while to keep from being detected and began to explore.

Trey pointed out one enormous opening almost at the bottom of the valley and instructed Waco to fly the ship with care into the opening.  Waco reduced their thrust.  The Buttercup was barely sailing along in the thin Martian atmosphere.  As they approached the mouth of the cave everyone gasp at the size of the opening.  The ship was dwarfed by the overall height and width of the cavern’s mouth.  The cavern inside was huge.  It was unlike any feature on any other terrestrial planet in the Sol system.

Trey Vinceeth gave Myra a coded series of numerical and alphabetic sequences followed by his voice identification print to send out into the darkness of the cave.  He told Waco to activate the Buttercup’s external lights.  The lights came on and the cavern was so vast the strong beams of the powerful lights couldn’t reach the walls; however, ahead of the Buttercup a tiny sliver of horizontal light began to appear.  If you held your thumbnail up to the holo-vid screen the length of your arm, it would be no bigger than the width of your thumb.  It looked too small for a ship to go through.

As the Buttercup moved slowly forward, the light began to grow until it became enormous.  It was obvious it was a huge door lifting into the wall of the cavern to allow the ship to pass into a docking area.  There was much awed whispering going on among the passengers.  Jimmy-Bob and Stan were sitting on the edge of their seats being restrained by their seat belts.  Everyone was straining to see where they were going.  It was Darryl, the Venusian’s first trip off his home world, and he was enthralled by it all.  Patty told him not to worry and tried to assure him they were all seasoned spacers.  Her brothers laughed at her.  Patty gave them a dirty look.    
“How did you discover a code to open this bay door?” Lazarus asked Trey.

“We originally landed on the floor of the cavern to kill all electronics except for life support systems and remained silent for almost twelve hours.  When we decided the snakes stopped flying in and out of the cavern searching for us we suited up and decided to go exploring.  We had no idea what we would find, but we finally found a strange door.  After a couple of hours tinkering, one of our tech warriors figured out how to trip the door to get it open.  After we got into the control room we spent several days trying to figure out how to make things work.  That’s when Sergeant Major Doggoral gained the knowledge to get into the first stage of the intelligence base.  We learned enough to make basic life support systems operate in one of the largest caverns, but not everything.  We believe it’s only temporary until the other systems can be brought on line.  We don’t know why."  Trey paused for a moment, touched Waco on his shoulder to gain his attention and pointed to some tall columns.  "There, Captain, see those markers?  Land as close to them as you can.”

Waco expertly sat the Buttercup down where Trey directed him.  

“Now we have to wait a few minutes until the landing bay doors close.  When they do we can leave the ship without suits.  The atmosphere may be a bit thin at first, but it will increase logarithmically.  It will be enough to go through the smaller air locks into the larger cavern.”

They waited until the light went off on the landing post which Trey said indicated the bay doors were completely closed and the area was being flooded with sustainable atmosphere.  Everyone was chomping at the bit to see what Trey Vinceeth and his men discovered.  Trey made sure his little lummox buddy, T’kan, was by his and Waco’s side as they managed their way on crutches together.  

 “Let’s go, Captain Waco.  You ready, Little Skipper?” Trey spoke to T’kan.

“Yes, Sir, Captain.”  T’kan answered crisply.

They had to disembark the ship and walk to an airlock which was little more than a thick glass door in a metal frame; however, it was obvious it was different from an ordinary door.  When Trey pressed a panel on the side of the wall next to it they could hear a swooshing sound like one might hear opening a vacuum packed tin.  After everyone entered the tunnel, which was about eight feet wide, soft glowing lights began to emit from the tunnel walls.  The walls seemed to be made of the purest glass or crystal and held a clear greenish fluid.  Gases of some kind bubbled up through the liquid from the base, and slowly rose to the top.  Whatever was inside gave the liquid its greenish tint seemed to give off a pure light.

“Bioluminescence.” Trey said as he stopped on his crutches, turned slightly and motioned his head to the walls. “It’s a life form we’re not familiar with that’s existed in these tunnels, contained in these walls for centuries.  When we first entered, it seemed like movement of any kind excited it, and it began to give off light; however, having been static for a long time, they almost blinded us when we first entered.  We thought we’d walked into a booby-trap, and we were doomed; we were all flash blinded for a few minutes; however, as they settled down our vision came back, and we were able to slowly proceed.  All through the tunnel it would occur, so we had to inch our way along.  Now they seem to be adjusting and while they still give off a strong light, it’s well within our tolerance range.  One of our warriors, who is a specialist in xenobiology, suspects movement may be a trigger to produce mating and reproduction within the organism.  I think it would be well worth our time to study them, and your men could see if they can be communicated with on a mental basis, Captain Waco.” Captain Vinceeth deferred to his younger companion.

Trey and T’kan led the way.  

“No!  Like this, Captain.” T’kan admonished his huge companion and showed him how to swing his body to make a larger arc with his injured leg.  T’kan pulled out in front of his warrior buddy.

“How’s this, Little Skipper?” Trey smiled and winked at Waco as he swung his leg in a larger arc.

“That’s it!  You got it, Captain.  Great!” T’kan complimented Trey.  Everyone laughed.

The tunnel seemed to wind upward and sometimes became a steep climb.  A few became winded, but the oxygen level seemed to be a little higher than on Earth and they were able to maintain a steady pace.  Finally, they saw light at the end of the tunnel.  The four legged critters ran ahead.  Keekepata was flying close behind.  They couldn’t wait to see what was waiting at the end of the tunnel.

“Be careful, little ones!”  Trey admonished the smaller critters.  He knew there were protective guard fences and rails to keep anyone from going over the edge.

The humans, lummox and Darryl the Venusian heard the pups laughing, running about and commenting.  Keeke was flying around and perched on one of the guard rails.  The pups, even sedate Utah, were going crazy.

“Hurry!”  they yelled to their companions.  “Hellooooo, down there!”  Patty called to someone.  Suddenly there came a barrage of sounds that sounded like elephants trumpeting, and human voices calling back to the pups.


The two legged folks began to emerge from the opening.  It was the most astounding sight any of them ever saw.  Lazarus was dumbfounded.  Charlie looked at him and broke up laughing.

“Oh, my God!  Tell them cowboys to turn around and go back!  We’re doomed, Boss!” Lazarus chuckled.

Charlie roared with laugher at his ramrod.  “Too late now, Buckaroo.  Them pups would tell ever’ thing they seen anyway.”  They were laughing and everyone started laughing at them.

They found themselves on a huge balcony overlooking a vast panoply of land, forest, rivers, mountains and a vast savanna laid out before them as far as the eye could see.  There were clouds drifting lazily overhead and what seemed like an artificial sun somewhere in the ceiling of the huge area.  It was breathtaking and something you wouldn’t believe if told about.  You had to see it for yourself.  Before them, on the huge savanna, were herds of Wooly Mammoths and Mastodons.  There were pure white horse-like creatures with one large spiraled horn in their heads that looked like the fabled Unicorn.  There were families of half human, half horse creatures that were known in mythology as Centaurs.  Among them were about three hundred naked children of varying ages playing in the midst of these animals like they had nothing to fear.  They were climbing all over the big Mammoths, riding on the backs of the Unicorns and the Centaur men.  Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and having a great time.  If that weren’t enough there were several exotic species of birds and other beasts who were lounging around the great pools of fresh water that seemed to flow endlessly from a mountain cliff in the far distance.  There were numerous lummox families and several mature single lummox among all the beasts.  It looked like a fantastic cover of a Galaxy, Science Fiction or Amazing Stories magazine.  It was almost too much to take in let alone comprehend.

“Helloooo” shouted an obvious Visallian warrior from below, naked as the day he was born.  “Captain!  You returned!”  he shouted with surprise and relief when he saw his captain.  “And, blazes!  You brought Captain Waco, and is that Admiral Long with you?”  he shouted.

“It is, indeed, Ranny Ruggles!” Trey Vinceeth hollered back.  “We’ll be down in a minute.”

“My God, Trey!  Where did you find this wealth?” Lazarus exclaimed,  “This is, indeed, a treasure trove.  We never knew there were other Volgorons.  And all these critters are either lost in the past or extinct on Earth.”

“I thought you might appreciate them, Admiral.  I know how much you value all life forms, except— .”  Trey didn’t finish, but everyone knew the two species he was referring to.

“Yes, of course, but even they have a right to exist, but just not in such a way as to deny the existence of others.  When a species gets too large or too powerful they become little more than a pestilence and need to be contained; however, even they serve a purpose.  Although, to be honest, I ain’t figured one out yet.”  Lazarus laughed.  He looked out to the scene before him and sighed deeply.  “Amazing!  Simply amazing!  I know these men are ‘bout to piss their Wranglers to get down there.”  he winked at Trey.

“This way, folks.” Trey instructed everyone and purposely let T’kan go before him.

They came to a large tube that looked like a bullet train.  The side of the train on the loading dock raised to open upon their approach.

“Everyone in and take a seat.  Please fasten your seat belts and assist our four-footed friends with a belt.  Everyone has to be wearing a belt or the train will not function.”  Everyone got in and when they were belted in, Trey pressed a button on a panel in front of his seat, and they were away.  It was better than the Matterhorn ride at Disneyland.  It was far more smooth, but it gave the same exhilarating ride.  It took several minutes diving in and out of the mountain side to arrive at the station on the savanna.  On the way, Trey gave a brief speech.

“If you wish to approach the Mammoths, the Mastodons or the Unicorns, you will have to be naked.  They have great suspicions of two legged folks wearing clothing.  They feel if you have to wear a covering over your natural body, you have something to hide and that ‘something’ could very well be a net to capture them or you might be concealing a weapon to kill them.  The Centaurs, or as they call themselves the Kentaurans, are far more sophisticated; however, even they seem to respond better to us when we’re more natural.  At the savanna station there are lockers we can only imagine were originally placed there for that purpose.  We can’t know for sure until we know more about these caverns.  We have very little history; however, we know this cavern is not the only one.  There are five others of varying sizes in this particular complex that we know of, but this is the only one we have operational at the moment.  It’s operating on minimum life support; barely functioning for right now.  That’s why we need help or a decision about these folks and critters.  If we can’t make it more operational on a more permanent basis then all you see before you will have to be relocated or they will perish.”
“We’ll do what we can, Trey.  We won’t let them perish.  It’s remarkable you managed to get them here and unloaded with your ship in such a bad state.”

“It wasn’t easy, Admiral.  My men worked their rears off, and if we didn’t have the full support of those we were trying to save, it would’ve been an impossible task.  Everyone pitched in to help from the Shushonni to the smallest child of the Evanescents.”

“The Evanescents?  I’ve heard of them but never met one.” Lazarus commented.

“That’s because they always disappear when frightened or startled.  There again, they won’t allow anyone to approach them wearing clothes.”

“You mean they phase out of sight like JR and some of us can do, Captain?” asked Waco.

“They’re a little more complex than that.  They actually dissolve into the atmosphere.  They are a collection of intelligent molecules who, over many eons, have evolved into gathering into a collective being for mutual purposes of enjoying the benefits of a corporeal existence; however, they can revert to their primitive state in an instant; then, regroup when danger is past or they feel safe.  They are similar to the Kryscellians like Blue and his family, but they differ in the fact they are all born together as one entity and develop their intelligence separately.  That’s why they always return to their original state, because it is their host body or that with which they were born.”

“You know, there has been a great deal of speculation us humans may contain a genetic intelligence over and above that of our brains.  Scientist think there may be some human traits that are hardwired into our genetic makeup, and it might extend to a cellular level that makes us who or what we are.” contributed Lucas.

Trey continued, “The Evanescents are a wonderful species with much to offer.  We managed to save their children, but we were unable to save the adults.  They had a difficult choice to make, and they made it.  Their children came first.  All the adults of their world perished.  They are basically children adrift in the universe.  They need homes and parents, but they will have to be very special people who can deal with their particular talents and abilities.”
The bullet-train arrived at the savanna station.  The cowboys, lead by their Captain, lost no time shucking their clothes.  Sonny Steele looked at Vivian.

“What’s the difference?  On that Mexican cruise to Cabal we’d be naked on the beach anyway.” she giggled.  “Besides, you ain’t got nothing to be ashamed of, cowboy.” she poked him with her finger.  Sonny grinned at her as he started to unbuckle his huge, turkey-platter, rodeo belt buckle.  Warren Steel and Jack Hall went along with the cowboys.  Everyone stripped down including the shy Venusian.  He was the most self-conscious; however, the cowboys urged him on and told him he had nothing to worry about.  He was an accepted member of their association.  Their encouragement helped a lot, and he became more sure of himself.

Trey was concerned his and T’kan’s casts and crutches might be something the shy critters might fear; however, that wasn’t the case.  They had enough empathy they understood they were support and healing devices for their legs.  As a matter of fact, they became the center of attention.  Few had seen such medical devices.  The Evanescents didn’t quite understand because they could rearrange their structure accordingly.  If one of their bones broke, they simply put it back like it was.  After it was explained the process in Visallians, humans and lummox were much slower, they understood.

The pups were having a ball.  Utah was thrilled with all the new critters to meet, and his master gave him free run to go and discover.  The big monster Mammoths and Mastodons seemed to understand the pups and Jack and Jill were companion creatures to the bipedal critters.  They accepted them with great openness and gentility.

Moe and Patty were enthralled by the Evanescent children.  The were so beautiful and perfect in every respect.  They were fair skinned and had beautiful blonde hair and many colors of eyes.  Some were deep emerald green.  Some were lapis blue.  A few were a deep purple and some were a ruby red.  There were variations in color, darker and lighter, and they could change them at will.  When they saw Darryl’s pink eyes, they all changed the color of their eyes to match his to make him feel comfortable.  It seemed whomever they were relating to, they would change the color of their eyes to match.  It was almost a form of friendship recognition or a sign of acceptance and respect.

Vivian Steele became the center of attention of the Evanescent children.  She was the only female other than Jill, and she struck a chord within them.  Her natural mother instincts made her open her heart to them.  She wanted to love each and everyone they were so beautiful.  She became a reflection of their mothers.  She was enchanted with them and watched as several disappeared before her eyes.  Then she gasped as she turned to Sonny.

“My God!” she exclaimed, “They’ve surrounded me.  They’re hugging and kissing me, Sonny.”

“I know, Darlin’! They’re all over me, too.  They want us to hold each other.”  Sonny and Vivian moved together and held each other.  Sonny looked deep into Vivian’s eyes like he never really looked at her before.  He watched as her light hazel eyes turned a beautiful emerald green and then a dark blue color.  When they turned back to hazel he smiled and nodded.  They remained hazel.  He couldn’t help get an erection holding her.  The children were pressing just the right amount on the most sensual parts of his body.  

“Admiral Long, they want us to mate.”  Sonny said loud enough for all to hear.

“You have control, Mr. Steele.” Captain Vinceeth answered for Lazarus. “They will respect your wishes.”

“Later, children.  I promise.  My cowboy and I will mate for you if you need to experience our love.” Vivian promised quietly.  There was a bit of a flurry and they departed from the Steeles and reappeared to touch them and hug them physically.

“How many are we going to take back with us, Viv?”  Sonny smiled at her.  

“I don’t know.  A baker’s dozen, at least.” she grinned.  “They could help with our next brood.”

“What are you trying to say, woman?” Sonny demanded. “Oh, my God!  You’re pregnant, ain’t chu?”

“Yes, cowboy, and it’s another buckaroo.”

“How do you know?”

“The children told me.  They went inside me and checked him out.”

“Yep, at least a baker’s dozen.” confirmed Sonny.  They shared a laugh.

Several of the children played with reshaping themselves into alternate creatures.  They became pups just like Patty and Moe and a couple became playmates for Jack and Jill.  They were thrilled the children thought enough of them to copy them and play with them.  

The cowboys met the Kentaurans and found them bright, intelligent and gentle creatures.  The Unicorns were probably the most shy, but their curiosity overcame them.  They would sneak up on one of the boys and nudge him in the back.  It was their sign they were ready to accept him and be petted.  The Mammoths and Mastodons were great fun and gently lifted the men upon their backs for rides around the area.  They would take them down to the pools and enter the water.  The boys would swim from their backs to the shore.  Everyone was having great fun, but they were there for a serious purpose.  Something had to be decided.

Captain Vinceeth left six of this warriors and four Shushonnii warriors behind to see to the critters and children.  They had just enough food stores for them for a couple of weeks aside from what the land could produce for the grass eating creatures.  Their stocks were getting low.

“How much do you need for another couple of weeks?” asked Jesse Watkins.

“We’re not sure, but enough for the Kentaurans, us, and the Evanescent children.”

“Gather everyone together.” Jesse spoke.

The warriors gathered everyone together and formed a circle as Jesse instructed them.  He stood in the center with Utah by his side.  They all knelt so the four-legged creatures could see over them.  They were evenly placed around the outside of the circle of humans, lummox, Shushonni, Visallians, and Jack and Jill.  Jesse had them all join hands around the circle.  Jesse knelt in the center with one arm around Utah and his other hand on his staff he carried with him everywhere.  He began to speak.

“Wisdom of the ages, sages of the universe, bearers of eternal love, that which can never be named or revealed unto anyone, hear our plea for mercy and goodness.  We need food from your divine body; from your never ending fount of many blessings.  We ask for you to look kindly upon us and grant us sustenance in our hour of need.  Bring forth your eternal goodness.  Bless us with food for our mortal bodies.”  

The rock in the end of Jesse’s staff began to glow and grow brighter and brighter.  It shot a beam of what appeared to be solid light straight up into the air and higher.  It must have finally hit the roof of the great cavern as the light began to spread out and run down the sides of the distant walls.  Waco and Trey looked up and saw large chunks of a white material begin to float down to the ground all around.  More and more of it rained down until there was a pile of it inside and outside the ring of folks. It grew so high you couldn’t see over.  It must have been twelve to fourteen feet high.  Still Jesse wasn’t finished.

“Thank you for hearing our plea, sacred Fathers and hallowed Mothers.  With every bite of this food may we praise your goodness, generosity and remember your blessing upon us this day.  Amen.”

“Amen” agreed everyone.

“Take, eat of this manna and remember you are being fed by the bodies of others that have gone before you.  Evanescent children, you are feeding on the essence of your mothers, your fathers and your ancestors.  So are the rest of you, from the greatest to the smallest, feeding on the essence of your ancestors.  They have given themselves for your survival.  So they will sustain you until these good men can provide other means.  Be grateful and thank them with every bite.”

Waco took a piece of the bread-like material and put a small piece in this mouth to taste it.  It was surprisingly delicious.  It tasted like fresh crockery butter and wild honey mixed with a fine, freshly baked wheat bread.  It had a crunchy texture and was pleasing to the palate.  It was still warm to the touch.  It was like a religious experience eating the manna, and Waco remembered to give thanks.  When he did he was covered in a warm glow and his body radiated a faint light just like a light bulb.  He thought how appropriate the phrase would be: It turned him on.  They looked around and discovered there must be tons of the stuff.  The men spent the afternoon loading and stacking it into storage bins around the cavern.  There would be enough food for everyone until the humans and Visallians could return with more supplies.

Lazarus instructed his Captain to take a vote as to how many wanted to stay over for a sleep period on Mars.  They agreed they would only have a return flight to Venus, perhaps another sleep over and then they would return to Earth.  Stan and Jimmy-Bob said it might be pushing it for them, but they would only be one evening removed from their stated return.  They felt they could work around it.  By this time, Jimmy-Bob felt he and Stan, together, could surmount any obstacle that might come their way.  Being a slave all his life, Stan was a little more conservative, but wanted to believe in his mate’s enthusiasm.  He was glad to see his big cowboy was taking the lead and beginning to speak for them.  They were blown away by what they found on Mars.  Having been skeptical at first, Jimmy-Bob wanted to be a part of this family in the worst way.  He still wanted to save his family, but from there he saw his and Stan’s destiny written across the stars.

* * * * * * *

The boys were so taken with the giant elephantine creatures of the Mammoths and the Mastodons.  They are two distinctly different species but similar in their personalities and family structures.  They are not like African or Asian Elephants who live in large bands of matriarchal groups with the young males of at least ten years and older bulls living separate and mostly solitary lives.  With the Mammoths and Mastodons they had different family structures where the bull or patriarch was the dominant influence.  Trey Vinceeth pointed out to the men, it also probably lead to their extinction on Earth.  Rather than having the availability of a random bull as in elephant societies, Mammoths and Mastodons mated for life; therefore, if a female Mammoth or Mastodon lost her mate, unless another young male came to bond and mate with her she rarely produced another calf.  Their bonds with their mates were so strong  many times a female or even a male would grieve themselves to death over the loss of their mate.  Young males would rarely consider boding and mating with an older female when there were so many younger females to choose from.  Likewise, an older bull who lost his mate would have a difficult time bonding with a younger female because there were so many younger bulls, unless a widower bull met a widowed female.  That sometimes occurred, but it was rare.

The two species were easy food for tribes of prehistoric people.  They were slow and big targets.  While they were not clumsy by any means, once wounded they easily gave up the fight and accepted their fate.  They were an easy kill for the Clovis people.  The smaller, faster humans could attack with sharp spears and retreat quickly before the huge creatures could defend themselves.  Furthermore, they were far too curious and trusting for their own good.  If anyone showed them the least attention, they considered them a friend and an honored guest among them.  They were easily duped by ancient man and for their size their flesh was considered a great delicacy.  They were supermarkets on four feet.  One would provide food and warm skins to support many in a tribe of Clovis people.  The cowboys discovered they were highly intelligent and affectionate creatures, more so than the elephants of Earth who still retain the distinction of being carriers of the Voices or Winds of consciousness.  The Mammoths and Mastodons were always carriers and still are today, no matter to which world they’ve been rehabilitated.

The Kentaurans were a beautiful race of creatures and fascinated the cowboys.  They were humble, gracious and kind.  They knew they were somewhat defenseless and didn’t have some of the necessary skills humans and other species have; however, what they lacked in technological skills they made up for in beauty and gracious living.  They mated for life, raised large families and had long genealogical histories.  The stallions evolved a complex system of attracting young females to mate with them.  It wasn’t destructive but consisted of days of celebration, where the young males would compete in races and other competitions of strength and agility.  They would prepare for the festivities for days and each would assist his competitor in brushing and braiding their hair and tails.  They had no problem offering rides to their guests and would laugh at the young men when they got erections after a bareback ride on one of the massive stallion’s backs.

Warren Steele and Jack Hall were in their own element.  They had come to know each other pretty well while sharing a cabin on the Buttercup.  They were both in the infancy of their experience with a new reality, and it was natural for the two cowboys to compare notes.  Jack’s arm was almost completely healed.  Blue would still give him therapy once a day, but they were shorter sessions each time.  David scanned his shoulder regularly and was pleased with his progress.

“Now that I’ve grown a bit younger, I’m finding myself with the sexual interest of a man half my age.”  Warren confided in Jack.

“How is that possible?  Growing younger?”

“They didn’t tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

“Don’t know’s it’s a secret, maybe they just overlooked tell’n you.  Everyone who goes through sickbay on the Bandersnatch gets a shot of a serum what does something to your DNA sequence and leaves it open ended rather than having a time for it to start cellular degeneration.  Once that occurs, your body starts to degenerate, you grow old and die.  With the ‘longevity’ serum or ‘longshot’ as they call it after Ramrod Long, your years are increased five to ten fold.  Ain’t chu’ noticed anything since you was under their care?”

“Yeah, I’m feeling better than I have in years.  I’ve given up smoke’n and drink’n.  I just ain’t got no more interest in that sort a’ thing.  I’ve got the energy of a twenty-one year old kid and the sexual stamina of a young bull.  Don’t know if you notice, but I wake up ever’ damn morning with a stiff dick.  Is it restoring my age as well as extending it?  You know, Warren, I didn’t think you was Sonny’s dad when you first came into my room in sickbay.  Oh, my God!  That must have been what B.B. was trying to tell me.  I’d live a long time and have many buckaroos and cowgirls.”

“It’s true enough, Jack.  I was getting really bad when Charlie and Lazarus came into our lives.  Even my daugher-in-law and ma’ boy have reverted to about the time they first got married.  I expect ‘em to come to me any day now and tell me they’s start’n a new family.  But that ain’t all, with all my new found sexual stamina I’ve found my eyes have been opened to a wide range of new sexual possibilities.”

“I think I understand, Warren.  You think there’s anything in that drug to make you start think’n on your own sex or another species?” Jack asked cautiously.

“By other species, you mean lummox?”  Warren grinned.

“Exactly!  Except I wouldn’t limit it to them.  There’s something about them Goodnight boys and them Visallian warriors what makes me wanna’ go dry-hump a scrub-oak post, and I ain’t never had me no interest in my own sex except git’n the occasional blowjob in the back of me pickemup truck when I’s drunk.”  declared Jack.

“No, no, there ain’t nothing in the shot to make you turn gay.  I asked about it.  I was worried about the same thing.  They swear there’s no possibility, no connection, and I believe them; however, with all the sex you know has to be going on with them boys, lummox, and them warriors it’s like all us cowboys git’n together to watch the studs mount the mares in the fall to produce summer foals.  Every cowboy gets his rocks off vicariously.  I never could make up my mind whether I identified with the stallion or the mare.  It didn’t really matter none, it was the overall experience what done it.  Lord hep’ me!  Look at me!”  Warren looked down at the wet spot in his Wranglers.  The men shared a laugh.

“So, how long is this serum suppose to work?” Jack Hall asked.

“Lazarus Long is over two thousand years old.” Warren replied.

Jack didn’t answer.  He just stared at Warren like he was daft.  He chuckled.  “You’re shit’n me, cowboy.”

“After all you seen, do you doubt it?” Warren looked shocked.

“Does that mean we could live that long?” Jack asked.

“As I understand it.” Warren confirmed.

“I guess that would be enough time to have a couple of kids.” Jack mused.

* * * * * * *

Shane and his master returned to the Buttercup to get the book and the two parchments he brought along with him.  He hadn’t planned to bring them on the trip, but a wee small voice in the night woke him the night before he and Bill were suppose to leave on their journey and told him to throw it in his duffle bag.  He retrieved them from beneath the mattress on the bunk he and his master were sleeping on in their cabin.  They returned to the control center where Admiral Long told them to meet.  Lazarus invited Charlie, Chief Tin Penny, Jesse, Lucas, Strom, Lyle, Ox, Darryl and any of the other men who wanted to join them to follow Captain Vinceeth, Captain Waco, Sergeant Major Doggoral and Commander Maddragon to the main control room to meet Shane and Bill Birdsall.  When Shane arrived and handed Lazarus the two large parchments, Trey and the Sergeant Major’s eyes got real big.

“Blazes!” exclaimed Trey, “Those are just like the parchments we found.  Show him, Sergeant Major.”  The Sergeant Major went to a cabinet and opened it.  From the top shelf he took two parchments almost exactly like the ones Lazarus was holding.  They sat the four together on a table near the control console.  They looked similar, but all were different.  It became obvious to everyone they were a matched set of documents.

“Do you remember what the runes told you, Son?” Lazarus asked Waco.

“Yes, Sir.  They told me they were a key to saving the refugees from several other worlds and for the resurrection of another world.  They also told me about your ship hidden away in the blue granite mountains and instructed me to tell you to show it to us.  It told me other things I’m not to reveal until my eighteen birthday.  In the meantime, it is for us at this moment in time, the runes have been left by a great race of people called the Krell who worked closely with the Volgorons to look into the future and reestablish this hidden world as a safe base for our escape from Earth.”

“Jesse, do you know anything about this?”

“There have been rumors over the centuries that Mars was the birthplace of another race who relocated to Earth and left behind great caverns of knowledge that one day would help all the more peaceful worlds of the galaxies overcome the devastation of the Reptilian races and their drones.  It is no coincidence Mars has always been thought of by the collective minds or Winds of Consciousness as the representation of war.  In human mythology Mars was the God of war.  These caves have been hidden in this valley for untold centuries until recently when geological events opened them.  They were opened shortly before Captain Vinceeth and his ship needed a hiding place from the ‘snakes’ as he calls them.  The one we’re in and its corresponding caverns are only one set in hundreds.  These caves are only the beginning.  This valley and the crater of Olympus Mons contain many.  It’s interesting to note, while Mars is less than half the size of Earth, its land mass, without oceans, is exactly the same as the land mass of Earth.  Most all the water on Mars is fresh water, and it has been preserved within these caves.  There is only one large mass of salt water in the caves of Mons; however, it is a huge body of water.  It is an underground ocean almost as large as the Pacific Ocean of Earth.  

Seven life forms must work together to reactivate these caves.  You already know the first is a Visallian warrior, Sergeant Major Doggoral who has established entry and Captain Waco and his uncle, who are the keepers of the Earth keys.  The Goodnight's key and knowledge has only been activated by a series of events which had to occur before his inherited genetic memory would bring forth the knowledge to make it all happen.  It is not by accident his slave was sent to him.  Garron, his beloved Lummy, or Ox, was the catalyst to his awakening.  Captain Waco and his lummox, a representative of the Vologoron, are the living keys.  Only Captain Waco can tell us where we are to go from here.” Jesse finished.

“What do I do?” Waco asked quietly.

“How much of the first parchment were you able to access, Sergeant Major?” Lazarus asked.

“Very little, Admiral.  Most of the runes for activation of this cave came from the second parchment.”

“Start with the first parchment, Son.  My hunch is it contains the codes which unlock the others.”  All eyes were on Waco as he carefully approached the parchments.  He started to reach out to the first, but before he could, the four parchments started glowing in different colors.  The first was deep violet, the second indigo, the third was blue and the forth was red.

“They’re not all here.”  Waco said quietly as if in a daze.

“What do you mean, Son?” asked Lazarus.

“Three are missing; orange, yellow and green.  There is a parchment for every color of the visible light spectrum.  Each color represents a life form.  We’re also missing two life forms.  They must all be here; we must be together, or it won’t work properly.”

“How do we find the other three?” Charlie asked his son.

“The missing life forms will give us the answer.  We must have the other two life forms join us.” Waco answered. “They are the living keys to the other parchments.” he insisted.

“Which life forms?  We have several to chose from down there on the savanna.” smiled Lazarus.

“Caninus and Kryscellian; Patty and Blue.” said Waco almost like he was in a hypnotic daze.  He seemed to snap out of it. “Of course!"  he exclaimed quietly, "It all makes perfect sense!” he exclaimed a little louder as he fully came out of his reverie.  They complete the picture.  No, no!  That ain’t right neither!  It ain’t a picture, it’s a— a— what’s the word for a bunch of musical notes sounding together?”

“A chord.” answered a young voice from the back.  It was Johauk Kodaly.

“Exactly!” exclaimed Waco, “That’s it! Thanks, brother.  We must be of one accord.  The seven colors of the light spectrum, seven life forms, and the seven tones of an ‘A’ chord starting with ‘A’ four-forty.  It’s the only way it will work.  No one can access the last three parchments without them.  We must have all the keys.  Each life form is a living key.  Johauk, do you have perfect pitch?”

“Close enough.” Johauk stated with confidence. “If not, I always carry my trusty pipe.”  he took it from his pocket and blew a perfect four-forty A.

“I’m not clear about the life forms, Son.” said Chief Tin Penny.

“Human, Lummox or Volgoron, Venusian, Visallian, Kryscellian, Shushonni, and Canine.” rattled off Waco.  All will have to be able to sound one note of the chord.  Now we know why it became necessary for our closest animal companions to be given the gift of speech and song.  They are the final key in the evolutionary process that will save our collective butts.” Waco laughed at his simple explanation of an elegant solution.  The realization stunned everyone.

“But it goes further than that.” Waco continued, “Man has always imagined there was something greater than himself and that ‘something,’ always just beyond his reach or understanding, he named ‘God.’  In essence, his God became a projection of the better angels of his nature, but there was a dark side.  A side he couldn't understand.  Whatever man perceived as his highest being to be or become had to have an Alpha and Omega.  The equation had to balance.  It’s so simple.  It’s so elegant.  Man has always been protected by his concepts of goodness and unconditional love against the darkness of selfishness, greed and the evil of his own invention.  God/human/doG.  Mankind’s cosmic bookends.  On one hand, the beginning of man’s ideal of unconditional love, and on the other, the physical manifestation of it through his bonding with another species who taught him the true meaning of his own innate concepts; however, more importantly, by example, they taught him how to live them.”

Sadly, the thought crossed more than one mind how man mistreated his canine brothers over the years by medical experimentation and mass destruction of many unwanted small souls.  Now they were in a position to save not only themselves, but five other species and countless species who would depend upon their companions for salvation and relocation.  It spoke one reality: Never discount the power of unconditional love.

Lazarus continued, “It might be successfully argued the Christian trinity is not so different; father, son, and holy ghost.  The idea found its way into many early religions.  Buddhism and Hinduism is rife with concepts of a trinity.  The ideas vary, but the basic concepts are the same.  It was a way of introducing and defining great physiological scientific truths by introducing them into faith rather than standard teaching through academia.  Newton fought strongly against the idea of a trinity (in a religious context).  It is ironic the very same idea exists in the context of gravity: perhaps Newton saw the concept could be used in physics, but because he couldn't think of such a use he rebelled strongly against it and therefore missed the boat on relativity and a great overall consignment of man's potentially divine nature through scientific discovery.  Such connections might have ultimately pointed his way to discover a direction to a unified theory.  We will never know.  It became the 'spiny-norman' in the roux (an insider physicists’ joke).  Space-time, as it turns out, is spinoral.*  It is fully representative of the concept of an interesting trinity.  It becomes a harmonious concinnity which unifies the three spaces.  The guiding principle of this idea is a harmonious combination of three entities, or a trinity.**  Each part reinforces the other parts.  Astute observation, young man.”  Lazarus praised Waco.
“There’s only one problem.” came the small voice of Darryl the Venusian.  “I don’t know how to sing.”

“No problem.” assured Waco, “Johauk, you have your first vocal student.  Take Darryl to the balcony and teach him how to sound a note.”

“Yes, Sir, Captain Waco— be glad to help.  You don’t really have to sing as such, brother Darryl.  Being able to sound one note does not a singer make.  I know you’re capable.  Your native language is tonal.  You have to be able to pitch your voice to different levels to accomplish that.” Johauk reassured him.

Waco dispatched Keekepata to retrieve Blue and Patty.  Johauk took Darryl and accompanied Keekepata to the balcony to see her off.  She would fly down to the savanna to bring back her friends.  Blue was a little surprised they sent for him, but after Waco explained, it made sense.  Patty was all over the place she was so happy to be included.  Everyone was making over her and told her Captain Waco told them she had an important role to play.  She couldn’t have been happier.

“Come, sweet lady.” Waco beckoned her, “May I lift you onto this platform?”

“Certainly, Captain Waco.” she responded with much wagging of her body and stolen kisses.  Waco gently picked her up and sat her at the very end of the large control console table.  The table was covered with a black glass of some kind and you could see your reflection in its surface.  Waco stood next to Patty and had Ox stand on the other side of the table next to her.  The four parchments were on the table.  Waco placed the one that turned violet, indigo and blue right in front of Patty.  The red one he placed at the far end of the platform in front of Sergeant Major Doggoral.  Everyone joined hands and Waco had one hand on Patty and Ox had his huge paw resting lightly on her as well.  Someone brought a stool for Keeke to stand on and set it next to Waco on his right side.  The circle was complete.

“It may take us a couple of times to get it right.  Ox, you take the lowest note and the rest of us will build upon it until Keeke takes the highest.  Johauk, if you will give us an ‘A’.”

Johauk took out his pitch pipe and blew.  Ox sounded an ‘A’ a couple of octaves below.  Next Blue came in, then Waco.  Johauk motioned for Darryl to join next.  He didn’t quite get it at first but Johauk helped him.  When he heard the pitch he landed on it like Plymouth Rock.  The Sergeant Major was next and he had a bit of a problem but Johauk was right there to give him his note.  Next Waco looked at Patty and nodded.  She didn’t need a bit of help.  She threw back her little head and nailed her tone right on the money.  Next was Keekepata.  She was a little unsure at first but finally found her pitch and knew she was right on.  Johauk gave her a thumbs up sign.  

Their voices seemed strange at first.  Each was recognizable and separate.  They kept intoning until something remarkable happened.  Ox’s ‘A’ became a foundation and each voice began to take on his characteristics until they blended into what sounded, to the observers, as one voice.  It was more than just remarkable.  It was uncanny.  It was unEarthly.  It was ethereal.  It was cosmic.  It was heavenly.  Then it happened.  Suddenly, the opaque black glass cleared and looked like it became liquid for a few seconds.  From beneath the liquid glass rose three other parchments, like they just bobbed to the surface on a body of water, and took their place in exactly the correct order of the color spectrum: green next to blue; yellow next to orange; and the orange next to the last parchment which was bright red.  Waco signaled, and they all cut their vocalization.  The liquid glass immediately reformed to a solid surface.

“Don’t anyone move.” he instructed his seven companions around the table.  “Rest everyone, but don’t break the circle.  We have to intone a couple of more times.  After the next intonation we can break our circle, but we must rejoin to return the three parchments to their original state.  Does everyone understand?”  Everyone agreed.  Lazarus and Jesse looked at each other and shook their heads.  Lazarus placed his arm around Charlie’s shoulder and smiled at him.  Charlie had a tear in his eye.  He was so proud of his cowboy.  JR was standing next to him holding his hand and Hank was holding JR's.  No one had words to express how they felt.  Vivian, Sonny and Warren were stunned.  Jack Hall held Jack’s small hand in one hand and Jill’s in his other.  Jimmy-Bob and Stan were shaken to their boots.  Trey Vinceeth put his arm around T’kan’s shoulder and smiled at him.  Strom was holding Kuluke.

“What now, Son?” Jesse asked Waco quietly.        

“That took a lot out of  us.  We need a moment to recover.  We’re just resting.”

“He’s right, Master Jesse.” agreed Blue, “That was phenomenal.  I have something to tell my family.  Am I the only one who heard the Bladder Whales and their brothers on Earth singing with us?”

“I heard them.” volunteered Darryl.  “Once Johauk got me going, they kept me on pitch.  I thought it was my imagination.”

“No!  It definitely wasn’t your imagination.” said the Sergeant Major.  “We all heard them, right?” Everyone around the circle agreed.

“And you, little sister?"  Waco turned to Keeke,  "My beloved slave.  Is there a new dance in this?” Waco smiled at Keekepata.  She reached up and quickly kissed him behind his ear.  Everyone chuckled.

“And such a dance it will be, my beloved Master.” she cooed.

“Wonderful!  Excellent!  We’ll look forward to it.  Now, is everyone ready for part two?”

Everyone sucked in a good breath of air and Ox started again.  This time it went like clockwork.  Everyone found their pitch immediately.  This time the voices of the spheres, creatures of the land and of the deep joined them.  Everyone could hear the rumbling of the Mammoths and the Mastodons.  It was soul bending as the runes on the parchments began to lift and float in mid-air.  It wasn’t as difficult for the seven voices this time as before.  They could drop out for a second, grab a breath and join back in.  They took turns so no one was gone for very long.  Patty was the best.  She held the purest tone of all of them and was so proud of herself.  Waco and Ox vibrated their love and approval through their hands to her.

Once the runes were in their final order Waco read them and learned what he was suppose to do.  He told Keekepata to let go of his right hand and place her hand on his shoulder.  She did so quickly and the circle was only broken for a second.  Waco had his right hand free and began to touch certain runes.  When he did they all would realign themselves again, and he would touch another.  After about five minutes of intoning and touching runes, Waco touched a final one and half the runes in the air lined up, single file, and went into a feed slot no one could see on the black glass table.

“Stop intoning now!”  Waco ordered and everyone cut.  The last of the runes returned to the parchments.

They waited for a few minutes and all hell broke loose as the ground began to rumble.  Instruments and control panels came to life.  There was a loud grinding sound.  Things shook and shuddered like a giant awakening who had been sleeping for a thousand years.  The beast was awake and coming to life.

“Don’t be frightened.  We’re perfectly safe.  So are all the critters.  The runes told me to expect this.  There will be less noise and movement after a while; also, we will be joined shortly by a staff.  Don’t be afraid.  They are part of the maintenance and control staff of the caverns.  However, before they get here; once more, dear friends, let us intone and return the three key parchments to their original position.  No one but us must ever see them.  There are hard reasons for this I will explain later.”

The seven intoned once more, briefly, and the three hidden parchments were returned to the case within the control table.  The other four were left on top.  When they finished, the colors were gone and they were simply back to their normal static state.  Waco handed the Sergeant Major his two and the other two he returned to Shane.

“We won’t need these again for a while.  I was instructed to make sure the Sergeant Major had his and Shane Goodnight has his parchments.  They are the guardians of these documents.  Two belong to the human race and their subdivisions, Canine, my brother Blue as Kryscellian/human, my slave Ox and his race the Volgorons.  The Sergeant Major’s belong to the Visallians, Shushonni, and Venusians by proxy.  I got the feeling the Venusians were adopted by our critters and are equally considered owners of our parchments as well.  Likewise, the Volgorons have an equal claim to the two Visallian parchments.  It’s sort of like them having duel citizenship.”  Everyone laughed at Waco’s description, but Darryl felt very proud.

A glass wall began to open from the top and disappeared into the floor of the control room.  It opened up another enormous room.  Stored in that room were row upon row of human looking androids.  They were all anatomically perfect and were male and female.  Two were already awake and walking around with clipboards in their hands.  They noticed everyone looking at them, smiled and came forward.  They walked right up to the seven standing around the control table.

“Hello, Captain Waco.  I’m Nonno and this is my assistant Leiset.  Welcome to the Krell Caverns of Mars.  Thank you for activating our functions.  We can take over from here, but we fall under the jurisdiction of you and your six companions.  We are here only to assist you and your wishes for these caverns.  The caverns were designed and built for your purposes.  As you can see we have ample personnel to oversee and repair anything that might not be right.  There are many more stored in the other caverns.  We will teach you and yours what you need to know to make these caverns of greatest use and comfort for you and your allied species.”

“Do you do repair work on spacecraft?” Waco asked almost as a joke as he looked at Trey Vinceeth.

“Yes, Sir.  Our drones can repair the most sophisticated craft.  We can also install drives you probably never heard of.  You will need them to exit Earth and head off into another galaxy if that is your desire.  If Captain Vinceeth had one of our newer drives he would never have found himself in the position he’s in now.  We will be happy to install a new drive for you, Captain.”

“I knew there was some reason I picked you, Captain Goodnight, aside from the fact you just happen to be one of the finest looking young humans I’ve every laid eyes on.”  Trey spoke softly in Waco’s ear.  Charlie and Lazarus overheard him and laughed.  
There was a meeting with all the passengers from the Buttercup with the limited staff that was brought around after the activation of the main computers in the control center.  The main computer was an intelligence unto itself and would operate on Captain Waco’s behalf while he was gone.  It was planned that Waco and the cowboys would make several other trips to Mars during the summer.  The boys had to resume their normal life in the fall, but in the meantime others would be trained to step in for them to make sure everything was progressing as planned.

When Waco asked about the other caverns and the caverns in Olympus Mons he was told he activated everything with his and his companion's keys.  It would take time, but by the end of the summer everything should be up and running.  They could even begin to evacuate large numbers of people to inhabit the caverns.  They could bring endangered species to Mars.  They could bring the whales and cetaceans of all kinds to dwell in the salt sea of Olympus Mons.  The sea had been undisturbed for centuries and was filled with food.  They would be able to check everything out and have reports ready for Captain Waco and Admiral Long by the end of the summer.

It came time for the Buttercup to leave to return to Venus.  The cowboys returned to the savanna to say their 'goodbyes' and pay their respects.  They wanted to take many of the critters back with them, but Lazarus thought it might not be such a good idea.  The boys already had all they could look after, and their responsibilities seemed to be growing by the day.  However, now that the Stamper boys were being brought on board and would begin to take their place in the scheme of things, they would prove to be a great help for them.  Burt and Phil couldn’t wait to get started learning to pilot the shuttles.  

The boys wanted to take back a Kentauran family but once again Lazarus thought better of it.  They couldn’t be out on any ranch on the face of the planet or they could possibly be detected by satellites.  They would have to live on a plot of land on the Mighty Bee and those had to be reserved for emergencies like Jimmy-Bob’s family and others like the Blooms.  Lazarus even nixed taking any of the Volgorons back.  They were fine in the caverns and would thrive until they made their great escape from Earth.  He did agree they might take several of the Evanescent children back with them.  There were several that were just toddlers and needed mothers and fathers.  However, the Kentaurans and the Volgoron families agreed to take most of them, help them and watch over them.  Sonny and Vivian agreed to take two, a little boy and a little girl.  Lazarus foresaw volunteers from the same sex communities and some single families like the Blooms relocated to Mars to help care for the children.
Rather than stay for a sleep period everyone wanted to get back to Venus, pickup half of the warriors and Shushonni and head back to Earth.  Trey wanted to leave the Banshee with the Venusians until it was space worthy which he didn’t foresee happening until the end of summer.  Then he would move it to the Mars port and have them finish the job and perhaps install the newer engines they were talking about.  On the return trip everyone was gathered in the canteen having coffee before laying down for a couple of hours before reaching Venus.  Darryl seemed quiet and a little distant.  The pups were trying to draw him out and Jack and Jill were playing with him .

“You got quite a fan base, young man?” Jack Hall joked with him.

“Yes, Sir.  I’ve come to love them all in such a short period of time.  It will make me sad to part with them.”

“Don’t!” said Warren Steele.  “Come with us to Earth.  I’m sure Captain Waco and Admiral Long will be glad to ask your High Counsel if you can come visit as a goodwill ambassador; just like you done on this trip.”

“You really think so, Mr. Steele?”  Darryl asked quietly.

“Can’t hurt none to ask, Darryl.” said Patty. “All I gotta’ do is bat ma’ eyes at Captain Waco, ask him right-nice like, and he’ll do it for me, I’m sure.”

“You would do that for me?” Darryl asked the pups.

“Sure, you’re one of us now.  You’re one of the keys to Mars.  You belong with us.  What if we need you again like we done?” asked Moe.

“Gee, that would be great.  I’d really appreciate it.”

Warren and Jack related the conversation to Waco, Trey, Lazarus and Charlie.  The men shared a good laugh.  Sure enough, Patty found Waco and looked him in the eyes.

“Master Waco, would you and Admiral Long consider letting us take our friend Darryl back to Earth with us to visit?  He would make a great-willie ambassador.”  Patty just couldn’t understand why everyone broke up laughing.

“You know what, little lady, we do need a Venusian 'great-willie' ambassador.  It’s already been discussed.  We’ll ask his folks and see what they say, all right?”

“Thanks, Master Waco.  I knew you wouldn’t let us down.” she smiled real big and wagged her whole body.  “See, I done told ju’ so.”  she whispered to Darryl.  She was so pleased with herself.

“You’re the greatest, Patty.” Darryl hugged her.

The Venusians were more than willing to have Darryl travel to Earth with the humans.  They knew he would be safe and treated as an honored guest.  Several even told him they were a bit envious of him and his adventures on Mars.  They had been in contact with the whales and were told it wasn’t by chance Darryl was chosen to go to Mars.  They made him promise to send weekly reports and videos of his adventures.  The pups, Blue and Keekepata had become household words on Venus and the public was hungry for more.  The government that was in power wanted to give the public what they wanted, and it was more of what they had seen.

Lazarus arranged payment for Captain Vinceeth’s ship.  Whatever the Venusians’ wanted he would meet their price.  He would see to it their next trip included full payment for the repairs of the Banshee.  Trey left half his crew on Venus and half the Shushonni.  The rest he took with him aboard the Buttercup for a month’s R and R.  At the end of the month, they would return to Venus and swap crews and make another visit to Mars on their way back.

All was taken care of as quickly as possible.  Everyone got aboard the Buttercup who were going to Earth with them, and they were off.  As they flew into the upper Venusian atmosphere, Waco headed the ship along side the great whales.

“Just thought we’d say ‘goodbye’ to you good folks and wish you good sailing.  Thanks for your gracious welcome, and we’ll look forward to seeing you again soon.”

“Thanks for remembering us, Captain Waco.  Our best to you and your company.  We’ll look forward to speaking with you again.  You did a great job on Mars, young Captain.  We’re all very proud of you and the seven keys.”

“Thank you, Chuchulack.  Peace and goodwill to you and your family.”

“Goodbye, and may the goodness of the Ancients hold you in their hearts.” the huge whale sang to them.

Jimmy-Bob and Stan held hands as the Buttercup left the atmosphere and set a course for Earth.  The things they experienced and the time they spent together was going to come to an end sooner than they wanted.  How could they go back to the depressing situation they left only four days ago?   Surprisingly, Jimmy-Bob was the one who took control and decided it was what they had to do.  They couldn’t just abandon two good men they knew didn’t belong in the Holy City.

* * * * * * *

Sonny and Vivian tucked the two children they named Adam and Eve into their bed.  Adam was two and a half (he stressed the half like it made him almost as old as his sister) and Eve was a year older.  Vivian asked if they needed to go to the bathroom to relieve themselves before going to bed.  They said no, they were fine and they knew how to use toilet facilities.  They had them in their homes and both were housebroken. (those were Sonny’s words)  Everything was fine, until the wee hours of the morning as the Buttercup sailed toward Earth.  Vivian woke up and saw Sonny wide awake looking at her.

“Did I ever tell you how lovely you are when you’re pregnant?” he spoke softly.

“Are you getting romantic in your old age, cowboy?” she smiled and put her hand to his cheek.

“If it will get me a piece of ass right now, I’d get on my knees and whistle Dixie.” he said seriously.

“Do you have a visitor, too?”  she asked.

“Yes, he’s touching me in all the right places.  He’s about to drive me nuts.  Can’t you feel me?”

“I just thought you brought your gun to bed.” Vivian laughed.  “She’s surrounding me and doing the same.  What are we to do?”  Vivian asked her cowboy husband.

“What nature tells us.  I think they need to know we love each other.  If that’s what it takes— ” he smiled.

“There, she just let me open for you.  Go on, darling, cowboy up.”

Sonny slowly entered his wife and felt the wonderful warmness of the woman he loved so dearly all these years.  She wrapped around him like she knew he loved and welcomed him into her.  They lay together making gentle love.  They could feel the children drinking in the sensation of their coupling.  It wasn’t dirty or nasty.  It seemed normal for them to know the two strangers who invited them to come live in their world loved and cherished one another.  If they loved each other, surely they could love them.  Later there would be time for ground rules and discipline; however, that rest period required something different.  It required understanding and unconditional love.  Sonny and Vivian Steele had just entered another universe, not quite the Twilight Zone but damn near.  They were not unnerved or afraid.  They knew everything would be okay.  Vivian and Sonny were secure in their love.  So were their children.

End Chapter 37 ~ Waco’s Lummox
Copyright 2007 ~ Waddie Greywolf
All Rights Reserved ~
Mail to: waddiebear@yahoo.com

*Spinorial theory is based on Einstein’s general relativity and Cartan’s triality concept, which can link space-time with two twistor spaces.  Twistor spaces are mathematical spaces used to understand geometrical objects in space-time landscapes.  In physics, the idea of a spinor stems from the finding that spectral lines of atoms seem to behave as if the angular momentum of the particles radiating photons was in half-integral units of the quantized spin (whose size is determined by Planck's constant). This was fully explained by Dirac's famous theory of the electron, which led him to successfully predict the existence of the positron.
Some spinorial particles include the electron, muon, tau, proton, neutron, quarks, neutrinos, and all their anti-particles, which are called fermions and have half-integer spins.  There are also non-spinorial particles, called bosons, such as the photon, graviton, pion, mesons, the W and Z bosons, the Higgs, (if it exists) and so on, which have an integer spin.  The key difference between spinors and non-spinors is their behavior under rotations: typically, non-spinorial (integer-spin) particles return to their initial value under a 360-degree (or 2π-radian) rotation; however, the spinorial (half-integer-spin) fermions actually change sign under a 360-degree rotation, requiring a full 720-degree rotation to get back to their initial values.  This is completely foreign to our naive idea of how rotations work, and yet it is a basic part of reality.

Twistors are a special kind of spinor.  The two twistor spaces are each six-dimensional, forcing space-time to also have six dimensions, in accordance with Cartan’s unifying triality.  Because the twistor spaces’ geometry is ultra-hyperbolic, the extra dimensions are time-like.  There are three six-dimensional spaces which at one level are on an equal footing and which are bound together by a transform, (Xi-transform)  Two of these spaces can be understood at the space-time level as twisters.  Then the third space can be given a space-time interpretation, but only if we have two extra dimensions: so it is the requirement of symmetry between the spinor spaces and the space-time that dictates that the extra dimensions be there.

**A harmonious concinnity is a theory which unifies the three spaces. (i.e. space-time and two twistor spaces)  An indicator that there is such a theory comes from the Jordan algebras, which naturally unifies the three spaces into a twenty-seven dimensional whole, called an exceptional Jordan algebra.  The guiding principle of this idea is a harmonious combination of three entities, or a “trinity.”  Each part reinforces the other parts.

A second indicator is two radically different descriptions of massless particles, such as the photon: the standard uses Fourier analysis in space-time.  Another uses twistor theory and sheaf cohomology.  The mathematical formalisms used in these two different descriptions are so different, it is simply amazing they are describing the same basic physics.  The concinnity provides an explanation.  It makes an attempt to unify twistor theory, space-time theory and string theory.

String theory has been roundly criticized for its lack of predictive power.  String theorists have been reduced to an absurd reliance on the anthropic principle.  It is a top down theory: dream up something that works in some high dimension and then try to finagle some way of reducing to fit in with the lower-dimensional theory.  Major ideas in current physics might likely play a role in finding a more base-upward approach to modern physics.  (such as condensed matter physics, category theory, non-commutative geometry, string theory, and the structure of superfluids).  Such connections might also point the direction to a unified theory.