By Waddie Greywolf

Chapter 48

Brett Jones and Basil Troubadour shared a suite with Commander Hawkins and his companion of choice for the evening, young Sam Stamper who just graduated high school and turned eighteen.  The Stamper boys were avid body builders and Sam was one of their most devoted.  They worked out under the tutelage of Bill Birdsall and Shane for several years and Sam progressed well past the intermediate stage.  When he was dressed in his Western clothes, Sam was stunningly good looking.  He might be compared with the winning home run in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and the score tied.  Sam was certainly impressive enough to catch the eye of anyone, but Hawkins met Sam on a previous trip to the colonies.  Sam was learning to become a captain of his own shuttle craft and was flying copilot on Hawkins’ first trip to Mars under the watchful eyes of his two older brothers, Burt and Phil.  Sam seemed to be a natural pilot and was learning faster than either of his brothers.

Del Hawkins liked the young man and was drawn to his presence for his ease of nature and his seemingly unending graciousness.  Sam’s charms were seductive without trying.  Of all the Stamper boys, Sam evolved into what one might call a natural man.  Along with his charm he exuded a masculine strength and easy determination that was palpable.  The Goodnight cowboys easily accepted the Stampers men as part of their extended family, but Lucas was convinced Sam was completely devoid of any hypocrisy or deceit.  Lucas shared with his brothers if there ever was an archetypical model for a cowboy he would have to nominate Sam Stamper.  Nothing ever seemed to bother Sam, and he became a balm for Commander Del Hawkin’s sometimes troubled soul.  The commander seemed to really enjoy the younger man’s company.  He became a changed man when he was with Sam.  Without any agendas or pretenses, Sam brought his considerable comfort to Officer Delbert Hawkin’s bed.  Hawkins was heard to remark: Sam is an easy man to love and a hard man to forget.

* * * * * *

Every door Brett and Basil opened was a new and exciting experience.  With Basil’s youth and Brett Jones’ maturity they met a middle ground and shared the wonder.  Basil was absorbed by the strange, alien decor of the lodge.

“How very Forbidden Planet.”  he tossed off, after seeing the main room of the suite complete with pool and waterfall with various plants placed about for accent.  It struck Sam, Hawkins, and Jones as funny.

“Your observation seems fitting, Basil.” spoke Officer Hawkins, “After all, it was built by a race called the Krell.”

“You’re kidding.” stated Basil.

“Not at all.  Check with one of the androids.  They’ll confirm it.”

“No!  That won’t be necessary.  If Brett say’s it’s true, I’m satisfied.”

“It’s true.  I overheard Admiral Long telling some folks.  He said something about art becoming life or life as a reflection of art,— something like that. ” Jones confirmed.

“I certainly hope we don’t encounter a monster from the id during the night.” Basil laughed.  The commander raised an eyebrow and smiled.  Basil’s remark was pitched too easily.  Hawkins could’ve knocked it out of the ballpark with little effort, but he didn’t say a word.  He could tell a setup when he heard one.  They went to their separate rooms and closed the doors behind them.  It crossed Brett Jones’ mind how much he enjoyed the day with Basil.  He thought it might be nice to experience something closer, but he was cautious.  He was concerned his physical change wasn’t fully stabilized, and he didn’t know how it might translate to physical intimacy.  He decided it might be better to err on the side of caution, yet he thought he probably should discuss it with his date.  He had no way of knowing Basil’s expectations, if any.

“I’ve enjoyed the day with you Basil.” he started cautiously.

“Same here, Brett.  It’s been a wonderful day.  Shall we call it a day and get an early start tomorrow morning.  We’ve been invited to go along with the men to see more wonders of the caves.”

“Probably, but I think I would like to enjoy a little more of the hot water for a while.  How ‘bout you?”

“That would be fine.  It makes me sleep soundly after soaking for a while.”

They removed their clothing and slowly eased themselves into the pool within their quarters.  Basil didn’t sit close to Jones and there was an awkward silence between them for a few minutes.  Jones broke their silence.

“I forgot to add, I’d also like to hold you close while we enjoy the water.” he smiled.  Basil grinned and moved next to him.  Jones dropped his big arm around the younger man’s shoulder and pulled him close.  “That’s better.”  Jones allowed.  Basil smiled.  Jones continued, “I’m afraid I’m somewhat socially retarded or slow when it comes to one on one relationships.  My commander tells me it’s because I grew up being told what to do and I never had to take much initiative or responsibility for myself or my actions.  I never had to relate to others as close friends or intimates.  I just did as I was told, stayed to myself and kept my mouth shut.  I had a few friends but no one really close.  Commander Hawkins is probably the closest male companion I ever had and he makes great allowances for my clumsy attempts at friendship.  What I’m trying to say is, I ain’t real sure I know where to go from here.”

“Uhh, I’m not sure I understand.  Are you suggesting I lead the way between us?” Basil asked.

“No, not at all.  On the contrary, for once in my life I’d like to lead the way.  I want to lead the way.  I want to be in charge, but I’m unsure of myself for a couple of reasons.  I could be wrong, but I get the feeling you might like someone who is a take charge kind of guy.  Am I wrong?  Maybe if you could be honest with me about your feelings, it might help me a little.”

“My feelings are open but guarded.  You have to take into consideration what I’ve been through to fully understand where I’m coming from.  I won’t bore you with the minutia or details of my suffering, it’s enough to tell you it was horrible beyond belief.  Some of the things that happened to me were so awful, if I told you, you’d probability think I was lying.  All you really need to know is I lost all faith in everything as I lay dying in a Cheney camp.  I knew I was dying and there was no one who could or would do a damn thing about it.  I couldn’t even save myself.  I gave up all hope.  I no longer trusted anything or anyone,— not even myself.  The nearer to death I came, it became clear to me I had no choice in the matter.  I had to accept the fact I was going to die, but I also realized it just wasn’t my fault.  Not only did I have to accept it, I had to forgive myself for not being able to do anything about it before I could let go.

Once I forgave myself, made peace with my soul and resigned myself to my situation, I felt my consciousness, the part of me that is me, my soul, my person, my identity slipping away, I lost all fear of death.  It wasn’t scary at all.  Actually, it was rather pleasant.  A faint voice came to me and told me to hang on.  It told me not to let go of the last vestige of hope; what I knew about love from childhood; the spark of love from another life that gave me life; that which I was given at my beginning; not to let it become overwhelmed by darkness or the self-centered apathy around me; to grasp it firmly with both hands of my heart and hold on tight.  The voice told me I hadn’t failed.  This world was not good enough for me.  The voice told me to believe in it, and it would take me to a better place where I would survive and flourish.  It made me a promise.  Suddenly, I was surrounded by a great white light and I thought, ‘This is it.  I’m dying.  I’m crossing over into another realm of consciousness.’” Basil giggled. “Well, you gotta’ admit, these folks are a whole ‘nother realm of consciousness.  If that wasn’t enough, the state of Texas, itself, is guaranteed to do a quick knee-jerk to the gut and suspend anyone’s reality.” the men shared a laugh.  He continued, “I was afraid to open my eyes until I heard the voice say to me, ‘It’s all right.  You are with us.  You’re safe now.  We will take care of you, Basil.’  I opened my eyes to look into the eyes of the biggest, best looking cowboy I ever saw with a monster looking over his shoulder with tears in his eyes.

I wondered if God was the cowboy or the monster behind him.  It didn’t really matter.  They were both beautiful to behold.”  Basil laughed.  “I was on board the Buttercup with Captain Waco and his wonderful slave, Ox.”  Basil finished and paused for a moment, then continued, “I won’t deny I’m taken with you, Officer Jones, and your attention to me, but I have only eighteen years experience in life.  The majority of my life has been shit until I was rescued and brought to the colonies.  I’d like to think I’ve been through so much, I’m mature enough I don’t necessarily expect every situation to work out like I might imagine, but I will never let go of the spark of childlike hope I hold onto that has become my engine of courage.  You spoke of enjoying being the aggressor and wanting to be in charge, so I’ll gladly give you room for that.  You’re right, I think I’d rather prefer that in a partner.  I would like to believe there is someone firm, yet gentle and understanding in whom I can put my trust.  If you’re concerned about something physical between us, I’ll leave it up to you.  I’m certainly willing to entertain the idea, but it’s not necessary.  Just the chance to have a vacation away from the day to day life in the colonies, to visit this wonderful place with someone whose company I enjoy is enough for me.  Besides, Officer Jones, I make it a rule never to go all the way with anyone on the first date.  I try to maintain a modicum of decorum even when I’m with someone as attractive as you.”  Basil laughed and batted his eyes at Brett in an exaggerated manner to lighten the mood.  Jones grinned and tickled him.  Basil jumped and laughed.

“Thanks for your honesty and sharing a bit of your history with me.  That gives me something to respond to and something to look forward to.  You see, I’m not so socially well trained or considerate.  I want to warn you, I make stupid mistakes sometimes, choices based on feelings rather than reason that embarrass me.  I feel like I’m a child who’s just beginning to learn how to walk.  I do a lot of stumbling and falling, but I pick myself up and try again.  I probably would’ve tried to talk you into something for which you might not be ready.  Then again, I was afraid if I didn’t make an attempt to go all the way with you this evening you might get the wrong idea I just don’t care, that I ain’t interested.  Trust me, you wouldn’t be sitting this close if I wasn’t interested.  On the other hand, I have concerns my body ain’t completely through changing yet, and I don’t think I’d be comfortable with physical intimacy with anyone until I’m more sure of myself.  My concerns ain’t just about me, they’re about you as my partner.  I just don’t know how it might work out.  That’s one of the reasons Jesse and Admiral Long wanted me to have more time away from the Holy City.  They tell me I must keep my change hidden and secret from the Holy Prophet and his staff.”
“I certainly would listen to them and heed their advice, Brett.  They’re wise men.  I have full faith in them and for someone like me to confirm it should bear some weight.  I can understand their concerns, but as long as we have an open dialogue with each other, I don’t foresee a problem.  I’m enjoying this, just being here with you.  I probably would enjoy a little affection in the form of a nice kiss or two.”  Basil laughed.

“That was my next subject.”  Brett smiled as they shared a laugh and a kiss.

Brett took Basil into his arms in an embrace.  Basil raised his hand and placed it on one of Jones’ enormous pectoral muscles and slowly felt it like it was a precious object.  He couldn’t remember how many times during their trip to the savannah he wanted to reach out and touch the twin peaks of Mons St. Jones.  Basil imagined himself as a small, fey, delicate Deborah Kerr to Brett Jones’ Stewart Granger, hyper-masculine alpha-male, aloof, sweaty, guttural, pompously dismissive misogynist, Allen Quatermain in the 1950's version of  “King Solomon’s Mines” looking up at the massive, snow covered peak of Mount Kilimanjaro yearning deeply to be a part of it all, longing to follow Jones’ treasure trail down, down, down into the dark recesses of his pubic jungle to mine his masculine jewels as the music of Rachmaninoff’s Adagio Sostenuto from his second piano concerto in C minor Opus 18 swells in the background.

Ah, yes, romantic pay-dirt at its finest; a quartet of Basil’s favorite things, a mouthful of hot alpha-mancock, channeling Thomas Mann, Rock-man-knee-noff, and the greatest rock song ever, Katmandu.  ‘Cool, but not profound’ he thought, ‘then again, neither were most of his attempts at Joyce.  Just another form of glossolalia nonsense for the would-be intellectual set; a prized pig sans wings, puns on puns, with better makeup and heavier lipstick packaged as art.  Be it rolling-on-the-floor from fundamental religiosity or the esoteric pomposity of Finnigan, quirks and quarks, mesas and bosons, mesons and bisons, Bigalows and buffalos, particles and pratfalls, all part of the sub-atomic psychedelic zoo; all loomed large on his mental horizon, smelled as bad and were piled as high as any other brain fart or steaming meadow muffin which every pragmatic sojourner seeking the grail of personal bliss must step over on his journey through life to discover for himself something that resembles sanity; something that resembles peace.  ‘Not as easy a task as it might seem.’  Basil mused to himself.

Hell, with his art Basil launched a few swine into orbit to become firmly fixed stars in the firmament.  Basil was convinced, art wasn’t about content so much as it was about packaging; unfortunately, an esoteric pig by any name is still just an overdressed oinker.  Not so with Brett Jones.  Big ears and all, Jones was the real thing.  If Jones was a pig, Basil wanted to share his wallow.  There was just something about the big man that spun the propeller on Basil’s beany.  Jones made the young man’s asshole pucker then lose its tensile calling as his brain turn to cottage cheese.  Basil wanted nothing more than to feed his flock of free-range thoughts while paying homage to Officer Jones’ manhood, but the idea of scaling Mons St. Jones was just too damn appealing.  Now there was a solid into which he could sink his brain-teeth.  Did his brain have teeth?  Of course it did.  Born on Juneteenth of lasting strength they would masticate every thought from sublime to ridiculous.  Ah, but Jones’ teats,— they were the real thing.  Not to be denied.  No fantasy here.  They were as solid and wonderful to Basil’s touch as he imagined them to be.  They grounded his wandering psyche well within the positive electrons of the planet’s core.

‘Fuck Deborah Kerr, she was so damn effeminate!  It’s wrong to think ill of the recently departed, but I don’t wanna’ be like her.  I wanna’ be a man among men.  I wanna’ be like Brett Jones.  I don’t want to be Brett Jones, but I wanna’ be his counterpart.  I wanna’ be his macho man.  I’d suck his teats ‘til his head caves in.  Yin, Yang, cock and gin, but surely I say unto you, my brethren, the greatest of these be teats.  Ah, yes, teats!  Officer Jones’ big, firm, fully packed man-teats!  I gotta’ get me a pair of them things.’ Basil shook his head to clear his brain.  It didn’t work.  Basil filed away his thoughts under ‘man-maid’ in an area just short of the dark, unexplored, masculine region of his Medulla Oblongata. (He was surprised to find he actually had one.)  He fantasized it was named after and populated with the biggest, blackest, most fierce tribe of African warriors who were purported to have the largest male appendages of any hominid on Earth.  (‘Or was it a metaphor taken from Catulli?’ he pondered: ‘Tua mentula elongata est.’ Only Orff, who prattled on about his tuned stone temple blocks, would know for sure.)  It was one more rumor less than fact, few men survived a butt fucking by a ponderously pendulous penis of the Medulla Oblongata tribe.  Of those who did, most committed suicide shortly thereafter, because they knew they would never know such contentment, such complete fulfillment again.  Those who didn’t, were doomed to roam the Earth as empty vessels, with a sad, forlorn look in their eyes, forever seeking to be filled once more.  There was neither a pill to relieve their sorrow nor a rubber husband so large or comely it could afford them a moment’s peace.  Because of their failure to find solace for themselves, only they knew the true origins of the Latin phrase: Pacem in Terras.  Jones gently kissed Basil as the young man’s brain babbled on in his head blissfully unaware of what the DNA of Jones’ touch, as loving and comforting as it seemed, was doing to him.

* * * * * * *

The next morning, after a good breakfast, the men who were going with Captain Vinceeth and Captain Waco left the main area.  The kids were going back down to the savanna.  There were enough Vasillian warriors from the Banshee to oversee everything.  Trey informed his partner the evening before about what he found so Waco could assist him if necessary.  Waco was astounded as he knew the Admiral and his dad would be.  They came to a large room with what appeared to be a large, central round island table in the middle.  Around the island table about four feet above floated what looked like holo-vid screens and there was some strange apparatus in the center of the island.  Waiting for the men were the two fine looking androids they first met when Waco and his companions reactivated the main caverns on Mars and awakened its android work force.  Their names were Nonno and Leiset.  They were a perfectly formed pair of anatomically correct, human androids and wore cream colored jump suits with one thin, dark-blue stripe down the left side.  They greeted the men.

“Welcome to Mars central observation and diagnostic center, gentlemen.  Some of you may remember me and my female partner from your activation of the caverns.  I’m called Nonno and my partner is Leiset.  We’re here to assist you anyway we can.  I’ll turn things over to Captain Vinceeth and we will assist him in his visual presentation.  Trey stood on a slightly raised dias in front of the men with the island workstation behind him.

“Nonno and Leiset brought me and several of my officers here when we returned with our last cargo of endangered critters.  The Admiral left instructions for them to look into anything more they could find out about the planet, its history and any other wonders the Krell might have left behind that might aid us in our joint venture to save as much of Earth’s eco-system and history as possible.  Leiset, if you please, put up the latest cavern maps you and Nonno have compiled for us.”

Leiset didn’t answer, but quickly set to work typing commands into the keyboard at her workstation at the island.  The holo-vid screens came to life and everyone marveled at the beauty and completeness of the three dimensional renderings of the enormity and complexity of the Martian caverns.

“What you’re looking at, gentlemen, is the latest maps compiled, but please be aware, these maps are not complete; not everything has been explored yet.  We estimate only seventy-five percent of the available, sustainable land mass within the caverns have been found.  Already the landmass and oceans have surpassed the total landmass of Earth and still there is twenty-five percent more to be discovered.  We know it’s there from the records.  We just haven’t found them yet, but we will.” Trey paused for a moment to let the enormity of the findings sink in.  There was a lot of whispering.  Finally, the Admiral spoke.

“It’s incredible, Trey.  It’s more remarkable than any of us considered upon first discovery.  It’s almost like it’s a godsend for our purposes.”

“You may feel even more that way when you find out what else they’ve discovered.  As you know there were two enormously large bodies of water discovered.  One was a salt sea and the other more recently found is a huge ocean of fresh water.  Leiset?”  Trey spoke to the female android and she hit another key on her keyboard.  A detailed map of the waters of Mars appeared within the three dimensional ball representing the outer surface of the planet.  Clearly identifiable were the two huge bodies of water in almost exactly the same proportions, one on one side of the planet’s center of gravity and the other on the opposite side.

“Remarkable.” Spoke Lazarus.

“What do they look like to you, Admiral?” Trey asked him.

“My first response is a human one.  They look like testicles.  They’re even ovoid in shape and depth.”  The men laughed and agreed.

“Exactly.  They struck me and Waco the same way.  What else, Sir?” Trey asked without hint.

“Fuel tanks?” Spoke up Charlie.

“Well done, Dad!” Smiled Trey

“You don’t mean to tell us. . .?”  demanded Lazarus.

“Hold on to your hats, gentlemen.  We will walk you thought this one step at a time.  We’ll physically show you.  The oceans serve two purposes; containers for a very active eco-system and as fuel tanks for an unbelievably advanced and sophisticated tachyon drive system to propel the planet.  Mars never developed as the other planets in this system and our discovery has the Venerians looking into the possibility their planet wasn’t natural to this solar system either.  Mars was definitely flown into its present orbit, but we don’t know why or for what purpose.

Nonno and Leiset call them ‘tachyon’ drives, but we ain’t real sure that’s correct, but for our purposes, it’s close enough.  It’s probably the most comprehensive explanation for our limited knowledge and understanding of hyper-drives.  Our scientists are just now coming around to conceiving the possibilities and elementary applications of the quantum world.  Even Nonno and Leiset’s explanations of its capabilities tries our understanding.  Its like trying to explain the concept of a forth dimensional tesseract, a hypercube or n-cube, to a three dimensional world.  A hypercube is the concept of a small box with a larger interior than exterior, like the Tardis of Dr. Who or the ultimate representation becoming the holo-deck of Star Trek fame.  The first steps to a greater understanding on a physical level might be compared to the diminution of the communities on our ships; same goal but different applications.

Our trip for this morning, we will take you to the center of the planet where the liquid, molten core is contained within an electromagnetic tesseract field of huge internal proportions yet is contained within a sphere about twenty kilometers in diameter.  Its containment is the reason all plate tectonics have ceased on the planet.  Mars surface is no longer growing due to the cessation of its internal forces to push the planet’s building abilities.  That’s why your scientist have labeled Mars a dead world, but nothing could be further from the truth.  Seeing it from the surface, travelers from another galaxy wouldn’t give it a second look.  Not unlike Pandora’s box, if its heart were released from its prison, its tesseract field, it would continue its growth, but it would also cause massive destruction and changes in the caves as the planet continues to expand.  As it is, the tesseract containing the core of the planet acts like a giant reactor which is capable of breaking down the basic elements of water to create tachyons.  A single drop of water can produce enough tachyons to power the engines for a fortnight.

The second part, is to show you the propulsion engines themselves, the scale and size of which have no corollary to our comprehension.  If you could make a mathematical equation equivalent to the mystery of all the Pyramids on Earth and multiply their conundrums by a thousand fold, you would only approach a small portion, perhaps less than ten percent, of the magnitude of this accomplishment.  There has never been anything found on any planet of any solar system to equal the staggering engineering achievement of these drives.  Their sheer size and scale are almost incomprehensible.  We estimate the equivalent land mass would be the size of the entire European continent including Russia and China, from the Atlantic to the Pacific.  They’re just that massive and that’s not even considering the incredibly huge amounts of material which had to be removed from the planet’s core to accommodate them,— and where did it go, what did they do with it?  So far, we don’t have a clue.”  Trey smiled as he shook his head.

“How many are there, Son?” Lazarus asked.

“Two complete drives, Admiral.  Enough power to put the fictional Krell civilization to shame.  It would be the equivalent of the base power function of the id multiplied to the ultimate logarithmic expression by the power of ten to thirty-two hundred billion, quadrillion mega-joules output.  The only thing we might compare them with is two controlled supernovas the size of a star a thousand times larger than sol.  To be honest, it’s kept me awake a number of nights trying to comprehend the magnitude of it all and for what purpose it was conceived and constructed.  It’s amazing it’s been here all this time, lying dormant, and becomes available to us after several hundred thousand years of sleep.  Even more incredible is, everything checks out to be in perfect working order like the day it was rolled off the assembly line and onto the showroom floor.  It makes one think about predestination and the voices of the Ancients looking out for the future and the balance of the universe.  Whoever built this world or converted it into its present form were beyond gods.  They were in a class by themselves.”

“Then, in essence, what you’re telling us is the planet Mars is an enormous spaceship, fully gassed up and ready to fly?” Lazarus asked incredulously.

“Yes, Sir, that’s exactly what we’re telling you with a couple of qualifications.  The tachyon engines have no thrust ports like a conventional rocket engine.  They’re more like our drives on the Bandersnatch and now on the Banshee.  On our ships, movement is achieved and is a byproduct of wave manipulation from positive and negative field functions.  They create vast fields of electro-mechanical repulsion and attraction waves that act like positive and negative magnetic poles which use the standard applications of the ethotic universal  ‘lay-line’ derivative functions upon the action, interaction, and reaction of dark matter applications.  Because our knowledge on the subject of ‘tachyons’ is so rudimentary we’re not real sure how these engines operate and their basic cause and effects.  Nonno and Leiset are still translating vast quantities of Krell scientific libraries and the closest they can come up with is the engines don’t cause the planet to fly or move, so much as jump.  While they are capable of moving Mars in a linear manner, we think, once the engines are engaged, they cause the entire planet and its contents to jump from one time dilation to another to arrive in another solar system within another galaxy billions or even trillions of light years away.  One second it’s in the sol system, the next it floats within a separate inner-dimensional state, the longest part of the jump, for as long as it takes to type in the coordinates for a new destination; once done,— ‘bamm’— it jumps to the prescribed coordinates.

Passengers and crew feel little more than a slight discomfort in their stomachs.  Neither an egg in the galley nor one under a mother hen will be cracked.  The lack of movement, as opposed to jumping, would suggest Mars, at one time, perhaps when it was placed into orbit in this system, still had an atmosphere, surface water and may even have supported rudimentary life-forms.  If it was moved at any speed, it could possibly rip away an atmosphere, severely jeopardize fragile H2O or any life that might be present.  It would seem, this planet was created with the sole purpose of hiding, protecting and transporting fragile elements necessary for life and enough room to preserve and reestablish vast quantities of evolved life-forms.  It begs the question, could its original purpose have been to bring life to this solar system?  The explosion of life forms during the Cambrian  period was so great it’s never been accounted for by scientist.  There were too many that simply appeared almost overnight with no regard to the laws and dynamics of evolution.”
“You mean, life on Earth might have come from an ark?  Mars could have been our ark.” whispered Charlie rhetorically.

“Much more than just an ark, Dad,” replied Waco, “it not only can transport precious cargo, it can sustain it almost indefinitely.  Nonno and Leiset’s studies have confirmed it is a perfectly sustainable ethos unto itself and has been so almost as long as the Earth has been in orbit around our sun.” added Waco.  He continued,  “We’re still looking for information about how long Mars has been in our system, but time to the builders of this world wasn’t as important to them as it is to us.  Maybe as we live longer lives, it will become less important to us.  Who knows?”  Waco shrugged his shoulders.

“Any questions, gentlemen?” Asked Captain Vinceeth.

“How long to load and when do we leave?” asked Lucas like he was ready to go today.  Everyone laughed at his enthusiasm.

“Admiral Long?” Trey referred the question to Lazarus.

“With these new discoveries it might move up the exodus somewhat from the original projections of the universal high council and might change the directives of the Ancients.  Let’s face it, things have gone from bad to worse on Earth.  I foresee only a few more years before it all comes to a head, but to be honest, I have a feeling those higher than myself have factored all this findings into the equations, and my guess is, we still have about five years.  What I see as an added bonus to these finding is we will be able to take many more folks and critters than originally planned.  We can use this world as the model of what we hope to achieve in another galaxy.  It can become a separate social structure unto itself.  We need more folks to colonize whose main purpose will be to oversee and protect the delicate eco-structure already in place.  For now, I’m thrilled and satisfied with Captain Vinceeth, Nonno and Leiset’s findings.  I’m anxious to see what other wonders you have to show us, Captain.”  Lazarus urged Trey and Waco to continue with the tour.

“This way, gentlemen.”  Nonno spoke for the first time to direct the men to the shuttle train.  The cars of the shuttle train were considerably different from the bullet train to the savannah.  These were plush parlor cars like one might find on a world class train, complete with fully stocked bar and an elegant dinning car that served first class food and spirits.  The train had no wheels so there was no sense of movement.  It rode on a electromagnetic field.  Differences in air pressure from the rear to the front of the train propelled it forward or in reverse depending on the desired direction of travel.  It took sometime to get up to speed, but because there was no friction from wheels or bearings, it soon got up to supersonic speeds.  Captain Vinceeth had Leiset give a brief description of the train and the facilities available.  They had cabin cars available in case anyone chose to lie down for a while to rest or for whatever purpose.  There were snickers at her use of the word ‘whatever’ but poor Leiset had no clue she said anything funny.

The trip took approximately four hours, but the men enjoyed the food and drink the androids provided.  They played games and conversed about the meaning of everything they learned in the last few days.  Basil and Brett Jones were more and more impressed by the circumstances, of which, they found themselves becoming a part.  Even though they hadn’t bonded physically, they were being drawn to each other on a much stronger level of compatibility than either might have guessed at the time.  They didn’t seem to have as much interest in the conversations of the cowboys and the others who were directly affected by these new findings.  Brett and Basil were more interested in how all this might work out for them and their future.  It began to overwhelm them.  Surprisingly, Nonno came to their rescue.  
“Would you gentlemen prefer to spend some time in one of our private rooms?  We would be happy to provide anything you might require.  We are fully staffed.”

Basil looked at Brett and they read each others faces.

“I think that would be very nice, thank you, Nonno.” replied Jones.

“I agree with my friend, Sir.” Basil added his agreement.

“This way, gentlemen.”  Nonno motioned with his hand.  The men got up and under the watchful eyes of the other men made their way to one of the private rooms.   Nonno show them the room and asked if they needed anything.  He showed them how to use the servant notification system and if activated promised someone would come to their room within minutes.  He wished them well, they thanked him and he left them to themselves.

“This is nice.” said Basil.

“Much nicer.” replied Jones.  They sat in silence for a while listening to the soft swooshing sound of the train as it passed certain markers.  The markers were purposely designed and built into the tunnels as a psychological aid to passengers so they might judge how fast they were traveling.  The faster the markers passed the faster the train was going.  They acted as a rhythm of comfort, like a surrogate heartbeat to relax and reassure the passengers.  They served the same purpose as a mechanical clock enclosed in several pairs of old socks and placed in the bed of a lonely puppy who howls all night for his mother.  The steady beat of the clock wasn’t his mother’s heartbeat, but he didn’t know the difference.  It would soon quiet him down and give his new household a peaceful night’s sleep.

“Would you like to get naked and lie on the bed with me, Basil?”

“I considered yesterday our first date, Sir.  Today is another day and in my mind might qualify as our second date.  I don’t know if I can be good and wait for our third date.”

“I understand.  I have no fear of you being good.  Even if you allow yourself to be bad, I’ll bet you’re very good at it.” Jones laughed.

“Are you still afraid of changing, Sir?”

“Not so much today as last evening.  If we remain oral I don’t think we’ll have much problem, but I don’t know what might happen if you were to ingest my load anally.  It ain’t like a regular human’s.  It’s like everything else about my body.  They’re made up of many tiny individuals.  In essence you might be eating parts of my body.  That might be good, or it could be bad.  It seemed to work for Jesus if you don’t consider all the hype and controversy  about trans-substantiation, but on the upside, I promise I won’t ask you to drink my blood and pretend it’s wine.” Jones grinned at Basil.  Basil grimaced like the comparison was not to his liking.  Jones continued,  “On the other hand, my guys might find they’re in the wrong body, try to readjust or find their way home.  I just don’t know what will happen.”

“At this point, I’m too damn horny and hungry for you it doesn’t matter to me.  I’m ready to throw caution under the train.  Whatever the outcome or whatever comes out, we’ll deal with it together.  Agreed?”

“Agreed, partner.” Jones said as he embraced Basil and stole a kiss.

The men talked quietly as they undressed.  “How much longer do we have on the train?” asked Basil

“About an hour.  I understand the tour will take a couple of hours and then a four hour return trip.” Jones said.

“I may be ready for a nap on the way back.” said Basil.

“Me, too.” agreed Jones.

They lay down together and started making love.  It wasn’t long before Basil worked his way down Brett Jones’ treasure trail to his engorged penis and began to make love to it.  Basil was very good at cock-sucking.  Jones made a few efforts to participate, but Basil waved him off.  He wanted only to pleasure Jones and didn’t want to be distracted.  Jones gave up, lay back and enjoyed his partner’s talented mouth.  It didn’t take Basil long before Jones was squirming beneath the onslaughts of his partner’s throat.  Finally, Jones arched his back, started gasping for air and spoke quietly to Basil.

“You got me, Son.  I’m there.  Take me, Basil.”  he spoke as a plea and not a command.  Basil was like a demon in his pursuit of his prize.  He felt Jones ejaculate boiling up from his depths and quickly flowing the length of his hot, officer’s cock.  He swallowed volley after volley and was sure a normal male never produced so much.  He bravely drank every bit and to his surprised it tasted more sweet than ordinary.  Jones’ come seemed to have a thicker, creamier texture, almost like eggnog.  After cleaning Jones with his tongue and mouth, Basil rolled onto his side, allowed his partner to make love to him and compliment him on his blow-job.

“That was fantastic, Son, I really appreciate the release.  I’ll be happy to reciprocate as soon as you’ve had a chance to recover.”

“No, no, you don’t have to reciprocate.  It ain’t necessary, Officer Jones.  I did what I did because I wanted to, not because I expected anything in return.”

“Perhaps not, but that pretty much leaves half my needs standing outside the door in the cold and rain, don’t it?”

Basil laughed at his analogy.  “You don’t have to look at it that way.  Just look at it as a gift.”

“Am I gonna’ be in charge of our relationship?”  Brett asked quietly.

“Yes, Sir.  I’d like it that way.  I understand your point.  I promise, Sir, no further arguments.”

“Good.  Now, come up here and let me make love to you for a while.”

Basil responded, but was suddenly aware something was happening to his body.

“Oh, god!” he exclaimed.

“What’s going on?” Jones demanded, “Speak to me, boy!  Tell me what you feel.”

“I don’t know.  It’s like I’m having a reverse . . .  aggggrrrgg!  Oh, god!  That was unbelievable.” exclaimed Basil as he squirmed and writhed on the bed.

“A reverse what, Basil?  What’s unbelievable?” Jones again demanded.

“A reverse orgasm....”  Basil choked out as he doubled over with his hands around his gut.  “Oh, my god!”  he reached down with his right hand and carefully felt his testicles.  They were enlarged to almost double their size and were incredibly sensitive.  He pulled them up where Jones could see them.  “Feel!”  Basil offered, then added, “But for god’s sake, be gentle.”  he held them loosely in his hands.  Jones could see their enlarged size and gently felt them.  They were hard as two large rocks.

“I was afraid of something like this.” Jones stated.

“What’s happening, Sir?”

“I think my guys discovered they weren’t home in my body so they moved to the closest analog of home-base they could find, your testicles.  Is it painful, Son?”

“Not so much painful as it itches like crazy, it’s like ma’ balls are on fire, and it’s making me horny as hell.  It feels like the old myth of getting blue balls when you ain’t come in a while.  It makes me wanna’ take my fingernails and claw them out of my balls.”

“That can’t be good.  All the more reason for me to reciprocate.” stated Jones as he stole another kiss from Basil.  Jones soon moved down to Basil’s ample cock and started to make love to it.  He was surprised it only took him several strokes with his throat when Basil emptied both his and his partner’s stored load into Jones’ mouth.  Brett took everything and gulped it down, volley after volley.  He could tell the difference between his and his partner’s ejaculate.  His was a bit sweeter and Basil’s was a bit more salty and tart.  Together they reminded him of an oriental sweet and sour sauce.  He mentally reprimanded his guys and sent them back to their nest.  He could feel his balls filling up again.  Jones could swear he heard giggling as they went.  The rest, Basil’s sperm, were doomed to become part of Jones’ afternoon snack.  He had to talk with Jessie about this.  How could he relieve himself if his guys were like homing pigeons and could find their way back?  Jones looked up to see his partner lying on the small bed, glassy-eyed, like he was in another state of consciousness.

“You okay, Son?” Jones spoke softly as he rubbed Basil’s forehead and smoothed his hair.

“I’ve never experienced sex like that before.  I’ve never felt so drained.”  Basil paused for a moment, then added, “That was incredible.  Thanks, Officer Jones.  I’m glad you’re in charge.  See, you knew what to do.  You took care of my problem.  I have faith in you to lead us.  I don’t think you would ever hurt me.  What just happened was a bit unexpected, but I can’t say it wasn’t exciting.  It was certainly stimulating.  I thought I never would stop coming.  How are you, now that everything is back in place?”

“I have to talk with Jesse about this.  How can I get relief if my guys act like Little Bo Peep’s sheep; leave them alone and they’ll come home wagging their tails behind them?” they shared a laugh.  Jones wondered where that came from.  He never made a joke before.  He never felt like he had the smarts to make jokes.  It felt good to hear his mate laugh at his metaphorical analogy.  God help him!  He even knew what ‘metaphorical analogy’ meant.

‘What isn’t sacrificed for procreation purposes returns to be recycled as food for thought.’ came flooding into Jones’ mind from several tiny male voices who were once again all warm and cozy between his massive thighs.  In his head it sounded like a chorus composed of the Vienna Boys Choir and the Chipmunks.  

“Oh, good god!” he sighed, “Now they’re singing to me.” he groaned as his grabbed his balls with both hands and gently squeezed.  It struck Basil as funny, and he broke up laughing.

“I probably have the only date on this train with singing balls.  Even Roy Rogers couldn’t claim that unless you count the Son’s of the Pioneers.  I wish I could hear them.” he laughed.

“No you don’t!  They’re singing about what part of them don’t get used for insemination return to me to be absorbed as fertilizer for my brain, or as they put it, ‘food for thought.’” groaned Jones.

“Food for thought?  Now, that’s funny!” declared Basil as he laughed some more, “If nothing else you could end up with a very fertile mind, or you might even have some pregnant thoughts.” he teased.  He laughed so hard he got Jones laughing with him.

“Stop!” laughed Jones, “I don’t think my crotch commandos should have choices like that.  They’re carrying socialism for the body politic too far.  They’re pushing the no-man-left-behind idea over the top.  Whoever heard of a military tradition becoming a syndrome?  That’s ridiculous.  No matter what I’ve become, I expect to be in charge of my body and all its functions.  Next thing you know some damn ignorant rabid fundamentalist Republican will want to pass some stupid law to forcibly protect my sea-men from ejaculation.  Why stop with a fertilized egg?  Semen and eggs share a half-life.  Pounding your pud will be outlawed.  My body will not be a democracy.  At worst I plan to be a dictatorial tyrant, like a demanding and unbending orchestral conductor, or at best, a benevolent monarch.  If I’m the decider-in-chief, they should be ready to sacrifice themselves to respond to my needs and not theirs.  I learned that from Saint W. Dumbfuck, the first false prophet.” Jones said with considerable sarcasm and some disillusioned anger.  “Ah, well, it could be worse, I suppose.” allowed Jones, “It could be my waste that insists on being recycled to my head instead.” he laughed.  That really set Basil off and they held each other laughing.  They calmed down and dozed in each others arms for a while until the bell to their cabin rang.  Brett answer the receiver.

“This is Nonno reminding you and Mr. Troubadour you have only fifteen minutes before we arrive at our destination.  You may wish to join the others, Sir.”

“Yes, thank you, Nonno.  We’ll be right along.”  Brett smiled at Basil. “Shall we pickup where we left off on the way back, Son?” he inquired.

“I’d like that.  I’d like a little more experience dealing with your guys.”

“You sure?”

“I’m sure.  They don’t frighten me none.” replied Basil with conviction.

* * * * * * *

Trey and Waco led the men to the main engine room complex which worked in conjunction with a larger control center near the lodge in the first great cavern.  The entire planet could be directed from either control center, but it was set up to have the second be an engineered slave to the first.  Trey had Nonno and Leiset show them live camera shots of the tesseract containment center where the molten core of the planet was contained.  There were filters on the lenses to protect the viewer from harmful rays that might damage their eyes.  They walked around for several hours until it was almost noon, then returned to the train for a nice lunch.  Talk was lively over lunch and what all this meant for their eventual getaway.

After lunch they took another shuttle to the shores of the great fresh water ocean.  It was as big as the Pacific Ocean on earth and had many small islands one could travel to and explore on their journey across the great expanse.  It was as remarkable as any other of the incredible discoveries on Mars.  Trey and Waco were able to show the men a holo-vid of the two engines and everyone marveled at the enormity of their size.  The men spent another couple of hours touring several parts of the engineering section within the interior of the enormous structures.  There were mechanical bots everywhere in nooks and crannies of the great structure.  Many had only one purpose, they saw to that function and nothing else.  There were bots to check the other bots, take care of them, repair them, and replace them when needed.  There was even a retirement center for the more sentient bots.  They were only reprocessed when their final battery pack expired.

The men boarded the train and started the return journey.  Everyone sat around having refreshments and talking.  Basil and Brett Jones didn’t speak much, but the cowboys didn’t try to drag them into their conversations.  They could see from the way the men looked at each other they were falling in love.  No one wanted to disturb that possibility.  There was none of the rowdy ‘well-met’ teasing or congratulations which usually accompanied two of their group when bonding.  While Basil was a dedicated and respected member of the colonies, Brett Jones wasn’t and was shown the respect of a visiting dignitary.  On the other hand, they considered Commander Hawkins an anointed member and his relationship with Sam Stamper was open season.  Sam took their joking with his usual aplomb and stood up for his handsome, mature suitor.  Sam’s genuine friendship and good humor only endeared him to the commander all the more.

* * * * * * *

Brett and Basil stayed to themselves and when invited to a private cabin they quietly agreed to once again let Nonno lead the way.  They spent most of the return trip in the private room.  The were just enjoying each others company and getting to know one another.

“What did you have in mind about getting to know my ‘guys’ better?” Jones asked Basil.

“Now that we know what to expect, I wonder what would happen if I ignored their persistence, and they were faced with a dead end?  What if I gave them an option of either cooperating or being flushed out manually by masturbation.”

“They would probably accept the challenge, make themselves free particles, then seek me out and conjoin with me again.”

“What if I just endured them and allowed them to be absorbed?”

“I don’t know, but I don’t think I want to take the chance until we’ve talked with Jesse Watkins.  Right now, he’s busy with the others and enjoying the excitement of their findings.  We were lucky last time.  I don’t want to be a threat you.  I have to find an answer or solution, if you will,” Brett chuckled, “that will work for both of us before I return to the Holy City.  If I’m expected to perform for the holy father and something like that happens, I’ll have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do.” Brett said like Ricky Ricardo.  Basil giggled.

“Do you think the Steele kids could help?  I noticed some older Evanescent children who looked to be about puberty age.  Perhaps they might know something about it.” Basil suggested.

“I hadn’t thought of that, but it’s a good idea.  Let’s talk with Jessie first.”

As the trip progressed there came a ring on the intercom from Nonno.  Brett answered.

“Pardon my intrusion, Sir, but Jesse Watkins asked if he and his companion might visit you and Mr. Troubadour in your cabin?”

“Yes, of course, Nonno.  We’re not doing anything but relaxing.  Ask him to give us a few minutes to dress.” Jones told him.

“I don’t think your nudity would bother Master Watkins or Utah, Sir.”

“No, I don’t suppose it would.  Thanks, Nonno, tell them to come right away, then.”

“Thank you, Sir.  I’ll tell them immediately.”

Brett looked at Basil and smiled. “Okay with you, Son?”  he asked.

“You’re in charge, Sir.  Of course it’s all right with me.  One of the first things I learned when I came to the colonies is, no one is shy about nudity.  If you want to be considered an insider, you can’t be shy either.  I’ll admit, it took me a while to keep from staring at some of the drop-dead handsome cowboys, but everyone was patient with me, and I soon got over the novelty of it.  How do you think I could be around you all day yesterday on the savanna without drooling out the corners of my mouth like an idiot?” Basil laughed.

“You like me that much, Son?” Jones grinned and blushed.

“Pert-damn much, Sir.” Basil used cowboy lingo he’d heard so many times.

“I think you’re pert-damn special too, kiddo.” Jones grabbed Basil and stole a kiss as a knock came on the cabin door.

“Come in, it’s open.” Jones stated in a loud voice.

Jesse Watkins and his faithful companion Utah came into the room.  Jones and Basil were still holding each other sitting on the edge of the bed.  They were completely nude and didn’t bother to rush around to cover themselves.  Jesse and Utah didn’t bat an eye.  They just looked at each other and smiled.

“Have a seat, Sir and you too, Utah.”  Jones motioned for them to sit down.  “What can we do for you gentlemen?” Jones realized he included Utah in that and felt funny for a moment.  He winked at the handsome dog.

“That’s all right, Mr. Jones.  I’m sometimes a gentleman, although I much prefer to be known as my master’s companion.”

“I think I understand, but sometime I’d like to talk with you more about why you feel that way, Utah.”

“Be happy too, Sir.  At your convenience.” Utah urged, then turned his attention to his master.

“We came to see if there’s anything we can do for you men.  We picked up some vibrations on the winds that things might be more complicated for you than necessary.  We heard you might like to discuss it with us.”

“Yes, Sir, I think we would.” Jones turned to Basil like he was expecting him to join in.

“I think I understand Utah’s position a little better than you might, Sir.”  Basil smiled at Jones, “I agreed, where you lead I will follow.”

“Good for you, Mr. Troubadour.  You do understand.” commented Utah.

Jones explained what happened when they tried oral sex, and they were afraid to try anything else because of Basil’s initial reaction.

“It’s a minor problem Utah and I can handle, but you have to realize if you find you like each other enough to continue to bond, there might be other considerations necessary.”

“What sort of consideration, Mr. Watkins?” Jones asked suspiciously taking Basil’s hand in his.

“We’ve analyzed your change and while you’ve taken on most of the characteristics of the Evanescents you still retain about forty percent human characteristics.  We hope to have you stabilized by the end of the week and you should only have a possible change factor of another five to ten percent; then, hopefully, everything will be stabilized.  Your change should be complete.  What you two need to consider is, if you choose Basil and he accepts you for a mate, there is the possibility of him changing to become compatible with you, and by that, we don’t mean just male/male compatible.  With all the variables we’re dealing with, anything is possible.”

“What about returning to the Holy City and my relationship with the Holy Father?”

“By that time, you should be fully stabilized.  We won’t release you to return until we’re comfortable you can handle your situation.  We understand you’ll be under some scrutiny for a while.  We’ll train you in your new abilities you’re not aware of yet.  Norman can’t get pregnant anyway, because I didn’t given him any more than the basic female plumbing.  Right now, you shouldn’t have to be worrying about snuffing your warriors while entertaining someone of your choice.” Utah laughed at his master’s joke.  Jesse looked down at the beautiful dog and petted him.  “God love him, he’s my best audience, gentlemen.” he smiled at Brett and Basil.

“Basil suggested a couple of the older Evanescent males might be able to help me.” Jones said.

“Wouldn’t do no harm to ask ‘em.  They’re all curious.  They know what happened to you.  They might want to crawl inside and take a look around.  They wouldn’t hurt chu’ none.  In the meantime you can take care of most of your problems.  Just remember, you have hundreds of thousands of tiny individual critters who make up the sum of your parts.  Your wavy navy ain’t the only ones with a say in your makeup.  You can make your own checks and balances and regulate them accordingly with your other cells.  You’re the sheriff.  Deputize a number of them and form a posse to ride herd on them upstart outlaw cowboys of yours.”

 “Then you’re telling me... us.... it’s all right for us to experiment with each other?”

“I think it’s safe enough.  Just remember, if you get into trouble you can always send for help.  We can be there in minutes.  If nothing else we can throw a bucket of cold water on you.” everyone shared a laugh.  Even Brett Jones thought that was funny.

“What a comfort!” Jones said still laughing, “I still feel unsure about my control of things.” said Jones with some reticence.

“There are some things you might want to think about and discuss with each other if you wish to continue seeing one another on a regular basis.  Otherwise, there might be unexpected consequences for Basil.”

“What kind of consequences?” Jones asked.

“We’re not sure but we foresee a possible blending of species to create a mate for you which could possibly become a compromise between species and sexes.  Beyond that, I can’t be more definite.  You ain’t dealing with your average boy meets boy or boy meets girl situation where you have the luxury of playing patty-cakes together for a while, and if it don’t work out, move to the next flower.  We’re talking serious consequences here.  You’ve made your decision, Officer Jones, but Basil hasn’t been given that option.  In the last forty years folks have had to contend with a passel of sexually transmitted diseases.  Most have been cured and vaccines created.  As you know, Brett, there is no chance for specie change.  Mother Nature plays for keeps.

But it ain’t as dire as it sounds.  Just make damn sure both of you know what you want.  I’m sorry I can’t be more specific, but once you make a decision, nature will take care of the rest.  It’s like when you made your choice to become a separate specie, once initiated, it will be taken out of your hands.  There’s no turning back, and like Humpty-Dumpty, no one can put either of you back the way you were.  I could’ve changed you back in the very first stages, Brett, and I can change Basil if something major begins to change with him, but after a couple more sessions with you, I probably won’t be able to.

“What about the Holy Prophet?  Will I have some effect on him I might have to explain?” Jones asked.

“None we can foresee.  You will quickly learn to control cause and effect of your body with him.  Like I say, we’ll make sure you’re fully stabilized before we release you to go back to the holy city.  He will expect nothing, but with his new expanded powers, he will be suspicious.  You must act normal and show more of a concerted effort to control your religious displays with a little more thought to inspiration.  You will find yourself changing in all directions, not just physically.”

“He’s noticing changes already, Sir.” Basil chimed in, “I’ve noticed changes in him since we’ve been together, but whatever’s effecting him is beginning to effect me, too.  Some of my ideas are changing.  My mind seems to be flooded with bits and pieces of arcane drivel that come to me out of the blue.  I don’t know where it comes from.  At first it seemed to make no sense l and then, the next minute, it all fits together like the parts of a surreal puzzle.  I mean it’s some bat-shit crazy thoughts.  It feels like part of my self that has been damaged by my time in the Cheney camp and the trauma of a near death experience is being healed inside my head.”  

“It may be, Son.  It’s almost to be expected.  The reason Officer Jones can heal folks is because of his mutated DNA.  Anytime he touches another person they’re affected by his genetic makeup.  We just don’t know how all this is working out as far as his specie change.  Undoubtedly Brett’s hormones may be affected and could cause a psychedelic reaction within your mind, much like a fever will cause you to have weird dreams.  Sometimes it don’t take no special talent— love alone can do that to a body.  We just can’t know all the variables.  You may be highly influenced by him physically and mentally.  Certainly, it must seem somewhat bizarre or surreal to you.  What’s happening to him is beyond the realm of your ordinary reality.  You’re like Alice who just popped down the rabbit hole and found herself in another universe where nothing makes sense.  In fact, what makes sense to you will actually work in your universe, but won’t when you return.  It doesn’t matter, you’ll have an operating knowledge of both, but also a greater overall understanding of everything.  It’s one thing to live and work among the colonies and be exposed to new and unusual things almost daily, yet it’s quite another to find yourself befriending a man who is becoming another specie.  Surely you’ve discussed this with each other?” Jesse questioned.  He watched Jones and Basil look at each other with blank looks.  “Maybe not.”  he conceded.

“Not as thoroughly as you’ve suggested, but we discussed what’s happening in regard to our adjusting to each other.  I’ve agreed to see Officer Jones through his change and be his friend.  I told him if he needed me, I want to help.  I agree to go along for the ride.  I’m not afraid of his changes, but after listening to your conversation I’m beginning to think he’s more concerned about that tyrant Scudder than he is me.” Basil sounded a bit hurt.

“No, no!  You can’t think that, Son.  I won’t let you think that, Basil.” Brett interjected in a demanding voice,  “It’s because of you I’m concerned about his reaction.  I want to see you again.  I want to be with you again, but the only way I’m gonna’ be able to do it is to know how to get around him without him discovering what or how much I know.  He’s a much greater threat to us than any changes that might be occurring with me or you.  You have to believe me, Basil.  Please believe me, Son.”

“I believe you, Brett.  I’m sorry I doubted you.” Basil said.

Jones pulled the young man into his arms, held him tightly and stole a kiss.  Utah looked at his master, grinned and wagged his tail.

“You both would do well to spend some time with Sonny and Vivian Steele when we return.” said Jesse, “Talk with them about the adjustments they had to make taking on two alien children as their own.  They are two of the most remarkable people we’ve run across in a long time.  They have taken the experience and allowed themselves to grow and learn from it.  Adam and Eve couldn’t have better parents even if they were the same specie.  Also talk with Warren Steele and his mate Horse.  Talk with Indigo/Blue and Keekepata.  They will have some revelations for you.  Talk with Captain Vinceeth and Waco.  They’ve had to make some adjustments.  Your suggestion of talking with a couple of the older male or even female Evanescent children is an excellent idea, but most of all, after tonight, by the time we return through the gate tomorrow morning to the colonies, you two must know what you want for the future or you must break off any further attempts at seeing each other for a while, otherwise it might be disastrous for Basil.”  Jesse saw the surprised look on the men’s faces and paused to let his words sink in.

“I don’t ever want any harm to come to Basil, Sir.” Jones said almost with tears in his eyes.

“We know you don’t, Brett.  It’s the furthest thing from our minds.  It ain’t our intention to alarm you either, but it’s just the way things are right now.  After tonight, if you withdraw from each other, wait until Brett’s changes are complete, he has full control of himself and his new abilities, then you may begin to see each other again.  Until then, it could be dangerous for you to continuing seeing each other.  Just like I told you when you chose to accept the change, I couldn’t guarantee the outcome because there were too many variables.  It’s the same with Basil now.  We can’t guarantee the outcome once Mother Nature gets her hands on you two.  Her first thought is to preserve, protect and guarantee a new specie’s survival and she will go to great lengths to make sure she does.  Just like our situation now on Earth.  Do you think it’s by chance this world is here, ready and available right at the moment we need it most?”

“What are the chances I was saved from death to insure Brett’s and my linage survive?” Basil spoke the words he heard being said in his head.

Jesse looked at Utah and grinned real big.  “Are you ever wrong?”  he asked the beautiful dog.  Utah just smiled and wagged his tail. “We discussed it, Basil.  There’s a good possibility that just may be the case.  My companion and I argued that very point this morning.  I’ve come to believe he was right, and I was wrong.  What told you to ask?”  Jesse smiled at the young man.

“I don’t know.  A voice in my head.  I’ve been getting input ever since I’ve been with Officer Jones.  I told you about it.  It just comes to me out of left field.  I don’t know where it’s coming from.  I have no idea, but I ain’t afraid of it.  It seems to be directing me.  It’s the same voice that came to me as I lay dying in that awful Cheney camp.”

“Okay, maybe there’s another dimension we ain’t considered.  Too many damn variables are happening too quickly for me.  I’m just getting too damn old to keep up with all of it, especially now when the state of the universe is in such flux.  Thank the voices and the Ancients I got my companion to help me remember the details more clearly than I can by myself.  Don’t know what I’d do without him.  I wouldn’t wanna’ find out.  When we get back to the Bandersnatch I’ll have Cable run a complete blood workup on you Basil.  By comparing your blood to Officer Jones’ we might be able to make a better prediction or give you a better explanation why you’re having weird thoughts.  We don’t expect to find any health problems, because Brett’s DNA will have taken care of any anomalies you might have had.  So when you return tomorrow morning, you and Brett go right to sickbay and tell Cable what I want.  In the meantime, unless you learn something or come up with a better idea, you might want to consider what we’ve talked about here this afternoon.”

“We will, Sir.  I don’t want no harm to come to Basil.”

The intercom bell rang and a voice came over the speaker.

“Sorry for the intrusion, gentlemen, but we will be arriving at the Lodge station in fifteen minutes.  We thought you might like to know.”

“Thanks, Nonno. We’ll be ready.” replied Jones.

“We’ll leave you gentlemen to get dressed.  Come little brother.” Jesse spoke to his companion.

“Thanks for dropping by, Mr. Watkins.  Thank you, Utah.  We appreciate your help.” Jones said. “You’ve given us a lot to think about.”

* * * * * * *

Jones and Basil joined the other men.  Commander Hawkins hugged both men like he approved of their being together.  Sam, the ever consummate gentleman cowboy, shook their hands and just grinned real big.  

“We’ll be arriving soon, gentlemen.”  Del told them, “There’s some kind of emergency on the savannah among Ping and Pong’s tribe.  Jesse and Utah  requested you to join them immediately upon returning.  They’re hoping you might be able to do something to help the small critters.”

“We’ll do our best, Sir.” replied Jones looking at Basil.  Basil blushed because Brett included him.  It was his first sign the big man was beginning to think of them as a couple.  They sat with Jesse and Utah for a while on the train.  Jesse explained a couple of the youngest kits were suffering from growing problems.  Their best guess was the limited diets for several generations were beginning to take its toll on the latest generation of young and while the adults were receiving proper nourishment on Mars it was not soon enough to be transferred to the young.

After removing their clothes,  Basil and Brett walked immediately to the bullet train with Captain Waco, Captain Vinceeth, the Admiral, Captain Jones, Charlie Goodnight and most of the cowboys.  Where one went, they all went, besides it was always something new to learn and no one wanted to miss a thing.  They arrived and walked a good way to the area the ring-tails founded their small village.  There was much gracious bowing and ritual friendship greetings, but they were only done by the recognized leaders of the group or they would’ve been there all afternoon.  Ping and Pong introduced the humans to the clan and they welcomed everyone warmly.  Brett and Basil were directed to sit together on some very comfortable rocks that seemed to be heated internally and made their butts warm and cozy.  It was a remarkable sensation.  The parents of the young sick ring-tails came forward with their babies.  The first was no more than a handful.  It was an infant no more than a couple of weeks old.  It didn’t have its eyes open.  The second was a little older but he was just a toddler and clung to his mother’s back.  He was thin, drawn and emaciated.  

The mother reluctantly handed the huge man her baby.  The larger of the two crawled up into Basil’s lap and threw his small arms around his neck.  Basil smiled but didn’t know what to do.  He decided to just hold it and pet it until Jones finished with the baby.  He stroked and petted the little tyke and cradled it in his arms as he watched Jones go to work.  Brett was trying desperately to get his DNA onto the baby, but it was covered with so much hair he was having a difficult time.  Finally he wet his finger with his saliva and gently touched the delicate nose of the tiny female ring-tail.  A faint smile crossed her little face, she grabbed Jones’ finger in both hands and started sucking on it like it was the best thing she’d ever had in her mouth.

“She knows best what’s good for her.” Jesse whispered to Brett.

“Oh, my God!” exclaimed Jones quietly.

“What is it, Son?” Jesse asked.

“Look at my right teat, Sir.”  Jones motioned his head in that direction.  Jesse saw and laughed at the bright, white bead of milk oozing from the big man’s teat.  Jesse took his finger and captured the drop.  He put it to his mouth and tasted.

“How the hell can you replicate lummox milk?”

“Hell if I know, Sir.  I just thunk about it and how good it might taste for her right now.  You think it’s meant for her?”  Brett was almost laughing.

“I’d bet my ass on it.” Jesse laughed. “Why not let her decide?”

Brett slowly removed his finger from the little one’s mouth.  She sputtered and looked like she was going to cry.  Jones moved her quickly to his teat.  She seemed confused.  Brett took his teat between two fingers and gently milked it.  A little squirted out onto his finger.  He gently wiped it across the baby’s lips.  He almost dropped her, she was going crazy squirming in his hand looking for more of the wonderful stuff.   She could smell it.  She wanted more.  He placed her right on his huge teat, and she started sucking.  She couldn’t drink fast enough.  Her little belly began to swell.  Her parents were wide eyed and Jones invited them to sit on his lap to get a better view.  The father sat on his left leg and the mother on his right.  They both were shedding tears as they watched their baby eat for the first time.  They knew she was going to be all right.  The baby drank until she could hold no more.  Brett returned her to her parents, and they took turns bowing and rubbing his hand with their scent glands.  They officially made him one of their family.

By the time Jones was ready for the little male kit he was climbing all over Basil like he was his personal jungle-gym.  Basil was playing with him, tickling him and chasing him with his hands around his neck and shoulder.  The kit was having a ball.  His parents looked on in awe.  He seemed so sick before when they brought him in and had little interest in living.  Basil never related to animals much, but he found a close communion with the little male kit.  He didn’t want to give him up to Brett, but he reluctantly obliged.  Brett offered him some teat and the kit took advantage of the sweet tasting milk.  He gorged himself on it.  His parents looked on in amazement as the other parents had.  When he finished they, too, made Jones an official member of their family, only this time the parents included Basil.  Basil didn’t know why but graciously accepted their sentiment.  Jesse closely watched everything and was bemused at Basil’s reaction.  Utah wasn’t.  He leaned into his master and whispered,

“I would urge my master not to wait until tomorrow for the blood test of young Basil.  The Banshee has a full lab on board or you could send an android back through the gate with Basil’s blood samples for Cable.  I would humbly remind my master of his promise to immediately check everyone’s DNA.”

“Thank you, my beloved companion.  It must be done.  Once again, I hadn’t considered Basil’s DNA.  Don’t know what I’d do without you, my love.” Jesse answered.

“I’m sure you would do just fine, Master.  I have faith in you.  You look no older than the day I became your slave.  If anything, you have mellowed and become more human than you would like to admit.” Utah replied.

“Perhaps you’re right.  I won’t argue that point with you.  You would know better than I about such things.”

* * * * * * *

There were several other critters came to Jones and Basil and Brett helped everyone.  Two Evanescent adolescents came to them.  They heard Jones and Basil were having some coupling problems and needed advice.  They melted right in front of everyone and melded into Basil and Brett’s bodies.  It was a strange feeling.  They were sitting on the warm rocks and holding hands.  They could feel the Evanescent young moving back and forth from body to body as they checked out everything.  It only took a minute or two and everyone watched as they reformed in front of the men.  The were laughing and giggling like they shared a secret.

“You are almost as close as we are only young Basil is like a beautiful flower who has not yet bloomed.”  The older one spoke, then they both fell out laughing at their rather cryptic words,  “You only had a temporary problem with some renegade cells, Officer Jones.  They hadn’t completed transition and were caught between.  We have taken care of them.  You will have no further problems.  Learn to use your changeling abilities.  Exercise them everyday like you do your muscles.  If you need a routine we can help you with it.  You must also exercise your human attributes as well so you don’t lose them.  There are a few other secrets you must know about we haven’t shared with the others because they might not understand, but we will with you because you are becoming first cousins to our race.  You need to know these things.  Basil wondered what they meant as they thanked them and returned with the cowboys to the bullet shuttle to return to the lodge and supper.  After the shuttle train arrived at the Lodge station all passengers disembarked to go their way.  They were told there would be a couple of hours to relax and clean up before supper was served.  Before they left the savanna Jesse, Admiral Long, Waco and Captain Vinceeth approached Basil and Brett.

“We’ve decided not to wait to test young Basil’s blood, gentlemen.  We’ll take you directly to the Banshee when we return to the lodge station and our medical staff will draw his blood.  It will take several hours for analysis.”  

Brett was a bit concerned, but Basil wasn’t.

“They’re only concerned for you and me, Sir.  I would trust these men with my life and have.  They’re the only reason I’m alive today.  I’d like to know.  There’s something going on in my body I can’t explain.  I’m beginning to feel a little light in my heels, but it ain’t the way you might think.” Basil smiled.

“I know what you mean.  I feel that way just before I’m about to levitate.” Brett responded.

It took little time to draw four small tubes of Basil’s blood.  The Visallian medical team said they should have a complete workup and DNA analysis in a couple of hours.  They would notify the Admiral and Jesse Watkins immediately.  The men went their separate ways and Brett and Basil returned to their quarters to cleanup and prepare themselves for their last supper on Mars.  They would have an early breakfast and then walk through the gate back to the colonies.  They had a fine supper.  It was a more relaxed and convivial time than previous meals.  People were laughing and talking about their day.  The kids of all ages were going from person to person to crawl up in their laps and steal a choice bit of food or talk someone out of their dessert.  Adam and Eve Steele were having a ball.  They loved visiting their relatives, but they were ready to go home with their parents.  The men were telling the women and children about the incredible new scientific finds on the planet and what it meant for their future.  Lazarus was asked to give a brief speech at the end of the meal.

“Friends and neighbors, what we found here today will mean the difference between success and possible failure of our mission to leave the Earth as planned.  Not only will it insure our success, but we will be able to take so much more with us.  My mate and his collection of life forms and plants from the Amazon is just about to capacity.  Even with microminiaturization things can get out of hand when compacted too tightly.  We can fly the Raven to Mars and unload in one of the tropical caverns and he can return to fill it up again.  It will provide a greater bio-diversity than we ever anticipated.  I’ve been asked by my companions to speak with you about their new found family who until now we have been content to refer to as our ring-tailed brethren or Ping and Pong’s family.  I never called them by their specie name or the name they call themselves because they were always just family to me, but they come from a planet in the Andromeda system known as Langeria and they refer to themselves as Langers or if you wish to be formal, Langerians.  Either is correct with them.  I would like to see a greater introduction of them into our system here on Mars as engineers and administrators.  There is no more intelligent and forward thinking race of folks than the Langers.  Our present group has been a bit handicapped by forced stagnation, but they are coming back quickly.  I think they will be a great help and I personally look forward to working with them in the near future.  In the meantime, enjoy your evening.  Some will be returning to the colonies in the morning after breakfast, but a group of us will be taking the Banshee to Venus for a brief state visit.  It is necessary and important we keep up a close friendship with the Venerians.”

Everyone applauded the Admiral for his speech and agreed with him the Langers should become involved with the running of Mars and integrated into the shuttle ships to help with navigation and keeping the ships running smoothly.  Supper was over and Jesse invited Basil and Brett to go with the group of men to the Banshee.  Basil’s blood analysis was finished.  When they arrived they were surprised to find Cable, David and Jonathan waiting for them.  

“We took the liberty of coming though the gate Admiral.  We didn’t think you’d mind if we hand delivered Officer Jones’ blood chart for comparison.  At first we thought there might have been some mistake in Basil’s analysis, when compared to Brett Jones.  My apologies to the medical crew of the Banshee.  There was no mistake.  Here, we’ll put it up on the holo-vid and you can see for yourself.”  Cable explained.  The two charts appeared on the screen side by side.  There was a hush fell over the room.  Jones and Basil had no idea what might be happening.  They couldn’t read the charts.  They didn’t have a clue.  Utah started laughing and got his master to laughing.

“Would you please?” Jesse mockingly scolded his faithful companion. “Of course, you were right all along.” Jesse then turned to Jones, “What state were you originally from, Officer Jones?”  

“Wyoming, Sir.”

“And you, Basil?”

“Wyoming, Sir.”

“What was your real last name, Son?” Jesse spoke directly to Basil.

“Do I really have to say, Sir?  You won’t believe me.  You’ll just think I’m lying.”  Basil seemed frustrated and almost frightened.

“No, Son, you don’t have to say.  I know what it was.” Jesse answered quietly as if to soothe the young man’s feelings.  He took a pen and paper and wrote something on it.  He showed it only to Basil. “Is that your original last name?”

“Yes Sir, but how did you know?”

“DNA don’t lie, Son.” Jesse replied.

End Chapter 48 ~ Waco’s Lummox
Copyright 2007/2008 ~ Waddie Greywolf
All Rights Reserved ~
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