By Waddie Greywolf

Chapter 67

After Monty morphed his body to a normal state, returned Jimmy Joe’s boots to his makeshift altar, and doused the votive candles, he cleaned himself and went to bed.  He was not sorry he decided to spend the night by himself.  He was with people so much from the time he was sent to jail until this night.  He realized he hadn’t been alone in over six months.  He thought he might panic, but he didn’t.  He found it quite peaceful to be by himself with his own thoughts, and only himself to worry about.  He lay in bed thinking about Jimmy Joe, but not in the same way he seemed to obsess about Shanna or Coyote John.  His thoughts about his ramrod were like the words to an old country/Western song he heard one time, gentle on his mind.  He didn’t think about Ramrod Russell’s relationship with Burt Stamper.  It just never occurred to Monty to be the jealous type.  Jealously is born of self-doubt, insecurities and selfishness.  Monty had none of those.  Monty was secure in his innate abilities and was soaking up the possibilities of his newly discovered talents like a sponge morphed into a super computer.

He was so different all his life, he would adjust to anyone’s needs or try to become anything to please them, just to have them like him.  In essence, Monty became the bad boy lover Shanna Ruggles needed to rebel against the strict, unbending, draconian prison to which her fundamentalist parents subjected her.  In the darkest moments of any form of psychological repression, be it political tyranny or severe pressure from religious conformity, often comes a subconscious desire for freedom of the soul to shed the bonds of submission.  Shanna’s spark was not well thought out, and before it could burst forth into a flame of passion, it was quickly doused by her much more powerful father’s insane need to control all things in his world.  Like the worm attached to the head of an angler fish, child abuse hides behind the facade of religious goodness like a steal trap.  It was a good thing they weren’t Muslims.  She would have fared far worse.     

Growing up by himself, Monty had few role models, other than Dexter for a companion, to help him form a heathy give and take concept of love.  He came to see most people as rejecting.  His mother, for whatever reasons, left him without explanation.  His grandfather never accepted him.  If it were not for the Ongs, he never would have developed a concept of affection for others.  They established within him the hope not all people are users and some could be counted on to help him without expecting anything in return.  With guarded reason, they became the ones, on which, he showered his affections.  It wasn’t that he tried to buy people’s love or friendship, but with the Ong’s influence he developed into a giving person.

He thought about Kuklacon and how his rebirth and transformation was coming along.  He gave instructions to his workers to regrow parts of the Scarecrow to change his appearance from looking like himself to one of his cowboy heroes.  For that, they simply returned Scarecrow's bio-body to the growing tanks before they made an attempt to connect the whale’s brain to the body.  Monty smiled to himself wondering if Captain Shane would approve his choice of appearance for the bio-droid.  He gave his workers five DVDs of old Republic “B” Westerns staring one of his favorite cowboy stars from the forties and fifties, Allen “Rocky” Lane.*  Lane was a larger man than Monty, but a size adjustment was no problem for his team.  They slapped him back into the tank, beefed him up a bit and rearranged his facial features.  What Monty saw pleased him.  The new image of the Scarecrow was sitting in a specially designed chair for working on bio-droids, and even though he was wearing a diaper, it was like Rocky Lane stepped off the silver screen and left his faithful companion ‘Blackjack’ behind.

He was physically larger and a more maturely developed man than Monty.  Monty made certain he had a fine set of male genitalia to reflect his maturity, of which, any cowboy would be proud.  He instructed his workers to show Kuklacon the movies from which his image was created and he noticed the bio-droid absorbed the same speech patterns and dialect of Lane’s persona.  If Monty didn’t know better, he would swear he was speaking with Rocky Lane.  While the big bio-droid got the cowboy’s vocal inflections down pat— Monty had to hide a smile— he sounded a lot like ‘Mr. Ed’ the talking horse.  He wondered, at the time, if ‘Rocky’ might not be a good name for his new bio-droid.  While he was talking with Kuklacon he was mentally measuring the bio-droid’s foot.  When he used his other workshop to polish up his ramrod’s boots he visited his five leather working buddies.  He gave them Kuklacon’s size and told them to make a pair of buckaroo boots.  He knew they would be ready by morning.

* * * * * * *

Monty’s dreams.

Monty was tired after his busy day and quickly fell asleep.  He experienced several strange dreams.  He was working hard trying to live up to the standards he set for himself to become the best, most productive slave for Captain Shane he could.  Along with the good dreams there were several that made no sense to him whatsoever.  Two were particularly outstanding in his mind and left him wondering about them when he awoke the next morning.  The first began when he found himself working with Maxine and a couple of other dogs he didn’t recognize bringing some sheep down from the high pasture on the adjacent ranch Boss Potter recently bought.  It was a hot afternoon, and he was sweating profusely.  Off in the distance he could see a cowboy riding bareback on one of the ranch horses.  Hoot and Cotton sent their trusted cowboy slave crew leaders through the gate to the ranch to find Monty.  They had an emergency situation.  One of their best cow dogs tried to fight off a mountain lion and lost.  He was dying.  Monty sent Maxine to tell Phil Pie where he would be.  He knew Maxine and the other dogs could handle the sheep without him.  He sent the cowboy slave back through the gate.  Monty told him he would meet him there.  The cowboy didn’t understand Monty’s gifts and insisted he come with him through the gate.  Monty didn’t have time to explain, winked at Maxine and disappeared in front of the man.  Maxine told the slave trustee Monty didn’t need gates, he would find Monty waiting for him when he got to Hoot and Cotton’s ranch.

Monty reappeared where Hoot, Cotton and their cowboy slaves were gathered around the back of an old pickup truck.  Laid out on the tailgate was the bloody body of a large dog.  It was an older, handsome Australian cow dog.  The cowboys were startled to see him suddenly appear among them.  They moved aside as he walked to the wounded animal.  He wasted no time in explanations, threw off his shirt, plunged his hands into the blood of the poor thing, rubbed some up and down his arms, some across his forehead and a bit across his bare chest for his body to record the animal’s genetic information.  He put his bloody hand on the dog’s head to sooth him and take away his pain.  He could hear it crying in his brain.  He told it to trust him, he would take away his pain.  The dog relaxed, stretched out and its breathing seemed to slow like it was dying.  It wasn’t, Monty placed it into a deep, relaxed state where it was aware of everything but felt no pain.  Then he began to work on the animal.  He repaired and healed one section at a time until the animal was whole and sound again.  The men watched in utter disbelief at what they were witnessing.  Hoot and Cotton knew of Monty’s unusual talents, but never failed to be amazed by him.      

If the young man's healing of the animal wasn't impressibe enough, Monty threw off the rest of his clothes and his boots until he was naked in front of the men.  In his conscious mind he marveled at his total lack of modesty.  He was simply doing what he knew he must.  He instructed the cowboys to stand back away from him.  When they were far enough, they watched as he slowly morphed into one of the biggest lummox they ever saw.  He knelt next to the dog and his huge chest came to the height of the tailgate.  He gently woke the sleeping animal and offered him his teat.  The dog began to lick and then suck the rich milk from Monty’s huge lummox breast.  He drank more and more.  The men watched as the cow dog’s stomach ballooned up in size.  He drank until he couldn’t drink anymore and passed out.  Monty morphed back into himself.  One cowboy in the back started clapping and the rest picked it up until all were applauding and stomping their boots on the ground in appreciation for what Monty did for their friend, their working buddy.  Monty pulled his clothes back on.  A cowboy handed him his bandana he dipped in warm water for him to clean the blood off him.

“How can we ever thank you, Son?” Hoot put his big hand on his shoulder.  Cotton was so moved he was in tears.

“No, need.  You men do the same ever’ damn day, just in different ways.  You came through for me when I needed you.  You always do.  He can’t have no food but lummox milk for three days.  Get Cable to loan you an anit-grav Gurney from sickbay.  Bring him to my quarters with his main cowboy buddy.  He’ll need someone with him ‘round the clock, but I ain’t got time to be his nurse.  I’ll put ‘em both up for several days in our big barn next to my quarters and feed him lummox milk until he can eat solid food.  He should be fine in three or four days.  He can’t return to work for couple of weeks maybe more.  He needs time to gain his strength back.  He’ll let you know when he’s ready.  You won’t be able to keep him down for long.” Monty smiled.  He learned most of the animal’s personality traits through his genetic material.

In his next dream, one of the cowboy slaves shot and killed a coyote.  It was unclear what prompted Monty to do what he saw himself do in the dream, but after the cowboys walked away to leave the carcass to be picked over by scavengers, he went to it, picked it up and carried it back to his quarters.  He carefully removed the bullet, repaired the wound, and brought it back to life.  He hid it in a large cage in the barn and fed it until it was strong enough to be released into the wild.  One evening he transported himself and the coyote to an area far away from the ranch.  He carefully explained to the animal it must  never be seen in the vicinity of the ranch again or it would be shot, but when it came time to collect wild animals for exit from the planet he would come for him.  He told it he must be careful because Monty couldn’t bring it back to life a second time and left it to fend for itself.  It took several months, the animal had to cross four states, but the coyote eventually found its way back to the ranch.

It was so grateful to Monty for giving it back its life, it began to hang around his quarters more and more.  Monty wouldn’t feed it or acknowledge it and tried to shoo it away any number of times, but it was drawn to Monty.  It just wanted to be near him.  He even threatened it by throwing rocks at it, but it could tell Monty’s heart wasn’t in it.  He never aimed at the animal.  He knew Monty would never hurt him.  It just wasn’t in his nature.  It formed an unhealthy and dangerous attachment to Monty.  In desperation, Monty made a decision.  He changed his tactic and allowed the animal to approach him.  Soon it felt comfortable enough to let Monty pet him.  With his first touch, Monty used the genetic information from the wounded cow dog to change the coyote into another cow dog with minor tweaks to his information to make him a different color and with different eyes.  He allowed the morphed coyote to start living with him and taught him to live among humans and other dogs.  He quickly learned to adapt and became one of the finest cow dogs on the ranch.  Because of conflicts between Maxine and the cow dog for Monty’s affections, Monty ultimately gave him to Ramrod Russell to become his personal dog and protector.   

* * * * * * *

Monty was up early the next morning.  Other than his strange dreams, Monty had a good night of restful sleep, but he couldn't help wondered about the lifelike dreams he had.  He quickly took care of his morning duties, had a cup of instant coffee as he threw on his clothes.  He was invited to the big house for breakfast.  Master Goodnight probably had something for him to do.  He thought he would surprise his master.  He went into his lab and flipped the inter-dimensional switch to be in the same time dilation as his workers and their world.  They met him and pulled him over to the new body.  A little over five months passed in their dimension since it was decided another body should be grown for Dexter and there was no mistaking the form of a smaller Captain Shane was developing.  It appeared to be an adolescent version of the older man but would have proportionately the same muscle mass.  Monty smiled and mentally complimented his workers.  They were happy he was pleased.  Monty thought it would be the perfect intermediate body for Dexter.  He could already imagine Dexter’s personality inside it.  He had to admit it was a better idea for Dexter than to plunge him into an adult body.  They led him to the upstairs lab, and he was pleasantly surprised to see Kuklacon up and walking around in the nude.  He was no longer wearing a diaper.  He was stunningly handsome.  He smiled when he saw Monty.

“Howdy, Monty, good to see ya’ again.” he said in a thick drawl.  

“You been watching them videos again, Scarecrow?” he asked.

“Yes, Sir, I have.  I shore’ like Mr. Lane.  I understand those videos were not real stories, but I like the kind of man Mr. Lane represents.  I’d like to pretend I’m a good man like him.”

“You don’t have to pretend.  You should be able to be a good man with no problem.” Monty replied.

“You told me to think of a name for myself.  I think a new body needs a new name.  I want to be known as ‘Rocky.’”

“I don’t think that will be a problem, Rocky.” Monty smiled at him, “Tell me, Rocky, have you learned to control your solid waste?”

“Yes, Sir, I’m doing much better.  They took my diaper off shortly after your last visit.  I only had one accident since that time, but they took care of it and cleaned me.  Ain't had me one since.  They never scold me or punish me for improper behavior.  They tell me they know I’m trying to do my best.  I sometimes don’t clean myself well enough afterward, but I’m getting better.  They check me every time.”

Monty wondered what it might be like to potty train an adult.  He didn’t want to think about it, but knew if he was called on to do it, he would rise to the occasion.  His heart went out to all the dedicated nurses out there in the world or children taking care of elderly parents who had to provide that service.  It’s those who care enough to do such work who elevate mankind from mere mortals to the realm of spiritual beings.

“Would you like to visit my world today, Rocky?” he smiled at the big, naked, handsome bio-droid.

“I would be pleased, Monty.  I’ve been shown many videos of your world, and it appears to be quite beautiful.  I’d very much like to visit it in person.  Do you think I’m ready, Sir?”

“Well, you may need more development, but I think I might be able to take care of you for a day.  Later, I can return you to your caretakers for more education and maturation.”

“I think it would be wonderful to visit your world, Sir.”  

All the critters gathered to say ‘goodbye’ to Rocky.  They knew they wouldn’t be seeing him for a while.  Since they were responsible for his conception, growth, development and transferring his intelligence to him, Rocky was their baby.  It caused them some trauma to let him go.  Monty realized this and promised he would bring him back.  Monty switched off the dimensional barrier, and he and Rocky stepped out into his quarters.  Rocky was stunned by the beauty of Monty’s home.  Monty guesstimated Rocky’s size and asked big Bart for the loan of an older pair of his Wranglers and an old denim Western shirt.  Monty got a couple of diapers from his workers before he left the lab.  He explained to Rocky they were for insurance.  He had Rocky lie on his bed, got some baby powder, powered his butt and his genitals.  Monty smiled to himself as he took great liberties fondling Rocky’s ample penis until it began to swell.  He grinned.

“Does that feel good, Rocky?” he smiled.

“Very good, Sir, is that a sexual response to having my penis fondled?”

“It is.  Have you ejaculated yet?” Monty asked like a doctor.

“Yes, Sir, a couple of times.  It was wonderful, but short lived.  As a bladder whale, when we unloaded our sperm into a female sometimes took hours to complete.  It would cause us to break into song and the couple would sing great songs of love together for hours.  I had the same feeling when I ejaculate with this body, but it was over so fast I didn’t have time to sing.  I don’t know any short songs.  I sang a long one afterward.”

“I often do that myself.” Monty chuckled thinking about the song in his heart after his ramrod fucked him for the first time, “There will be differences, Rocky.” he added.  “You’ll learn to enjoy the short ones as much as the long ones from your past.  You’ll just have to have more of the short ones to make up for a long one.” he grinned, knowing he was being silly and wicked.

Big Bart’s Wranglers were about a half size too large for Rocky, but with the diaper, they fit perfectly.  Monty helped him on with his shirt.

“Why do you cover your bodies, Monty?  Are they not beautiful to look upon?” he asked.

“They are, indeed, beautiful, Rocky.  Not all humans feel it necessary to clothe themselves all the time.  You will meet those who don’t.  When you’re here with me, in my quarters, you may be naked if you prefer.  I find you most handsome to look upon, but in my world there are those who look upon nudity as wrong and have strict rules because of false modesty.  It’s just easier to move about and get along within my world if you follow the rules.”

“I understand, Monty, but I feel sorrow for your people.” he said sincerely.

“I never thought about it that way, Rocky, but now you mention it, so do I.” he patted Rocky on his back.  “Wait here for a minute, and I will return with coverings for your feet.”

Rocky was still sitting in the same place on Monty’s bed when he returned with a brand new, fine looking pair of buckaroo boots.  He helped Rocky on with them and had him walk about.  He obviously transferred memories of the movie cowboy to his walking and was instantly turned into a cowboy.  Monty was amazed at his fast transformation.

“How do they feel, Rocky?”

“Fine.  Is it so dangerous in your world you must wear such heavy protective footwear?” he asked.

“It can be, but mostly boots are worn as a tradition among men who raise cattle or live in rural areas.”

“What are cattle raised for, Monty?” he asked.

“I’ll tell you about it later.  You don’t need to know about that right now.” Monty found himself wondering how he would explain exploiting an innocent, defenseless biological life form for food.  He suddenly felt like a monster.

“Okay.” Rocky replied innocently.

Monty looked at Rocky and thought all he needed was a hat to look like the perfect buckaroo, but he knew the bio-droid’s head was larger than his.  He would have to take care of that later.  He could have Cable replicate a nice buckaroo hat for Rocky in his size.  One of the greatest strokes of genius his workers came up with was to make the bio-droids strands of hair a collective net for absorbing electrical energy from the sun.  Only a few minutes a day would supply Rocky the energy he needed to keep his brain well fed and happily active for months.  His brain was much like the structure of the Krysallians.  Monty led him to the door and they walked out into the beautiful, warm light of the rising sun.  It was a magic time of morning.  Unfortunately, the peace was broken by Ms. Jenny as she came around the corner of the barn braying at the top of her voice.  Rocky got a look of horror on his face and started to run for the protection of Monty’s quarters.

“Easy, Rocky, she’s a friend.  She just wants her morning carrots.”  Monty walked over to a shelf by the door and got two carrots from the sack he left there the night before.  Jenny followed him every step of the way.  Monty gave her the carrots and she stopped yelling long enough to enjoy them but called after them as they crossed the bridge.

“She makes a big sound for such a small creature.” Rocky said.  Monty laughed.

“It’s her way of thanking me for her treats, but also complaining it wasn’t enough to please her.  The other cowboy slaves will be down here soon to feed her along with the other critters.”

“Are you a cowboy slave, Monty?”

“Yes, I am, Rocky.  I’m owned by your hero, Captain Shane Goodnight.”

“You are a lucky man, Monty.”

“I like to think so, Rocky.  You’ll be meeting him in a few minutes.”

“Really?  I won’t know how to act.  What if I have an accident?”

“Captain Shane ain’t a complicated man, Rocky.  He’s intelligent, honest and good hearted.  If you have an accident, no one will embarrass you; least of all, my master.  Master Goodnight will be just as pleased to meet you, I’m sure.  Just be yourself.  Don’t worry, if you should have an accident, I will take care of you.” Monty reassured him.

They walked over the beautiful valley, over the hill and down through the second valley filled with all kinds of flowers.  It was a breathtaking sight.  Rocky stopped at the crest of the hill and looked out over the sea of color.  Tears started running down his handsome cheeks.  Monty could tell he was deeply moved by what he saw.  Monty went to him and took his hand and stood with him for a moment.

“I see it everyday, but I get in such a hurry; sometimes, I forget to be thankful for its beauty.” Monty said softly.

“I could see it for the rest of my life, and never forget to be grateful for its beauty, Monty.  Such songs this sight inspires.  It is the most incredible sight I’ve ever seen with either set of eyes.” he said quietly.  In the distance Monty could see Maxine being let out the screen door of the big house by Ms. Biddle.  She made a beeline for the fence, scooted beneath it and started running full out toward Monty.  She was barking and yelling at the same time.

“Monty!  Monty!  Monty!  Who is the new handsome cowboy you have with you?  Oh, Monty, he’s like Dexter and Cable, but he’s so big and handsome.”  In her enthusiasm she was jumping all about and making Rocky a bit nervous.

“Another friend of yours, Monty?” he asked.

“A very special friend, Rocky.” he replied.  He introduced Maxine to Rocky.  She held her paw up for him.  He didn’t know what to do.

“Very gently take her paw with your hand, slowly move it up and down a couple of times.  It’s a ritual greeting.” Monty explained.  Rocky leaned over and did as instructed.  

“Good to meet you, Rocky.” Maxine said.

“It’s good to meet you, Maxine.” he replied without prompting from Monty.

“Good.  That’s the proper response, Rocky.  See, you’ve already learned something this morning.”

Maxine escorted them back to the house.  She and Monty chit-chatted on the way, and she assured him he was in no trouble with her master.  Rocky marveled at how well Maxine and Monty seemed to get along.  They didn’t seem like separate species to Rocky.  They acted like brother and sister; in fact, he heard them call each other that several times.  He decided he liked Maxine’s species.  They reached the screen door to the back porch.  Monty knocked and heard Boss Potter holler for him to come in.  He held the door for Maxine and Rocky.  Maxine ran ahead and Monty and the new bio-droid cowboy followed her.  All the men were gathered having coffee in the kitchen.  Monty walked in with Rocky towering behind him.  Several mouths dropped open.  The men were stunned by the sight of Rocky.  He was an imposing size and looked like a buckaroo with his big square jaw and easy smile.

“Gentlemen, I’d like you to meet our new bio-mechanical cowboy who has decided he wants to be known as ‘Rocky.’  He is the former ‘Scarecrow’ and the former ‘Kuklacon’ of Venus.”  Monty took the time to introduce Rocky to each man, Bobby and Dexter.  Dexter was unusually reserved, but he politely shook the big bio-droid’s hand.  It was like he was looking at the man he was meant to be.  Monty saw a look in Dexter’s eye he never saw before.  It was a look of betrayal.  Monty didn’t know what to do.  It was a social setting, so he pretended to overlook it.  He introduced Rocky to Ms. Biddle who nodded to him and smiled.  When he introduced him to Captain Shane, and Shane took his hand, the big bio-droid got tears in his eyes.

“I’m sorry, Sir, my eyes are leaking.  I’m so honored to meet you.  You and your brothers are such revered heroes to my former race.  You saved my father and my grandfather’s lives.  Monty told me leaking eyes is a sign of deep emotions.  I guess it’s true.  I’m deeply moved to be in your presence, Captain Shane.”

“Welcome, to Earth— son of Chacheelian and grandson of the great father Chuchulack— you are welcome among us.” said Shane sincerely.  Then he spoke to Monty while still holding Rocky’s hand, “He’s magnificent, Monty.  Who did you fashioned him after?”

“He was a cowboy hero before your time, Son.” Boss Potter said, “He was a big Republic Western star in the thirties, forties and fifties.  He was the voice for the talking horse on the T.V. show ‘Mr. Ed’ in the sixties.  He’s Allen ‘Rocky’ Lane.”  Potter then turned and spoke to Monty, “An incredible likeness, Son.  Congratulations!  Excellent choice!” Potter said.  

“What did you have planned for him today, Monty?” Shane asked.

“I thought I’d let him tag along with us whatever you had in mind for me to do, Captain.  I’ll be responsible for him.  He’s still getting his sea legs, but he’s got to start sometime.  He’ll make mistakes, but I’ll be there to help him.  I thought you might want me to take him to Cable, David and Jonathan and let them check him out.  This evening I’ll have him bunk it in with me in the bunkhouse, or if you prefer, return him to the lab.  I hate to do that, because with the difference in time, it will be two of our weeks or more before I get back to him.  I would like for him to begin adjusting to our time and world as soon as possible.”

“Am I to become Captain Shane’s slave, Monty?” Rocky asked.

“I’m not sure, Rocky, but we can asked Captain Shane anything as long as we're respectful.  He’s a disciplined man, but he’s easy to relate to.” Monty smiled at him.

“No, you ain’t a slave, Rocky.  You weren’t created for that purpose.  You were created to learn to live among us as a freeman or a free bio-droid.  We have hopes of returning some of your brothers and sisters to Venus to care for your former relatives and in some cases, ancestors.  If you should stay with Monty and his cowboy slave brothers for a while to learn our ways, it don’t mean you’re a slave.  Don’t worry about your designation for now.  You’ll understand more about these things in our society as you learn more.  Everything will become more clear the longer you live among us.  We are like any race, we have good things about us, and we have bad things.  I like your idea of letting him tag along and observe, Monty, and by all means, take him by sickbay and introduce him to his brothers.  They will be thrilled to meet him.”

The men set down to breakfast.  Monty wasn’t ready to let Rocky eat human food yet.  He didn’t want to have to explain eating the scrambled embryos of unborn chickens that come from the same hole they shit from, the fried slab of a dead pig, or a meat patty made of ground hog parts.  He probably could’ve gotten by with toast, but butter might be difficult to explain, to say nothing of drinking the chalky-white colloidal solution which was sucked from a cow’s udder.  He started to get Rocky a bowl of dried slave chow and perhaps a biscuit, but Ms. Biddle asked if he might like a small bowl of oatmeal with butter and honey.  Monty didn’t think it would hurt him, and it would be something new and interesting for him.  Rocky slowly ate the oatmeal and thought it was the best thing he ever tasted.  Monty asked if he’d like some more, and he eagerly agreed.  Conversation was lively around the table.  Bobby was blown away by Rocky and thought he was the best looking buckaroo he’d seen in a while.  Rocky was so perfect in ever detail he could easily pass for a normal human in public.  The only thing that might stand out was he was just a little too perfect.  He was stunningly good looking.  Shane laughed and complimented Monty on his choice of cowboy heros, but for the next male, he wanted him to try for ruggedly handsome.  Monty said he would let Shane pick the next model.

“Where’s my slave-boy?” Shane bellowed.

“He was sitting on a chair on the front porch a while ago, Captain Shane.” replied Essmee Fay.  “He looked like he wasn’t feel’n well.  It looked to me like he’d been crying.  I told him we had enough help if he wanted to go back to the Morris’ house and wait for Bobby and Mr. Morris.  He done left a while ago.”

“He’s hurt, Master.  I saw it in his eyes.” Monty looked devastated. “He questioned me last night.  Somehow, he knew about the Scarecrow.  He knew before we came to the ranch.  I don’t know how.  I never told him.  I guess he figured out Scarecrow was suppose to be for him.  I didn’t say much.  I didn’t think it was my place to discuss it with him.  I told him if he was worried or concerned to talk with you.  I was going to ask if he could go with me today to show him the Gopher Bay.  I’m afraid he thinks I betrayed him to gain your favor.” Monty said.  Shane could tell Monty felt awful.

“I didn’t consider that, Son.  You’re probably right.  His feelings are hurt, and he don’t know how to react to Rocky.”

“Should I go to him, Sir?”

“No, you got your work cut out for you today.  I got things for you to do.  You ain’t gonna’ have such a hectic day today, but it will be full.  He’s gotta’ learn you’re both my slaves and for the moment it's necessary for you to lead separate lives.  When I accepted his offer to become my slave, I took on responsibility for him.  He needs his master right now, not his brother.  You done the right thing by telling him to talk with me.  I’ll walk down there after breakfast and take care of it.  The Ongs are coming tomorrow, and I got things for you to do to get ready.  I ain’t told Dexter they’s coming yet.  Tomorrow is to be a day of rest, relaxation, and an introduction for the Ongs to our world and the Grange.  I want them to feel at home among us.”

“I checked on Dexter’s new body this morning, and it’s coming along great, Captain.  They’re almost through with it.” Monty said.

“I get confused with the time difference.  What are we looking at in time here, Son?” Shane asked.

“Rule of thumb, Captain, one twenty-four hour period of our time is approximately one month their time.  Since we dropped off the brains yesterday afternoon they had several weeks to beef up and change the Scarecrow’s appearance, install Kuklacon’s brain and work with him to create the fine looking bio-droid cowboy you see before you.  All they do is work.  When you take into consideration they don’t take breaks, they never sleep, and they don’t have to stop to eat or pass waste you can add to that time period in productivity.”

“So when you said Dexter’s new body would be ready in six months was it our time or theirs?”

“Theirs, Master.  That’s the beauty of working with the Hommynids.  Tasks that would take us months can be done my them in a fraction of the time.  Rocky needed a pair of boots.  I gave my workers his size last night before I went to bed, and they were ready this morning.”

“So we’re looking at a few more of our days before Dexter’s body will be ready?”

“Yes, Sir.  From the looks of him last night, it will only be a couple more days.  Maybe even later today.  Monday at the latest.” Monty confirmed.

The men sitting around the table were stunned by the implication.  They were like Shane, they thought it would take months and months of waiting for more bio-droid bodies to be ready.  

“How long can his new body survive without a brain, Son?” Shane asked.

“Indefinitely.  Rocky’s body was in a suspended state for almost three years.  I just couldn’t bring myself to let go of my little brother.  To be honest, I’m glad I didn’t.  I don’t mean that to sound spiteful, it’s just I think you got a better idea about having Dex grow up in stages.  I jes' know in my heart, the body growing in my lab will be the perfect body for him.  I only hope you and he will be pleased.”

“Will he look like you, Son?” Shane asked.

“Naw, Sir.  I loaned my workers my Captain Shane action figure.  That's why I asked Mr. Darryl for one.” Monty grinned. “He’s gonna’ look like your son, Captain Shane.” Monty didn’t look Shane in the eye.  They heard Ms. Biddle in the kitchen drop a pot on her work table, let out a Cajun exclamation, then she broke up in uncontrolled laughter.  The men around the table started laughing.  Stoic Cole was laughing.  Gil Morris and Bobby were holding each other.  Boss Potter almost choked on his coffee.  Even Rocky laughed at the men.  He learned another human response.  Laughter is contagious.  Shane got a big grin on his face.

“You were right to do that, boy.” he grinned shaking his finger at Monty,  “I know he’s your little brother and you grew up with him, but that boy needs a daddy.  Ain’t a lot a difference between a daddy and a good master, and I just happen to know about both.” Shane grinned at Cole, “I think he needs a mite stronger bond with us as family, and I’m a’ hoping what you done for him and me will make him realize how much we all want him.  I ain’t gonna’ let his pouting rush me into a decision.  Today will determine when I let him have his new body.  I don’t think I’m gonna’ keep it a secret from him no more.  I want him to know he’s working toward a goal.  If he wants to be part of my family, more than just my slave, he’s gotta’ earn the right.” Shane said in a determined tone.

“I told him the same thing last night, Sir.” Monty agreed.

“Don’t git me wrong, I don’t know how long I can wait myself.  I’d love to have a mini-me running around here.” Shane laughed. “Certainly would be a good way to hide Dexter from outsiders to tell ‘em he’s ma’ boy.”

“‘At was my way a’ think’n, Master.” Monty agreed.

“So the young boy I met earlier was a bio-mechanical like me?” Rocky asked shyly.

“Yes, but not nearly as advanced as you.” confirmed Monty.

“And he was suppose to have my body?” Rocky asked.

“That was my original plan, Rocky, but things happened you don’t know about.  I became a slave to Captain Shane and Dexter wanted to be near me so he gave himself to Captain Shane as his slave to be a part of his greater family.”  

“Can I give myself to Captain Shane to be his slave?  It’s the least I can do for what he did for my species.  Will that make me a part of your family?  Does being a freeman mean I won’t be a part of your family, Sir.” he asked Shane directly.

“No, certainly not.  You have been born into this family as a free bio-droid, Rocky.  You are a member of my family by right of birth, just like you were previously a part of your family on Venus.  There’s no difference, only you’re more lucky than most.  You have memories and ties to both families now.  You can go back to Venus speak and sing with your mother, father, grandfather and the rest of your family, but here you will belong to us and we belong to you by being reborn into our family.”

“I feel bad for Dexter.” Rocky said.

“I do, too, Rocky,” Monty said, “but if there’s anyone who can handle my little brother, it’s Captain Shane.  He’ll come around.  Dexter and I have too many memories invested in each other to drift apart.”

“How soon can your workers begin another body, Son?” Shane asked.

“As soon as I instruct them to.  We’re running low on raw materials.  We may need to order some things, but we have enough for at least another two smaller bodies.  Maxine came up with a brilliant idea yesterday.  We can create a Tesseract within the skull of any bio-droid and fit a brain of any size to a smaller body.  We won’t need to do that with the smaller brains.  Do you want a boy and a girl the size Dexter is currently for the two young brains, Captain?”

“That would be perfect, but this time I’d like to have a say in their designs.”

“Of course, Master, I would appreciate your input.” Monty said sincerely.

Breakfast came to an end.  Monty offered to help Ms. Biddle since Dexter left.  Captain Shane wanted him to take Rocky to sickbay on the Bandersnatch and introduce him to Cable, David and Jonathan.  From there Shane wanted him to proceed to his ship and see what more he could learn about it and from it.  Bobby asked if he might go with Monty since Maxine begged her master to tag along.  Monty said he would be glad to have him and Gil gave his consent.  After they finished helping Ms. Biddle, the four of them set off through the flowers to the gate in the barn.  Monty, Bobby and Maxine told Rocky about it on the way.  He walked through with no problem.

* * * * * * *

Shane, Cole and Gil walked over the hill together.  Cole went to the bunkhouse to give the cowboys their jobs for the day.  Shane asked Gil to go with Cole so he could be alone with Dexter.  They parted and Shane went to the Morris' cottage.  He didn’t bother knocking, he just let himself in.  He walked into Bobby’s room.  Dexter was lying on Bobby’s bed with his face to the wall.  He didn’t turn to see who came into the room.  He didn’t have to, he could tell from the sound of Shane’s boots.  He memorized the rhythm of his master’s walk, and he recognized his heartbeat.  Blindfolded, Dexter could pick out any human with whom he was familiar from only their heartbeat.  Shane lay down beside him and put his arms around him.  He pulled him close and stole a kiss.  Shane didn’t say a word, he just lay there and held the small bio-droid.  Soon, Dexter turned into his master's big arms and shed a few tears.  Shane petted him and stole another kiss, but he didn’t say anything.  They lay together for a good while.

“I’m sorry, Master Shane.” Dexter said quietly after getting himself together.
“I think your reaction was understandable, Dex.  I might have done the same damn thing were I in your position.  Why didn’t you come to me last evening instead of your brother if you were troubled?  I thought we was tight with each other.  If you knew about Scarecrow and you needed an explanation you should’ve come to me.  You’re brother ain’t chore’ master, I am.” he said softly.

“I didn’t wanna’ bother you.  You’re always so busy.  Besides, I didn’t think you wanted me to know about Scarecrow.  Monty never told me.  I learned how to let myself into his labs and how to turn on the time dilation.  I know all his workers on a first name basis; after all, they created me.  They tell me everything.  I figured out a long time ago who the Scarecrow was meant for.”

“Okay, you’re right, I am busy most of the time, but I ain’t never too busy to sit down and have a chat with you if you got something bothering you.  Have you been in the lab since we brought the barn here?” Shane asked.

“No, Sir, I ain’t had time.  I ain’t even been invited down there.  It ain’t my home no more.  My home is here with Bobby and Mr. Morris.” Dexter said quietly.

“Your brother didn’t betray you, Dex.  It weren’t his idea to use the Scarecrow’s body for one of the mature whale brains.  It was my idea.  A master don’t need to discuss his decisions with his slaves.  They’s suppose to understand and for better or worse accept his judgment.  In your case, it’s a little different since you be a volunteer slave, but make no mistake, a volunteer slave is bound by the same rules and regulations as a regular slave.  There were several reasons I made my decision.  The first was, it’s been a long time since we got them brains and the man responsible for developing a use for them has done almost nothing to improve their lot.  I had to do something and the Scarecrow was available.  Secondly, but foremost in my decision was, I don’t think you’re ready for a fully developed human body.  Besides, I don’t want you growing up over night.  As a matter of fact, if certain things hadn’t come to light recently, I was going to leave you small for a good while longer.  Why?  Just because I damn well enjoy you the size your are and didn’t wanna’ give you up right away.  Yore' brother had you to love for damn near fifteen years.  I jes' wanted a little longer to love you like you are.  Can you understand that, Son?”

“You think that’s why Monty left me small as long as he did, Captain Shane?”

“It’s exactly why.  He couldn’t bring himself to give you up like you is.  Think about it, Dex.  It was a hell of a lot easier for him to explain you away as his little brother.  How could he explain his little brother grew to the size of the Scarecrow over night?  It would’ve created a whole new set of problems for him, to say nothing of having to cope with your adjustment problems.  It would’ve been damn near impossible for him to shift you to the Scarecrow overnight.  It would be too unusual.  God knows, around this, here, ranch the unusual has become common place.”  Shane grinned and Dexter smiled.  Shane got a smile out of him.  That was a good sign. “Monty wanted to take you with him this morning.  Gil let Bobby go with them and Boss Potter let his little girl go along.  Hell, Monty might not be able to git onboard his ship without Maxine.”  Shane laughed and got another smile out of Dexter.  “Come take a walk with me, ma’ pa, and Mr. Morris.  I got something to show you.” Shane said.  Shane didn’t wait for Dexter’s answer.  He scooped him up in his huge, muscular arms and carried him to the front door.  He set him down on his feet after they were on the porch.  They walked hand in hand together to the bunkhouse.

“Relax, men, we’re coming in.” Shane hollered for his slaves not to come to attention.  Most were already gone to their jobs, but the lead cowboys were still sitting, having a last cup of coffee with Gil and Cole.  One of the cooks offered Shane a cup, and he accepted.  He and Dexter set down at the large table.

“Mr. Morris I’d like you and ma’ pa to take a walk with us this morning.  Won’t take long, then we can git going with our day.  You got a lot on yore’ plate today, Gil?” Shane asked.

“Not a lot.  Living and working here, I’ve learned to leave slots open for the unusual, and I got me a feeling today is one a’ them days.” Gil grinned.

“It just may be, Sir.” Shane grinned and patted him on his back.  The men finished their coffee and took Dexter for a walk down through the pasture to Monty’s barn and quarters.  The horses in the remuda who weren’t being used for the day by the cowboys followed them down.  Jenny was with them and ran to take her place with the men.  Dexter petted her and made over her.  She had hopes of another carrot.  They arrived and went inside.  Dexter felt like he was invading his big brother’s privacy.  It was a new feeling for him.  Before, he always felt like the shack was his home.  He didn’t feel that way anymore and knew he would only be welcome when he was invited.  To his surprise Shane led the men to Monty’s lab.

“Okay, I know you know how to turn on the time dilation, so do it.” he told Dexter.  Dexter rubbed his hand behind the post and instantly there were critters everywhere.  They rushed to Dexter and Shane.  Some took Cole and Gil’s hands.  Shane could communicate with them.

<< Good day to you, gentlefolk.  You already know me, but these two gentlemen with me are my close associates, Cole and Gil.  Of course you know Dexter.  I would like to show him the new body you are creating for him. >>

They bowed at Shane’s eloquence and ability to communicate.

<< We would be honored, Captain Shane.  Kuklacon or Rocky has told us about you and your heroic efforts to save his people.  We are honored to have you in our presence. >> the main Noldier Hommynid responded.  << Since Dexter’s new body was so much smaller it took less time to mature.  We already have him out of the growing vat, and he’s in our upstairs lab.  Come, Sir, we will show you the way. >> he said graciously.

Shane took Dexter’s hand and led him up the stairs.  Sitting in the adjustable chair was an adolescent sized exact duplicate of Shane.  It was breathtakingly accurate in every detail.  The body was just a little taller than Bobby but considerably more buffed.  Cole and Gil looked at each other and just shook their heads.  There was no need for words.  Dexter took one look at the smaller Shane and his mouth dropped open.

“Is he for me, Captain Shane?” Dexter asked.

“He is, Dex.” Shane said quietly.  “No more secrets, okay?” Shane insisted.

“No more secrets, Master.” Dex smiled at him. “May I inspect him?”

“Sure, it’s yore’ new body, Son.” Shane like calling Dexter his ‘son.’

Dexter slowly went to the handsome young man and ran his hand over him.  There was no response.  He took his large penis in his hand and smiled to see it engorge with blood.

“He has some responses.” Dexter stated.

“He has a primitive reptilian brain stem that keeps his autonomic function working and one of those just happens to be his sexual stimulation.” explained Shane.

“He’s very handsome, Master.  He looks like your son.  Was this your idea, Sir?” Dexter asked.

“No, before this morning, I had no idea what he would look like.  I left that decision to your brother.  He thought you needed a daddy, and it might be easier to hide your growth spurt if you look like my son.  I agreed with him.  He also thought it would give the two of you a better definition of yourselves as brothers.  I agreed with him on that part as well.  Any questions?”

“When do I get my new body, Captain Shane, and what will happen to this body?”

“If you do your job well and Mr. Morris is satisfied with your work and dedication, you can have your new body the first of June.  Your old body won't go to waste.  We’ll make some modifications to it so it won’t look like the old you.  It will become home for a young whale brain until we’re satisfied he can progress to an adolescent body like this one.  Eventually, I hope to replace your body with a more advanced model.  Even then, I won’t destroy your old body.  I’ll keep it in a safe place for sentimental reasons or perhaps emergency purposes.” Shane explained.  It was the first weekend of March.  That meant Dexter had less than three months to wait.  He was thrilled.  He grabbed Shane and hugged him.

“I’ll do the best job I can for you, Bobby and Master Morris, Captain Shane.”

“I know you will, but there’s one more thing.  You have to forgive your brother and accept Rocky as your new brother.  I want you to go to Monty and tell him you love him and will always be his little brother no matter how large your master lets you grow.” Shane smiled at him.

“I will, Captain Shane.  You want me to go to him today?” Dexter asked.

“Yes, I do.  We’ll leave here and go directly to the gate.  They’re probably still in sickbay.  You’re brother invited you to spend the day with him, and I think you should.  He wants to show you his new ship his parents left for him.  I want you, Bobby, and Maxine to become actively involved with the new bodies for the whale brains, helping with their adjustments to their new bodies and teaching them the ways of our world.  I just may hold on to Rocky as a bodyguard for the four of you.”

“Thank you, Master.  I feel like Pinocchio and you’re my blue angel.  He’s a lot more advanced than I am.  I’ll almost become a real boy.” said Dexter.  Shane picked him up and stole a kiss.

“He’s more advanced than Rocky, Dex.  Rocky’s an old model, and as far as I’m concerned, you are a real boy.  You’re my slave-boy, right?” he asked.  Dexter nodded his head in agreement.  “You gonna’ call me ‘dad’ when you look like my boy?” Shane asked.

“If you want me to, Sir.  Don’t see why not.  I already think on you that way.” Dexter admitted. “Does that mean I get to call Ramrod Jenkins ‘gram-pa’?” he grinned.

“I’m sure he’d jes' LOVE that, Dex.” Shane said with enthusiasm.  Gil Morris laughed.  Cole grinned but sent Shane a look that was intended to cut off his oxygen supply.

* * * * * * *

Gil Morris went back to his office to do some work.  Shane and Cole accompanied Dexter to sickbay on the Bandersnatch.  Rocky was completely naked, sitting on an examination table when they walked in.  He appeared calm and relaxed.  He seemed to relate easily with Cable, David and Jonathan because they were nude.  He thought it was quite exciting being around three beautiful naked men who didn’t seem the least shy about their nudity.  He found them sexually stimulating.  He became aroused from their inspection of him and maintained an erection most of the time he was around them.  Cable, David and Jonathan were quite flattered and told him he could come visit anytime, they would see to his needs.  He decided he would like to be naked when he was with Monty in his quarters.  He secretly hoped Monty wouldn’t return him to the lab with the Hommynids.  While he appreciated them, Monty’s world was so much more to his liking.

Dexter ran to Monty and gave him a hug.  He didn’t need to say anything.  Monty knew Captain Shane took him to see his new body.  

“Glad you could join us, little brother.” said Monty.

“Rocky’s quite handsome, Monty.” Dexter complimented him.

“I thought you might approve.  You watched all his movies with me.  Remember how good looking we thought he was?” Monty said.

“Yeah, they really did a good job on him.  He’s perfect.”

“You think you’ll like your new body?” Monty asked.

“I couldn’t be more pleased, Monty.  Thank you.  I should have taken your advice.  I let my emotions cloud my reason.”

“It’s all right, just as long as I have my little brother back.  It don’t make me no difference what ma’ little brother looks like as long as he still loves me.” said Monty.

“I hope my new body will be pleasing to you.” Dexter grinned.

“I had reasons of my own for making him look like our master, but one was selfish.  I like the way Captain Shane looks.  I think he’s very handsome.” he said quietly to his little brother so the others couldn’t hear.

“I couldn’t agree more, big brother.” Dexter giggled.

Shane took advantage of Rocky being nude to inspect him himself.  He was taught as a slave he could have no false modesty, and now, as a slave owner and master he wasn’t the least shy about inspecting any man’s body.  He felt like, since he had some responsibility for Rocky’s creation, he had the right to do so.  Rocky didn’t seem to be bothered at all.  In fact, he seemed flattered Captain Shane would show him such attention.  He thought of it as an honor to have his second birth father be concerned about him.  Rocky didn’t have the sense of shame for his new body which was so prevalent in humans.  A child is brainwashed from birth his or her body is a nasty, shameful thing to be kept covered at all times.  If original sin began with Adam and Eve eating fruit from the tree of knowledge, is it any wonder religious loons are trying to repress the knowledge of science and evolution in schools today?  Growing up in West Texas, kids are taught God loves them; however, sex is the dirtiest, nastiest thing in the world, and you should only share it with someone you love.  Cole  grinned as Shane carefully inspected Rocky.  He wondered if Shane realized how near perfect a copy Rocky’s penis and balls were to Shane’s.  They were stunningly accurate down to his foreskin, but there was a major difference.  They were noticeably bigger than Shane’s.  Cole grinned and wondered to himself how long it would be before they were a matched set.               

Kyron alerted the Admiral, Monty brought the new bio-droid to sickbay.  Lazarus appeared with Charlie, Waco, Trey, Lucas, J.R., Travis, Little Bear and the coyote kids.  Sickbay was almost full to capacity.  They wanted a look at their new family member.  Everyone was impressed with him, especially his genitals.  Cable had Rocky stand and walk around for them.  He looked like a cowboy even in the nude.  Charlie recognized him immediately.  So did Waco, Lucas and the coyote cowboys.  Waco and Lucas introduced them to the old Republic movies some time ago.  They were wowed to see a copy of one of their favorite cowboy heroes standing before them in the nude with a roaring hard-on to boot.  It was every little boy's dream come true.

“My God, he looks just like Allen Lane.  He was always one of my favorites.” said Charlie.

Rocky was inspected another time by the Admiral who seemed quite pleased.

“Excellent work, Son.” he complimented Monty. “How soon can you begin work on the two younger bodies for the younger brains?”

“I instructed his workers to begin when we visited a little earlier this morning, Admiral.  They won’t add the final touches until later, but I had them begin the basics.” said Shane.  If all goes well, our boy Dexter, here, will be getting his new body the first of June.  It’s finished and is undergoing fine tuning.” Reported Shane.

Everyone congratulated Dexter and wished him well.  The coyotes gave him hugs.  Bobby was happy for him.

“And what of the quiet brain, Son?  Have they been able to do anything for it?” he asked in a concerned voice.

“No, Sir, Admiral, not yet, but I’d like your permission to try something different.” Monty said.

“What’s ‘zat?” asked Lazarus.

“I’d like to expose it to our sun for several days.”

“Try it.  Couldn’t hurt.  I can’t tell you how pleased and impressed I am with your work and that of your lab workers.  When we get the two younger whale brains into bodies, we will take them with Rocky to Mars.  I don’t see how the professor could deny us the rest of them brains.  We will find another job for him.  He’s a good man and won’t be put aside.  He’ll be an excellent front man for selecting brains and processing them.” Lazarus turned to Shane, “What plans do you have for Rocky, Son?” he asked.

“None for the present.  He was just born to our world today.  As I understand from my slave he may not have certain body functions down pat yet.” Shane grinned.

“No, problem, Son.  I have accidents from time to time.” he smiled and winked at Rocky.  Rocky decided he liked the Admiral.
“I have in mind keeping Rocky as a member of our family, Admiral." Shane continued, "He’s sort of like our first born on our ranch.  I’d like him to become a bodyguard for Monty, Dexter, Maxine, Bobby and our Coyote Cowboys here.”

“I like that idea.  He’s certainly big enough for the job.  What du’ ya’ think, Bossman?” he asked Charlie.

“I ain’t got me no problem with it.  Sounds like a good plan to me.” replied Charlie.

“Ramrod Jenkins and I got some things to do.” said Shane,  I’m gonna’ leave you folks and let you go on to the Gopher Bay.  You have until noon to investigate then I want you back to the ranch.  We got things to do to get ready for the Ongs coming tomorrow.  Are you and your posse still planning on coming, Admiral.”

“Yes, we’ll be there.  We’re going to accompany Monty and his family to his new ship.  I promised the coyotes they could take a look, but that’s all.  We’ll be departing as soon as we take a small tour.  They’ve heard about Monty’s barn and quarters.  They’re dying to see that, and I told them if they were good today they could join us tomorrow.”

“Of course, our little brothers are welcome.” Shane said.

“Are these four small men the same heroes who helped save my family on Venus?” Rocky asked.

“They are, Rocky.  We’re proud of them.”

“To whom do they belong?” he asked.

“Them two next to me are from my loins, Rocky.  My mate gave birth to them.  The other two belong to one of our closest friends and his ramrod on his ranch.  Together they belong to the Grange.  It would be unfair of me to say they belonged to any one person.  They belong to a community of good people who love and care for them.  They now belong to you.”
The big bio-droid was overwhelmed with feelings.  As a whale he was capable of great love and affection, but nothing like he was feeling at the moment.  He wanted to encompass the small cowboys who stood before him.  He raised his arms and opened them in a gesture he didn’t understand, but they seemed to.  The four coyotes went to him and embraced him in all his naked glory.  They weren’t the least shy with their arms around a mature naked bio-droid cowboy.  On the contrary, they thought it was the most natural thing in the world to be doing.  Didn’t everyone?  Rocky shed more tears and the coyotes comforted him and wiped them away.

“Okay, you guys, enough of the coyote-bio lovefest.  Rocky needs to get dressed.  Give him a hand, gentlemen.” the voice of authority came from their main coyote wrangler Lucas Long.

“Aww, does he have to git dressed?” complained Jubal.

“Yeah, we like looking at him like he is, all natural like.” agreed Ranger Jr.

“I’m sure you do, so do I, but he’s Master Shane’s family member.” Lucas insisted.

“I don’t give a big rat’s ass if he’s clothed or naked as long as he’s on the ship or in Monty’s quarters.” allowed Shane, “Cable, David and Jonathan are rarely in clothes.  It’s up to his keeper for the moment.  What do you think, Son?” Shane deferred to Monty.

“I think it would be better if he wore clothes, at least for a while, Master Shane.  He ain’t a hundred percent housebroken yet.  He’s worried about being embarrassed.  I promised him I’ll be responsible for him if he has an accident.  I’ll see to him, I’ll help him and take care of him, but I want him contained.” Monty insisted.

“Sounds reasonable to me.  He wears clothes until further notice.” Shane declared.

“We didn’t know about that.” said Cable the coyote.  “I can still remember Jubal and Bo having to clean and change me and Ranger when we’s kids.  It took us longer than them to learn to git to a toilet when we got potty pangs.  T’weren’t pretty.  It was one of the more forgettable parts of our youth.  I agree with our brother Monty, for Rocky’s mental health and Monty’s convenience we should help him dress, brothers.” he concluded.  They took over and did everything.  They had him lie on the exam table, they powered him, fit his diaper on him, secured it and helped him with his clothes.  Rocky had a look of pampered pleasure on his face.  He was amazed these young humans were so attentive and caring.  He didn’t yet understand ulterior motives or hidden agendas.  He couldn’t believe the young heroes who worked tirelessly for days to help his family were standing before him, and he was now a part of their greater family.  He was deeply moved.
Shane and Cole departed and Admiral Long and his men accompanied Monty to his ship.  Maxine did the honors and communicated with the ship to lower the wall.  Monty and Maxine gave them a brief tour of the parts of the ship they explored so far.  There was more to be discovered, but they didn’t have time the previous day.  That’s why they were back again to do more exploring and to run more education programs from the ships library of tutorials.  After an hour Lazarus figured they were taking up enough of Monty’s time, and he and his men departed.  Monty was left with the core of his new family, Bobby, Dexter, Maxine and Rocky.  He was growing more attached to each of them for different reasons and learning to relate with Dexter in a totally new way.  The tour Monty gave the Admiral and his men was only a small portion of the ship yet to be discovered.  Monty gathered with his posse and through discussion was decided they would explore a different part of the ship each time they returned.  Rocky was thrilled to be included as a part of the discovery team.  He never saw anything like it.  He realized how much he had to learn.  Maxine understood his frustration and took him into her confidence.

“My specie wasn’t originally designed for what I’m doing with my brother Monty.  Look at me, Rocky, I don’t have hands like you.  I can’t do the things you can physically.  You’re way ahead of me in that department, but you have a fine brain.  You are capable of learning far more than sailing through the yellow-acid skies of Venus feasting on silicon dust and singing endless songs.  I suspect whale brains are depositories of far more information than you allow within your consciousness.   Don’t become overwhelmed.  Take knowledge in small chunks and digest it as you would the food you eat.  Some things are learned through repetition.  After so many times of disposing of your waste, it will become second nature to you.  So it will be with many other things.  They will become as natural to you as floating on the atmospheric currents of Venus.”

“You speak from your heart, Maxine.  Is your heart larger than your brain?” he asked innocently.

“I’d like to think so, Rocky, but it ain’t.  Monty tells me I have a good brain, and he encourages me to speak up more often.  I ain’t afraid to use my brain when I’m with him.  Monty always listens to any idea I might have, and he don’t make me feel dumb if I ask about something I don’t understand.  He will be the same with you, Rocky.  Don’t be afraid to ask him anything.  It’s the only way you’ll learn.”

The five of them hooked up to the headband stimulus learning modules.  Monty helped Maxine and Rocky, and Bobby helped Dexter.  Maxine activated the lesson, with which, they wanted to interact, and the room was filled with examples and holographic images of what they were being taught.  They didn’t have to sit still to observe and learn.  They could move about the room with their headbands on and get different perspectives of what they were seeing.  They could converse with each other.  The lesson master was a humanoid of a species unknown to them but pleasant enough in appearance not be frightening or intimidating.  It introduced itself and ask each participant’s name.  It immediately knew Monty and Bobby were human, Dexter was a bio-mechanical humanoid, Maxine was a quadruped of the genus Canine who had been genetically enhanced, but it was stumped by Rocky.  It recognized him as an artificially grown humanoid, but failed to recognize his intelligence type.  When Monty explained, the lesson master seemed excited.

“This is truly remarkable.  When we explored this galaxy several hundred thousand of your years ago, the bladder whales of Venus had not yet evolved to the state of intelligence you seemed to be displaying.  Venus still had an atmosphere and the primates were of four separate species.” he flashed four creatures in the middle of the room that seemed very much alive.  One was obviously the forefathers of Monty’s ‘Rarebits’ and another the forefathers of the current Venerian underground people.*  They looked a lot like early man on Earth.  The other two looked similar to Monty’s Minniots and Hommynids.  The lesson master explained the latter two ultimately became extinct.  The lesson master took great pains to explain to Rocky his necessity to leave behind his thinking as a bladder whale and begin to fully embrace his new persona.  It was not suggesting Rocky forget his heritage, but he must strive to think of himself as a butterfly who metamorphosed into a smaller, more agile creature.  It displayed a caterpillar, a larval form of a member of the order Lepidoptera and in time-lapse sequences and showed Rocky the unfolding life of its metaphor.  It was a new beginning for Rocky, a new understanding of his place in the universe.  He was greatly moved.

Monty carefully watched the time and allowed travel time through the gates to arrive back at the ranch in time for lunch.  They carefully closed up the ship and return through the first gate to sickbay, paid their respects to Cable and his men, passed through the second gate and walked up through the pasture to the bunkhouse.  Maxine accompanied them.  She knew she could sweet talk a handful of slave chow from the cowboy slave cooks for her lunch.  It was the cowboy’s first meeting with Rocky and they were impressed.  Several of the older cowboys recognized his likeness immediately.  Since most knew about Dexter and Monty’s lab they figured Rocky was a bio-driod but they couldn’t help be impressed with his human quality.  Monty thanked Bart for the loan of his Wranglers and told him he would return them as soon as Master Morris received another order.

Gil was there to have lunch with the men and said he expected them by Monday or Tuesday.  Monty went further and told Bart he owed him one, and he could collect it tonight or tomorrow night, whichever was most convenient for him.  (Shane limited Monty’s entertaining his slave brothers to weekends)  The cowboys laughed at big Bart when he blushed.  He told Monty tonight would be just fine with him.
  The cowboy slaves were surprised when their foreman and ramrod joined them for a lunch of slave chow.  Shane told Monty he wanted him to tidy up his place and get ready for some leather work the following week.  Mr. Ong hinted to him they had several things which needed his attention and Shane told them to bring them.  Monty said he would be glad to take care of their repairs.  

“How ya’ doing, Cowboy?” Shane asked Rocky.

“I think I’m doing okay, Sir.  I’m enjoying being out of the lab.  I’ve learned a lot today and met some interesting people.  I’m glad to meet these men.”  Rocky motioned to the cowboys.

“You got a place for him in your quarters, Son?” Shane asked Monty.

“Yes, Sir, I got an extra room downstairs off my office area.  It’s part of the downstairs lab area, but it has a separate entry, and it’s sealed off from the lab.  We originally built it for Dexter, but he never used it very much.  It’s been closed off for several years.  We put a small bed in there for Dex, and I wired the place for twelve volts.  It’s a cozy little room, but we’ll need a bigger bed for Rocky.  The one in there now is a kid’s bed.  There’s a downstairs restroom right off my office for him to use.  I’d like to keep some privacy for myself in case I need to entertain one of my lead cowboys.  I invited Mr. Swinson down for the evening for loaning me a pair of his old Wranglers and the shirt Rocky’s wearing.  Mr. Morris is ordering some clothes for Rocky, and if it’s all right with you I’ll just replace Bart’s loan with a new pair for him.  Rocky can do with the older pair for a while.”

“Fine with me.  Bart looks like he could use a couple of new pair.” Shane smiled.  “A bed ain’t no problem.  We got plenty around here what ain’t being used.  After lunch,— Loud, you and Fuzzy throw one of them bunks in the back of ma’ truck and Cole will drive you down to Monty’s quarters.  He’ll show you were he wants it.”

“Yes, Sir, Master Goodnight.” Loud replied.

“Monty, I’m thinking you got most of your responsibilities down to the big barn, and for a while, I don’t want Rocky left alone.  He don’t have to sleep with you, but I jes’ want you to be near if he needs help.  If you think he’s capable of making it outside the lab, let’s not put him back there.  Your workers got enough to do with the three new containers they be work’n on.  I know we got rules around here about baby slaves, but I say what goes on around here and what don’t.  Monty, I want you to stay down there in your quarters, but you’ll still be expected to entertain your slave brothers from time to time.  I don’t wanna’ hear no talk about Master Shane show’n no favoritism to our new slave.  I got my reasons.”

“I think Rocky can make it outside the lab.  I don’t think he’s gonna’ be much problem.  I’ll stay near in case he gets lonely or needs my help.”

Monty created a comfortable small room for Rocky, and he seemed grateful.  He confided in Monty he didn’t want to return to the lab unless he felt it absolutely necessary.  He learned to use the downstairs toilet and became adept at it.  He asked Monty to check him a couple of times.  Monty was gracious about it and after finding Rocky took care of himself well enough he didn’t worry about him anymore.  Sleep was not something that came natural to the ex-whales.  They had to learn to put their brains in a neutral state in order to relax and maintain a healthy balance with their bodies.  He was learning to quiet his brain and let it reach a state of rest.  Even then it wasn’t like a human might sleep and dream.  Rocky’s was more like reviewing past memories and things learned from the day before.  He would lie in his rest position with his eyes closed aware of everything around him, but he could feel his bio-body responding from the day’s exercise and repairing itself.  He was growing stronger and bigger by the day.  Bart Swinson spent the evening with Monty and had a good time.  Monty treated him like he was special and kept no secrets from Bart or Telly.  They knew more about him than the other lead cowboys.  Bart noticed the large pair of boots sitting on Monty’s makeshift altar in his bedroom.

“Them’s Ramrod Russell’s boots, ain’t they?” he grinned.

“Yes, Sir, they sure are.”

“Is it true the rumors we been hear'n about you being able to change shape, Monty?”

“It’s true, Mr. Swinson.  After I moved here I discovered I have a talent for mimicking anyone or any animal who’s genetic material I been exposed to.”

“Like how...?” Bart asked.

“By absorbing anyone’s blood, come, sweat, or urine and probably saliva from swapping spit.”

“You mean you could change to look like Telly, me or Ramrod Russell?”

“Nothing to it.”

“Lemme’s see!  Do Telly for me.” Bart challenged like a kid.

Monty lay in bed next to him and morphed into an exact duplicate of his mate.

“Son of a bitch!  You look jes’ like my mate.  That’s amazing.  That sends all sorts of perverted ideas through my head.”  

Monty changed back.  “Yeah, it did mine, too, Sir.  My brain ain’t stopped yet.  I’m still git’n hard-ons when I think about some of the things I might be able to try.  I don’t need me no porn pictures to jack off to, I can change myself into you, Telly, Poppa Pie, or my ramrod and stand in front of my mirror and pretend.  Have you ever considered having sex with yourself?” Monty grinned wickedly at him.

“You know, I have thought about it a couple of times.”

“Now’s yore’ chance, cowboy.” Monty laughed.  

“Let’s do it, boy.” he said and Monty morphed into another Bart Swinson.

“Hoe-lee she-it!  That’s too damn much.” Bart grabbed his double and planted a big kiss on him.  Monty kissed him back with equal verve.  They broke off.

“Wait a minute, hoss!” Monty stopped him.  I gotta’ git me some'um from my store room.   Don’t go nowheres.  Be right back.”  Bart’s double jumped out of bed and ran downstairs.  In a minute he was back carrying a box.  Bart moved the boxes from the Dundee place and recognized it immediately as a box of Monty’s buckaroo boots.  Monty set on the edge of the bed and opened it.  He had a big shit-eating grin on his face.  He took one of the boots out and pulled it on and then the other.

“What are you doing, Son?” Bart asked him.  Monty was stomping around in the big boots and grinning.

“They feel good.  I jes’ wanted to see if these pair of boots I made for you fit good.”

“Them boots is for me?  You be kidding me, right?” Bart grinned but looked at the boots longingly.

“Naw, Sir, I ain't kidding.  I made ‘em for you.  Why you think they fit me so well?” Monty razzed him.

“Don’t you mean fit me so well?” he asked.

“You ain’t the one what’s wear’n ‘em, cowboy.” Monty yanked his chain.  Bart laughed.

“Damn yore' hide, Monty!  Don’t do that to an old cowboy slave brother what loves you.” he grinned.

“They’s yours, cowboy, but you gotta’ earn ‘em.” Monty gigged him.

“How’s ‘zat?” he grinned knowing his double was up to no good.

“You gotta’ fuck me in ‘em ‘til you make me holler ‘calf rope.’” Monty laughed

“What if I always wondered how it’ud feel git'n fucked by ma’self?” Bart asked shyly.

“I got me a big ole belly cinch what would strap me in yore’ saddle for a good long ride, cowboy.  I’ll fuck you ‘til you holler ‘calf rope’ or whistle ‘happy trails.’”  Bart's double grinned at him.

“Would I still git them fine look'n boots that a’ way?” Bart wanted to know.

“You only git one.  To git the other one you gotta’ do the same for me.” Monty roared with laughter.  They rolled on Monty’s bed laughing.

“You got chore’self a deal, buckaroo.  Cowboy up!” yelled Bart as his booted double greased up his big cock and slowly sank it deep within the big man’s ass.  Monty memorized Bart’s fucking techniques and gave him all the strength, goodness and consideration he always showed Monty when he was fucking him.  After about an hour of his double huffing and puffing in the saddle, Bart hollered ‘calf rope.’

“I can’t go on much longer, or I’m gonna’ shoot my wad.  I wanna’ shoot it up my butt...or your butt.... what the fuck, you know what I mean.”  he laughed.

“Fine, by me.  I get to take your load either way.  Tell you what, you help me off with these boots and pull ‘em on.  The cowboy what does the ride’n wears the boots.  How ‘bout that?” Monty told him.  Bart grinned.

“Once I git them boots on, they ain’t coming off until I walk out a’ here with ‘em.” Bart declared.  Monty howled with laughter.

“I can live with that.”  Bart’s double smiled at him.  Bart thought it was like having sex with your identical twin brother.  He thought it was one of the hottest evenings he ever spent with anyone.  He couldn’t wait to tell Telly he got fucked by himself and then fucked himself.  He was sure Telly would have some drop dead funny, smart ass comment.  He did.  He told Bart he could believe it.  He always suspected Bart could never tell whether he was coming or going.  Bart’s double helped him with his boots and after allowing Monty to pay a little homage to them Bart stood and stomped around in them like he’d seen his double do.

“Damn, these boots do feel mighty fine, Son.  I’m a cowboy what appreciates a fine pair of buckaroo boots.  Git in that bed and reach for the sky with them legs, hombre, there’s a new sheriff in town and he’s about to pay for these fine boots.  Y'ain’t never been fucked like you’s gonna’ be tonight.”   

“You wouldn’t cheat me none, now would you, Sheriff?” his double teased.

“No way!  I wear a white hat, boy.  I’m one a’ them good guys.  I’m a straight shooter.  I plan to make ma’ payment in full.”  Bart bragged, and he was good to his word.  He filled Monty’s ass with his hot, thick, ropey cowboy cream and got him off at the same time.  While they were making love in the afterglow of their coupling, Monty changed back.

“Thank’s, boy, I knew you was different when you come to this ranch.  I just didn’t realize how wonderfully different you was.  Did I earn them boots I be wear’n?”

“I think I owe you some change, Sir.” Monty smiled at him.

“You don’t owe me nothing, my sweet buckaroo.  You know they’s been some talk around the bunkhouse about Phil not having time to see to you as yore’ slave daddy.   We’s git’n us six new slaves come next week, and ole Phil’s gonna’ be busier’n a one legged man at a butt kick’n contest.  Me and Telly was wondering...?”

“Yes!  Absolutely!  Yes!  I’d love for you and Mr. Ferguson to be my slave daddies.” Monty told him as he hugged and kissed Bart again.  “Don't get me wrong, Bart, I love Phil and Eli, but they’s jes’ a little too much a couple if you know what I mean.  I love taking care of ‘em separately, more Mr. Pie than Mr. Stone, but together they’s awkward for me.  H’it ain’t that a way with you and Mr. Ferguson.  Will being my slave daddies conflict with you and Telly riding herd on Loud and Fuzzy?”

“No, we can handle both.  We won’t git to spend that much time with you no ways.  Maybe one night a week.  Besides, yore’ three months is gonna’ be behind you ‘afore you know it.  Then you can do pretty much as you please.  I got me a feeling you’re gonna’ be seeing a lot more of Jimmy Joe Russell.”

“I don’t think so, Mr. Swinson.  He’s all wrapped up in Burt and that’s fine.  I told him I’d take what I can git.” Monty said.

“Trust me, Son, us slaves got us an underground.  It ain’t for conspiring agin’ our masters.  It’s jes’ some’um what started years ago for survival.  We know what’s going on at lots of other ranches.  We know things ain’t going well between Ramrod Russell and Burt.  We hear’d Burt blew up when he discovered Jimmy Joe’s rodeo scar was gone and his balls was noticeably bigger, to say nothing of them fine new pair of buckaroo boots he brought home with him.  Jimmy Joe Russell ain’t a man to lie.  He jes’ refused to tell Burt anything.  He’s a master, for cries sake, he don’t have to tell his slave nothing.  Since Burt’s been working for Admiral Long, he thinks he’s above us cowboy slaves, and his shit don’t stink.  Take it from me, things ain’t real good over to the Angus Goodnight spread right now.”     

“I don’t wanna’ be no home wrecker, Mr. Swinson.  ‘At’s why I find it easier to relate with you and Mr. Ferguson.  You men are comfortable with each other and your sexuality.  I ain’t afraid of that sort of thing with you.  I ain’t so sure about Mr. Stone.  He goes through the motions, but I know his heart ain’t in it.  He don’t want nobody but his partner.  I ain’t against that sort of thing if both men enjoy it with one another, but it becomes awkward in situations like slave daddies.”

“Telly and me been together so long we can read each other's minds.  Whoever goes first will die in the other's arms.  ‘At’s jes’ the way it is with us.  We love each other.  We have us some wild old times in the hay, but what we do outside our relationship or in the performance of our jobs we can enjoy on a different level.  What we do in the sack with someone else stays in the sack.  It don’t affect the love Telly and me got for one another.  I take that back.  You can bet I’m gonna’ tell him about git’n fucked and fuck’n ma’self.” Bart laughed.  “Listen to me, boy!  You ain’t gonna’ be no home wrecker.  They’s lots of men what would like to see Burt Stamper taken down a notch and would like to see Ramrod Jimmy Joe Russell have a little happiness.  Jimmy Joe Russell is a legend and highly respected cowboy among cowboy slaves.

His slaves will tell you, to a man, they’s proud to call him ‘master’ and their ‘ramrod.’  They don’t like the way Burt’s been treat’n their master neither.  We know he ain’t happy with Burt, but he’s loyal as an old hound dog.  Happiness to a man like Jimmy Joe is much like it is with me and Telly.  He’s learned to be a free spirit and knows when to accept good when it comes.  Your offer of being happy with what you can get from him will probably git you more in the long run than Burt ever got from him.  Burt don’t allow nobody to give to him.  He wants to suck it out of ‘em; literally and figuratively.  You won’t have no problems.  If you need help, come to us.  We got big ears, bigger arms and open hearts for you.”  Bart stole another kiss as he slowly withdrew from Monty’s ass.  “Shall I stay the night or walk back to the bunkhouse.”  he asked as Monty cleaned him up with a warm, damp hand towel.

“My invitation was for the night, but if you gotta’ get back to yore’ mate I’ll understand.”

“Naw, he’s spending the night with Loud.  He spent last night with Fuzzy.  It’s his weekend to fuck the kids.” Bart chuckled.

“Do they have sex with each other?” Monty asked innocently.

“They didn’t at first, but we made ‘em watch when we fucked either one of them or made ‘em suck us off.  It was like watching porn for them.  They’d git hard and play with themselves.  They swear they don’t service each other, but they don’t fool us none.  We can hear the bedsprings with them moaning, groaning and carrying on.  They’s always real quiet the next morning.” he laughed.

“What made you ask if I wanted you to stay the night?” Monty asked, “If I invite you down, Mr. Ferguson or both, it’s for the night.” he explained.

“I didn’t know if you wanted me to sleep in yore’ bed with ma’ boots on?  I told you I weren’t take’n ‘em off, and I meant it.” Bart said and then laughed.  Monty laughed with him.

“I don’t give a shit.  We’ll jes’ sleep on the rawhide cover.  I got a blanket what I can throw over us.” Monty went to his closet and got a big comforter and threw it over Bart.  It was luxurious and warm.  He turned out the lights and crawled in next to him.  Bart held Monty in his arms and stole another kiss.

“Glad you’re here, Mr. Swinson.” Monty whispered.

“Glad to be here, Son.” he replied.

* * * * * * *

Monty told Rocky not to be concerned about any noises he might hear from him entertaining his cowboy slave daddy.  He told him he would explain later.  He was a bit concerned Rocky might be curious about sex and ultimately want to experience it for himself.  He didn’t know whether imprinting him with male sex might be appropriate.  He would have to talk with his master about it.  He didn’t ask, but he imagined his workers managed to stimulate Rocky to climax someway, or maybe he underestimated Rocky’s ability to explore his new body for himself.  Perhaps he discovered, like any young boy, if he kept stroking it enough he would soon find out it was good for something besides relieving himself.  Maybe he applied one situation to another; an abstract of his species mating with his new body and figured it out for himself.  Fuck the warm puppy theory.  Monty wondered if happiness might be as simple as an opposable thumb?

* * * * * * *

Monty and Rocky joined the cowboys for breakfast the next morning.  Bart wore his new boots to the bunkhouse and casually carried his old boots in his right hand.  All the cowboys were gathered and saw him carrying his old ones to his and Telly’s room.  Nothing was said, at least not right away.  Telly grinned, winked and nodded his approval.  The men set down to breakfast.  Monty still didn’t want Rocky eating regular food.  He asked the cooks to give him a small bowl of slave chow and a biscuit.  He explained he wasn’t being mean to Rocky.  His biology was a little different than theirs, and if Master Shane wants him to eat regular food, his system has to slowly adjust to it by ingesting small amounts at a time.  They accepted his explanation.  It sounded reasonable.  The men accepted Rocky pretty quick.  They understood he was a freeman among them, a somewhat alien one, but they treated him with respect.  Even Loud and Fuzzy were pleasant to him.  He didn’t talk much unless asked a direct question.  He seemed to be taking in information at an accelerated rate and was fascinated to learn more about the men he was living among.  The more he was around the cowboys the more he picked up and practiced the cowboy lingo.  After a month you couldn't tell the difference between them. 

* * * * * * *

The day began and Monty was ready.  He spent sometime tidying up his quarters.  Captain Shane told him he might want to show his family where he was living.  He told Monty they had no secrets from the Ongs, and he could tell them anything he wanted them to know.  He especially urged him to tell the two elder males and his older Ong brothers some of the wonders of the Grange.  Shane invited the major players in the Grange and a few families, but it was an invitation only affair.  They didn’t want it to get too large.  He made it a point to invite some of the more strange components.  The Kryscellians slowly floated from place to place to visit with everyone.  Shane invited several families of human-lummox mixed matings.  The Trong-Fielding family came with their mixed bag of lummox and human children.  So did Strom and Lyle Chambers and their three male bairns.  The smallest, little Storm, was very active and running around loving everyone.  Warren Steel and Horse came with Jack and Buck Hall.  Their little one was still in Horses’ pouch and amazed everyone when it would come out to nurse at Horses’ big chest.  Of course, Ox came with his master, Waco, and his mate, Captain Vinceeth.  Shane invited Ping and Pong and Jack and Jill and several of their new family.  The place was alive with bio-diversity.  Many of the cowboys never were exposed to the unusual creatures.  As the Grange grew, the unusual creatures stayed more in the colonies on the ships.  Loud and Fuzzy were stunned most of the day.  They complained to their older brothers Hoot and Cotton.

“Why ain’t nobody told us about all this?  What are we living among?  Is Master Goodnight an alien?  We hear’d he can do some strange things.  And what’s with Monty, we done hear’d all manner of strange things about him.  Where’d all these huge Bigfoot creatures come from?  Are you friends with them?” they wanted to know.

“Welcome to the world of tomorrow, brothers.  Of course we’re friends with them, close friends.  They’s part of our family.  Get used to it.  Why the hell do you think we went to such trouble to have you two yahoos become Master Shane’s slaves?  It was so’s you could learn something and become a part of something greater than you ever imagined.  You ain’t got no idea what you’ve fallen into.  We’s hoping it might shock you into straightening up yore’ acts and become good, responsible citizens of the Grange.” Hoot told them.

“But what’s the purpose of all this?  Are they here to take over our world?  Are we being invaded?” Fuzzy questioned.

“Don’t be stupid.  They don’t need our world.  They got worlds of their own.  Some live on Venus, some on Mars.  Them big, huge men with Captain Waco, Lucas and Travis are from another world in another solar system. They’s helping us when the time comes for leaving this world.  The rapture is coming, boys, but it ain’t like what them crazy Jesus freaks preach.  You men got a front row seat.  Me and your brother wanted to give you this opportunity, but if’n you don’t want it, you don’t wanna’ become a part of it, you will be left behind to throw in your lot with them religious wackaloons.” Cotton said.  Loud and Fuzzy didn’t know what to think.  As they became more and more involved with the alien creatures during the day, they began to relax and see it as the opportunity their brother’s were trying to explain.  
Rocky stayed close to Monty all day while taking in the wonders of the Grange.  Bart loaned him one of his older buckaroo hats and Rocky looked like the consummate, handsome cowboy hero.  Monty was surprised to see his ramrod arrive with Master Angus and his wife, but he was alone.  Burt wasn’t with him.  Monty wanted to run to him, but he restrained himself.  He settled for smiling and nodding.  Monty could almost swear he saw concern in Jimmy Joe’s eyes when he saw Monty being attentive to his new bio-droid.  Monty could see Jimmy Joe was busy meeting other folks and speaking with Captain Shane and Cole.  He disappeared with them for a while.  Monty and Dexter were busy all day.  Monty had his new posse around him most of the morning along with the Ong kids, the Coyote cowboys and the elder Ong men.  Maxine wanted to be with them, but her sister Patty came with Jack and Buck Hall to visit.  Maxine spent most of her time entertaining her sister, but they were around Monty and his crew most of the day.

The day was a great success.  Admiral Long gave a short speech before lunch was served welcoming the Ong family to the Grange.  He wished the Ongs, Monty and Dexter well.  He hoped they would be become great friends and a greater part of the Grange’s family.  Cable, David and Jonathan made one of their rare appearances in their cowboy clothes to administer the Longshot to anyone who wanted it.  Since learning Admiral Long was over two thousand years old, it was too much of a temptation for the elder Ongs, Mr. and Mrs. Ong and their older sons.  They decided they would get the shot first, and if there was no side effects, they would later have their wives and children take the shot.  It seemed reasonable to Cable.  The Ongs seemed to be really enjoying themselves.  In his speech, the Admiral invited the Ongs to join them in a celebration trip to Mars port the first weekend in June.  If all goes well, they expected Dexter to have his new body, and it was to celebrate his transformation from a small child to an adolescent male bio-droid.  They seemed excited by the prospects.  It wasn’t until lunch was served when Jimmy Joe and Monty got a chance to be near one another.  They set together with the Ongs, but didn’t get much chance to talk personally.  Monty’s first priority was to his oriental family, and he gave them his full attention.  He could tell Jimmy Joe wanted to talk with him, but he understood Monty had responsibilities.  They did get in a couple of exchanges after lunch when most of the Ong family drifted away or went to get dessert.

“How you been, Son?” Jimmy Joe asked quietly.

“Rushed.  Busy every minute of the day, from sunup to well past sundown.  One day melds into the next until they become a blur, but it’s strange, Master, I’m happier than I been in a long time.  I feel more wanted, needed and comfortable than I ever have in my life.  I know I got it easier than most slaves, but I ain’t afraid or ashamed of being Captain Shane’s slave.  He needs me, and I need him.  I need everyone on this ranch.”

“I thought a lot about you, boy.  I missed you.” Jimmy Joe cautiously admitted.  Monty smiled but didn’t reply.  Jimmy Joe looked a little frustrated.  “Did you miss me, slave?” he asked guardedly.

“It’s only been a week.  ‘Sides, I been waaay too busy to think about much of anything.  Can’t say’s I recall so much as a single thought about you, Sir.  Lemme’ think.  No, no, I’m almost sure I didn’t miss you a' tall." he shook his head, "Un-uh, not a bit, Sir.” Monty got a wicked grin on his face.  Jimmy Joe’s face fell, then he grinned.

“I’m gonna’ ask Ramrond Cole if'n I can borrow his razor strop.” Jimmy Joe said with a growl.  Monty chuckled.

“Of course I missed you!" Monty said emphatically, "It was like my heart left my body and walked through that damn gate with you Friday morning, and it took the willpower of ever’ fiber in ma’ body to keep from running after you.  I was shaking all over.  My muscles ached for an hour after you left.  They still hurt when I recall it.  Ain’t been able to think of nothing else since.  S’wonder I got anything done a’ tall this last week.  My mind drifts off, and I imagine myself lying in your arms, and for hours you’s jes’ gentle on ma’ mind.” Monty said quietly so no one else could hear.

“‘At’s better, slave.  ‘At’s what I’s hope’n to hear.” Jimmy Joe grinned.  “Mind if I stay for a while after everyone’s gone?  I can go home through the gate.”

“Of course I won’t mind.  I’d like that, Master Russell.  ‘Sides, them new buckaroo boots you's a’ wear'n need my attention.  Y’ain’t had them damn things off since you left, have you?” Monty grinned.

“You’re right.” he laughed, “I worn ‘em for over a week now.  I sleep in ‘em to make sure nobody sneaks into ma’ closet and makes off with ‘em.  I got others, but none fit me like these do.  They jes’ sort a’ wrap theys’selves around my feet and legs like they’s making love to me.  Can’t tell you the number of times I dropped my Wranglers and ordered some slave to suck me off while I’s wear’n ‘em.  Them slaves been through a tin of Bag Balm for their lips.  My bossman made me show ‘em to him.  He tried to buy ‘em off’n me, but I done told him they weren’t for sale at no price.  He jokingly offered me the deed to his ranch, but I told him I meant what I said.”
“They wouldn’t a’ fit him no ways.” Monty grinned, “He wears a size larger than you.  ‘Side’s I got a pair for him what’ll fit him good, but he’s gotta’ pay the same price you done paid me, but I want you to tell him, I don’t want him cheat’n me none neither.  I wanna’ be paid in full.” Monty laughed.

“He’ll fill you up, all right.  He’s got more to pay you with, slave.” Jimmy Joe looked a little dejected.

“What?  Are you kidding?  You got plenty to satisfy my deepest itch, Ramrod.  It’s quality what count’s, Master, not quantity.  Have you forgotten my gift to you?  If you’re worried about it, I can give you all you want and more.  I can make you the size of a bull elephant.” he grinned.  Jimmy Joe laughed.  

“You’re right, slave, I guess I jes’ had me a twinge of the green-eyed monster for a second.” Jimmy Joe lamented.

“Don’t give it an inch!  I’m a slave what’s got responsibilities to my cowboy slave daddies and brothers; jes’ like you got responsibilities to yore’ slaves.  If Master Angus is gonna’ start taking over your weaning he can damn-well spend a night plow’n ma’ lower forty for a fine pair of boots.”

“You’re right.  I been visited one too many times by that green-eyed monster lately, and believe me, he ain’t no fun.” Jimmy Joe allowed.  Monty didn’t ask about Burt.  He figured if Jimmy Joe wanted him to know he’d tell him.

The day came to an end.  The Ong’s couldn’t thank Shane and Admiral Long enough.  They had a wonderful day.  They learned a lot and there was no doubt in any of their minds they wanted to be a part of the family of which Monty and Dexter became a part.  They were very grateful and looking forward to more wonders.  They left and the rest of the Grange members drifted back to their communities.  Patty paid her respects to her sister and told Maxine she was happy for her having such an interesting life.  Maxine shared with Patty her desire for her big brother to drink some lummox milk.  Patty promised she would speak with Mr. Hall, Warren and Horse.  Patty bragged she thought she was somewhat of a connoisseur of lummox milk and to her way of thinking, Horse’s milk was the cream-de-la-cream.  Angus said ‘goodbye’ to his ramrod and got ready to drive his wife back to the ranch.    

“If you wanna’ stay the night, I’ll cover for you this evening.” he grinned, “Ain’t much happening over to the ranch no how.  We ain’t going no place.  I know 'd the last couple of days has been rough on you.”

“Thanks, Boss, I might be a little late, but I’ll be back.” Jimmy Joe assured him.

“No problem, take yore’ time, cowboy.  If you should change your mind I’ll understand.” he patted Jimmy Joe on the shoulder.

Shane and Cole were planning on showing a new movie on their new big screen video that evening.  They invited Boss Potter, Gil, Bobby, Maxine and made a special point of inviting Rocky to join them.  Shane told Rocky, Monty would be entertaining a special friend for the evening, and he wanted to give him some privacy.  Rocky understood and spent the evening with his new friends.  Monty and Jimmy Joe walked down to his quarters through the meadows.  The sun was going down in the West and the evening began to cool down.  They didn’t talk much.  Monty was telling him about Rocky, Dexter’s new body, and his new, growing relationship with Maxine.  He told him about exploring his new spaceship, and how much he’d like to show it to Jimmy Joe if he could get away some afternoon.  Monty never asked about Burt.  They got to the bridge and waiting on the other side for them was the small, self-appointed keeper of Monty’s hold.  Jenny was like a guard dog without the severe threat of teeth, but her voice alone was enough to stop the strongest heart at fifty paces.  She was like the single voice of a siren who had been transformed  to a comic parody in an alternate Odyssian universe.  When she didn’t get what she wanted, she decided she was going to enrapture their minds to do her bidding with her soulful crying.  When that didn't work she sulked away into her space grumbling under her breath like a retreating storm.

Jimmy Joe stopped and looked over the railing down into the fast flowing stream under the bridge.  Monty stopped and moved closer to him so their shoulders were touching.  Jimmy Joe looked at his friend, put his arm around him and pulled him close.  They stood silently watching the sun go down with the soft bubbling sounds of the creek creating a ground bass like a drone in some minimalist composition while bobwhites and whippoorwills created a soothing counter melody; a sound of hope; a promise of better things to come.

“I used to see something like this and give a passing nod to the moment.” Jimmy Joe sighed deeply, “I suppose, if there’s any solace to be found in aging it slows you down just enough to let the message get through.”

“What message would that be, Ramrod?” Monty asked quietly.

“Love will find a way.” said the stoic old cowboy.

Jimmy Joe took Monty into his arms and kissed him gently.  Monty melted into his ramrod’s arms.  They held the kiss through sixteen bars of nature’s minimalist vamp until a lonely and very horny Mockingbird began an insane melismatic cadenza of mellifluous improvisation as a prelude for the night to come and his aria of availability for a mate.  It was like some crazy stunt a composer, with more brains than talent could account for, might attempt like Hindemith’s J.S. Bach chorale discant above the thundering climax of Mathis der Maler.  Monty took Jimmy Joe’s rough, calloused hand in his.

“Come, Sir, I have new things to share with you.” Monty spoke softly.

“What kind of things, slave?” Jimmy Joe asked quizzically.

“Wonderful things for my ramrod-master, Sir.”    

They walked hand in hand through the door to Monty’s lair and closed it behind them.  

End of Chapter 67 ~ Waco’s Lummox
Copyright 2008 ~ Waddie Greywolf
All Rights Reserved ~
Mail to: waddiebear@yahoo.com


*The term “Venerian” and “Venusian” are both correct.