By Waddie Greywolf

Chapter 75

Now the great Bear and Pleiades, where earth moves, are drawing up the clouds of human grief breathing solemnity in the deep night.  Who can decipher in storm or starlight the written character of a friendly fate...as the sky turns, the world for us to change?  But if the horoscope's bewildering, like a flashing turmoil of a shoal of herring, who can turn skies back and begin again?*  

Waco and Buskin developed a habit while in college.  They had Ms. Myra pick them up to get home to the ranch as quickly as possible.  When they were ready for a break from school they didn’t want to have to wait for a long ride to get home, but when it came time to return, they always took the train.  It gave them a chance to discuss their time together to sort out their feelings and thoughts about things, and to plan their next semester.  Buskin used the ranch as a base to travel to and from the boy’s school when he wanted to visit.  Most times Waco and several of his brothers, pups, and Ox would go with him and they would have a great time.  Sometimes they would take both Ox and Droon with them.  Buskin was seeing a lot of Droon every time the men returned to the ranches.  He began to talk openly with Waco about his relationship with Droon.  As the train rumbled on Buskin brought up the subject.

“You never ask about my relationship with Droon.” he said.

“Don’t have to, I know about it.” Waco grinned.

“I don’t understand.  You mean because of your relationship with Ox?” he asked.

“Yeah.  I’m in the same boat, brother.  I was bonded to my big lummox when I’s jes’ a kid, like you.  I ain’t never shared it with you, but Ox, or Garron as I call him from time to time, had two other bonded male human mates before me.  He outlived both of them.  My uncle Bron is his human son by his cowboy mate by the name of Bronc.  He has two daughter lummox by his human male mate, but they’re mated with male lummox and live in the far North.  Ox is over three hundred years old.  I didn’t choose him.  He chose me, and I couldn’t be happier about it, then or now.  He will always be my first mate.  Trey knows it, but he ain’t worried as long as Ox and I give him the son’s he wants, and we will.  Besides, I do my best to keep my warrior happy and satisfied.  Trey is my main sexual partner, jes’ like my dad will become your main sexual dad.”

“Have you and Ox ever...?”  Buskin didn’t finish.

“Of course we have.  Lots of times.  Until I came of age he just sucked me off.  I was too small for him to penetrate.  He still ain’t fucked me, but I’ve sucked him off and fucked him a number of times.  We’ll be git’n around to him fuck’n me pert-damn quick.  I ain’t done it before, because I ain’t never wanted to git pregnant.  I know once I git that monster way up inside me I won’t wanna’ stop until he impregnates me.  He and I done talked and we decided to have a son for Trey first, then a bairn for him.

“What does lummox come taste like?” Buskin grinned.

“Better’n human’s or Visallian’s.  Visallian’s is better’n human’s.  Lummoxs' is similar to their milk.  It’s sweet with a slight salty taste to it, like someone added too much salt to the ice cream.” he smiled. “You thinking on pleasuring yore’ big beast to bring him a little comfort, cowboy?” Waco smiled.  

“Yeah, I thought I might like to try.  He keeps insisting he’s gonna’ be my husband.”

“He will be, Star Dancer.  Count on it.  It was set up when you’s a kid.  When he took you home to meet his parents and you drank his daddy’s milk, you became his.  Ain’t a damn thing you can do about it.  Ain’t nowhere in the universe you can run to git away from that big beast’s love.  You’ll finally come to the conclusion you don’t wanna’ run no ways.  You won’t never find a love that strong or true anywhere you look.  Lummox love for a male human is like a big black hole, once you’s caught in the event horizon there’s no life line strong enough to pull you out of the vortex.  You might as well jes’ give up, sit back, relax, enjoy the ride and resign yore’self to the idea you’re gonna’ have an eight foot tall, three to five hundred pound giant fur-ball for a husband.  Look on the bright side.  Long, cold winter nights you won’t never be cold.  Sleeping in a lummox’s arms is like sleeping next to a warm, cozy fireplace.  They can sense and adjust their body heat for your optimum comfort.” Waco laughed, then continued,

“We wondered why a lummox like Droon would be so interested in living among us and finding a male human mate.  We didn’t know about you at the time.  Now we do.  I was worried about ma’ dad.  I was planning on having him another son or maybe a daughter, but h’it ain’t real clear how the close genetics might work between a biological father and son.  With you, he can have two or three sons or daughters by you and Droon what will be almost be exact copies of him if he’s the sperm donor.  I plan to give him a couple of grand kids from me.  Son’s from Trey or bairns from Ox will also be his grand kids but they won’t have as strong a genetic relationship to him.  ‘At won’t make my dad no never mind.  He loves kids.  The strongest genetic relationship would be if I donate sperm to you and Droon, or he becomes the direct sperm donor.  We both can give him grandchildren.”  

“Wouldn’t a lummox hurt me?”

“Do I hurt you?  Has dad ever hurt you?” Waco smiled.

“Lord, no, but lummox are so much larger.” Buskin whinged.

“Ain’t much larger than a Visallian, and I do all right satisfying my mate.  At least he tells me so.”  Waco grinned.  To hear Ms. Myra tell it, my ass has become a revolving door for Trey’s big horse cock.  She’s crude, but she’s accurate.” he laughed.  “You should talk with Warren Steele.  He’s probably the most vocal and descriptive of what sex is like with his lummox husband.”

“Do they have sex a lot?” Buskin asked.  Waco broke up laughing.

“Are you kidding?” he laughed again, “Warren c'ain’t git enough of Horse.  They fuck once a day and three times on Sunday.  They’s planning on having a son for Jack Hall and his mate Buck this next fall.  You should a’ seen Warren pregnant with their bairn Colt.  Colt was a large bairn and Warren swelled up like a beach ball.  He didn’t have no problem when the time came, and the hairy little fucker slid right out.  There’s videos of it if you care to watch sometime.  There’s instructional videos Commander Fielding and Captain Trong made for several of their impregnations and births.  They’re very informative and sexy as hell.” Waco grinned.
“I just feel like I should be doing something to reciprocate with Droon when he pleasures me.”

“Well, you see, that’s you first mistake.  You shouldn’t feel that way.  He takes care of you because he loves you and wants to pleasure you to bring you some comfort.  He don’t expect nothing in return, or at least until you’re absolutely, positively sure you’re ready to commit yourself to pleasuring him.  He will wait for as long as it takes.  Ox waited for me for years.  Then again, for a species what lives hundreds of years, ten years ain’t so much.  Take my word for it, Droon will wait patiently, but he won’t never stop loving you.  In the meantime, make sweet love to him, stroke him, pet him like you would any animal you love and tell him what a good boy he is for wanting to please you and how very much you appreciate his love and attention.  They eat it up.  It may come as no surprise, most animals, even humans respond to a few words of honest appreciation and affection now and then.  The human touch is the greatest source of communion we have with each other and critters.  It transcends words.  Without the perversion of religion, the laying on of hands is a great source of healing.  You think you’re ready for the next step with yore’ big lummox?”

“I’m git’n close to being ready.  I really love him, Waco.”

“I know you do.  I seen the way you look at him sometimes like you’re thinking about how great it might be to have his babies.” Waco grinned mischievously.

“I c'ain’t hide nothing from you.” Buskin gently frogged his arm

“Ouch, little brother, that hurt.” Waco feigned, “Would you wanna’ hide anything from me?”

“No, of course not!  You’re ma’ brother.  I love you.  I can talk with you about anything.” he confessed. “Ain’t never had me nobody I’s so close to than you, dad Charlie, and Droon; oh, yes, and ma’ little brother, Kevin.”

* * * * * * *

The mysterious explosion of a snake’s ship on the dark side of the Moon was more successful than Lazarus originally thought it might be.  It took the snakes and grays considerably longer than a year to get things back in order to continue their rape and pillage of Earth.  Lazarus admitted to Charlie he should have known better.  The aliens were similar to hive critters and ants in particular.  Even though they’d suffered a major setback, it was only a matter of time before they would be back in the swing of things, but there was no rush.  Earth wasn’t going to escape from its orbit and the inhabitants were trapped on the planet.  They weren’t going anywhere.  Little by little they cleared and rebuilt, but it took them almost a full two years to do it.  It gave Waco and Buskin two years of school before the increased threat of the aliens began to be a major concern again.

Scudder figured correctly they were back in full operation when the aliens restated their demands on the governments of Earth for almost double their previous quotas and began to indiscriminately take whomever and whatever they chose.  Scudder was at his wits end.  Trying to keep things secret from the public and hiding the truth about what was really going on was like trying to put out hot spots in forest fires.  He realized the time was fast approaching when he would have to be honest with the public.  He feared the worst.  He requested another meeting with Jesse Watkins.  Jesse and Utah arrived in their usual manner.  They were surprised to find Scudder gained weight.

“It ain’t a weight gain.  I’m pregnant.  It jes’ happened.  Brett was using condoms, but I didn’t like it.  It felt weird, like he was wearing a damn Sou’wester.  He stopped at my insistence and nature took its course.  The damn rabbit done crawled up my cunt and died, but that ain’t the worst part.  The bad news is the zygote split, and I’m carrying identical twin boys.  I got mixed feelings about it, but I figure I got time to grunt ‘em out depending on what we decide.  I remember the pain from Brett Junior and now I got double the pleasure to look forward to.   Won't that be fun?  I swear I’m gonna’ change my name to
Eppee Durral, but that ain’t the reason I asked you here.  I wouldn’t bother you with my pregnancy.  I cranked out one, I can do two more.

“What do you have in mind, Norman?” Jesse asked.

“We got damn near two years reductions in abductions and activity with them bastards.  I don’t know what happened, and I don’t wanna’ know.  I suspect you people had something to do with it, but I don’t want it confirmed.  The less I know the more truthful I can be when I deny any knowledge.  Anything I say becomes acceptable as deniable plausibility.  We spoke before about the possibility of a joint mission to create a similar effect on their base we called project Trojan Horse.  I wanna’ discuss a plan with you to give them an ultimatum.  This ain’t only my idea, it comes from a couple of years of military men chewing on it.  As you know, we got one snake ship which can make the flight and we got two Air Force men with high security clearance who can fly it.  I just hate to lose one of them ships.”

“Maybe we can sweeten the deal, Norman, for some additional agreements on your part.” Jesse threw open for discussion.

“What kind of agreements?” he asked.

“You stop all investigations into American political affiliations and allow unlimited access to the 'free-net' where you’ve managed to block it.  Also you make a statement to the American people about what’s been going on and what they might be facing in the future.  Before you say ‘no’ consider you may not have any political platform to protect very soon.  The people ain’t as dumb as you might think, and they deserve to know.  You need all the help you can get from both sides.  It could be the turning point in uniting America and the rest of the world in a resistance.  Don’t let some other leader beat you to the punch.  It could be your moment of greatness, Norman.”

“What have you got to offer in return?” he asked.

“A brand new, never crashed, snake ship.  Yours for the asking.  You agree to stop all censorship by Friday, and we’ll deliver the ship to Area 51 the day after.  After we deliver the Trojan Horse, wait to see what reaction the aliens have.  If none, two weeks later you make an address to the nation and tell them everything.  We’ll coordinate with Austin and help him with the speech.  We insist on having some input.  However, if you renege or try any funny business, we’ll take the alien ship back so fast you’re people won’t have time to look it over.”

“A new ship, you say?” he mused. “Never crashed?”

“In cherry condition, with all the bells and whistles,— soft Corinthian leather seats and factory air.” Jesse exaggerated and winked at Scudder. “Everything works.” Jesse added.

“You’re right, that would sweeten the deal considerably.  How long I got to think about it?”

“Starting now,— five minutes.” Jesse smiled.

“Done.  I’ll have Austin order all free-net blocks taken down by this evening.  That’s two days earlier than Friday.  Can I tell Area 51 to expect the ship Saturday?”

“You may.  Tell your lady colonel in charge we don’t want no problems from her.” Jesse emphasized.

“I’ll put Austin in charge temporarily to make sure.  Where will you deliver it?”

“We can put it anywhere.  Thirty stories under in your underground hanger bay if you want.  Or we can park it outside, and your people can do as they like with it.  Outside we run the risk of it being seen from above.”

“Have them put it just inside the ground level hanger bay.  We’ll have it open so you won’t be confused.  Austin will be there to direct you.”  

“When do you wanna’ make the bomb run on the Moon?” Jesse asked.

“The following Thursday the end of May would be good for us.  You sure you can extract my men before the damn thing goes off?” Scudder asked.

“Absolutely.” Jesse said with confidence. “You remember our agreement?  We reserved the right to inspect the ship and the bomb to make sure it ain’t no bigger than fifty megaton.”

“Yeah, no problem.  I’ll meet with them slimy bastards tomorrow and tell them if they don’t back down we’re ready to launch a major attack against them.”  Scudder leaned back in his chair.  His pregnancy really showed.

“You think that’s wise, Norman?  Have you considered the importance and advantage of the element of surprise; just doing it and catching them with their pants down?  Remember Pearl Harbor?  Why threaten them?  Why stir them up?  It will only serve to warn them.  Forewarned is to be forearmed.  Why implicate yourself beforehand?  Surprise is to your advantage as the underdog.  Remember the name?  Project Trojan Horse?  It sort of says it all, Norman.  They may not believe you have the capability, but they’ll certainly be on guard if you warn them.  They'll take precautions.  You know you’ll  be the first they come to after the explosion if you warn them.   With no warning, if they come to you and accuse you, become very indignant and lie like a railroad track.  You know how little faith I have in you, but I’m fully confident in your ability to lie to them snakes.  If they simply inquire as to your knowledge about the destruction of their base, tell them your astronomers were tracking a rogue asteroid which seemed to be on a collision course with the Moon, but they couldn’t be sure; you didn’t bother to warn them, because you just assumed since they’re so much more advanced, they could easily detect a huge rock approaching the Moon from deep space; other than a bright flash of light your astronomers recorded, you don’t know nothing.  Let them form their own conclusions.  Don’t give them anything.  You may save your people and us a lot of unpleasantness and buy us more time.”

“Makes sense to me.  More sense that them damn saber rattling military hawks I got for advisors.  They’re used to bullying their way through everything.  Them son’s a’ bitches love themselves some nukes.  As you suggest, this may be a time to use a little common sense and a lot more finesse.  You wanna’ come work for me, Jesse?” Scudder laughed.

“Seems like I already work for you, Norman.” Jesse smiled. “By the way, there’s no extra charge for the advice.  I'll even throw in a free cigarette lighter for the dashboard.” he grinned.

“All right.  Late Thursday afternoon a sneak attack just like the Japs did on Pearl Harbor.  Damn near wiped out the seventh fleet.  Took our country a couple of years to get back into the swing of things.  Hopefully, it will bring them to their knees for a couple more years.”

“Okay, we’ll coordinate with your people Saturday when we deliver the snake ship.”

There wasn’t a lot more to talk about so Jesse and Utah said their goodbyes and disappeared.  The free-net was all a gaggle when it was suddenly available to everyone.  Certain areas of the country hadn’t been able to get free-net for a number of years.  They were suddenly opened and fully functional.  There was a wave of pro-left stimulus and people were getting the news out about the aliens and what the government was doing to cover up the situation.  They even told how horrible the baby genius program was and what happened to thousands of babies the government bought from unsuspecting parents.  It caused riots in several major cities from the right wing as well as the left.  It suddenly became difficult to tell who was for whom, for what or why.  It was just the way the Grange wanted it.  Confusion was their greatest cover.  It left them free to make some outrageous land grabs and rescue far more folks than originally planned.

Jesse wanted to wait until after Scudder delivered his speech to the nation to deliver the alien spacecraft to Area 51, but Lazarus wanted to get rid of it.  He reasoned it had been on the Gopher Bay long enough.  Lazarus felt it was bad karma to leave it there with all the missions Monty and his crew were conducting.  After all, the Grange could reclaim it at any time should Scudder betray them.  Jesse saw his point and agreed.  Montana and his crew, along with the Admiral and Captain Vinceeth delivered the snake ship to Area 51 with no hassle.  Austin Taycious was there to take delivery and said he would be there the following Thursday to see the Trojan Horse off.  They were welcome to inspect before the ship took off or inspect it in flight.  They opted to check it before it left for its run.  Lazarus didn’t go with them the following Thursday.  He knew Captain Montana, Rocky, Ben and certainly Trey knew enough to recognize the bomb and its size.  All seemed in order, they took blood samples from the two Air Force pilots to have their DNA on file to beam them out of the alien ship, and they started their run to the Moon.

On the way, Monty dropped off Trey Vinceeth back at the Bandersnatch.  He and several of his crew planned to be on call to fly one of the scout ships if there was an emergency.  Monty was down to a skeleton crew.  His number one, JG Maxine Potter, Rocky, Ben, Dexter, Cody and Pearl.  Much to their dismay, Monty left Oblio and Bobby behind.  The run went as planned, but there was something about the two Air Force pilots Maxine didn’t trust.  She warned her captain about her feelings.  Monty worked with Maxine close enough to know she was rarely wrong about her hunches.  He trusted her completely.  So when it came time to beam the two gung-ho pilots out, Maxine instructed Cecil to beam them to the bridge without clothes.  They were butt naked when they arrive.  Maxine told Cecil to back off from the Moon six hundred miles before the bomb went off.  Even at that distance it lit up the sky like a small supernova and there was total destruction on the surface of the Moon.  Everything was vaporized.  The two pilots looked around and down at their nakedness and tried their best to cover themselves.

“What is this?  Why are we naked?” they asked.

“You were carrying sidearms.  That wasn’t in our agreement.  We just made sure you wouldn’t try anything stupid.  Besides, you’re perfectly safe with us.  You have no need for weapons or clothes on board our ship.” Maxine said to them.

“What’s this?  A talking dog flying a space ship?  That’s crazy!  C’mon, Don, we’re taking over this ship right now.  You two clowns step aside, us men will fly this baby back to Earth.” the older pilot ordered.  He took a step toward Monty, but the younger officer hesitated and held back.

“Oh, pu-leeease!” said Maxine in a bored tone.  “Too bad your penises are bigger than your brains.  Cecil, plan B.” she said and the two air jockeys disappeared and reappeared in the brig.  Maxine spoke to them over the intercom, “Comfy, Gentlemen?  Welcome to the brig on the Gopher Bay.  Nice, ain’t it?  I decorated it myself.” she said with considerable sarcasm, “Make yore’selves to home, amateurs.  Tea will be served presently.  I’m sorry, but there won’t be an in-flight movie shown today.  You have just been bumped from first class to cattle car.” laughed Maxine.  “Because of your very regrettable actions, as first officer of this ship, I’m placing you under arrest.  According to maritime law, you are hereby charged with an act of mutiny, sedition and/or piracy.  You will be held and tried by a military tribunal of our fleet.  I deeply regret I can’t charge you with bone crunching ignorance or jaw dropping stupidity as guilty, as you are of both, unfortunately, they ain’t a crime.”

“First officer of this ship?” sneered the older pilot, “You gotta’ be kidding me.  You ain’t nothing but a dog.  You have no jurisdiction over us.  We demand to be returned to our government immediately.” he tried to sound like a bad-ass authority figure who better be taken seriously.

“Yeah, like that’s gonna’ happen, you stupid ass-hat.” Maxine laughed. “Threaten me and my Captain, will you?  Not on my watch, junior bird-man.  Why, I’ve flown rings around them steam-punk John Deere sky tractors you morons are so proud of, and left you in the dust to eat my K-9 vapor trail wondering what the hell was that?” she did a nasty raspberry with her tongue which conveyed her disgust more than words.  Monty never said a word.  He let his number one take care of the pilots.  Maxine was doing a bang-up job as far as he was concerned.  At her juicy raspberry he broke up laughing and couldn’t stop.

“Have I told you lately how much I love you, number one?” he managed to get out with a straight face.

“Yes, twice this morning and once after lunch.” she wiggled in her seat.

“Well, make it one more for the road, little sister.  Ya’ done good.”  he reached over and patted her.  “You, too, Cecil.” he added.

“Thank’s, Captain Montana.” Cecil replied.

They looked at the devastation the bomb made on their way back to Earth.  There was nothing left.  It was total destruction and the surface was still glowing red hot.  There was flotsam and jetsam from burning and destroyed ships floating in space from as much as a couple hundred miles away from the flash point.  The concussion and bits of other ships and rocks thrown up from the surface of the Moon struck and destroyed most all the other ships.  The very few which didn’t suffer destruction were in such bad repair they either crashed onto the surface of the Moon or were burned up on entry into Earth’s atmosphere.  Only a couple of ships survived, but they were knocked unconscious and had no idea what happened.  Jesse’s suggestion of a Trojan Horse was more successful than anyone could imagine.  Monty guessed right, the part of the Moon which suffered the brunt of the explosion would remain radioactive for years.  A new, enormous crater was formed from the blast, and it looked exactly like a meteor crater.  Rebuilding would be almost impossible.  Monty and his crew returned to the Bandersnatch and left the naked pilots in the brig.  They were met by the Admiral and his staff including Captain Vinceeth.  Monty let Maxine relate what happened, and they laughed at her enthusiasm.  Lazarus had Jesse get in touch with Scudder.  Jesse and Utah made an unscheduled appearance.  Scudder’s eyes got real big.

“Oh, my God!  What went wrong?” Scudder asked like he knew they wouldn’t just show up unless it was something important.

“You’re pilots tried to highjack our ship what beamed them out.” Jesse said without nuance.

“You’re shit’n me!” Scudder exclaimed loudly. “Son of a fuck’n bitch!” he stomped around the room nervously, “They weren’t suppose to do that.  They had no such orders from me.  Look, Jesse, you gotta’ believe me on this.  I been up-front with you all the way.  I’ll get to the bottom of these shenanigans if it’s the last thing I do, but me and Austin had nothing to do with it, I promise you.”

“What do you want us to do with them?” Jesse asked to see what Scudder’s reaction might be.

“I don’t give a flying fuck what chu’ do with ‘em!  Make ‘em walk the damn plank in deep space!  Do whatever you want with them.  I certainly don’t want ‘em back.  They can’t be trusted to carry out orders according to my wishes, whatever you decide to do with them is fine with me.  They’ve put me in one hell of an awkward position.  Now I have to do everything in my power to convince you we had nothing to do with it.  Austin is still there at Area 51.  I’ll have him investigate.  If anyone can get to the bottom of this he can.  Check back with me in a couple of hours.  I’m so damn sorry, Jesse.” Scudder said with obvious concern.  Jesse and Utah were convinced he didn’t know anything about the highjacking attempt.

The two brawny pilots weren’t going to cooperate and were ready to fight Rocky and Ben when they walked into their holding cell to handcuff them.  The younger one took a huge swing at Rocky and connected with his right jaw.  Rocky didn’t even flinch, but he heard the man’s knuckles crack when they came in contact with his metal superstructure.

“Son of a bitch!” he exclaimed and held his broken hand in his other.  

“Hands behind your back, Sir, or I will be forced to take you down.” Rocky ordered.  The older pilot didn’t try anything.  He was smarter, and cooperated.  The two big bio-droids frog marched the two naked pilots into an interrogation room.  They set them down in two straight back chairs.

“I recognize you cowboys.  You’re Ben Johnson and I remember you from watching old cowboy movies with my great-granddad.  You’re Rocky Allen Lane.” the older pilot said.  “What’s going on here?  You men would have to be in your nineties or older.  You don’t look a day over thirty-five or forty.”  

“At least one of them ain’t dumb.” Rocky smiled at Ben.  “You’re right.  I’m Rocky Lane, and he’s Ben Johnson.  You don’t need to know more right now.  You’re our prisoners.”

“Can we have some clothes?” The older one asked.

“No, you won’t be wearing clothes for sometime depending on the outcome of your trial.  Ain’t no doubt about it, you fly-boys are in deep doo-doo!  You will probably be found guilty of maritime piracy, mutiny, sedition and sentenced to hang.  If you cooperate, if you’re very good little boys, throw yourselves on the mercy of the court, it might save your lives; however, you’ll still be looking at a lifetime of slavery.  Either one a’ you boys ever been butt fucked?” Asked Ben Johnson in his best wry cowboy accent.

“No, of course not.  We ain’t no queers.  We’re family men.” said the youngest.

“You’ll git used to it.  I hear’d tell, the first few times it hurts like a mother-fucker.  After you become some master’s bitch, he uses yore’ asshole as his come-bucket a couple of times a day, week after week, month after month, your ass will stretch, and you’ll git to where you enjoy it.  They all do.  I’m sure you boy’s heard the old saying, ‘A well fucked slave is a happy slave, and believe you me, the slaves on the ranches we come from all got big ole smiles on their faces.’” Ben allowed in his best cowboy drawl.

“I’d rather hang.” said the younger one bravely.

“Careful, Son, you jes’ may git chore’ wish.” Rocky told him. “In the meantime we need you to answer some questions for us.” he added.

“We ain’t answering no questions.  We ain’t tell’n you jack-shit, cowboy.” the younger one told him.  The older one wasn’t saying much.

“Let’s start with your name, rank and serial numbers.” Rocky started.

“Captain Donald J. Bennington, U.S. Air Force, serial number 496-38-6497.” replied the younger man.

“Major Buck E. Bryant, U.S. Air Force, serial number 368-99-9898"

“Who gave you the order to highjack our vessel?” asked Ben.

“Nobody, it was a spur of the moment impulse thing.  We saw a young cowboy and his dog flying the ship.  We figured it would be easy enough to overpower them and take control.  We saw it could be ours for the taking for our country and our Holy Prophet.”

“We don’t believe you.  You were carrying sidearms.  Why would you need sidearms just to deliver a bomb?” Rocky challenged.

“We carry them with us all the time.  They’re part of our uniforms.  We told you the truth.  That’s all you’ll get from us.” said the older one named Buck.

“I wouldn’t bet on it, fly boy.” smiled Rocky.

Ben opened the door and in walked the most beautiful animal either man ever saw.  She was small, about a third the size of a man, but looked like a lemur or a gibbon ape with wonderful colors.  Disney couldn’t have done justice to her.  Pixar?  Maybe.

“This, here, little lady is named ‘Ping’ gentlemen.  She has some very special talents.  She can produce pheromones which will make you tell the truth.  You won’t be able to lie to any question we ask.  They’re all yours, pretty lady.” Ben told her.  She smiled.  Ben and Rocky didn’t have to leave the room.  Bio-droids weren’t affected by her scents.  She turned her rear toward the men and let out a small squirt of a special truth fragrance.  They tried to hold their breath, but they couldn’t, and breathed in the pheromone.  Don thought the fragrance was slightly like Frangipani he remembered from his time in Hawaii.  Ping nodded to Rocky and Ben, smiled, bowed deeply, and left the room.

“Now lets try again.  Don, have you ever been butt fucked?” Ben asked.

“Yeah, lots of times.” he shook his head and gnashed his teeth at his answer.  He didn’t want to tell these cowboys the truth.  To him they represented the ultimate in hyper-masculinity.  Every muscle in his body fought against it.

“By whom?” Ben continued.

“My older brother when I’s a kid.” he rocked back and forth, trying not to tell the truth, “He broke me in.  Told me it was what brothers did for each other; only, he never let me fuck him or he never sucked me off.  My daddy caught him fuck’n me and raised all kinds of hell.  He beat us up pretty bad.  Our mom died, and then dad started fuck’n me when I’s a teenager.  He’d fuck me a couple time a week and on weekends when he’d come home drunk until I left and went to the Air Force academy.  He fucked me when I came home on leave.  My partner Buck here’s fucked me so many times I lost count.” he was sweating.

“You like it when Buck fucks you, Don?” Rocky asked without nuance.

“Oh, yeah, he fucks me real good.  He really turns me on.  I can come while he’s fucking me.  He’s older like my daddy was, and he fucks me jes’ like my old man did, except he makes love to me before and afterward.  My dad never made love to me.  He said it was queer to make love to a man.” sweat was pouring off the younger man.

“And you, Buck, have you ever been fucked in the butt?” Ben drawled.

“A couple of times, but I didn’t like it.” he replied.  Unlike his younger buddy Don, Buck didn’t seem to be having a problem answering the cowboy’s questions.  He didn’t try to fight against Ping’s eau de veritas.

“Who fucked you?” Ben followed up.

“Three senior officers.  They told me if I wanted to advance in rank I had to put out for them.  I had to get fucked several times for my promotion.  They passed me around and held private parties where they gang fucked me.  There wasn’t anything I could do about it.  They held my fate in their hands.  If I didn’t play ball my career would’ve been over.  I did it to get ahead, but I don’t like to get fucked.  I’m a man.  I do the fucking.”

“You don’t consider Don a man?” Rocky asked.

“Of course, he’s a fine man.  Don’s my buddy.  I love him like the son I never had.  He jes’ loves to take it up the ass.  I love giving him what he needs and taking what I need.  We do it a lot, but we don’t talk about it much.”

“You ever make him suck you off, Buck?” Ben asked.

“I don’t make him do nothing.  I never forced myself on Don like my superiors done to me.  It ain’t like that between him and me.  When he wants it or needs it and asks me real nice, we get together, and I give him some.  He’s a fine cocksucker.  He’s a hell of a lot better’n ma’ wife.  She can’t suck dick worth a damn.  He’s a better fuck, too.” Buck volunteered.

“Okay, that’s enough for that line of questioning.  Now, Buck, who put you up to that little stunt of trying to highjack our spacecraft?”

“Our commanding officer at Area 51.  That stupid bitch Colonel Eugenia Crookshank.  It was her idea.  She thought if we commandeered your ship, it would make her look good and she would have a solid in with Austin Taycious and the Holy Father.  She’s a conniving, power hungry dyke.  She’d order us to cut our balls off jes’ so’s she could wear ‘em around her neck to make her look good.”

“Did she get the orders from higher up?” Ben asked

“No, they didn’t know nothing about it.  It was all her crazy idea, but we had to carry out her stupid, fricking orders.  Don told me we shouldn’t try it.  I should a’ listened to him.  After all, you guys were the ones rescuing us.  Look, it was my idea to follow her orders.  Don begged me not to.  I’m the superior officer.  He had to follow my orders.  Let him go.”

“Do you agree with what Buck just told us, Don.” Ben asked.

“Yeah, he’s telling the truth.  I didn't wanna' do it.  I was gonna' try'n talk some reason to him--- try'n stop him--- but before I could say or do anything we were beamed to the brig.  Taycious and Scudder didn’t have any idea what she’s up to.  Wish ‘ta god they did.  We wouldn’t be in this mess right now.” he added.

The interview with the two Air Force Pilots were videoed but the sexual parts were edited out.  Only the part of them telling where their orders came from was used in the trial against them and Jesse gave Taycious and Scudder a DVD copy of their abbreviated confession.  The female Colonel was the same hard-nosed woman who refused to cooperate with Jesse.  Austin Taycious had her interrogated and videoed the whole thing.  At first, she denied everything and claimed the pilots were lying.  Upon further investigation, Austin found several of her staff who secretly hated her were willing to sign affidavits they witnessed her give the pilots the order to commandeer their ally’s spaceship.  They were angry she was willing to throw two fine career military officers under the bus to save her own worthless hide.  When presented with all the evidence against her, she broke down in tears and admitted she gave the order.  Scudder was so enraged he ordered her to be sent directly to one of the worst Cheney camps in the country without a trial.  He made sure Jesse got a DVD of her confession and copies of the witnesses affidavits.  Scudder apologized profusely to Jesse and Utah but again told him to deal with the officers anyway they wanted.  He didn’t want them back.  It was not what he or Austin ordered them to do.  If they chose to follow other orders it was their responsibility and not his.  Let them face what fate they made for themselves.

A quick trial was held and Judge Potter represented them.  He stressed to the men they were alone in the boat.  Their president and government didn’t want them back.  They chose to obey a renegade order without questioning it, and now, they were up the creek in a boat with no oars.  He told them they were looking at being hung for attempted piracy or mutiny.  He strongly suggested they throw themselves on the mercy of the court which they agreed to do.  The court took into consideration the senior officer’s comments his buddy tried to talk him out of following the colonel’s order and didn’t respond when ordered to forcibly overcome the captain and his first mate to take over the Gopher Bay.  Buck, the older of the two was sentenced to a lifetime of slavery and his younger buddy, Don, was sentenced to twenty years as a slave with five years probation.  They were devastated, but when sentenced they were made to understand it was because of their decision to follow bad orders.  Far too often, high ranking military officers were never held accountable for their mistakes.  They found out the hard way it was different when they were dealing with the Grange.  The members of the Grange and the court who tried them didn’t care about the men’s rank or what country they represented.  They would be held accountable for their actions.  No one felt sorry for them.  They stood before the court naked and remained so for the first three weeks of their initial break-in period as baby slaves on Angus Goodnight’s ranch.  The younger officer took to being a slave easily enough.  He fell in love with Angus Goodnight and his foreman.  It took his older buddy longer, and it was considerably harder on him, but when he was finally broken, he became one of Angus and Jimmy Joe’s favorite fucks to share.

Don looked forward to Buck being called to be his master and ramrod’s cowboy sexual slave-toy for an afternoon.  Buck would return and try to reassert his false sense of masculinity by dominating Don and fucking the b’jebus out of him.  Don loved those days.  He was always clean and ready for his partner on his return.  Don would sympathize with his buddy and do his best to console him.  He never failed to offer himself to Buck to help him feel better about himself.  Don said many prayers of thanks for Angus and Jimmy Joe as his partner deeply plowed his red Earth.  Don became one of Angus and Jimmy Joe’s most trusted and faithful slaves.  He saw them as directly responsible for his happiness and contentment.           

* * * * * * *

The bombing of the Moon was a surprise in many ways.  Scudder and the Grange thought there would be an immediate reprisal or counterattack, but that didn’t happen.  As sophisticated as the grays and snakes tried to impress the natives they were, in many ways they were hopelessly naive.  They simply couldn’t figure out what happened and who or what was responsible.  Scudder said a thousand prayers of thanks for Jesse’s sage advice about not saying anything to them and using the element of surprise as a weapon.  He was even more grateful to Austin who urged him to do as Jesse suggested, and to himself, for having the good sense to listen.  Austin strongly supported Jesse’s idea Scudder should deny any knowledge of the explosion other than what little he learned from his scientists.  If there was even a slim chance the aliens didn’t know what happened they couldn’t place blame on any one nation or government.  It was weeks before the snakes requested a meeting with him and when they did, they didn’t really ask if he knew anything about an attack or explosion on the Moon.

They acted like to admit a disaster would be admitting defeat, and they might be giving the natives more information than they wanted them to know.  They didn’t accuse Scudder or any of the other leaders on Earth.  They had no idea the people of Earth managed to salvage several of their crashed ships and could fly them.  They had such low esteem of their food source they never considered they might be bright enough to fly one of their spaceships.  Would a cowboy ever consider a cow might have the smarts to drive his truck to get away?  It was a great surprise to everyone, because the aliens had obviously witnessed man’s early attempts at spaceflight and shuttle missions.  NASA astronauts reported being observed by alien craft on almost every mission.  They were waiting for our astronauts when they landed on the Moon, but they never made contact.  The aliens never understood about satellite communications transmissions and thought they were so much curious junk or failed attempts at space travel the clever monkeys shot into space; they considered it only so much cow flop their cattle left in their wake.

* * * * * * * *

The mascot of the Texas Aggies was a beautiful female Collie named Reveille and called “Miss Rev” by the fish. (Freshmen)  Waco and Buskin decided Miss Rev seemed to have a noble countenance about her tinged with a bit of sadness.  Many considered a Collie an odd choice for a rough and tumble sport like college football.  The original ‘Reveille’ was a mutt who some thought better symbolized the student body and team.  Because of Waco and Buskin’s abilities to communicate with animals, Reveille X would seek the cowboy’s out to spend time with them during their freshman year.  At first it was disconcerting to her handler who was a member of the Mascot Company E-2, but he soon got used to the idea if she was missing he knew where to find her.  She would be in Waco and Buskin’s room snoozing while the men poured over their books studying.  She insisted on going home with them to the ranch at the end of their freshman year and fell in love with Utah.  He was pretty much taken with her as well.  When the men returned to school for their sophomore year they were appointed to Company E-2 and Buskin became her handler.  During her visits to the ranch she developed a taste for cantaloupe and loved it.  She couldn’t get enough.  The boys always made sure they had a plastic container filled with fresh cantaloupe as a treat for her.  They came to refer to “Miss Rev” affectionately as their melon-collie baby.

Waco and Buskin knew about the sneak attack on the Moon.  It was scheduled for a Thursday evening and just happened to correspond with the day of their last final exams for the end of their Sophomore year.  The next day Waco and Buskin would be leaving for the ranch for summer vacation.  Charlie and Lazarus offered Buskin a summer job the end of his first year at A&M he couldn’t refuse.  For work around the ranch or wherever they needed him, Lazarus  agreed to subsidize Buskin for his sophomore year.  Lazarus created a stipend for Buskin as he did for Waco and gave him his own generous bank account and credit card for his personal needs, books, and extras he might need.  He worked hard that summer, but also had time to visit and be with his little brothers.  Buskin became devoted to the Grange and the folks connected to it.  He knew the Grange was his own personal salvation for the future, but he became concerned for his little brothers.  He and Waco always had one of the ranch vehicles available to them to travel back and forth.  Waco still didn’t want a vehicle of his own.  He felt with all the activities he and Buskin were involved in at school they didn’t have time to be running around anyway.  They were all packed and ready to leave the evening after finals.  They would have everything in their dorm room including Miss Reveille and have Ms. Myra beam them up to the Buttercup.

They planned a get together with all their classmen in the Corps and other non-Corps students who wanted to say goodbye to Miss Rev for the summer.  Waco had Buskin send e-mails to several of their favorite science teachers with a special invitation to attend the informal function.  At the bottom of each e-mail Waco had him add a secret code he and Buskin developed to communicate something of importance to professors they felt they could trust.  One was sent to Dr. Dyer.  All six of the professors invited attended.  They didn’t know why Waco and Buskin might want them to say ‘goodbye’ to the school mascot but when the two most influential students on campus politely requested their presence, they were smart enough to read between the lines, especially with the code at the bottom.  Waco kept looking at his watch as he was talking with the professors.  Buskin was posing Miss Rev for photos and students were paying their respects.

“What’s going on, Cadet Corporal Goodnight?  As much as we love our school’s mascot, you know we could care less about a ‘goodbye’ get together.  We know Reveille will have the best of care this summer and have lots of fun with the other dogs on your ranch.”

“It’s such a lovely evening, Dr. Dyer, Cadet Corporal Namid and I thought you four fine gentlemen and two ladies might enjoy taking the air with us.” he smiled looking at his watch again.  “However, if you good folks will turn your attention toward the full Moon for the next few minutes you will see something you might find very interesting.  We just wanted to make sure you didn’t miss it.  We know how you scientist can be.  By the way, you may want to be seated on the ground if you become overcome you won’t have far to fall.” he smiled.  They set on the new mown grass and turned their attention to the Moon.  Waco quietly started counting down from twenty.  He got to one and nothing happened.

“Well, I’m impressed.” said one of the professors, a doctor of comparative anatomy.

“Wait for it!  Wait for it!” Waco urged. “Now!” he said and the Moon was instantly lit with a huge blinding flash of light like a halo completely circled it.  They watched as the gigantic ring of the most fantastic white light grew larger and larger behind the Moon.  The light grew so large it cast light onto the Earth almost bright as day.  Everyone was frightened, but the professors wanted to know what Waco and Buskin knew about what they just witnessed.

“Haven’t you been following the free-net?” he asked them.

“Mr. Goodnight, we can’t afford to lose our jobs.  Our computers are checked regularly, not only by the administration, but by the government as well.  They have three separate kinds of tracking and reporting software installed without our permission which can’t be deleted.  How do you students get away with it?”

“Special software what can’t be traced by any spy programs.  Get a laptop to me or Cadet Namid this evening, and we can install it for you.  Then you may have the summer to find out what’s going on.  I promise you won’t be caught or compromised.  That is, if you want to know what it was you just witnessed and why.  Since you will be able to send and receive e-mails without fear of scrutiny we will keep in touch.  We would loved to have you and your families or significant others visit us for a weekend at our ranch.  We have plenty room for everyone.”

“I have an extra laptop in my office I only use for lecture notes and student grade files.  Will that work?  Will you have to erase my current files?” Dr. Dyer asked.

“No, it will build around any information.  Does it have a laser downlink receiver diode?”

“Yes, the technology’s current within the last year.” Dyer said.

“Good, we’ll meet you in your office in a hour, Sir.  You can download the others from yours.  It’s quite simple to do.  I’ll download it into yours and your computer will tell you how to share it with the others.” Waco smiled. “There’s one important thing you must remember.  I’ve only approved you six professors to receive this operating system.  It is voice print cued.  It will function as your old system until you speak to it and give it the proper order to convert.   If you try to copy it beyond your computers or try de-compiling the operating system, it will literally commit suicide.  It will self-destruct.  The operating system is intelligent and by all definitions has a life of its own, but it will not hesitate to pull its own plug to protect the core kernal.” The other four said their goodbyes and rushed off to get one of their spare laptops.  Dr. Dyer waited for the men to finish.  Several wanted Waco to speak.  They were concerned about what they witnessed.

“What you saw was an explosion of some sort on the far side of he Moon.  We can’t be sure of the cause, but my best guess is we’ll find out a good size asteroid impacted the surface of the dark side of the Moon.  It was probably composed of elements of phosphorus and rare metals which on impact would cause a great light to occur.  Get on your computers this evening and do some research.  Check NASA and other government sites.  Something should come up soon.” Waco urged them.  He and Buskin accompanied Professor Dyer back to his office.

“You and Buskin are voices of comfort for them.  They look up to you men.  You’re natural born leaders, Mr. Goodnight.  Why did you lie to them?” Dyer grinned.  Buskin laughed.

“Doctor Dyer, my brother wouldn’t lie.  He’s a cowboy.  That jes’ ain’t the cowboy way, Sir.” Buskin said seriously.  

“Forgive me, I meant no offense or disrespect, but I just have a feeling you men know more than you’re letting on.”

“It was a joint venture between our government and some friendly aliens to wipe out the reptilian aliens and their slave race, the Gray’s base on the opposite side of the Moon.  It has been totally destroyed.  Nothing is left.  You just witnessed a fifty ton nuclear bomb detonation.  It’s the first nuclear bomb to be used in an act of war since Nagasaki.  Only this is a different sort of war.  It’s a war for the survival of our species.”

“How do you know this, Cadet Goodnight?” he asked incredulously.

“The same way me and my brother know about Bigfoot.” Waco smiled. “In a week or so watch for our glorious leader to make a world televised announcement about the alien presence and their threat to our world.”

“You don’t have a very high esteem for our Holy Father, do you, Cadet Goodnight?”

“I have no feeling one way or another, Sir.  He does not concern me or my brother.”

“You may have to go into his employment when you graduate.  You are in training for the military.  You will be expected to serve.” he said.

“We might.  Then again we might not.” Waco smiled at him. “There are bigger things happening, greater concerns than endless wars in the middle East.  We may be looking at the end of the world, Sir.”

They got to Dr. Dyer’s office.  He handed Waco his laptop.  Waco turned it on and spoke.

“Kyron?” he said.

“At your service, Captain Waco.” boomed Kyron’s voice.  His voice came from all six robo-cams on Waco and Bustin.  Dr. Dyer lost all color in his face.

“What the fuck was that?” the professor wanted to know.

“Kyron?  He’s a friend of Cadet Corporal Namid’s and myself.  He’s an artificially evolved intelligence.  Have you been following our conversation, friend?” Waco said to Kyron.

“I have, Captain Waco.  You wish me to download Ping 8.3 into Dr. Dyer’s computer, Sir?”

“I would appreciated it, Kyron.” Waco no sooner got the words out when a bright green laser came from nowhere and shot right at the download diode on Dr. Dyer’s computer.  It only took about a minute and the light turned off.  “Thank you, Kyron.” Waco said.

“It was nothing, Captain.  Looking forward to seeing you soon on the ranch.  Utah sends his warmest greetings to Miss Rev.  He says to tell her he can’t wait to see her again.”  Miss Reveille barked like she understood his words.  

“We’ll be home this evening, Kyron.  Tell Ms. Myra she may come for us within the hour, but ask her to please be on her best behavior.” They heard Kyron laugh.  

“I will relay your message, Captain.  Let me know how that works out for you, Sir.” Kyron laughed again and was gone.  Buskin giggled.

“You wanna’ explain what I just witness, Mr. Goodnight?” challenged Dr. Dyer.

“Ain’t no hocus-pocus, Sir.  It’s just science and technology.  Now, your new program needs a name.” Waco smiled at him as he set down at the professor’s laptop.

“Name?  What kind of name?  Why does it need a name?” he asked.

“It’s an infant sentient intelligence capable of evolving.  It ain’t like any computer program or operating system you ever used before.  It’s alive and will learn, evolve and improve itself.  It will come to know you and relate to you as a help mate and friend.  It needs a name, but it needs to be a name with which you’re comfortable and would like to know it by.  The proper name will make a decided difference in how it relates to you, because he will search night and day to find the meaning of his name.”

“His name?  It can’t be a female?”

“Yes, if you like.  One of my favorite evolved intelligence is a female.  She’s got a mouth on her like a street walker, but she has a good heart, and I love her.”

“You love her?  You form attachments for artificial intelligence?” he asked in awe.

“Evolved intelligence, Dr. Dyer.  Why not?  We’re the only specie in the universe what tries to limit who others can or can not love.  You get back to me later in the summer after you’ve worked with your new friend and let me know how you feel.  Now, a name?  It would help if it was a name of someone for which you have or had some affection.”

“How ‘bout— wait, I know!  My great granddad’s name was Grady Mayhew.  I was really close to him.  I loved my great granddad.”

“You sure?  After I enter his name he will only respond to Grady.”

“Yes, yes, I’m sure.” Dr. Dyer said.  Waco typed the full name into the slot and hit enter.  The screen came alive with pictures and movement.  It was beautiful, like the beginning of a new life.  It took several minutes until a shape appeared of a young man in his late twenties.  He was quite handsome and looked like an athlete.  He had a full handlebar mustache and chops on the side of his face like he was from the turn of the twentieth century.

“Hello, I’m Grady Mayhew.  You may call me ‘Grady.’  He looked around from Waco to Dr. Dyer and Buskin.  He smiled.  “Will you be my co-terminus, Captain Waco?” he asked in a strongly masculine voice.

“No, Grady, Kyron probably told you to expect me, but the gentleman beside me is your co-terminus, Son, his name is Dr. Edwin Dyer.  Say ‘hello’ to Grady, professor.”

“Hello, Grady, it’s good to meet you.” he moved into Waco’s seat.

“So good to meet you, Dr. Dyer.  I look forward to working with you.”

“What do I do?” the professor asked.

“Anything you like, Sir.  I’m here to serve you, to work with and for you.  That’s my only purpose, but I can also evolve and reason.  I’m capable of learning and growth.  I can even spawn myself.”

“Spawn yourself?”

“He means if you want to pass the program on, he can download his basic system into one of your fellow’s laptops and start another evolved intelligence quite apart from Grady.  None of him will be passed on with the creation of another.  Only his core kernal will be passed on.  It will then take on a life of its own.  You won’t have to do anything.  Just turn him on or leave him on, and he will do everything for you.  We leave ours on most of the time so they can surf the free-net when we’re resting.  They can map out paths to get places faster for you.  If you shut them down, they lie dormant like you when you sleep, only they don’t have electric dreams.  Since I introduced you, we’ll leave you two to get to know each other.  If you don’t know how to do something, get an answer or go somewhere on the free-net, ask Grady.  He’ll know and will patiently explain it to you.  He’ll show you everything you need to know.  Just remember, he’s new.  He’s not quite a baby, but close.  He has feelings, and he reacts to emotions.  He responds to words and smiles of affection and appreciation.  Just remember the Golden Rule and you and Grady will form a great friendship.  He will become your right arm, your man 'Friday' if you let him.” Waco smiled.

“I have to know more.  You’re just going to walk away?” Dyer complained.

“You have homework to do, Professor.  Let Grady be your tutor and your guide.  Learn together.  We’ll keep track of your progress and when we think you’re ready you will get a message from me.”

“Ready for what?  Why am I suddenly afraid?” he said.

“Lord, I don’t know why.  Have we threatened you in any way, Sir?”

“No, but I’m overwhelmed by you men.  You should be the ones teaching me.” he sounded defeated and humbled.

“Nonsense, Professor.  We’ve learned a lot from you.  We’ve only provided you a means to learn more about the world you’re living in and a key to a new life if you’re willing to accept it.  Talk with Grady.  He’s sitting there anxious to learn about you and work with you.  Take good care of him, Grady, he’s a fine man.  We have faith in him.” Waco spoke to the computer screen.

“I will, Captain Waco.  Thank you, Sir.  Have a good trip home.”

“We will, youngster, and thanks.” Waco told the new intelligence.

Waco, Buskin and Miss Reveille returned to their dorm room.  Everything was ready for their departure.  Buskin was ready this time.  He gave the call to Ms. Myra, and she beamed them up.  Waiting on the bridge of the Buttercup were some of their close friends and Charlie.  Jesse and Utah were there and Reveille was thrilled to see her friend again.  They flew home and were docked with the Bandersnatch within minutes.  The young men seemed different to everyone.  They were more poised and mature.  They were the hit of the colonies and the boy’s ranch for a couple of weeks.  Reveille went with them everywhere, but spent quality time with Jesse and Utah.  It was a great summer for the young men.  They worked hard, played hard and became even more involved with their communities and working for those they loved and cared about.

Waco, Buskin and several powerful members of the Grange went to the administrators of the boy's ranch and explained to them the great threat from the aliens and one of their main food sources were young children.  They taught them how to protect the ranch buildings and create anti-abduction clothes for the boys.  Some thought it was hokum, but the administrators thought there was something to it and cooperated.  After all, Lazarus and Charlie became major financial contributors to the ranch and they were footing the bill for the work and materials.  Waco and Buskin were serious when they explained the danger to the boys and the boys would believe or do anything their two heroes asked of them.  Some critters were lost, but because of their precautions not a boy was abducted by the aliens.

The Methodist Church suffered greatly during the years of the advance of rabid fundamentalism.  There were several splits in the church and several more, and then one huge rift the boy’s freshmen year at A&M.  A majority went the way of hard core fundamentalism, but a few remained true to their moderate ways with a more liberal approach to Christianity, but they were loath to speak out against their brothers even though their brothers considered them to be little more than Catholic-lite.  The boy’s ranch was supported primarily by the more liberal branch, but they were hurting financially.  The following spring of the boy’s sophomore year, the church fellowship issued a statement they could no longer be financially responsible for the support and upkeep of the ranch after May of that year.  Buskin was greatly concerned, but Waco didn’t seem to be.  He told Buskin not to worry, there would be an answer.  The Grange wouldn’t allow the ranch to fold.   

Lazarus and Charlie stepped in to save the day, but not without some startling news to the administrators.  The Grange would agree to take over the financial responsibilities for the boy’s ranch, but the administrators and staff would be required to make a clean break with the Methodist Church and religion in general to become a secular institution.  Their bibles, all religious literature and symbols must be left behind.  Lazarus shared with them the future of the Earth and the Grange’s mission to save as many non-religious, secularly humanistic people as possible.  If they agreed then they could stay on and continue their good work.  The usual conversations and bad arguments arose about how could they teach the boys good morals without religion?  Lazarus and Charlie stressed teaching children to become good citizens and good people depended on the way they were raised, the examples others set for them, and the love and encouragement they received for doing the right thing.

Religion was filled with far too many examples of false morals imposed upon society for political purposes and to shore up years of division, hatred and misunderstanding.  Lazarus stressed they must teach the boys, it was their due and responsibility as humans to be good to others especially those less fortunate than themselves.  You don’t need religion to understand the basic concepts of right and wrong.
  If they needed to draw upon the best of any religion they might do so without the context of an all seeing, all powerful, schizophrenic god, or any of the many sons-of-god myths perpetrated on mankind since the Egyptian god Ra.  There would be no teaching of guilt or fear from the threat of eternal damnation.  Lazarus pointed out he would never allow such symbols of misguided political beliefs which devolved into destructive and hate filled practices such as Confederate flags, Klu Klux Klan apparel or swastikas, neither would he tolerate the symbol of the cross.  In short, the teaching of Christianity at the boy’s ranch must end.

Lazarus and Charlie were open with the administrators and several of the main staff and shared with them the wonders of the Grange.  The Grange board discussed it and agreed to allow them a glimpse into the inner workings of the Grange, the colonies and brief trips to Venus and Mars.  Several Grange members including the Steele family agreed to stay with the boys at the ranch while their house parents and administrators toured the Grange’s operations.  There were a couple of people Lazarus and Charlie knew would not accept nor understand what the Grange was trying to accomplish, but they didn’t fear them.  It was too late in the scheme of things for them to worry.  Who would believe them anyway?  Waco and Buskin acted like tour guides which seemed to make it easier on the staff.  The intelligent, more educated among them were deeply moved and impressed by the power and scope of the Grange’s work and after visits to Venus and Mars and watching several videos about the alien invasions, they were more interested in listening to compromise.

Everyone was stunned by what they witnessed.  These men were not just fly-by-night crackpots, they were dead serious and had the science and technology to back up their claims and ambitions.  Some could see beyond their beliefs and accepted the idea the bible just might not be the infallible tome they thought it was.  They came to see Lazarus and the Grange as potential saviors of the human race, but even with a promise of an extended life a few were so steeped in the ignorance of their faith in superstitions they could neither bring themselves to embrace the concept of the Grange nor the potential it had to offer.  They clung to their beliefs Jesus would return at the last minute and save everyone.
  They saw Lazarus as an antichrist and the Grange his followers.  Whoever heard of men having babies with monsters?  They would never except homosexuality, why would they accept such perversion?  To them, Lazarus put it plainly.  He would no longer tolerate, subsidize, nor placate such intolerant ignorance and should the majority of the staff choose to go with the Grange, those opposed must leave the employ of the ranch immediately.  They would find others to take their place, and they could perish along with the rest of the unbendingly rabid believers.

Lazarus insisted all influences of religion in the daily life of the boy’s ranch would come to an end immediately.  America was founded by those who escaped Europe because of religious persecution.  Now they were having to escape Earth for the same reason.  Wouldn’t it seem prudent to leave behind that which hadn’t work for thousands of years, and only created fear, mistrust, doubt, war, hatred, greed and political power for the few?  Beyond reasonable questions Lazarus would allow no debate on the subject.  They would either vote to accepted Lazarus and Charlie’s offer or the Grange would see to it the boys were rescued and protected.  They made it clear, while it might seem cold, their offer was one of courtesy to them out of the respect for their success in running the ranch to that point.  Surprisingly, the majority chose to join the Grange.
  There were only three couples of house parents who refused to accept or go along with the Grange.  They were dismissed and immediately began to speak out against the Grange.  They told the most outrageous stories, but no one believed them.  Over the years, Lazarus and Charlie helped a number of people in the community in high positions who quickly put an end to their stories.  No one in the community would hire them or rent them a place to live.  They had little money from savings and had to move away from the area.  They were forced to call upon the goodness and generosity of relatives who were already strapped to the max.    

* * * * * * *

Two full weeks after the mysterious explosion on the other side of the Moon, the evening of the Goodnight men’s big birthday party, which was always celebrated the second Sunday in June, there was to be a special address to the nation by the Holy Prophet.  Everyone was there.  Waco and Buskin invited the entire boy’s ranch and five year old Kevin was sitting in his hero’s lap.  The men were relaxing and having a great time.  They played a football game that afternoon to end all football games.  All the local coaches who were Grange members were there with their families.  They refereed the game and had a chance to coach some of the best talent in the country.  They would be losing JR Goodnight that year.  He was leaving in the fall to join his big brothers at A&M.  Waco and Buskin weren’t allowed to play together, but Buskin was Lucas Long’s dead eye receiver.  JR played receiver for his brother.  It was one hell of a game down to the last few minutes when Lucas bombed Buskin from the twenty yard line and won the game.  Buskin played against Lucas and Waco before, but he never realized how talented Lucas was.

“Damn, brother, I’d love to have you for a teammate at school.” Buskin complimented him.  Lucas grinned real big.

"I thought about it, but I couldn’t leave ma’ dad and little brothers.  Dad’s been under a lot of stress trying to get everything wrapped up here, and with all the other responsibilities he’s got, he don’t take care of himself unless I’m here to ride herd on him.  He depends on me, and I see it as my job to take good care of him so what needs to get done, gits done.  He offered me my freedom to let me go with my brother to A&M, but I declined.  I’ll be his slave for a while longer.  I ain’t quite ready to be a freeman yet.  At least not until we get relocated, and he don’t need me so much.”  They went into the big barn where Charlie had a huge flat screen TV installed and hung from the loft so everyone could gather and watch.  There was a big crowd.  No one wanted to drive home and miss the speech on the way.

“My fellow Americans,” Scudder launched into his speech.  He was sitting down, and his delicate condition was well hidden behind the desk in the oval office.  “I come before you this evening with an announcement of grave importance.  Perhaps your government should have been more open with you in the past.  From the early 1950's on, different administrations and powerful outside influences kept secrets from you about their knowledge and contacts with extraterrestrial life.”  You could’ve heard a pin drop in the hay of the barn.  Scudder went on to give the complete story of what the government knew and covered up for almost a hundred years.  He tried to give a number of rationalizations why other administrations chose to lie to the people and keep all these things secret unto themselves, but his reasons sounded flat.  The real reason was black-ops programs were fed like hungry monsters with ravenous apatites, and the big oil companies didn't want a cheap energy source made available to the public.  Scudder told everyone around the world of the alien presence and threat.  It wasn’t a long speech, but it was to the point.  It asked more questions than it answered.  Scudder left his audience with a feeling there was little anyone could do, and our world was pretty much a sitting duck.  The members of the Grange weren’t worried, but Scudder’s speech left them flabbergasted.  Everything was left open.  Scudder didn’t offer any plan for a fight or resistance.  Lazarus spoke and made some comments.

“He couldn’t really come right out and say what the government might have planned without tipping off the aliens.  He was smart not to appear overly optimistic.  He’s hoping people will take matters into their own hands and make resistance a living, breathing thing.  For many years the American people have only been concerned with their day to day creature comforts, and they have allowed their freedoms and rights to be taken away from them.  If they didn’t agree with the political party which lost an election they didn’t see a problem.  Hooray for our side, tough shit for them.  Now, Joe six pack and his brood of nuckle draging mouth breathing morons are being confronted with their very own real threat, but this one won’t be won in a voting booth by crooked politicians.  Neither will anyone be able to fix this vote for them.  The aliens don’t care whether it’s in good taste to belong to a particular political party, they only care about how good their members taste.” Lazarus smiled.

 * * * * * * *

Waco and Buskin wanted to continue their education, but to do so they had to have the teachers from which to learn.  They began to gather secular administrators, closet liberals, those against the insanity of religious persecution and formed the first University of Arts and Medicine on Mars.  They suspected Dr. Dyer only touted the party line against evolution in support of fundamentalism because he was a survivor.  They were right, and his introduction to several of the wonders the cowboys shared with him opened his eyes, followed closely by his heart and mind.  

“Hello, Grady, is your co-terminus around?” Waco typed and told his co-terminus to send to Grady Mayhew.

“Captain Waco, how good to hear from you again.  May we speak directly, Sir?” Grady asked.

“Sure.” Waco spoke and he was connected with a fine picture of Grady.  He looked different.  His moustache was neately trimmed and he had much shorter hair with no chops.  “How are you coming along, Grady?”

“Fine, Captain Waco, Ed is very good to me.  I did a quick search of the net and found some pics of his great granddad.  I patterned my terminus to look like a younger version of Grady Mayhew.  I don’t know if he realizes it or not, but he tells me I’m very similar to his great granddad.  He’s just getting out of the shower.  Shall I call to him for you?” Grady asked.

“No, he’ll be along directly.” Waco said.  From the bathroom Dyer heard a voice.

“Who you talking to, Grady?” Dyer called out.  Waco recognized his professor’s voice.

“Captain Waco, Sir.  He’d like to speak with you.”

“No, shit?  Tell him I’ll be right there, Son.” Dyer responded.  Waco laughed.

“He calls you ‘son’?” Waco grinned.  Grady actually blushed.

“Yes, Sir.  I like it when he calls me ‘son.’”

“No explanation necessary, Grady.  I understand completely.  I’ve been known to wet my Wrangler when some man I admire and respect refers to me as ‘son.’” he grinned.  “Then I take it you two have bonded.” Waco smiled.

“Yes, Sir.  He impresses me more each day and since he’s been able to learn the truth without fear from the free-net he’s allowed himself to grow considerably.  He’s a changed man, Captain Waco, but you always knew he lived in a closet— make that two closets, Sir.” Grady laughed at his own joke.  Waco joined him.

“He wasn’t able to hide in that closet from me and my brother, Grady.”

“I assured him you know, but he swears you’re not ‘wise’ to him.”

“Let’s let him keep believing it.  What say, young man?” Waco smiled.

“I owe you that, Captain Waco.” he grinned.  Dr. Edwin Dyer’s face came on Waco’s laptop.

“Are you ready to return your operating system to me, Professor?” Waco challenged.

“Are you kidding?  Over my dead body.  You’d have a big fight on your hands.  I think I’d actually consider killing to keep Grady with me.  I wouldn’t wanna’ live without Grady.  He makes my life so much easier.  He has become very real to me.  Okay, okay, your teacher humbly concedes I was wrong.  Now,  I undersand how one might come to develop affection for an evolved intelligence, as you call it.” Dyer grinned real big, then continued,  “I’ve never felt so passionate about anything in my life, Cadet Corporal Goodnight.  I can’t remember when I last touched that piece of garbage with the Gates’ system.  I tried Linux for a while, and it was a little better, but the university has an exclusive contract with the Gates monopoly.  I can’t thank you enough for my new buddy, but I’m not alone.  The others are thrilled with theirs.  We six got together last night for some ‘za’ and ‘ski.’*  We introduced each other to our co-terminus’ and they each have a different personality.  I have to say, I like Grady best.  He reminds me so damn much of my great granddad.  It’s so good to hear from you, Mr. Goodnight.  How are you?  Did you hear our ‘glorious leaders’ speech?” Dyer smiled and knew Waco would pick up on his cognomen for the president.

“Cadet Corporal Namid and I are doing fine.  We did catch the speech you asked about on the night of me and my brothers’ birthday party.  We all have birthday’s within two weeks of each other and always celebrate them on the second Sunday of June.  We gathered in the barn and watched our dear glorious leader.  I felt sorry for him.”

“I didn’t.” said Dyer and smiled.  Waco didn’t pursue his statement.

“He walks his path alone, Dr. Dyer.  He’s had some help, but he invested all his interests in the wrong sector.  In layman’s language, he bet on the wrong horse.  He’s a lonely man, but he will be remembered.”


“His son’s will survive.”

“Wait a minute.  He isn’t married.  He never was married.  I’ve often suspected he... well, you know.... because of that awful Austin Taycious he made his right hand man.  Boy, did he ever get the right name.” Dyer chuckled.  “What can I do for you, young man?” Dyer asked.

“Accept a humble invitation from me and my brothers to spend the fourth of July weekend at our ranch.  If you have a significant other of either flavor you’re more than welcome to bring them along.  I can promise you and them a weekend you’ll never forget.”

“Are you really that liberal, Cadet Corporal Goodnight?” Professor Dyer was trying to feel him out.

“I don’t know how liberal I am, but I’m pretty sure my roommate’s homo, Sir.” Waco smiled.

“Jesus!” Dyer exclaimed, “Why would you say a thing like that about Corporal Buskin?”  

“Because, ever’ time I kiss him, he giggles.” Waco laughed.  Dyer knew he’d been had, and he heard Grady giggle.

“Hesh up, Grady!” Waco said.  It only caused Grady to laugh more.

“That was funny, Captain Waco.” Grady responded.

“Why does my co-terminus call you ‘Captain?’”

“Cause, I’m captain of the football team, and I’m captain of my own ship.”

“You have a boat?”

“Sort of... it’s difficult to explain.... it’s more a figure of speech.” Waco smiled. “Now back to my question.  You and the five other professors their families or significant others are invited for the long weekend.  We’re planning a big blowout celebration and there will be a rodeo, more good food than you can imagine and more surprises for you.  I’ll even let you taste lummox milk.” Waco smiled.

“Can I forego the milk?” he asked.

“No, you need to open certain neural pathways in your brain what have been closed to you, keeping you from writing a masterpiece of modern physics.  It will break those pathways free for you.”

“I’ll contact the others.  When do I have to let you know?  How will we get there?” he asked.  

“I’d appreciate you asking the others on our behalf.  Grady is recording this.  Play it back for them.  I will tell them and you, my dad and family want to celebrate and shake the hands of such fine, intelligent, dedicated teachers their boys have raved about for two years.  When you’re ready, gather at your place and me and my brother will pick you up and taxi you to the ranch.” Waco explained.

Dr. Dyer didn’t fully understand but told Waco he would love to visit his ranch, and he knew the others would, too.  Only one man had a family; a wife, a little girl and boy.  One of the women was married to another professor who taught at UT, but he was home for the summer.  Everything was arranged and the six
with their families gathered at Dr. Edwin Dyer’s house.  At the exact time he said they would arrive, Waco and Buskin knocked on Dr. Dyer’s front door.  

“I didn’t think you men would come in person.” Dr. Dyer said looking at the two immaculately dressed cowboys in their Texas Aggie buckaroo boots and huge hats.
“We came to escort you folks to the ranch.” They walked in and said ‘hello’ to everyone and met the people they didn’t know.  Buskin was holding the little boy and Waco was holding his sister.  “Is everyone ready for a great Western weekend holiday?”

“Yeah!” they all responded rather boisterously.

“Did you lock the front door, brother?” Waco asked him.

“I did.” Buskin replied.  Dr. Dyer looked puzzled.

“Close your eyes, sweetheart.” Waco told the little girl.  Buskin told the boy the same. “Ms. Myra, we’re ready to come aboard.” There was a bright flash of light.  No one had time to yell or say a word, and they were on the bridge of the Buttercup.  Waco spoke to the little girl.  

“You can open you eyes now, Molly.”

“You can open your eyes, Teddy.” Buskin told the boy.

“Holy crap!” Dr. Dyer exclaimed.  "This is a space ship."

“Welcome aboard the Buttercup, ladies and gentlemen.  My name is Ms. Myra.  I’m Captain Waco’s on-board artificially evolved intelligence.  I fly this school bus.” Ms. Myra spoke.

“I knew you men were more than you let on.” Dr. Dyer said.  The others were dumbstruck.

“No we ain’t, Sir.  We’s jes' down-home West Texas cowboys.  We just happen to have a ranch foreman what’s a very old and wise Earthman who is dedicated to seeing the human race survive.  Now you know why I’m called Captain Waco.  The Buttercup is my ship.  I would offer you ladies and gentlemen refreshments, but we won’t have time.  We’ll be docking with our mother ship near our ranch in a few minutes, but first I need to assign you good folks rooms.  You’ll be staying in a wonderful hotel here on my ship run by Mr. Jack Hall, his bonded partner Buck Hall, their head critter wrangler Warren Steele and his mate Horse.”  Waco took them through a gate, and they saw before them a beautiful meadow filled with flowers with enormous redwood trees in the distance.  The beauty took their breath away.

“How could you have this on board a spaceship?” asked Dr. Dyer.

“Tesseracts and subatomic diminution, Doctor.  When you walked though the gate you entered a world one one-hundredth your previous size.”

Up though the tall flowers came bounding two beautiful black and white sheep dogs and two Collies, a male and female.  Following them were several huge horses.

“Look, it’s Reveille and a male Collie.” one of the women said.  "No wonder she likes it here.  She's got a boyfriend.  He's a handsome dog." she allowed.

The sheep dogs were laughing and yelling.  “Captain Waco!  Buskin!  You’re here.  You brought guest.  How wonderful!  Oh look, Laverne, a little boy and girl!” cried Patty to her sister.  The kids were enthralled by the talking dogs.  So were their parents.

Down though the meadow strolled three cowboys followed by a huge furry monster who seemed to just glide along behind them.  In his arms he carried his small son.  Jack and Buck were very gracious and welcomed everyone to the Two Meadows Inn.  Warren Steele introduced his mate Horse and their bairn Colt to them.  Horse didn’t offer his hand but nodded his welcome.  They checked them in and their hosts made sure they would be comfortable.  The Two Meadows Inn was a fine resort.

“You ain’t seen nothing yet.” said Patty and everyone laughed.

The six professors and their guests had the most wonderful time of their lives.  They loved the rodeo, barbecue and all the fireworks but their trip to Mars the next day was outstanding.  Waco told them he had the funding available to start a university on Mars and ask if they would they be interested?  Not one turned him down.

* * * * * * *

Prices for everything inflated over the years.  The senior Aggie boots that were so dear to the Corps of Cadets rose from a thousand dollars a pair to two thousand by the time Waco and Buskin enrolled as freshmen at A&M.  It seemed a great price to pay for an item one would only wear for one year.  Of course, the Corps of Cadets attended class in uniform wearing their boots.  They wore them everywhere they went off campus when they went in uniform.  After graduation they were either resold to the next class of seniors or put into the back of a closet to remain there, never to be worn again, until the owner grew too old to appreciate them or passed them on to a relative.  It was a huge investment for every student, but it was tradition.  It was a tradition that made a statement: I am a senior, I have arrived.  The men got to wear them from the ‘Final Review’ of their junior year until the final review of their senior year.

Waco was never one to spend his dad or Lazarus’s money foolishly, especially if there was an alternative means to get something by a cheaper means.  Lazarus made sure Buskin had the money to spend by adding an extra two thousand to his yearly stipend he alloted him for working on the ranch and for the Grange each summer, but Buskin was of the same mind as his big brother.  At the end of their sophomore year one of their upper class teammates loaned Waco his pair for the weekend.  Waco carried them home with him to his buddy, Captain Montana.  He returned them to his teammate the following Monday and thanked him kindly.  The next time Buskin and Waco went home to the ranch, Monty had two handsome pair of boots ready.  A pair for Waco and a pair for Buskin.  They were even better looking than the typical pair the other upperclassmen wore.  They were heavier looking and stood out as being superior materials and workmanship.  They were ready for the final review their junior year.  The end of their junior year they could now wear their new boots and wore them home on the train.  It was one of the few times the boys took the train home.  It was so everyone could see and admire them in their senior boots.  Waco and Buskin traveled so many times on the train all the employees knew and loved them.  They were thrilled to have them on-board and would talk football and ranching with the boy for hours.  The time would fly by.

Charlie was right.  When Trey Vinceeth got his first look at his bonded mate in his full cadet uniform with his tall boots, he almost went nuts.  Charlie didn’t stand a chance, but he didn’t have to fret.  He had his own Corp Cadet who was just as stunning in his uniform and boots.  Waco and Buskin wore their dress uniforms and boots everywhere they could that year.  When they traveled to the Boy’s Ranch their little brothers would go crazy trying to get pictures with them and their heroes in their handsome uniforms.  It opened many doors for Buskin and Waco and made them well known throughout the Southwest.  

* * * * * * *

Waco and Buskin made it through their graduation.  It was a great day and more than half the Grange made the trip to see Waco and Buskin graduate number one and two in their class.  Not only were they two of the most outstanding athletes, they had almost perfect grade scores.  The entire audience rose and gave them standing ovations in admiration.  Waco gave the valedictorian speech and Buskin gave the salutatorian speech.  For all the joy and celebration of the day, Waco and Buskin’s graduation was like a dark omen.  As the ceremonies ended and a final obligatory prayer said, the sky began to darken as hundreds of ominous spacecraft leisurely floated silently overhead blocking the warm spring sun.  It was as if the aliens were making a bold statement of their return.  Charlie compared it to cowboys riding down into a herd of cattle to round them up after a long period of leaving them to their own undisturbed lives.  To everyone’s horror, several young children were lifted off the ground and began to sail upward toward the ships where they disappeared.  The aliens didn’t seem to care anymore about anonymity.

Many got pictures of the children sailing through the sky, and they were published on the free-net.  The mainstream medium didn’t bother to investigate.  Even though the Holy Prophet told the people about the threat, they were so used to towing the party line, if they didn’t have approval to report something, it was completely ignored or passed over as so much UFO hype and hooey.  Word spread quickly, and even the most hard core of right wing fundamentalist began to log onto the free-net to find out what was really going on.  Such fly-overs and mass abductions became common place.  If the aliens suffered any resistance they would wipe out a community.  And so the beginning of the end began.  Nations were beginning to accuse each other of cooperating with the aliens and tensions were running high.  The very day of Waco and Buskin’s graduation Lazarus called a meeting of the Grange and announced the time of departure was drawing nigh.  He told them the time had come for a great gathering together of the people.

He sent out the same order to the other ships stationed around the world that the ‘yellow’ light was lit and to make ready for departure.  He would approve immediate evacuation of properties and the transfer of personnel to established colonies on all ships.  He also made an announcement he dreaded to make.  Lazarus made a strong but bold statement about those who brought the last vestiges of religion with them must understand they are welcome to believe and practice their faith, but they are not to proselytize nor preach the word.  They may meet in small groups, but there would be no preachers or anyone among them to define their beliefs for them.  Religion would become a very personal thing.  The word ‘gospel’ would no longer be considered a valid word for anything.  Nothing was gospel.  Gospel gave the connotation of truth and unjustifiable credence to beliefs accepted on faith alone.  It would be redefined as that which is false and misleading, based on myth and hearsay.  

He planned to have all religion either suppressed, thrown aside or eradicated in one generation.  He added, his decision wasn’t as bad as it might seem at first, because with the advent of the long-shot, one generation may live two thousand years or longer.  For his critics who might consider his decree harsh, he suggested it was no more harsh than the reality of what religion did to destroy their world.  He asked the question: Which is more harsh, doing away with mythology and superstition or destroying each other and rationalizing it in the name of false gods in fanatically adhered to anti-humanistic religious and political policies?  He issued an ultimatum.  Those who could not abide by his rules must leave.  He had no takers.  No one strenuously objected.  After all, they weren’t told they had to give up their security blankets.  Besides, the colonies existed quite well and flourished under a considerably less sectarian more humanistic atmosphere.

Many felt Lazarus’ comments might be an overreaction to the unremitting stupidity of fundamentalism and its imposition on any man of reason.  Those who might have harbored hopes for a religious resurgence became more discouraged as time progressed, but eventually, even they gave up their personal crusades as they witnessed a more happy and cooperative society emerge.
  The Christianist ranchers begin to see the Grange ranches disappearing one by one and begin to panic.  For years the Grange was left alone by the grays and snakes, but now massive acreage, buildings, expensive ranch homes, compounds and facilities, slave quarters, barns and equipment, critters and slaves were gone overnight, including the families.  At first, the non-Grange fundies enjoyed a certain schadenfreude.

“Serves ‘em right!  Them bastards got what was coming to ‘em for not sharing with us.”

“They deserved what they got!  What goes around, comes around!”

“Our god has come to our aid and smote our enemy.  Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord!  Good riddance.” they allowed.

Their self-righteous congratulatory smugness didn’t last long when the grays and snakes began to come after them in force.  They no longer had the Grange ranchers to act as buffers for them.  They begin to see the loss of another large, wealthy Grange ranch as a greater threat to them, and they became sore afraid.  It got really bad when entire small towns begin to disappear.  With the Internet in almost everyone’s home along with commercial and public cable television, they watched it happening all over the world.  Small towns in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa, South America, Mexico and more were disappearing at an alarming rate.  There was no doubt something large was happening but no one would tell them the meanings.  Other than speculation on the free-net, they had no way of knowing what was happening or who was responsible since no one was successful in videoing the capture of a town or large property.

There was much talk in non-Grange circles the grays and snakes stopped random abductions and were taking anything they could.  The general consensus was the aliens were harvesting everything, kept only what they wanted and discarded the rest.  It was compared to drag net trawling techniques in the fishing industry.  The huge, heavy nets dredge everything from the floor of the ocean.  The fishermen took what they could sell and threw back or destroyed the rest.  Junk fish were sometimes killed, ground up and processed for fertilizer.  The same was true of strip deforestation.  What couldn’t be used was ground up for pulp.  Of course, their idea and analogy was completely wrong, but they had no one to confirm or deny their suspicions.  Lazarus and his crew began to systematically take the Steele boy’s ranches.  As they disappear so did the folks who worked and lived on them.  Abigail Yates learned of her family disappearing one ranch at a time.  She wondered if it was the ‘rapture’ described in the bible.  Her husband, David Yates, assured her it wasn’t.  Why would God take the godless heathens, as he considered her relatives, before him and his wife?  Besides, he insisted,

“H’it don’t say nothing about taking no ranches.”  He was sure there was demonic forces involved.  When the boy’s ranch disappeared with no sign or trace of the people, there was a great pall came over the community, and they gathered in their churches to pray for the lost souls— who, in reality, were doing quite well in their new location on Captain Tex Olefson’s ship.  The last ranch to be lifted and taken aboard the Bandersnatch was Charlie and Waco’s family ranch.  The Potter/Goodnight holdings and Angus Goodnight's ranch were taken a couple of weeks before and they were settling in comfortably.  The previous evening two of the largest of the remaining ranches, the Gibbons’ ranch and Sonny Steele’s ranch were lifted aboard another one of the scout ships.  Abigail and David Yates drove out to her parent’s ranch and there was nothing there but a huge crater.  Abigail panicked and insisted David drive her to Charlie Goodnight’s ranch.  Just as they were coming up over the rise to approach the entry to the main gate to the ranch a dark ominous cloud completely covered the ranch.  There was lightening and what looked like smoke coming from the cloud.  It was unlike anything they ever saw.  Yates pulled over to the side of the road, and they watched as the Goodnight ranch seemed to shrink and grow smaller.  They couldn’t believe what they were seeing.   There was nothing left but a huge, gaping hole.  They watched as it grew even smaller and finally was lifted into the dark cloud and disappeared completely.  They watched as the cloud dispersed and finally blew away revealing nothing but the stars.  They sat for a long while until Abigail started crying.  David didn’t know what to say.  There were no words to describe or console his wife.  Their world seemed to be taken away one chunk at a time.

“We missed the rapture.”  Abigail wailed.  “My mother told me I had to give up my fundamentalist beliefs and become more of a secular humanist.  She was right, but I didn’t listen to her.  I thought she was wrong, and we were right.  They even took my heathen cowboy brothers before me.” she wailed.   

“Now, dear, there must be some other explanation.” Yates offered a half-ass Christianist apology.

“No, it’s all your fault!  I forgave you your trespasses, but obviously God hasn’t.  Now, I’m to be condemned and left behind to suffer because of you.  Well, I hope you’ve picked out something really festive to wear when we stand in judgment together.” she lashed out at her husband.  Yates turned the ignition, put the car in gear, turned around and headed back to town.  It was a quiet ride back to the parsonage.  As they turned into their driveway there were huge flashes of light in the sky off in the distance toward El Paso and several North of them.  They lit up the whole sky.  There would be no further tribulation for them, Armageddon had begun.  There was much more to worry about than the rapture.  They were facing their own mortality in the face of exploding thermo-nuclear bombs.

The call went out from the Bandersnatch to begin the Exodus.  Along with thousands of other ships of the same size and capacity around the world, the Mighty Bee, the Bandersnatch, slowly rose thundering from her sleep, from where she was moored within the blue granite mountains of the Greater Permian Basin for a little over a dozen years and silently rose as a thing of great beauty into the smoke filled sky.  All the large video screens in the colonies on all the ships were tuned into the only channel being broadcast so they might watch the last somber and tragic death throes of the late, great planet Earth.  There were no dry eyes.  Everyone was weeping for the loss of their home world and the anxiety of the unknown.  Some were weeping from relief because it was really happening.  They were being caught up in the sky to be taken from the final tribulation.  It wasn’t quite what many expected of a final rapture, but it was close enough.  There was no doubt in anyone’s mind the insanity of religious fundamentalism brought the world to the Armageddon the fundamentalist so much wanted and for which they fervently prayed.  The only problem was, it wasn’t in the middle East, it was in their own backyards.

Montana, his young son and his faithful crew were riding shotgun to the Mighty Bee in case, by some slim chance, she should be detected by the grays or snakes.  There was little chance of that happening, but Lazarus felt more comfortable if he had a flotilla of smaller, more maneuverable ships to cover their ass.  There were several hundred thousand souls on the various ships within the Bandersnatch.  Monty was carrying a large portion of land, critters and personal family he accumulated in the six years of living with the Goodnights.  He was emancipated the year before, but there was little change in his life.  He realized he’d only been a slave in name only and because he lived his life as close to family as possible, he was absorbed into the greater Goodnight brotherhood.  His ship carried the Goodnight/Potter ranches and all the critters.  Angus asked him to carry his property, and he gladly obliged his big cowboy buddy.  He also carried all the Ong’s properties and the large Ong family on his other ship, the Lotus.  Along with the Goodnight ranches on the Gopher Bay he carried the properties, the house and buildings his granddad left him.

* * * * * * *

Tina Taycious stood on the observation deck in a smart skirt and matching top wearing a pair of sensible low quarter pumps.  She was radiant in her new body and finally felt quite at home and at peace within herself.  Next to her stood her boyfriend, a big six foot eight cowboy with the dick of death.  He was dumber than dirt, but he was a hard worker, had a good heart, and was a good provider.  He was also a fucking bull in bed and he just loved himself some Tina cunt.  They were talking marriage and a big family.  Tina got a small kerchief from her matching handbag and dabbed at her eyes as she watched the explosions down below on the planet and knew the destruction wouldn’t cease until the last man at the last button did his thing for God and country.  She said her ‘goodbyes’ to Jerry Scudder a month or more before.  After he gave birth to the twins, Norman and Austin, he sent them and their Auntie Tina Taycious away.  He knew he was about to lose most of his Temple Guards and held a big party to wish them well.  Jesse and Utah dropped by for a few minutes to say ‘goodbye’ and Jesse returned him to his original male state.  He was grateful he would die as a whole man.

Lazarus ordered all motherships to orbit the planet for one last look before they headed to Mars.  He didn’t want anyone to forget what they saw and made sure many videos were made of the holocaust.  It was a distressing time for everyone.  It seemed like no one trusted anyone anymore and the whole planet went mad to self-destruct rather than to be a continuing food source for the aliens.  All hope was lost and there was no future.  Scudder and his staff headed for the underground cities, but did a dastardly thing immediately after arriving.  The rich and famous and many from Arab countries who bought their way into a safe haven if worse came to worse, were ready to occupy their place in the cities.  Scudder thought about the confusion and the conflict between Muslims and Christians and locked them out.  He also locked out the corporate elite and the most monied of the world.  Bill Gates was almost a hundred but was refused entry.  He died among the common folks whom he bilked billions from for a third rate product.  Finally, the Admiral called a halt to the observations and gave a “forward ho the wagons” to head for Mars.  All the smaller craft docked with the Bandersnatch and settled in for the trip to their new, temporary world.

Everyone was exhausted and tried as best they could to relax and enjoy the anticlimactic trip to Mars.  Waco excused himself and took his small family to his quarters on the Buttercup.  The Two Meadows Inn was packed with people, but they had a full time staff seeing to their needs.  Waco managed to get himself a couple of bio-droids added to his staff who were wonderfully accommodating and saw to his, Trey’s and Ox’s needs.  The trip went smoothly, but they would have a forty-eight hour flight.  It seemed right somehow to crawl into bed with the two most important people in his life and celebrate their continued existence with a little love making.  Waco didn’t worry about his dad.  He knew he was being well taken care of by his brother Buskin and Droon.  Charlie invited the big lummox to share his bed with Buskin from time to time.  He wanted Buskin to give him a grandson.  Droon was more than willing.

Trey took charge and began his ritualistic cleansing and preparation for his bonded mate and his slave.  It was relaxing and just felt so right, but this night Trey Vinceeth had something more in mind.  He could share his mind with his lummox brother, and they conspired to begin a family.  Garron held his young master as his bonded warrior mate fucked him to climax.  Then Trey held Waco in his huge arms and made love to him while his bonded lummox husband fucked him for the first time.  Waco was no dummy.  He knew what they were doing as Ox reached a powerful climax and released a proto-embryo into the fluid with which he filled Waco’s lower colon.  It swam to a comfortable location, attached itself and began to gather unto itself Captain Vinceeth’s sperm.  When Ox pulled out, they both checked Waco’s sphincter and sure enough, it was a bright cherry red color.  Waco Lariat Goodnight was pregnant with his Visallian warrior’s son.  They would sing songs together of welcome for the child and tell the boy he was conceived on the way from death and destruction to a new hope on a new world.  While all is crumbling around you and the universe seems against you, somewhere there is hope.  Somewhere, there is always time enough for love.
The End ~ End of Story!

End of Chapter 75 ~ Waco’s Lummox

Copyright 2008 ~ Waddie Goodnight
All Rights Reserved ~
Mail to: waddiebear@yahoo.com
Waddie Greywof's Web Site:  http://www.asstr.org/~Waddie_Greywolf
Proofed: 02/12/10

*The wise old owl aria, from the opera “Peter Grimes.” Music by Benjamin Britten: Libretto by Montagu Slater

* za and ski ~ pizza and brewski

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