By Waddie Greywolf

Chapter 49   

Sam and his suitor Commander Hawkins were great fans of the Visallian warriors and spent a good deal of time in their company.  They exchanged many workout tips and exercises to hone their bodies to perfection.  They spent many pleasant afternoons working out in the warrior’s excellent gym with their warrior buddies.  The Commander and Sam had learned the basics of the Tao’mak, the warrior’s sacred exercises and had been accepted as apprentice warriors by Travis’ mate Sergeant Major Doggoral.  Along with several cowboys, they were invited to take their evening meal with the warriors.  While the warriors were not carnivores, they raised the standard of vegetarian cuisine to an art form.  No one ever walked away hungry from a meal with the Visallian warriors, and each dish was more delicious and nourishing than the next.  The warriors ate very well.  Sam and Del developed a taste for their food and were thrilled to get an invite to join them.  They couldn’t get enough of Visallian cuisine.

Before they were to go in for supper, one of their close warrior friends in the sickbay on the Banshee was doing a rush job to analyze Basil Troubadour’s blood.  He didn’t know exactly what they were looking for but arranged with Cable to have access to medical files on the Bandersnatch.  At the request of Commander Hawkins, who was curious about the rush to test the man’s blood who was becoming close to his officer, their friend, the head warrior-technician Rollon Southwicky-Gabberdean was explaining the differences between human and Visallian DNA to Del and Sam.  He placed two blood workups on the holo-vid screen so he could point out the important markers and the major differences.  One blood chart was Sam Stamper’s and the other was Rollon’s, the technician who was explaining the difference.  When he was through, Rollon thought he’d show Sam the similarities between Sam’s chart and those of his brother’s DNA.  He put up on the screen the charts for Sam’s five brothers for comparison.  Along with Sam’s chart, there were six charts on the vid-screen.  Sam was stunned for a minute.  He thought there must be some mistake.

“Uh, excuse me, Rollon, but I don’t have five brothers.  I only have four brothers other than myself.  There’s only five of us total.  We had a younger brother, Caleb, but he’s dead.”

“Well, let me see.” said Rollon. “Humm, this one shows a younger brother’s DNA, but there’s no name on the chart, just the initials C. S., but as you can clearly see from the markers, while it’s a little different, it’s definitely the chart for one of your brothers.  Let me check the file.  Ah, yes, here it is.  There’s a series of photos that accompany the blood work-up.”  Rollon pressed a key on the ship’s computer keyboard and about a dozen horrible pictures of a massively beaten and deformed young boy came onto the screen in lifelike three dimensional vivid color.  It was so clear and lifelike, it looked like you could reach out and touch the boy.  The pictures were obviously a photo study shot from every angle.  The young boy on the screen looked like little more than a blob of flesh, broken, bloody and mangled.  One couldn’t be sure from the pictures if he was alive or dead.  In horror, Sam recognized the photos immediately as his youngest brother Caleb.  Sam let out a gasp, a groan like he had suddenly been disemboweled.  All the horror, guilt and grief Sam felt for his little brother he managed to put behind him was suddenly dredge up to confront him on the vid-screen like a ghost from the past.  It was like someone ripped a scab from off his soul and left a festering wen of a void he could neither properly fill again nor heal.  As the realization swept over him, Sam turned ashen white and was visibly shaken.  His partner was watching him closely.

“Is that your little brother who’s dead, Son?” Hawkins asked as he saw Sam was in distress.

“Yes, Sir.  Why would they have pictures of him in their files?” Sam managed to get out.

“Wait!” exclaimed Rollon, “There’s more.  There are other pictures of him in the file.” He struck another key and up popped a series of thirty-five or forty progressive picture files showing dates, results and recovery from operation after operation until the final picture; a shot of a younger, handsome, and happy, Lucas Long, with no deformities and smiling with a perfect set of teeth.

“Oh, my God!  No!  That just can’t be!” wailed Sam. “Are you sure those pictures are of the same man?” he demanded.

“Without a doubt.” Rollon confirmed, “The DNA work up is the same for both.  It’s the same boy.  Damn, he sure looked bad.  No wonder folks thought he was dead, but you humans are way ahead of us in the art of reconstructive and augmentative surgery.  There are rumors about how excellent Admiral Long, Captain Jones and their medical staff on the Bandersnatch are.  Cable, himself, who was trained by Admiral Long, is reported to be one of the finest microsurgeons in a dozen galaxies.  Even the Daleks don’t have anyone to compare with his skills.  After seeing these pictures, I believe those rumors.  What they accomplished with this boy is nothing short of a miracle.  So according to these files, Lucas Long was your brother Caleb.”

All of a sudden the vid-screen went blank and a message came on the screen flashing in big red letters: Unauthorized Access To Sensitive Material!  For access see Cable or Admiral Long, but it was too late.  The horse was out of the barn.  Sam collapsed into Commander Hawkins’ arms weeping quietly.  He was little more than a vegetable for a while.  Sam recovered somewhat, but thought about how all this was affecting his mate and his Visallian warrior friend.  Rollon felt terrible and apologized profusely for his unintentional faux pas.  Sam assured him he couldn’t have known and knew Rollon wouldn’t have gone into restricted files without permission.  Sam was more concerned about Rollon being reprimanded by his superiors for mucking about in the Bandersnatch’s medical files.  Del Hawkins, an old hand at political correctness, pointed out there might be consequences, but the best course of action was to go directly to Captain Vinceeth, and Admiral Long, tell them what they found, explain the innocence of their actions and seek their forgiveness.  Del promised Rollon, he and Sam would stand up for him and insist there was no malice intended.  It was an accidental discovery.  Sam managed to pull himself together for his partner’s sake and did his best to enjoy the evening.  He was a little more reserved than usual, but Hawkins had big shoulders and didn’t push the young man.  He just let him know he was there if he needed him.  Rollon quietly asked Sam a few questions over supper.
“I don’t understand, Sam.  If Caleb Stamper was your brother, and he’s been given a new identity as Lucas Long, son and slave of the Admiral, why wouldn’t they tell you and your brothers?”

“The answer to your question is almost too horrible, embarrassing and painful for me to talk about, Rollon.  Not even my mate sitting here next to me knows the full story.  It’s time he knows.  He deserves my honesty in all things, and I know without asking, you will be discrete.” Rollon assured Sam his secret was safe with him.  Sam continued, “Caleb was our youngest brother.  He was born with a cleft palate and due to a couple of accidents, he had a bad eye and several other physical deformities.  Our mother died shortly after giving birth to him, so consequently our dad blamed him for her death.  Caleb was ignored and neglected by our father and treated like a slave by us boys.  His deformities could’ve been corrected, but dad refused to spend the money.  Our father was a wicked, narrow minded, bigoted little man who saw his refusal to take care of our little brother as punishment for killing his wife.  Caleb was a constant reminder to him of our mother’s death and us boys picked up from our dad an irrational hatred for our little brother.  We didn’t know no better and accepted our old man’s insane idea Caleb killed our mother.

Caleb never had a chance in life.  He was kept in a small cage like an animal and was never allowed to go to school.  We were busy with our lives and spent as little time as possible with him.  None of us showed him much attention or compassion.  We were better to the animals on our farm than we were to him.  He was just an extra burden we had to take care of, but most of the time we didn’t.  After my older brothers reached puberty, they raped him and made him fellate them.  He was only five or six.  They were rough with him and hurt him pretty bad sometimes.  I was just as guilty, because when I reached puberty, I took advantage of him, too.  I never raped him, but he begged me to let him fellate me and I did.  My dad caught him sucking off my second oldest brother Phil and became enraged.  He beat Caleb severely and called him a deviate spawn of the Devil.

(Since Visallians are bisexual it was difficult for them to understand why anyone would object to male/male sex.  It was barbaric beyond their comprehension.)  After he almost beat Caleb to death, dad called the sheriff to come arrest our little brother for being a homo and hold him in a cell until he could make arrangements with the slave trader to sell him.  Sheriff Lassiter and his men came and got him.  Our dad tried to sell him as a slave, but Caleb was so messed up no one would buy him.  Aside from his deformities, dad broke his clavicle, his right arm and his left leg, so the slave trader sold him for ten bucks a pound to a pet food rendering plant to be ground up for dog food.  At least, that’s what our dad was told, and that’s what he told us.  Shortly thereafter, a week before my oldest brother’s eighteenth birthday, our dad sold all of us into slavery, and we were bought by Admiral Long.

It all makes sense now.  Admiral Long made our little brother his son, and I guess he thought it was only fitting he should buy the rest of his son’s family.  Once we got over the shock of becoming slaves, us boys have always been grateful for becoming Admiral Long’s livestock.  It was the best thing what could’ve happened to us.  We’ve had better lives being his slaves and working for Master Hoot, Cotton and Boss Tindell than we ever had with our dad.  We were little more than a pack of wild dogs trying to survive as best we could without any adult leadership or supervision.  We sure got that when we became slaves.  It’s kept us out of trouble and brought us together as a family.  We weren’t a family before we became slaves.  We’ve grown and developed to where I know I can count on my brothers to be there for me, and I’m there for them if they need me.  I love my brothers, and I know they love me.  I couldn’t say that about them before we became Admiral Long’s slaves.  I couldn’t have an open and honest relationship with someone like Commander Hawkins if it weren’t for Admiral Long and my family.

After what Lucas went through, my little brother deserves to be number one in our Master’s eyes.  We’ve all seen how devoted Lucas is to his dad and how hard he works to take care of him.  None of us boys ever doubted their love for each other.  The love that passes between them is palpable.  We never doubted Lucas was Master Long’s natural son.  He looks just like him down to his private parts, but we never fully understood why Master Long made his son a slave.  We came to accept it was for Lucas’ best interest.  Now it becomes more clear.  I’ve never known the Admiral to give him more than us or put him above us.  Lucas has worked for everything he got.  Lucas has never acted like he was better than us, if anything, he’s gone out of his way to include us in everything, and he insists he’s no more than a slave just like us.  

Now I can understand a lot to things I used to only wonder about, like Lucas’ close bond with, Master Waco, Master JR, Little Bear, Travis, Gavin, Jerry, Bronc and T’gan.  They are brothers in the truest sense.  They share a common history.  I can understand why the Admiral wanted Lucas to have a new identity to protect him from us and allow him to heal.  The Admiral leveled the playing field and gave Lucas a chance for a fresh start.  He’s been a good and loving brother to us.  I know he thinks on us as his cowboy slave brothers, but he’s kept his secret all this time.  I know in my heart he don’t hold no grudges, but he’s also kept just enough distance between us, none of us can claim we really know him very well.  He’s much closer to his cowboy brothers.  I probably know him better than the rest of my brothers.  We’ve shared a few personal things, but not many.  I doubt I would’ve ever known.  I don’t think he would’ve told us.  I think, to him, Master Lazarus, and his cowboy brothers, Caleb Stamper died the night the Admiral and Master Charlie brought him home to the Bandersnatch and remade him.  Like the phoenix bird, Lucas Long was reborn out of Caleb’s ashes.

My old man will never know.  Somehow, it seems fitting, that’s the way it should be.  He should go to his grave thinking his youngest son was sold and processed for dog food.  I remember what pissed him off enough to sell us into slavery.  Somebody had a case of dog food delivered to him and there was a note on it that said it was his boy.  He accused us of sending it, but it weren’t us boys what done it.  Hell, we barely had enough money to buy food for ourselves let alone a case of dog food.  Now I think back on it, whoever done it was pretty smart.  They knew how he would react.  Fuck my old man, the old bastard deserved it.  He’ll never learn about Lucas’ secret from me.”

* * * * * * *    

After a fine supper in the Lodge dinning hall, the men slowly walked to the space-port landing site to the Banshee with Waco and Captain Vinceeth.  With them were the Admiral, Captain Jones, Charlie Goodnight, Chief Tin Penny, Jesse Watkins, Utah, Brett Jones, and Basil Troubadour.  The men were a little surprised but pleased to find Cable, David and Jonathan waiting for them.  Also present were Commander Hawkins and Sam Stamper.

“We took the liberty of coming through the gate, father.” Cable spoke to Lazarus,  “When we saw the results of Basil’s blood work we thought there might have been a mistake, and the tests would have to be run again.  I offer my humblest apologies to the medical team on board the Banshee, the test were performed with utmost care and professional skill and were not incorrect.  Rollon, if you would be so kind as to put up Officer Jones and Basil’s charts.”  Cable requested of the lead technician.  Rollon complied, then spoke,  

“Would you like to explain what we discovered, Cable?” Rollon asked.

“Thanks, I’d be happy to.  If you notice we’ve circled certain genetic markers on both charts.  We’ve used a different color for each matching pair of alleles or markers.  Rollon and his team discovered Officer Jones and Basil Troubadour came from the same state.  They have almost a complete majority of matching genetic alleles in their DNA make up.” Cable turned to speak directly to Brett and Basil, “The nearest we can tell, gentlemen, is your grandfathers’ were brothers and you share the same, paternal great-grandfather.  See this particular allele here?” Cable used a green laser pointer to show the alleles circled in red on each chart.  “This is the abnormal gene that gives Brett Jones his unique abilities.  Your great grandfather was probably the first or second to carry this abnormal gene.  Most times an abnormal gene will skip a generation. (i.e. the bad seed paradox)  If your grandfathers had the gene but didn’t live to an age when it matured enough to be turned on, they never would’ve known about it, but they would be able to pass the dormant gene onto your fathers.    

Since Brett and Basil are of the same generation, Basil carries the same abnormal gene, but it probably wouldn’t have been turned on until he’s about Brett’s age, perhaps another ten years.  There may be some qualifications for that observation.  We think there’s a good probability it may be sooner in Basil’s case with his exposure to Officer Jones.  As a matter of fact, we see signs he may already have started to change.  The Evanescent young adults realized this afternoon how close his genetic makeup is with Officer Jones, so did the second Langer family after Basil unwittingly managed to jump-start the young Langer male onto his road to recovery.  He began to heal as Basil was playing with him.  Brett’s milk was only icing on the cake to give him strength.”

“Then that would make Basil my...?” Brett mused.

“Second cousin.” Jesse finished, “And in cowboy lingo, h’it don’t take no rocket scientist to figure out his original last name.”

“I never knew I had any cousins.” said Brett.

“Neither did I.” added Basil.

“You mean you’re a ‘Jones’ like me, Basil?” Brett asked him.

“I was, Brett, but I swore to myself I would never be known by that name again after my family turned their backs on me.  They didn’t want me, and I made up my mind I didn’t want them either.  I still don’t want them in my life, Brett.”

“Can’t say’s I blame you none.  Other than my officer brothers, I ain’t got me no family neither.” Brett paused for a moment then added, “But, I want you, Basil.  No, that ain’t right, neither.  I need you, Son.  I need you to be my family.  We are family, you and me.  I think that’s why we’re attracted to one another.  I think there’s stored memories inside us that ain’t our own, memories what belong to groups of ancestors certain incidents turn on and wake up so’s we’ll recognize one another when we need each other.  I even know what it’s called.  It’s our phylogenic memory that’s stored within us as a specie.”

“Oh, God!” laughed Charlie, “Never a dull moment.  This is what I live for.  A new discovery under every rock.  Where does it end?   What are the odds?” he spoke to Lazarus.

“There are no odds anymore, brother.  This is all unfolding like the pages of a book.” said Lazarus, then added. “These are the stories about which men write bibles and swear they’re God’s holy words.”

“The Admiral’s right, Master Charlie,” added Jesse, “we ain’t seen nothing like the things we been see’n in the last several years.  Thing are being planned and accomplished beyond our imaginations and coming about more quickly than coincidence can account for.  These ain’t things made up in some prelate’s mind and written as half-truths for the faithful to believe.  These are historically verifiable facts, but there ain’t nothing holy about ‘em.  They been carefully planned for eons.  Just remember, one specie’s eon is another’s yesterday.” allowed Jesse.

The men stood around and talked about the significance of their findings and the implications.  Jesse further warned Brett and Basil to fully makeup their minds about how they wanted to proceed.  Jesse even referred to Brett Jones as a one-way street for Basil.  Once Basil turns down that street there is no turning back.  He also added it would seem to him, and the other men gathered, that’s exactly what Mother Nature is expecting them to do.  Just don’t do it until they are sure it’s what they want for themselves and each other.  Basil and Brett thanked all the men for their concerns and promised they would go slow.  Everyone could tell they were chomping at the bit to get away and alone by themselves where they could talk in private.

“Oh, by the way, gentlemen.  We’ve decided to invite you to go with us to Venus if you care to.  They’ve heard about Officer Jones, the healer, and are anxious to meet him in person.  It might mean you have to heal several people or animals if you can.”

Basil nodded for Brett to make a decision for them.  “We’d be happy and honored to accompany you, Admiral.  I’d love to see the wonders of the singing bladder whales I’ve heard so much about.”

“They are old friends and well worth the trip to Venus to meet them and hear them sing.  They’re truly remarkable.”

Basil and Brett said their goodbyes and left for their suite in the Lodge.  They would have the place to themselves.  Commander Hawkins announced to them, he and Sam would be spending the night in a cabin on the Banshee.  After Brett and Basil departed sickbay on the Banshee, Commander Hawkins called for the rest of the men’s attention.

“Admiral, Captain Vinceeth, Captain Waco, Chief Tin Penny, Master Charlie and Cable may we have a word with you?”

“Sure, Commander, what can we do for you and your handsome young companion?” Lazarus winked at Sam.

“Because I was concerned for my friend and fellow officer, Brett Jones, I wanted to know a little more about the blood tests being run on his companion.  I couldn’t help be curious.  I asked our close friend Rollon, here, if he could explain to us a little about DNA and what they might be looking for.  He was gracious enough to show us several charts and what to look for with the markers.  Since Cable gave him access to the medical records on the Bandersnatch, he put his chart up on the screen and my mate Sam’s chart for comparison of Visallian and human DNA.  We learned a lot, but then he put the rest of Sam’s brother’s charts on the screen to show him the similarities between his and his brother’s DNA.”

“Oh, dear.” said Lazarus softly.  Those two words expressed everything to the commander.

“Yes, Sir.  Exactly.  Sam was somewhat surprised to see five other charts besides his own.  Not to rehash a bad situation, we saw everything, Admiral, but Rollon ain’t to blame, Sir.  He couldn’t have known there were sensitive files we shouldn’t be looking into.  It wasn’t until we’d seen everything a message came on the screen about access not authorized to view sensitive material.”

“Come here, Son.”  Lazarus barked at Sam.  Sam went to the Admiral’s open arms.  He began to shed some tears.  “There, there.  It’s okay, young’un.  I know you, Sam.  You’re stronger than that.  You’re one of my boys.  Get a hold of yourself, Son.”  Lazarus spoke softly but firmly.

“Yes, Sir, Master.” Sam stopped his crying.

“First of all, nobody’s in trouble.  It was my own damn fault I didn’t tell Kyron to seal those files.  I just never thought anybody would ever see them but us.  It’s my mistake, so I’m trusting Captain Vinceeth won’t consider any disciplinary action against Rollon.  He and his staff have done a fine job on Basil’s test, and I know he’s a good and close friend to you men.”

“There will be no action against Rollon.  A small commendation for a job well done as approved by the Admiral will be placed in his record.” said Trey.

“That’s fine, and my compliments, gentlemen.” added Lazarus. “Do you feel better, Son?” Lazarus asked Sam.

“Yes, Sir, a little.  It was important to me and my mate, our friend not get into trouble over this.  It weren’t his fault, Sir.  On the other hand, I’m eaten up inside with grief, embarrassment and anguish I thought I’d dealt with and put behind me.” Sam said quietly.

“Is it worse the second time around?” Lazarus smiled at him.

“A hunner’t times worse, Master.” Sam said softly.

“That’s as it should be.  You and your brothers have grown so much in the last five years, you’re able to understand what your actions can mean.  You’re learning that inactions can be just as wrong.  Don’t you think my boy has faced the same feelings?”

“Yes, Sir.  I know he has.  Only, he ain’t never had a chance to place them behind him.  He’s had to face them every day.”

“You’re right, and I think he’s done a damn fine job of it.  I’m proud of him.  I couldn’t wish for no better son.  Okay, I tell you what I’m gonna’ do.  I’m gonna’ talk with him this evening.  He’s going with us to Venus along with his cowboy brothers.  He’s riding shotgun on the coyote kids this trip.  You’re the only Stamper going on this trip.  I’ll leave it up to you and Lucas what will become known from this point.  I know the commander and Rollon will take this information to their grave if you men decide to keep it to yourselves.  Whatever you decide, I’ll go along with, but I want to hear what you decide from both of you at the same time.  The other men, here, will say nothing.”  Waco groaned.  “You have something to add, Captain Waco?”  Lazarus asked in an officious manner.

“No, Sir, Admiral.  I’s jes’ choking the gossip out of me, Sir.”  Everyone laughed at Waco.

“Well, done, lad.” Lazarus smiled.  Charlie laughed.

Lazarus talked with Sam a while longer and his party left for the lodge along with Captain Vinceeth and Waco.  

“How ‘bout that, Rollon?  A commendation.” said the commander to his warrior friend.

“I’m stunned.  I always expect the worst.” replied Rollon.

“It’s only right, buddy.” declared Sam, “Hell, you didn’t do nothing wrong.  Actually, I’m coming around to the idea, this might not be such a bad thing after all.  At least now I can tell my little brother how much I love him and how proud of him I am.”

* * * * * * *

Lucas, Travis, Gavin and Little Bear were getting the coyote cowboybs settled down for the evening when Charlie and Lazarus came into the lodge.  The boys were a handful and needed one man per cowboy to get them corralled for the night.  Naturally their concentration flew out the window the minute they saw their head ramrod, as they called Lazarus, and Bossman Charlie come into the suite of rooms.

“Boss Charlie!  Ramrod!” they yelled as they ran naked as four jay birds to the arms of the big men.  Lazarus managed to grab Ranger and Bo and Charlie grabbed Cable and Jubal.  There were four cow dogs and Jack and Jill dancing about for their attention yelling their names.  It was like a homecoming of the Gods to Valhalla.

“You men gonna’ get a good night’s sleep so you’ll be ready for our flight to Venus tomorrow morning?” Lazarus asked.

“Yes, Sir.  We done had our showers and said our prayers.  We’s ready for bed.” said Jubal.

“Good!  Glad to hear it.  Give us a big hug, a sloppy desperado kiss and get in bed.  All critters are to report to Jack Hall and Warren Steele’s quarters.  I wanna’ hear nothing but four snoring buckaroos in about thirty minutes.” Lazarus said in a gruff voice.  He didn’t fool the coyotes for a minute.
“Aye, aye, ramrod.” they responded.

The critters said their ‘goodnights’ to the boys, got their hugs and kisses, and scurried out the door to find Jack Hall.  Charlie said his goodbyes and left for his suite.  Little Bear was staying with him for the evening.  Lazarus sent Little Bear on his way with Charlie; Travis and Gavin to their suites.  Travis was staying with his warrior buddy on the Banshee and Gavin with his family.  Lazarus helped Lucas with the last details of getting the coyotes bedded down for the night.

“You staying with your Dragon-man this evening, Son?” Lazarus casually asked.

“Naw, Sir.  He’s busy with last minute details for our flight tomorrow.  He’ll probably be up half the night double checking everything.  He’ll be exhausted by the time we take off and will want to collapse.  With your permission, I plan to be there to take care of him like a good slave, but he don’t need to know I think on him as my other master.”  Lucas winked at Lazarus and they shared a laugh.  “I figured I might as well start ride’n shotgun on them varmints this evening to break ‘em into the idea I’m gonna’ be their main buckaroo to report to for this trip.”

“Good man.  Of course you have my permission to see to your warrior-master.  You mean I might actually get to hold my boy close for an evening?”

“As close as I can git, Dad.”

“Remember when we talked about ‘who’s on first’ and ‘what’s on second?’” Lazarus grinned wickedly.  Lucas’ eyes brightened.

“Uuhh, yes, Sir.  I chose Commander Maddragon for my first base.  Are you trying to tell me ‘Master What’ might be waiting for me on second?”

“I think it’s about time your master broke you to his saddle.  I’m curious to find out what that big, ruggedly-handsome Visallian warrior has taught my boy.”

“He’s taught me very well, Dad.  I can assure you, Sir, you will not be disappointed.  God, I hope you’re serious.  You ain’t teasing me none, are you, Sir?”

“No, I ain’t teasing you none.  You’re old man needs his boy this evening.”

“Hallelujah, there is a God!”  Lucas proclaimed. “Give me thirty minutes in the shower, then I’ll come git chu’.” Lucas promised.

“Sounds good to me.  I need to catch up on some reports anyway.  I’ll be here at my desk.  How ‘bout make’n your old man a drink before you go?”

“Be happy to, Dad.” Lucas threw a couple of cubes in a small bucket glass and poured three fingers of Southern Comfort for his Master.  “Anything else, dad, before I leave for the shower?”

“Naw, that’s fine.  I’ll check on the coyotes in a minute.”

“They should be okay.  I added some sleepy-time tea to their evening hot chocolate.”  Lucas laughed and got Lazarus laughing, too.

“That’s what I love about you, boy.  You’re always so damn optimistic.” he said sarcastically.

“Ain’t it the truth.  Nothing short of a neutron bomb can stop them men when they ain’t sleepy.” Lucas laughed. “Sometimes I think we should break them up.”  he shook his head in wonder.

“What, and become known as the man what killed the circus?  I don’t think so.”  Laughed Lazarus.  Lucas laughed at his master as he headed for the shower.  Lazarus began to go over the reports Cable had given him.

* * * * * * *

~ Earlier that same evening.~

“Are you sure that damn thing’s gonna’ work?” Jubal asked Cable.

“I have full trust in our brother.  He’s a gotdamn genius, I tell you.” Cable replied to Jubal and Bo.

Lucas walked into the room and found the coyote kids playing a video game on the holo-grid screen.  It was a game Ping created for them called ‘Space Wars’ in which they competed to see who could get the most points for shooting down alien vessels.  They were engrossed and paid little attention to him.  Cable and Bo were working the two joy-sticks and Jubal was watching wearing his baseball mitt pounding it with his fist to make it soft.  Satisfied the coyotes were all in one place for a while and not looking for information on how to build a nuclear device, Lucas decided he would check in with them in about an hour.  As he turned to go, Ranger Jr. pulled out a small gun-like device, aimed it over Lucas’ head and pulled the trigger.  There was a brief flash of light, Cable ran for it and caught one of Lucas’ robo-cams as it materialized, he threw it to Jubal who lunged for the bed like a shortstop racing to first base.  He caught it in his baseball glove and immediately buried it under a pillow on the bed.  Lucas stopped dead in his tracks.  He could swear he saw a flash of light.  He turned and walked back to the room.  The boys were still heavily engrossed in their video game.  Ranger Jr. glance up at him and gave him a thumbs up sign.  Jubal was lying on the bed still pounding his fist into his ball glove.  Lucas smiled, turned and walked away.

“Smooth!” said Cable patting his brother Ranger on the back.

“Sorry I doubted you, brother.” Jubal told Ranger. “What the hell was that thing?”

“An EM pulse-generator pistol I invented.”  bragged Ranger Jr.

“Yeah, ‘at was slicker’n duck shit, brother!” exclaimed Bo.  “Now, let’s git to work before it’s discovered missing.”

The boys opened up the robo-cam, attached two wires soldered to two alligator-clips and hooked them to two post on an IC board inside the robo-cam.  The other end plugged into Ranger’s laptop computer.  Ranger had the program ready.  He hit one key on the keyboard and a new program was instantly downloaded into the camera.  

“Okay, close it up.”  Ranger ordered his brothers.

“That’s it?  That’s all?” Jubal challenged. “What about them other two cameras?”

“You sound like Porky Pig, brother. ‘Uh, that’s all folks!’” Ranger did his best Porky Pig imitation.  “Them robo-cams work in parallel.  What one learns they share with the others.  Trust me, bro, I know what I’m doing.”  begged Ranger, “Have I ever let you down?”

“Naw, but I’m just the suspicious type by nature.” allowed Jubal.

“Noooooo!” laughed Ranger, “Say it ain’t so, brother!”  he demanded with heavy sarcasm.  The boys fell out laughing.  Jubal frogged Ranger hard on the arm.

“Ouch, that hurt!” laughed Ranger.

“Just a little tap to let you know I love you, brother.”

“Could you love me jes’ a little less, perhaps?  Maybe send roses next time?” Ranger whined.

“Not possible.  Us Long-Jones boys is cowboys.  We’uns love long, hard and deep.” Jubal drawled in his best cowboy accent.  They all shared another laugh.

“Okay, let ‘er go.”  Cable announced.  Bo let the robo-cam go.  It instantly disappeared and headed straight for Lucas to join his other two.

* * * * * * *

Lucas returned from the shower and found his old man still pouring over his reports.  He finished his drink.  He stood and allowed Lucas to perform his slave function he did so many times before for his dad.  He undressed Lazarus, sat him on the bed and pulled off his big buckaroo boots for him.  It was all he could do to keep from taking Lazarus right there, he smelled so good.  He didn’t.  He held back.  He was going to enjoy this evening and he planned to make damn sure his old man enjoyed it, too.  Lucas took Lazarus by the hand, led him to the bathroom and proceeded to pamper him in the shower.  One stiff drink and a special moment with his beloved son in the shower was just what Lazarus needed to relax.

* * * * * * *

“Great video feed, brother.  We can see everything except right now we can’t see too much for all the steam in the bathroom, but we get a glimpse ever’ now and then.” complemented Jubal.

“Excuse me, why are we doing this again?  All we gotta’ do is walk in there and tell ‘em we wanna’ watch, and they’ll tell us to pull up a chair.”

“Oh, hesh up, Cable.  It’s the idea we’s spying.  Besides they wanted us to go to sleep for a reason.  I wanna’ know why, brother.” Jubal insisted.

“All right!  Wake me up if they do something more than a hug and a handshake.” Cable said as he rolled over and closed his eyes.  The other three boys were glued to the small handheld ipod screen.

* * * * * * *

“You think we should check on them one more time, Dad?”  

“I checked on ‘em jes’ a minute ago.  They should be all right.”

Lucas finished drying his dad and rubbing his back for him.

“How do you want it, boy?” Lazarus asked crudely, then chuckled as he stole a kiss from his beloved son.

“Don’t chu’ worry yourself none, Master Admiral, Sir.  I ain’t jes’ some new kid on the block.  I’m a well trained warrior’s companion, and I plan to take charge and make damn sure my master gets what he needs,— a damn good cowboy fuck’n.” Lucas laughed.

“Woah, tiger.   Me thinks yore’ butt’s been drink’n too many a’ them hot warrior toddies and you might be taking on some of their aggressive genes.”

“Lord, I hope so.  Now lay back and let your boy massage you.” Lucas laughed.

Over the years Lucas and Lazarus developed and easy rapport with each other.  Lazarus lay back and Lucas grabbed his jar of special herbs and spices mixed within a thick, smooth, creamy emollient from Commander Maddragon’s planet, his family’s personal garden and pharmacy.  It was said to have certain mood enhancing and psycho-physically stimulating properties that would elevate a warrior’s sexual experience.  It never failed to work for Lucas and his Mad Dragon.  Lucas applied it liberally to Lazarus’ strong, firm, well muscled body.  He forgot just how handsome a man his dad was.  It hit him once more how desperately he fell in love with Lazarus over the last six years.  Now was his chance to show him how much he loved and appreciated him for making him his son and slave.

* * * * * * *

“You better take a look, Cable.  I think we’re about to see something a little more’n a goodnight kiss.”  Jubal called to his cowboy brother.  The other two were glued to the small screen they were holding.  Cable rolled over and took a look.

“Holy shit!  Look ‘at them set of balls on our brother.  Our ramrod is hung like a damn bull and brother Lucas is his calf, no doubt.  That little screen is for shit, brothers.  Let’s us watch it on my laptop.”  Cable scurried out of the bed, grabbed his laptop and crawled in the middle between the other three.  He flipped it on and activated the video.  He set the program coordinates to receive the same signal the ipod was receiving.  On the much larger twelve by eighteen inch screen, appeared Lucas’ big, heavy balls in living color swinging freely as he gave his dad an excellent rubdown.

“Lucas’ dick is almost as big as our dad’s, bro.”  Bo said to Jubal, “You think ours is gonna’ be that big?”

“Don’t see why not.  We’s already pert-damn big.  We got almost ninety percent of our genes from the ramrod.  We got another ten to twenty percent from our first birth-dad, Captain Jones, and about one to two percent from our second-birth dad, Master Waco’s lummox, Ox.  Wish’ta hell we’d gotten more a’ his genes.  J’ever seen his dick?  Lord a’ mercy, he’s a monster all over.” laughed Jubal.
“Hell yeah, we seen it.  We’s all washed Ox and Strom’s dicks when we’s helping to clean up them critters.  I’m afraid Cable and me ain’t gonna’ be so big.” moaned Ranger Jr.

“What the hell you talk’n about, brother.  I seen yore’ daddy on the savanna.  I even crawled up into his lap and kept that big thing a his warm for him for a while one evening.  He ain’t what chu’d call small by no stretch.  Hell fire, boy, you’s as big as the rest of us is right now.  You, too, Cable.  Yore’ daddy’s hung like a damn Shetland pony on steroids.  Yore’ brother Travis’ dick is a big’un.  Now shut the fuck up and let’s see what happens.” commanded Jubal.

* * * * * * *
The salve was having its desired effect.  Lazarus brain was floating on a calm sea like he’d just returned from a prosperous voyage, and with each assault Lucas made on his tired muscles the harder his cock got.  Lucas commanded him to turn over and massaged every part of Lazarus’ body.  Lazarus thought he was going to shoot his load when Lucas started massaging his butt and was not shy about running his hand into his Master’s crack and massaging his hole sensually.  It was almost too much for Lazarus to bear, but just about the time he was getting ready to call a halt to his boy’s assault on his ass, Lucas moved away to his legs and feet.  Lazarus never had such a complete rubdown.  Finally, Lucas gently slapped his butt and told him to roll over.  Lazarus spoke.

“I can’t.”  he chuckled.

“Of course you can.  I’ve seen you hard before.  Why do you think I just spent the last hour rubbing you down?  It’s all a part of being a good warrior’s companion.  If you ain’t hard, my good Master, I ain’t done my job right.”

“You do this often for that big warrior?” Lazarus asked as he turned over on his back with his dick at a strong ninety degree salute to his body.

“Every evening for at least an hour.  How do you think my upper body got this heavily developed in such a short time?” Lucas grinned.

“I jes’ thought you was work’n out with them warriors.” Lazarus stated.

“I do work out with them, ever’ day I can, but I have extra duties I’m expected to perform for my warrior.  It’s just expected of an apprentice warrior by his training master.  Can’t say it ain’t a labor of love.  By the time I get through rubbing him down I’m ready to shoot my load just by having him touch me.  Just like I’m primed and ready to take my Master to the next level.  It’s as sexually stimulating for me as it is for you, Dad.”

Lucas did a little more on his dad’s front side and lovingly massaged his massive pecs, his stomach and then his balls.  He took extra emollient and slathered Lazarus rock hard ramrod with it.  He gently worked it up and down.  When he was finished, he threw his leg over his dad to straddle him.   He was kneeling at Lazarus’ waist and positioned his Master’s huge manhood at his well lubricated hole.  Lucas bounced gently once, twice and the third time Lazarus’ cock went up his ass faster than a sideshow magician could make a rabbit disappear.  Lazarus gasped and arched his back to make sure his boy received every inch.

“Holy shit, boy!” he exclaimed. “That was a fantastic mount.”

“Lay back and relax, old man.  Yore’ boy’s gonna’ fuck you good.”

Lazarus understood the metaphor and got a sardonic smile on his face.

* * * * * * *

“Did you see that?!”  exclaimed Bo, “Holy B’jesus!  Our brother jes’ done took our dad’s big cock up his fine cowboy butt like it t’weren’t nothing more’n a silver bullet.  Talk about cowboys love’n long, hard and deep.  Our brother’s a buckaroo what knows how it’s done.”
“Impressed the shit out a’ me.” chuckled Ranger Jr. shaking his head.

“Yeah, me too.” giggled Cable.

“Look at him!  Look at him ride ‘at damn thing!  Look!  He’s ride’n our old man like a cowboy rides a bull.  Look at him go!  Too bad he don’t have his boots, spurs and chaps on.  Damnation!  We should be recording this.” cried Jubal.

“We are, brother.” smiled Cable, as he pointed to the small red light in the corner of the picture.

The boys lay there enthralled by what they were seeing.  They were neither surprised nor upset by male sex.  With everything going on around them, knowing about masters and slaves, same sex communities, Visallian warriors, their cowboy brothers, they grew up accepting it as part of their cowboy heritage.  They played around with each other since their were toddlers.  Even now, there were four noticeable poles holding up the sheet that covered them like a circus tent.  They were too young to have orgasms, but they knew about dry climaxes, or as they called them, the dry heaves.  Every man there was playing with himself as they watched their brother Lucas earn their respect as the consummate cowboy.  Lucas could do it all.  Unfortunately, they didn’t notice the slight break in the video transmission.  They just assumed it was caused by a shift in cameras as the picture moved from a rear shot to a side view.

* * * * * * *

Lucas not only fucked his Master with a controlled passion, he built Lazarus up time and again until he had his old man almost weeping for release.  Lucas was waiting for the magic words.  Finally, after thrashing about and moaning like he would have a coronary, Lucas heard Lazarus utter the words he wanted to hear.

“Take me, Son.  You’re the man I always knew you could be.  Ride me home, cowboy.”  Lazarus urged.

That’s all it took for Lucas to finish the job and felt his dad arch his back to meet his backward thrust to complete him.  Lazarus shot and shot into his boy.  It was the heaviest climax he’d experienced in years.  He fell back to the bed, drained of his passion.  He pulled Lucas to him and began to make sweet love and compliment him on his performance.

“You weren’t kidding about what you learned from that big warrior.  I’m proud of you, boy.  You’ve come a long way.  He’s a lucky warrior to have you for a companion.  Do you love him?”

“Yes, very much, Dad.  I don’t know where our relationship is going because of our separation of worlds, but somehow we manage to drift back into each others orbit often enough, and we’re drawn to each other like light to a black hole.”  Lucas started to withdraw, but his dad held him tight.

“No, please,— let me enjoy being inside you for a while longer.”

“Take as much as you need, Dad.  I was worried I might be too heavy for you.”

“You ain’t heavy, you’re my son, and I love you more than words can tell.”

“No more’n I love you, old man.  You are the light of my life, and I treasure you as my Master and my dad.  I’m so glad to have finally gotten a chance to please you.”

“You certainly did that.”

* * * * * * *

The coyotes were speechless after witnessing their big, cowboy brother fuck their ramrod with his ass and ride him with a fury they could only imagine.  It was a breathtaking performance, and they had the greatest respect for Lucas.  After the dry heaves, they were lying there breathing heavily not saying a word when suddenly the picture changed and there appeared a full face shot of Captain Waco Goodnight grinning at them.

“Hello, men.”  Waco said quietly, “Enjoying yourself spying on your big brother and his dad in what should be a private moment between them?  You cowboys are sooo busted!” Waco reached up and flipped a switch and their computer went blank to a blue screen.  They couldn’t get it to do anything.  It wasn’t just cut off from the signal, it was totally dead.  So were all the rest of the computers in their room.

“Ooooh, fuck!” said Cable.

“We’re so screwed!” said Bo.

“We’re dead meat!” exclaimed Ranger Jr.

“Now, now, don’t you men go git’n yore’selves all worked up into a frenzy.  If I know Captain Waco, he won’t do nothing until he talks with us about it.  You know he’s got a soft spot for us, and he jes’ loves to play big brother.  He’ll give us a good talk’n to, we’ll tell him how sorry we are, maybe shed a few tears, we’ll promise to be good, tell him we won’t never do nothing like ‘at again, and that’ll be the end of it.  Trust me.  By the end of the week it will all be forgotten.” said Jubal like a Mafia don.

“I don’t know, Jubal.  This is some pretty serious shit.  We invaded their privacy and you know how important privacy is to all them cowboys.” argued Bo.

“All right.  Let’s get to sleep before somebody comes in here and wants to rake us over the coals.” Jubal insisted.  They tried to go to sleep but it was way late, or early in the morning before they finally slipped into feverish dreams.

* * * * * * *

Waco didn’t disturb Lazarus and Lucas right away.  He notified Cable in sickbay on the Bandersnatch to recall Lucas’ robo-cams and replace them with three more.  He wanted the robo-cam the boys tampered with set aside as evidence.  Cable couldn’t help but laugh when Waco told him what was going on.  Waco broke up several times, but insisted this was a serious situation and the coyotes needed to be taught a lesson.  Unknown to them their privacy was invaded, Lazarus and Lucas lay hooked together in the afterglow of their sexual release.  Lazarus rolled Lucas on his side and continued to take long, deep strokes into his ass every now and then as they talked and made love to each other.  They were enjoying the bliss of the moment and the closeness of their coupling.

“That salve you used, is there an aphrodisiac in it?” Lazarus whispered.

“Yes, Sir.  It’s said to be a mild one to the Visallians.  I think it may be a bit stronger for humans.”

“Now I remember.  That’s a special salve created only on Tentagel, and if memory serves, the company is owned and operated by the Maddragon family.  Am I right?”

“Yes, Sir.  As I understand, there are several strengths.  According to my Dragon this one’s a medium strength.”

“Maybe for him.  I ain’t gone soft since you got my load.  That ain’t happened to me in years.  Usually I shoot and down I go.  I think I’m gonna’ have to have seconds, Son.”

“You won’t hear no complaints from me.  Shall I fuck you again, Dad?”

“No, no!  While it was wonderful, your old man wants to do the fucking this time.  You showed me your love, now I need to show you mine.  I need to show you how much I love you, how proud of you I am, and how much your love means to me.”

They made love a while longer, then Lazarus got up in the bed and mounted Lucas like a cowboy.  He lay on top of his son in the missionary position.  Lucas locked his muscular legs around Lazarus and drifted off to a nether region of bliss.  Lazarus fucked his boy slowly but with such strength and feeling, at one point he stopped because he noticed tears rolling down Lucas’ face.

“Am I hurt’n you, boy?”

“Lord, no, Dad.  It’s the sweetest fuck’n I ever got in my life.  If you love me that much, please, fuck me ‘til yore' cock crows.”  Lucas said with a grin.  Lazarus smiled and kissed him deeply and he began to explore more of the young man’s depths.  Lazarus wasn’t showy or flashy with his fucking, but he got the job done.  He knew to take what he needed from his boy, he had to enjoy the fucking himself, and he was certainly doing that.  Finally, he could feel his relentless slow, deep fucking about to send Lucas around the bend.  Lazarus whispered to him.  

“You may come, Son, but don’t touch yourself.  Yore’ master will fuck you ‘til you shoot.”

Just his words alone and his demand was enough to make something inside Lucas respond to the core of his erection.  He never wanted anything more in his life than to relieve himself while being ridden by his master’s cowboy cock.  Several more deep strokes and Lucas arched his back.  Lazarus knew he had him and began to really pound his ass with some strong, deep strokes.  He couldn’t hold it any longer and called to Lucas to drop his load.  That’s all Lucas needed was his master’s command, and he flooded the air with his hot cowboy come as he felt his dad pumping load after load of his hot, thick, ropey cowboy cream into his ass.  It was one of the most wonderful moments they spent together.  It was the climax, the culmination of years of working together, growing, loving and healing all rolled into one intimate moment.  It seemed to close the gap between them where the word ‘family’ became more clearly defined.  It knit up the unraveled sleeve of any fears or doubts either might have had.  They became father and son.  Once again they lay hooked together.  Lazarus still didn’t lose his erection, neither did Lucas.  Lazarus made sweet love to his boy.  Now was the time he must tell him of Sam’s discovery.

“Is there any doubt in your mind of my love for you, Son?”

“None whatsoever, Dad.  I hope and pray there's no doubt in yours about my love.”

“Never.  Never was.  Never will be.”

“Has this evening been a prelude for something, Dad?  It’s just been so unexpected and wonderfully serendipitous.  It’s like one of those things the Ancients plan that happens to folks to teach them something; something they want them to learn; we can feel it happening, but we can’t understand the full intent until we hear the message or learn its meaning.”

“Yes, it is, but your message this evening is brought to you by this ancient old man.  At over two thousand years old, I certainly think I qualify.”

“For an old fart, you don’t look a day over forty, Dad.” Lucas chuckled.

“Clean living and soft lighting.” Lazarus tossed off.  They shared a laugh. “The lesson I wanted you to learn this evening is, no matter what happens, I will always love you and you will always be number one in my heart.  Now, the other part of the lesson and what you learn from it, is up to you and how you handle it, but somehow, I don’t think it’s gonna’ be a great problem for you.  I think you’re ready.  I know you so well by now, you will handle the situation with your usual dignity and grace.”

“What is it, Dad?”

“Sam accidentally discovered your blood charts this afternoon when his Visallian warrior buddy, Rollon, was showing him and his commander buddy how to read DNA charts.  He unwittingly put up on the vid-screen all of the Stamper boy’s DNA charts for comparison with Sam’s, and yours was among them.  I never sealed your medical files because it just never occurred to me anyone but Cable or me would ever have a reason to look at them.  He knows you were created from Caleb.  I told him I would tell you this evening and the two of you could decide where to go from here.  I told him whatever you decided I would go along with, but I want to hear it from both of you.”

Lucas was quite for a while.  Lazarus hadn’t moved for sometime.

“Fuck me jes’ a little more, Dad.” Lucas begged Lazarus and bussed a kiss behind his ear.  Lazarus complied and Lucas sighed deeply as he felt his master gently plowing his lower forty like a farmer who loved the Earth.

“You all right, Son?”  

“I couldn’t be better, Dad.  Thanks.  What a sweet way to tell me.  I hope you always tell me bad news this way.”  Lucas chuckled.  “I learned several lessons.  I have the greatest, most loving dad in the world and the most wonderful master any slave could hope for.  All this had to come about, not only because of you, but because of them Ancients trying to tell me of all Caleb’s ex-brothers, Sam was the one I most grieved about leaving behind.  They’ve brought all this home to me and dumped it in my lap for me to deal with.  I can only imagine how poor Sam must feel.”

“I knew you’d feel that way.  He’s pretty shook up over it, but he has Del Hawkins to lean on and the Commander is an imposing man.  He won’t allow Sam to wallow in self-incrimination or self-pity.  Sam has a tendency to take all the blame on himself.”

“Truth is, he’s the least to blame.  He was the only brother who even tried to care for Caleb, but since I’ve come to know him as Lucas, I’ve learned that’s just the way he is.  He’s basically a good man.  I don’t mean this to sound conceited, but of all of Caleb’s brothers, he’s the most like me.”

“I agree.  I’ve seen similarities between your personalities.  You always have gotten along best with him, and he idolizes you.  Do you have any idea how you’ll handle it?”

“Yes, I think so.  I want to talk with Sam and reassure him of my love for him, but I don’t want the rest of Caleb’s brothers knowing.  I don’t want Burt or Phil to ever find out if it can be avoided, but someday I may decided to share my secret with Jeb and Zeke.  I want it to be my choice.  You impressed on me from the very beginning of my reconstruction I was to think on myself as your son, Lucas Long.  As time passed, I came to think of myself that way, and I don’t want to return to being one of the Stamper brothers.  I think on them and love them as my cowboy slave brothers, but that’s as far as it goes.  My real family, the family what’s important to me is the Goodnight cowboys and your family.  I don’t want that ripped away from me all of a sudden by everyone thinking I’m just another Stamper boy.  I’ve worked hard to become who I am today.  I trust you will seal my medical files.” Lucas pleaded.

“It’s already been done.  Kyron caught the mistake, but just a little too late.  I’ll support you in your plan.  Under the circumstances, it don’t sound unreasonable to me.”

As the men lay talking, Lucas cell phone vibrated quietly.  Lazarus turned, reached out to retrieve the phone from the night stand and handed it to Lucas.

“Hello.” Lucas spoke quietly.  “Just a minute.  Let me put you on the speaker so dad can hear this.”  Lucas was laughing.

Waco told them how Myra noticed some strange signals emanating from Lucas’ robo-cams and notified Kyron.  Kyron notified Cable who double-checked everything and found the anomaly Mrya reported.  He hooked into the system and watched the coyotes’ robo-cams and saw what was going on.  He notified Waco and patched him into the boy’s system.  Now they’re completely shut down for the night.  Lazarus and Lucas were still hooked together laughing their asses off.  Lazarus finally lost his erection and slipped out of his boy.  

“What do you wish to do about it, Admiral?” asked Waco.

“First of all, we can’t let them know we think it’s the funniest damn thing we’ve heard in months.  We’ve tried to hammer home to them a man’s privacy is sacred, so I think they should be taught a lesson.  I’m open for suggestions.  Whatever we decide we have to bring the Gibbons and Jessups on board.  As for right now, I want them to think you’re the only one who knows about their prank.  I want them to worry about it for a while.  Then when we decide how to handle it, we’ll go from there.”

“Gotcha, Admiral.  Then I’ll only let them know I’m thinking about what to do or whether to tell someone.”

“Exactly, and you have my permission to use it, Son.  Impress on them you’ll be watching to see what good cowboys they can be.  They really need to be on their best behavior for the Venusians anyway.  Their actions in the next week or so will decide whether you tell anyone.”  

Waco fell out laughing; Lazarus and Lucas joined him.

“By the way, gentlemen, I couldn’t help catch my cowboy brother’s ride on that big bull.  You taught me a thing ‘er two, bother, I’m gonna’ have to try that with my warrior, and as for you, Admiral, my compliments, best buck’n livestock I’ve seen at any rodeo.  If’n I’s to be judge’n I’d say yore’ cowboy won his-self a re-ride.”  Waco laughed again, said his goodbyes and signed off.  Lazarus and Lucas had another couple of good laughs, then fell asleep in each others arms.

* * * * * * *
When Lucas and Lazarus went in to wake the coyotes the next morning early, they were waiting for them, clean and fully dressed with their boots polished and shined wearing their best cowboy duds.  They were spotless. They absolutely sparkled.  Lucas looked at Lazarus and smiled.  Lazarus just shook his head.

“What’s all this, then?” Lucas wanted to know.

“We jes’ thought we’d be ready when you men wanted to leave for chow.” said Jubal, the unofficial spokesman for the coyotes.  It was all Lazarus and Lucas could do to keep from breaking up.  The coyotes were the perfect models of young, responsible, considerate, polite cowboys all day.  Waco had to bite his tongue several times to keep from laughing.

* * * * * * *

Brett Jones and Basil didn’t talk much on the way back to their room in the lodge.  It was almost like they wanted the security of four walls around them before they said anything to each other.

“I need to soak in hot water.” said Brett.

“Sounds good to me.” Basil agreed.  They threw off their Western clothes and eased themselves into the pool of bubbling hot water.  It was instantly relaxing.  Brett had his arms stretched around the top of the pool.  Basil sat next to him but not too close.  He didn’t want to intrude on Brett’s space, but he still wanted to be near him.

“Are you afraid of me, Cousin?” Brett called him ‘cousin’ to see how he would react.

“Yes, a little.” Basil said but didn’t elaborate.

“Do you believe everything they said?”

“Yes.” he replied. “Almost everything.” he added.

“What do you mean?"  asked Brett.

“My voices told me something on our way back to the lodge Jesse Watkins doesn’t know, but I been thinking about.  Utah whispered something to me before we left which confirmed it.”

“Can you tell me?”

“Sure.  It weren’t your sperm what was acting up, it was my body what was rejecting them.  You already activated my mutant gene in the pool last night.  It took over and protected me from your Evanescent DNA.  I seem to be able to ward off diseases and changes in myself whereas you began to change when introduced to Evanescent DNA.  I can only guess it might have something do with your death and being brought back to life.  Perhaps there was a period when you were vulnerable to change and Adam and Eve were the catalyst.  I don’t think I’ll be able to change unless I will it so or I have some physical trauma which might weaken my defenses.”

“Then there’s no reason to be afraid of me.” Brett smiled.

“It ain’t you I’m afraid of, Cousin.” Basil said without emotion.

“Still, I need to hold you, Basil.  I ain’t ashamed to admit I’m a little afraid myself, and I’m feeling very much alone in this world."  Brett said with big cow eyes.

Basil reached up, took Brett’s hand and pulled it around his shoulder.  He moved closer to the big man.

“If we come from the same genetic stock, how come I ain’t as big as you?” Basil tossed off trying to change the subject.

“You’re still growing.  I was still growing ‘til last year.  Hell, according to my officer brothers, ma’ ears are still growing.” chuckled Jones, “You certainly have the potential to be as big as me if you workout and take care of your body.  You probably will be able to do it faster than me because your gene has been activated.  After I started healing folks, I almost double my weight and size.  I think it was my change what done it, but I think it came on me too fast.  I think it might have caused me to have my stroke.  Fortunately, according to Jesse, I don’t have to worry about that no more.”

“You think I could have a stroke?” Basil asked.

“I doubt it.  You’re ten years younger than me and in good shape.  You got a good, solid, strong body.  If you’re afraid, Jesse could probably tell you or let Cable run some test.  I’m sure the Admiral would approve.”

“Do you want me to walk down the same road with you, Brett?”

“I don’t want you to do anything you don’t want to do.  I meant what I said about needing family and needing you, but that don’t mean you have to change specie to be my family.  Nobody knows what it would mean for either of us.  I certainly don’t want you to change your sex for me.  I don’t know’s I could live with that.  I think I could live with a woman all right, but for Mother Nature to change either one of us for procreation ain’t something I’d like to think about.”

“It seems like there’s just too many variables.  Were you faced with that when you decided to change to a new specie?”

“No, it weren’t like that.  I jes’ knew it was what I had to do.  It’s hard to explain.  I had a choice, but I knew I didn’t have no choice.  I jes’ knew I had to do it.  Sounds crazy, I know, but that’s the closest I can come to explaining it to you.”

“No, it don’t sound crazy at all.  I jes’ don’t know if I wanna’ be that impulsive.  I need to think about it.  Like Jesse said, it’s one thing to date and sample people, but with you, it’s a lifetime commitment.  Can’t say it ain’t an appealing idea, but I need some time.” Basil lamented.

“Look, let’s not worry about it.  We can be together and enjoy each others company.  We don’t have to create the beast with two backs ever’ time we get together.  I probably will have to go back to the Holy City soon, and I wouldn’t want to leave you having to endure some change without me.  It’s been hard enough on me as it is.”

“I’m afraid, Brett, but I’m more afraid ‘of’ me.  I’m afraid I won’t be strong enough.”

“You don’t have to be.  Let me be strong for both of us.  Let’s go to Venus and have a good time.  Let’s take each day as it comes.  I think I’m falling in love with you, Basil.  You’re the first person in my life I’ve felt this way about.”

“What about Scudder?”

“I’m forced to have sex with him.  I’ve been forced to have sex with him since I was ten years old.  He bought and paid for me.  He owns me.  I hated him when I was a boy for forcing male sex on me.  Now, I’m fucking him and while I’m still his whore, I fuck him with some passion.  He thinks it’s love and in some ways maybe it is, but he misunderstands it.  I’ll admit, in a convoluted way, I’ve developed a love for the passion of anger I feel for him.  I don’t love him, Basil, like I would a normal person.  Since my death, recovery, and my change, I can see clearly now.  I know what and who he is.  He’s a symbol and representative of everything evil in the universe I’ve come to abhor, and I don’t want to be a part of him.  I know there will come a time, in the near future, I will be given a choice to leave him and this doomed world behind.  I want to be among the colonies or here on Mars ready to leave this galaxy with these good and caring people.  My fondest dream would be for you to be by my side.  I want to love you, Son, but I want to win your love.  I’m willing to wait for that day, Basil.”

“But why me?  I ain’t got nothing to offer you like all them other men.  I ain’t no cowboy, warrior or bodybuilder.  For all practical purposes I’m just a warmed-over drag queen who knows a little about makeup.  You can dress a queen up in cowboy drag, but you can bet chore’ boots she ain’t gonna’ rope no dogies, throw no steer, or ride no bull.” Basil got a funny look on his face,  “Well, she might ride the bull if he promises to kiss her afterwards.” he tossed of with a giggle.  Basil continued, “Are you kidding?  Pistol-pack’n-mama throw a rope and break a fingernail?  Get serious.”  Basil laughed, “When I go with a man like you or one of them cowboys, which ain’t too damn often, I know what role I’m expected to play.  I know what role I’m gonna’ play, but that’s all right.  I ain’t knocking it none.  I enjoy playing that role as long as I’m shown a little affection and a modicum of respect.  I’ll say one damn thing about the men of the colonies, they ain’t two-faced.  They don’t try’n hide the fact they went with you, they ain’t afraid to be seen with you in public, but they sure ain’t shy about rating you neither.  Whether you get asked out on another date is in direct proportion to how much you put into your sexual response to your last partner.  Since Master Charlie gave his cowboy slaves permission to date other men outside his ranch, I could have a man in my bed every night if I wanted, but I don’t.”  

“Why would I want you?” replied Brett Jones, “Why not?  All the reasons you just said are the reason why I want you.  I like men who ain’t quite so...”  Brett struggled for a word that might not offend Basil.

“Macho?”  Basil offered.

“Well, yeah, for lack of a better word.  You were the first person in the colonies who treated me like a normal human.  I’ll never forget your impassioned rant the morning you made me up to look so bad.  Underneath your words was a sound mind and well reasoned argument.  If someone handed me a spoon, I would’ve eaten you up right there in front of God and everybody and asked for seconds.” Jones grinned real big and Basil giggled, “Everyone else treats me like a celebrity or some faith-healing freak.  Maybe not the Admiral, Jesse, Utah and all them head men that associate with the big wigs around here, but the average people do.  It’s less here because they don’t know me as well as the rest of the country.  I have no privacy away from here.  I’ve grown up wanting to be a man but having my masculinity robbed from me by forcing me to take a passive position in sex with men of power.  I can’t keep on that way.  Believe it or not, that was the first thing that attracted me to you was your softer side.  All I could think of was taking care of you.  You mumbled something about changing for me, but you don’t have to, Son.  I like you the way your are.  Just promise me you won’t hang your lingerie in the bathroom.” Brett winked at him.  Basil giggled.

“Ain’t got no lingerie and ain’t likely to have none.  I actually prefer cowboy drag.” they shared a laugh.

“So where does all this leave us?” Brett asked quietly.

“I ain’t afraid of you no more.  As big as you are, my body can whip yore’ body with one arm tied behind ma’ back.”  Basil grinned.

“Saucy wench!  Harrrr!” Jones said in his best pirate voice, “I love a girl with spirit!” he spit out a poor imitation of Daffy Duck, then kissed Basil to stop his giggling.  Brett pulled away and added, “And that will be my last attempt at intergender humor.  I don’t see you as my she-male, nor would I want to.  You will be my mate.  Harrr, matey!” he growled and nibble on Basil’s earlobe.

They went to bed that evening and Basil was fully prepared to take his mate.  Together they created the perfect Gormagon.  Basil had a better understanding of his body and its capabilities than even Jesse Watkins.  He wasn’t so sure about Utah.  He communed with the beautiful dog like he had no other animal.  Utah was the one who tipped him off to the ultimate power of his own body.  After Basil got the fucking of his young life from Officer Jones he lay in his big arms contented and complete, babbling some nonsense about how no cowboy slave ever fucked him that good.  Nothing happened this time.  His body quickly identified the intruders, reduced them to their chemical components and expelled them, except for a small amount of special proteins unique to Evanescents that quickly made their way to Basil’s brain.  There they were welcomed by the neurons and synapse as a lubricant and super conductor that allowed his brain to function just a little faster and more freely.  Jones’ brand of Red Bull for the brain.  This batch, alone, was not enough to make Basil take notice, but his brain knew.  It sprouted wings.

* * * * * * *

The coyote gang were perfect young cowboy role models at breakfast that morning.  They were thoughtful of each other and responded politely if included in conversation, but mostly they were quiet and well mannered.  By breakfast, all the adults and their cowboy brothers knew what they were up to the night before.  Everyone thought it was hilarious, but didn’t let on they knew a thing.  They knew the Admiral would take care of the situation.  The Jessups and Gibbons were informed and gave the Admiral their permission to discipline their boys the same as his own.  By that time, they just gave them up to the greater community, especially during the summer.  That didn’t mean they didn’t treasure their one on one time with their boys, but they always had the robo-cams they could check on them any time they wanted.  

All Ranger or Mary Gibbons had to do was turn on their TV, turn to channel four and they had a three dimensional shot of their boy wherever he was and whatever he was doing.  If they got lonely for Ranger Jr. they could just speak to him over one of the cams.  It was like having him in the next room.  The same with Bobby and Elsie.  Ranger got them a big, flat-screen TV and they could see Cable any time they wanted.  They were disappointed in their boy as much at Ranger and Mary were their boy.  They considered pulling the boys back from their trip to Venus, but Lazarus talked them out of it.  He promised them what he had in mind would solve all their worries.  All Lazarus asked was for them to go along with his bluff.

Everyone was packed and had their gear stored on the Banshee the evening before.  All they had to do was finish breakfast and head for check-in on the big warship.  It was early in the morning, about six A.M. Earth time when they checked in and headed for their cabins.  Commander Trapeeth Newsong Maddragon was waiting at the check-in area for his young apprentice-mate.  He looked tired but handsome in his short brown leather kilt with his polished knee length, heavy boots and the massive leather belts that crisscrossed his huge pecs and upper body torso.   Lucas melted inside and ran down into his cowboy boots every time he saw his warrior again for the first time.   Lucas ran to his open arms and shamelessly hugged and kissed him right on the mouth.

“Damnation!  You look so tired.  You must have been up all night.  I don’t like to see you this tired.  You need a good rubdown, some rest, and a devoted apprentice to take a load off your mind." Lucas insisted.

“I’m beat, but not so bad I couldn’t enjoy a few hours rest with my number one mate in my cabin a little later.”

“How long before you’re off duty, Trap?”  Lucas asked quietly.

“About an hour after we get underway the Captain will change the watch.  Come to my cabin in three hours.  The combination is still the same.  Let yourself in if I’m not there and make yourself comfortable.”

“I’ll try, but I promise, I won’t be comfortable until you’re there with me.”

“You say the sweetest damn things, boy.  Why do you look so handsome this morning?”

“My dad, my master, broke me to his saddle last night.”

“That’s wonderful.  I know you been wanting to show him what you’ve learned.  Was he pleased?”

“He said he’ll talk with you later, after you’ve had a chance to rest.  I think he was impressed.  He took seconds.”  They shared a laugh.

“Good for you.  I hope he didn’t take it all.”

“There’s more than enough left for my Mad Dragon, Trap.”  Lucas blushed and the commander roared with laughter.

Lucas said his goodbyes and went to check on the coyotes.  He found them in their cabin watching an old Disney movie.  They were up in the middle of a huge bed with Jack and Jill and five cow pups lying around.  A couple were acting like arm rests for Bo and another couple for Ranger Jr.  Cable had Patty in a choke hold petting her as they chatted with each other about the movie.

“You men okay?” Lucas inquired.

“Yes, Sir, brother Lucas.  We be fine.”

“Good.  I have an appointment to meet one of my cowboy slave brothers on the observation deck for coffee in about ten minutes.  Can I leave you men alone for an hour?”

“As long as you like, brother Lucas.  We’ll be here.  We’ll just watch movies until you come for us.”  Lucas laughed to himself.  They were really being good.

“The Admiral and Master Charlie should be here to check on you in about thirty minutes.  They’ll take you down to the control room and get you strapped in for takeoff.  You men ready?”

“Yes, Sir.  We’ll look after our critter brothers.”

Lucas nodded his approval, turned, closed the cabin door and left.  He found his way to the observation deck.  There was no one there but one lone cowboy sitting waiting for takeoff.  Lucas entered the room and saw Sam stand and turn to look at him.  He waved with one hand as he approached.  He opened his arms to Sam and embraced him.  Sam heaved once, but caught himself.

“I swore and be’damned I wouldn’t cry, and I won’t.”

“Good, then I’ll do the crying for both of us.” Lucas kidded him.

“What can I say, Lucas?”

“You don’t have to say anything, Sam.  Nothing’s changed.  I’m still your cowboy slave brother.  I’m the same man you knew and loved yesterday.”

“I know, but I feel frustrated, embarrassed and angry with myself.”

“Listen, Sam, you’re the last one of Caleb’s brother who should feel that way.  Have you had coffee yet?”

“With breakfast this morning, but I could use another cup for takeoff.”

“Fine.  I made arrangements for us to spend takeoff together, here on the observation deck.”  Lucas pressed a button on a side panel and a coffee service appeared.  He poured two cups and handed Sam one. “Take anything in yours?” Lucas asked.

“Naw, strong and black.” Sam replied.  They each took a sip and Lucas motioned for them to sit down and strap themselves in.  The computer would show them aboard and accounted for on the observation deck.

“I have to compliment you, brother.  You’re looking really good.  Your commander and your warrior buddies are really pushing you, and it shows.  I’m proud of you, Sam.”  

That did it.  Sam put his coffee cup in the non-spill magnetic holder next to his chair, put his head in his hands and started sobbing.  Lucas sat there and let him get it out.  Sam finally got himself together.

“I’m sorry.  I can’t tell you how many times I broke down since I found out.  I don’t know if I break up from frustration or relief.”

“Does it matter, Sam?  Let me see if I can help you out.  First of all, in a way, I’m glad you found out the truth, not only for your sake but for me and our master’s sake as well.  Now you know what a truly great and fine man he is, and his buying Caleb’s brothers as slaves was an act of kindness.  Before you go into a great guilt trip let me tell you I love you, Sam.  I will always love you, but you must understand, Caleb as such, as your little brother, is no more.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Caleb ain’t dead, he’s very much alive and living with the Kryscellians.  I couldn’t deal with him as I was becoming Lucas.  It was too stressful.  There was too much anger and pain.  They took most of the painful memories of Caleb away from me and stored them.  I still know everything Caleb knew and felt, I just don’t have to deal with it all at one time.  Over the last six years, I’ve been interacting with Caleb and my goal is to eventually reclaim him as a part of me.  I visit him regularly, and we have long talks.  He’s come a long way and the Kryscells are wonderful with him.”

“Are you serious?  I didn’t know anything like that was possible.”

“What about Indigo/Blue?”

“Yeah, okay, I don’t fully understand them either, but I see your point.  So you really ain’t Caleb?”

“I am and I ain’t.  Lucas Long has developed over the last six years and lives in the body which was Caleb Stamper, but as you can see, this body is considerably different from Caleb’s.  Caleb, himself, is much improved, he's better, stronger emotionally, and I’ve grown to love him very much.  He will eventually become a full part of me.  If you have issues about Caleb, I’ll be happy to give the Kryscellians permission for you to visit with him.”

“You mean I can actually talk with my little brother directly?”

“Absolutely.  Just like you’re talking with me.  He would love to have you visit.  I know how much he loves and respects you.  You were the only brother who tried to show him some compassion and love.  You taught him to read while watching Sesame Street with him.  You snuck him treats from time to time.  You were the only one to clean him and his cage most of the time.  As a matter of fact, if you visit him it might make our rejoining happen sooner.  I’ll even go with you your first time.”

“When do you foresee you and Caleb might rejoin?”

“Soon, very soon.  I’m hoping before I graduate high school which is only two more years.  So when you see my name on the graduation program, if it says Lucas C. Long, you’ll know your little brother is home where he belongs.”

“What about our brothers, Lucas?”

“Don’t you mean ‘your’ brothers, Sam?  What about them?” Lucas asked.

“Don’t they have a right to know their little brother is still alive?”

“Why?” asked Lucas surprised.

“To relieve them of their pain and guilt.” Sam replied.

“What pain?  What guilt?  Like you, they done their grieving for Caleb and moved on.  They don’t sit around ringing their hands and talking about him.  They didn’t care about Caleb when he was alive.  Why would they now?  Admiral Long never intended for Caleb’s brothers to know unless I decided to tell them.  You found out by accident.  I’m still working things out with Caleb.  I have to deal with him, his pain and anguish.  You don’t have anything like that in your life.  I think I have the right to expect your loyalty and trust in this matter, Sam.” Sam didn’t respond.  He just looked at Lucas with a blank stare like a block wall sprang up between them.  Lucas continued,  “I don’t know if I ever want Burt or Phil to know.  They were very cruel to Caleb.  Later, I might decide to tell Jeb and Zeke, but it should be my choice and no one else’s.”  Still Sam sat registering no response.  “I don’t foresee ever sharing my secret with Phil and Burt, but I won’t rule it out.  I might change my mind someday, but again, it should be no one’s decision or choice but mine.”  Sam didn’t respond.  Lucas felt strange.  He couldn’t tell what Sam was thinking.  He decided to test the water.  

“So are we cool, Sam?  Do we understand each other?”

“I guess so.” Sam was considerably less than enthusiastic. “Do you love me, Lucas.”

“Yes, Sam.  Do you love me?”

“Yes, I told my commander and Rollon you have been a good and loving brother to me.  I feel bad because I was such an ignorant asshole.”

“Maybe you’re being too hard on yourself, Sam.  There’s really nothing you could’ve done to stop what happened to Caleb.  Hopefully, you’re no longer an ignorant asshole.  Neither are your brothers.  I’m proud of them, too, Sam, but as cowboy slave brothers.  I don’t love them as much as I do you.”

“I’m pleased to hear that.”

“You should be, you’re a good man and a fine cowboy brother.  Oh, and by the way, our master loves you very much.  He’s proud of your accomplishments and is looking forward to awarding you your wings.” said Lucas.

“Attention!  All passengers, please fasten your seatbelts.” came the deep voice of Commander Maddragon over the speaker.

Lucas and Sam strapped themselves in and the light overhead flashed from red to green.  The information was relayed to the central computer they were in their seats and strapped in.  Sam and Lucas talked for almost an hour about many things as the mighty Banshee lifted from its mooring locks and slowly set out through the darkness of the caves to finally exit into the dim sunlight of an autumn Martian sky.  They talked about their loves and their hopes for the future.  Lucas entrusted Sam with a couple of his secrets.  He told Sam about his master finally taking him as his slave as was Lazarus’ due.  Lucas shared with him what the coyotes had done the night before to invade his and his master’s privacy.  Lucas laughed about it and got Sam laughing as well.  He swore Sam to secrecy about the coyotes because that’s the way the Admiral wanted to handle it for right now.  Sam assured him he would be discrete.  During Lucas’ description of his and Lazarus bonding the evening before, Lucas kept referring to Lazarus as his master, but several times slipped and referred to him as ‘dad.’

“You really consider Admiral Long your dad, don’t you?” Sam asked quietly.

“Yes, of course I do, Sam.  He’s the only father I’ve ever known.  Why wouldn’t I think of him as my dad?”

“You’re right.  I guess, to be honest, I’ve always been a little jealous of your closeness with our master, but before, I assumed he was your biological father.  I never suspected you weren’t his real son.”

“Oh, but I am his real son.  Master Long is my biological father, Sam.  Most any man can stick his dick into a woman and fertilize her to ‘biologically’ create a baby, but my dad created me from Caleb because he wanted me for his son.  My father took a lump of beaten flesh that was Caleb Stamper who was one step away from a pet food rendering plant, saved his life and fashioned him into his son.  God made Adam out of a lump of clay, breathed life into him and called him his son.  How much more biological can you get?  Cabel, David and Jonathan call our master 'father.'   Lazarus Long was responsible for their creation, therefore, he's their father.  You should know better’n anyone, Elam Stamper was never Caleb’s father.  Elam never wanted him; he never accepted Caleb.  He condemned an innocent child because he got it through his thick, ignorant, fundamentalist head his youngest son killed his wife.”

“He wasn’t much of a dad to any of us.  I sometimes forget about those times.  I guess I just don’t want to remember them.”  Sam allowed.
“Beyond this point, Sam, let’s not speak of the past.  My past began about the time you became my cowboy slave brother.  The first time I met you and the rest of the Stamper men at Master Hoot and Cotton’s ranch, I was only about a month old.  Lucas Long is only a little over six years old.  When Caleb and I rejoin I’ll become their combined age.”

“I understand what you’re saying, but you gotta’ admit, it’s just a little weird.” Sam insisted.  Lucas smiled.

“A person can live a lifetime in six years, Sam.”

“I suppose he could at that.” Sam smiled.  “Sometimes, the last six years seems like an eternity to me.” Sam allowed.

“Passengers are now free to unfasten their seatbelts and move freely about the ship.  Thank you for your cooperation and have an enjoyable flight.” said the voice.  It was another voice than Lucas’ commander and he knew Trap was probably off duty.
“You’ll have to excuse me, brother.  My commander is going off duty.  He’s been up all night doing last minute pre-flight checks, seeing everyone got on board and properly assigned.  He’ll be tired, and I need to be there to see to him.”  Lucas hugged and gave Sam a quick kiss on his cheek.  “If you want, I can make time for us to get together again during our flights to or from Venus if you need to talk more.”

“I'd like to think about what we’ve talked about and have another talk with you before we have to meet with the Admiral and tell him how you’ve decided we should handle this situation.”

“How I’ve decided we should handle the situation, Sam?  Excuse me?  I don’t think I understand how you mean that statement.  I tried to explain how this might adversely affect me and your little brother if it became public knowledge.  I thought we decided it’s best for both of us, Sam.  Your discovery has placed me in a difficult position, but if you mean to imply I’m being one sided, then indeed, we have more to talk about.  I’m certainly open to your input, but perhaps you’ve forgotten there’s more than just you and me at stake here.  There’s also your youngest brother to consider.  Perhaps, we should wait and let you speak with Caleb before we talk again.  My choice of how to handle our situation takes him into consideration.  I’ll do what I must to protect him and me.  It was only by accident you discovered our secret.”

“I have a feeling if I hadn’t I might never have known.” Sam accused.

“I think that’s really unfair of you, Sam, you don’t know that for sure.  It wouldn’t have been the end of your world if you never found out.  You told me earlier you already placed Caleb’s death behind you.  The point is, I can’t really say whether I would have told you or not.  I just don’t know.  I did mention to our master if I decided to tell one of my bothers it would be you.  I thought we had become good friends.  I’m stunned you would even say such a thing.  I’m hurt and disappointed.  It’s not like you, Sam.  Brothers don’t treat brothers that way, whether they be united by blood or owned by the same master.  How could you drive a wedge between us like that?  I have nothing more to say to you.  Have a nice trip to Venus, Sam.” Lucas was about to lose it.  He felt tears of anger and frustration welling up inside him.  He got up from his seat, turned and began to walk away.

“Lucas. . . brother. . . .” Sam called after him.  “I don’t know what made me say that.  I’m sorry.  Don’t be angry with me.  It’s a lot for me to absorb what with talk about you and my little brother being separate.  It seems like you don’t want to be a part of our family no more.  I feel like I don’t really know who you are.”  Sam stated without emotion.

“You never really knew who your little brother was, Sam.  You said yourself you never took the time to get to know him.  Why break with tradition at this point?  What?  You think you’re gonna’ just welcome Caleb back into the fold with open arms like a long lost brother you never gave a shit about to begin with?  Has it occurred to you, maybe Caleb and I don’t want to be a part of your family anymore?  I’ve tried to tell you I love you as my cowboy slave brother, because I didn’t want you to feel rejected by stating the obvious.  My last name ain’t Stamper no more, Sam.  I’m proud to carry the name of the man who saved my life, who wanted to be my master and father bad enough to pick up the pieces of your little brother and put him back together again.  Caleb Stamper, your little brother, died when I became Lucas Long.  I came to you today with love and forgiveness in my heart and thought we could begin again with mutual understanding and respect.  Even when you men thought I was our master’s son, I ain’t never tried to put myself above you or your brothers.

I don’t know what you were expecting, but obviously it ain’t something I’m gonna’ be comfortable with.  What other option could you possibly have in mind but to spill the beans to everyone?  I would never go along with that for reasons I’ve already told you.  Bottom line, Sam, I won’t be bullied, manipulated or pushed around by you or any Stamper anymore, and trust me, I have the guns to back me up. 
You need to come to some conclusions in your own heart, Sam.  When you’re ready, we’ll talk again.  Until then, I’ll let you tell our master why we ain’t reached an agreement.  I was proud to consider you my cowboy slave brother— now, that’s even kind of a stretch for me.  I guess we were just never meant to be brothers.  Ah, well, I still have my cowboy brothers.  They’ve stood solidly behind me for the last six years and never betrayed my trust.  They love me for who I've become and not for who they might want me to be.  I guess it’s really true what they say: sometimes the truest members of your family are not born under the same roof as you.”

* * * * * * *

Lucas could barely make the long walk to the warrior's Officer’s Quarters.  It seem each corridor stretched on for miles and his feet felt like they were moving in slow motion.  He finally reached Trap’s cabin.  He punched in the series of Visallian symbols that represented the combination code which unlocked the sliding door.  He heard a soft swoosh as the portal opened to allow him entrance.  He entered and the door immediately closed behind him before his eyes had a chance to adjust.   The room was dark with only a small light from a kid’s nightlight figure of Krusty the Clown Lucas bought at the Parsons flea market for Trap.  It was one of Trap’s favorite possessions.  Lucas didn’t look about the room and barely made it to the bed before he collapsed into gut wrenching sobs.  He didn’t see the man-mountain, his dragon, sitting in the dark in his favorite easy chair.  Lucas jumped as he felt a massive pair of arms pulling him up to cradle him and kiss him on and about his head and shoulders.

“Ah, my handsome apprentice, what can be so wrong your loving dragon can’t make better?” Trap whispered stealing kiss after kiss.

“Not a damn thing, Trap.  My love for you heals all hurts and rights all wrongs.  I’m so lucky and honored to have you love me.” Lucas managed to get out before he threw his smaller arms around the massive, bull-like neck of his warrior-mate and he shed a few tears of genuine happiness.

“You’re easy to love.  We make a good team, you and me.” Trap said, “Now tell your Dragon-man what has broken your heart.”

There is no trauma in life an open mind and a big loving heart can’t make better.  Lucas Long was home in the arm’s of his warrior.

End of Chapter 49 ~ Waco’s Lummox
Copyright 2007/2008 ~ Waddie Greywolf
All Rights Reserved ~
Mail to: waddiebear@yahoo.com