Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: Denied Chapter 55

Prompted by the phrase: Time is a luxury we don't have

“Oh.” I let out my breath on a long exhale.

That I could see.

Every single particle of my being was energy and, as I moved, the energy ebbed and flowed all around me to mix with Captain’s energy. He was cool blue and green, pale gold and a thin ribbon of shiny black that blended with the purple, orange, and shining white of my aura. That shiny black linked us, and I realized it was the synthgar’s venom as it throbbed with our matched heartbeats.

Captain shuddered in my arms and his body thrust into mine. The combined sensory input of the feeling of his hard shaft inside me so warm and firm, and his arms wrapped around me, his breath bathing my face so that all I could scent was him, and the sight of our very selves mingled on an intimate level down to our very souls… I lost control. “Kohen.” He stilled, touching my face. “You’re mine.”  

My throat burned, and I couldn’t answer when I opened my mouth. I flipped us, kneeling with my legs spread on either side of him, taking over the rhythm and claiming him with my body instead. Captain’s hands blazed on my hips and ass, spreading my cheeks, pulling me up and down on top of him while he stared intently at me. I lost all sense, and his words as he babbled were no better than gibberish, yet I knew he needed me to move faster, harder.

I needed it too.

“Everett….” I put my hands on the wall behind the head of the bed and used the leverage to push down harder and faster. Sweat dripped down my face, and my chest burned as I gasped for air. But I couldn’t stop. We were so close. “Need you.”

“Uh-huh.” He took ahold of my shaft, skimming his palm up and down with my movement, then planted his feet on the bunk and pushed up as I came down, slamming our bodies together. The collision was like a supernova.

The resulting explosion obliterated all my senses. The sight of our auras blending, the scent of his body and my come, the sound of his shouts twinned with mine… it was all a backdrop to the absolute pleasure wringing every drop from my balls as my body turned itself inside out.

When I came to, I was slumped on Captain’s chest, our breaths still synced as we struggled to do more than pant frantically. My vision slowly cleared as I blinked, but that sense of connection to Captain was even stronger.

I lifted my head. “My…” I coughed, my throat hoarse. “Uh. I can’t talk. God. Will it always be like that?” I asked.

“No, I don’t think so.” He trailed his fingers up my sweaty back. “But we could try.” He grinned when I rolled my eyes. “For science.”

“Right. Science.” The synthgar was curled back around his ear. I hadn’t felt the sting, but I’d felt the way the venom had expanded my perceptions. The surge of adrenaline and release of chemicals as I came had done things I’d never felt before, and I’d taken drugs and had a lot of drugs used on me.

“We should clean up just in case.” I groaned as I pulled away. We were a sticky, salty, sweaty, mess. My legs quivered as I backed off the bunk. “Wow.” I was more tired than I thought.

“Sonic cleaner is over there.” Cptain pushed a button and a port came out from the wall exposing the head. “Only one at a time.”

I hurried through the wash, detesting the way the waves cleaned my body; I never actually felt clean. Captain was sitting up on the bunk watching me as I bent, swayed, and straightened. “Your turn.”

We traded places, and he brushed my body. “What about the synthgar?” I asked.

“He’ll be fine.” Captain reached up and tenderly stroked the tiny creature. “He’s now linked to us, and anything we can handle, he can too.

Captain was finished with his sonic rinse and heading back to our bunk when mandatory quarters alarms and warnings sounded through the vid system and audio.

“Copy, Captain?” The vid screen alarm cut out in our quarters.

“Go ahead.” Captain shoved his legs into his uniform.

“We’re encountering a debris field where there should nothing. We’re not sure… what if it’s Freska’s ship?”

“Unlikely,” said Captain. “This is just another safety protocol.” He reached up and tapped on the handheld vid I clutched. “There. Use this.” It was the second part of the message we’d received. It appeared to be a nonsense section, like the words had been scrambled or missing, but when they were overlaid on the map, the curves and dots of the letters overlaid the debris and the straight lines indicated safe paths.  

“Wow. She’s amazing.” I couldn’t believe she found a way to lay a debris field so elaborately some would think it was a natural phenomenon. A planet lay beyond the field. “Is that where we’re meeting her?” I asked.

“That’s it.”

“Why don’t we go around?” I asked. “Why risk going inside the debris field?”

“Time is a luxury we don’t have. And there’s other dangers that make this the safest path, as long as you have the key.” Captain keyed the map file to the navigators. Captain finished fastening his uniform. He took a deep breath. “Time to put Elliard and Frijul together and see what shakes out of the bastards when the other is used against them.”

“You’re going to let Deke do that, right?” I still didn’t want him questioning his own cousin.
“We’ll see. I also need to find out what caused Freska’s delay. I don’t like whatever sent her to our secondary meeting location. Frujil couldn’t have found out she was coming, so someone else was on her trail.”  

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: Denied Chapter 54

The Captain’s quarters also became his war room. I had nowhere to retreat to be alone, and the stress of it was wearing on me. I went from being alone and desperately wishing for the touch, sound, and scent of other beings to freedom that was bearable only because of my small quarters, to the bliss of sharing a room with Captain for a short time.

Now, as I tried to find some small way to handle the crowd by curling into the corner of the room so two walls surrounded me and my back was safely covered, Captain, Deke, Aparoe—who still clutched a cloth to their eyes at times but had a fierce expression on their face—and the others of his bridge crew met in our room to discuss all the revelations.

“I’m sorry, Kohen,” Captain said. “We’d have more room, but I had my office outfitted as a brig.”

“They’re alive?” Aparoe’s mouth dropped open. “After they betrayed us all like that?”

“No.” Deke shook his head. “My teams and I took out the cells and agents on the ship before the shuttles were released down to Mackinack. My cousin”—his nose wrinkled in disgust, and I thought he would spit on the floor—“is our current guest. He knows far more than those underlings, and he’s a far better bargaining chip, should we need him.”

“Did SaARALA get a message off?” Captain asked. “Warn anyone of our meeting rendezvous with Freska?”

A small alien with purple stripes and several eye stalks burbled, waving stubby hands. “No, the comms have not fired off any interstellar transmissions.”

Captain narrowed his eyes. “What about in-system messages?”

I drew in a breath. What if they knew we were coming? If they were already there, nets with EM fields just waiting to burn out our engines and trap us before we could jump to the meeting coordinates.

“Nothing we could see.”

Relief swamped me, and I sagged. The wall caught and held me, and I leaned my head back. A small caress behind my ear startled me. I jerked his head up, glancing around wildly. Nothing. No one had touched me; they were all still seated and discussing the raid.

It was the synthgar. Captain had transferred it to me once we’d reached our new quarters. The tiny creature had a firm grip but was so light I barely felt him once he’d locked into place behind my ear. It was like wearing a locator, but this one occasionally moved. And it was warm, like a smooth, flexible ring that warmed me mentally as well as physically.

I lost the thread of the conversation as I focused on that tiny ember of heat. Was it what was between me and Captain? The link between us brought me a sense of comfort and security. I’d never remembered feeling before meeting him. He brought me warmth I basked in

“Kohen?” Captain stood over me. Our tiny quarters were empty for the first time since we’d gotten on the shuttle.

“I’m sorry. What did I miss?” Did I need to go to work somewhere? Do something?

“A bunch of planning for torturing more information out Elliard. Bastard’s holding out. I’m going to take down this conspiracy that’s furthering the Brox Consortium’s goals to subjugate species by any means possible in order to grab power. Central Command is made up by representatives from each planet, but they all retain autonomous control within galactic regulations. Brox would replace all that with a single rule, a single voice that drowns out all others. And that voice is corrupt. I plan to silence it for good for once.” Captain crouched.

“But even taking down a vast conspiracy can’t be all work.” Captain crouched. “Enjoying our new friend?”

“He’s so warm.” The synthgar had moved from my ear to my neck, and I sat with one hand cupped over him.

“I thought you’d like that.” Captain smiled. “Warmth. Heat.”

“It’s what I felt when we first met. The heat from your arm. It hurt to touch you, but you were so warm, so soft.”

Captain frowned. “I hate hurting you, but pain… it’s part of bonding. Both for this,” he cupped my hand hovering over the synthgar, “and being bonded. It’s a risk, because if we separate too long we could be harmed.”

“So you can’t get rid of me? Drop me off with those other rescued beings somewhere safe?”

“I stopped trying that a while back. You won’t be left behind.” Captain’s fingers caressed mine. “I don’t think I could handle it anyway. Not being close to you is torture.” His voice dropped to a husky whisper. “We have a few hours before we’re needed. Are you ready?”

Was I? I locked gazes with Captain, seeing all he felt and how it matched his words in his open eyes. “Yes,” I whispered, my breath instantly gone as my skin tightened. A miniscule quiver took up residence in my spine, turning it to jelly. “I need help up.”

Pulling me to my feet, Captain made a face at the small bunk. “Not the bed I’ve chosen to bond in.”

“We’ll be close. Close is good.” I wasted no time stripping. “Naked and close is better.” My shaft was firm and throbbing, pearls of fluid beading at the tip.

Captain licked his lips, and I groaned. “Naked. You. Now.” His uniform went flying, and Captain yanked down the covers on the bunk. He slid onto the mattress leaving barely enough room for me. Good thing all I wanted to do was blanket his body.

Somehow, somewhere, he found slick and brought it to my entrance. I gasped, arched, and whined. He breeched me, and I was so focused on that I never felt the warmth at my throat turn into a burning strike. Not until the synthgar climbed onto Captain’s neck and pierced his neck with that wickedly sharp tail, pumping in his unique poison.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: Denied Chapter 53

Captain went rigid, and I stepped in close to support him but didn’t touch him. His breaths came sharp and his jaw was clenched. “Quarters. Now.” He marched through the ship and we followed in his wake, drawn along silently.
Deke’s hand stayed next to his belt and his weapons. The traitors, whoever they were, must really have him on edge.
“Are we secure?” Captain asked in the lift.
“No. Not even close.” Deke was grim. “I couldn’t arrest those named without alerting some who were unnamed.”
I frowned. “If they’re unnamed, how do you know who they are and that they’d find out?”
“If you are part of a conspiracy, wouldn’t you know your conspirators? Especially once some of them have been caught for questioning?” Deke growled. “I think a few got off the ship.”
“Onto Mackinack?” Captain smirked. “Won’t do them any good without an in with those who guard the portals.”
“But they might find passage off the planet and reveal our location.” Deke locked Captain’s door behind us as we entered his quarters.
“Won’t do them any good. We’re not gonna be on this ship much longer. I sold it. We’ll transfer over to Freska’s ship, and I authorized her to do a few makeovers. Just in case and all that.” Captain went over and created a few drinks. “Thirsty?” He offered one to me and then asked Deke what he’d like.
He refused, settling on the chair in the sitting quarters. Captain paced from side to side. “Report. Don’t draw this out.”
“It’s not your fault there are traitors on the crew.”
“They’re my crew. Of course it’s on me—I’m the captain.”
“No, they’re not. You didn’t put them on this ship.”
Captain sagged, turning to lean against the wall. “So they’re not original crew members?”
Deke shook his head. “Not from the beginning, no. But they’ve been here a while. And it’s more than I’m comfortable with. Little cells. We broke their code, so we know them all, but they don’t all know each other. Not even Lakshou knew who else on the ship was dirty.”
“Really?” I scrunched my eyebrows down. “Don’t you think he would’ve sensed it?”
“He had a narrower focus than that, remember? And there’s a lot of emotion on this ship, especially after we do a rescue mission.” He spat out the words, his disgust clear.
“Oh, right.” It felt like forever ago, but it hadn’t been that long when Captain and Deke had opened my cell.
“Names, Deke. Who is it?”
“Basma Kada, Aparoe’s assistant is the one who did the poisoning back when we stopped to resupply. Vlassil, Kressisida, Berilyn, and Taxxii from Environmentals, which means we’re vulnerable to manipulation there. Worse, SaARALA MaDAreda  from communications.”
“That’s it?” I asked when Deke stopped talking.
“Isn’t that enough? A medic with access to medicine that can also be poison, four people who can get into our food, water, even our fucking air, plus one of the few people not only rated to handle our communications but repair them which means they can also destroy them?”
“When you put it like that….” That was six people too many. “What did you do to them?”
“Do? Nothing. I have security watching them. Captain has to make that call.”
Captain pinched the bridge of his nose and squeezed his eyes shut. I stood, going over to him. “It’s going to be okay.”
“No, it’s not. I’m just fucking done. When did our side, the side that’s supposed to be the good guys, become as bad as the fucking bad guys?”
Deke snorted. “When did you become so na├»ve that you thought there was a good guys and bad guys side? Politicians are bad guys doing the wrong thing while trying to pretend they’re doing the right things. Soldiers are often forced to do the wrong things while trying to fight for the right things. It’s a shitty fucking universe, but it’s the one we got. So buck the fuck up and give me an order, Captain.” Deke was barking by the time he was done speaking, and Captain had gone from slumped with his hand over his face to standing rigid, nearly at attention.
He glared at Deke. “You want an order? I can give you a damn order. Terminate the threats to this crew and the people we rescued. Happy now?”
“No?” Deke shook his head. “Makes it a little easier to share the blame when the nightmares come though.” He stood and stalked out of the room while we stared after him.
“Shit.” All the anger had drained out of Captain. “Just when I think I hate him, he goes and shows he’s still got a heart in there under that ruthless exterior.”
“I think Deke needs a vacation too,” I said.
“I think you’re right.”

Those six crew members went missing in the shifts to the shuttles, but the only one who really noticed was Aparoe. They were informed by Captain, who awkwardly patted their back while they cried until Captain escorted them to a tiny bunk room. There were twenty bunk rooms, with five bunks each. There were two pilots quarters with room for four pilots total. Then the Captain’s quarters, which were tiny compared to the ship but still twice as big as my cell.
“If there are fifteen shuttles, why cram this one so full?” We had all the rescued members plus at least twice that in crew. There was maybe one or two beds free and that was sleeping in shifts for the crew.
“Because,” Captain said. “We’re not going with everyone else. This is my original crew, Kohen, and the people I will save this time. It’s time to make our move.”
“We’re just abandoning everyone else? Finding a new planet to hide one? Vacation?”
“No vacation yet. But I will see this through with only those I know I can trust. Freska will meet us soon.” 

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: Denied Chapter 52

“What do you mean? Exactly.” I had to ask. My heart was racing, and I couldn’t slow my breathing down. My hands shook, but the synthgar didn’t seem to mind. The tiny creature had shiny blue scales tipped with red peaks on each one. It’s body was nubbly, but smooth and not poky. “Did you say sting?”

“I did. But you don’t have to worry about it happening on accident. The bond will only be cemented if you’re willing.”

“Willing for what?” I asked again. I’d already given him everything. All that I remembered of my past, my life at the demands of the alien doctors and scientists who were apparently working for some damn politicians. Even my body.

What more did I have to give him?

“Lakshou said he could see our auras mingling. That is something that only happens when two compatible beings on my home world are willing to link their lives together in an intimate bond. That you depend on me and I you for our physical wellbeing already is unusual, something that doesn’t usually happen until one partner gifts the other with a synthgar.

“We might already have mingled out spirits, but I believe that our bond can only be deepened by this ritual. His venom will free our spirits to mingle fully, and we will form a permanent bond. As part of our spirits, the synthgar will need to stay with one of us or he would sicken like you did before.” Captain stood close, cupping one hand below mine to still their trembling. He nudged the synthgar under one side, and it flipped, itss short limbs tipped with miniscule claws waving as Captain stroked its paler underbelly.

“Do we do it here?” I looked around the small stone chamber. It was empty, but I could hear the guards outside and more people moving around beyond them. What Captain suggested sounded… intimate.

“No. He’ll be okay for a time without a bond with us, but soon.” Captain inhaled and let his breath out slow. “Do you say yes? Do we take him with us?”

It was more than just committing to taking care of this little creature in my hands. The choice might have been taken away from us before, but now Captain was asking me to make it. He’d apparently already had.

I pulled my hands in closer to my chest. The synthgar had curled into a tight ball in my palm and closed its eyes. It was like holding a small, warm ember in my hand. It tickled as he moved and stretched, his claws pricking the soft skin of my hand. “Yes.”

Captain cupped my neck and leaned down, tenderly brushing our lips together. “Soon,” he promised. 

“Behind us,” I muttered. I walked a step to the right and behind Captain, my chest brushing his back.



Captain took a few breaths, gauging the guards’ responses. “Not sure.”


“Keep moving. It’s Mackinack.” Captain didn’t hesitate. He stopped at one more shop and haggled with the dealer and the little aliens who scampered around about knee high. “What’s happening with the tail?” he asked when I turned.

“You know it has an actual tail?”

“Funny. Report.”

I straightened. “It broke off. A new species began following us, but it’s a flier. It’s also freaking small. No bigger than a few handspans, but it’s got something red on its head.”

Captain stopped, his eyebrows raised. “Red? Like a helmet, a covering?” He mimed the same shape.

“Stop, it’ll see,” I hissed.

“It’s okay. They’re not hostile.”

I crossed my arms. “If they’re friendlies, why aren’t they making contact? Why are they following us?”

“Not hostile and friendly….” Captain waved a hand. “Try intermediaries. Messengers.” He glanced over my shoulder. “We just have to be available. Freska’s message will delivered.”

“Freska? Why would she send us a message this way?”

“Have we had any communication with the ship?”

“Well, no.” I frowned. “But you sold it.”

“No, it’s because there’s no way to get a signal down here to the surface and then up to space. If Freska is here we’ll rendezvous with her.”

“Won’t we just fly the shuttle up to her ship?”

“Gotta find it first. She’ll have changed it. And if she’s under pursuit, we might have to bug out in a hurry. These guys will go facilitate the process, once we know when and where.”

Captain’s predictions came true. The man knew his crew and knew his plans, even if he didn’t know his family. Freska’s message contained a coded location. We headed back to the shuttle which was surrounded by crates.

We loaded in a flurry, and the claustrophobia of the tiny shuttle was made worse by everything inside taking up all the available floor space, and even some of the not available space. Good thing I didn’t mind being close to Captain. I’d worried the synthgar might get crushed, but it curled up around my ear, tangling its claws in my hair and anchoring in place. I didn’t even feel it after a few minutes.

“I didn’t even need my weapons,” I said.

“This time.” Captain patted the sheath on my wrist. “I feel better that you have them though. Freska’s message said she’s still being pursued. Our,” he paused, “guests are either more important than I thought or have some important information on someone who really doesn’t want to be revealed as part of this plot.”

“Isn’t that everyone?”

Captain stopped, his hands on the controls. “Good point.”

So now we had what seemed like confirmation that there bigger bad guys out there. “Hopefully Deke has gotten some answers.”

“If he hasn’t, I’m sure Freska’s crew has come up with some creative methods; her staff always have a certain… flair.”

Deke met the shuttle. “We have a problem,” he said grimly.

Captain pulled up short. “What?”

“There’s more traitors on board, and you won’t happy when you hear who they are.”

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: Denied Chapter 51

Mackinack was going to be dangerous. Deke wasn’t happy Captain didn’t take more people with him, but their argument seemed like something they said before and were saying again just to say it. I watched them but tried to make it subtle, so they wouldn’t know I was watching them.

“At least you’re going,” Deke grumbled. “He won’t let me go after last time.”

“What happened last time?” I asked. I took the new knife Deke handed over.

“This one doesn’t have a paralytic, by the way. It wasn’t a big deal. I just broke a few appendages off this Faa Loo. They’re practically stick people anyway. Fragile.”

“Uh huh. That cost me twice what I would’ve had to pay for the fuel pods we needed so he could afford to regen. Maybe three times.” Captain grunted as he slid into a tight harness, buckling it around his chest. “Set Kohen up with a light rig.”

“Light rig?”

“Mackinack is underground. Depending on who you negotiate with, where you go, you’ll need different types of illumination to be able to see. Freska and her team developed these light rigs. They have settings, here, here, and here.” Deke pointed to different spots. “Everett or someone else can show you how to turn on what you need.”

“I’ll show him,” Captain said. “Ready?”

The harness pinched, and I rolled my shoulders and took a deep breath to settle it. “Fine. Yeah.”

The trip down was long. It was rough. There was something to be said for having an underground city, apparently, when the winds were as strong as the ones raging across the flat soil that made up the majority of Mackinack’s crust. The city above was nearly deserted, and those beings moving about were protected naturally or with artificial fields. A few hardy things lived up there, but we started to encounter more life signs on the way through the hidden, twisting tunnels that riddled the firmament.

“How does Central not know this exists?”

“Masking, scanner jammers, a lot of misdirection and disinterest.”

“Not even scientists when they categorized the planet?” I’d learned one thing when I started all the different species on the ship with us; the databases held research on all the beings, creatures, plants, resources, anything and everything Central might be able to use—when they found a new planet. Unless there was a species already advanced enough to prevent it living there.

“The Faa Loo didn’t allow it. They already claimed this planet. And they’re mercenary enough to enforce it.”

Mercenary? “But, Deke…?” He’d damaged one.

“As a species, not individuals.” Captain glanced over. “What someone looks like and physically are capable are isn’t all they are. I know that.”

I frowned. What did that mean?

We stopped the shuttle at what looked like an empty cave, but as soon as we stepped out, Captain hit a button on his rig and gestured toward mine. I tapped it.

A green beam lit up the room, and the darkness was gone. In its place were clear walls with small sparkles reflecting the lights. “Oh!” The other side of the cave was the open city area, and it was teeming with beings.

Unlike the other port, there was little sense of public community. These people were here for business. They walked quickly. They stayed in groups.

My muscles tensed, and I stayed right on Captain’s heels. The rest of Deke’s guys fanned out on either side and behind us. “You know where to go already?” I asked.

“Yes. We’ll sell the ship, get credit in advance, make what purchases we need, and I bet Freska will be parked alongside and transferring crew before we get back.” Captain’s head was up, his strides long, his arms swinging freely at his sides.

I was out of my element as we trekked through the caverns. We dropped through two grav chutes, hunkered over and scooted through a small tube, and then entered a room that was shaped like a large octagon with a glowing crystal roof. Captain shut off his light, and I copied him.

My translation device didn’t seem to work, or I was hopelessly muddled because I couldn’t begin to follow whatever it was that he did with the beings who oozed down from the center of that ceiling to hang from long slimy strands that vibrated every time it spoke.

Okay, so maybe I just didn’t want to look at it. I’d seen some weird alien species: some were beautiful, some ugly, some bizarre. This one looked like… mucous.

Captain touched it, and I gagged, expecting his hand to come away glistening with nastiness. There was no sign of anything on his hand but, still, he’d be cleaning it before we touched.

Eventually, I drifted, following Captain’s body, watching his back, but leaving the rest up to him. We were in a tiny antechamber, our rigs glowing purple to light up the room, when he turned. The others waited outside, as they had at the last three places we’d stopped.

“Here,” Captain said. He cradled something.

“What?” I held out my hands instinctively and then nearly dropped the thing he put in them.

It was alive.

“What is it?” I peered at the tiny creature in my cupped hands, pulled protectively close to my chest.

“That is a synthgar. They’re not real, well, real but not wild. Bred, so you don’t have to fear a premature sting. They are something of a natural wonder on my homeworld.” Captain cleared his throat. “It is a bond gift. For you. If you accept him.”

“Bond gift? Accept him?”

We were alone in the antechamber now. “Accept me,” Captain said. “We have a bond already, but this will mingle my body and your body. Then he will stay on one of us at all times, as long as we live.”

A pet, and a gift, and a… poison? Blood bond? DNA tie? What to call it…?

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