Jimmy-Bob tried to rest on the return trip to Earth, but they were too
apprehensive about what they would find. Jimmy-Bob seemed calm
matter none. We done what we done, and I ain’t sorry we done
it. I was so worried about ever’ thing before I met you,
Stan. Then you and your family whisked me away in a fly’n saucer
and take me on a fantastic journey like it was an ever’ day thing with
ya’ll. I ain't never had me no better time in my life than I did
you, brother. I guess, in a way, it’s just what I needed. I
felt so lost and depressed. You gimme’ new hope. I
don’t fear the future no more. No matter what happens we’ll make
through. I know that now. I know my family is gonna’ be
saved and once we do what we gotta’ do, I’m looking forward to living
our lives like we want. We can do anything together.”
changed, J.B. I like the new you. You’ve even changed in
our love making. I couldn’t ask for no better partner. You
pour yourself and your love into me like it’s the finest thing you’ve
“It is the
finest thing I ever done, but it’s only because you let me, Stan.
I weren’t kidding when I told ju’ I wanted to be your man. I
don’t care how I have to do it, but I wanna’ take care of you and Moe.” They managed to
get in some more love making before they collapsed in each others’ arms
and passed out from exhaustion. They tried to cram too much
living in too short a time, but they were young and could handle it.
The pipe from
the bridge broadcast over the ship announced reveille way too
soon. They dragged their asses out of bed to get ready to take
Moe for his morning walk. To their surprise they were joined by
almost everyone on the ship. Everyone knew Stan and Jimmy-Bob
would be the first to be dropped off at the Holy City to resume their
lives. They wanted to say ‘goodbye’ and wish them well.
They had just enough time for a walk and a bite to eat. Everyone
watched the Earth rise on the holo-vid screens. There was more
than a few tears shed at the beauty of their home world.
Sonny and Vivian
were showing their two new children the world where they would be
living. They were impressed. Stan and Jimmy-Bob were
hugging everyone and saying their last farewells. Moe was beside
himself. He didn’t want to let them go. They had to be
extra loving with him.
brother, we’ll be together sooner than you think. I got this big
cowboy to look after me and cover my back, and I’ll look out for
him. Ain’t nothing gonna’ happen to us. You’ll see.”
“Let me go with
ya’ll, Master Stan.” Moe begged.
little buddy.” said Jimmy-Bob. “H’it ain’t no place for
you. Besides, you can come visit us by holo-vid. I know it
ain’t quite the same, but it’s better’n nothing. We love
you, and we’ll keep in touch.” Moe finally
calmed down, but not until Warren Steele came over and held him.
They were over the Holy City and Lucas asked where they wanted to be
to be in Officer Brick’s extra bedroom. I guess that’s as good a
place as any.” said Jimmy-Bob.
“You don’t have
to click your boot heels this time.” Stan laughed.
You take all the fun out of it.” grinned Jimmy-Bob. “Bye,
everyone. We love ya’ll.”
Everyone waved and spoke. “We love you, too. See you soon.”
and they were gone. Moe let out a small wail but Warren held him
tight and tried to soothe him.
There was a
flash of light. Stan and Jimmy-Bob looked around. They were
in Brick’s spare bedroom. The door was closed. No one
seemed to be home.
“What’ll we do?”
“I don’t know
about you, but I could use another forty winks. We didn’t git a
lot of sleep last night.” he grinned wickedly at Stan.
answered Stan. “You can keep me awake anytime for another evening
like that.” he grinned. “Sounds good to me. Let’s
crawl in bed and get a little shut-eye.” The men shucked
their clothes and crawled into bed. It was still early morning,
but they slept for several hours until they heard a ruckus in the
apartment. It sounded like angry voices. Stan heard someone
“We have orders
from the Holy Father to search your apartment.”
“Why, we have
nothing to hide?” they heard Officer Brick complain.
worried about you hiding anything. We jes’ wanna’ know what
happen to the two men you said were here.”
Jimmy-Bob and whispered. “Remember, we got terrible colds.”
his head and started coughing his head off. Stan started
sneezing. They grabbed a box of Kleenex and passed it back and
forth rubbing their noses to make them red. Suddenly the bedroom
door opened and they sat up in bed with red eyes and a tissue shoved to
their face. They saw it was one of the Temple Guards they met at
the pool party on the Fourth of July. They didn’t even bother to
say ‘hello’ or acknowledge him. They just both groaned and rolled
over on their sides.
guys. Go back to sleep. You sound dreadful. Get some
rest.” he admonished them. They waved their tissues at
him. He left and closed the door. Stan rolled over into
Jimmy-Bob’s big cowboy arms and they shared a silent laughing fit
together. They heard the big guard apologizing to Brick and Tim
and telling them they would put in a good word to the Holy Father for
taking care of the sick men. It wasn’t long before the door was
opened again and Brick and Tim stormed into room.
“All right, you
guys, where the hell you been?” Brick demanded.
“Be gentle with
us, Officer Brick, we’s powerful sick.” groaned Stan. Brick
elbowed his mate and chuckled.
“If we told you
where we been, you wouldn’t believe us no ways.” Jimmy-Bob told them.
“I don’t care,
try me. I think you men owe us the truth. And how did you
get into this apartment without being seen?” Brick
demanded. “Oh, and by the way— great acting job with the colds
and all.” he smiled.
at Stan and Stan nodded his head to tell them the truth.
“We were on our
honeymoon, Officer Brick. I took ma’ mate on a trip across our
solar system. We were beamed up into a beautiful flying saucer,
we had our very own private cabin, and we traveled to every planet in
our solar system except Mercury and that was only because we didn’t
have time. None of our friends who went with us wanted to fly
that close to the sun anyway. We got to say ‘hello’ to the
atmospheric Bladder Whales of Venus and hear their songs. They’s
huge, beautiful intelligent creatures. They told us the Venusians
wanted us to land. Our Captain hadn’t planned on it, but it was a
great honor to be asked to land on Venus. The Venusians are a
solitary race of folks, somewhat xenophobic, what don’t mix with other
species much until recently. We stayed an evening on Venus, then
traveled to Mars. We stayed on Mars longer than we planned, but
we tried to git back as soon as possible. We been here since
about eight o’clock but you two were gone. We were tired.
We were up most of the night on our way back to Earth doing what young
honeymooners do.” Jimmy-Bob grinned wickedly and winked at Brick and
“Ya’ll expect me
to believe that?” Brick grinned. “Hell of a story,
though. For a minute there, what with the Venusians and Bladder
Whales, I almost bought it.”
honey— excuse me, but I think I do buy it. Jimmy-Bob ain’t the
same.” was the first words Tim said.
“Yeah, he does
seem a little more sure of himself, but hell, a good partner will do
that for you. Look what you done for me, darlin.’” Brick grinned
at Tim. “And, I suppose your dog, Moe, your little buddy, went
“Yes, Sir, he
did. He had a great time. We damn near couldn’t git him
away from the Woolly Mammoths on Mars. He thought they was jes’
about the neatest critters he ever did see. He’s a cow-dog by
nature and he was trying like crazy to herd them big creatures.
They didn’t pay him no never mind though. He was pretty fond of
the Evanescent kids, too. We just left him a little bit
ago. He wanted to come with us, but we told him this place
weren’t for someone as good as him. He just wouldn’t fit in
here. We sent him on back home to the ranch where he
belongs. We told him you advised us not to let him visit no more
for his protection.”
Mars? There ain’t no atmosphere on Mars to speak of.”
“They’s in huge
underground caverns with artificial light sources left behind by an
ancient race of folks called the Krell.” said Jimmy-Bob.
“What proof do
you men have?” Brick pushed.
ain’t we? We didn’t have to come back. We could a’ stayed
on Venus or Mars. Mars is really nice this time of year and there
were lots of wonderful folks on both worlds who we fell in love
with. We had to come back, Office Brick. We didn’t have no
choice really.” Jimmy-Bob told him. Stan was so proud of his
cowboy. He just let him run with it. He was doing a fine
understand. If you didn’t have to come back, why would you men
return? I know neither one of you wanna’ be here.”
“We had to come
back for you and Tim, Sir. We didn’t wanna’ git chu’ and Tim into
no trouble and besides, you’re gonna’ be need’n us.” Jimmy-Bob insisted.
what?” questioned Brick.
“We ain’t real
sure yet, but we’ll be here for you when you need us.” Jimmy-Bob
Brick cocked his
head like he was really touched and shot a glance at Tim. Tim’s
expression was one of wonder. Brick didn’t have to ask, he knew
the men had captured Tim’s imagination and his heart.
“You sure you
men ain’t witches?” Brick demanded then grinned real big.
“That would be
‘warlocks’ if’n we’s male witches, Officer Brick, and no we ain’t
Warlocks neither. We jes’ be pure-dee old brown-dirt
plumb-dumb-as-a-box-a-rocks cowboys what were offered a ride on a
spaceship to celebrate our git’n together, and we jumped at the chance;
we took it. Wouldn’t you?”
In a New York minute!” said Tim holding up his hand to be
counted. Brick shot another look at him that said, ‘For God’s
sake, don’t encourage them!’ The worst part of it was, Officer
Brick Armstrong wanted to believe them. There was just something
about the two men that instinctively told him they weren’t lying to
him. But a spaceship?
shenanigans?” Brick pointed a finger at them and asked.
shenanigans, Officer Brick— no shilly-shallying neither, until you and
Tim need us. J’ever hear of the rapture, Sir?”
“Of course, who
hasn’t? The Holy Father preaches on it ever’ other Sunday.
What about it?”
“Well, Sir— the
rapture is happening right now, only our government and religious
leaders ain’t saying nothing about it. You know why?”
happening, or I would’ve heard about it. Why, our Holy Father
would be one of the first men raptured, then all his faithful
followers.” Brick insisted. “Why do you think they wouldn’t tell us?”
“‘Cause it ain’t
none a’ them what’s being taken. Don’t you think that says
something about them?”
Dodge, you’re talking to a man what believes in our Holy Father.
I’m a God fear’n Christian man. I’ve given my life to serve the
Lord. My saviors are Jesus Christ and our Holy Father, Dr. Jeremiah
“You know what,
Officer Brick? My mate made me see something about you I didn’t
believe at first. You’re a good man in spite of what you
believe. You’re a man worth saving, but it won’t be your
dedication to Christianity or the Holy Father what will save yore’
muscled butt. It’ll be because of your love for Tim. It’ll
be because of what you do for other men who are brought here against
their will, scared and depressed with no hope for the future.
It’ll be because you got a genetic marker within you what knows the
difference between right and wrong. When the time comes, you will
make a decision and you will choose to do the right thing— only, you
won’t think what you done is the right thing at the time. Just
keep my words in mind when you’re going through it and have faith you
will be saved. Stan and I won’t let no harm come to you or Tim.”
Brick didn’t see
that one coming. He didn’t even have time to duck. He
certainly didn’t expect such a strong, well thought out response from a
young cowpoke who claimed to be dumb as a box of rocks. He didn’t
sound so dumb to Brick, and he had no comeback. Jimmy-Bob just
shot his legs out from under him, but made him feel good about
it. How could this be? He was older and more mature than
these men. He felt he should be the one to know things and be in
charge. Then something inside him asked him a question, ‘Are you
so proud you can’t humble yourself and admit you ain’t sure what’s
going on here?’
marker? What the hell are you talk’n about, Son? Look, I
ain’t gonna’ say nothing about your time away. I’m already
committed to that. It’s me what should be trying to protect you
men. Tim can tell you; I do what I can for the men what comes
through here. I try to help them adjust, and I work hard to keep
them out of harms way. I run interference for them when I
can. I only wish I could get Timmy away from here
permanently. He don’t belong here. I have to share him with
the Holy Father. I don’t feel good about that, but there ain’t a
lot I can do about it. In my heart, I don’t believe you men
should be here either. You belong at home with your
families. I’m here because I ain’t got nowhere else to go.
Until recently the Holy Semi-vestal Virgins were all young men who
volunteered. Now, the Holy Father’s gotten into taking or saving
those he chooses. I ain’t sure that’s right. I guess I’m
beginning to have doubts. The more I stay off my meds and the
roid shots, the clearer my thinking is becoming, and it scares me what
afraid, Officer Brick. We’re here to help you through this.
We know what you do for the men. We know what you done for us,
and we appreciate it. It’s just our way of thanking you by
letting you know you’re a good man no matter what you feel about having
to share Tim with the Holy Father. You’ll make a decision about
it when the time comes, and you won’t have to share him no more.”
“How do you men
know these things? How do you know you’ll have to save me and
“We don’t know
for sure; however, it’s like the old song says, ‘We done heard it
through the grapevine— .’ Jimmy-Bob sang the first four bars of
the song and Stan joined in by snapping his fingers. Tim
laughed. Brick grinned.
I’m getting a headache thinking about it. I’m just gonna’ trust
you men to do the right thing from now on.”
“We promise; we
will. We won’t give you no more grief, Officer Brick.” Stan
spoke up. Jimmy-Bob reached over and took Stan’s hand, slowly
raised it to his mouth and lovingly kissed the back of it. Tim
watched Brick’s reaction and saw his lover was deeply touched by
Jimmy-Bob’s simple act of love for his partner. Even though he
might not have understood, it was like Brick accepted what the cowboy
told him at that moment. After Tim and Brick left the room, Stan
looked at his big cowboy and gave him a knowing grin.
questioned Jimmy-Bob at the look Stan gave him.
“We’d ju’ git
all that stuff about making a choice and doing the right thing?
Impressed the shit out a’ me!” Stan patted his mate on the back.
“I really don’t
know. It was like somebody else was in my body for a few seconds
and used my mouth to say them things. I could swear I could hear
the voice of that giant Bladder Whale in the back of my mind.”
“Ya’ think there
might be a connection?” Stan looked nonplused.
kidding? After what we seen and done the last three days and
nights, is there any doubt in your mind, Darlin’?” Jimmy-Bob
laughed. “Jes’ remind me to thank Father Chuchulack the next time
we run into him.” he added like he was sure it would happen.
* * * * * * *
On the return
trip to Earth few folks got much rest. Keekepata confided in Waco
and Trey what was going on with Waco’s twin brother. Waco thanked
her but didn’t comment on what he planned to do about it. They
could tell Keeke was worried. Trey commented he’d never seen her
form such a strong attachment for anyone other than himself. He
wasn’t the least jealous of Keeke’s attachment to Blue. Trey knew
his ‘little sister’ would be going out in life and forming her own
associations; he just figured it would be with Captain Waco.
There was no doubt Keeke found in Waco what she sensed earlier and
risked her life to find out about; however, her heart belonged to
Blue. Unknown to Waco, Trey and Keeke, Blue had already been
talking with Jesse, Chief Tin Penny, Lazarus and Charlie. It
wasn’t until the final walk in the forest with the animals before
everyone retired to their cabins for the evening they all converged to
talk with Blue.
“How are things
going between you and your host, Son?” Lazarus asked in a concerned
Admiral. It ain’t like we can bolt and run from each other.
I think he was impressed by our participation on Mars being part of
something greater than either of us. Since we are a part of each
other he was as much a part of it as I was. He seemed to
understand and took some comfort from it.”
“Does he ever
come forward to communicate with others?”
readily. He lets me do most of the talking, but he can
communicate. He just ain’t done it yet.”
“Can we speak
with him, Son?” Jesse inquired.
you feel like speaking your feelings to these men?” Blue said out
loud to the other inside him. “He’s never tried before,
gentlemen. He might find it awkward. Speak, brother, tell
them what we’ve discussed.”
It was like a
transformation came over Blue and his whole demeanor changed. He
suddenly took on a look of a scared young boy who lived his life
outside of all contact from others and was suddenly cast into the
spotlight of having to relate for the first time.
“Hello.” he said
cautiously. The men smiled at each other.
Don’t be afraid. We ain’t gonna’ hurt you. Can you tell us
what’s going on with you and how you feel about Blue being a part of
know. It don’t feel right. I don’t know nothing I ain’t
learned from him. I guess I feel like I’m him sometimes, but
there’s a part of me that keeps growing apart from him. It ain’t
like we’re in conflict with one another or nothing. We ain’t
fight’n each other. I don’t seem to have a purpose. I feel
useless next to him. He knows everything, and I don’t know
your knowledge grow from day to day the more you learn from Blue?”
asked Chief Tin Penny.
“Yes, Sir, but
it’s slow. It was all right when I didn’t know nothing. I
just went along with everything because that’s what I thought I was
suppose to do. Now, I’m beginning to think about things, there
don’t seem room for my thoughts or feelings. He don’t tell me to
shut up or nothing; he don’t ignore me, but I know it annoys him when I
butt in ‘cause I don’t understand something or I question him.”
“If I was a
psychologist or psychiatrist listening to this, I might reach an
immediate diagnosis of schizophrenia multiple personality disorder;
however, in this case we’re actually dealing with two distinct
personalities.” mused Lazarus.
“It’s hard for
me to think on Blue like that because he looks just like Waco, and I’ve
come to accept him as one of my sons.” said Charlie, “Now it creates a
riddle for me, because I’ve separated Blue from Waco in my mind and now
it’s like I’m being faced with the acceptance of another son apart from
the two of them. How does Blue’s presence make you feel, Son?”
know. I don’t feel angry or upset.”
Frustrated?” prompted Jesse.
I don’t understand why it has to be this way. I’m confused as to
why I can’t be more a part of ‘us’ and frustrated because he won’t let
me be more a part of him. He tells me that’s just the way things
is. He respects me and is kind to me, but I can’t have more of
his knowledge than what he wants to give me. I get real
frustrated, and then I get mad at him. Sometimes I don’t wanna’
cooperate with him and he forces me. Like when we was dancing
with Keekepata. I wanted to do something one way and he made me
do it his way. Why was his way any better than my way when all of
art or dance is subjective?”
point. Maybe Blue is protecting you. Maybe he’s trying to
lead you by example.” said Lazarus, “You’re young. Perhaps he
feels like his many more years of gathered knowledge and information
would only confuse you if he were to dump it all into your organic
brain. Kryscellians have a different way of organizing
information that might prove detrimental to you. Your purpose was to
provide an organic body for him so he could have greater mobility, and
he in turn would direct your physical and mental functions with his
intelligence. We didn’t consider you might develop a
consciousness of your own. To be honest, we’re sailing in
uncharted waters. We’re learning as we go along with you and
Blue. Don’t get us wrong. We ain’t saying you don’t have a
right to exist and develop on your own, it’s just we need time to
consider everything carefully. If things get too bad we may have
to remove Blue from you.” Lazarus explained.
“I don’t know
that I want that. I don’t know what I want, but I know I ain’t
comfortable. I feel like Blue ain’t all that comfortable neither
since I woke up.”
“When did you
wake up, Son? Can you recall?” asked the Chief.
When our brother Waco was making love to us. He touched Blue in
our mind, and I recognized him and me as separate from him and
Blue. He touched that part of me what was him and woke it
up. Does that make sense to you?”
enough, I’d venture to say, it makes a great deal of sense to every man
here, Son.” replied the Chief empathetically. “This may sound
strange coming from a Native American— it’s very Zen, but it makes
sense.” the Chief added.
identification of mutuality? Cellular memories? Brain
functions not insular? Wow, that would give the concept of ‘soul’
a new meaning!” exclaimed Lucas.
“Yeah, it would
even give the idea of reincarnation some credibility.” confirmed Trey.
“Maybe there was
more to the Shroud Of Turin than they thought?” whispered Lazarus as if
to himself. “Move over Darwin, take a sidetrack, there’s a
new freight train coming through. My God, the implications are
staggering. Simple, but freaking awesome. In my many years
I ain’t never come across anything that points to a more profound sense
of the definition of ‘self.’ I had a feeling you men were into
something important with this experiment.” Lazarus said to Waco
and Lucas. “No matter how this turns out, the knowledge we’ve gained
for three species, Kryscells, Humans and Visallians is
invaluable. Hell, its importance to any species is incalculable,
even our beloved critters. What started out to be an exercise in
love and appreciation for another species may unwittingly prove to be
one of the greatest scientific discoveries of all time. Well
done, gentlemen!” Lazarus praised the men. “However,” he
continued, “let’s not get lost in our discovery and forget the young
men who have come to us with a very real conundrum. What can we
do for them? What should be done for them? Is there
anything you wish for us to do for you, Son?” Lazarus asked him.
I can’t think of anything. I don’t know enough to ask.
Speak with Blue; he holds all the answers. At least, that’s what
he tells me. I have to believe him. I don’t know nothing
else. I don’t know what to believe.” he said like he was a
defeated soul. There was a silence. What the men just heard
was crushing to their ideas of freedom and individuality.
thanks for speaking with us, we’ll keep in touch. Let us speak
with Blue again.” Lazarus
“Yes, Sir.” he
sighed, and it became obvious Blue was in charge again.
“What do you
think of what the boy had to say, Blue?”
right. I can’t lie to you; that’s not the Kryscellian way.
I haven’t let him become a part of me or delve into my knowledge
base. I’m not sure I could teach him how to access it, but spoon
feeding him everything I know would be tedious. To be honest, I
haven’t tried. Being a different life form I’ve always had it
impressed on me the privacy of individual thought is the greatest asset
we Kryscells have. From my earliest recollections, I’ve always
been taught, while we are to garner information and ideas from others
we are individuals and as such should never think on ourselves as a
part of anyone else. Having to share that part of me that is the
culmination of me with the awakening identity within this body is an
anathema for me. I would be forced to go against everything I was
taught and become something I don’t think I want to become. I’m
not sure it has to do with sharing. I think our race has proven
our genuine interest in helping and sharing with your race.”
“No one would
argue that, Son.” Lazarus told him. “You came to us with this, we're
we’re mere observers. I think I know your species well enough by
now to predict if you go to them they will tell you much the same
thing. While we may give thought to ideas or concerns it is
ultimately up to you to solve this conundrum. No one is here to
condemn or try to place blame. Do you feel you’ve reached a
crisis in your relationship?”
“No, Sir, but he
is growing stronger everyday and he’s right, it becomes annoying to me
to have to cope; however, in his favor— he is more patient with me than
I am with him. I could be more understanding sometimes, but I’m
not. He retires and pouts; then, we both feel bad. I’m
going to make an effort to be more gracious. He doesn’t deserve
to be pushed aside and ignored. It would be like me being rude or
unresponsive to my brother Waco or my little sister.”
we’ll speak again when you feel the need. In the meantime, I
would urge you to take this up with your family. I think they
might have some thoughts for you we haven’t covered.”
“We will, and
thank you gentlemen for listening.”
The men told
Blue and his alter ego they were welcome.
* * * * * * *
The folks who
went on the trip with them were changed people. They saw a new
beginning. It brought home to them they were not the only ones in
the Universe who were in danger of losing their world to the reptilian
race. Even though none of them had run into one, Lazarus showed
them videos and enough pictures to convince them they were a real
threat. Combined with the honest sincerity of Captain Trey
Vinceeth and his men, they had no doubt they were telling the
truth. The Reptiles and Greys posed a serious threat.
Sonny and Vivian
took their two new children home and got them settled it. There
was an adjustment period but the kids were bright and were fast
learners. Their older human brothers, sister and cousins didn’t
know quite what to make of them, but they adjusted. The children
had seen enough trauma with the recent loss of their parents.
Their parent’s sacrifice for them impressed on the children their need
to comply and fit into their new world or perish like the rest of their
family; however, they were young and children of any species will still
didn’t know what to make of them. She wasn’t told they were
another species from another world. Vivian just knew her
fundamentalist daughter wouldn't be able to accept it. The
children were warned never to dissolve in front of her. They were
good about minding their new parents. Abigail was sort of
put off by her mother from the very first meeting with the
children. She immediately started questioning them about what
they knew about God and Jesus. Her mother got her aside and told
her she was never to mention religion to them again. They were of
another faith and she didn’t want them contaminated by Abigail and her
husband’s beliefs. Abigail almost came unglued at the
hinges. She was struck dumb. She was incensed with her
mother, but Vivian stood her ground. Vivian was backed up by
Sonny and Warren. Finally, her brothers came to their parents
defense and told her it was none of her business the way these children
were to be raised. They insisted she had no right to impose her
beliefs in supernatural fairy tales on them. Her brothers and
their supporting wives shot her down with extreme prejudice.
Abigail never knew her family didn’t totally believe the way she and
her husband did and was devastated. What made it worse for
Abigail was the kids were so damn cute and perfect in every way.
She had to bite her tongue on more than one occasion, but she decided
to be gracious and not impose her God given right to evangelize the
children. Adam and Eve were
never left alone with her and David. Her brothers and their
families soon embraced the kids as just another part of their family
and they flourished. Sonny and Vivian knew they could trust their
boys before they considered bringing the kids back to Earth.
* * * * * * *
Jack Hall and
Warren Steele bonded on the trip and since they didn’t have anyone else
to talk with about their experience found themselves gravitating to one
another for companionship. There was absolutely nothing sexual
between the men, but as cowboys will, they talked about it a lot with
each other. They would get together regularly and take their
‘kids’ as they called the pups and young lummox on an outing.
They became the protectors and sitters for the critters and they all
loved Uncle Jack and Uncle Warren. The all had permission to go
through the gates wherever they wanted and if they weren’t with Jack in
Parson they were at the Steele ranch with Warren. They became
regulars at the Steele ranch.
The Stamper boys
no longer had a problem paying homage to Lazarus or Master Charlie’s
boots. They were so grateful for the trip, everyone came and
insisted each man make homage to them and Captain Waco upon
leaving the ship with their boss-man Blake Tindell and Hoot and
Cotton. They returned to their world with stars in their
eyes. Their eyes were opened to another universe out there where
they possibly had a part to play that was so much more than any of them
ever imagined. Waco was good to his word and soon set up a school
for Burt and Phil to attend to learn about the scout ships and how to
pilot them. The younger Stamper boys were green with envy of
their older brothers, but they also looked up to them with a new
respect bordering on hero worship.
approval, Jack and Warren took the boys to visit their dad in
Jail. His trial was coming up shortly and they knew they probably
wouldn’t get another chance to see him. Since he was sober and
had been in jail for sometime, Elam Stamper was a humbled man. He
was such a little man as far as life was concerned, he had a difficult
time understanding how his boys could forgive him and wish him well in
his trial. They knew he was going to be a slave the rest of his
life, but they genuinely seemed loving to him. He apologized to
them, but they didn’t seem to care they were slaves. He seemed
puzzled when they assured
him it was the best thing he could’ve done for them. Lazarus
his boy on the subject of Elam Stamper one night as they were lying
together in bed.
“Have you given
any thought about going to see Caleb’s dad before he’s shipped off
somewhere as a slave, Son? I understand Jack Hall plans to buy
him and give him to his older brother to become a cowboy-slave in
Why would I give it any thought, Dad?”
“I just thought
“Caleb’s not a
part of me no more, Dad. Through your goodness I was reborn as
Lucas Long. I’m proud of who I am. I’m very proud of you
and what you’ve accomplished here. Elam Stamper died to me the
minute I said ‘yes’ to becoming your son. I’m even proud to be
your slave. I don’t care to give up that title anytime soon,
either. It sort of connects us and gives me a sense of being
owned and belonging over and above being your son. It damn near
scared me to death when Bryce and Captain Jones began to talk about you
setting me free. To be honest, it still does, but not as bad.”
“So, what you’re
telling me is you’ve already done your grief work for Caleb’s dad?”
“I did my grief
work for him during the period I was recovering and going through all
the medical changes. The Kryscellians helped me work through
it. That’s why I’m so attached to them. Probably always
will be. My grief for Caleb’s dad lies buried with them.
They are the guardians of Caleb’s memories. I left Caleb behind
in good hands where he will always have a loving home and be well
protected. Believe it or not, I visit him from time to
time. We’re slowly working things out. He no longer resents
me, and I’m no longer afraid of who he was. One day I hope to
have him join me again. We belong together, but until then, I
have no reason to see his dad.”
“My God, you
sound like Blue and his other.”
“That’s where I
got the analogy. I just never knew how to explain it before, but
when we talked with Blue, I knew his family would understand because of
actually hold the memories of Caleb with them?”
You’re welcome to check. They’ll let you visit him. You’re
the only person who has permission.”
“Would you mind
if I did?”
at all. I wouldn’t have told you otherwise. I could’ve just
kept quiet about it, and you would’ve never known.”
you sharing that with me, Son.”
“I’m glad I’ve
reached a point where I could. So much has happened since I was
reborn, I’ve come to accept it more readily than before. It won’t
be long before I accept Caleb back with me. I guess my telling
you is part of letting you know what’s happening.”
“When will I
“When I come to
you and ask you to allow me to accept Caleb’s name as part of my own.”
“Yes, Sir— in
that order. Caleb is accepted between Lucas and Long. He
come first— Lucas will always be first. Caleb will be accepted
back into the whole. As the Chief might say, ‘It’s all very
Zen.’” they shared a laugh.
“Who would think
a Native American Chief would know about Zen Buddhism? I always
suspected there was more to that old man than met the eye.” Lazarus
“Why would you
think that, Dad? Their beliefs are not so far removed from Zen
Buddhism.” Lucas insisted.
“No, I suppose
you’re right. I just never stopped to think about it. Do
you think there will ever come a time when you might want to confront
“Ask me after
I’ve reintegrated Caleb.” Lucas sighed deeply.
“Makes sense to
me, Son. You know I love you, and I’ll love Caleb, too.”
Dad. We both love you.”
* * * * * * *
Jack kept his
word and hired good defense attorneys associated with the Grange to
defend Elam. They put up a hell of a defense, but the evidence
against Elam was just too overwhelming, and he got a sentence of
lifetime slavery. He went on the auction block. Jack bought
him and gave Elam to his older brother in Colorado. Before he
left with Jack’s brother, Jack went to see him one last time to say
‘goodbye.’ Elam told Jack he asked B.B. to forgive him for
killing her, but he wasn’t real sure she heard him. Jack assured
him she did. Jack kept in touch with his brother to check on
Elam’s progress, and he was pleased and surprised to find old Elam was
doing well. His brother claimed once he got Elam broke to the
saddle, he rode right well. Elam became one of Jack's brother and
his brother’s foreman’s favorite substitute mares.
* * * * * * *
During World War
II and afterward in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts the U.S. Navy
would secretly carry troops in disguised ships. So the enemy
wouldn’t know how many men they were sending, the passengers, or Army
troops, would be required to remain below decks so passing planes
couldn’t see they were carrying troops. It sometimes took a week
or more to sail to their intended designation and it was tough on the
men to remain cooped up in such small confined spaces; however, they
allowed a number of the troops on deck for an hour or so for stretching
and a smoke on a rotation basis wearing Navy clothes. Every man
got a couple of hours a day on deck. Lazarus decided that was a
good option for their Visallian guests. They created rotations
for those who could go ‘ashore’ or have ‘liberty’ from the ship.
return, the community slowly got introduced to Captain Vinceeth and his
crew. There was a little over a hundred and fifty big men to see
to, and they kept the cowboys and Lazarus’ staff busy. Of course
the Mighty Bee became their home ship while on Earth. They were
quartered in barracks built for them on Lyle and Strom’s new
property in Parson. They all loved the small town atmosphere and
were active in building and helping the community anyway they could;
however, their big treat was to have ‘liberty’ on shore from the
Bandersnatch with the cowboys of the Goodnight ranch.
forward to Sundays with the good food and the football games.
Many were getting good at the game themselves, but they were just too
big to play with the cowboys. They had larger bodies than most
professional footballers. It cost Lazarus a fortune just to
outfit them as cowboys to blend in with the locals. They loved
the cowboy look and began to adopt the cowboy lingo and
mannerisms. Some got pretty good at it.
Keekepata was in
her element with her Visallian warriors and about ten of her own
Shushonni people with her. They were all billeted in quarters in
Parsons along with their symbiotic brothers, the Visallians. They
felt safe flying over the Parson countryside without fear of being shot
or snared by a large predator. The locals couldn’t get enough of them
and were always waving and inviting them in for tea.
The plan was to
have the first group of men stay through the end of August which was
about three weeks. At the very end of summer, the last of the
boy’s vacation, they planned another trip to Venus and Mars to exchange
warriors with those who were left behind to give them a chance at R and
R. They also planned to take more food and other supplies to the
critters and folks on Mars. They wanted to see how much the
android staff left behind had done to get the other caverns
activated. They also left several Visallian warriors and
Shushonni behind on Mars to supervise.
thrilled to have his warrior Captain with him for a while. Waco
take care of his Captain and insisted on seeing to him himself.
Trey and his men were thrilled to visit Earth and get to pal around
with the cowboys they’d come to love over the past year. Even
with the Kryscellians’ help Cable’s best estimate was it would take
Trey and T’kan three weeks or more for their legs to heal enough to
remove their casts. He wanted to do more scans at the end of that
time to see how far along they’d come. He expected T’kan to heal
more quickly than the Captain, and he was right. Waco didn’t
mind. He had his handsome suitor right where he wanted him for a
while. He figured being on crutches would slow Trey down just
enough for them to get to know each other well. It didn’t.
His little buddy was a good teacher, and the two of them would have
races around the compound on their crutches. Most of the time
Waco, Lucas, Travis and Little Bear out in the Buttercup a couple of
days after they returned from their trip to look for Kuluke and T’gan’s
dad. They carried Strom and Ox as contacts in case they found
anything. Trey and several of his officers went along as backup
personnel. Lucas invited Commander Maddragon and Travis invited
Sergeant Major Doggoral. Of course, Lyle Chambers was included.
Myra had Kuluke
and T’kan’s DNA on file. The men made a thorough scan of
the Northwest territory and found only trace amounts of similar DNA in
individual lummox indicating a relative; however, none strong enough to
indicate a match as a parent. They spent one day from early
morning to late in the evening searching and scanning and found almost
nothing. Strom suggested they widen their search to include a
more Northerly arc to the radius of their search. After about
forty-five minutes flying over vast uncharted wilderness they found a
match but it was a female. It was the only lead they had.
Strom and Ox beamed down to the surface to check her out.
The crew on the
Buttercup could follow their progress from the robo-cams. Lyle
was a bit apprehensive about sending Strom and Ox into a group of wild
lummox; however, Strom reassured him they could handle themselves and
communicate peaceably with the natives. Waco assured Lyle, Myra
would pull them out in the wink of an eye if they were threatened.
Ox and Strom
were beamed down to the surface. It didn’t take them long to
locate the group where Kuluke and T’kan’s mother was. They were
not prepared for what they found. It was a scraggly band of
lummox outcast and misfits. Wild lummox are rarely altruistic to
others of their species except their young which they hold sacred;
however, when a lummox was born deformed, retarded or became crippled
by an accident, they didn’t know how to cope with them. If they
couldn’t adapt or adjust, the group went their way and left them on
their own. Many times they were just left to die. The
practice isn’t unusual in a species, even humans. American
Indians often left someone behind to die when they were too sick or old
to continue on with the rest of the tribe.
female who was Kuluke and T’kan’s mother was not only severely
deformed, she was retarded as well. She could barely communicate
and was traveling with a band of about six other outcast lummox; five
males and two females. She remembered giving birth to two bairns,
but she couldn’t remember the second birth dad. She was sure it
wasn’t the same lummox who impregnated her. Their second birth
dad was not the same male.
As in every
society there are decent folks and there are those who take
advantage. From what they could understand the deformed female
called Wenetika was raped each time by the same lummox male. He
left and was never been seen again. They all said he was mean
spirited and no good. He was mean to Wenetika and refused to
accept her bairns as a second parent. The group intimated the
male who did accept them preferred males for his partners but
reluctantly agreed to bring her two boys to term. They all seemed to
agree he was a decent enough lummox. One of the larger males
seemed to know more than he was willing to tell.
Since that time,
the band Wenetika was traveling with protected her and wouldn’t allow
another lummox to rape her. It was difficult because she didn’t
seem to know enough not to follow her animal urges. She took a
shine to Ox and wanted to couple with him. He politely
refused. The group further told them the male they called Bolobo
who accepted them was killed a couple of weeks ago when he slipped and
fell from a cliff. They buried him in a hidden cave. Strom
and Ox knew they were telling the truth from mental images they
received from them burying his body. They sent them vivid images
of laying his large body in a pool of bat guano deep in a dark
cave. They showed Ox and Strom a mental picture of him as his
body slowly sank beneath the soft dung. It was not an unusual
burial for a lummox. It disposed of the body and it returned to
the Earth much quicker because of bacteria and critters in the bat
guano that broke it all down to basic elements. It wasn’t pretty
but it was a true picture of what occurred. Wenetika never asked
about her bairns. She barely remembered giving birth to them.
Strom and Ox
were beamed back aboard the Buttercup and they returned early the next
morning to dock with the Bandersnatch. They related to the other
men what they found. Strom wanted to keep the boys, and of
course, Lyle wanted what Strom wanted. Kuluke and T’kan went to
live with them on their farm in Parson. Strom and Ox related to
the boys what they found and flashed the mental images the others
shared with them of the burial of their surrogate dad Bolobo.
They recognized him immediately and wept. They knew he was
gone. They knew Ox and Strom couldn’t make up mental images like
that when they never saw their dad before. They never knew he was
not their biological dad. Now they felt more bonded with Strom
and Lyle than ever, but fortunately, by that time they were more
sophisticated and were quickly learning the ways of becoming a
gentrified young lummox.
* * * * * * *
The last three
weeks of summer were idyllic. There was always something going on
that captured everyone’s hearts and imaginations. The warriors
loved the animals around the ranch and spent hours riding and enjoying
Ranger and his family. His mother, father and the two
mares gained back a lot of the weight they lost and were
feeling much better. There was something about the Visallians
that horses took to and vice versa. Horses seemed to be drawn to
them. Even though the Visallians didn’t have horses on their
world, they seem to have a natural affinity for them. The ponies
felt the same for them. Waco, Lucas and their brothers laughed
and giggled with each other. They swore it was because they were
first cousins in the evolutionary chain. Cowboys will talk and
compare notes about the critters they work and associate with day by
Of the greatest
fascination to the boys were the covering of the Visallian’s
penis.’ Rather than have a soft foreskin like the cowboys, theirs
were more like that of a horse. It could be best described as a
protective carapace. It was of a stiff, almost rawhide like
texture but could be pulled all the way back into the base of their
enormous dicks and held in place by a sphincter muscle which surrounded
the base of their penis for just that purpose. When fully exposed
their penis looked like any typical male human penis except they were
considerably larger. When they released the holding muscle the
foreskin shot forth like a spring loaded covering to immediately hide
their cocks in a heavy protective leather sheath. The warriors
lovingly referred to it as a sheath for their sword. The cowboys
agreed it was an apt description, especially those who were lucky
enough to have been penetrated by one. It was like, as St.
Theresa of Avila once observed, like being pierced by the sword of
by a great, bright angel with whom she was said to have wrestled in
They could call
it whatever they wanted, the cowboys found them incredibly sexy and the
Visallians warriors knew no modesty. They would just as soon be
in the raw as David, Jonathan and Cable. They were proud of their
bodies and their physical development as a result of their arduous
military training, tribal dancing and acrobatics. Naturally, the
same sex male communities loved them and they formed many long lasting
relationships with them; the female same sex communities— not so much.
The videos of
their trip, including Keekepata and Blue’s dance, were broadcast on
closed circuits to the villages on board the Mighty Bee. They had
to tour the villages with Ms. Patty as she came to be known. She
became the darling of the social set. Her sisters Maxine and
Laverne were a little jealous of her; however, they formed a singing
trio and Lucas and Arnie taught them one of the Andrew sisters’
standards, “Boogie-woogie Bugle boy.”
distraught after losing his two cowboy buddies, but he stuck close to
Hattie and Ole Bloom. He was always in the control room on the
Mighty Bee on Thursday evenings to send a holo-vid message and
talk with Stan and Jimmy-Bob. Things seemed to be going well for
the boys, but they had a couple of months to go before their graduation
from the Temple training school. Then, if they passed all the
religious training, they would be allowed to attend school at the
Temple high school. Neither one was looking forward to it.
* * * * * * *
albino Venusian, sent weekly reports back to his superiors and they
were full of bits and pieces of personal interest about critters and
the folks he was living with. He was never denied entry
anywhere. He could go where he pleased and stayed with whom he
chose. He became clever at interviewing folks and spent large
quantities of his time on his weekly broadcast back to his home
world. “Darryl’s Weekly Digest” became the rage of
Venus. His weekly show jumped to the top of the ratings for any
broadcast show on Venusian video. On their equivalent of a
Saturday night, ninety percent of the homes on Venus were tuned into
His show alone
paid for the repairs on the Banshee a hundred times over; therefore,
the government of the planet was very generous and considerate when it
came time for billing. Lazarus was ready to pay far more than
they asked; however, they did ask to extend Darryl’s stay as a
goodwill ambassador. Darryl was thrilled. He loved it on
Earth and just became a part of the Goodnight phenomena as he called
it. He would test out things on the cowboys for shows and got a
lot of assistance, suggestions and help from Arnie and Keekepata.
He got considerable help from his critter friends. He included a
long list of credits at the end of each show and never failed to give
Kyron and Ms. Myra credit for video productions and editing.
everywhere interviewing someone or showing a day in the life of a
particular person, critter, or separate intelligence. He even
interview Kyron and Mr. Myra on one show. Another, he interviewed
the Steeles and their two new Evanescent children. They were
coming along fine and learning the ways of humans. Sonny
and Vivian stressed they weren’t imposing human lifestyle on them and
from time to time they were allowed to revert to their Evanescent state
and intermingle with each other or their parents. Sonny said he’d
never been closer to his human children. Vivian agreed with her
husband. From that show alone, there was a rush on the government
by Venusian families to inquire about adopting Evanescent
Darryl, he was assigned a legal staff to look out for his interest on
Venus. He was becoming a very wealthy Venusian man. His
program on Venusian video was raking in the credits (money) for a lot
of Venusians and he was getting paid outrageous sums, of which, he
wasn’t even aware. On Earth, he was living on the graces of the
Goodnights and Admiral Long. When he found out about his newly
acquired wealth, he insisted on paying for the repairs to the Banshee
himself. Lazarus and Charlie were stunned, and Darryl contributed
greatly to their business ventures on Earth. He became even more
welcome and included in everything. Everyone loved him. He
seemed to blossom in his role as ambassador and video raconteur.
He became the greatest ambassador the Venusian world ever had, and he
did it not by meetings and negotiations, but by living a good example,
loving those he associated with, and working hard to create something
of lasting value for both worlds.
* * * * * * *
Waco set Burt
and Phil up with Ping and Pong and Kyron to attend their shuttle flight
school a couple of times a week. By the end of three weeks they
were getting competent with the simulation programs and needed to
be taken out in a shuttle to practice. Waco and Lucas took them
out in their own shuttles. Burt was assigned one named ‘Bullfrog’
and Phil was assigned one named ‘Barnstormer.’ They were,
what Waco explained to them, the “B” series. Bullfrog or “Froggy”
as Burt came to call him was also the name of the on-board
intelligence. They all got a bit testy being called ‘artificial.’
Froggy sounded like his name. He sounded like an old cowboy who
drank too much and had a voice like an old rasp filing away on a piece
of rusty metal. Burt fell in love with him right away and Froggy
seemed to bond quickly with his new young pilot.
intelligence was another male voice named “Dandy.” Dandy had a
decided British accent and sounded like he was a butler. He
wasn’t particularly formal but just very crisp in his speech.
Phil liked him. Dandy seemed to become very fond of Phil.
After one outing, he felt like he could work with the young man as his
* * * * * * *
Larry and Shep
were bitten by the space bug and wanted to go every time a
shuttle left the Mighty Bee. They were unofficially adopted
by the Visallian warriors and when they weren’t busy herding cattle
with their sister, dad and mom, they were with the warriors. With
Larry and Shep’s approval, the warriors submitted a request to their
Commander to appeal to their Captain to ask Admiral Long, Captain
Waco, and his dad if they could adopt the two pups. Since the
Admiral was sharing with the Visallians his technical knowledge of
sub-miniaturization they could have several sections of land on their
ship where they could carry critters for food and animal by
products. They could have their own small farms for food and
oxygen production and the pups would have plenty outdoor
time. Waco, Lazarus and Charlie couldn’t see any problem with it,
and the pups did make excellent goodwill ambassadors for the Visallians
and Shushonni who became as attached to them as their warrior brethren;
however, they did set the pups down and talked with them.
remember the shape the Banshee was in on our last visit, don’t chu’?”
It was in pretty bad shape.”
“You realize the
Banshee is a battleship. H’it ain’t no pleasure cruiser. It
could be destroyed in a battle and you guys would die along with the
men of the ship.” Waco told them.
“We already done
talked about that, Master Waco. We realize there’s a risk, but
there’s a risk in everything we do. We could be accidentally
killed by and mad cow or bull. We could’ve been killed by that
big cat on the Buttercup.”
right. All of life is somewhat of a gamble. We just wanted
you to think about it. Some choices are more risky than others.”
Waco urged caution.
to take our chances with the good warriors of the Banshee.” said Larry.
“I agree.” added
“Since when did
you two agree on anything?” laughed Charlie.
“Since we been
associating with the warriors. They’s all so good to us.” grinned
from strangest places sometimes.” Lazarus laughed and rolled his
eyes. Charlie joined him.
So Larry and
Shep became official spacer-dogs along with their sister Patty.
* * * * * * *
returned to his family to reveal the wondrous things he had seen and
done on his trip. His parents didn’t want to share his travels
with his youngest siblings; however, Johauk thought that was being
exclusive, and he told his folks that was not the lesson of family they
taught him all his life. He felt the youngest should be given the
opportunity to hear him, learn and understand what he witnessed and to
know there was a much larger universe out there which had substance and
purpose much greater than can be imagined by our everyday lives on
Earth. His parents were chagrined and humbled by his
insistence his youngest brother and sister be allowed to participate
and ask questions. As it turned out, they had less trouble
accepting the scope and vastness of his explanations than the older
ones. They asked intelligent questions and made cogent analogies
to their lives in comparison. Later his parents talked with
Johauk in private.
decided what you want to do in life, Son?” his father asked.
“I plan to stay
here with you and mom to help you on the farm as much as
possible. I have all sorts of possibilities available to me.”
“You know we
don’t have the money to put you through college.” his dad reminded him.
concerned, Dad. If I wanted to go to college the Grange will see
to my education. Admiral Long and Master Charlie already told me
it’s available to me if I want it; however, I don’t think that’s what I
want right now. I have many years to decide what I want to
do. Until the time of the rapture, when we’re all taken away from
Earth, I need to be here with you and on call for Admiral Long and Mr.
Goodnight. I’ve been offered a position as a shuttle captain for
one of the shuttles on Admiral Long’s ship. I want to learn to
fly a spaceship and help with the relocation and transportation to Mars
and Venus. It would mean I’d be home based here and can help you
during harvest time. In the meantime, I’d like to keep up my
lessons with mom. I want to improve my technique playing the
were proud of their son. They still had some trepidation about
the strange and almost unbelievable adventures as related by Johauk,
but they were mostly optimistic, and since his boy was primarily
responsible for saving his wife’s life, Zolton believed in his son more
and more. He even had to admit, to include his youngest brother
and sister in discussions of his miraculous journey into the heavens
was the correct thing to do.
* * * * * * *
The night before
the Buttercup was due to depart for Venus and Mars, Waco sat down with
his dad to have a talk. They were so busy they rarely had a
chance to have a one on one talk. They caught up on a lot of
things that were going on in each of their lives.
“Is it difficult
for you with Trey, Son?” Charlie asked with a grin. Waco knew
exactly what his dad was getting at.
wouldn’t believe, Dad. Poor Travis and Little Bear. I’m
afraid we’re gonna’ have to have a retread done on Travis’ ass and
Little Bear loves it rough and ready; although, lately he’s cried
‘calf-rope’ a couple of time when I got too rough. I’m so jealous
of ma’ brother Lucas I could bite clean through a nail. He’s so
happy and comfortable with the Commander. I ain’t been a bad boy,
Dad. I’ve kept our agreement.”
“I know you
have. I told your slave I didn’t pay thirty-five thousands bucks
for him just to protect you from bad people. Ox knows what I
meant and he assures me you been a good boy. It ain’t been easy
on him neither. I think he’d like to see you and the Captain
together as much as you’d like to be with him, but when you and Trey do
get together, you must let Ox watch. You owe him that. We
owe him that. He’s been far more to us than just a slave.
“I’m glad you
feel that way about Ox, Dad. I feel the same. He’ll watch
over us. I don’t have no problem with that, and I know Trey
don’t. Ox does him and me both. He’s so loving I couldn’t
imagine my life without him. I talked with Trey and told him
there has to be room in our lives for Ox. Trey’s as right with it
as I am. He’ll just become our slave; that is, if we keep him as
a slave. We just may marry him as a third husband or a husband to
the both of us.” Waco laughed. Charlie grinned.
“So much for the
Christianist narrow standards of marriage.” Charlie laughed. “How
would we ever explain that one?” Waco broke up laughing with his
dad. “You think it’s time we readjusted our thinking, Son?”
Charlie asked. “You know you won’t be sixteen until next
year. I was hoping for you to hold out until you’s eighteen;
however, I had a talk with our ramrod the other evening, and I had to
agree with him, you being around men like Trey Vinceeth is like a kid
working in a candy store. How can you tell him he can’t have no
candy? However, Trey and his men are gonna’ be taking off as soon
as repairs to their ship and an engine retrofit on Mars is done.
Can you hold out?”
“With a nine
foot monster to slap my hands and shake his head ‘no’ what choice do I
have? Trey is just as frustrated as I am, but I’m convinced he’s
a man of infinite honor. Even if we didn’t have Ox with us all
the time, I don’t think he’d betray your trust, Dad. ‘At’s just
the kind of man he is. Although, I gotta’ admit, having Ox as a
reminder makes it a hell of a lot easier for me.” they shared
another laugh. “I just don’t understand why there has to be a
double standard for Lucas and me simply because he’s a slave and
I’m not. It makes me wonder if I shouldn’t become a slave for
“Ramrod and I
done talked about that, too. He offered us a way out of our
conundrum. He said he was willing to buy you from me as his
indentured slave. He weren’t kidding none neither. Said
there didn’t have to be no recording of the transaction as long as he
held the papers in case anyone contested it. Then, to protect all
of us, it would have to be officially recorded since we have to abide
by the laws here on Earth.”
“How much am I
worth, Dad?” Waco grinned.
“One and a
quarter million.” Charlie said flatly.
shit! Oh, for cries sakes, do it, Dad! With my blessing!”
“I have some
problems with it.” Charlie confessed.
talked about me becoming your slave for several years so you and I
could play around under the radar of them Jesus freaks. How much
different would this be? No one but us has to know the other
reasons we done it. I’d get what I want. You get a hell of
a lot of money. We even talked about you using me as collateral
on a loan for the ranch and paying it back. This way, I’d just be
working for Ramrod Long. Hell I’m already working for him.
How much different is my life gonna’ be for five years. Being
Admiral Long’s slave would be just another title along with Captain of
the Buttercup. Hell, with the way our world is going, I may be a
damn-sight safer as Ramrod Long’s slave. If push came to shove,
he could always claim first rights on me because of documents what
state you sold me to him in a private transaction.”
coming along, Son. We discussed that same thing; however part of
my problem is pride. I don’t know’s I could submit someone as
close to me, someone I love as much as you to slavery. The stigma
of it might be too much for me to bear.”
“Have you talked
with ma’ uncle?” Waco asked.
“Naw, I was
gonna’ talk with you before I spoke with Angus. I don’t need to
speak with him no ways other than for courtesy. I know what he’ll
“So do I.
He’ll tell you to go for it; however, I got me a feeling he’ll suggest
you hold out until I’m sixteen.”
the age he set for Little Bear, and even though Little Bear’s a slave,
Uncle Angus ain’t backed down a bit.”
“I’m sure you’re
right. I asked the Ramrod why he allowed Lucas to go with the
Commander since he was only fifteen. He pointed out how you boys
have grow’d so much larger and faster than most boys your age.
What with all the exercise, good food, a steady diet of lummox milk and
several other reasons he felt Lucas was emotionally as well as
physically ready. You men are running all over the seniors in
your football games. They have a difficult time keeping up with
you. Look at how Sam and Jeb Stamper are coming along.
They’s as big as you men, and it has to be for the same reasons.
All you boys got the physical bodies of men five years older.
That’s what makes ya’ll so damn attractive to them warriors.
Nevertheless, if we decide something between us, I’m willing to
compromise, but you will have to become an indentured slave to get
around Earth laws.”
“If I become a
slave tomorrow, Dad, I could legally have sex now. What about the
argument we’re living in desperate times and desperate times call for
desperate measures? How do any of us know we’ll be alive a year
from now? I’d hate to think something happened to me between now
and my sixteenth birthday, and I never got a chance to taste Trey’s
love.” Waco said almost in an adolescent whinge.
“There is that
argument, but I can think of a number of others to counter it.” Charlie
Dad. I’m getting too big for my britches— literally. I need
me some new Wranglers. I’m splitting these at the seams.”
Waco showed his dad, “I apologize. As much as you care about me
and everyone else on this ranch this couldn’t be an easy decision for
you. Tell you what, let’s not discuss it no more. I’ll stay
a virgin as long as you want. I won’t try to influence you.
I’ll leave it up to you. I just find it so damn stupid I can fuck
my slaves, but I can’t have them fuck me. Neither can I get
fucked by my suitor nor can I have sex with him in anyway because that
would be against our laws.”
Waco almost went
on to remind his dad what Charlie and his ramrod did together could be
considered against the law, but since they were consenting adults
everybody looked the other way. Besides, like Lyle Chambers and
Chet Baker, whoever pointed a finger better have something to back up
their accusations or they faced stiff lawsuits or even jail time for
perjury. Waco continued,
decide, I promise I will abide by your decision without
complaint. Whatever your decision, I know in my heart it will be
the right one for both of us. My time will come. If Trey is
the honest and honorable man I think he is, he’ll wait with no
problem. We still have Ox to take care of our needs, and he’s the
greatest love of our lives right now. Just remember, for five
years of my life, as long as my potential for life has been extended,
to be a slave for Admiral Long, would be fine with me. I wouldn’t
look on it as a bad thing. As much as I love and care for that
man, to be his slave would be an honor. Makes ma’ tongue hard
jes’ think’n on paying homage to his big boots— yours, too, Dad. ”
“You’re a good
son, Waco. You’ve never given me a minute’s grief in all these
years. You’ve worked hard to make me proud of you and you’ve
become a responsible young man. I’ll make you a promise, I’ll
keep all those things in mind when I make my decision.”
“Thanks, Dad, I
love you, too.”
“Now, are you
inviting Trey back with you?”
“If’n it’s all
right with you. I want to spend as much time with him as I
can. When I take him back the last time, I have no idea when I’ll
see him again. Besides, Cable doesn’t want to take his cast off
just yet. Says he needs to keep it on another three weeks.
I sometimes wonder if Cable is doing it for Trey or me.” Waco
Son.” Charlie smiled.
* * * * * * *
The summer came
to an end and it was time to take Captain Vinceeth and his men back to
Venus. A smaller group would go this time. Bert and Phil
were to go along to get in some actual flight time on the
Buttercup. Darryl went along to personally say ‘hello’ to his
audience on Venus. He wanted more video of what was happening on
Mars. He wanted to interview some of the critters and personnel
seeing to their needs. The Buttercup was loaded with food and
supplies and personnel who volunteered to go to Mars to live for a
while to help. There were several veterinarians and a doctor who
were going to the new Mars colonies. Darryl interviewed everyone
and had enough material for several weeks of shows stored away with
Myra and Kyron.
Warren and Jack
were invited to go along and they readily accepted as unofficial
critter wranglers. They weren’t so concerned anymore about walks
in the forest. Ah-ne-purrna and her kittens were dropped off in
the deep Northwoods the same day Waco took the Buttercup out to look
for Kuluke and T’kan’s dad. They told her they had her DNA on
file and would save her and her kittens when the end came for the
planet if she wished to be relocated to another world.
“Will there be
good game to feed my family?” she asked.
cat.” Strom assured her.
“It would be
good to survive.” she allowed wisely.
Ping and Pong
expressed an interest in seeing Venus and Mars and Waco jumped at the
chance to invite them along. They left Jack and Jill behind in
the care of Strom and Lyle. Patty, Larry and Shep were invited to
go, but not Moe nor his other two sisters. Charlie felt like he
needed to stay behind and see to the ranch; however, he wanted Lazarus
to go along to look after his cowboys and make sure everything went as
planned. Lazarus expressed his disappointment Charlie wasn’t
going along, but it proved a chance for his mate Arlen to get away from
the jungle and join them. He’d heard all about the wonders they
found on Venus and Mars and he wanted to see for himself.
Things were slow
on the Bandersnatch and Cable wanted to go with them this time.
Waco was thrilled to have him. He brought a couple of lesser
androids with him to look after their guests and left David and
Jonathan on board the Mighty Bee. The Kryscellians expressed an
interest and Waco invited them to come along with them in their new
mobile home. They were delighted. Waco’s usual crew of
Lucas, Travis and Little Bear were included. Waco invited Johauk
to go along and observe at closer range. He was going to start
him on pilot training after they returned. Keekepata and Blue
were invited but decided not to go along. Waco invited Jesse and
Utah to go along and they accepted.
trip had been for pleasure but this trip was business. Everyone
felt it and were anxious to see what they would find. It was to
be a short trip; just long enough to exchange warriors for R and R and
return to Earth. Waco and his men had to start school the
Waco and Lucas
sat by Burt and Phil’s side as they took out the Buttercup from the
Mighty Bee. Burt did well his first time. He beamed
when Lazarus referred to him as Captain Burt Stamper. He and Phil
got in some major flight time on their run to Venus. They were
either sitting in the Captain or First Mates chair almost the whole
trip except for rest periods and then Travis and Little Bear would take
over for them. They were learning to earn their wings as well;
however, they were much further along than Burt and Phil. Waco
and Lucas were the first to be awarded their wings.
Lazarus to go for a forest walk with him that afternoon when the Warren
and Jack took the pups and Ping and Pong for a stroll. They left
Arlen Jones in charge of the bridge.
“We don’t get
much chance to be alone and talk.” Waco said to Lazarus.
almost none. You got Ox, Trey and your posse following you
most of the time, to say nothing of a band of adoring critters.
know when Waco’s coming over the rise, there’s a cloud of dust
what announces your arrival.” Lazarus laughed.
“I just wanted a
chance to thank you for your offer to my dad to buy me as yore’
indentured slave, Sir.” Waco said quietly so no one would
overhear. Lazarus chuckled.
“My, how times
have changed. Never has a man thanked me for the opportunity to
become my slave.” he said.
“That’s the way
I look at it, Sir— it would be nothing short of an honor. It’s
the opportunity of a
lifetime s’far as I’m concerned.” Waco assured him
Lazarus put his
arm around Waco’s shoulder, pulled him close and stole a kiss behind
know. Ain’t much would change except ritual greetings and
such. The way you look at ma’ boots sometimes, like they’s the
roll on the table at the last supper, I don’t think you'd have no
problem with it.” They shared a laugh.
“Naw, Sir, when
we returned from Mars and them Stamper boys lined up, every’ damn one
‘em, insisting on paying homage to you and ma’ dad’s boots I wanted to
snatch a couple up and take their place. The only time my old
wanger gits harder is when I git's me a good whiff of my warrior's male
scent.” Waco confided quietly. Lazarus held him tighter and
roared with laughter.
do have an intoxicating smell about them, don’t they?” he agreed.
“I just thought it might help your dad out a bit and give you sort of a
guaranteed job protection program. ‘Sides, yore’ maintenance and
upkeep would fall to me, since I’d own you, and that would be an added
benefit. After five years, on yore’ twenty-first birthday or the
day we leave Earth, whichever comes first, you’ll be a free man
again. You will have paid your indenturement to me.”
“I told dad to
go for it. I hope he does.” Waco said.
“Your dad’s a
proud man. It’s the idea of coldly selling you into indenturement
without you doing anything to provoke him into it is what sticks in his
craw. Now, he’s got the thing about you waiting until your
sixteenth birthday which is okay with me. My offer is
extendible. I guess he told you I allowed Lucas to have his first
time with the Commander because I thought he was old enough, big enough
physically and strong enough emotionally. You men are growing up
at an accelerated rate due to the long-shot and all the lummox milk you
boys been drinking. Hell, ever’ damn time I turn around one a’
you’s hooked up to Strom or Ox.” Lazarus laughed. “I ain’t
scolding you. I ain’t got no room to talk. I been git’n my
fair share.” he added. “Charlie told me what you said,
you’d leave it up to him. That was wise of you. Chances
are, that’ll git you what you want quicker than confrontation and
whinging.” Lazarus mused. “I’ve come to love yore’ daddy like he
was ma’ own brother, Waco, and I come to love you like you was ma’
son. I told Charlie I’d jes’ feel a little safer if I had as
solid a claim to you as he does.”
“I brought that
up with him. Ever’ since Stan was whisked away, none of us men
felt very safe.”
worry. We’ll be git’n Stan and Jimmy-Bob back before very
long. H’it’s only a matter of time.” Lazarus reassured him.
“Are you doing
this just for us, Ramrod, or is there other interest represented in
your actions?” Waco asked raising an eyebrow.
“What do you
think? Of course there’s other interest come to play here.
I’d do anything for Trey Vinceeth. He’s like a grandson to
me. I owe his great-grandfather, his grandfather and his dad
debts I could never fully repay. You two belong together, and my
boy Ox belongs with you. I can’t imagine a better home for him
than in the hearts of you two men. I’ve talked with him and he
don’t wanna’ be freed. He wants to be your and Trey’s
slave. That way, he has an unbreakable bond with you men.
You wanna’ know something, I ain’t never seen him happier than he’s
been with you. Even when he was with his two human husbands he
was happy, but nothing like he is now. When he was in the depths
of despair from losing his last mate, I done told him there would come
a better day. A time he would be happy again. Kids!
They don’t never listen to you.” Lazarus smiled, “I thought when
Trey came into the picture he’d get a little upset, but it’s had just
the opposite effect. He sees how happy you two are together, and
he wants you mated and bonded as quickly as the rest of us.
Everyone’s talking behind yore’ backs. They want you together as
soon as possible. It’s like waiting for the other boot to
drop.” Lazarus chuckled.
stopped. There was no one around. He took Waco into his
arms and looked deeply into his eyes. He brushed his dark bushy
moustache against Waco’s lips as an invitation. He didn’t have to
wait for a reply. Waco was swapping spit with his Admiral in a
considerably more than strict military protocol display of brotherly
affection. This was full-blown passion. They cooled down a
bit and broke it off.
“Why don’t we do
that more often, Captain Waco?” Lazarus smiled.
“Damned if I
know, Admiral.” Waco grinned at him, “I’m willing, but we always seem
to have an ocean of folks, critters and projects between us.” he
“Damned if it
ain’t true!” exclaimed Lazarus. Before they
could get anymore out they heard big footsteps behind them, turned to
see the broad, smiling, handsome face of Trey Vinceeth almost to them.
Admiral. With your permission, I can take over from here, Sir.”
“The hell you
say, Captain!” Lazarus laughed. “This is the first real
kiss I ever got me from this here cowboy, and I assure you, h’it ain’t
gonna’ be the last. Lord knows I done stole enough from you when
you’s just knee high to a grasshopper.”
“You did at
that. When you went away, I missed them furry mouthed
kisses.” Trey laughed. Lazarus released Waco and he went to
“What chu’ men
been talk’n about?”
Lazarus with a grin.
“Aww, you been
talk’n ‘bout me, cowboy?”
Captain— and other things. Should we tell him, Admiral?”
“I don’t know,
Son. Has he been a good and faithful warrior?”
good? Not so much.” Waco shook his head, laughed and kissed
Trey on his cheek.
“Well, tell me
anyway.” Trey begged like a young boy.
about this time, I may buy Captain Waco from his father to become my
slave. It’s in the works.” explained Lazarus briefly.
Trey got a
concerned look on his face like a frown. The word ‘slave’ didn’t
set well with him; however, he was looking into Waco’s lapis blue eyes
and saw no fear but a twinkle that said look deeper. Suddenly, he
put two and two together. He grabbed Waco to him and hugged
him. Waco laughed.
“Does that mean
what I think it means?”
“Why do you
think we’re doing it, Son?” Lazarus asked.
“Praise a God
with no name! Praise the Ancient Voices and the Wind's of
consciousness! You mean to tell me, there’s even a slim chance
this time next year we could have what your First Mate and my Commander
Waco nodded his
head and smiled real big at him. They hugged and kissed in front
of Lazarus. He was laughing at the joy radiating from the
men. Warren and Jack came back over the hill with the pups.
They knew something was up.
“Did we miss
anything, Admiral?” asked Warren.
really. We were just having a private conversation between
Captain Waco and myself, talking about a business transaction, and we
got rudely interrupted by this heathen here.” he laughed.
warrior heathen. I like that.” laughed Waco.
“If all goes
well, next year, I’ll show you how great a rude warrior and better
can be.” said Trey.
“Where is my
lummox when I need him most?” Waco exclaimed.
lumbering over the hill, Ping on his shoulder and Pong holding his huge
right paw. He was wearing a big smile on his furry face. He
evesdroping on his young master’s conversation with the
Admiral. Waco felt him tap his mind, but he didn’t shut him
out. He wanted his beloved Lummy to hear. They had no
secrets from each other. Ox went to them and politely took Waco
from Trey’s arms and held him like he was checking him out to make sure
he hadn’t been violated. He seemed satisfied, but continued to
hold Waco close as he waggled one huge finger at Trey. Everyone
End Chapter 38 ~
Copyright 2007 ~