Tanj's Tales: Gotterdamerung, part 1

By Kittiara



Stardate 2400.11


"Log of the Elysium science vessel "Tachyon Questor", stardate 2799.34. Something amazing has

just happened not too far off, in the Elysium system asteroid belt. We aren’t really sure if it was a

natural phenomenon, or an artificial one, and sadly, it happened during ship’s night. Sadly, most

of the scientists were asleep, most of the instruments pointed elsewhere, doing preprogrammed

tasks…. But initial evaluations are that something warped the fabric of space-time massively. One

of the crew insists that as the event, um, ah, "blossomed" that he could have sworn he saw the

event swallow something, although whether it was an asteroid, or a ship, or just a phantom, we

can’t be sure. The instrumentation readings are conflicting, although there’s no doubt the

Magnetometer went off the scale, and there was an amazing burst of Nadions…

A Desperate Gamble

Felnitz watched carefully as Henson checked the I.D.’s of the furrs in the aircar. He’d seen most

of their faces on the news shows, but you could never be too careful. Tanner stood to one side, his

assault rifle covering the other side of the car, should someone try and get out suddenly….. And

Bell… Bell was a good fifty meters away, in the tower, at the controls of the dual purpose

antiaircraft/antiarmor missile launcher. No, you could never be too careful. Finally Henson

straightened, the retinal scanner in his left hand. Turning he waved, the complex hand signal

they’d agreed upon, that indicated that all was just as it should be. Felnitz nodded, and reached

down to lay his palm on the glass plate, the scanner checking his pawprint. "Cleared for Entry" he

growled. The massive gates slowly retracted, and the car moved through, to stop between the first

and second set of doors. Felnitz closed the first door, imprisoning the car, not keying in

authorization for the second set until the first was completely closed and locked, the telltales green

on his panel.

Carstairs shook his head; "he’s going to scan us, I tell you……" Temborg looked across Ops

Center of the Brethren’s stronghold at the fox’s console and shook his head; "nope; he would have

done it by now if he was going to…. Ten credits says he’ll pass us by.

"That’s some security you have here, Dr. Zarkoff!" "Yes, Mr. President; the work we’re doing,

well, you understand that if any word of this ever got out, I’m afraid our own people would batter

down the walls and lynch us all!" President Erog nodded, and patted the Badger on the shoulder;

"I understand that, Emil, I honestly do; believe me, if the situation were not so desperate, I’d never

even think of so risky a gamble as this." The Badger nodded nervously, removing his old

fashioned spectacles, to polish them with an equally old-fashioned handkerchief. "Its especially

difficult. After all, we have a staff composed of academics, who are loath to keep ANY kind of a

secret. We have industrial scientists, who can keep secrets very well, but who are always looking

for a way to siphon off some new idea to turn a profit, and then we have the military scientists,

who are rabid about keeping EVERYTHING secret, even when other departments need the

information! Erog nodded and patted the Badger on the back once again; "Yes, yes, I understand

completely… but if what I’ve been reading in my daily reports is true, you’re about done with the

prototype device! I’d like to see it if I could….." The Badger nodded quickly, and turned, leading

the way down a corridor; "This way, Mr. President… Although I do have to warn you that we’re

risking an awful lot, building a device on so little data, on so tenuous a theory! Why, if we’re

correct, this principle could revolutionize Physics! It needs MUCH more study!……."

"I tell you Larry, this station’s been there FOREVER. I must have scanned it a dozen times

myself. I even went "on board" once as part of an inspection team. There ain’t nothing there but

some dusty old miners, dirty passageways, and huge chambers of mined-out rock." The fox

looked back at his pilot and stubbornly shook his head; "and tell me, Moe, how long has it been

since you were on that station? How thoroughly did you search it? The way things have gone to

hell back home on Elysium, the Rebels have GOT to have a base of some sort close by. And this

place’d be ideal! Gotta be Rebels there, or those pirates that work with them! Lemme scan ‘em

just one more time. We’ve got some new gear; maybe we’ll catch ‘em with their pants down and

we’ll find something! Think of the Heroes we’d be if we DID find something." The weasel

looked back at his copilot and shrugged; "suit yourself. Its not likely that these days the civvies

are going to go complaining to anyone back home about us scanning them…."

"I’m afraid I really do have to agree with Dr. Zarkoff, Mr. President. The event in the asteroid

belt was barely observed, and poorly documented. It was barely noticed at all! Scarcely the basis

on which to build a doomsday weapon!" Erog nodded to the Stoat and smiled his most winning

smile; "My dear Dr. Gates; it doesn’t HAVE to work, although a demonstrator would be nice…. It

just has to be BELIEVABLE! Remember, we’re grasping at straws here. At the current rate of

advance, the Reds will be here in weeks, if not in days! Do you know what they’re doing to the

"intelligentsia"? It isn’t pretty, let me tell you! If they think you’re necessary, you get sent to a

political training camp. If they think you’re…. Disposable, you get a quiet execution. And if they

think you’re any kind of a government supporter… well, do you remember Professor Poe? He

wrote that brilliant sociological treatise in defense of our economic system? I understand he was

publicly executed…. I’m told they stripped him naked, tied him to a pole in the Harvata city

square, and then a number of ladies in the Reds movement….." "YES, yes, please, Mr.

President….. I’m familiar with the incident. After all, it was broadcast every night for a week…."

The President smiled; "Ah, well, we did milk their little excess for all the propaganda value we

could.. but never the less, I think my point is made." Gates nodded, but Zarkoff frowned; "Mr.

President, I’m really not sure ANY doomsday weapon will be believable enough to stop the Reds

in their tracks……" Erog just smiled; "its an ancient concept called "mutual assured destruction"

or MAD for short. After all, our psychological analysis of the Reds leader… no, not Quistling,

that other fellow, the one behind him… Zyloff… They say that he’s only in it for the power. And

if there’s no one, or no thing left to have power over….. well, we’re confident that he’ll settle for a

piece of the pie, if he’s convinced he can’t have any…. Anything to stop them from destroying

the planet’s infrastructure, and killing its people, anything to bring them to the negotiating

table….. And that’s where your little demonstrator comes in." Turning, Erog looked at the

collection of circuit boards, magnetic coils and liquid helium dewars. It looked more like a

junkman’s idea of a refrigerator, than a weapon that could destroy a planet…." Forcing a smile,

he purrrred; " Is this it?"

Temborg groaned as his instruments detected the scan. There went this week’s beer money.

Running his eyes over his console again, the Bear frowned. "Hey Carstairs. Quit gloating and

come look at this spectral scan. That recon ship just hit us with something new……

Ben pressed his earpiece deeper into his ear and then nodded to the disembodied voice; "Yeah,

you’re right. That might have compromised our camouflage. Better divert a ship to deal with that

recon ship. Do it quietly. Make it look like an accident……. No, I don’t know how; this is a

mining area; asteroid mining’s a dangerous occupation. There’s got to be SOME sort of accident

we can use! Use your imagination!

Curly looked at the display and scratched his head. "I dunno, guys," the Chihuahua yipped; "I

admit it doesn’t match the previous scans of that rock, but I’m not sure WHAT this means. Yes,

they’ve got a lot more mass there than they had before, but that could be ore for the processing

facility. And these areas here where we didn’t get any return at all….. I dunno." Larry shook his

head; "Could there be any naturally occurring neutronium in that rock? Moe slapped a paw at the

Fox; "if there were, it would have been there on previous scans. Either something’s wrong with

our brand new sensor suite, or those areas are shielded somehow from being scanned. Either way,

we need to head back. The Chihuahua looked up; "you want to send a signal and let ‘em know

what we found?" After a minute the Weasel shook his head: "No, if someone’s listening and if

that IS something illegal there, I don’t want to tip our hand. Besides, after that fiasco with the

floor polisher, the ice cream machine, and the hospital bed, I want to make sure our gear’s

working right before I sound off." Looking at the Fox, Moe growled; "Head for home, but… "fly


Rand looked at the comm console and scratched his head; "Hey, Ingersoll! You see this? They

want US to go intercept an Elysium Recon ship! They think it got to sniffing too close to the

base! The Raccoon looked up from his console and nodded; "Yeah, I saw it. I’m on it!" The

Ringtail frowned; "you are? Whatcha gonna do? Aren’t those ships armed?" Ingersoll just

grinned; "Yeah, they are, but we’re not exactly helpless ourselves, even if we are just a mining

ship. I think we’re going to play some billiards….."

"Attention all ships in Sector 423.779.175, this is the mining ship "Crusty’s Wet Dream",

registration number HQA779VB. We’ve, ah, had a small incident; a magnetic grapple has failed

on us, and we’ve lost our load of ore. We got loose rocks, on multiple vectors, headed roughly,

um… 253 mark 128. Be on the lookout; we’ll get ‘em rounded up as soon as possible."

Rand shook his head at Ingersoll; "those rocks aren’t moving fast enough to damage anything!

What you playing at? The Raccoon just grinned; "you’ll see; now see if you can find me about a

one metric ton rock. Pick it up with the tractor beam while I maneuver the ship……

Moe slapped the fox on the back of the head; "you hear that report?" The Fox looked around and

growled; "Yeah, I heard it. Got’em on the scope. They’ll pass close to us, but we’ll be OK.

Looks like they’re going to loose their profit on this one, though; they’ll burn up a helluva lot of

fuel trying to reclaim all those "hazards to navigation!" The Weasel sneared; "and I suppose you

think that mining ship is some sort of Rebel or Pirate attack craft trying to stop us from reporting

our scan?" The Fox looked over his shoulder again at the Weasel, turned to look at his scope and

then turned back; "Well…….. could be!" Moe just growled and smacked him on the back of the

head again.

"Now this is the tricky part" Ingersoll whispered, as he stared at the nav console. The Wet Dream

had been boosting at high G for several minutes, flying a serpentine path, ostensibly using the

tractor beam to recapture lost rocks. Watching the "firing solution" work itself out in the Nav

computer, Rand shook his head; "you know, if you miss, they’ll know we’re after them." The

Raccoon just grunted; "I don’t miss…."

Unlike the adventure movies, the computer, once it had been correctly told what to do, sequenced

the events. The mining ship went into a tight, high-G turn, and at the appropriate instant, the

tractor beam snapped off, releasing a roughly egg-shaped rock on a carefully calculated trajectory.

At this point, the mining vessel’s velocity was an appreciable fraction of the speed of light. The

rock screamed across the system’s asteroid belt, and impacted squarely with a rock twice its size.

The result was a hail of fragments, the majority of which were on a course that was the sum of the

two vectors.

Larry YELPED and started slapping keys on his console as the collision alarms started hooting.

The intercom came on, as Curly started yapping from down in Engineering, demanding to know

what was going on, as Larry tried to cram the throttle past the stops. Moe watched the sensor

console silently, eyes widening. The Nav console had calculated vectors on most of the rock

fragments and more than one of them were bound to hit, no matter how they maneuvered. And the

velocity was more than sufficient to blow through their shields…. Just before the hail of rocks hit,

he looked down in amazement; seeing death coming straight at them with kinetic energy far

beyond what their shields could stop, he’d lost control of his bladder…….

The Cheetah male was walking a little funny as he made his way towards Medical, but it wasn’t

his stride that was attracting attention; it was the way he was dressed. Or not dressed as the case

was. While it was not uncommon to see completely nude furrs on the Brethren’s station, or furrs

fully dressed in everything from evening wear to combat armor, someone dressed in only a diaper

WAS just a little unusual. Especially for an adult. Hinoki drew more than his share of glances

and the occasional snicker…

Sticking his head through the doorway to Medical, he scanned the room. There was little

distinction between a waiting area and the curtained "Triage" sections of the "receiving" area. In

a more formal hospital, this might be deemed the "emergency" room, but on a pirate base, most

medical situations were of the "emergency" nature… A couple of waiting furrs looked up

curiously, but the Cheetah ignored them as his eyes searched for the one he was looking for….

Finally spying her, he slid through the door, and moved as quickly and as quietly as he could up

behind her…

"Pardon me, Mistress…" Hinoki began…. Wanda, not expecting anyone behind her, jumped a

foot; the tray of used medical instruments clattering. "Hinoki, don’t DO that to me!" The Cheetah

male looked crestfallen; "I’m SORRY, mistress, but… uh, well, um… I uh." Wanda smiled and

shook her head, "Let me guess; your diaper needs to be changed, and you can’t find Tanj?"

Hinoki looked down and nodded sheepishly. Wanda smiled and nodded, "All right. Bay four.

Leave the curtains OPEN. I’ll get the key and be there in a minute…

Hinoki stood by the standard medical type bed, looking around. He was in his eighth day of

"punishment" by the Lion, forced to wear diapers, and to a large extent, at least while not on duty,

to be treated as an infant. It was both the most embarrassing punishment and the most delightful

thing that had ever happened to him. Hearing the rattle of wheels, he looked up to see Wanda in

her scrubs and Kath, in an almost translucent white parody of a nurse’s outfit headed his way. On

an IV stand, were three large hot water bottles, and as he saw them, his heart leapt and his stomach

seemed to drop towards his feet. Kath smirked, waving a rather large stainless steel basin at him

and just nodded…

Kath scowled with mock ferociousness, "Oh, hold STILL!" As if Hinoki had any choice in the

matter. After Wanda had used the "key" to release the tabs of his diaper, the Wolverine lass had

pulled his ankles up over his head, using Hospital restraints to tie them to the rails of his bed on

either side of his head. This had lifted his rump nicely from the sheets. His wrists were bound in

a similar manner to the side rails of the bed, preventing him from shifting. Both Wanda and Kath

had made disgusted sounds as they’d pulled the dirty diaper away from his rump, drawing stares

and snickers from the waiting "patients"…. As Kath used some disposable wipes to clean his fur,

Wanda stood back, arms crossed, and "supervised…. Finally the Wolverine lass declared him

"clean" although Hinoki was sure Kath had scrubbed all the fur from his bottom. "Very well,

Kath, administer a three liter enema, to make sure he’s clean, and then we’ll re-diaper him…."

Hinoki watched, a wry grin on his face as Kath prepared the enema tube… and then the hard

plastic was forcing its way into his ass, and Kath was removing the tubing clamp, allowing the

fluid to flow into his bowels…

"Nurse! Come QUICK!" Suddenly a commotion at the door caused Hinoki to squirm, to try and

see past his own body. Something was happening at the doorway; two furrs in maintenance

overalls were holding a third, who was bent over, both paws covering one eye. Blood was

trickling down between his fingers. Wanda was beside Dr. Nyborg in an instant, helping the

injured furr to one of the triage areas. Then the curtain was being pulled… After a few moments,

Kath bustled out, her legs moving rapidly under her too-tight skirt. She returned after a moment,

pushing a cart laden with instruments. There were mumbles, quiet, desperate, hushed words as the

team worked… The only distinct words Hinoki heard was "Damn it, I KNOW its not magnetic; if

it was, this wouldn’t be so difficult!"

Hinoki felt his stomach grumble again… he’d been lying there for a LONG time. They’d hustled

the injured fur out of the triage room, off to an operating room, he’d assumed, and medical, or at

least this part of it, had gotten awfully quiet… If he could have, he would have released the

enema tubing on his own, "Come on, Kitten" he growled to himself; "you’ve taken more than

this, for longer than this. You can take it!

Captain Schleeman looked at the Leopard and frowned. There just was something…. "off" about

him. Maybe it had to do with his bearing. The clothes he wore were well worn, slightly out of

fashion civilian garb, suggesting a common tradesman…. but he wore them as if they were a

uniform. He sat too erect on his barstool. His fur was trimmed too neatly. And his eyes were

never still, darting here and there as if searching for enemies, evaluating and reevaluating the

tactical situation…. Still, the money he offered was enough to make most forget their questions.

In a time when some were starting to seek ways to leave Elysium, offering amounts of money

beyond the normal cost of passage, this was a princely sum. And the promise of information on

Elysium Defense Force patrols… Simply incredible. An almost unbelievable opportunity for

someone who might want to do a little smuggling….. Nodding slowly, Schleeman whispered;

"Get me that schedule and you’ve got yourself a deal." The Leopard straightened and nodded, his

eyes fixed on the Otter; "My tr… ah, associates will bring the cargo by tomorrow. I don’t care

what else you load on your ship, what … "passengers" you might embark…. Just make sure my

cargo is untouched. Undisturbed. And follow the flight plan I give you; it’ll be the safest way out

of the system." Schleeman, thinking of how some folks were starting to get desperate, rare, or

unusual goods coming on the market at firesale prices, thinking of what other cargo he might load,

what passengers he might take on, just nodded. When he looked up, the Leopard was gone.

The Zebra fem was wearing an abbreviated flight suit; she stood just inside the door, which had

opened with a crash, looking around. Somewhere along the line, the waiting furrs had either

gotten what they needed, or just figured they’d better come back another time, and had wandered

off. Scowling, the Zebra looked around, as if wondering where everyone was…. And then her

gaze found Hinoki…

Hinoki looked up at the fem as she approached. Her tight vest barely contained her breasts, and

was covered with bulging pockets. It gave her a lumpy look. Her camouflage pants were frayed

and skin-tight, and as she moved, he wondered if those slashes were strategically placed or just

happenstance. The combination of camouflage and her natural black and white striped pattern was

a glaring contradiction. She stopped, standing a foot or so from the side of his bed, to stare down

at him, hands on hips. "Well look at you! Aren’t YOU in an interesting situation! What

happened here? Where IS everybody?"

Hinoki was having a hard time dragging his eyes away from her tits, but somehow he managed to

shift his gaze to her face; "Um, they had an emergency; someone from Maintenance got hurt bad.

I think they must all be in the operating room…." The Zebra nodded; "unprofessional of them to

leave the place without staff like this. What if someone else got hurt?" Hinoki bit his lip, and

then ventured, "Um…. Are YOU hurt?" The Zebra chuckled, "Me? Nah, just need something for

a recurring yeast infection." Looking back down at the bound Cheetah, the Zebra grinned; "and

what brings YOU here? You look like…. Say… I know you! I saw the video feed of the Boss

punishing you for something or other… Aren’t you the one condemned to wear a diaper for a

month or so?" All Hinoki could do was nod his head mutely…

The Zebra chuckled, "I thought so… well, I tell you, Cat, I got some time to kill, and I might as

well wait until the medical staff comes back… And since you’re being punished…"

Baskins looked from the clipboard to the Otter and back; "I dunno, Skipper, this is going to have

us pretty well overloaded. We’re a good bit past the safety margins." "Oh, calm down, Chuck,"

Schleeman chuckled; "It should be a smooth run out, if the Leopard’s route is all he promises it

will be. We won’t need heavy acceleration or sudden maneuvers." Baskins shook his head; "you

trust him? You believe this course of his will let us evade not only the Elysium forces, but the

pirates too?" Schleeman grinned and nodded; "Yeah. No one pays that kind of money to ship out

a single shipping container unless they’ve got all the bases covered. Me, I just wonder what’s in

there that makes it so important? Government documents or records? Rare art objects? Secret

technology? ALIEN technology? Latinum?" Baskins just shrugged; "Dunno, but knowing you,

we won’t be out of the system before you’ll have us opening the container to get a look-see….

Hinoki watched as the zebra bent and poked through one of the cabinets by his bed. He marveled

at how tight the pants went across her shapely ass as she bent over. A part of his mind wondered

what she was going to do to him, but ultimately he didn't really care what. There was something

so alluring about her…

The Zebra straightened, not bothering to pull down her vest where it had ridden up some; she

flashed a roll of gauze bandage in front of Hinoki’s eyes, and chuckled; "now be a good little

spotty cat and open up; I don’t want you disturbing the other patients here… With that, she

shoved the whole roll sideways into Hinoki’s mouth, effectively gagging him. Then, she was

turning to pull the curtains, closing off his area….

Hinoki watched her as she turned back to him, both hands going to the waistband of her pants,

unbuttoning the fly and pushing them down over her hips. Stepping out of them, she moved closer

as her fingers started working with the buttons on her vest. The fabric was strained tight, and her

task was made a little harder by the fact; as she undid each button, the fabric seemed to literally fly

from her fingers as the tension was released. Hinoki watched, wide-eyed, surprised that the fabric

could be that elastic. Finally she shucked out of her vest, letting it fall to the floor behind her with

a thump. Grinning at him, she shifted her gaze; "now…. Just how strong do you think these

hospital beds are, anyway…? Climbing up on the bed, to straddle his head, she reached down

between her thighs to pluck the now sodden roll of gauze from his mouth, just before lowering her

sex to his muzzle.

Inhaling her aroma, Hinoki stuck his tongue out to give her a tentative lick. His bowels were still

FULL, the pressure intense, but somehow it all blended into one delicious sensation when the

Zebra bent to run her tongue over his sheath… and his rapidly hardening cock. As she nuzzled,

snuffled, and licked, groaning with pleasure and pain, Hinoki tilted his head, to start to lick at her

puckering vagina with serious intent…

Hinoki groaned into the Zebra’s wetness, as he felt her tongue work over his hard throbbing cock;

this one was talented; she knew just how to please a male, and she seemed to be taking great

delight in showing the Cheetah every trick she knew. Hinoki for his part did his best to return the

favor, licking, lapping, and nibbling at her dripping sex. He knew she should be panting,

moaning, writhing by now, but somehow, she seemed to be able to put it all behind her in her

single-minded pursuit of his cock… Finally Hinoki could hold back no longer, and screamed into

the Zebra’s muff as he came very hard!

The Zebra smiled, sucking hard on the spotty cat’s throbbing cock, easily handling the volume of

cum he could produce; she was, after all, used to doing this with a stallion… Still, he was pretty

good, using his tongue to good effect. As she sucked him dry, pulling her head back to lick him

clean, she sat up a bit, shoving her crotch into his face, "OK, Mister, you’ve had your fun. My

turn now…"

Hinoki mewled as he licked, his tongue tip flicking back and forth over her clitty, whipping it so

hard he could feel droplets of her dew landing on his chest. She was insatiable, having had at least

three climaxes so far, in rapid succession. It felt like he’d been doing this forever, his tongue and

jaw muscles sore…. Now, he could feel her tensing again, and knew she was about to climax yet


The Zebra mare's sharp noises of pleasure sounded loud enough in Hinoki’s ears to wake the dead.

She whinnyed, squealed, nickered, snorted, groaned and whickered, extremely vocal in her

passions and amazingly varied in the range of noises she made. Wondering if they were going to

get in trouble for this, he continued to lick and nibble furiously… " Of course I’m all tied up;

don’t know how they could blame this on me" he thought to himself as the Zebra gyrated above

him, grinding her pussy into his muzzle…

"Mr. Smith" looked around the tiny cabin on the packet he’d booked passage on. The place was

filthy. There was actually something that looked like mold growing in one corner, and something

discolored and foul smelling was dripping from the ventilation duct. He could swear he saw

something crawling in the bedding…. Still, on a ship like this, no one would look too closely.

Oh, he wasn’t afraid of the crew; he had almost nothing worth stealing on him. All his wealth was

safely transferred to off-planet accounts. It was those he was leaving behind that he was afraid of.

If his boss, or even some of his employees in the Ministry of Justice found out he was fleeing,

they’d most certainly move to stop him. Hard questions would be asked. He might even be

arrested. And if those in the resistance found out that Avery Hatchett, the "hanging judge" was on

the ship, he had no doubt that they’d stop at nothing to capture him. And yet it was obvious that

the Elysium government was going to loose. No matter what the propaganda organs said.

Anyone with any intelligence at all could read the handwriting on the wall. It was time to get

while the getting was good. Grinning to himself, he wondered what that harpy he’d been married

to would do when she figured out he was gone…..

Hinoki was still panting hard, his chest heaving from the exertion of such hard and prolonged

licking, not to mention the aftereffects of his orgasm, as the Zebra mare "Dismounted". He could

feel the fluid sloshing back and forth within his bowels as he breathed… Turning his head, he

watched the Zebra mare; she’d pulled her pants back on and picked up and donned her vest. The

act of buttoning it over her large breasts was more than sufficient to get Hinoki hard again… and

then she’d pulled the curtain back, leaving him in full view, to walk back to the waiting area.

Sitting, she picked up an old, well-worn magazine as if nothing had happened…

Baskins looked at the shipping container and scratched his head. It wasn’t the first time he’d

looked at it; but now that their ship was approaching the fringes of the Elysium system’s gravity

well, getting close to where they might jump out of the system, he had more time to consider it. It

was the same size and shape as a standard shipping container, but that was where the similarity

ended. Most shipping containers had corrugated sides; this one was smooth. Most had big double

doors at one end; this one had a small hatch towards the middle of one side. A small recessed

panel by the hatch showed indicator lights, and a string of alphanumerics over a keypad. The

Skipper, Shleeman, thought it was some sort of "burglar alarm". Not that any alarm sounded out

here would make a damn bit of difference. Now, how to start breaking into it? He didn’t want to

get a facefull of any stun gas, or get sprayed by some indelible fur dye from some anti-tampering


Wanda shoved the curtain back a little further as she turned the corner, and looked at Hinoki,

"Sorry to have left… what happened to YOU? Hinoki looked back at the Wolverine lass, his hard

cock bobbing an inch or two above his stomach, his face plastered with the Zebra’s juices, and just

shrugged, "Oh… you know… the usual." Behind Wanda, Kath just laughed… Wanda snorted;

"Ah… Yeah. OK, lets get you taken care of and then you can explain it to us… from the start….."

The Mouse eased himself through the personnel hatch next to the big cargo door. Baskins was

standing by the cargo container, deep in thought. Hefting his crowbar the Mouse chuckled and

stalked forwards.

Hearing something behind him, Baskins turned; "Oh, Hey, Fred. The Skipper getting impatient?"

The Mouse just nodded; "Yeah, last of those damn "People’s Space Navy" ships is off the scope.

That route the Leopard gave him has worked like a charm. Nothing between us and the Encina

Jump point. Unless an Imperial patrol jumps in just ahead of us, we’re scott-free! Baskins nodded

and turned back to the container; "what do you think of drilling a hole in the lower left corner and

inserting a fiber optic probe. That might tell us if its boobytrapped……" The Mouse chuckled

and hefted his crowbar; "what do you think of prying open the hatch and sticking your head

inside? Skipper says he’s tired of waiting. Says that no one who pays that much money will

boobytrap their cargo with something that’ll destroy it." Baskins just shrugged and took three big

steps back, and one to the side, putting a crate of rare statuary between him and the Mouse; "have

at it, Fred; I’ll, ah, just stand back here and watch….." The Mouse just grinned. "Coward" he

chuckled good naturedly, and then fitting his crowbar to the gap in the door, he prepared to heave.

Phelps sat up suddenly in his station chair; "SKIPPER! Something’s uncloaking between us and

the Jump Point!" Moving with amazing speed, the Otter materialized by the sensor operator’s

shoulder; looking at the scope he groaned. Pirates! I’d heard there was a group of them with

cloaking technology…… but I’d never really believed it!"

The Mouse’s muscles tensed and then he relaxed, taking a quick half step back as a high pitched

whine started somewhere inside the container. Looking at the little panel by the hatch he noticed

the alphanumeric string changing periodically every few seconds. The pattern was nothing he

could recognize. Looking back at Baskins he shrugged; "think the thing’s got a proximity

detector? Think it KNOWS I’m about to take a crowbar to it? Behind the crate, Baskins just

shrugged; "Dunno, but if the Skipper wants it open….." The Mouse nodded, and with

considerably more trepidation, put his crowbar back against the hatch.

Schleeman shook his head; "there’s no way we can outmanuver them. Even if we were empty we

couldn’t outmaneuver a ship like that…. And we certainly can’t out-gun them." Looking at the

sensor operator the Otter grinned; "And I don’t particularly feel like dying today. Lets talk to

them and see if they’ll negotiate."

Reggie grinned at Slasher and pushed the toggle on the comm panel; "Bloody Corsair to

Shleeman’s Sled; Why yes, I think we can work something out; We’re reasonable Blokes, after all.

Here’s the deal. You surrender nice and peaceful like, and we’ll let you keep body and soul intact.

Give us something REAL nice and we might not even sell your carcasses as slaves. Delight us

and we might let you keep that rustbucket of a ship. But resist in the least and you’ll be lucky if

we wholesale you to the Ice Mines on Vestra!" Closing the key, Reggie grinned; "Don’t you just

LOVE it when they’re cooperative?"

Shleeman sighed and looked around his bridge; shrugging, he reached out to kill the drive, and

lower the shields. "looks like its just not our day, guys….."

The growling, hissing noise from inside the container made the Mouse take another quick step

back….. as he stepped back he tried to pull his crowbar from where he’d been prying, but

somehow it was now stuck fast…..

Baskins grunted as all the metal objects in his pockets suddenly started tugging at him, as if they

were being drawn to the cargo container. Eyes wide, he turned to flee the compartment.

Slasher’s uncharacteristic swearing made Reggie’s head snap around. A multitude of different

sensors were all reporting some very strange happenings on the Packet, and now the aft end of the

packet was starting to glow with a strange yellow-green nimbus, its edges visibly creeping along

the hull of the ship, enveloping it. Instinctively Reggie slapped the drive keys, putting 110% of

their powerplant into an evasive maneuver. As soon as the Raider steadied on course, he dialed

the sheilds up to full strength. He didn’t know what that freighter was up to, but he did NOT like

the looks of it. And out here, what you didn’t understand could kill you…..

Schleeman smiled as he saw the Raider wheel and speed off, thinking that they were saved… and

then he wondered what else might have appeared to chase them away….. Whatever it was, it

probably wasn’t good for them…. And then Baskins burst onto the Bridge, eyes wild. He never

had a chance to speak, before a green glow filled the corridor outside the bridge.

As things like that always are, in space, the explosion was silent. Reggie watched it on the rear

scope, while Slasher tried to modulate their shields to strengthen them just a little more in the rear

arc. Glancing over at the sensor console, Reggie groaned. Resignedly reaching out, he tapped a

key; "Brethren control, this is the raider "Bloody Corsair." Mayday, Mayday…."

The cloud of expanding fragments from the packet was unusual; there wasn’t a single fragment

larger than a marble, roughly one centimeter across… but all the fragments were moving at

incredible speed. The hail scythed into the Raider, collapsing their shields and shredding their aft

end….. And then it was past, the raider tumbling end over end. Nothing remained of the Packet.

Zarkoff nodded slowly; "I’m not sure if I’m happy that it worked or not. It’s a tremendous

validation of our science, and of our abilities, but I’m worried about what Erog might do with it.

Dr. Gates nodded and sighed; "those poor furrs aboard the Packet…. I wonder what it must have

felt like? Did the time/space distortion kill them before ….. before the ship exploded? Or were

they merely torn apart when the field collapsed? Zarkoff shrugged; "I don’t know; the Encina

Jump Bouy recorded some interesting data. We’ll have to go through it in detail. But in the

meantime, you know what Erog is going to want….." Gates nodded; "Yeah….. Another one. A

bigger one….. Heaven help us all!"


Tanj Dispatched

Tanj looked up from her monitor as her boss, the old gray fox, moved into her cubicle. She’d

been monitoring the rescue efforts; Reggie’s Mayday had been received, and the three closest

ships, two other raiders and a mining ship, had been immediately diverted. There was a lot of

consternation in Ops, with some folks holding that the Elysium Defense forces had come up with a

new weapon that could take out a Raider with no trouble at all. Others found that hard to believe,

but were looking for an acceptable alternative answer. Of course, many questions were being

directed towards intelligence; everything from "what else might have done this" to "WHY IN


Pre-empting what she thought his questions would be, Tanj sighed; "No, I don’t know what

that was. I have no idea what caused it. There’s been no indication of Elysium doing any research

on any anti-ship weapon like that, that we know of." Running down, Tanj took a look at her

boss, and froze; she’d seen that look on his face before, and it had never been good. Frantically,

she tried to think of any area in which she’d screwed up, anywhere she might have been in error.

Finding nothing obvious, nothing beyond her ability to explain, she waited for him to speak.

"Tanj, a few weeks ago… No, wait, this is perhaps a little too sensitive. We’d better use one

of the conference rooms. Come with me." Tanj blinked and looked around her; the

intelligence office was one of the most secure areas of the station, everyone in here had the highest

clearance; what could POSSIBLY be that sensitive. Rising, grabbing her coffee cup, she padded

off after the Fox.

After the door to the conference room closed, the Fox waited almost two minutes as the automated

systems did a sweep of the environment. When the telltales flashed green, he nodded and turned

to Tanj; "a couple weeks ago, you filed a report saying that mid-level Elysium government

officials were starting to slip out, to "flee the sinking ship" as it were." Tanj nodded, "Yes,

we’ve noticed a certain number missing from their posts with no suggestion of execution or

defection. Only a few have been seen on other planets in this sector. We believe the smart ones

can read the writing on the wall, and are getting out while they can." The Fox nodded; "well, one

of those that left has contacted us, through some rather Byzantine back channels. He’s basically

said that he has some extremely important information to pass on, for free, but he wants to talk to

someone in the command structure. No field agents. I’ve become convinced that he may have

something to say, and that we should pursue it. However, I’m too busy here to leave. The Boss

wants to send you."

Tanj looked at the old Fox. With everything happening at an accelerated pace down on

Elysium, she didn’t feel like she could leave either… Scowling, she opened her mouth to object.

"No, I don’t want to hear it. I know just what you’re going to say. The same things I’d say if I

were in your place. Save your breath, the decision’s already been made. Assemble your crew.

The briefing material and the flight plan have already been downloaded into your ship’s

computer." Tanj sighed and nodded; "Lets hope I can get out there and back before the final

curtain goes up" Tanj sighed. The Old fox just nodded, and reached out to push a button, to

unseal the door. Her coffee cup still full, its contents untouched and cold, Tanj exited the

conference room, and hurried back to her workstation. If she was going to go on a field trip, there

was a lot she had to take care of, first…

The old Fox watched Tanj leave, his eyes drawn to the movement of her ass under her thin

dress. "Get back before the final show starts? Doubt that. It’s already started. But what you have

to do may be every bit as important as what you might accomplish here. And at least you’ll be

safe…. Or ‘safer.’"

Mala grunted as she hefted the heavy leather bag and tried to arrange her array of weapons in such

a way as to carry everything SOMEWHAT comfortably. "I think I've got it all now. Right down

to the last clip..." Mark nodded a bit absentmindedly, sorting little souvenirs he'd picked up on

half a dozen space stations into a wooden chest that looked curiously at odds with the rest of the

cabin even while she continued. "You know, I still feel a bit funny about leaving right now." The

Mouse nodded again, then shrugged lightly and turned to look up at his Hyena friend. "I know

what you mean. On the other hand, there's really not much left for us to do here. The Brethren

aren't going to trust us with anything important anymore, and a rather vocal minority would rather

get rid of us as soon as possible anyway." Mala nodded and shifted her load with a clinking of

metal. "Guess I should've busted a few more skulls while there was still time...they'd respect us

more then. But noooo, I had to play 'nice'..." That drew a brief chuckle from Mark, who had

picked up a trashy SF novel and was looking for a place to put it. He'd originally bought that one

as a gift for Zassa, figuring that it had enough outrageous sex in it to keep her entertained for a

while, but no suitable occasion had really come up... "Next time, dear. Right now, let's get going

- I'm done gathering data after far too long a time in basically one place, I'm definitely ready to

take a break just about ANYWHERE else, and your training can only benefit from a little change

of atmosphere as well." He turned his head back again and smiled reassuringly. "Besides, we both

know already we'll be back. You still have some matters to settle way back on YOUR home and I

definitely want to do that tour of the interesting parts of the Empire we've been talking about. So

as soon as we're ready and I've set up a new cover identity for myself, we'll be back. May easily

run into our few remaining friends again, even...just as long as I don't have to play pirate again

anytime soon." Mala grinned. "You just say that because nobody ever let YOU in on the action..."

Tanj scanned the ops console on her ship. The airlock was closed and locked. Internal security

showed no other living beings on the ship, save for her "living dress" in her compartment. The

flight deck door was closed and locked and the sensors showed no listening devices. Sitting down

at the comm console, she opened the downloaded packet, working her way through all the codes

and passwords necessary to keep it from erasing itself. Finally she was able to look at her mission

orders. They were annoyingly simple: Travel to Gibralter station. Half way there, adopt one of

their cover identities. Wait to be contacted. Debrief the former Elysium Government Official, and

report back. As usual, the devil was in the details. Gibralter station was the home base for the

Imperial fleet for that entire quadrant. The Imperial presence there wasn’t just annoying, it was

overwhelming. Her cover would have to be first rate. And of course, Accounting wanted her to

try and sell a hold full of loot while she was there. Documents to support ownership would also

have to be beyond compare. And there on the crew list was Wanda and Kath. Kath the former

Imperial Agent. What if she was recognized? What if she decided she really didn’t like her new

life after all and decided to turn them in? This wasn’t going to be nearly as easy as it

sounded…… With a sigh she shut down the comm console, and unsealed her ship. If she was

going to leave at the ridiculously early departure date they’d set for her, she had some loose ends

to tie up in the office….. And with a grin, she thought, perhaps in the bedroom too…..

Tanj frowned; the comm had been ringing in Mark’s quarters for a good three minutes. Long

enough for him to get out of the bathroom. Almost long enough for him to get out of the shower.

But there was no response. Letting it ring, she turned to her computer, asking it once again to

verify Mark’s location. Again it said that he had entered his cabin at 17:12 hours with Wanda, and

had not left. One of them should answer…..

"Wanda, I hate to pull you away, but we’ve been ordered on a field trip." Behind Wanda’s image

on the comm console, someone was being bandaged; squinting, leaning closer to the monitor,

Tanj growled; "is that Slasher?" Wanda looked over her shoulder and nodded; "Yeah, they

brought them in a few minutes ago. Reggie’s in the O.R. Stomach and intestinal perforations

from the shrapnel. It’s a wonder he was able to get into his suit, as tore up as he was."

Brightening, the Wolverine growled; "But he should pull through. Slasher was luckier. Or

smarter. He was behind the ship’s computer housing, and that’s armored; he’s only got

lacerations." Tanj just shook her head; "I’d love to talk to them about just what happened, but

it’ll have to wait. We leave at 03:28 hours in the morning." Wanda just nodded; "we’ll be there!"

Zassa grinned; "ooooooh, Gibralter station! I love that place! Came through there on the way out

here! Oh, Tanj, there are so many good restaurants there, and some really neat nightclubs!

Girl, we are going to have FUN!" Tanj just smiled; "03:28 departure time, best be there a few

hours early." Zassa just nodded and grinned; "Oh, I’ll be there! Can’t WAIT!"

Hinoki nodded; "Kinda sudden, isn’t it?" Tanj just shrugged; "I can only assume my boss

knows what he’s doing. Generally he does, and if he says this is important, well, I’ll just have to

trust him. Hey, do me a favor? The computer says Mark and Mala are in Mark’s cabin. Would

you go knock on their door; no one seems to be answering the comm, and I’m beginning to

wonder if they "took it off the hook". Hinoki smiled and shook his head; "I still can’t see them as

a couple, but whatever turns your crank. Sure, Tanj, I’ll check as soon as I finish my shift.

Can’t wait till we’re away from here and you can tell us what this is all about. You’ve got me

curious as all git-out!" Smiling, Tanj reached out and broke the connection.

Tanj rolled over onto her back, panting hard, having just ridden her Master’s cock to a

shattering climax. Their lovemaking had been furious, and passionate…. Next to her, the Lion

groaned; "Tanj I SWEAR you think you’ll never see me again the way you been goin’ at me!"

Tanj just grinned, reaching out to trail fingers through the slick, matted fur of his groin; "Its

going to take at least four days at the minimum to get to….. where I’m going." Shifting her gaze,

Tanj ran her eyes over the telltales, little glowing lights in an unobtrusive portion of the ceiling

that showed the anti-evesdropping devices to be working correctly… Still, she wouldn’t trust

those gizmos unless she had to…." Even with a one day turnaround time, you won’t see me for

nine days. Don’t want someone else catching your eye….." The Lion just laughed, rolling over

onto his side, to face her; "I know you don’t want to go. You know I don’t want you to go. But I

think we both know that this is something that has to be done. And I think we both know that

you’re the person that has the best chance of pulling it off." Tanj sighed and nodded; "I just

hope this guy’s information is worth the trip. And I wish he’d found somewhere else for the

meeting! Do you think he could have found a more "secure" location?" The Lion chuckled,

toying with a lock of her hair; "for him? Probably not. Relax; that place is so far from here they

probably won’t be looking for pirates. Far enough off that they probably won’t even be interested

in our little exploits, out here on the fringes. And your cover is good. And you’ll have plenty of

cash and credit chips, to grease a few palms if you run into trouble." Tanj sighed and nodded;

"Yeah, but a lot could happen in the time I’ll be gone…" The Lion just chuckled and rolled again,

this time moving on top of her. Looking down into her face, he smiled; "don’t worry, we won’t

start the victory celebration without you….."

Tanj stood in the docking bay, a few yards from the open personnel lock to her ship, and

looked at the manifest in disbelief. Only accounting could be so bold as to give her a cargo of loot

to try and sell while she was at an Imperial military base. There was jewelry, computers (both

personal, industrial, and ship), power modules, credit chips of shady origin, even weapons…. It

LOOKED like booty, no matter what documents they’d provided "proving" legitimate

ownership…. "Anything is possible for those who don’t have to do it" she muttered to herself.

"What was that?" Turning, Tanj blinked in surprise at Wanda and Kath. Wanda was carrying

a travel bag, and Kath was laden down with one bag slung across her shoulder, and one in each

paw. Tanj grinned; "it’ll be good to have you two on the trip, but I still don’t understand, if

there’s going to be fighting here, why strip the Medical department of needed personnel? I mean,

I doubt we’re going to see any combat on this trip… And Kath… I mean, we’re going to the

Imperial Quadrant Headquarters; what if she’s recognized?" Wanda just shrugged, "Don't know."

Might be the Boss trying to honor that ancient agreement, where I was a "hostage" against my

father’s good behavior. Hostages need to be protected, you know…. And this system is getting

just a little dangerous. And as far as Kath’s concerned, perhaps he thought she might be able to

help us through some of the security hurdles… inside knowledge and all that… besides, we’ve got

a pretty good disguise for her." Kath grinned; "Actually I think he feels you need us along to keep

you on the straight and narrow…." Tanj just rolled her eyes, "Yeah, right… Well, lets get


Lon McQ looked at the card the Cheetah had handed him; it was the only thing in the room that

was out of place. The only thing that made the place look like the cleaning crew hadn’t just

finished with it. The only thing that drew Security’s interest in the room. It was a perfectly

ordinary spacer's playing card made of tough scratch-resistant plastic. Cardboard doesn't take as

well to changing environments, or players with claws for that matter. The card's face was simple

enough, just a black pawprint centered on white background; closer examination showed the print

vaguely matched some kind of feline species. However, it was the other side of the card that was

really the most complex. The border was reasonably wide, bright silver, and aligned with the

central circle-and-horizontal-eight symbol of the same color, in such a way as to suggest

everything was drawn with a single unbroken line. A rather realistic-looking night sky formed the

background, with the stars twinkling a bit when viewed from different angles. A golden ankh

overlayed the 'main' symbol, fading in and out of sight depending on the angle. Lon could not

remember ever having seen such a symbol before, although it struck him as if it should be

familiar. Shrugging, he placed it in an evidence envelope and attached a routing label to the Boss.

Somehow, the thought of sending it to the Security Lab, or to Intelligence never occurred to him.

Tanj flipped the switch and then watched as the ring laser gyros "got up to speed." Some

things you just couldn’t hurry. Her glance down at the checklist was interrupted as Hinoki came

through the door to the flight deck; "Tanj, we’ve got a problem. I think." Looking up at the

male Cheetah, Tanj quirked an eyebrow upwards in a silent question. "I went by Mark’s

quarters, and rang the bell. Then I pounded on the door. Nothing. Thinking he might have

headed back to the mining side of the operation, that the housekeeping computer had screwed up, I

called over to where he’d been working in Mining Maintenance. They said he’d been recalled to

the main base. So then I checked in at security; they also said he’d locked in to the main base two

days ago, and not locked out. That he had to be here somewhere. By now I was getting worried

that something had happened to him, so I had security override the lock on his quarters….."

Hinoki gave Tanj a look somewhere between exasperation and amazement as he spread his

paws wide; "Tanj, the place looked as if it had never been occupied. Faultlessly clean and

orderly. Not even any dust! It looked like some leasing agent’s demo. Not even any residual

scents!" Tanj blinked; "no personal possessions? No clothes in the closet, or the dresser?"

Hinoki shook his head; "Nope. Absolutely nothing! Well… that’s not completely true. There

was this single playing card on the bed…. But that was the only thing out of place. It was so

freaky that the security agent went to double-check the computer to make sure we had the right

room. THEN it really got strange. The computer said it had no record of Mark. That his room

was unassigned. They couldn’t find a trace of Mala either. We checked with accounting, with

Engineering, with administration; all the same. Suddenly every record that Mark had ever been

here was gone!" Tanj sighed, and rose, handing the checklist to Hinoki; "continue with the

pre-flight. I’m going to go get to the bottom of this….."

As she walked towards Ops, Tanj wondered if someone had taken this smear campaign so far

as to kill Mark and Mala, and then make it seem as if they’d never existed. Could anyone really

kill Mark without some sort of titanic struggle? Could someone as powerful as he have enemies

that would go to such lengths? Putting her head down, she broke into a trot; something was

VERY wrong!

Ben shook his head, and shrugged; "Of course I remember them, Tanj. I think we can both

agree that they DID exist. They’re on the hardcopy of your manifest, if nothing else. And believe

me, if I knew where they were, they’d be on your ship. But they seem to have just… Vanished."

Tanj growled; "or they met with foul play. You KNOW that the rumors circulating about him

are completely unfounded! The Wolf nodded; "I admit something’s up. I sent the head of security

himself to do a double-check of the records… and there wasn’t anything there. He did a wider

search, and discovered that there was absolutely no record of Mark ever having been with the

Brethren. No record of Mala either. He’s pretty upset that someone could get into his computer

system and delete all those files. I understand he’s raising cain down there right now….."

Tanj frowned; "and have they searched the station for him?" Ben sighed and nodded; "we

scanned internally for life signs. Everyone is accounted for. No unidentified warm bodies. We’re

currently searching the station for, uh, "cold" bodies, but so far we haven’t turned up a thing. It’s

as if they never existed at all." Tanj frowned and shook her head; "I wonder……. I can’t

imagine someone inflamed by all the rumors having much success in killing him." Looking up at

the Wolf, Tanj sighed; "we both know how much luck folks in the past have had with that. I

wonder…….. I knew he was pretty upset at the restrictions he’d been put under, and that he felt…

"Hurt" at the whispering campaign against him, but I never thought he’d leave without saying

goodbye." The Wolf just shrugged. As Tanj turned and made her way out the door, without

comment, the Wolf just muttered; "If that’s what happened, I for one, would like to know HOW

he left… this place is supposed to be "secure"..."

The Lion looked at the playing card, turning it this way and that, watching the image on the back

change with the angle. "And you say this was all that was in their room?" The Security officer

shrugged; "that was the room the Cheetah told us was his, but there’s no record of that in the

computer. In fact, there’s no record of him at all. I’m beginning to wonder if he really existed."

The Lion chuckled; "Oh, he existed all right. I can attest to that." Looking up, he growled; "Keep

searching the station. I want to you to be absolutely positive that there aren’t a couple of bodies

disposed of somewhere. Because if there aren’t, we have yet another security problem……" As

the Security officer nodded, and turned to depart, the Lion looked again at the card. It was

amazing, it almost felt warm to the touch….. Finally, with a shrug he put it in a pocket, intending

to study it further later. There was just so much to do these days….

"Lost Cause, you’re cleared for departure. You guys have a good trip and hurry back now,

y’hear?" Tanj sighed and acknowledged the message. Lifting the ship off its landing jacks,

she maneuvered it slowly, carefully out of the docking bay. As soon as they were clear of the

station, she engaged their cloaking device and turned, to head for the system’s rim. Things in the

Elysium system were becoming increasingly chaotic; where once the pirates would hover around

the rim, at the edge of the gravity well where starships would have to drop out of warp to approach

the system, or around the Jump Points, maneuvering constantly with the Elysium defense forces

that sometimes guarded those points, they were now operating openly much further in towards the

star. Of course, there was now the Red’s "People’s Space Navy" to contend with as well, only

nominally allies. And the Elysium forces were becoming much more dangerous. No longer

would they stop a suspicious ship, to search it, to ascertain whether they were smugglers, or

pirates. Now, they just seemed to shoot at anything that moved. Tanj felt a lot safer with the

cloaking device engaged, a technology that was still too advanced and too expensive for the run of

the mill freighter, or even the run of the mill warship. But there were still a lot of freighters

moving in the system. With the increased dangers, transportation prices had gone through the

roof. Smugglers were bringing arms to the Rebels, Blues and Reds alike. Convoys were bringing

munitions and supplies, and most recently mercenaries to the Elysium government. And

"independent operators" were starting to charge exorbitant prices to refugees, the folks that wanted

to simply flee the fighting before it consumed them….

As she guided her ship towards the system’s rim, Tanj listened to the in-system Comm traffic.

A freighter had been intercepted by a "People’s Space Navy" picket and had been accused of the

"crime" of supplying arms to the Elysium Government. The Freighter had claimed that they were

merely fleeing a war zone, the hold was empty, and the Reds were welcome to run an inspection.

They claimed they’d brought food in, and their manifest and ships log would demonstrate that.

The Reds however claimed it was just a ruse to get them to lower their shields while they

dispatched a boarding party… The sudden cessation of traffic suggested the warship had resolved

the dispute by simply opening fire. As the Comm traffic died, Tanj sighed and wondered if the

Lion wasn’t pulling this maneuver just to get her somewhere safe. After all, intelligence like this

SHOULD have come through her department… SHE should have been telling THEM about this

opportunity… Had she missed something? Or did it really exist? Or was it something else? This

guy wanted to talk to someone from the command group…. Could it be a trap? Were the

Imperials starting to get involved again, looking for some willing victim to just walk in their front

door? With a sigh, she made a mental note to go through all her field reports again, to see if there

were any hints of "Imperial Complications"...

Bilo groaned and tried to force his eyes open. He could taste dirt in his mouth… and there was

some other taste there as well. Copper? Blood? Something heavy pressed down on him from

above; something soft and pliant… Suddenly thinking that he’d been buried alive he panicked, and

with a sudden burst of strength, heaved himself upwards. Suddenly he was free of the oppressive

weight. Blinking in the darkness he looked around and with a shudder of horror, realized that the

weight on top of him had been Sergeant Vimm. Looking down at the elderly, corpulent Raccoon,

Bilo groaned; Vimm’s throat had been cut, the wound gaping as his head lolled back. Turning, in

the gloom he recognized some of the other members of his ad-hoc squad. They’d been thrown

together just a week ago, pulled straight out of basic training. Vimm had been a retired veteran,

retired long ago from the Elysium military, recalled due to the "Emergency." And then their

position had been overrun by the Reds. Stepping gingerly over to the next nearest corpse, he

looked down at a young Skunk girl; like himself, she couldn’t have been more than sixteen or

seventeen. It was obvious that she’d been shot in the left knee. But then someone had finished the

job, cutting her throat too. Her eyes were wide open in shock, as if things like this just couldn’t

happen. Stumbling, not really knowing where he was going, Bilo started to move. Corpses

seemed to be everywhere, and everywhere he recognized an Elysium uniform, the body’s throat

had been cut, no matter how they’d died. Finally, chest heaving, he found himself on the road,

beyond their position. The blacktop seemed bizarrely normal. Staggering over to the ditch on one

side, he fell to his knees to retch.

Tanj rubbed her burning eyes and reached for her cup of coffee, only to find the cup cold, the

coffee long gone. Turning back, she tried to focus on the screen… The Lost cause had jumped,

still cloaked, at the Samarai jump point. They’d decloaked on the other side of the jump, and were

burning across the uninhabited system at full throttle. So far, their progress was undetected and

undeterred. As the ship proceeded on the first leg of its journey, Tanj had remained on the

flight deck, keeping an eye on things, as she went back through her field agent reports. So far she

hadn’t found a single hint of a trap. For all intents and purposes, the Imperials seem to have

written off Elysium. A few Imperial warships had been posted on the more common trade routes,

as if to keep the violence from spreading, but that was all they seem to be doing… Tanj

grinned and shook her head; she was sure the Imperials had agents on Elysium, watching how

things developed, positioning themselves to make overtures to the winners of the civil war

currently going on, ready to "invite Elysium back into the fold" when things settled down… But

as far as a trap on Gibraltar station went, she could see no signs pointing to that… Closing the

folders, she paused, wondered if she should try and have one of her field agents take a walk

through Gibraltar base before they got there…. And then she rejected the idea; there simply

wasn’t time. SHE was the closest field agent...

Dixie groaned as she felt something snap somewhere in the frame of her ground attack ship.

Wrenching the stick a little further over to the left, she tried to control her ship’s tendency to roll

over onto its back. As she struggled to control her craft, she thought back, trying to figure out if

she’d done something wrong, or had just been very unlucky…. She’d never even made it to the

target. The SAMs hadn’t been where Intelligence had told her they were, and she’d flown directly

over a launcher. They must have fired the thing on infra-red seeking, and it had flown straight up

her tailpipe before she’d been able to get a decoy off. Her radar warning system had never let out

a peep. Still, she hadn’t turned into a fireball in the sky; the missile must have detonated

prematurely. Maybe some of her countermeasures system had worked after all. In any event, the

shrapnel had still taken out her left engine, and shredded a bunch of the control lines. The "low

hydraulic fluid" warning light had been red for a dozen minutes now….. Still, if she was reading

the terrain right, she’d be back over Blues-held territory in a few minutes. Then she could look for

a place to set her crate down before it fell out of the sky……

Tanj’s paw stopped, inches from the key that would close out her session, shut down her

terminal. Shifting it back to the keyboard, she called up a simple search. As she feared there

wasn’t a single mention of Mark or Mala anywhere in her ship’s computer. Frowning she

wondered again at how quickly he’d vanished. And then an odd thought struck her. Entity.

Could HE have had anything to do with that? If so, why?

Dixie’d just started scanning the treetops, looking for a suitable place to crash-land, when every

threat warning light on her instrument panel lit up, a dozen different warning tones growling in her

earphones. Twisting her head, she looked back to the left and then to the right. Two of ‘em,

closing fast. Elysium Defense force Air Superiority fighters. Gripping the shuddering stick with

both paws, she tried to force her ship further down towards the trees…… knowing all the while

that it was too late; that they’d seen her.

The ship was on autopilot, Tanj dozing at the pilot’s station, when the door to the flight deck

slid open. Hinoki, carrying two mugs of coffee, padded in. Grinning, he set one mug down and

nudged Tanj softly. "Hmmmf?" Tanj mumbled. Hinoki grinned; "Tanj, you’ve been up

here for 26 hours. Why don’t you let me take it for a bit. I promise I’ll call you if anything

happens." Tanj stretched and yawned. Scratching herself, she grinned; "I guess I could use a

shower and something to eat. We make the Jump to Rongelap in about…um,….. three hours and

seventeen minutes. We transit the system and then make the jump to Kikori. We’ll abandon the

trade route to Pangalap at that point and use the Warp Drive to cross over to Ceram, and the Kota

trade route. During that transit, we’ll change identities too. We’ll follow that for four jumps to

Gibraltar station." Gesturing to the Nav console, Tanj yawned again; "its all in there." Hinoki

bent to study a display; "Tanj, this route’s going to get us in with the fuel tanks almost dry….."

Tanj nodded; "Yeah. But if we were to just follow the jump points, using only the Alderson

drive, it’d take a minimum of eighteen jumps, and at least eight days. NOT worth the savings in

fuel, if you ask me. This way we can do it in just over four. If this IS some sort of trap, I’d rather

show up unexpectedly early…. And if this IS as important as they seem to think, well, then, we

need to get the information for the Brethren as soon as possible." Hinoki grinned; "you just want

to be there when the Elysium government falls." Tanj grinned and slurped at her coffee and

nodded; "You know me; never one to miss a victory party…."

The Missile Launch tone came as no surprise. Dixie looked at her radar one last time, and with a

convulsive motion, she released the stick and tripped her ejection seat. The aircraft tried to roll

over hard, but her seat fired before it had rolled more than 90 degrees. Flying out above the

treetops, she yelped as the ‘chute deployed. Swinging wildly she felt the concussion wave as a

missile destroyed her fighter. But the rumble didn’t fade. Twisting her head around she gasped as

one of the Elysium fighters went into a hover, not a hundred meters away. It turned slowly, as if

tracking on her. "If they kill me" she thought to herself, "That’ll be one less experienced pilot the

Blues have….." Watching the fighter, she was amazed at how calm she was. The sudden

explosion of the Elysium fighter caught her completely by surprise, and she blinked, wondering


Most space operations run ‘round the clock’, and the Brethren’s hidden base was no exception.

With so many furrs doing so many things, it was rare that any facility would be unoccupied, and

the Lion was only mildly annoyed when he heard someone moving in the exercise room. He’d

hoped to be alone, to work out some of his frustrations through exercise, and some Karate drills.

"Even at four AM," he groused to himself, "you can’t get a little privacy." Shrugging it off, he

slipped through the door. The room was large and he thought he should still have room to work

on his kata. What he saw, brought him to a sudden stop.

The trees seemed to reach up and grab for her, but before everything disappeared behind a green

curtain she saw the other Elysium fighter wheeling and speeding off… And then something

HUGE was passing directly over head. Grinning wildly she came to a sudden stop as the

parachute lines fouled in the tree branches. Hanging there, spinning slowly she yipped with

delight as one of the Pirate’s Raider ships thundered overhead. The raiders made lousy fighters;

they were HUGE targets, and they just weren’t maneuverable within the atmosphere. The

Elysium fighter should be able to fly rings around it. Not that it mattered. Not at all. Nope, not a

bit. The Raider had weapons systems and sensors designed for combat in space, and could target

anything in any direction, whereas the Elysium Air Defense fighter could only fire to its front arc.

And there wasn’t a chance in Hell that the Air Defense fighter had a weapon that could punch

through the Raider’s shields. Dixie grinned as she swung and spun; that Elysium pilot’s goose

was cooked; there was no WAY he’d be able to outrun that raider. They might not be very

maneuverable in the atmosphere, but they had power to burn, easily able to hit planetary escape

velocities….. In the distance, there was a muffled *THOOM* and Dixie chuckled. As her

pendulum motion slowed, the Vixen looked down and then sighed; "OK, Girl, now HOW are you

going to get down outta this tree?"

Bilo was lost in thought as he stomped across the muddy field. He THOUGHT he knew which

way to go, but navigating by the stars was proving to be more difficult than he'd thought. The

sudden transition from knee-high grass to matted foliage brought him back to the here-and-now,

and he looked left and right. SOMETHING large had moved through the scrub here, flattening

everything. Finding it easier to walk along the "path" he turned a little to his left and muttering,

paws in pockets, resumed his trek.

The Fox seemed to fly through the air, robes trailing like banners. The quarterstaff he held was

swinging in vicious arcs as if he were delivering blows to the heads of a multitude beneath him.

Landing with a quick roll, the Fox regained his feet, staff flashing out seemingly in all directions.

And then suddenly he was completely still, as if waiting for the next imaginary assault. His focus

seemed to be total, and if he was aware of the Lion watching him, he gave no sign.

"Rescue 41 to Angel Baker. Found her. We’re too late. Circle west and meet me at the

rendezvous point in twenty mikes." Tucking his radio back into the pouch sewn into the shoulder

of his body armor, the Panther looked up at the dangling figure and sighed. The Vixen looked a

little hefty for his tastes, but she was still nicely rounded. It looked like the Elysium patrol hadn’t

even tried to take her prisoner; they’d just shot up her body as she dangled from the parachute

caught in the tree. Shaking his head, he turned and trotted off towards where he’d rendezvous

with the VTOL, wishing he had time to recover the body for a proper burial. But there were other

stops to make, other pilots to try and rescue. Maybe next time, he’d get there first……

Bilo was still grumbling when his foot caught in something and he fell forward. Struggling to his

feet he realized that his paws and arms were sticky with something from where he’d slapped the

ground to break his fall. Shaking his foot, he glimpsed something pale squirm as he kicked free of

it; it was then that he realized that he’d tripped on a loop of intestine, and that his front was

covered with someone’s blood. Staring wide-eyed, he turned, seeing for the first time the

battlefield he’d walked into . The Corpses were all dressed slightly differently, but they all had

the red armband typical of the Reds….. Turning about he was about to flee into the darkness

when a voice called out "Over here, Kid." Turning, he peered through the night; nothing seemed

to be moving. Nothing seemed to BE there. Still, he started moving, almost as if his feet were

acting on their own, towards that friendly voice.

"That’s pretty good" the Lion rumbled; "but what do you do when you don’t have your staff with

you?" The fox looked up, a hint of a smile forming on his face; with a flick of his wrist, he

somehow collapsed the staff into a cylinder barely the length of his forearm. Tucking it into a fold

of his cloak his smile widened; "I always have it with me; but should it be taken from me in

combat, I have other…. Resources." The Lion nodded; "I can well imagine. I’m somewhat

versed in Karate and Judo, and have practiced with swords, although I have to admit, I’m hardly

an expert. But I’ve never seen a staff like that before.’ Entity produced the cylinder, as if by

magic, and with a subtle motion, made it suddenly expand to just over his height; "I would be glad

to show you some basic moves, if you have the time…."

The Creature seemed to be wearing a suit of liquid black that flowed and rippled as it moved,

blending in with the shadows behind it. The head was almost insectoid, bulging with huge, almost

hemispherical eyes. Bilo came to a halt, staring at the apparition. The creature reached up,

seemingly to remove its head, and it took a moment before Bilo’s brain realized that he was

removing a helmet. With the helmet off, Bilo realized that he was looking at a rather large Rabbit.

"Take it easy, Kid; I know the gear scares some folks right off, especially if they’ve never seen the

like before. The helmet’s got Infra-Red night vision gear; that’s how I knew you weren’t another

of those damn Reds; I could see your uniform. So tell me, Kid, whatcha doin’ out here?

Bilo wolfed down the rations without really tasting them; he hadn’t realized he was so hungry.

Between mouthfuls he tried to get out his story, telling them of the assault on his position, how

he’d woken up under his Sergeant, apparently the only survivor. The Rabbit nodded; "Yeah, the

Reds don’t like to take prisoners. And now that they’ve started butchering the wounded and

whomever they capture, the Elysium forces seem to be starting to do that too. Its getting grim."

Bilo looked at the Rabbit; "you…. You’re not Elysium Defense Forces?" The Rabbit shook his

head; "No, we’re with Colonel Hamlin’s unit. Mercenaries. Although I have to admit, it looks

like the Business Unit blew it when they took THIS contract. Don’t think there’s any way we’re

gonna be on the winning side, and its beginning to look like we’re going to have trouble just

extracting out of this mess!" Bilo just blinked; "HUH. Didn’t know they were hiring

Mercenaries!" The Rabbit had just opened his mouth to speak when a Lion poked his head out of

the hatch of one of the nearby armored vehicles. "Sergeant Major! We’ve got new orders! The

3348 th is being overrun and they want us to seal the breach!" The Rabbit stood and pulled on his

helmet; Bilo could barely hear his muffled voice as he called into the helmet’s commo link; "You

heard the Captain! Mount UP!" Suddenly the Rabbit’s voice was coming out of a speaker on the

helmet; "Head West kid, but be careful; the lines are full of holes and no one really knows where

anyone is. Good luck in linking up with your forces!" Then the rabbit was climbing up the side of

one of the armored vehicles. Fans started and the vehicle rose on a cushion of air, wheeled, and

with a hurricane of wind, moved off, following the others. In a minute, Bilo was standing all

alone in the field. Looking around, looking up at the stars, he wondered idly which way West


The Lion was panting hard as he leaned the staff against the wall and sank down to sit, leaning

back against the wall. "Takes a lot of effort to swing that thing right" he panted. The Fox,

looking as cool as if he’d just emerged from the showers, nodded; "It is never easy to have both

strength and control. It helps to have a clear mind, too. I sense you’re…. "troubled."" The Lion

chuckled; "got that right. Aside from the fact that things are going crazy down on Elysium, and

our resources are stretched thinner than ever, I have to admit I’m worried about Tanj. The

errand I sent her on seemed so "necessary" at the time, but now I wonder. Where she’s going may

not be any safer than here." The Fox nodded slowly; "and how do you handle your concerns?"

The Lion shrugged; "Worry? Mainly try and burn off the tension through exercise. That and to

keep going over everything that might happen, trying to make sure I’ve planned for every

contingency." The Fox cocked his head to one side; "Perhaps you should try meditation in

addition to your exercise." The Lion grinned; "such as chanting a Mantra?" The Fox shrugged;

"there are those that do that, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Have you ever heard of "alpha

rhythms?" They are a class of brain waves that occur during meditation. With practice you can

slip into an alpha brainwave state with little effort…." The Lion Hmmmmed; "tell me…. Do you

think this "alpha brainwave state" might let me interface better with that Brou device?" Entity

sank into a crouch, to look straight at the Lion; "I do not know; tell me what this Brou device is,

and perhaps we can figure out if it will help."

Muroc waited while the computer processed his retinal scan. The guards watched nervously, as

they all waited for the computer’s judgement. Recently there had been absolutely too many

saboteurs and assassins trying to infiltrate the Elysium command structure; just last week, a

suicide bomber believed to have been with the Reds Commandos had taken out Corps

headquarters. And three days after that, a security computer had reported that Colonel Palmer was

an imposter; the guards had promptly shot him, and it was only in the autopsy that it was

determined that the computer had been sabotaged. Needless to say everyone was more than a little

jumpy around Headquarters. Finally the computer flashed a green light, and everyone relaxed;

"Go on in, General, General Yelah is waiting for you. The Tiger nodded and picking up his

overcoat and briefcase, moved through the blast doors.

"Ah, Rafe, its good to see you again; how go things in the Buena Vista sector?" "Chaos, Bill.

The Reds don’t know how to coordinate their attacks, thank God. In some areas they’ve broken

through the lines, simply shattered them; in other places their attacks were so poor and

uncoordinated that our counterattacks have pushed them back kilometers. The result is a front that

looks like a piece of Suisse Cheese." The Jackal sighed; "Rafe, I hate to say it, but it looks to me

like only a matter of time before the whole thing folds…." The Tiger nodded; "I thought the

Mercenary units were stemming the tide……." Yelah nodded; "Oh, they are… here. But we

can’t afford all we need." Straightening the Jackal gestured at the planetary map; "Howard

DeBurr’s forces just surrendered in the Falapha pocket. The last of our forces on the southern

continent are gone. And when the Blues transfer their forces there to up here…." The Tiger

sighed and nodded; "yeah. Even the Mercs won’t be enough. So what do we do?" The Jackal

shrugged, turning back to look at the sector operational map. "I hear there are some plans afoot,

for the most senior governmental officials to flee at the last minute. Purely rumor, I’m sure, but

still….." The Tiger nodded; "and neither you, nor I are high enough up to be included in their

number, are we?" The Jackal just laughed. "So," the Tiger continued, "The options are a glorious

death in combat, or spending the rest of our lives in a Reds Re-education camp?" The Jackal

winced. "Tell me, Rafe, how old is your little girl now?" The Tiger scowled; "she just turned

six….." The Jackal nodded; "Exactly. And I’ve got a two year old granddaughter. I’d hate to see

them in some re-education camp. And Lord KNOWS what would happen to them if we were

dead…." The Tiger straightened, staring down at the Jackal; "Sir, certainly you can’t be

suggesting that we….. defect to the Reds! I’d rather see my whole family dead! The Jackal

leaned back against the operations display; "no, Rafe, not at all. I too have developed quite a

loathing for their … "dialectic." But there ARE some redeeming qualities to the Blues….." The

Tiger shook his head; "That bunch of … "Idealists?" The Jackal shrugged; "of the three options;

death, re-education, or …. "dishonor," which would you prefer? For you, AND your family."

The tiger just winced.

They stood on the engineering deck of the Intimidator, the Brethren’s flagship. The alien device

looked like a half-melted freeform sculpture, except for the heavy, superconducting power

conduits connecting it directly to the ship’s main reactor. Parks watched, yawning at the early

hour, as the Lion ran a paw over the glassy-smooth black surface of the device. "And you say all

you’ve been able to get it to do is to produce Nadions?" the Lion rumbled. Parks nodded and

shrugged; "yes, that seems to be all we’ve been able to do, unless its producing effects we don’t

have instruments to detect." The Lion turned and looked at the Ocelot; "what instructions did

Mark leave?" The Ocelot bit his lip; "well….. Like everything else related to that Mouse, the

original instructions seem to have vanished along with him. However, I’ve made some notes from

some of the experimental runs we’ve done, and they include most of his instructions. I think."

The Lion nodded, shot a look at Entity, and growled; "Lets see ‘em. I’ve put off looking into this

thing for too long.

Bilo awoke slowly. For a moment he didn’t remember where he was, and then the sunlight

streaming through the shattered roof reminded him. He’d found a burned out building at the edge

of a small, deserted town, and had crawled into it to find a place to rest. To sleep. Now it was

morning. In the sunlight, the previous night seemed like a horrible nightmare. Sitting up, he

cocked one ear towards a shattered wall; sure enough, he heard voices. Grinning he twisted and

crawled through the wreckage to see who they might be, a sudden pang of paranoia making him

move quietly until he knew who they were.

The Intimidator’s main reactor hummmed, and the power conduits crackled. The Lion sat cross-legged

before the "control panel" of the Brou device, a blizzard of printouts around him. He’d

been following the cryptic instructions, and with Entity’s coaching, had at least partially entered

an alpha brainwave state. Striving to maintain that, he pictured the effect he wanted to achieve…..

Peering through a crack in the wall, Bilo smiled; Elysium uniforms. They seemed to be setting up

some sort of check point. He must have staggered through the lines and into the rear area, for they

didn’t seem to be digging in as if they were at the front. There were two six-wheeled utility

vehicles and a hovertruck, each sporting a laser on a pintle mount. He was just about to worm his

way back through the wreckage, to go out and greet them, when there was a shout. The heads of

all the troops he could see turned to look in one direction, and from that direction there came an

answering shout. Shifting through the wreckage, Bilo tried to find a hole in the wall that would let

him see who was coming. Something made him move as quietly as he could.

The group coming in was a rag-tag assortment of furrs in Elysium uniforms. They were obviously

survivors like himself, from different units that had been overrun. But when they’d gotten to

within a dozen meters of the check point, a nattily dressed officer commanded them to halt. In a

sharp voice, the Fennec Fox questioned them as to who they were, and what they were doing. One

by one, the furrs told of units overrun, or bombed out of existence. They told harrowing tales of

sneaking through the countryside, evading the Reds, searching for their own lines. As Bilo

listened, he realized that he’d really had it comparatively easy. Then the Fox demanded to see

written orders from their unit commanders ordering them to retreat. For a moment there was

stunned silence, and then the survivors all started to loudly object, saying there was no time for

written orders, or their officers had all been slain…. The Fox, picking up a bullhorn shouted back

that without orders they were deserters and were to be treated as such! Turning, he waved at his


Bilo gasped as laser light flicked out, and he ducked away from his peephole, crouching down in

the wreckage. Curling into a ball he covered his ears, trying to drown out the screams.

Entity watched with increasing concern. Whatever this device was, it was well beyond anything

his people knew. How did IT fit into the overall scheme of things. As he watched the Lion’s

mane slowly puff out, static electricity surrounding him like a numbus, he wondered if he’d made

a mistake telling the Lion about alpha brainwaves.

It was well after dark before the Elysium troops loaded up into their vehicles and moved off. Bilo

slowly emerged from his hiding place, covered in soot. For a long time, he stood, looking at the

corpses left in the middle of the dusty street. Turning, he headed out into the woods, moving away

from the town, and as he walked he slowly shed what remained of his Elysium defense forces

uniform. As he walked, he wondered if he could find his way home, or if there was even a home

left to go to…..

Parks watched in open-mouthed amazement. His rumbling stomach forgotten, his aching legs,

tired from standing in the Engineering bay for hours, forgotten. Something was happening! The

Machine actually seemed to be DOING something…. But what?

Keaney sat up suddenly in his station chair and blinked. Leaning forward he punched up a new

display, stared at it for a moment and then half rose from his seat; "LIEUTENANT! Something

funny’s happening off the port bow!

Tanj settled into her chair in the wardroom, a hot cup of coffee between her paws. She felt like

she was living on coffee these days, with much too much to do, the caffeine the only thing keeping

her going. Glancing up, she noticed Kath working her way through a plate of lasagna. Wanda’s

plate looked as if it had been licked clean and the Cheetah had no idea what she’d been eating…

Lasagna? Where did that come from, she wondered? Vowing to herself to find out if there was

any left, she smiled at the Wolverine lass over the rim of her coffee cup...

Sara McClintock blinked and almost spilled her coffee down the front of her new outfit. Hurriedly

putting the cup down she turned to stare at the sensor display. Something was producing an

amazing flux of Nadions out there. And they all seemed to be coming from one spot not too far

from the ship!

Lieutenant Calvado looked over Keaney’s shoulder and shook his head; "that’s a very interesting

gravitational flux out there… I’ve never seen anything like it!" Keaney shuddered; "Sir, do you

think it could be some sort of new weapon? If that thing were to move through the ship, it

might….." "No, calm down, Son," Calvado purrred; "its nowhere near strong enough to damage

us." Keaney nodded; "Yeah, Ell Tee, but its building….."

Hinoki slid through the door, dropped the hard copy next to Tanj and said, "Here’s the stuff

you wanted. Everything the Brethren have in their central database about the "Starsurma."

Tanj just nodded and turned to look at the top sheet. "How come this sudden interest in the

Starsurma?" the Cheetah male rumbled as he opened the door to the refrigerator, poking his head

inside… Tanj just shrugged as she scanned a document; "That name keeps surfacing, but there

doesn’t seem to be much in the databases about them." Kath looked up; "Entity’s people? I’ve

come across some stuff about them in the course of my work with the Empire. They’re

considered quite a "problem" by the Empire." Tanj nodded; "it says here that as a race they are

above-average psi’s, generally from four to six on the scale on an individual basis, but rather more

formidable as a group." Kath wiped her mouth with a napkin and nodded; "There was a vicious

little war out there for a while when the empire decided to get rid of the threat by trying to disperse

them in an attempt to dilute their bloodlines. The Empire feels that if they can’t have all the psi

talents under their control, they don’t want them to be under anyone else’s control… Nowadays,

things have reached something of a deadlock, with the Starsurma holding only two or three of

their original systems anymore, but defending them so fiercely that the assigned imperial forces

haven’t made any further progress in decades… It’s a far cry from the whole sector they once

held…." Tanj raised an eyebrow, "Were they…. Are they an honorable people? Can we trust

him?" Kath pondered for a moment and then shrugged; "Well…. The Starsurma have a reputation

for being "inscrutable" that goes back rather further than the war. Quite frankly, I’ve no idea."

Wanda looked at Kath and shrugged; "I don't know, my impression is that Entity is what he says.

It can’t really hurt to keep him around, and might prove rather useful in the end." Hinoki pulled a

covered dish out of the ‘fridge and nodded; "It’s the people who sent him that I wonder about."

Tanj looked at the Wolverine; "He mentioned a coming battle…." Wanda shrugged a little

helplessly and nodded; "Things ARE coming to a head on Elysium. Even your average fur-on-the-

street can see that just by reading between the lines on the daily news a little." Kath nodded;

"And I trust the Reds even less since their change in leadership, and sudden reversal of fortunes.

If we don’t watch out, things just MAY blow up in our faces when we least expect it, and there

goes the glorious revolution." Tanj nodded and rose. She paused at the refrigerator door, her

gaze traveling among the leftover dishes, searching for something to quiet her rumbling stomach;

was all the Lasagna really gone? With a sigh she settled for the Sesame Chicken, shoving the

container into the microwave… There may not have been much in the database about the

Starsurma, but something told her she needed to know everything there was…

Sara found herself ignoring her coffee; usually the first cup of the day was the most important

thing for her, but now it sat forgotten on the console. The Nadion source had started sprouting

Tachyons as well, a most unusual flux of subatomic particles….

Seagraves stared at the power distribution panel and shook his head. SOMETHING was pulling

amazing levels of power from the main reactor. So far, it wasn’t critical; the ship was at rest,

concealed in the shadow of an asteroid being "mined" near the base; they didn’t need anywhere

near full output… but something was pulling power as if the main batteries were being charged!

Flipping through the displays he started searching for whatever was pulling that much power!

Hammersmith looked at the SitRep flimsy and groaned. The third of the 25 th was being overrun

by elements of the Blues "Republic" Division. Turning, the Rabbit strode across the Operations

Center, from one side of the camouflage netting to the other, moving through the mottled spots of

sunshine on the grassy ground. Centering his gaze on the furr he was looking for, he approached a

grizzled old Wolf. "Sergeant Major!" The Wolf turned and regarded his Brigade commander

quietly. Thirty years with the Elysium Defense forces had given him an exterior calm that seldom

cracked. "The third of the 25 th is being overrun. I want you to gather all the rear echelon

personnel, get them over there, and plug the leak. Take the cooks and the clerks, and go save our

butts!" The Command Sergeant Major nodded, threw an informal salute to his General, and

turned to go see what he could find. He knew, with all the air raids that they’d been suffering, that

he wouldn’t find enough…..

Calvado grimaced; "OK, Keaney, now I can agree with you. Now that thing out there’s powerful

enough to be dangerous." Turning, he waved to get the attention of the Officer of the Deck….

The sudden blaring of the General Quarters alarm broke the Lion’s concentration. Blinking, he

looked around and then stood up, wondering if they’d been discovered, wondering if the base was

under attack. Motioning for Entity to follow, he headed for the nearest lift, and the Bridge.

Sara wimpered as the beautiful display of particles suddenly vanished, winking out as if someone

had turned off a light. Making sure her console had logged the event, she picked up her cup of

coffee only to find it cold. Frowning she turned, hearing the General Quarters alarm for the first


Dominy knelt in the mud, her head down, her chest heaving. Somehow her position had been

encircled, and before she knew it, the Reds were behind her fire team, and the rest of the platoon,

cutting them off from retreat. Someone had screwed up bad. The Lieutenant had wanted to keep

fighting, but a sniper had solved that problem for them. The First Sergeant had found a piece of

cloth that was still somewhat white, and waving it on the end of a pole, had surrendered the unit.

Now they were all in a muddy, sodden group, roughly herded into a group by the victors. Her ears

swiveling, she listened as a small group of Reds started making their way through the prisoners.

Parks worked through the shutdown sequence, a sheaf of notes in one paw, as he took the Brou

device down to standby power. Somehow, the Boss had wrung more out of it than he’d been able

to in the last half dozen attempts. He’d hoped that all the recorders had been running; he badly

wanted to go over the sensor readouts, just as soon as his schedule permitted, to see just what had


The Lion looked at the Bridge crew, and shook his head; "a Gravity Weapon? Um. Ah…. No, we

were just running an impromptu test of the Brou device. Sorry, should have warned you about it.

Secure from General Quarters, and extend my apologies to all hands….."

Hammersmith shouted into the radio handset; "what do you MEAN you don’t have any tubes left?

WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? ….. Oh. Well, gather your survivors and get them to….. 238

188. You just became infantry. Dig in and HOLD that crossroad! Broadsword 6 out." Looking

up at the clear, windless sky through the camouflage netting, the Rabbit cursed; "Damn air strikes!

Not a single artillery piece left….." The vehemence of his cursing trailed off as his eyes focused

on a dot in the sky, just above the trees….. It seemed to be growing larger…..

Keaney watched the Lion and the Fox leave the bridge of the Overlord, and then nudged Calvado;

"Hey, maybe that gizmo the Boss got from them Aliens is useful after all. Maybe we can use it to

rip apart enemy ships!" Calvado frowned at the retreating Lion’s back; "Yeah… Maybe. If he

can control it. Personally, I’d rather stick with the Lasers and particle beams…."

……. A new contact cataloged have I. Different the minds here are. Primitive, it is. Adjustments

need to make I do……

Parks watched the blinking lights and symbols on the surface of the Brou Machine, and idly

wondered what it might be thinking…….

Dominy’s body jerked convulsively as the pistol shot rang out just three kneeling figures down the

line from her. With a soft squelch, the First Sergeant’s body fell over backwards into the mud.

With an amazing lack of emotion, the team of three Reds shifted to their right one step and started

questioning Corporal LeFerve….

As they walked towards the shuttle that would return them to the base, Entity looked up at the

Lion; "you know, there are other ways to handle stress besides exercise and meditation. I’ve

always found that sex works well." The Lion’s laugh echoed down the corridor.

Hammersmith was diving for the slight shelter given by the command post track, when the missile

streaked overhead. For a moment he thought they were saved, as there was no immediate

explosion, and then he realized that clouds of vapor were spewing from its sides….

"No, actually, I think its got great promise!" Hinoki shoveled another spoonful of the casserole

into his mouth and smiled at Wanda; "Just think of all those poor souls in isolated places. Solitary

duty at an ice mining station, or an ore processing station. Some prospector in a singleship. Some

maintenance tech in an automated factory. Or even some busy executive that just doesn’t have the

time to develop a relationship with someone of the opposite sex…." Tanj set her cup of coffee,

and her plate down, and looked blankly from face to face; "What’s the topic of discussion?" Zassa

chuckled; "Oh, Hinoki’s telling us about a project he and some of his friends are working on; a

computer simulation program, complete with tactile sensation suite and holographic projection.

Of course, knowing our Cheetah, its main purpose is sex." Hinoki chuckled; "its ONLY purpose

is sex, including all the kinks!" Tanj chuckled and shook her head; "and do you really think it

can replace a warm, willing body?" Hinoki shrugged; "I dunno, this thing’s coming up

awwwwwfully good! You see, I’ve integrated a large number of miniature and subminiature

tractor and pressor modules…." Wanda snorted; "Oh, PULEEZE! Spare us the technogeek talk!"

Kath chuckled; "Yeah, next thing you’ll have Tanj going. That’s all we need is another of her

engineering diatribes…." Tanj stuck her tongue out at Kath, but with a smile on her face. She

remembered the last major engineering controversy; she and Mark had argued back and forth,

every waking moment, for three days…. Mark….. Where WAS he now? Shaking that off,

Tanj looked at Hinoki; "so when do we get to see this technological marvel?" Hinoki looked a

little sheepish; "well, to tell you the truth, I’ve got the beta version on the ship… I’ve been using

quiet time to work with the "solo" routines…. But I admit, I could certainly use someone else’s

neurological inputs. Especially from as highly "tuned" and responsive a female as yourself….

You want to be a guinea pig?" Tanj chuckled and sipped her coffee; "I dunno; I feel like I’ve

been through half the universe already; don’t know if I want the other half thinking of me only in

that regard too….." Hinoki just chuckled; "think of it as immortality, of sorts. Think of the

reputation you’d develop! But if you’re too chicken; if you think I might do things to you that

would take you beyond your limits……" Tanj snorted, and thumped her mug down, coffee

sloshing dangerously near to spilling; "Chicken? HAH! You think I can’t handle it? Tell you

what, you let me have "editorial review" to make sure it doesn’t slam me in some way, and I’m

game." After a moment she grinned wryly; "AND, if I help you develop it, I get a piece of the

action too!" Hinoki’s eyes went wide, and then a strange look came over his face; grinning

wickedly, he nodded energetically; "oh, of course. OF COURSE!"

Dominy jumped less at the second pistol shot, and held herself rigidly still as LeFerve’s body hit

the mud. Mind numb, she wondered WHY the Reds were doing this… and then they were in front

of her. "What is your rank?" was the question. Blinking, Dominy mumbled; "Private first

class…. Sir." One of the Reds nodded, and then after a glance to the one in the middle, growled;

"and what is the highest level of education you have received?" Eyes going a little wider, Dominy

muttered; "Um…. I dropped out of high school in my Junior year…." This time two of the Reds

nodded in seeming approval. After a moment’s consideration, the one in the middle said; "Send

her off to the labor battalion." Then strong hands were pulling her up, shoving her towards the

road. Behind her, she heard them ask Kemmer; "what education have you received?" As she

squelched through the mud, she heard his voice faintly, proudly; "I was in the Master’s program at

the Middleboro University. Law." The sound of the pistol speaking again barely made her twitch.

Tanj sat on the Bridge, watching the instruments. She’d waded through the day’s intelligence

updates, sent to the ship by subspace tight beam… and now her mind wandered. Thinking back to

Hinoki’s reaction, she decided he’d agreed just a little too eagerly. WHAT was he up to?

Fuel-air explosives are tricky to use; the atmospheric conditions have to be just right. But when

they are used successfully, they are second in power only to thermonuclear weapons. The day was

calm, with low humidity, and the weapon detonated perfectly. Everything in the little valley was

smashed flat, and then burned to a cinder. In a fraction of a second, the Brigade headquarters had

ceased to exist.

The Command Sergeant Major turned, at the head of his column of cooks, bakers, accountants and

clerks, and frowned at the mushroom cloud rising from the valley they’d just left. Shaking his

head, he gestured forward with his assault rifle; "Come on, we still got our orders…."

Raquel ran for all she was worth, her nightdress flapping around her pistoning legs. Suddenly a

shadow, fractionally darker than the night around it, converged from her left. Trying not to cry

out, to draw the others, she twisted, trying hard to evade it, but it collided with her HARD,

knocking her to the ground. Roughly she was turned over, her shoulders and hips pressed HARD

to the ground. The face of a Coyote leered down at her; "well, lookey what we got here!" In a

moment other figures crowded around, grinning. All wore semblances of military uniforms, all

wore the red armband of a Reds Militia. Looking wild-eyed from face to face, Raquel stared

fearfully at her captors. After a moment, a rather rough looking Panther shoved his way between

two of the furrs, to stare down at her. Without a word he made a gesture, and the Coyote grabbed

the neckline of her nightie, ripping it down the front, leaving her body bare to their gaze. The

Panther nodded; "Very Nice." Then turning to the Field Mouse to his left he growled; "she came

from that big house down the road?" The Mouse nodded; "Yeah, the one with the wrought iron

fence, and the stables out back." The Panther nodded; "obviously one of our Capitalist

Oppressors…" Raquel eeped and shook her head hard; "No! NO! I’m the gardener’s daughter!

Not Ser Clem’s!" The Panther just grinned and shrugged, his fangs shining whitely in the thin

moonlight; "Then you’re a lackey of our oppressors!" Looking at the Coyote, the Tiger grinned;

"do what you will with her, but when you’re done, take what’s left to that "Comfort Battalion" the

commisars are "recruiting" for, over in Ostende." As the furrs crowded closer, Raquel screamed.

Tanj looked up as the door to the flight deck slid open and Zassa, completely nude, as was her

shipboard habit, sashayed in, a cup of coffee in one hand and a cup of cocoa in the other. Setting

the cup of coffee down by the Cheetah fem, Zassa grinned; "Think you’ve been up here long

enough. I’ll mind the store. Hinoki’s looking for you. He said it was "time to put up or shut up",

and if you had the guts you should meet him down in the Cargo Bay." Tanj sipped her coffee

and then grinned; "if I’ve got the guts…. Who the heck does he think he’s talking to? I took

everything the Academy had to hand out, and more. I’m tough enough to take ANYTHING he

dishes out!" Zassa grinned and folded herself into the copilot’s station chair; "you Go, Girl! Just

shout if you need help, I’ll try and keep an eye on you through the security cameras." Tanj

nodded and rose, and coffee mug in hand, swaggered from the flight deck.

Prestridge looked at the battalion’s commissar and shook his head; "Comrade Hagemeyer, these

prisoners have already been vetted by your bureau. Their officers, their intelligencia have all been

…" Making a face, the Bear managed to squeeze out; "…. Neutralized." With a sigh, he went on,

spreading his paws wide; "what we have left are the peasants, the workers, the downtrodden

impressed into the military of a desperate, despotic government! Why should we kill THEM?

The Squirrel’s tail twitched, and he stared back for a second; "My dear Captain Prestridge; the

simple fact is that we do not have the resources to guard them. The labor battalions and re-education

camps are overflowing. We dare not remove loyal troops from the front to guard the

prisoners." The Bear shook his head in wonder; "so we’re just going to KILL them? That’s…..

Inhumane! That can’t possibly be what the Revolution stands for!" After a moment, the Bear

drew himself up to his full height; staring down at the squirrel, he growled; "and I won’t do it. I

am a soldier. A freedom fighter. NOT a murderer!

Hendley heard the shot; dropping the battered tin cup he’d just filled with coffee, he drew his

sidearm and pushed his way into the tent. The political officers just stared at him with stony

expressions. One of them was in the process of holstering his side-arm… Looking down at the

body of his commanding officer and friend he looked up at the Commissar; "what happened

here?" The Squirrel calmly regarded the Otter; "Captain Prestridge proved to be a traitor to the

cause. You are now in charge. I have orders for your unit, Lieutenant Hendley. And should you

fail to carry them out, I can assure you the same fate as this Traitor here." To emphasize his point

he kicked the Bear’s body.


Hijinks Enroute

Putting her coffee mug in the dishwasher, Tanj paused. She had this feeling that Hinoki was

going to "ambush" her…. Chuckling, telling herself once again that she could take anything he

could dish out, she pulled down the zipper to her jumpsuit. Wadding it up, she tossed it through

the open door to her cabin, as she strode, as nude as Zassa, towards the Cargo Bay.

Kath, followed by Wanda, the latter looking behind her, off down the corridor at the back of a

retreating Cheetah fem, slipped through the door to the flight deck. "Got the camera set up?"

Zassa nodded; "Oh yeah; all dialed in. Three angles. Holotape running." Wanda chuckled and

rubbed her hands together; "this is gonna be veeeeery interesting…."

Tanj stopped just outside the bulkhead doors to the Cargo Bay. For a moment she ran her mind

over all the things Hinoki had come up with over the years….. Like the speculum, and the ice

chips and the tobasco sauce….. That hadn’t been too pleasant, but in its own way, it had been

kinda erotic. Bracing herself, she slapped the access button, and as the doors parted, she looked

curiously into the Cargo bay.

The Cargo bay was, as usual, well lit. The cargo looked to have been undisturbed, the containers

locked down to the floor in a pattern decreed by the ship’s computer, to get the center of gravity as

close to perfect as possible. In the open area between the access doors and the first of the cargo

containers, a trusswork had been set up, almost filling the empty space. Four vertical beams close

to the walls supported a square of beams about four meters off the deck, while another square

rested on the floor. The beams looked to be heavier than needed to support the gadgets and

gizmos lining them. There were lights, holographic projectors, and holographic cameras, as well

as other things that she could only guess at. Hinoki had mentioned micropressors and

microtractors, and if that’s what those modules were, there were enough of them…. Thick bundles

of cables led off to one corner of the framework, and thence off into the maze of cargo containers.

Looking around, not seeing Hinoki, Tanj stepped forward, stepping over the first of the beams,

and into the square.

The sensations were tenuous as first. As she walked calmly towards the far corner, intending to

follow the cable to wherever Hinoki might be, phantom fingers caressed her body, as if measuring

every contour and curve. Gradually, they centered on her legs and arms. The sensations seemed

to slither down her limbs, to concentrate at her ankles and wrists. For a moment the sensations

seemed to follow the motions of arms and legs as she walked. Gradually resistance increased,

making her feel as if she’d walked into a pool of water, and then as if the water had turned to

honey, until she found herself forced to a halt. In surprise, she opened her mouth, to yell, but as

she did so, it seemed as something large, and soft, and invisible filled her mouth, almost as if a

giant tasteless marshmallow had been shoved between her teeth. The yell was a muffled yelp….

Suddenly it seemed as if the constrictions at wrists and ankles had subdivided, bands of pressure

moving up to just above her knees and elbows, while the remaining pressures remained at wrists

and ankles. Then the forces subdivided again, moving along her body until she felt pressure above

her breasts and around her waist. Looking down, she could actually see her fur flattened, her waist

pressed in, as if by a tight belt. As the band of force just above her breasts subdivided, she yelped

into the nothingness filling her mouth as it compressed her breasts as it moved down over them,

finally settling just below them, tightening there also. While it wasn’t too hard to breath, it was

similar to wearing a very stiff corset…..

Suddenly her whole body jerked, and held by the bands of force, she was wrenched upwards, her

head moving forward, arms and legs being pulled firmly apart. In an instant, she was hanging,

suspended, face down, about one and a half meters off the floor. Whatever had her in its grip

didn’t stop there, for a moment later she felt pressures against her crotch. Invisible fingers were

spreading her nether lips, probing her sex, and then something was pushing its way into her pussy

and her ass, with the same soft resiliency to match the phantom presence in her mouth. Twisting

her head around, she waited, seemingly floating in mid-air, obscenely spread and filled.

Wanda purrrred, and pulled Kath into her lap; "now that was interesting…. Wonder how our

Brave Captain liked that?" Kath giggled, squirming a little; "Dunno, but it looked fun to ME!"

Wanda smiled; "be good, and maybe we’ll let you have your turn in Hinoki’s little creation."

Zassa looked up from the monitor and chuckled; "Me first!"

Hinoki resembled some technomonster as he stepped from between the freight containers. He had

some sort of electronic goggles strapped over his eyes, various other sensors taped to his body or

held in place by a rather unusual harness. He walked carefully, trailing a bundle of wires. The

remote in his hands took two hands to hold, two to control, its wires also feeding into the harness

covering his body. Grinning at the trapped Cheetah fem, he flipped a switch on the control box,

and then let it hang from its straps connected to his harness. Bending down, he picked up another

bundle of leather and wires and sensors and stepped closer to Tanj.

"The sensors in the framework are good; I’m sure they caught your initial surprise, the sensation

of being suddenly captured by the tractor and pressor beams, but they’re just not as good as the

direct contact sensors. I’ll get you all wired up, plugged in, and calibrated, and then we’ll run

through some of what our little invention can do. Your feelings, your sensations, and to an extent,

even your thoughts will be captured, and become part of the system, part of the program. I know,

you may not understand all that now, but later, when you’ve had a chance to experience it from

MY point of view, I’m sure you’ll understand…. AND approve. Oh, and by the way, everything

that happens to you, well, I’ll receive the complimentary sensations; it’ll be as if I was doing it all

to you……"

Tanj groaned and tried to buck her hips as Hinoki inserted thin little sensors into her pussy and

ass; his fingers there felt good, and she was only a little surprised to find herself quite wet. As the

engineer in her wondered how he managed to work his fingers into a volume supposedly already

filled by a creation of pressor and tractor beams, another part of Tanj’s mind decided that she

actually kinda liked being grabbed like this……

Tanj’s head came up as the holographic projectors flickered to life. Hinoki seemed to vanish,

along with the cargo bay, to be replaced with a jungle scene. Below her, lay a broadsword, still in

its sheath, and a traveler’s pack. There were also a few scraps of leather that might have been

clothing. Suddenly Tanj found that she couldn’t move her head, and crossing her eyes, she

tried to focus on the thick green tendril that now seemed to be the source of the presence in her

mouth, she felt something move in her pussy, and ass. Groaning as the tentacle monster turned

her, pulling her upright, she squirmed, trying to fight it. "I’m not sure what the script calls for

here" she thought to herself, "but this seems the natural thing to do…" however, the pressor and

tractor beams were much stronger than she was, and while she was able to move her limbs a little,

there was no way to escape…. .and after a while, as tentacles found her breasts, pulled on her tail,

and manipulated her body, her motions turned from escape to those of someone writhing in


Kath’s eyes darted over to Zassa; the vixen was slouched down in her station chair, her left paw

caressing her right breast, her right hand stroking between her legs, oblivious to whomever might

be watching. Chuckling to herself, the Mink reached out to stroke her Mistress, wondering if the

Wolverine was as excited by the spectacle as she was…..

Hinoki groaned as the devices on the harness he wore, transmitted the sensations to him; he WAS

the tentacle monster. His cock seemed to be in her mouth, in her ass, in her pussy all at the same

time, his hands all over her body, tugging at her nipples, stroking her rump…… this was one of

his better programs, and he was proud of his creation……

Tanj’s pussy clenched down hard on the tentacle within her pussy as her third climax ripped

through her…… as the waves of pleasure receded, she found that the motions of the tentacle

monster had slowed, and then stopped. Opening her eyes she found herself held horizontal once

again, spreadeagled, apparently the default position. The visions were gone, the cargo bay once

again in her sight. And there, leaning against one of the cargo containers was Hinoki. It seemed

the Cheetah male had made a mess of himself…….

Hinoki grinned at Tanj; "Dear, you have no idea how fantastic that was. I really wish I could

let you down from there, to get you to clean me up, but I’m sure you’ll be needed on the flight

deck eventually, and there is just SO much to do. There are….. "emotional responses" that we

need to get to a range of different situations. So you just relax, and I’ll start the next sequence….

As Hinoki pushed a button on his display, the cargo bay once again dissolved in the flicker of the

holographic projectors. Tanj swooped and suddenly found herself on her feet, upright, in the

midst of what appeared to be ruins. Dorthic columns lay shattered, amidst large blocks of

limestone, all jumbled about, and overgrown with vines and weeds, as if long abandoned.

Looking down at herself, she found she was clad in a thin white shift, descending from her left

shoulder, belted at the waist, the dress barely long enough to cover her crotch. "Reminds me of

the themes, scenes and shows" class" she grumbled to herself, suddenly realizing that the presence

was gone from her mouth. The sound of something moving made her turn, ears twitching…..

From the rubble, a huge Minotaur came into view. He was naked, wild looking, and he sniffed the

air with a predatory growl….. Tanj stifled a small cry and moved back and to the side a little,

seeking the shelter of one of the blocks of limestone. Her motion caught his eye, however, and he

turned to lower his head and charge at her. Tanj yelped and turned to flee.

The rubble was like a maze, and Tanj turned the corners, sprinting hard. There are few

creatures faster than a frightened Cheetah, and Tanj had kept herself in good shape; therefore

the increasing sound of hoofbeats and the Minotaur’s snorts coming from behind her shook her

deeply… and then she remembered. She HAD to be running in mid-air, held by the tractor and

pressor beams. If she concentrated, she could feel the chafing of the sensory harness….. She was

still trapped in Hinoki’s little toy. OF COURSE the Minotaur was going to catch her. OF

COURSE she was going to be ravished! For a moment she thought about just letting it happen,

but then she wondered why she should go easy on Hinoki. After all, he HAD to be wearing that

tactile sensation feedback suit too…. Grinning, she turned a corner, looking for something……

It might have been a piece of a flagpole once; the wooden shaft was almost overgrown with

weeds. Tanj skidded to a stop and dived back, the Minotaur actually vaulting over her in

surprise. As the Monster turned, snorting wildly, Tanj hefted the pole up in quarterstaff

position. The Minotaur’s charge was expected, and Tanj swung the pole’s end down, and then


Hinoki HOWLED as the micropressors and microtractors on the tactile sensation harness tried to

crush his testicles…… THAT was something he hadn’t expected, hadn’t programmed for!

Reluctantly, he admitted to himself that Tanj had indeed found a bug in his program, one that

could have resulted in a lot of grief had it gone to market like that….. grunting, knowing the

gizmos didn’t have the power to seriously hurt him, he straightened and growled. He wouldn’t let

her do that to him again, and for that, she’d pay, and pay dearly!

Tanj saw the monster stagger and stop, and for a moment had the insane impulse to step in,

swinging the pole, and finish him… but she remembered it was all just a "game", and instead

pulled her flimsy dress off over her head. When the Minotaur charged again, she tossed the fabric

at him, the dress catching on his horns, falling in his eyes. As he howled in outrage, Tanj used

the pole to bark him in the shins, and then bring it around behind his knees, dropping him into the

dust. Chuckling, Tanj was convinced that the next time this scenario was run, every single

piece of "wood" on the ground would be too rotten to be used for this purpose…..

Zassa was sitting on the edge of her seat, staring at the monitor; she couldn’t believe Tanj was

playing that rough! "She’s really gotta be pissed at him for tricking her into this, like that!"

Wanda smiled and stroked Kath gently; "Yeah, but you have to remember, she’s still caught in his

little toy; want to bet he gets his revenge?"

The Minotaur seemed to recover quickly, scrambling to his feet; suddenly he seemed more wary,

more calculating….. Tanj backed warily, her pole held like a quarterstaff; however the chunk

of limestone that suddenly materialized behind her caused her to stumble, and the Minotaur was

on her in an instant, driving her to the rough, rubble-strewn ground.

Wanda watched the monitor, shaking her head. Hinoki was a good four meters from Tanj

when he pounced; his body slammed into the floor, and yet Tanj had been jerked backwards

and down just as if the Cheetahs had slammed together. It was weird, watching it this way; with

the holoprojection field off-angle, the monitor was full of ghosts; she could see blurry

representations of what the scene was supposed to look like, but she could make out Tanj and

Hinoki too…..

Tanj yelped as the Minotaur cuffed her, her head snapping around from a phantom blow that

was scarcely felt. Then he was rolling her over, to bind her hands with the remnants of her own

dress. Then the world turned upside-down as he threw her over his shoulder, turned, and with a

bone-jarring stride, trotted off through the rubble.

Zassa stretched in her station chair; "so why’s he doing this again? I mean, its neat, but how does

it relate to the final product?" Kath grinned; "I think he’s looking for unexpected reactions, and

the "victim’s" sensations. I don’t think this thing’s just for dominant males; what if you want to

play the damsel in distress?" Wanda purrred; "or just sit back and enjoy the experiences and

emotions of the damsel in distress? Does he have a way of not only forcing someone in Tanj’s

place to go through the physical sensations, but also to feel her emotions?" Kath just shrugged;

"Could be an interesting experience, if he can. Can you imagine what it would be like to

experience his sensations as a male?"" Wanda smiled; "Interesting concept……"

Tanj hit the floor with a thud. For a moment she lay there, stunned, not that it had been a

painful impact, but with the realization that while it had FELT like a hard impact, it had been more

like she’d been dropped on a bed than on the cave’s rock floor. Then the Minotaur was back, with

armfulls of coarse hemp rope…..

The wooden beam had somehow been sunk into the rock floor of the cave. The Minotaur had laid

her down in front of it, and had then tied her calves to the upright. Tied them tightly. He’d then

lashed a cross-beam to the upright, and untying her bound arms, had pulled her arms apart, and

behind her, tying one wrist to either end of the cross-beam. Tanj found herself leaning forward

at about a 45 degree angle, her weight on her knees, her arms pulled behind her. The monster had

then tied a leather thong to her hair, and pulling her head back hard, had tied the other end of that

to the cross-beam. She found herself helplessly looking up at the monster. The Minotaur grunted

down at her, and taking his member in one dirty hand, started rubbing its head against her


Tanj gagged as the Minotaur thrust his shaft into her mouth, pressing its head against the back

of her throat. The taste and the scents weren’t there, but most of the other tactile sensations

were… and if they weren’t perfect, then they were very close……. Grunting, she worked her

tongue over the creature’s shaft, wondering if Hinoki could feel that…..

Hinoki groaned, as Tanj started to move her tongue; she knew JUST how to do that to him…..

and he wondered if she knew how much that drove him mad….. Chuckling to himself, he figured

by the time he was done with her, she WOULD know…… Forcing his mind back to the business

at hand, for in a way, it WAS business, he placed his hands at the back of her head and started

bucking his hips, thrusting his cock in and out of her tantalizing mouth.

Tanj gasped and gagged as the Monster handled her so roughly, driving his battering-ram of a

cock into her mouth, against the back of her throat, until ultimately he forced it down her throat.

The program didn’t seem to have any safeties in that regard, as several times she felt her lungs

burning, her vision growing dim, as the Minotaur’s cock prevented her from breathing. Finally,

however, with a great roar, the beast came, his cock discharging what felt like gallons of cum into

her mouth, down her throat….. And yet, she didn’t feel her stomach bloat, as she expected……

Finally he released her, stepping back, to wipe his softening cock on her face…..

Hinoki panted and staggered across the "cave" to find a seat. Lord, that fem could drain him!

That was twice, now, that he’d cum, in short order. He was good for a few more, before he’d have

to stop…. But there were ways to recharge the batteries in the meantime……

Zassa grinned as the Minotaur finally collapsed; she didn’t know what Tanj thought of it all at

this point, but from her point of view it was great theater…. The vixen’s head turned as Kath

slithered off Wanda’s lap, the Wolverine lass rising and stretching. "Where ya going? He’s not

done with her yet" the Vixen asked. Wanda chuckled; "gotta use the potty….. Kath, why don’t

you make us all some popcorn. I figure we got a few minutes intermission….." Kath just

chuckled, nodded and turned to sashay through the flight deck door, closely followed by her


Tanj watched the Minotaur shift. She’d caught her breath, and stretched against her bonds a

little, amused that she was apparently wearing out Hinoki…. The Minotaur seemed to reach

down, to pick up something, and then suddenly the illusion wavered, losing solidity. For a

moment, she saw Hinoki, faintly, the Male cheetah still covered in the tactile sensation

feedback/neurological sensor harness… and then things were taking form again. Now he was a

gray wolf, covered in some sort of brown robe, a hood pulled over his head. The cave had

metamorphosed into a classical dungeon, with torches in brackets on the walls, flickering light

illuminating the stone walls…. As the scene changed, so did her position, her body being pulled

from the floor, her legs shifting to a standing position…. In a moment she found herself in a

"Posture Brace"… the A-frame of wrought iron had a steel collar at the top, locked around her

neck; the legs of the A descended to end in iron cuffs around her ankles. A bar between the legs

of the A kept her feet well spread. Cuffs midway along the length of the legs of the A held her

wrists… and the whole thing was short enough that she was forced into a bent-over posture, as if

she were bowing to the Wolf. These things had been used in ancient times to force prisoners into

a contrite position, in the presence of their betters…. The whole scene had an "inquisition" flavor

to it…..

Shifting her feet, Tanj found she wasn’t tied down, but could actually move a little. Not like

she could run, or even walk normally like this…. Shifting a little, she looked around. There was

the classic "rack", and an iron maiden… the walls were adorned with manacles, and other

restraints… but the whole thing looked too "clean"…. And she couldn’t help but wonder if they

didn’t have a cleaning furr come in twice a week…..

Hinoki released the remote, letting it dangle from its straps, and turned to look at his captive. He

smiled and shook his head; perhaps it was time to show Tanj just exactly what it was his

program could do… Reaching down, he lifted the remote for a second, and after a moment’s

consideration, entered a few changes…..

Tanj felt something tickle her back… shaking her head, she suddenly had the sensation of a

much fuller head of hair…. While she’d always worn her hair long, down to the small of her back,

now it seemed to fall to her rump. For a moment she toyed with tossing her head back and forth,

feeling the illusion of tresses sliding across her back. "Ah, I see the slut still shows spirit…."

Tanj turned her head, and then shifted her body awkwardly to face the "wolf"… "you…

talkin’ to me?" As she moved she glanced down momentarily, unsure of the position of her feet,

and almost fell forward onto her face. That wasn’t her foot! Tilting her head down further, she

glanced down along her body, openmouthed…..

Hinoki chuckled to himself as he reached out a gray paw to grab the Tigress’ hair, more to keep

her from falling than as a torment…. Tanj eeped, but soon had her balance back. Releasing

her, Hinoki padded around her, his fingers steepled in front of him; "Yes, the haughty Tigress

barmaid from the infamous "Black Prince" tavern….. The Cardinal knows you entertained the

Baron DuBosse there last night… Him and a number of his treasonous rebels…. And before you

leave here, if indeed you ever leave here, you WILL tell me all about it.

Tanj squirmed, and managed to flip her tail between her legs; sure enough, it was orange with

black stripes. It looked GOOD. Wishing she could find a full length mirror in which to examine

this magic, she looked up at the "monk" and growled; "Aw, put a sock in it. Even if I’d heard

anything, I wouldn’t tell YOU!" The "monk" just sighed; "such a recalcitrant child. Perhaps a

touch of the cat will loosen your tongue, and allow you to find some measure of respect for your

betters…." Tanj’s eyes went wide as the Wolf went to the wall and took down a cat ‘o nine


Hinoki chuckled; this was going to be quite a surprise for Tanj… he grinned wickedly and

snapped the whip with all his might, just in front of the "Tigress’" nose….

Tanj eeped and almost fell over backwards, as she struggled to move away from the crack of

the whip. Surely Hinoki wouldn’t actually USE that thing on her!

Hinoki took a step to one side, his gaze roaming over that marvelous posterior…. Bringing the

whip back, he let fly, the nine strands cracking across the globes of her ass.

Tanj HOWLED and almost fell forward onto her nose; the Posture Brace making it almost

impossible to move. She drew in a great breath to scream again… and then closed her mouth.

She’d felt the whip land, felt the sting of each of the strands….. it had just taken her mind a

moment to realize that she wasn’t hurt….. oh, it’d stung, a little… just enough to allow her to

react. Something in the program had drastically diminished the force. Her chest heaving as she

panted, she shook her head; for someone who wanted to play-act, or even someone who wanted to

play the victim, this thing DID have its posibilities!

Hinoki watched as the reality set in. Grinning, he pulled back his arm for another stroke.

Tanj howled and writhed under the repeated blows of the lash. Some part of her mind

registered that she even SOUNDED like a Tigress….. The strokes landed on back, and ass, on

breasts… and occasionally, the "monk" was wickedness incarnate, swinging the cat up between

her legs. There, Tanj found the sensations both slightly more painful, and significantly more

erotic, the combined effect serving to get her VERY hot….. The "monk" beat her until he was

exhausted…. The entire experience left Tanj strangely aroused… Curiously, the beating

seemed to have the same effect on the "monk" as well, the front of his robe protruding


"Well, slut, if that won’t make you talk, perhaps there are other ways….." Trying hard to keep the

smile from his face, Hinoki padded around behind the bent-over Tanj; undoing his robe he took

his hard cock in hand and with one paw on her hip, stroked the head of his cock over the

"Tigress’" pussy….

Tanj groaned as Hinoki’s cock shoved into her sex; the posture brace was holding her bent

over, just about right for him, but it took his paws on her hips to steady her against his

thrusting….. bound as she was, there was little she could do except savor the sensations… and in a

way, it really was thrilling…. Something like this would let you roleplay an incredible variety of

situations……. Grunting as the "Wolf’s" thick cock drove into her again and again, she squirmed

as best she was able, doing what she could to change angle, to work back against him……

Hinoki grinnned, wondering if the program would work as he’d tried to set it up. Grunting hard,

he thrust at the Tigress, doing his best to push an imaginary "knot" into her…..

Tanj grunted as she felt something pound against her pussy; she’d had many a Canid in her

time, and knew well the "knot" that develops at the base of their shafts… "Could he REALLY

have the program THAT sophisticated?" she wondered as he pounded against her… and then as

something even larger shoved into her, triggering her climax, she ceased to wonder, and just let

herself enjoy the waves of pleasure flowing through her.

Hinoki grunted, the system very VERY accurately transmitting the clenching, spasming sensations

of Tanj’s pussy to his own shaft… with a grunt, he realized that his own orgasm was upon him,

and with a very uncharacteristic, very lupine howl, started to cum hard.

Zassa twisted and looked at the Pilot’s console as something started beeping. "Oh HELL!" the

Vixen growled. Wanda twisted to look, concern on her face; "What?" Zassa shifted and reached

towards the comm console; "Oh, nothing; just coming up on another jump point. I’m going to

have to interrupt the entertainment; Tanj really should be here when we make the jump…..

Both Kath and Wanda looked at each other and groaned….

The Beep of the intercom made them both jump. As Tanj panted, she tried to look around,

only to find that she and the Wolf were tied together by his "knot"….. grinning she tugged at him

as she shuffled her feet, only to almost loose her balance again. Behind her, the Wolf let out a

yelp that sounded curiously like Hinoki. "Um, hate to interrupt your fun, guys, but we got a jump

point coming up in…. 53 minutes. Tanj, you should be here before then." Hinoki grimaced;

"Um, not quite yet, Zassa. Hold the fort, start the pre-jump checklist. I’ve got one more thing that

I have GOT to show Tanj, before I let her free.

Hinoki grunted and tried pulling back, as if to pull out of Tanj, only to find that the "knot" had

them locked together. "Dammit I don’t have TIME for this thing to relax on its own! I WOULD

have to choose a "big bad Wolf" wouldn’t I? Tanj chuckled and wiggled her bottom a little,

teasingly. This brought forth a wince; the individual whip strokes weren’t much by themselves,

but she realized she’d absorbed quite a few. That too needed attention in the program. "Um, try

changing your species; that should get rid of the "knot" problem." Hinoki grinned; "gooooood

idea. You see, it DOES pay to fuck an Engineer sometimes." Flipping up the safety cover on the

remote, Hinoki entered an alphaneumeric string and suddenly Tanj felt "him" shrinking within

her. Seconds later, he was free.

Moving around into Tanj’s field of vision, the "Wolf" seemed to fumble with thin air, and then

suddenly Tanj’s stance was being changed; the posture brace gone…. Her paws were being

pulled upwards and apart, her legs likewise being spread. Hanging spread-eagled in the air, feet

just off the floor, she watched as the Wolf lost his robe and then squirmed crazily. It took Tanj

a moment to realize that Hinoki was climbing out of his tactile sensation/neurosensor harness…..

Hinoki was panting when he finished; he only had a little time, and he had to move FAST.

Detaching the remote control from the harness, he started to buckle, strap, and thread the harness

around Tanj’s hanging body. Tanj yelped as she felt the bite of the little neurological

sensors as they pricked her skin. The head harness was particularly annoying, but that’s where

most of the electrodes and sensors had to go. Finally, Hinoki was done. Kneeling at the hanging

Cheetah fem’s feet (although she still looked like a buxom Tigress) he started running another


Tanj stood in a forest glen. The sun was warm, the breeze gentle. It was a scene of tranquility

and peace. And then she tried to turn her head, and realized that she couldn’t. Somehow the

computer was playing back a scene for her, although whether she was seeing a hologram, or the

images were being fed directly into her brain, she wasn’t sure. If it was the latter, Hinoki was

wasting his talents with the Brethren….. "Settling back," Tanj tried to relax. As the breeze

ruffled her fur, she found her body kneeling…. And it was then, as her head tipped down, that she

realized that it was HINOKI’S body she was wearing. "Must be a program he worked up a while

back" Tanj thought as "her" right paw reached down to cup her (?) balls….. somehow, she

could feel it; the sensations were distant, and indistinct, but for a moment she could almost believe

she was a male, believe that she could feel her fingers caressing herself….. And then it got real


Hinoki knelt, inches away, knowing he was invisible to her, hidden by the hologram field. It was

interesting how the tractors and pressors moved her body; he could see her reach down to fondle

imaginary balls, to stroke a phantom cock… and yet the smile on her face was real enough.

Stifling a chuckle, he wondered what she thought of THIS portion of the program?

Tanj groaned to herself as she stroked her cock… or was that actually her groaning; it was

beginning to be hard to tell where she left off and the program began, or vice versa…. Kneeling in

the quiet glen, stroking herself like this was heaven. She could see how any busy businessfurr

would want something like this, for a quick stress-reliever…. Smiling, she felt her paw speed up,

felt a building urgency…..

The orgasm was surprising in its suddenness, and more so in its short duration. Looking down at

the white sticky mess on her paw, she smiled a wry smile, the unbidden and commingled thoughts

of "WOW" and "is that all there is?" forming in her mind…. And then the intercom was blaring;

"Tanj! You got seven minutes to jump! Better get a move-on!"

Hinoki fumbled with the remote. Reaching out, he stabbed a button….. and then stabbed it again.

"Dammit, COMPUTER! End Program!" From a speaker behind them came a neutral voice;

"Nullset checksum 23. Error code 4055223550385." Hinoki groaned. Tanj found she

couldn’t even twist her head around; "problems?" Hinoki nodded; "it won’t let me cancel the

senario. Hinoki chuckled and stretched; "hang on a minute; I know how to kill the scenario…..."

Tanj struggled to turn as the Cheetah rose, turned and headed for the thick cable that ran into

the cargo containers. As if by magic, the Wolf’s robe disappeared the instant he left the boundary

of the framework he’d set up, his body shrinking, changing….. A moment later the entire system

went dead, the forces holding Tanj on her knees, the illusion of sylvan glen, and male Cheetah

all vanishing.

Tanj straightened and stretched, as Hinoki came out from among the containers. "That really is

a remarkable achievement; its better than anything of its sort that I’ve ever seen!" Hinoki gave a

small bow; "I suspect the final version will be even better, especially now that we’ve had some of

your inputs. The "female submissive" model should be greatly improved. Tanj grinned; "I

want to see more of what I look like in that Tigress … what would you call it? Illusion? But right

now I need to get up to the flight deck" Hinoki nodded and then looked askance at Tanj; "Mad

at me?" Tanj laughed and threw her arms around the Cheetah male’s neck, wincing a bit;

"Only for keeping this thing from me. But there ARE some things we need to work on. I have

some Major safety concerns. Right now, I gotta go." Tanj kissed him hard, and then turned,

and still stretching the kinks from her muscles, padded towards the flight deck.

The Jump was routine, which was a good thing. Most everyone on the flight deck, if not on the

ship, was preoccupied with their thoughts. No one might have noticed if they’d flown too close to

a black hole, or sailed right in to a supernova…..

Hinoki sat down at the mess table and nodded; "that’s right, Kath; when its done, you’ll be able to

fuck a holographic representation of any person, any species, real or mythical, in any style, or

manner. AND you can BE any creature, real, or mythical.. or at least appear to be any creature.

Or you can let the computer generate both parties, and just watch as they interact, anything from

making love, to wild sex, to any fetish or perversion. If you want, you can set it up to "top" you.

YOU can be the cybercaptive, experiencing all the domination and humiliation, all the torment,

rape, and abuse, and to an extent, all the pain, in complete safety. Its complete male or female

sexual fantasy fulfilment! Tanj shifted gingerly in her seat; "Um… well, it still needs some

work. For instance, I was having a hard time breathing, when the Minotaur (that’s you, Kiddo!)

was committing oral rape. Couple of times there it got REAL uncomfortable." Hinoki’s face fell

and he nodded, pulling out his PADD to make a few notes; "sorry ‘bout that…. Yes, that I can fix.

Respiration rate. Blood gasses. Distress levels… I can add safeties there. Tanj nodded and

shifted on her seat again; "Yeah… and that whipping scene. I was surprised at how hot it got

me…" Zassa smirked; "how hot it got YOU? Good Lord, I almost suffered spontaneous Vulpine

combustion!" Tanj grinned; "each stroke was felt; the bite of each individual strand of the Cat

was distinct; it just didn’t hurt much…. Until you summed ALL the strokes together. To tell you

the truth, I think I’m going to have some trouble sleeping tonight. I’m actually kinda sore."

Zassa’s eyes widened and she "oooooohed" softly. Turning to Hinoki, busy making another note

on the PADD, the Vixen grabbed him and growled; "ME NEXT!"

Tanj rose stiffly and picked up her coffee mug. "Well, I’ve got some things to catch up on, on

the flight deck. You four play nice, now, ya hear! No injuries by runaway sex machines!"

Hinoki’s head snapped up; "Oh, that reminds me, Dr. Farquar gave me a new little "sex aid" to try

on this trip… or rather for me to try and get you guys to try. Its something that’s supposed to keep

your juices flowing, keep you ready for sex. Constantly wet, aroused or not." Tanj blinked;

"sounds like something he’d market with sex slaves…. So why doesn’t he field test it down in the

kennels?" Hinoki grinned; "if he did that, he wouldn’t have to give us a share of the profits, now,

would he? Come on, he says its perfectly safe." The Cheetah male fished a small pill bottle out

and opened it, spilling a half dozen tiny pills into his palm. Tanj looked at the dot-sized pills

and shrugged; "how long is it supposed to be good for?" Hinoki grinned; "three short days. I

know, we dock in just over that. Should be no problem, right? Think of the royalties on this one.

We could be rich!" Wanda chuckled; "why the sudden interest in wealth, Spots?" Hinoki

chuckled and shrugged; "the Elysium campaign is coming to a close. The Brethren will have to

either move on, or go out of business. No booty. No slaves. We gotta keep body and soul

together somehow. Tanj looked at Zassa, both shrugged, and each reached out to take one of

the little pills.

Kath looked dubiously at Wanda; "Mistress?" Wanda shrugged; "with my father’s off-planet

wealth as my inheritance, I don’t think we’ll be hurting that bad….." The Mink seemed to relax..

"But…" Wanda smirked; "I like the idea of my sextoy being dripping wet for three days. Take a

pill, Dear." Kath made a moue and reluctantly reached for one of the remaining pills.


Sneaking Around

Wanda frowned at the jury-rigged computer console hidden among the containers in the cargo

bay. She wasn’t a programmer, and yet the interface seemed "user friendly." Smiling she added a

few cosmetic touches, playing with the texture window for a while, making sure she had things

just right. Finally she saved the program and rose, padding quietly out of the cargo bay to go find

her pet…..

Kath smiled to herself as Wanda led her by her leash; Even now, when someone clipped the leash

to her collar, she shivered and got wet between her thighs… it was SUCH a delicious sensation to

be so helpless.... She knew her Mistress had something special planned; she’d been gone for quite

a while…. The Cargo bay looked as she’d seen it on the monitors, and she looked around

curiously, trying to get a glimmer of what Wanda was up to. The Wolverine lass smiled, dropped

her end of the leash, and nodded; "First we need to get you into this harness…. I know, this is the

"developer’s" version, and the production models will be a little less awkward… but I want to

record your experience, and for that we need all these gadgets and gizmos…." The collection of

straps, and sensors went around the Mink’s body, Wanda pulling it all TIGHT, until the straps

indented her fur. Finally, Wanda grinned; "Don’t move a muscle; stay RIGHT there. I’ll be right

back." Kath watched her disappear among the containers, wondering what was to come….. she

felt aroused by the prospect, but since she’d ingested that pill of Hinoki’s, sure enough she’d been

wet no matter what her mood. Now she felt as if her juices were literally trickling down the inside

of her thighs….. Seeing the holographic projectors flicker to life, Kath looked around, expecting

to see some scene forming. Instead all she saw was the cargo bay…. Wait, there was something

different. There was a circular something on the floor of the cargo bay. A portion of it had

literally materialized between her feet. She was still looking down at it when Wanda emerged

from between the containers, holding Hinoki’s remote control box.

Wanda smiled; "Recently, I think my pet’s been getting a little too "Uppity"…. I think you need a

little reminder of just who’s in charge here, and just who, and what you are." Kath gulped; "Yes,

Mistress……" Wanda smiled and flipped a switch on the remote. The ring on the floor of the

cargo bay smoothly started to rise….. Catching a flicker of motion, Kath tilted her head up as a

similar ring descended from above. The rings slowly moved towards each other, until the lower

one was pressing into the Mink’s crotch, causing her to rise a little on tiptoes. It was at this point,

with the upper ring a half meter over Kath’s head, that the rings stopped moving.

Kath teetered on tiptoes, thinking of an ancient torture device known as "the horse"… this thin,

boardlike device was brought up between a girl’s legs until she could barely stand. The thin

board, pressing into the victim’s sex, supporting her whole weight, would start to be very painful

in a short time; of course the victim would struggle to rise to tiptoes to relieve the pressure. But as

muscles tired, the victim would eventually sag down, her weight again coming to rest on her sex.

An "up and down" motion would result, as the victim sought to relieve pressure on her pussy, and

then as cramped toes forced her to lower herself, moving as if she were riding a horse… Even as

she thought the thing between her legs was too thick and rounded for that, Kath shot Wanta a hurt,

inquiring look, as if beseeching her not to punish her in that way. Wanda just chuckled and picked

up the dangling end of Kath’s leash, to hook it over her head on a projection on the upper ring.

Kath yelped as the upper ring suddenly started to turn, the projection tugging at her leash, making

her stagger forward on tiptoes. As she moved, she realized that the surface of the ring between her

thighs was rough and convoluted, as if a piece of pipe had been wrapped in thick hemp rope, and

the whole thing covered in gallons of lubricant. It slithered between her thighs as she staggered,

her hips rocking from side to side as she tried to keep the pressure off her neck. Wanda chuckled

and settled herself to watch, the box in her lap; "This, Pet, will help you improve the way you

walk; this makes you add such a sexy wiggle to your ass. And the rubbing at your crotch, the tug

of the leash will constantly remind you that you’re my Pet."

Kath yelped as the first of the little rubber fingers flipped at her clitty as she moved over it, and

then snapped up at her asshole… Every half meter or so, there was this little tab sticking up from

the rod, resilient enough to be pressed flat by her passing, only to spring up as she moved off of it.

Staggering forward, the Mink realized that she was hotter than ever, the slick friction of the rod

rubbing at her sex in a most devilish way… but was it enough for her to get off on it? Mistress

hadn’t told her not to cum…. Did she dare?

Wanda yawned as she watched Kath; the Mink had made about thirty laps so far, and it was

interesting to watch; she’d struggle hard to get a little slack in her leash, and then pause on one of

the little rubber fingers, as if trying to get more pressure on her clitty.. then the leash would snap

tight and with a howl of frustration, she’d be dragged on. It was never quite enough for her to

gain her release, which is EXACTLY what Wanda had planned…… Later, the Mink would be

SO hot…. And so grateful for when Wanda finally allowed her to climax. Double-checking the

safeties, Wanda rose and stretched; "I’m going to go get something to eat; I’ll be back in a few

hours…." Winking at the security camera, Wanda padded from the cargo bay.

On the flight deck, Tanj chuckled. She’d set up a relay on the engineering console; she could

cut power to Hinoki’s toy in an instant if it misbehaved. Glancing up at the monitor every few

minutes, Tanj chuckled and wondered if she dared to run that program for herself; it looked to

be a devilishly wicked tease.

Kath panted softly as the ring above her slowed and stopped. For a moment she thought her trek

was over, but then the ring above her started to move again, BACKWARDS this time. With a

yelp she started trying to walk backwards….. As she passed the first of the rubber fingers she

gasped; this time, as it sprung free, it didn’t assault her asshole, but instead gave her clitty a little

smack! "maybe this isn’t so bad after all" she grinned to herself.

Zassa padded into the Cargo Bay, intent upon setting up her own program. Coming to a stop she

marveled as Kath staggered around the ring on tiptoes, her crotch rubbing against the surface of

the ring. Grinning she padded over to the control box on the floor; "That’s very innovative, but

Wanda just didn’t get it right…." Kath twisted her head at the sound and her eyes went wide;

"Zassa! What are you … UMLPH!" The vixen grinned, as the gag she’d programmed filled the

Mink’s mouth. Just for fun she let the holographic projector add straps, making it the illusion of a

full head harness. "Now.. how to… Ah, I seen how!" A moment later the Mink’s leash dropped

from the upper ring, and gratefully she came to a stop. Then phantom fingers grabbed at her

nipple rings, urging her forward once again. Chromed chains seemed to materialize out of thin air,

connecting her nipple rings to the rotating overhead ring…. And then the whole world shifted.

Suddenly it seemed she was staggering uphill, her body bent forward, the ring suddenly rubbing

much more directly on her pussy; with a gasp she felt every convolution of the ring directly

impact her clitty, and as she staggered uphill, she knew her first climax was only a few steps away.

Zassa watched Kath stagger through the first of what had to be many climaxes to come and

grinned; "Having fun?" The Mink could only nod vigorously as she struggled to keep the chains

attached to her nipple rings slack. After a moment the Mink mumbled something incoherently

into her gag. Zassa chuckled; "I hear you; I agree, its not fast enough. Suddenly the strain on her

nipple rings increased and with a muffled howl, the Mink staggered to keep up." Zassa chuckled

and nodded; "thought you’d like that. Have fun!" And with that the Vixen was gone, leaving Kath

behind her, struggling through yet another climax.

Tanj smiled; "that’s Zassa. Glad it wasn’t ME down there. Still, that "gravity" trick seems to

have made it much better for Kath. Looks like good exercise too….."

Wanda entered the Cargo Bay, a cold drink for each of them in her hands, and a towel for Kath

under one arm….. Stopping and staring at the struggling, shuddering Kath, she dropped her

burdens and dove for the remote.

Kath moaned and dropped to her knees as the upper and lower rings vanished, and with them, the

chains to her nipple rings. Panting hard, she tried to recover her breath. Wanda hurried over to

hug her; "Dear, are you all right? What happened? Did the computer screw up?" Kath forced a

chuckle; "No, Mistress, no, nothing like that… Zassa just happened by and made a few …

"improvements"…." Wanda’s face clouded over; "Zassa! If she’s hurt you I’ll…." "No, NO,

Mistress, I’m fine…. If anything she made it better….. Whooooo, don’t think I’ve EVER had so

many climaxes in so short a time……" Wanda’s face developed a predatory grin; "Is my pet

saying she came without permission?" Kath’s face took on a dismayed look; "Um…. Ah,

Mistress, its all Zassa’s fault!…."

Tanj looked up as Wolverine laughter echoed from the speaker; looking up at the monitor she

watched Wanda hug the Mink; "guess all’s well that ends well….."

The Vixen watched Kath draw a cup of coffee from the pot in the wardroom, and then move to sit

across from her. Watching from over the rim of her magazine, Zassa tried to figure out if Kath

was mad at her or not… it’d been a bit of a dirty trick she’d played on her earlier… The Mink for

her part, just sipped her coffee, staring at the Vixen across the table. Finally, Zassa could take it

no more; putting her magazine down carefully, she smiled at Kath; "Mad at me?" Kath took a

reflective sip of her coffee, and then, after a moment, purrred; "It was a most marvelous

innovation. I’ve never had so many consecutive climaxes in my life….. but I’m also almost too

sore to walk. I feel like my torso should be two inches shorter, my legs two inches longer from

the "wear" from that thing. Still….. I should find a way to repay you for your efforts.

Zassa tilted her chair back from the table, balancing it on its rear legs as she looked at the Mink;

the answer had been carefully neutral, as if Kath didn’t want to let her know if she’d enjoyed so

many climaxes, or had loathed it…. There WAS a point where repeated climaxes could turn from

pleasure to pain…. Nodding slowly, the Vixen grinned; "well, there IS a way you could "repay"

me for my mischief, if you feel like it…… but it’s a bit risky; could get folks mad at us……"

Kath took another sip of her coffee, and leaned a little closer; with a predatory grin that sent

shivers of anticipation down Zassa’s spine, she purrred; "tell me ALL about it….."

Hinoki had been busy; the remote control was an evolved cordless model, no longer trailing a

thick bundle of wires. Currently, it was resting on the floor by Kath’s feet. Zassa hung by her

wrists, suspended in mid-air, wrapped in the neurosensor harness… They hadn’t bothered with the

niceties of the system’s holographic illusion-generators, settling for the more simplified and easily

executed program for the tractors and pressors. The only concession to illusion was the bullwhip

that the Mink held in her right hand; in reality it was only a cardboard tube simulating the handle;

the tractors and pressors in the framework, and the neurostimulators in the harness would provide

the "reality"….. "You ready, Zassa?" The Vixen nodded; "Give it your best shot!" Kath stepped

a little to one side, bringing the whip back; with all her strength she brought the whip down on the

Vixen’s back. Zassa stiffened as she felt the lash, swaying a little in mid air; and then her head

turned to look over her shoulder; "Hey, that didn’t hurt at ALL! I felt it, but it didn’t hurt!" Kath

nodded; "That’s Hinoki’s safety defaults. Let me turn them down a little." Making an adjustment

on the remote, Kath straightened to step to Zassa’s other side; switching hands she brought the

lash down from the other side, its tip whipping around the Vixen’s torso, its tip snapping at the

flank of one breast. "OK, How’s that?" "Oooooooo…. Um…… better, but still not enough. Turn

it down a little further." Kath nodded and obediently bent to make the adjustment.

The next stroke brought a yelp from the Vixen. Lowering the whip, Kath wandered around to

look at Zassa; the Vixen’s chest was heaving a little, her eyes closed. "You all right?" Zassa

smiled and nodded; "Yeah, peachy. Turn it down just a little further." Reaching out a paw to

stroke across Zassa’s pelt, Kath murmured; "are you sure? I don’t want to do any real damage…."

Zassa chuckled; "Believe me, I like it like this. Down a bit more, Please?" Kath sighed and

nodded, returning to the remote, to make another adjustment. Straightening, she brought her right

arm back and then forward hard, the whip scoring a line in the Vixen’s fur from right hip to left

shoulder-blade. Zassa jerked in her invisible bonds and let out a YEOWCH! After a moment she

muttered; "Yeah, that’s good, leave it there." Kath chuckled; "you know, Hinoki’s going to need a

calibration routine for this… and medical sensors." Zassa grinned; "Make it an option for folks

like me; it’ll be worth it!" Kath sighed and shook her head, pushing the keys to end the program;

as Zassa dropped to the floor, she twisted to look hard at Kath; "Hey; whatcha do THAT for?

Don’t stop NOW!" Kath grinned; "Oh, no, I’ve got something ELSE planned for you; something

that will more properly repay you for what you did to me…. And you’ll just have to wait until its

ready." The smile on the Vixen’s face was shear bliss; "Oh, GOODIE!"

Wanda sat in her cabin, occasionally sipping from her mug of tea, as she read over the "manual"

that Hinoki had put together. You’d have to be a fairly competent programmer just to understand

his mishmosh of notes, but the ship’s AI was being fairly good at interpreting for her when she hit

something that was beyond her. And there wasn’t much of that. Finally, she set down the print-outs

and rose, to stretch. There was only one way to find out.

The programming console was hidden among the crates in the cargo bay; the light was dim, most

of the illumination coming from the computer screen. Wanda’s eyes were burning, and her back

was sore, but she was almost done. Since that incident with the Elysium noble, the "friend" of her

father’s, technically she hadn’t been a virgin. But only technically. While she’d enjoyed the

attentions of various furrs, she still hadn’t let a male penetrate her. Hadn’t even made use of any

of the numerous sex toys available on the ship. Now that was going to change. Hinoki’s system

would permit her to take her own virginity, and in a sense, still preserve it. After all her time with

Tanj, she’d developed a powerful curiosity as to what it would be like to have a male….. and

yet she’d never run across one that seriously interested her. Now, she’d program in the perfect

lover……… and finally satisfy her curiosity. Besides, the "research" was so much fun, reviewing

all the "scenes" that Hinoki and Tanj had compiled…. Looking for just the right one, the one

that came closest to her romantic fantasies….

All was set; it was all programmed in, all prepared. Dressed only in the nerusensor harness,

Wanda smiled and pressed the key on the remote with one toe. Stepping back, she looked down at

herself, smiling as the holoprojectors did their work. Suddenly she seemed taller….. more

slender, less muscular, her fur acquiring that glow that some species had….. smiling, she looked

up to watch the male she’d chosen approach, walking up the tropical beach from the surf…..

Tanj slipped into the wardroom, to get a cup of coffee and a snack….. with her head in the

refrigerator she murmured to herself; "Lessee….. string cheese is low in cholesterol… yeah, that’ll

do…." Straightening, turning to look for her coffee mug, she caught sight of Wanda; the

Wolverine lass was leaning back in her chair, eyes closed, an unusually radiant smile on her face.

"Hey, Wanda" the Cheetah mumbled as she sat down, trying to find a stringer of cheese to pull

from the stick. Wanda’s eyes opened to slits, and her smile deepend; "Now, Tanj, I think I

understand……" Tanj blinked, and turned to look at Wanda; "Oh?" After a moment, the

Cheetah’s eyes widened; "Girl what HAVE you been up to?"

Kath frowned as her fingers flew over the keyboard; she didn’t know where her mistress was, so

late into the "ship’s night", but she was glad of the respite. She had work to do. And she was glad

that Hinoki had put his development software into the ship’s main computer. It let her work from

any terminal on the ship, letting her have a much better chance of accomplishing her work

undetected. Difficult, painstaking work…. For a moment she paused and then chuckled at the

inadvertent joke she’d made to herself. It was finally near "morning" when she had it the way she

wanted… removing the data crystal she paused… where to hide such a thing where no one would

notice? Shipboard, Wanda generally kept her nude, save for her collar, and that was a little tight

to tuck the crystal underneath…. In her hair? What if it fell out? Finally, with a wry grin, the

Mink crouched, and spreading the petals of her sex with the fingers of one hand, she pushed the

data crystal where it wasn’t TOO likely to be found…. And in a way, she thought her hiding place

VERY fitting…… And she only had to hold it there until she could sneak down to the cargo bay

and upload the program…..

Zassa looked up from the palm-sized holoprojector; the film she was watching was …..

questionable at best, but the leading man was handsom, and if the action was improbable, there

was at least plenty of it, with flashy special effects… and there were plenty of "romantic

interludes"….. Finding the Mink looking at her through the open doorway, Zassa smiled and

raised one eyebrow in a silent question. Kath just nodded; "its time; I’m ready." Tossing the still-running

holoprojector on her bunk, the Vixen rose, to padd after the Mink, a grin of anticipation

on her face.

Zassa stared at the stainless steel chair on the jet-black base. It didn’t exactly LOOK imposing,

but with Hinoki’s machine, anything could happen. Giving the Mink a smile, Zassa, wearing

only the neurosensor harness, bravely marched across the cargo bay, to take a seat in the chair, her

forearms on the armrests, her calves against the front legs. As she had anticipated, as the image of

the neurosensor harness vanished, heavy leather straps appeared, wrapping around wrists and

biceps, ankles and thighs. One even flowed across her tummy, its ends growing into a heavy brass

padlock. After a moment, Zassa looked up at Kath; "is that it?" The words were barely out of her

mouth when the chair started to flow like liquid solder; Zassa yelped as her arms were pulled

behind her back by armrests that suddenly seemed to have a mind of their own. The chair tilted

back, her legs suddenly being lifted and spread obscenely wide, as the seat under her shrunk to

something only barely enough to support her. When the chair stopped changing, Zassa found

herself tightly held, her crotch very exposed…… Again, there was a pause……

Kath smiled; "I’ve programmed a very interesting device for you, Zassa; the machine you sit in

will cause both pleasure and pain; the ratio will be purely up to you. You see, all you have to do

to receive all pleasure and no pain, is to sit quietly. The more you move, the more the system will

shift from pleasure to pain; the more you cry out, the more it will hurt." Chuckling, Kath shook

her head; "how great’s your self control, Zassa? How much can you take?" Kath turned as if to

exit the cargo bay, but at the door, she paused; "Oh, there IS a safety feature; if you pass out,

obviously you’ll be quiet and still; the machine will shift to pure pleasure…. Until I return. How

much can YOU take?" With a smile, the Mink stepped through the door, allowing it to close

behind her.

The gentle sound of the door closing seemed to be all the chair required to start. Suddenly the

chair was descending on silent hydraulic cylinders; as it dropped, a phallic prod rose from the

black base, and with machine-like precision, drove into Zassa’s pussy. Zassa smiled, glad for

once, for the pill Hinoki had given her, as there seemed to have been no provisions with the

machine for lubrication…. Didn’t matter, she was dripping wet anyways. As the seat hit the

bottom of its travel, the dong hitting the upper limit of its travel, all motion stopped for a

moment… and then the dong started to vibrate with a harsh mechanical buzz.

Zassa didn’t even TRY to stop herself; inquisitively she bent forward in the chair, as much as she

could, to look down at her crotch, and the base of the device. It LOOKED as if the black basalt of

the base had simply grown the phallic shape, but that was obviously just the way Kath had

programmed it to look…

Her motion had resulted in motion in that black mass however, and Zassa watched curiously as the

base extruded what looked for all the world like a small electric fan; the motor whirred smoothly,

its large, soft foam blades turning almost too fast to follow. It shifted until the tips of the blades

were impinging on the dong buried in her pussy, the small vibrations lost in the larger ones as it

droned on…. Then, the fan slowly started to rise along the cylinder, lifted on its own black

arm….. Unable to look away, Zassa gasped as the tips of the fan blade suddenly left the dong and

started slapping at the juncture of her labia where they stretched around the black cylinder; the fan

continued to move up, the impacts of the foam blade-tips an exquisite combination of pleasure and

pain as they found her clitty…..

The Howl was out of Zassa’s lips before she could stop it, Kath’s words echoing in her mind. In

response to the sound, the seat started to rise and fall, its motion giving her momentary relief as

the seat lifted her out of reach of the fan blades, the dong in her pussy sliding slickly out… And

then the seat was descending freely under the force of gravity, seemingly on frictionless bearings;

the dong slammed back into her sex, the fan blades again slapping at the front of her sex, droplets

of her own juices spraying up her front.

It was impossible to stay quiet, no matter how hard she tried; it was impossible to stay still under

the assault of the various implements the black base extruded; two other fans positioned

themselves so that as the seat rose, they flicked their blade tips at her breasts… the worst part were

when the soft foam tips thwapped her nipples….. As she moaned, the fans started rotating,

twisting back and forth, the blade tips seemingly working over every square inch of her breasts.

The resulting yelps and moans only caused the machine to extrude two paddles, looking

ridiculously like Ping-Pong paddles, which slapped at her ass each time the seat dropped. Each

slap seemed to produce a yelp and each yelp seemed to result in another immediate application of

the paddles to her posterior….

Kath seemed to materialize from nowhere, standing at her left side; "Too rough for you?" Zassa

shook her head violently from side to side, gasping "Noooooooooo……. Love it!" Kath just

chuckled and shook her head; "want something a little more extreme?" The Vixen nodded her

head eagerly, gasping at the results such motions provoked from the machine. Kath smiled and

leaned over to kiss the Vixen; breaking the kiss, she pushed Zassa’s head back, until she was

looking up and back. Zassa tried to focus as the Machine extruded another arm, one tipped with a

rather large phallus. Zassa watched as it descended, until it was brushing her lips; obediently she

opened her mouth, feeling, as the seat rose yet again, the dong slide into her mouth, until its head

pressed against the back of her throat.

As the seat rose and fell, the heavy dong slid in and out of her mouth, never quite escaping from

between her lips; every once in a while, the dong would spurt copious amounts of something truly

slimy but tasteless. In the back of her mind, Zassa realized that even the machine had limitations;

still, the sensation of something viscous running down her throat, pooling in her stomach, or

spilling from the corners of her mouth, to flow down her chest, to be caught by the fan blades

torturing her breasts, THAT it could do VERY well….. somewhere along the line, she heard Kath

whisper "I know, with your mouth so very full, you can’t yelp or howl, but the machine can still

measure how hard you struggle, how much you move….

Kath watched in amazement; the Vixen seemed to be drinking it all in, her body writhing as if

demanding more….. Another arm rose from the base, to nuzzle under the Vixen’s tail, slowly

working its way into her ass. Kath knew that this particular one would expand, putting even more

pressure on the Vixen’s insides… mostly it would rise and fall with the seat, merely providing a

"fullness"… but every once in a while, when the Vixen struggled particularly hard, it would "tug"

at her, as if the machine were trying to extract it without first reducing its size….. of course it

would be much too large to do so; and yet, from the look on the Vixen’s face, her lips stretched

almost tight around the dong in her mouth, Kath would have sworn the Vixen was in heaven…..

The machine had ratcheted up to a level Kath thought Zassa would never have achieved; Bands of

force, made to look like leather bands by the holoprojectors, now encircled the bases of her

breasts, squeezing them, making them bulge outwards, to stand more proudly for the attentions of

the whirling blades…. And STILL the Vixen writhed, every muscle straining… Kath shook her

head as a particularly powerful tremor tore through the Vixen; "Ok, Zassa, that’s a full 20

climaxes; I’m pulling the plug before you drain the ship’s fusion reactor…. Enough’s enough!"

The Mink’s paw was inches from the remote, when the world suddenly changed.

Hinoki chuckled at the look of shock and surprise on Kath’s face as reality flowed and altered

around her the scene changed from one of technology to one of nature gone wild; a riot of green.

Tentacles of growth sprouted from the floor, enveloping the Mink, lifting her from the floor, even

as other tentacles probed her body. Zassa’s howl of outrage was stifled as the black dong in her

mouth shrank, only to be replaced with a thick green tentacle, pushing back into her mouth. The

framework of the chair lost their metallic hue, shifting to greens and browns, altering to form

portions of the same tentacle monster as the Vixen’s body was stretched, and repositioned.

Walking over to look into Kath’s now upside-down face, the Cheetah male growled; "and just

what the HELL do you think you’re doing? WHO gave YOU permission to alter the safety

programs? Who gave you permission to do ANYTHING with this device without my

permission?" The Mink, wide-eyed, just made grunting sounds; the tentacle in her mouth was

dripping ichor, the sticky stuff running down Kath’s face, and into her dangling hair…. Frowning,

Hinoki picked up his personal remote, to try and alter his program so that only that one tentacle

would extract itself, letting the Mink speak….. it was an eventuality he hadn’t thought of….

"…..So you see, I had to do SOMETHING…. And Zassa was so persuasive about backing off the

safeties…. We, ah,…. DID "calibrate" it first….. Hinoki frowned, and pressed a few keys on his

remote; Kath let out a strangled "URK!" as the tentacle shoved itself back into her mouth. Sitting

down on the floor, Hinoki made a face and then shifted out of the growing pool of ichor spreading

out from under the Mink. Calling up Kath’s program, he began to decipher it…..

"I have to admit, I’m impressed. I didn’t know you were such a good programmer, Kath!" The

Mink made uninteligible noises around the tentacle in her mouth. "But I still think you have to be

punished. BOTH of you…. All right, Zassa was the one who talked you into backing off the

safeties, and without consulting me that WAS dangerous; I’ll have to come up with something

special for her; but in the meantime, I’ll settle for a variant of what you’d set up for her….

EXCEPT that the motions you make will result in pain for your partner-in-crime. THAT should

be an interesting punishment for both of you!" Grinning, Hinoki sat down to modify Kath’s


Kath moaned around the tentacle in her mouth; it felt like she’d swallowed a gallon of Ichor……

Panting hard, she tried to concentrate on the feeling of tentacles working in and out of her pussy;

they seemed to have formed a knot inside her, as if someone were fisting her. The sensations

occasionally drove her over the edge into what would normally be a screaming climax… except

that she was trying to hold as still as possible, to keep from giving Zassa the little "extra" she was

always seeking. The Vixen, in return, seemed to be writhing with pleasure as much as possible, as

if TRYING to provoke the Mink into moving…. Stoically, Kath suffered the pricks of the thorn-laced

tendrils tugging at her nipples, the thorn laden branches that would occasionally slap against

her, or rake across her…… As Hinoki had significantly raised the safety levels, the pain wasn’t

severe, but it was more pain than she liked with her sex; Zassa, on the other hand, seemed

determined to provoke the Mink into motion, to get her to "return the favor"…. Panting, holding

herself as rigidly as possible, Kath vowed not to give the Vixen the satisfaction…..

Tanj set down her cup of coffee and scanned all the instruments on the flight deck. Navigation

showed them to be just where she’d predicted; Engineering was humming away; communications

showed no new messages. Sensors showed no traffic in their area. In short, it looked like another

boring shift as the ship transited interstellar space…. With a yawn, and a stretch, the Cheetah

turned to check out the monitor watching the Cargo bay. Sitting up suddenly she reached for the

camera controls; just WHAT was going on down there?

After playing back a portion of the cargo bay camera log tape, Tanj smiled and shook her head;

"Hinoki DOES like his tentacle monsters….." After a while, she chuckled to herself, one paw

moving to idly rub over her mons as she watched Kath, and Zassa struggle with their predicament;

"But then, so do I….."



"Free Trader Beowulf, hold at 217 mark 54, at the 2,000,000 kilometer mark for priority traffic."

Tanj sighed; "Roger that, Gibralter control." Once again she throttled back, blipping thrusters,

bringing her ship to a halt. It had taken them three hours to approach from the periphery of the

system, and the Cegilec jump point, to the inner system, and now it had taken them another six

just to get within two million klicks of Gibralter. Turning to look at the sensor readout, she

watched as a massive Imperial Dreadnought sailed past, as if the skies were theirs and theirs alone.

Tanj watched, her mind cataloging the details of the massive warship, as she fumed. Traffic

here was the most congested she’d ever seen, with EVERYTHING coming to a halt for military

traffic. For the thousandth time she wondered if they should have tried to grease some palms in

advance, to ease their approach. Then again, maybe the Brethren didn’t have that much money….

Necessity is always the mother of invention. Tanj grinned and leaned over to punch a button

on the comm console; "Zassa to the flight deck!" At the Nav station, Hinoki looked up

questioningly; Tanj just grinned and winked; "think I’ve got at least a partial solution to

this…." A few moments later, mug of cocoa in her hand, Zassa slipped through the door to the

flight deck; "What’s up?" Tanj grinned; "Need you to man the comm console for a bit; we’re

having a lot of trouble getting clearance in to the station; thought it might be … "prudent" to give

them a reason to let us dock." Zassa, still nude, looked down at herself and then up at Tanj,

who’d donned a rather tight fitting, but still "decent" jumpsuit" With a laugh the Vixen nodded,

and slid into the station chair at the comm console.

"Free Trader Beowulf, this is Gibraltar approa…. Whoa! Well HELLO there!" Zassa chuckled to

herself, and leaned forward towards the video pickup, "well hello yourself, Hansom! This is the

Free Trader Lo… Beowulf, and we’re just awaiting your command…." The Gerbil in an imperial

uniform swallowed visibly and struggled for some semblance of control; "Um… ah… yeah.

Yeah, this IS Gibraltar approach control. We… ah…. Please move to 188 mark 22 at the

1,500,000 kilometer mark….. and hold there." Zassa pouted; "another hold? Awwwww. I was

hoping you’d let us dock with you, now… we’ve been waiting soooooo long." The Gerbil

swallowed and shook his head almost convulsively; "sorry, Beowulf, we… ah, we’ve got more

priority traffic passing through your sector, you’ll just have to be patient….." Zassa leaned back,

and stretched languorously; "well, if you SAY so….. but we’ll be waiting. Beowulf out….."

Watching from the corner of her eye, Tanj noted the expression on the Gerbil’s face; it seemed

as if his eyes were about to bulge from his head as the Vixen stretched. The monitor went dark

suddenly as the connection was cut, and Zassa relaxed; "Tanj, I don’t know if this is going to

work; this guy might keep us out here forever, just to keep ogling me." The Cheetah laughed;

"true, true. But then we expected to have to come up with an occasional bribe here, and not all of

them are in cash. Think you can handle him?" Zassa just sipped her cocoa and then ran her

tongue over her muzzle, capturing every trace of the brown elixir; "Him and everyone else on his


Wanda growled; "Dammit, Slave, HOLD STILL!" Kath chuckled and squirmed anyways; "but

Mistress; it TICKLES!" Wanda couldn’t help but smile as she shook her head; the Mink had been

died a platinum blond color, the palest of pale golds, and she was now in the process of "frosting"

the very tips of her hairs. It was a painstaking job, but when she was done, Kath should look

fantastic… and not at all like her old self. Growling in mock ferocity, the Wolverine lass bent

forwards to stroke her with the brush once more.

"I tell you, Sam, the Cheetah wasn’t bad to look at, but this Vixen is FANTASTIC!" "OK, Walt,

keep your pants on. Tell you what, move them in another hundred thousand klicks; that’ll give

you an excuse to talk to ‘em. Lets see what this lady looks like….."

Zassa looked up as the comm chimed again, and the image of the Gerbil formed once more on the

monitor. That was her cue. The éclair Hinoki had gotten her was dripping filling all over her as

she tried to eat it, and just as she’d intended, the call caught her trying to hold the leaking éclair

while licking cream from her fingers. Yellow-white droplets of filling dotted her muzzle and

chest. Giggling she licked at her fingers one more time and then looked up at the Monitor;

"Ummmm! Oh, Hello again! Beowulf here; what can we do for you?" The Gerbil’s mouth

opened and closed twice before he could get a word out… "Ah…. Gibralter control here; please

shift position to….. um… where’d it go.. Ah! 128 Mark 43, at the …. Ah…. 1,400,000 kilometer

mark." As he talked, Zassa pushed the rest of the éclair into her muzzle, sliding it between her lips

as if it were something else, and then, after it had disappeared from view, she licked messily at her

fingers. After chewing for a moment and swallowing, she pouted again; "Only…. Why that’s

hardly nothing at all… but if that’s what you want, why, of course we’ll do it….. we’re just

getting SO impatient….. SO eager to see your station; why we’ve heard SO many things about

it……" The Gerbil nodded quickly and mumbled; "Verygoodwe’llgetyoutheresoon,

GibraltarStationout…. And then the connection was broken again.

Walt looked up at his friend, eyebrows trying to climb off the top of his skull; "whew! What’d I

tell you, Sam? She’s got to be as good as ANYTHING they got at Miss Kitty’s." Sam swallowed

and nodded; "Yeah…. And I’m beginning to wonder just what they’d do to cut through the

traffic…. She’s GOTTA be acting that way on purpose….." Walt looked back at his console;

"Who cares? But with that Dreadnought docked, the jam should relax within an hour or so…."

Sam smiled; "Should… unless something happens. We could make something happen, now

couldn’t we?" Walt just grinned.

Tanj watched in absolute amazement as traffic in the area of Gibraltar station got more snarled

than ever. It seemed that every ship for parsecs around must be "holding station" while Traffic

Control moved them around like chess pieces, none of them ever seemingly getting any closer to

their destination.

The scowl on the Jaguar’s face should have had both techs quivering. His comm console was

alight with calls from dozens of ships protesting the traffic snarl, complaining about lost time and

ruined schedules. And yet there they were at the Traffic Control console, grinning back at him.

"All right, you two, this had better be good, or you’ll be spending the next tour of duty on


Zassa was calmly combing her hair, with long, fluid strokes, when the comm console chimed

again. Turning to smile into the pickup, the Vixen purrrrred; "Hello, Boys! Going to let us dock

yet?" The Gerbil sighed expressively and shook his head; "Oh, I’d love to let you, but ……."

Tanj figured that was her cue; she’d unzipped her flight suit to below her navel, and as she

leaned over the back of Zassa’s chair, she knew her breasts were just about falling free of the

fabric; "Aw, come ON, guys! Listen, we’ve heard rumors about how things are done here; if a

little…… grease is required to make things happen… well, we’re on kinda a tight budget, but I’m

SURE we could work something out…." The Gerbil swallowed hard; "um…. Yeah, we might be

able to do something…… Lemme talk to my boss. ‘Course you understand, you might have to,

um, "grease" more than me…." Tanj smiled; "Get us a good docking port, something not too

far from the "action" and we’ll take on your whole shift! But only if something happens soon.

Leave us hanging out here too long and we might find we have to go elsewhere….."

The Jaguar nodded as the Gerbil broke the connection; "I have to hand it to you two; you do good

work. Leave ‘em out there another half hour, and then move ‘em into the port that Andarian

passenger liner just left. And then you’d best clear the jam in record time. Oh, and when you go

to collect the debt, make sure I get first pick."

Tanj sighed as the dockside power light came on. Reaching out, she started the sequence to

reduce the mains to standby status, letting the power flow from Gibraltar station to run the ship’s

critical systems. They’d finally been given permission to dock, and to her surprise, it was on the

second level down from the main habitation and commercial areas of the station; a prestigious

address. Only the large luxury liners or major warships got a better docking assignment. Stifling

a yawn, Tanj shut down her board and rose, to stretch. She’d been up for over thirty hours, as

they’d first approached the system, and then the station, and then gotten held up in "Traffic."

Chuckling, Tanj called up the sensor feed from the station, and nodded; as she’d expected, as

soon as they’d docked the traffic jam out there had begun to break up, the traffic controllers

suddenly super-efficient. "It WAS just an excuse to leer at Zassa" she chuckled to herself.

Thinking it would still be a good way to make a few contacts on the station, Tanj padded from

the flight deck. There was time for a short nap, and a quick shower, and then they’d be off to

present their credentials, and to see some of the legendary Gibraltar station…. And to meet a few


"Come ON, Tanj! Time to get UP! You’ve got to present our documents to the Station

Security Office before we can go see the station!" Tanj forced her eyes open, and peered at the

Vixen. Zassa’s hair was done, her fur was brushed, and she’d poured herself into a tube dress that

fit her like a second skin. Chuckling, the Cheetah dragged herself from her bed, to stagger

towards the head, and a quick shower.

Tanj’s hair was still a little damp as they made their way through the corridors of the station

towards the security office. She’d grabbed the container of her "living dress," pouring its contents

out over her chest, as the most expedient way of coming up with something appropriate. She’d

told the creature to mimic "something sexy" and now it seemed she was garbed in shiny black

cobwebs, the strands and fibers getting thick enough, dense enough, only where required to

preserve her modesty. As she strode through the station, she wondered where the creature had

ever heard of THIS look……

Sedghi had thought he’d seen it all in his career with the Empire. He’d seen wars, and riots and

invasions… But the entourage that came through the door to his office made his jaw drop. Trying

to pull himself together, he rose and stepped to the counter; "May I (*ahem*) help you?"

Tanj smiled at the aging wolf in the Imperial uniform and nodded; "Yessir, I’m the Captain of

the Beowulf; we docked a few hours ago at AA124, and we’re here to present papers and ship’s

documents, requesting permission to enter the station." The Wolf nodded, swallowed, and pulled

a form from a holder on the counter. "OK, Missy. Ship’s name…. Beowulf. What’s YOUR

name? Tanj smiled; "Brannigan; Mary Brannigan. Two N’s." "And your crew?" The Wolf

looked up, passing his gaze over each in turn. Three other females, each dressed to kill, and a

well-muscled male in tight pants and singlet….. Tanj nodded towards Zassa; "This is my

LoadMaster, Jennifer Nast, that’s my Med Tech, over there, Wendy Klein, my Purser, Keatra

Boggs, and my Sensor Tech, John West." The Wolf filled in the form by hand, taking his time,

and as he wrote, Tanj got the feeling he must get paid by the hour. Finally he growled; "and

the reason for your visit?" Tanj smiled; "we’re here to pick up a charter." The Wolf’s gaze

rose for a moment, to look at the Cheetah Fem; Tanj smiled back; "we give very special service

to VIP’s that need to get somewhere fast…." Growling "Yeah, I just bet you do" the Wolf turned

back to his form. After another few minutes, he gestured to a machine built into the opposite wall;

"OK, let me scan your documents; you and your crew need to do a retinal scan, to confirm you are

who you say you are. Then I’ll issue you temporary passes, and you can enter the station."

Tanj smiled and nodded, pushing the packet of I.D.’s and ship’s papers across the counter.

Seemingly without a care, she turned and stepped up to the machine, to press her face against the

scanner. "Now, Tanj Girl" she thought to herself, "We’ll find out just how good those forgers


The Wolf watched them step up to the scanner one by one. They’d already run a check on the ship

and crew before they had docked; this was just play-acting to make sure these folks understood

that they were being watched, that the Imperium was being careful. As he put all the papers and

documents back in the packet, he wondered who their charter was, and how much he was paying.

Shaking his head, he thought he’d wager it was more than his pension….. and that was a shame.

He’d love to have some time with any of the females… and maybe even the male….

As Kath pressed her face to the retinal scanner, somewhere in the bowels of the station, a light

started to flash……

Tanj smiled at the Wolf; "thank you, Sir; we’ll let you know just as soon as our charter

arrives." The Wolf nodded, and as the door closed behind them, he turned to one of the security

monitors. As the small group walked off down the corridor, he ran a finger under his collar, eyes

locked on the swaying ass of that blonde Mink…..

Tanj stopped at the cross corridor. The passes they’d been issued hadn’t even been looked at;

but she’d seen the quick burst of near-invisible laser light that had scanned her at the checkpoint.

They were obviously already in the station’s computer. "Wanda, we’re going to go meet those

traffic controller guys. You and Hinoki know what to do; we’ll see you back at the ship." Wanda

smiled and nodded, patting her pocketbook; "I know exactly what to do; and if this place does

indeed have everything for sale, well, I’m sure I’ll run out of credit before I run out of list."

Hinoki just chuckled; "I’ll nose around and see if I can find any "agents" that might be interested

in our cargo. Discretely of course." Tanj nodded; and waved; "have fun, but be careful!"

Tanj looked from the scrap of paper to the number on the door, and back. Forcing a smile, she

rang the bell. As the door slid open, she grinned at the rather well-built fox. "Hi… I’m Tanj,

and this is Kath, and Zassa…. You must be Sam….

Wanda looked in the store window at the holographic display and shook her head; "is THAT

what’s in fashion in the core systems now? Oh, Lord, I’ve been out of the loop TOO long. With a

sigh, the Wolverine lass turned and stepped through the door, wondering if her time with the

pirates had ruined her fashion sense forever….

Tanj smiled up at the Jaguar; "and you say you’re the shift supervisor? Sounds exciting…."

Hinoki stuffed his paws in his pockets and grinned; "Harriet’s Goods and Services"….. now that

sounds like a place to start….. Striding across the corridor, he pushed open the door, to the old

fashioned sound of a tinkling bell announcing his arrival.

Kath worked her head from side to side, as she slid the Gerbil’s cock in and out of her mouth,

acting like he was the best thing she’d ever seen. Sam, the Fox, knelt behind her, slowly working

his shaft in and out of her pussy, one paw wrapped around the base of her tail, using it to move her

back to meet his slow thrusts. The Jaguar was flat on his back in the middle of the floor, with

Zassa riding his cock, while Tanj squatted over his face. As she felt the Jaguar’s tongue swirl

around inside her pussy, she looked around the Fox’s quarters. They were fairly nice, if small, and

Tanj couldn’t help but wonder what secrets the Fox might have brought back from work with

him. Would a traffic controller even have secrets? He’d know the movements of ALL the

Imperial forces, at least in this area… and he’d know the movements of all the high value

commercial traffic too….. Deciding it probably wasn’t worth the risk to poke around now,

Tanj rolled her hips as the Jaguar found that one spot she liked having licked best…. Vowing

to quit "working" and just enjoy this, Tanj ran her paws across the Jaguar’s stomach, to his

groin, to deftly stroke just where he vanished inside the Vixen. Zassa for her part moaned and

leaned back, thrusting her breasts upwards. Tanj couldn’t resist; leaning forward a bit, she

took possession of the Vixen’s left nipple, to nibble and suck softly. As she nipped sharply at

Zassa’s nipple, feeling the Vixen stiffen at the sudden jolt of pain, feeling her body all but

convulse at the sudden climax it brought, Tanj chuckled to herself; "now if I could snoop

around the Jaguar’s room…. Bet HE’D have something worth learning there…..

Wanda sipped her latte, and looked at the surprisingly small bundle of packages on the seat next to

her; its not that there wasn’t anything to buy here, its just that she wasn’t finding anything she

thought worth the money. The clothes all looked frumpish, as if the current fashion were to cover

yourself in a shapeless sack, in garish colors. Looking down at the shopping guide she’d picked

up, she plotted her next move.

Hinoki leaned over the counter and handed the squirrel another photograph. Harriet had turned

out to be a rather well built lady, who’d come to answer the bell at the door of her shop wearing

only an old pair of bibb overalls…. And all but overflowing them. Hinoki could understand the

marketing ploy, having a hard time keeping his eyes off her breasts as they threatened to escape

the fabric. It was difficult to keep to business….. Harriet looked at the picture, then at the copy of

the manifest Hinoki had handed her, and then back at the picture; "three dozen D’armanti assault

rifles, used, NRA good condition? Those things are RARE. AND in demand! Yeah, I think I

might be able to find a buyer…… Hinoki smiled and passed her another picture, as if he were

dealing cards. "ooooooh, a WebCor AntiTank gun….. Is that a Mark 51? Geez, that’s the latest

production version! You MUST have come from somewhere where there’s been recent fighting!

What else you got?"

Kath purrrred as the Gerbil came, filling her mouth with his cream; she swallowed, and then

licked, until she was sure he had no more to give. Releasing the Gerbil’s spent shaft from her

mouth, she looked over her shoulder at the Fox with a predatory grin…….

Harriet looked at the Cheetah and smiled; if she could get this stuff before the other "merchants"

on the station got a hold of it, she could make a fortune. Especially if this rube didn’t figure out

just how much it was worth. Looking up at him she purrred; "and what will it take for me to get

first crack at this cargo of yours? I think I could make you a VERY good offer…….

Hinoki watched as the Squirrel shrugged out of the straps to her overalls, letting the fabric pool at

her feet. Smiling he leaned down, one hand going behind her head, to hold her as he kissed her.

When he broke the kiss, slightly breathless, he purrred; "Oh, I think we can think of


Tanj sat to one side as she watched the Vixen try and bring the Jaguar back to life; it seemed,

however, that no matter how she stroked him, no matter how she licked him, she couldn’t get him

hard. "In fact," Tanj thought to herself, "I think he’s asleep…" Looking over at the Gerbil,

and the Fox, Tanj rose to her feet; "Guys, I think its time we called it a night. I’m sure you

have to get some rest before your next shift…." From the floor, the Jaguar just groaned, proving

he actually was awake….. Zassa chuckled and rose, her dress in one paw; "Thanks guys; it was

fun. We’ll see you around, Right?" From the sofa, Sam just chuckled; "Sure… "

When the door had closed behind them, Walt moaned; "I’m not going to walk right for a month.

Five. Five orgasms in less than three hours. Never would have thought it possible." Sam shook

his head and chuckled; "Only five? I think they got eight out of me. That Vixen was insatiable!"

From the floor, the Jaguar groaned; "And that Mink…..ooooooooooooooh! And the Cheetah. I

never knew you could do things like that with a pussy!…… Say, how long until our shift starts,

anyways? Sam crawled across the sofa to peer at a clock; his groan was long and heartfelt;

"guys… we’ve got twenty-seven minutes before we have to be on duty….."

Hinoki chuckled and nodded; "Great, we’ll expect you in the morning." Harriet, still nude, the fur

of her crotch slick and matted from their lovemaking, nodded energetically; "just remember; I get

first crack at the stuff. If its as good as you say it is, I’ll pay top credits. More than you’d get

from any of the other hacks on the station." Hinoki chuckled and nodded; flipping the Squirrel a

quick salute, he sauntered off. He’d only told her about a fraction of the cargo; there were still

some names on his list. Maybe if he did it just right, he could get them bidding against each

other…… On the other hand, it might be more prudent to take a lower price and keep out of the


Tanj’s fur was still damp from the shower as she sat down at the comm console on the flight

deck of her ship. Opening the appropriate file, she entered her contact information on the traffic

controllers. Walt, the Gerbil, Sam the Fox, and the Jaguar, who’s name she still hadn’t caught.

Listing their likes and dislikes, and as much as she could remember of their attitudes and

personalities, she filed it all away for future reference…. You never knew when things like this

would come in handy.

Wanda thumped her bags down on the mess table and sighed; "I honestly do think the pirates have

ruined me!" Kath looked up from her coffee, a wry look on her face; "And how’s tha… Um,

Mistress, might I inquire what you mean?" Wanda ignored Kath’s slip and slid into one of the

seats; "Oh, its just that after looking at the latest fashions from the core systems, the latest styles

and colors, I….. well, I’m unimpressed. Used to be we couldn’t WAIT to see the latest from the

cultural center of the Empire.. and now…… Ugh!" Kath smiled; "well, Mistress, I guess we’ll

just have to set our own fashion statements." Wanda chuckled and nodded; "in a way, you’re

right. I found a specialty shop, and picked up the cutest little harem girl outfit for you……. And I

got something in leather for Zassa, and myself….."

Hinoki poked his head into the flight deck. Tanj looked up and smiled; "well, how’d you do?

I hear Wanda’s shopping extravaganza flopped." Hinoki slid into a station chair adjacent to

Tanj and spread his paws; "Well… I found one agent that will be by to look at our cargo at

0700 sharp. I’ve got a few others that are interested, but only said they’d come by when they

could find the time. If I handle it just right, I think the first one will spread the word to the

others." Tanj chuckled; "what you going to do; show the first just a little of the really good

stuff, just enough to make them want to come back for more?" Hinoki chuckled; "something like



A Little Light Reconnaissance

Tanj checked herself in the full length mirror in the head. Her outfit was about as conservative

as she got; a simple set of slacks, of a buckskin color that went well with her fur. Of course they

laced up in front, forming a vee of laces and fabric that seemed to point down towards her sex,

AND in back, starting just above her tail, making them fit like a second skin. The lacings were

white against the tan, and adding a certain something, as if she were just begging for someone to

reach out and tug on one of the lacings, freeing her from the confines of the cloth. The top was a

shimmering synthetic, cool and silky to the touch, in maroon; it was as loose as the slacks were

tight, and as she moved it was obvious from the way her breasts moved underneath the fabric that

they were unrestrained….. Smiling at her look, the Cheetah fem slipped out, to go explore the


"Oh, come on, Wanda; SURELY there has to be something interesting on this station!" The

Vixen stood, arms crossed, a determined look on her face. Wanda just shrugged and tugged

lightly on Kath’s leash; "I think you’ll be disappointed, but lets go see." Turning, the Wolverine

lass led Zassa and Kath towards the shopping districts.

Hinoki yawned and stretched. He’d slept enough. There was time for a light breakfast, and a little

housekeeping before his first "client" arrived. Thinking back to the interlude with the energetic

squirrel the day before he idly scratched himself, wondering what the chances for a repeat

engagement were…..

Tanj sat on the bench in a quiet alcove off the promenade, making notes on her PADD. Her

scribblings were instantly encoded by the security program on the device, making it improbable

that anyone would be able to decipher her notes. So far, though, she hadn’t really uncovered

anything about the station that hadn’t already been known. Security checkpoints, ID inspection

teams, sensors and cameras… it was all quite standard…… On the other hand, she’d scoped out a

few nightclubs and bars that might be worth visiting, in the evenings… As she reviewed her

notes, a tinkling noise intruded on her hearing. Lifting her head, the Cheetah’s eyes widened as

she beheld a most strange figure moving slowly across the promenade. It appeared to be a female

Ermine, nude except for her rather strict bondage. A leather arm sheath held her arms tightly

behind her back, and a leather hood covered her head entirely, her long hair escaping from the

back in a ponytail. A harness encased her body, black leather a contrast against her fur. One of

the straps cut cruelly through her crotch, protecting her from molestation in that area at least. A

spreader bar held her ankles apart, and another, smaller spreader bar seemed to be connected

between the inside toes on each foot, giving her a peculiar walk. Rising, Tanj padded around

the slowly moving Ermine, examining her. At the back of her neck some sort of time lock seemed

to hold the arm sheath, hood and harness together; a digital readout seemed to be counting down,

indicating there was over twenty hours to go before it would time out. From the Ermine’s nipple

rings hung a small sign that read; "Visit Miss Kitti’s Bar." Shaking her head in amazement,

Tanj turned and headed back to the ship, leaving the slave to stumble blindly across the


Zassa looked around the shop and shook her head; it was obvious that this was where the upper

crust of the station’s society shopped… and yet she saw nothing that she’d be caught dead in….

Flashing Wanda a helpless look, the Vixen shrugged and padded out through the door. The clerks

in the place had never even looked in their direction; obviously they weren’t on the right social

register, no matter how many credits they might flash…..

Hinoki smiled at the squirrel; "Glad to see you again, Harriet. Come on aboard" Hinoki watched

as the Squirrel moved through the airlock; it was obvious she knew enough about ships to appear

unimpressed…. Today she was wearing a very tight pair of shorts, and a crop top, and as she

moved past him, Hinoki found he was having trouble keeping his eyes off her ass….. Turning,

Hinoki lead the way towards the Cargo Bay, the hatch automatically closing behind them.

Zassa shook her head; "listen; there are enough nightclubs down on the strip for us to visit a

different one each night and not repeat ourselves in a month. SOMEWHERE they have to sell

clothes appropriate to that. All we have to do is to find the shops." Kath nodded; "So they’re not

on the promenade. Where else might they be?" Wanda smiled; "Obviously we’re not looking in

the right place. What we need to do is to find someone who knows the station, someone who

visits the clubs, and ASK them….."

Tanj looked into the holographic display case and shook her head. The ship dealer put on a

slick presentation, and so many of the models demonstrated in their display LOOKED good…

until you knew the real story. The Goliath was a class of freighter that looked like it could stand

off entire pirate hordes… but it had its blind spots, places where it could be attacked and disabled

with impunity. And the FireBat wasn’t near as fast or as maneuverable as the manufacturer

claimed. Now the Centurion, that was a good, solid class of ship… but not as good as the one she

had now…. No, the promotions were slick, but she knew better. "Besides" she told herself for the

dozenth time; "You don’t NEED a new ship! What you got is just fine!" Forcing herself to turn

away, the Cheetah strode down the corridor. She still had a few places to check before she headed


The Raccoon fem was young, and conservatively dressed; she was standing next to a public com

terminal, fishing through her purse, obviously looking for something. Zassa winked at Kath and

Wanda, and sidled up; "Excuse me, miss, but I wonder if I could ask you a question?" The

Raccoon looked up and then did a double-take, her eyes widening at the flame-hued vixen;

"Um…. And what might that be?" Zassa gestured to one of the shops on the promenade; "well,

my friends and I are having just a little trouble finding the right shops… the clothiers here seem to

be showing….. well, the outfits we’re looking for are more the type suitable for the Station’s

famous night life, not some afternoon tea… but we can’t seem to find the right shops….." The

Raccoon smiled; "what you want is the "night market"…. Its down on level 27, sector 4. But

they’re only open "after hours"….. Zassa raised an eyebrow; "why’s that?" The Raccoon smiled;

"Oh, the Imperials that run the station think a certain level of "moral propriety" is required. They

can’t do much about the Strip, or places like Miss Kitti’s, but they CAN make their displeasure

known…. If you do wind up going to the strip, be careful; security is always looking for any

excuse to harass those leaving there…." Zassa smiled; "Do you, ah, venture down there much?"

The Raccoon’s eyes shifted as if to see who might be nearby; "I do, on occasion…." Zassa’s grin

widened; "Perhaps you might… care to join us one evening, show us the town as it were…. We’d

be glad to cover your expenses, to get some… "local knowledge…." The Raccoon smiled;

"Perhaps….." Zassa grinned and nodded; "we’re off the Free Trader Beowulf; docking port

AA124. Stop by some time….." Turning, Zassa headed back to Wanda and Kath, leaving the

Raccoon with a bemused look on her face.

"So what’s THIS thing?" Harriet asked, gesturing to the framework of the fantasy machine.

Hinoki chuckled; "oh, just a little project I’m working on; if you’re good, I’ll show you what it

does, later. Business before pleasure, No?" Harriet chuckled and then nodded; "too true… but

there’s always later. Right now, why don’t you show me those assault rifles; I want to see if the

reality matches the glossy pictures you showed me….."

The bar was a dark cavern, opening off the well lighted promenade. It had the look of a lunch

place, or possibly a watering hole for those just off work. And in the middle of the afternoon, it

was all but deserted. Kath, Wanda and Zassa found seats at a table, where the wall made a jog,

instinctively sitting with their backs to the wall, facing the door. The barkeep, a good looking

male Bear ambled over after a minute; "Hello, Ladies; what can I get you today?" Wanda looked

him up and down and then grinned; "I guess before I answer, I should get a look at the menu…"

Zassa stifled a chuckle and Kath turned to LOOK at her Mistress…. The Bear smiled; "certainly;

you’ll be wanting something to eat as well as something to wet your whistle?" Zassa smiled;

"both of those and perhaps some information too; we’re off a free trader just recently docked with

the station and we’re finding it…. Well, a little different than the last time we came through

here…. We’ve been wondering what happened…" The Bear sighed and shook his head; "Yeah…

Admiral Younts… Seems he had this daughter he thought was all innocence… until she got in

trouble at one of the clubs. From the stories I’ve heard, it was mostly trouble of her own making,

but the Admiral refused to accept that. The Imperials, they’ve been a little heavy handed on the

nightlife here of late. The Admiral, he’s been applying pressure to his "peer group," and now the

social elite look down on anything even remotely fun. Bunch of stuck-up, straight-laced snobs if

you ask me…. And believe me, its been bad for business." Zassa smiled; "Ah, but I bet the

forbidden fruits have only become sweeter…" The Bear nodded; "Oh, yeah, got THAT right; the

sons and daughters of high society are always sneaking out to the clubs on the strip. Let me give

you a piece of advice; NEVER recognize ANYONE you meet there; these days, its all supposed to

be SO anonymous…." Wanda smiled; "so if some Imperial of high standing wanted a night out,

he could put on a simple disguise, and go down to a club, and no one would "see" him? The Bear

nodded; "That’s the way its supposed to work; I suspect from time to time there are blackmail

attempts.. but you know the Imperials; we find a couple of bodies floating outside airlocks every

week….." Zassa just smiled; "well, I don’t know about you, but I’m starving; lets see those


As the Bear bustled about in the bar’s small kitchen, Zassa grinned; "Tanj’s just going to

LOVE this place…. Think of the opportunities!" Kath snorted; "The Admiral commanding this

place is an idiot; he’s set the place up for folks like us!" Turning, the Mink looked at the

Wolverine lass, only to find her eyes fastened on the Bear at the far end of the bar, a smile on her

face…… Turning to look at Zassa, she locked eyes with the Vixen; together they both muttered


"OK, the assault rifles, the portable power packs, the RA-231 computer, and the floating lava-lamps."

With a sigh, the Squirrel looked up at Hinoki; "its not all that I want, but right now, its all

I can afford. Give me a day or two to turn this stuff around, and I’ll be back for the rest.

Promise!" Hinoki smiled and shrugged; "I hope we’re still here, then. If our charter shows up,

we’re outta here. And I don’t know WHEN we’ll be back. Or even IF we’ll be back." Harriet

sighed and nodded, pushing a stray lock of hair out of her face, only to have it immediately fall

back where it was. "Well, I’ll just have to do my best then, won’t I?" Hinoki smiled; "I’ll get

your purchases ready for off-loading. Should be dockside in about two hours." Harriet nodded;

"The credit chip will accompany the crew coming to pick them up. But if I’m going to turn this

stuff around, I’ve got to get going." Rising to tiptoes, she kissed the Cheetah, and then turned and

headed for the airlock. Watching her go, Hinoki sighed; he would have loved to have shown her

his invention… but business did come first…. Perhaps later….

The sandwiches were merely adequate, and the beer a little heavy for their tastes, but still, it took

the edge off their hunger. When the Bear came back to clear away the dishes, Zassa purrred; "I’ve

been hearing a lot about this "night market"… what can you tell me about it? The Bear smiled;

"Oh, they’ve got anything you could ever want down there… but they also have all the petty

thieves, beggars, and con artists too. You have to be very very careful down there. And the

location changes, too; its not too hard to find, but the Imperials harass it from time to time."

Wanda smiled; "you shop there often?" The Bear nodded; "I go looking for supplies for the bar

there…. I also run a small concession stand from time to time; ready made sandwiches and beer in

disposable squeezebulbs…. I admit the profits aren’t all that great, especially when the Imperials

raid the place and confiscate all your goods… but you meet some interesting people there."

Wanda just smiled; "Maybe we’ll see you there…."


The Night Market

Kath looked her Mistress up and down, shaking her head in amazement; the Wolverine was

dressed in a tight black leather catsuit…. Somehow it looked both sexy and threatening on her….

For herself, Kath had selected a short dress that seemed to be comprised of metal links; as she

moved it shimmered, and rattled softly… and yet it didn’t seem to hinder her movement at all….

Zassa seemed to be covered in layer after layer of translucent scarves… most of her charms only

hinted at through the layers, and yet it appeared tantalizingly risque….. "Remember" Kath

murmured, "We’ll have to go through several check points, so we can’t take any obvious

weapons….." Zassa laughed; "you don’t think this place is THAT dangerous, do you?" Kath just

shrugged; "Don’t know; but it won’t hurt to be prepared…. Zassa shrugged and from a fold in her

scarves produced a small perfume sprayer; "This isn’t exactly loaded with what you’d think."

Kath nodded approvingly and turned to look at Wanda; "Mistress?" The Wolverine grinned,

baring her fangs; "Oh, I did my nails just after I got dressed….." Kath reached out to lift one of

the wolverine’s paws; her clawtips were jet black, covered in something somewhere between wax

and tar…. "Curare" Wanda purrred; "We use it in medical; all I have to do is break the skin….."

Kath’s eyebrows went up; "I’m impressed….. Mistress" Wanda laughed and reached out to snap

a leash on Kath’s collar; "Now that we’re prepared, lets go SHOPPING!"

Tanj slipped through the airlock, and looked around; her nose told her that Kath, Wanda and

Zassa had been here recently, but there was no sign of them now. With a sigh, she headed for the

wardroom, and a well-deserved cup of coffee, and maybe some dinner…..

Zassa met the eyes of the security guard, and then looked away; the Panther was scowling in a

manner she wasn’t used to seeing; normally males appreciated the way she dressed… but this one

was acting as if she were naked…. Or covered in shit. Her back stiff, she increased her pace,

eager to be away from his gaze.

The chamber was huge; the air was hazy, and full of the scents of many furrs. Temporary kiosks

had been set up in a haphazard manner, stretching almost as far as the eye could see….. It looked

like a scene out of time, a bazaar from strange and distant planet…. Grinning wickedly Zassa

caught Wanda’s and Kath’s hands and tugged them forward eagerly.

Zassa ooooh’ed and smiled as the gossamer clouds formed around her body; the "Dress" that this

particular shop was selling was merely a portable holoprojector, worn as a belt; it wreathed the

wearer in a constantly shifting veil of clouds… and could be set to periodically thin in strategic

locations, to allow portions of the wearer’s body to be revealed….. or not as the wearer chose.

"Now you understand, Ma’am," the clerk said; "you can also set it to reveal your moods; the

clouds can become dark and stormy, with flashes of lightning, if you’re angry, or it can illuminate

your body, as on a sunny day, if you’re happy… of course the clouds thin a bit when that

happens…." The Vixen chuckled and nodded; "Neat. I’ll take it!"

Tanj pulled the prepackaged meal from the microwave, and balancing it on a potholder, mug of

coffee in the other hand, turned and headed for the flight deck; she might as well wade through her

e-mail as she ate….

Wanda smiled as the hansom vendor came over to her; "I see you’ve found our line of intelligent

fabrics…. Do you have any questions?" Wanda nodded, her fingers moving over a dress with a

tropical print; "what’s so intelligent about the fabric? And why aren’t there any sizes listed on

your racks?" The Coyote smiled; "Don’t need sizes, Ma’am; the fabric will adjust to fit anyone;

stretching or contracting as need be; the intelligent part is that it won’t contract TOO much; its just

short of skintight, flowing freely over your body, no matter who wears it. It’s a perfect form-fit."

Wanda’s eyes went wide; "that sounds… fascinating. Where can I try one on?" The clerk

chuckled; "I’m afraid we don’t have fitting booths; you can pull it over what you have on, to see

what I mean, or.. well, some customers just strip right here in the market; no one seems to

mind….. But I’ll understand if you’re shy…. Wanda grinned at him, one paw moving to the

zipper down the front of her suit; "I ain’t got Nuthin’ to be ashamed of"…

Zassa did a classic double-take as she saw Wanda start stripping in the middle of the market.

Putting down the outfit she was considering, the Vixen turned and padded across the isle to see

what in the world she was doing…..

The message from her agent in the Argentum province was interesting, but provided no critical

information. It was like the guy had sent a message just to make her think he held some

worth…… The Reds had launched a new propaganda campaign, painting the Elysium

government as the vilest creatures ever to exist. Obviously some of the incidents quoted were

fictional; after all, there was no reason for the Elysium government to persecute a religious order

who’s major doctrine was pacifism.. and the assault on the monastery and the subsequent torture

of everyone found inside was just not the kind of thing a hard-pressed military did; their time

would have been better spent in other activities (such as sleeping, eating, or cleaning weapons)…

As she read the report, Tanj had to wonder if the Reds hadn’t staged just such an event just for

the propaganda value. By now, everyone on the planet must have been forced to join one faction

or another; who was left to be swayed by propaganda? Or were the Reds churning it out to

reinforce the mood of their own troops? That might be an interesting thought to follow up on…..

Maybe her agent wasn’t as dumb as she’d thought…..

Wanda twisted and turned, jumping, acting like a cheerleader in mid-game; as heads turned among

the crowd she surprised Zassa and Kath by literally doing a back-flip. Finally, panting hard, she

grinned at the shop-keeper; "you’re right; this really IS an intelligent fabric! No matter what I do,

it doesn’t get tight or bind!" Kath chuckled, reaching out to feel the fit of the dress over Wanda’s

hip; "Now if you could just make it armored, it’d be perfect." The shopkeeper grinned; "That?

No, can’t do that with THIS fabric… but a friend of mine has something almost close. If you

mention my name, he’ll give you a 10% discount, too……

Tanj smiled at the message from Reggie. He was recovering nicely and was back on light

duty. It seemed the pirates were doing some smuggling of their own, running weapons to some of

the minor factions, for a price of course. On the other hand, they were having a field day

intercepting smugglers attempting to run everything from weapons to food to the Elysium

government forces. Reggie reported profits WAY up, but so were casualties. So many casualties

that despite a massive influx of all sorts of rogues and cutthroats to the sector, the Brethren

couldn’t hire and train them fast enough. As a result, more and more work was being passed on to

the Black Fleet. Tanj grinned as Reggie relayed that Jenka sent her regards……

"Its called "Reflex" cloth. The faster you try to bend it, the harder it resists." Zassa frowned at

the Ermine; "sounds dangerous; what if you have to run?" The Ermine shrugged; "that… won’t

work very well. On the other hand, a projectile hitting it will turn it into a rigid sheet, distributing

the force evenly over your whole body. Its not perfect, but it does give you some advantages…."

Wanda grinned; "Tell me.. is there a simple way to FORCE it to go rigid? Short of shooting

someone?" The clerk frowned; "well… yes… a simple electric potential will do that.. that’s how

we test it. Why?" Wanda grinned; "Oh… no reason. I’d like to purchase a pair of overalls, for a

male… he’s about yea high, and should have a 34 waist…. Oh, and I want the exact procedure for

testing the suit….." Kath looked up from the vest she was examining; "what you got in mind,

Mistress?" Wanda just grinned; "Why, Hinoki, of course…."

Tanj sighed; her agent in Bilarta was a little more astute…. She reported that the city had been

liberated by the Blues, much to the relief and rejoicing of the populace. That was news, albeit

only of a minor nature; as the fighting swept past her, that agent would become less useful….

And yet, she reported that the Reds had seized the Isthmus of Pangea… and in doing so, had cut

off Bilarta, and the surrounding area from the mainland. Her agent hypothesized that while the

Blues were interested in the welfare of the oppressed peoples, that the Reds seemed to be more

interested in strategic territories, almost as if they were positioning themselves for a power

struggle with the other factions AFTER the Elysium government had fallen. Tanj read that

message three times….. and then flagged it for immediate referral to her boss. If a pattern could

be identified, that would be MOST signficant…. And furrs would have to be warned!

Wanda looked at the plain black cloak; it even came with a hood; were she to put it on, it would

cover her from the tips of her ears to within a half centimeter of the floor. Frowning, she looked at

the long rack of identical garments and shook her head. "I see you’re new to the station" the old

Marten lady behind the counter chuckled. Wanda nodded carefully; "I can’t imagine, with all the

exciting things to wear here, why anyone would want to …. Patronize your shop!" The old lady

smiled; "Dear, that’s simple. You can’t wear all THIS stuff out in public! The cloaks are to go

OVER what you wear to a party; that way the Security troops won’t bother you! In fact, some

males, and I hear, even some females, make their partners go nude under the cloaks, just to

exercise their control…. Wanda looked again at the cloaks and thought about what else might be

hidden under them. Nodding decisively she growled; "I’ll take five…. Um… do any of them

come with inner pockets?" The Martin smiled; "these over here… and these, these have linings

that reduce the probability of a successful scan… its not PERFECT mind you, but it DOES

increase your chances….."

Zassa giggled as the salesgirl demonstrated; the flimsy panties were held together by an

electrostatic charge; a remote built into a ring or necklace could turn them to dust almost instantly;

talk about a new way to get out of your clothes! And there were bras and slacks and blouses and

dresses, all of the same material…..

Kath looked dubiously at the Ocelot, as he rambled on; "You really do need to try it, Miss; the

fabric will cling to fur, without the irritation of something like velcro; it has something to do with

the sub-molecular structure and Van der Waal’s forces; it comes off with a gentle tug, but will

stick like glue…." Setting down her packages, Kath took the proffered strip of fabric; laying it

across her forearm, she shook her arm violently, the cloth sticking fast. Giving the Ocelot a "this

had better come off easily or you’re DEAD, Mister" glare, she reached out with her other hand, to

pull the strip of fabric off; as promised it came up cleanly, and smoothly, with only a gentle tug.

Nodding in appreciation, the Mink turned to the clerk; "OK, you’ve got my attention; now show

me what you’ve got…..

Tanj smiled; she’d saved the best for last. A message from her Master; while there wasn’t

anything of any significance in it, she was pleased that he’d taken time from his busy day to think

of her. Carefully, she framed her reply, hoping he missed her as much as she missed him…..

Wanda looked at Kath and Zassa and nodded; each held at least four shopping bags; it was time to

head back before they became overloaded… and they’d scarcely seen a quarter of the market.

Tomorrow was another day; turning, they headed towards the exit they’d come in.

The Wolf was seated cross-legged in the corridor; both eyes seemed opaque, as if some harsh

chemical had blinded him. His fur was patchy, as if some virulent form of the mange were

savaging him. Both feet seemed malformed. In his left paw he held a tin cup, which he’d rattle

from time to time; his right paw seemed to be missing entirely. Zassa paused, and looked down at

him for a moment, and then fished in her purse for a credit chip. Wanda scowled, pausing a step

or two beyond the vixen; "you’re not actually going to encourage begging, are you?" Zassa

shrugged; "but he looks so …. Pitiful…. I can’t just walk by! Wanda scoffed; "Here on an

Imperial station, of all places, you don’t think he can’t have his… "problems" fixed so that he can

get a job, and be a useful member of society, instead of an eyesore? These guys do this because

they’re too lazy to work!" Why, I bet he’s not even crippled!" Kath blinked and muttered; "ah,

Mistress…." as the Wolverine bent to examine the Wolf closer. "First off, while he looks filthy,

he doesn’t SMELL like someone who lives on the streets….." The Wolf’s scarred eyes opened a

bit wider, his head turning to follow the sound of her voice. Wanda peered closely at the Wolf and

then grunted; "Just as I thought; contact lenses!" Before anyone could move, Wanda’s paw

reached out to run an index finger over a prominent scar on the Wolf’s face; she chuckled; "latex,

and greasepaint. Its not real!" The Wolf’s head turned left and right, as if looking to see if anyone

was around; then he grinned; "Very good, Madam; you are most astute!" Zassa’s jaw dropped;

"you mean she’s RIGHT?" The Wolf shrugged eloquently; "I’m afraid so." The Vixen shook her

head; "but…. Why?" The Wolf smiled; "it was a fraternity dare, at first. My frat brothers dared

me to spend a day as a beggar; well, I was in the Thesbian club, and knew a bit about makeup; I

took their dare, and after suitable… preparation, spent a day not far from here. Not only did no

one detect that I wasn’t truly destitute, but the…. "donations" were more than I made in a day at

my part time job. It just sort of grew from there." Kath snorted; "don’t you feel bad about duping

people like that?" The Wolf smiled; "Oh, no, Ma’am; look at it as "street theater"…. And besides,

most people feel really good after giving me a few credits. Good for their morale, to help such a

pitiful wretch as me. Besides, I meet the most INTERESTING people!

Zassa straightened and Hmmmmed. "You know, I bet you DO meet all sorts of people.. and hear

things too. Tell you what, I’ll give you this credit chip if you can tell me two things…." The

Wolf smiled wider; "I’m always up for a challenge!" Zassa bent over; "first, we want to find the

best sex shop in the Night Market; the one with the most unusual things." The Wolf chuckled;

"that’s easy; that’s Satyr’s; they’re usually on Isle 69, at the west end." Zassa nodded; "OK, now,

which of the night clubs do most of the Imperials frequent; the ones in disguise, the ones that hope

no one will "notice" them there." The Wolf Hmmed, for a moment; "well, the Imperials frequent

Rick’s, and the Blue Parrot… and some like Xaviera’s although that’s a particularly

sadomasochistic crowd… Personally, I like Rick’s myself. Classier group of people; a little more

generous with their handouts. But the Blue Parrot generally has better bands." Zassa nodded; "so

you do get around, then…." The Wolf nodded. The Vixen grinned; "and you hear a lot?" The

Wolf smiled; "Nothing happens on this station that I don’t hear about." Zassa chuckled; "did you

hear about the arrival of the Free Trader Beowulf?" The Wolf nodded; "Docking bay AA124; the

traffic controllers obtained a neat little bribe for such a grand port too, from what I’ve heard. In

fact, as I understand it, the shift supervisor’s in trouble for not inviting his boss to that little

party…." Zassa chuckled and nodded at Kath and Wanda; "why don’t you come by AA124 when

you get a chance; I think my boss might like to meet you……." Taking a different credit chip

from her purse, Zassa flipped it into the Wolf’s tin cup with a clatter. Bending to pick up her

packages, she grinned and sauntered down the corridor.

As the girls left, the Wolf’s head turned after a moment, his opaque eyes following them. "Nice

rack on that Vixen" he muttered to himself; "Maybe I WILL go visit…."

Hinoki yawned and slipped through the door onto the flight deck; "Heya, Tanj." Tanj

looked up from the comm console; "Hey, Stud; finally awake?" The male Cheetah yawned and

nodded; "got to work on getting off ship time and onto station time; don’t want to miss all the

action." Tanj chuckled; "not much risk of that, I think; so far things have been pretty quiet.

I’ve been watching for our "contact" but so far, no one’s approached the ship, or tried to contact

us." Hinoki nodded; "well, that’s fine by me; gives me more time to try and sell our cargo. First

round went well; money showed up just like it was supposed to. I suspect we could have gotten

more, but it wasn’t a bad deal….." Tanj nodded; "some of that stuff is kinda hot, despite the

papers we have for all of it; if there was a problem, well, I’d rather work through a broker and

minimize our risk, even if we do take home less profits." Hinoki sighed and nodded; "I’d hate to

see Harriet take the fall, should things go badly, but I guess that’s her risk." Tanj just nodded;

"True. Deals too good to be true generally are. I’m sure she understands the risk. And its not like

she isn’t being well paid for her efforts."

The corridor was long, with few doors opening off of it; half the lights were out, and graffiti was

scrawled on the walls. Wanda looked left and right, and grumbled "are you SURE we came this

way?" Zassa just nodded; "Yeah, I remember this… I think…." Instinctively, the three quickened

their paces, though…..

The Jackal stepped out from the shadows, a gleam of metal flashing in his right paw; the threat

was obvious. Instinctively, Kath looked behind her, to see their escape blocked by three more

thugs. Nudging Wanda, the Mink whispered; "Mistress; there’s only one of them in front of us;

that’s the quickest way out." The Wolverine just nodded.

The Jackal had opened his mouth, whether to demand money, or sex wasn’t clear. With a growl,

Wanda dashed forward, to give the jackal a backhanded slash; the Jackal’s knife came up, perhaps

a bit late, to open a gap in her leather. Wanda howled and punched him square in the nose; by that

time, however, the curare on her claws was taking affect, and he fell to the deck in a heap. Wanda

growled in pleasure, a noise cut off as three more muggers stepped from the shadows….

Kath unclipped her dangling leash from her collar; it was heavy leather, and longer than she was

tall; and the clip on the end was heavy metal. Grinning, she started twirling it over her head.….

Zassa let out an eep, and cowered against one wall. With eyes alight, one of the muggers, a rather

hefty Badger reached for her; with a true predatory grin, Zassa pulled out her perfume sprayer and

spritzed him in the face. For a moment, the Badger paused, and then, Howling, he clawed at his

eyes…… Zassa stepped in, to deliver a vicious side-kick, knocking the Badger to the floor.

Wanda growled, slashing left and then right with her claws. The Coyote to her left and the Panda

to her right danced back and forth, neither one too interested in closing with the enraged

Wolverine….. Feinting left, Wanda jumped back, to slash at the Panda; she felt two claws scrap

across his ribs, and grinned; she knew the drug she’d painted on her claws would soon rob him of

all control over his voluntary muscles….. growling she turned to concentrate on the Coyote…..

Kath worked the leash left and right, bringing the heavy snap down against the skull of a Stoat,

and then lashing it against a Wolf. The leash wrapped around his neck; with a growl she tugged

hard, pulling him off balance and right into the path of a Lynx as he charged her….

Zassa moved silently, lashing out here and there, as the brigands concentrated on the Mink and

Wolverine; she’d practiced with some of the best the Brethren had, finding the martial arts

routines excellent exercise…. And now she was putting it all to use for the first time….. slightly

amazed at how well it was working.

Wanda growled as she rammed the Coyote’s head into the wall; letting him fall to the deck with a

sickening thud, she turned… to find the corridor empty. The remaining thugs had fled. Panting

hard, she looked for Kath and Zassa……

Kath grunted, tugging on her leash, trying to un-wrap it from the Wolf’s neck; it was tight enough

to be restricting his breathing, and she didn’t want him to die. Not yet, anyways; the Imperials

would have her filling out paperwork until she was old and gray. That she didn’t need…..

Looking up as Wanda approached, she gasped; "Mistress! You’re bleeding!"

Zassa looked down at the crumpled form of the Jackal; "you know, we should take one of these

clowns back for interrogation. They might be able to tell us a good bit about the underworld

structure here….." Kath nodded; "yeah… and if we can hold their leader hostage, perhaps we can

forestall any vengeance attacks….." Wanda nodded; "This one was the first one to challenge us…

but is he the leader? Or just cannon fodder?" Zassa shrugged and looked around; "how can we


Kath looked down at the Lynx; "Come take a look at this. This guy’s wearing a ring that’s a lot

flashier than any of the others. Looks real, too." Zassa nodded and patted down the Lynx, pulling

out a high-end comm link, and an address book. "Hmmm. Yeah, this one seems to have a few

things the other thugs don’t have." Wanda chuckled; "he seems cleaner too; lets take him." Zassa

shrugged and turned to retrieve one of the cloaks from the shopping bags; in a moment, he was

wrapped, unrecognizable. Wanda looked at the two girls, looking back at her; "Oh, no, I’m not

carrying him. You want him back, you can drag him yourselves!" Kath sighed and looked at

Zassa; "well, I’ll get his feet; you get his head…." Looking up at the Wolverine, the Mink smiled;

"Mistress, will you get the packages?"

Tanj watched as her crewmates piled in through the lock. Wanda growled and dropped an

amazing amount of packages as Kath and Zassa dropped something wrapped in black with a thud.

The Cheetah’s "Have a good shopping trip?" was met with growls and snarls. Blinking, Tanj

looked from face to face; "What HAPPENED?"



The Lynx shook his head, and reflexively tried to move; it was as if he were trying to stand up,

arm and leg muscles bunching. However, he was firmly restrained, or at least he appeared to be.

The wooden chair was as massive as it was ancient, with thick leather straps. And it was stained

with what looked like blood….. the floor was gray stone, also stained… the walls were comprised

of rough stone blocks, with rusted iron rings set in them at intervals. The roof was lost in the

shadows. The scene was lit by torches, guttering in a non-existent breeze, and by a brazier in one

corner. Zassa had wanted to add a decomposing body hanging from some of the rings, but

everyone else had thought it too theatrical. As it was, it was unnerving enough, if highly

improbable. Hidden behind holographic walls, the crew watched as the Lynx settled back in the

chair, to gaze around in amazement. He looked like he’d come to the point where he thought he

was dreaming, when Tanj stepped into view, seemingly materializing out of thin air….. His

head snapped around, eyes narrowing, as he looked her up and down….

Tanj was wearing her faded camouflage pants, and a crop top, loose across her breasts, tented

forward, so that their lower curves flashed as the fabric moved and swayed. She had her dagger

with her, in a sheath on its own belt, on her right side. Smiling down at the nude Lynx, she

slooooowly pulled the dagger from the sheath, with an evil hiss of metal on metal… Grinning, she

drew the razor sharp edge across the back of his left hand, and then lifting the dagger to her

muzzle, licked the thin sheen of his blood from the blade. The Lynx, for his part, glared wide-eyed

at her, as if he were seeing a ghost. Or possibly a Demon.

Tanj grinned again, and squatted in front of the Lynx, the point of her dagger thunking as it

sunk a centimeter into the "stone" floor, with a shower of sparks. Grinning up at the Lynx,

Tanj purrred; "by virtue of having assaulted my crew, you are now a prisoner. A prisoner of

the Brethren……" the Lynx tried to speak, coughed and then almost shouted; "The Brethren?!?

But they’re sectors distant! They don’t even operate in this QUADRANT! I don’t believe you!

When my gang gets here, they’re going to……" Tanj’s laugh forestalled him; "your toughs are

all dead. The Brethren do not take kindly to those that care to cross swords with us!" Grinning,

showing her fangs, the Cheetah pulled her dagger from the rock, to lean forward, and drive it into

the chair seat, scant centimeters from his balls. It was as if suddenly the Lynx realized he was

naked, his whole body jerking as he tried to pull away from the gleaming blade.

Tanj smiled with deceptive softness; "You might wonder why you were spared….." The Lynx

shook his head; "I can’t be used as a hostage! My clan avows anyone captured as "dead"…..

they’ve probably already held my funeral! You won’t get any concessions from them by holding

me!" Some of the bravado seemed to return to the Lynx as he spoke; "all you’ll get is retaliation!

They’ll come for you! They’ll kill you all!" Tanj laughed; "you mean they’re going to travel

all the way to where we live, and then attack US? How many battlecruisers do they boast? How

many destroyers? How many raider ships? How many troops?" A curious look passed over the

Lynx’s face as he reflected on the folly of his clan assaulting a force large enough, powerful

enough, to be known this far from their normal area of operation…. Tanj saw the look and

threw back her head to LAUGH! After a moment she dropped her gaze to look at the Lynx;

"Besides,, they’ll have to figure out what happened to you first…. but I AM curious. Who is so

bold to take on the Brethren? Who IS your Clan?"

The Lynx blinked and then resolutely looked away. Tanj just chuckled, pulled her dagger out

of the wood of the chair, and using the point, traced the crease between his balls….. The Lynx

shivered, and Tanj could just about see his balls contract, pulling them against his body;

Rising she looked down at him and smiled; "you know, we have ways of making you talk…….."

Turning, she strode towards the featureless wall, her body seeming to dissipate like smoke, until

she was gone.

"I ALWAYS wanted to use that line" Tanj chuckled. Hinoki rolled his eyes as Zassa

chortled… "I STILL say," the Cheetah male growled; "That a little pain would work faster.

Tanj nodded; "Perhaps, but we wouldn’t have much left when we were done. He’s not bad

looking. We could probably get a fair price for him, in a suitable market. This way will work;

it’ll just take a little longer." Hinoki sighed; "I’m not happy with the way you’ve perverted the

use of my invention, Tanj!" Tanj sighed and nodded, hugging the male; "I know, but look

at the bright side; it needs an endurance test…. Not to mention certain sensory software…. And

we also need "torturers" that won’t let up because they feel sorry for him……

The Lynx’s head snapped around at the sound of the giggles; blinking, he couldn’t believe his

eyes; two buxom, and completely nude female white rabbits had materialized at the wall opposite

from where the Cheetah bitch had vanished. Giggling and teasing each other with barely heard

whispers, they approached almost timidly… one of them leaned over him from behind, to nuzzle

his neck, as the other knelt between his bound legs, to nuzzle at his crotch….

Tanj looked up from the Comm console, to check the progress. The monitor in the cargo bay

had been augmented, the machine feeding the Lynx’s medical readouts to the ship’s AI. His

heartbeat was elevated, and his blood full of fatigue poisons…. The twin bunnies had been

replaced in turn by a Tigress, a lady Raccoon, and a rather large Clydesdale mare…. Now the

forked tongue of a Dragoness teased his throbbing cock; the machine had been sexually teasing

him for hours and hours, and despite the fact that he’d come to the brink of orgasm many times,

had NEVER let him cum. Tanj grinned; he must have the world’s most massive case of blue-balls…..

And all during that time, the phantoms generated by the machine had never asked him a

single question, never spoken a word…..

Hinoki looked at Kath; "Sure you want to do this? The Machine’s perfectly capable…." The

Mink chuckled; "actually, I’d love to give the kid some relief; I KNOW how prolonged sex, even

of the most pleasurable kind, can become painful, even excruciating…. Yeah, I’d like to do it…."

The Lynx groaned, as the Mink materialized in his view…. He couldn’t think straight; his whole

body was on fire, and it felt as if velvety soft tongues had licked his cock raw…. And yet

somehow he couldn’t loose his erection….. No matter how hard he wanted to… Kath purrred as

she knelt between his feet; leaning forward, she gave his cock a long, slow lick, to the sound of his

groans.… "are you ready to talk, yet?" she purrred. The Lynx’s head came up; "wha….. did you

SAY something?" Kath grinned and gave him another lick, eliciting yet another groan. Kath

purred; "Yes… you know what we want; you’ll suffer our attentions until you tell us, you

know……" bending forward, the Mink took his cock in her mouth, to suck softly, her teeth

grazing the length of his shaft…. Gasping, the Lynx cried; "all right, I’ll talk, I’ll TALK, just let

me be!" Kath smiled and sloooowly slid his shaft from her mouth; "tell me everything I want to

know and I’ll see you’re suitably rewarded……"

Kath sat on the arm of the station chair next to Tanj; "the station has three crime "families"….

The D’tang are the largest; they’re into Gambling, and smuggling of forbidden substances. The

Xing are the next largest; they’re into extortion and protection rackets. Finally the Slyth are the

smallest; that’s the group our friend belongs to; they’re into illegal weapons and fencing, and

some of the more base crimes. Each family has their fingers in the clubs down on the strip,

although there are some independents not controlled by them. They also all run some prostitution,

although the biggest "house" on the station, Miss Kitti’s, isn’t controlled by any of them. I’ve got

more detail than we can use, including safe houses, suspected safe houses, names, "ranks" and so

forth. I’ve even got estimated operating revenues and military strengths. Not sure what we can do

with any of it, though, ‘cept possibly pass it on to the Imperials, should we need something to

trade…" Tanj nodded; "and the Imperials probably know all that already anyways. No, we

keep it and see if we can use it somehow. Now, as to our friend….." Kath smiled; "Zassa and

Hinoki did up a "training program"… Wanda and Zassa seems to think he’s cute, and they’re

running him through an abbreviated version of the "Academy"… should have one class A sex

slave when we’re done, if they’ve done her homework right. Tanj chuckled; "Well, Zassa’s

been through the Academy, and Hinoki used to TEACH there…. Should be interesting to see how

well they do…."

When Kath had left, Tanj looked at the damp spot on the arm of the station chair. Smiling and

shaking her head, she vowed she was going to get even with Hinoki for that experimental drug

he’d given them; they were ALL still dripping, as if constantly aroused; it was getting so you

couldn’t find a dry seat in the ship!

The Lynx licked carefully, giving thought to each motion of his tongue; when he’d started his day,

that one fateful day in what seemed like a different century, he’d NEVER expected something

like THIS; never even considered the possibility. The crack of the riding crop on his ass brought

his attention back to the task at hand, and as the phantom instructor paced on, he worked at trying

to bring his "classmate" to her climax before any of the other students…..

Zassa settled in the Wardroom and grinned at Hinoki; "By the way, did I mention I saw some of

"our" assault rifles in the Night Market?" Hinoki, raised an eyebrow as he chewed his dinner.

Zassa chuckled; "Yeah, 6,000 credits a piece." Hikoki’s eyes bulged as he almost choked on his

mouthful; finally he swallowed and gasped out; "you’re KIDDING! Anyone buying?" Zassa

shrugged; "not that I saw, but the crate was half empty…." Hinoki growled, "That does it;

Harriet’s prices just went UP!" The Vixen just laughed.


A Night on the Town

"Tanj, I tell you, there’s no point in hanging around the ship! If our contact wanted to meet us

as soon as we got here, he would have shown by now; its obvious that he’s NOT HERE YET.

And there are no other ships scheduled to dock for seven hours. Plenty of time to go cruise some

clubs!" Tanj looked at the Vixen and frowned; Zassa was wreathed in a slowly moving pattern

of clouds, as if she were a red-hued planet seen from high orbit. She was nominally decent, but

the overall illusion was sexy as hell. And the Cheetah was convinced she wasn’t wearing a stitch;

just that glowing necklace that seemed to be the holoemitter…. "Well… I guess you’re right….."

"Sure she is" purrred Kath; "Come on, lets go!" The Mink was attired in what might be termed a

harem girl’s outfit, although how the panels of near-translucent gauze adhered to her was beyond

comprehension…. Wanda, holding the end of the Mink’s leash, was attired in a tropical print

sundress, the yellows, greens and tans going nicely with her fur… the dress seemed almost

skintight…. And perfectly fitted to the Wolverine’s form. Tanj felt rather frumpy in her

"living dress," and issued a mental command for the neckline to dip a little lower….. Turning to

hide the motion of the creature, Tanj took the proffered cloak, and pulling it around her, led the

way from her ship….

Hinoki looked up and grinned as Tanj emerged from the Personnel lock; he was standing with

a similarly cloaked Raccoon lady, cloaked in a light-absorbing wrap as they were. "Tanj, this

is Harriet; she’s our…. "agent" here, and has volunteered to show us some of the clubs." Tanj

smiled, standing by the lock as the others emerged; "Pleased to meet you, Harriet…." Turning

back to the lock, Tanj set the security protocols and locked the ship down, tight. It would take

someone very sophisticated to break into their home undetected….

"The Strip" was both more garish and less raucous than Tanj had expected. There were bright

lights, and flashing signs, but less music and sound than other places of its ilk. And there were

less people visible too; what folks there were, seemed to move along the walls, as if trying not to

attract attention. Harriet led them to a place called "Saucilito’s"; Tanj didn’t know how they

did it, but they seemed to go from comparative silence to ear-splitting music at a single step. And

to her amazement, there was no doorfurr, who’s palm they had to grease to gain entrance…. This

was the largest, the loudest, and according to Harriet, the most popular place on the strip. Once

inside, the Raccoon shed her cloak, revealing a spiderweb gown that concealed almost nothing;

handing the cloak to a robot attendant, she turned and tugging on Hinoki’s paw, led him off to the

dance floor. Tanj grinned; under his cloak, Hinoki had been wearing an artist’s posing pouch,

in a color and pattern matching his fur. Almost nude, there was very little left to the

imagination…. Zassa shed her cloak, and wreathed in cirrostratus, moved off towards the bar.

Wanda for her part, chuckled as she tugged on Kath’s leash, following the Vixen, noting the eyes

that turned her way too…..

Tanj sat at the end of the bar and just watched. There always seemed to be a knot of interested

furrs around the cloud-wreathed Vixen on the dance floor, always a half dozen furrs eager to buy

her a drink, when she paused for rest. Harriet and Hinoki were nowhere to be seen, although

Tanj hadn’t seen them pass through the entrance. Wanda, with Kath kneeling at her feet, had

also attracted a fair amount of attention, various males and even a few females wandering over to

examine her slave, and to talk with Kath’s Mistress. Sipping her drink slowly, Tanj tried hard

to gauge the feel, the atmosphere of the place, and to listen in on as many conversations as


"You’re new here, aren’t you?" Tanj turned and found herself looking in to the face of a

middle aged Jaguar; he wasn’t tall, and he wasn’t short… "compact" might have been a better

term, as there was something about him that seemed to suggest mass and muscle. He was

conservatively dressed for the place, in a shirt that was almost skin-tight, and a matching pair of

shorts. As Tanj smiled, he went on, in an offhanded manner; "I’d recognize that pattern of

spots, if I’d ever seen you before… and I know you didn’t come in on the Valeria….." At

Tanj’s blank look, he grinned; "Now I KNOW you’re not from these parts, if the name of the

largest ship in the Imperial fleet… at least in this quadrant, doesn’t ring a bell." Tanj smiled;

"Ah… the Battlecruiser that held up traffic a few days ago…." The Jaguar smiled; "held up…

surely you wouldn’t expect a ship THAT grand to wait for all the little freighters and packets, to

make our appro……." The Jaguar’s speech trailed off and then he grinned; "Let me guess; you

were one of those waiting…." Tanj smiled and nodded, combining the gesture with a sip of

her drink. "Ah, well, not to put too fine a point on it, its not all OUR fault, you know; local traffic

control and all that….. in fact, I’d heard that they held up the works, after we left, just as a

mechanism for meeting a certain shipload of ladies…"…. Tanj laughed; "it was a good deal

more than just "Meeting…." The Jaguar blinked "That was YOU? I mean… ah…." Tanj

chuckled; "now you KNOW we’re all supposed to be anonymous here, aren’t we?" The Jaguar all

but blushed and nodded; "Please forgive me; I didn’t intend to pry…. So, what would be a safer

subject to talk about?" Tanj laughed; "Oh, I’ve been out on the fringes for a while; what’s the

latest from the core systems; what are the leaders of the Empire up to these days?" The Jaguar

looked left and right and then leaned closer; "well, the latest rumor is that the Princess Stephanie,

the Emperor’s youngest, was seen in the company of a certain Lepine count….."

Wanda looked across the crowded room and smiled; Tanj was sitting at the end of the bar, and

talking to a rather hansom Jaguar; she smiled and was glad that the Cheetah wasn’t spending the

night watching her crewmates…. Turning back to the lady Badger with the cultured accent she

smiled; "No, actually I don’t subscribe to that particular method of "punishing" slaves; I find that a

different technique works MUCH better with my pet. Let me tell you about it……"

Kath listened with only one ear; Wanda had told her she could dance with the Badger’s male

slave, a Ferret, as long as they made it "worth watching." Smiling, she danced close again,

rubbing herself against him; the challenge was to get him embarrassingly hard without using her

hands…. So far she seemed to be doing just fine, too….. When Wanda started to recount the

scene with the rope-wound rod she was forced to walk along, the strands of rope rubbing against

her pussy as she struggled forward on tiptoes the mink grinned; so much stimulation, and so little

release…. At least until Zassa showed up…. Yes, that had been a most marvelous

"punishment"… and she wondered what she could do to earn a punishment like that again…..

The Jaguar sighed; "you know, I DO wish that I could take you back to my ship with me, but

that’d violate the anonymity requirement….." Grinning softly the Jaguar purrred; "I’m sure I

could show you a good evening, treat you right….." Tanj listened and smiled; his pick-up lines

weren’t that sophisticated, and yet somehow she got the feeling he’d try his best to please her….

He was obviously the kind of career officer who was married to his job… and for a moment

Tanj had an almost panicked thought…. here he was ASKING her… it seemed like almost no

one seduced her any more, no one just "asked"… it was as if she was expected to perform

sexually…. Here, she could actually say no, although she was sure it’d break his heart…..

Turning to face him a little more directly, leaning forward, she whispered; ‘surely they must have

a way of handling something like that….."

The Jaguar nodded; "Oh, most certainly, but it’s a little risky…." Tanj raised an eyebrow;

"really? How so?" The Jaguar smiled and held out a hand, as he slipped from his chair; "come,

I’ll show you; one of the more risque aspects of the clubs here…." Leading Tanj towards the

back, they entered a crowded room. There was a bar along one side, and the noise was just as

loud… but the noises were the sounds of love. Giant screens covered the walls, and in part, the

ceiling, and on the screens were a variety of couples, male/female, male/male, and female/female,

with a few larger groups, all engaged in making love. As she watched, Tanj grinned; there was

Hinoki and his lady friend… Looking around it was obvious that they were attracting more

attention than most…. But then, Hinoki was putting on a better performance than most. "the

rooms are free, but there’s a risk you’ll wind up on screen, here. Not 100%, or even 50%, but a

definite possibility." Tanj laughed, and turned to face her beau; "well, that just adds spice to it,

doesn’t it?" The Jaguar thought for a minute, sipped his drink and nodded… Yes….. I suppose

you could look at it that way." Smiling at the Cheetah, the Jaguar tilted his head to one side; "if

you’d like to take the dare, I’d be pleased to do what I can to… reward you for your company

tonight…." Tanj just grinned and nodded her head.

The room was clean, but spartan; there wasn’t a bed per se, but the floor itself was heavily padded.

And whatever video pickups there might be were well camouflaged. Turning, Tanj put her

arms around the Jaguar, to kiss him softly; she could feel his paws moving over her back, perhaps

not so much stroking her as they kissed, as… examining her dress… And suddenly alarm bells

started to ring in her head. As they broke the kiss, the Jaguar looked into her eyes; "how DO I get

you out of this dress?" Tanj chuckled; "you don’t…." Issuing some mental commands,

forming a clear thought of what she wanted, the inky blackness of the creature flowed over her

body, shrinking to form a tight corset, exposing her breasts and lifting them up…." The Jaguar

took a half step back, his paws on her shoulders, his eyes wide….. "I thought….. I thought those

things were illegal in the Empire!" Tanj shrugged; "They weren’t illegal where I bought it…

and I haven’t found it to be dangerous in all the time I’ve had it; to tell you the truth, I think the

only reason they’re… "frowned upon" in the Empire is that they’d put the clothiers out of

business…" The Jaguar smiled, perhaps a little weakly; "Ah… well, that’s the great thing about

anonymity; if I KNEW who you were, I’d probably be duty-bound to have you arrested for

smuggling, and harboring such a dangerous creature.. but, as I don’t….." Bending his head, he

kissed her again, pulling her close.

Zassa danced over to Wanda and Kath; panting lightly she grinned down at them; "Tanj’s on,

in the Monitoring room, if you’re interested…. I don’t know who the stud is that she’s with, but

from the way the crowd’s reacting, I get the feeling he’s someone important….."

Tanj smiled, and softly stroked his head; it was SO rare for someone to do this; usually it was

she who wound up on her knees, working on her partner, inflaming them for the sex to follow….

But now, the Jaguar, still fully clothed, knelt before her, his paws clutching her ass, as his tongue

explored her sex…. He wasn’t the most talented she’d ever run across, but he wasn’t bad.

Gasping as his tongue once again stroked over her "G" spot, she moaned and softly caressed an


Harriet smiled and led Hinoki into the Monitor room; the Raccoon was still panting softly, from

their exertions. Gyrations might have been a better descriptor; they’d been through almost every

position and variation Hinoki knew. And that was a considerable amount. As soft applause

greeted them, Harriet dragged him over to a screen filled with text. "Ooooh, look at THAT. We

had over 200 furrs watching us, and we got a score of 7.8! That’s the highest I’ve ever gotten!

You really ARE good, HotStuff! Hinoki blinked; "you mean we’re RATED? Harriet grinned and

nodded enthusiastically. Then she tilted her head up to kiss the Cheetah male; "why? Shy?"

Hinoki chuckled; "um… not exactly; it just makes the place a little more… decadent than I would

have expected." Harriet chuckled and nodded; "deliciously so, isn’t it?… Hey, isn’t that your boss

on Monitor 23 over there?"

Tanj purrrred softly; the Jaguar had taken his time, using tongues and fingers to thoroughly

explore her sex, driving her passions higher and higher until she’d crested in a lovely climax…..

chest still heaving as she sought to regain her breath, she’d pulled him to his feet, and then in turn,

dropped to her knees, to softly nuzzle and lick as she’d worked his shorts down over his hips. His

shaft was thick and heavy as her tongue worked its way over every ridge, vein and contour,

exploring him as thoroughly as he’d explored her. Acting like they had all the time in the world,

Tanj tickled his balls with one finger as her mouth sought out the head of his shaft…..

Harriet groaned as the counter of folks watching Tanj and the Jaguar exceeded the count of her

and Hinoki; grabbing the Cheetah’s paw she tugged him back towards the "private" rooms;

"Come on, I’ll be danged if I’m going to let THEM beat US!"

The pace was a lot more languid than Tanj would have expected; the Jaguar had cum in her

mouth rather quickly, suggesting that it’d been a while since he’d last gotten his rocks off. And

now, with tender ministrations of lips and tongue and paw, he was hard again. She’d pulled him

over on top of her, and as she groaned into his chestfur, he moved his hips languidly, working his

cock in and out of her in a maddeningly slow display of control…..

Wanda looked up at Kath, and then sighed; but she smiled as she sighed and Kath took that as a

good sign. "Oh, all right, Dear, you may… just make sure that you get at least as high a rating as

Hinoki and that Racoon lady, or I’ll have to discipline you!" Kath giggled, and taking the Ferret’s

paw in hers, they hurried towards the rooms. The Lady Badger sniffed; "I think we’re BOTH

much too easy on our slaves….." Wanda chuckled "Oh, I don’t mind letting her have some fun.

And she DID ask first…. Besides, there’s no way she’ll get as high a rating as Hinoki; and that’ll

just lead to some fun later…."

Tanj purrrred, her paws on his chest, her upper arms pushing her breasts together…. She’d

rolled the Jaguar over, and now sat astride his hips, rising and falling just as slowly, just as

teasingly…. Except now she was better able to work her vaginal muscles, to caress him with her

"inner hand"…. It was a delicate dance, though; she had to keep him from cumming…… She

wasn’t quite ready to be through with him yet…. She wanted to drive him so crazy he’d finish

with a frenzy…..

The Wolf seemed rather out of place; it wasn’t his dress, which was trendy enough, or anything

that he did… perhaps it was his body language that set him apart, that kept anyone from

approaching him. He sat at the bar quietly, Eyes flicking between Monitor 23, with the Jaguar and

the Cheetah, and monitor 107, with the Mink and Ferret. Mostly 107, though, thought the

bartender. "Something unusual about him," the bartender thought; after all, no one had ever made

a single drink last that long here……

It worked just as Tanj thought it might; she’d executed the turn deftly, throwing one leg up and

pivoting on his shaft, until she faced his feet. A few strokes in that position, and then she’d leaned

forward a bit; the Jaguar had pulled his legs under him, as if he’d known just what she wanted, as

if they’d rehearsed it, and they smoothly shifted to her on hands and knees, with him thrusting into

her from behind. Grunting, she rocked back, to meet his thrusts, her breasts swaying wildly. It

didn’t take long before the Jaguar was pounding into her with all his strength, grunting with each

thrust. Whether by intent, or just chance, Tanj’s climax seemed to arrive just as the Jaguar’s

orgasm claimed him, the two howling together as their bodies continued to move.

Tanj was still panting when they made it back to the bar in the Monitor room; "It’s a shame

they had to hurry us out of there like that…." The Jaguar nodded; "true; but there WAS a line of

folks waiting to use the rooms; mustn’t be greedy…." Tanj laughed and nodded, leaning over

to kiss him softly; "Thanks, I enjoyed that!" The Jaguar smiled "anytime, my lady, any time at


Yawning, Tanj pulled her cloak tighter around her, as if the station’s air was chill; due to the

late hour, they’d insisted Harriet come back to the ship with them, as they didn’t want to escort her

all the way to her quarters. Harriet seemed too tired to argue, snuggling against Hinoki. The

Jaguar had said he’d have been delighted to escort them home, but Tanj had reminded him that

if he knew who she was, he might have to arrest her… at least confiscate her "dress"…. He

laughed and nodded, and had merely bid her adieu. And now they were almost back to the ship,

and bed…. But before bed, she’d have to check her e-mail, to see if their mysterious contact had

shown up yet…..

The Wolf watched from the shadows as the small party passed. Yes, there on the end of the

Wolverine’s leash was the Mink. Her fur had been artfully died, but it was her, no question.

Kath sighed to herself. She’d seen the Wolf, half hidden by the shadows. Worse, she’d caught the

hand sign……



Harriet stretched, and sat up; the sun was up, streaming through the….. windows? Looking

around, the Raccoon let out a small "eep!" of surprise. She was in a large feather bed, a nude

Hinoki next to her, partially wrapped in the bedclothes…. HIM she remembered… The room,

however, was something she did NOT remember. It was roughly circular, with tall narrow

windows spaced evenly around the periphery. A staircase led downwards along one wall,

obviously following the curve of the building. The floor, and walls were of gray stone, rough cut,

and massive. The roof beams seemed to be hand-hewn timber, with thatch above. A gentle, warm

breeze blew in through the open windows… Rising, padding nude to the windows to the East (for

that was where the rising sun could be seen), Harriet looked out over a pastoral scene. Rolling

hills, green with pastures and the occasional tree. There in the distance was a flock of… sheep?

She’d never even seen a real sheep! The stone of the window sill felt hard, and rough like stone,

but it wasn’t cold to the touch as stone would be…. Turning, she padded quickly back to the bed

to shake the somnolent Cheetah; "Hinoki! Wake up! Where ARE we?"

Hinoki yawned and opened one eye to look at her; then he looked around, and smiled; "we’re on

Tanj’s ship, of course. I just wanted to run a program with a large, soft bed, and this was the

first one that came to mind. Why? Too Bright for you?" Before Harriet could speak, Hinoki

flopped back onto the bed, and looking straight up, mumbled; "Computer; run program… um….


Harriet eeped as reality wavered; suddenly they were no longer in the castle tower, but inside a

half-dome of some clear material, obviously at the bottom of the ocean; green light rippled from

above, and something was swimming past… the bed was now a depression in the floor, a bowl

shape, with soft silk sheets in a dark green. The stairwell had become an airlock, and diving gear

was stacked next to it. Sleepily, Hinoki mumbled "that better? Come back to bed; I’m still


Harriet shook her head; "sleep? How can you… Oh, nevermind; bring back the other scene; I

liked it better. I spend too much time on the station not to find something in the open air

attractive!" Hinoki nodded and mumbled; "Computer, run M1103A." Suddenly the Castle was

back. Rising, Harriet padded to one of the windows, to sit on the stone ledge, and just look out,

marveling at the scene. Obviously it was some sort of illusion, but it looked so… REAL! She

could even see figures in medieval dress moving around in the castle courtyard! Wondering how

he did it, Harriet looked back at Hinoki, only to find him snoring lightly……

Hinoki purrred as he floated back from the most wonderful dream….. He couldn’t remember it,

but it was horribly erotic…. And then he realized that someone actually WAS sucking his

cock…… Smiling, he lifted his head from the bed, to gaze down his body at the Raccoon lass; she

was crouched on the oversized bed, between his thighs, working on his shaft with gusto…..

Letting his head flop back, the Cheetah just purrred, letting her work on him, just drinking in the

sensations…… When his orgasm finally arrived, Harriet licked and gobbled as if she were

starved…. Which, if he thought it was as late as it was, might well be the case.

Finally, Harriet sat back on the bed and just looked at him; "Tried to go for a walk while you slept,

but the door at the bottom of the stairs was locked. Had to do SOMETHING to occupy my

time…." Hinoki chuckled and nodded "The cargo bay is only so big; can’t wander too far, even in

a setting like this….." "So this is all just an illusion?" "Well… that and more. Its something that

some friends of mine, and I cooked up, to help us live out certain sexual fantasies. Its still in

development, though. Got a LOT of work to do. Still, it gave us a pleasant enough place to spend

the night, didn’t it?" Harriet chuckled and moved forward, to lay atop Hinoki’s body; looking into

his eyes she purrred; "sexual fantasies, eh? What kind of sexual fantasies would you need a

machine to help you enjoy?" Hinoki grinned back and kisses her on the nose; "let me show you…

but I warn you, it might not be to your liking, or even your style…. And it won’t be as….

"detailed" without the neurosensor harness, but……"

"Computer; run program Tentacle Monster D4A" Hinoki’s words were barely out of his mouth

when the scene changed, the bed vanishing into the floor, the walls darkening, the windows

vanishing. The light and airy tower chamber transformed itself into a moist dungeon, with wall-mounted

torches hanging from moss-covered walls. The floor was a sandy soil, and Hinoki

picked himself up and dusted himself off, grinning. Harriet also rose to her feet, with a "wha…?"

Before she could get out whatever statement she’d intended, something shifted under the loose soil

by her feet, causing her to look down. The Raccoon’s eyes widened as the ground suddenly

sprouted a dozen tendrils, all around her. Growing at amazing speed, two of them wrapped

themselves around her ankles, tugging them apart, her feet leaving gouges in the sand, her arms

waving wildly for balance; other tendrils rose up to encircle her waist, while others found her

arms, initially steadying her. As she was lifted from the ground, she heard Hinoki yelp;

"Computer! D4F! I meant D4.. *ULP*….." Twisting her head, she saw the Cheetah male

likewise suspended from a separate set of tentacles; one of them had just shoved itself into his

mouth, gagging him, cutting off whatever command he’d planned on issuing…. Gasping as the

tentacles pulled at her, Harriet held her mouth firmly closed as tendrils flicked about her lips,

trying to force their way into her mouth; finally they settled for wrapping themselves around her

muzzle, holding her mouth tightly closed……

Tanj set her cup of coffee down on the armrest and yawned, stretching. Looking over at the

cargo bay monitor, she watched idly as Hinoki’s machine ran some sort of monster-rape program,

the Raccoon and Hinoki himself entwined in purplish tentacles. Chuckling to herself, Tanj

mused; "He DOES like those tentacle monsters….." Harriet’s pussy and ass were each filled, the

tentacles driving in and out as they dripped some sort of ichor that would have to be a pseudo-lubricant…

or if Hinoki was at his worst, an irritant. Some bulb-like appendage on the end of

one tentacle had enveloped Hinoki’s cock, and seemed to be "swallowing" rhythmically, while

other "suckers" worked at the Raccoon’s nipples… Peering closer, Tanj Hmmmmed. The

look on the Cheetah’s face seemed more of rage, than of ecstasy.. and poor Harriet seemed to be

hanging between terror and delight…. With a shrug, Tanj turned back to her comm console, to

check the day’s messages. Things on board ship seemed to be running their usual course….

Hinoki groaned and rolled over, shaking himself free of the last of the tendrils; "Dammit, I have

GOT to learn to remember the command codes better!" Harriet, lying on her back, legs splayed,

opened one eye; "and you say that wasn’t as good as it COULD have been? Aside from being

covered in goo, it was fantastic!" Hinoki looked down at his matted fur and chuckled; "Yeah,

well, not everything can be simulated with force fields, tractor and pressor beams. I’ve got

reservoirs of stuff like this, things that can’t easily be simulated. Don’t worry, its all non-toxic…"

Harriet raised an eyebrow; "you want to tell me how you can make an imaginary tentacle drip real

goo?" Hinoki smiled; "simple; you just artfully form your forcefields into a conduit; and then, at

some point, you make the field more of a lattice than a sheet, letting the goo leak out." Harriet

rolled over onto her tummy, chin cradled in her paws, elbows braced on the sandy soil; "I have to

admit, I’m impressed. You’ve put a lot of thought into this…." Hinoki smiled and nodded; "I’ve

had a lot of help; I’ve got some good friends back home, some of which are very good engineers,

and some of which are very good programmers. Its not all MY invention." Harriet sighed; "in a

way, it’s a shame that its not. If it WAS all your invention, well, you might see your way clear to

grant me a license….. But if it’s a consortium, well, I probably couldn’t afford a decent licensing

fee… If I had something like this to offer, I bet I could put Miss Kitti’s out of business……"

Hinoki chuckled; "Oh, I don’t know. We will need a place to field test it, and that might be worth

something. And…. Well, there are "non-traditional" means of payment that might be worked

out….." Harriet chuckled and waved a paw; "if you have this, offering you sex in return wouldn’t

be much of an offer…." Hinoki smiled "Oh, I don’t know; there’s a lot to be said for sex that isn’t

pre-programmed…. But still, that wasn’t quite what I was talking about…." Harriet looked at the

Cheetah; "then what WERE you talking about?……"

Hinoki shook his head; "Um… well, to tell you, I’m going to have to trust you… I’m not really

sure …" Harriet smiled; "Listen, kiddo, if there’s money in it, you CAN trust me." Hinoki

grimaced; "you realize that if that trust is betrayed, my life is forfeit, and rightfully so, but I would

harbor no misconceptions; even here, on Gibraltar station, I’m sure you’d die too." Harriet smiled

and stretched; "sounds like you work for some pretty heavy hitters." Hinoki just smiled and

nodded; "as long as you understand the ground rules…." Stretching himself and then turning to

look directly at the Raccoon; "Tell me, have you ever heard of a pirate group called "The


Harriet lay perpendicular to the Cheetah, with her head on Hinoki’s stomach. One of Hinoki’s

paws softly stroked over her tummy, but despite the distraction, her mind was obviously

elsewhere…. "and you say her agent on Xerf makes HOW much?" The Cheetah chuckled; "you

heard me. You have to realize that one good lead can allow the Brethren to take a convoy worth

perhaps a half a billion credits. Paying a hundred thousand for the lead is peanuts. Now of

course, if you give them a bad lead too many times, they may not believe you when you get

something solid. Its not an easy business. And this wouldn’t be an easy place to work out of.

Imperial security would have to be incredibly tight." Harriet chuckled; "Oh, you have no idea

how wrong you are. Everyone THINKS Imperial security is airtight, so no one does anything.

I’ve heard more idle gossip in the clubs, things that should NEVER have been talked about! I

knew the Prefect of Silasse Four was going to be removed a full two weeks before he was

"assassinated!" I knew the Imperium was going to move against the "passive resistance"

movement at Balfour at least three weeks before it happened! Hinoki chuckled; "Yes, I can see

how you might.. but if they trace it back to you, if they make the connection….." Harriet waved a

paw dismissively; "Oh, I’m not going to get too greedy; every once in a while I’d have to just let

something slide on past, just to break the pattern." Rolling over onto her stomach, she looked at

the Cheetah intently; "I haven’t survived this long here without learning a few things, y’know.

And if I had a system like yours…. Oh, just THINK of it. The Imperials would FLOCK to such a

place; after all, there’s no way to catch a social disease from a hologram…. Or be hit with a

paternity suit… or even, for that matter, be blackmailed!" Hinoki chuckled; "Yeah, I can just see

it now, in the wardroom of one of those Imperial showboats… "I say, Reginald, who WAS that

hologram I saw you with the other night?""

Tanj stared wide-eyed at the male Cheetah; "you TOLD her?" Harriet chuckled; "Oh, calm

down, Captain; I’m not going to tell anyone; as I see it, there’s MUCH too much money in it for

me, the way Hinoki tells it….. Tanj scowled; "my budget for field operations is NOT

unlimited… just WHAT did he promise you?

Tanj watched the Raccoon saunter off from the personnel lock of her ship, a carefully guarded

look on her face. "Don’t worry about it, Tanj" Hinoki said smoothly; "she grew up in the

back-alleys of this place. She’s a kid of the streets. She sees this as her chance to BE somebody."

Tanj shook her head; "you only know what she’s told you; how do you KNOW what she said

is true?" Hinoki chuckled; "from the sensor net on my little invention. It watches respiration rate,

heart rate, analyzes pheromones, and speech patterns. Its got all the bells and whistles of the latest

generation lie detectors; it HAS to, to be able to discern exactly what someone wants, and whether

"no" really means NO. It tells me everything she said was the truth, near enough." Tanj

sighed and shook her head; "I DO hope you’re right. And I hope the Fox doesn’t shoot me for

what I’ve committed to this day." Hinoki laughed; "Oh, don’t be ridiculous; the thought of having

a "station" on Gibralter base would be JUST what would appeal to him, and his ex-Imperial

Intelligence background! He’ll love it!"

Tanj was just about to re-enter the ship when she heard a voice; "Good Day, Madam; I told

your associates I might stop by, after I’d had time to consider their offer…." Tanj frowned as

she turned, wondering "offer?" to herself. There, a few feet away, stood a rather dapper wolf.

Tanj looked from him, to Hinoki, who shrugged back at her, completely at a loss. The Wolf

chuckled softly and shook his head as he leaned on a silver-headed walking stick; "perhaps your

associates didn’t adequately describe me to you. That’s not surprising; in fact, I’m rather pleased.

The last time they saw me, I was a little less….. "reputable" looking…. Down by the Night


Tanj’s jaw dropped; "YOU were the beggar?" Tanj’s eyes traveled up and down the Wolf’s

body, from his well-manicured claws to his moderately expensive suit, to his well-styled mane.

She took in the rings on his fingers, and the walking-stick and shook her head; "just how lucrative

IS your…. "occupation", anyways?" The Wolf chuckled; "well, lets just say that if I take you up

on your offer, it will be more for the challenge than the monetary recompense….. Now, shall we

go someplace a little less public and discuss the details?"

Zassa shook her head as she watched the Wolf stroll off; "I noticed you didn’t tell him about

Harriet." Tanj shook her head no; "I would rather the two be completely independent. That

way if one is captured, they can’t give up the other one. Might also result in one keeping track of

the other, in an off-hand way, and give us some warning if they’re "turned"…." Hinoki nodded;

"Somehow I trust this one less; his comment about doing it for the challenge, not the money

disturbs me." Tanj chuckled and nodded; "Yeah, it does make you wonder how much

"begging" pays on a station like this. It’s a curious balance, though; between greed making

someone like Harriet want to sell us out, or someone’s philosophies changing, making them

casually give us away. It’s a risky game we play….."

Tanj sighed and shook her head as she went over her e-mail one more time. No new messages.

No hint of contact from the individual they were supposed to meet. She’d just have to be patient,

even though the delay was starting to grate on her……


Imperial Complications

Kath yawned softly, lifted herself up on one elbow and glanced at her sleeping mistress; the

Wolverine was snoring lightly. Rising, Kath retrieved a small vial and a spool of thread from one

of her hiding places. The vial had been swiped from Medical months ago, and secreted for just

this eventuality. Crouching over Wanda, she dribbled some of the contents of the vial along the

thread, letting three drops fall into her open mouth. Replacing everything she watched carefully.

Wanda was not showing any reactions, any problems with the mild sleeping potion; now she’d

sleep until morning, without bothering the Mink.

The lock on the collar chain was child’s play; leaving the chain on the floor by the foot of the bed,

Kath quietly slipped from the cabin.

The sensors and internal defenses of the Lost Cause were quite sophisticated, but they weren’t

meant to defend against someone on the INSIDE. Kath’s skills were rusty, some not practiced

since her training. The internal motion sensors were jumpered out at the junction box. Thermal

sensors were tricked into a constant loop, looking at the last 90 seconds of their own records.

Pressure plates were just avoided. Finally, the lock sensors were bypassed. Grabbing one of the

concealing cloaks, Kath cycled through the personnel lock, holding her breath that no alarms she

didn’t know about would be sounded. Pulling the cloak closer around her, she headed off into the

station "night".

Tanj sighed and turned away from the monitor. "Thank you, Mark. I’d always thought you

were just paranoid, installing all those parallel systems, but now I see you were right." For a

moment, Tanj wondered where the Mouse and his unusual friend were. Forcing her attention

back to the here and now she wondered where Kath was going. She dare not leave the ship to

follow… it could be some ruse to lure her into a trap….. If they were coming to arrest her, to

seize her ship, well, there’d be no way to break away from Gibraltar station… no way to outrun or

outfight all the Imperial warships stationed in the area… but she’d try anyways, if need be.

Keeping an eye on the airlock monitor, she settled down to wait…..

Kath walked quickly, her eyes in constant motion. As she walked, she grumbled a constant litany

to herself…. "why did they have to bring me here? Didn’t they know the risks? Why weren’t the

forged documents just a little better? WHY DID I HAVE TO SEE THAT DAMNED HAND

SIGN?" but the most constant refrain was "why can’t they just leave me ALONE?"

The Wolf was in a similar cloak, in the shadows. The location of the meeting place had been in

the complex hand sign….. If Kath hadn’t been looking specifically for him, she would have

missed him completely in the shadows. Looking around, making sure they were at least nominally

unobserved, she moved into the shadows to join him.

"You weren’t followed?" Kath shrugged; "not to my knowledge, but if I know Imperial Security,

you had at least three furrs on me. I'm more certain that no one from the ship followed me." The

Wolf nodded; "Five actually; and no, no one followed you. We’re….. not sure everyone is asleep

on the ship, but there have been no changes in status. No power-ups. No footfalls resounding

through the hull." The wolf paused…. We’ve been watching for you of course, ever since you

vanished from that liner. We were NOT expecting something like that to happen. We…..

seriously underestimated the situation." Kath snorted; "I’ll say. In fact, I’d have to say the entire

analysis of the Elysium situation was flawed." The Wolf nodded; "Yes…. And that’s something

that’s not easily admitted. Current Imperial philosophy has come around 180 degrees to the

thought that the Elysium government is a bunch of loosers and as you know, the Imperium does

NOT back loosers." The Wolf’s eyes narrowed; "So tell me, Kathy… or is it just Kath, now?

How do YOU see the current situation?" Kath paused for a minute…. "The Reds smell like

trouble. They have a bad reputation for saying what folks want to hear, or what sounds good,

while pursuing a separate agenda. Some of the smaller groups are just bandits or thugs, working

under cover of a revolutionary movement. The Blues strike me as the best bet, but in many

respects, I worry about them; they’re…. Naive. They seem to think they can fix all that’s wrong

with the world, all that’s wrong with society. And they can’t. This MAY lead them to their own

destruction. And if by some wild fluke of luck, they’re successful, it MAY cause problems for the

Empire in the long run. The Wolf nodded; "Yes, we understand that. But even if they succeed,

the socioeconomic models don’t show serious problems for at least three generations. NOT our

problem. All right; your analysis matches our own. We’re willing to negotiate with the Blues

when the war is over. Assuming they can speak for the majority of the planet. I’m sure they’ll

want to come back into the Imperial fold…."

Kath nodded; "Should I…. Talk to them, or wait and just watch, ready to advise a more….

"traditional" representative?" The wolf smiled; "Just lay low and watch. We find your position

with Madam Kee and the Pirates MOST unique… you are in a perfect position to pass all sorts of

things on to us. Although we MUST work on your reporting schedule; its been MUCH too long

since we’ve heard from you!" Kath nodded and shrugged; "well, my situation IS a little

difficult…." Moving surprisingly fast, the Wolf reached out to spread the seam of Kath’s robe;

leering he looked her nude form up and down, noting the piercings and the collar. "Yes… I can

see how "difficult" it must be for you…." Kath growled; "Touch me and I’ll hit you with a sexual

harassment suit you’ll never recover from!" The Wolf just chuckled but he let go of her cloak;

"The Psych boys tell me they should have seen this in your profile; personally, I think whoever

did your initial screening fucked up massively, but…. Well, now that you’re there….. All I can

say is; keep feeding us the information we require, manipulate events as we dictate, and your

friends, and your "life style" will be left alone. Screw up and …. Kath scowled; "Yeah, I know

the rest. "Ve haf vays of making you obey…." The Wolf chuckled; "oh, nothing so

melodramatic. Piracy, under certain strict guidelines, isn’t illegal in the Empire. You know that,

and THEY know that; strictly speaking your friends haven’t done TOO much illegal. On the other

hand, there’s always tax evasion. I doubt they could survive a strict audit….. And somehow I

doubt your Cheetah’s ship would pass a close safety inspection. We "suspect" she has

unauthorized, or illegal weapons and technology…. Be a shame to see it confiscated." Kath

sighed; "Look, we’re both on the same side here, right? Back off and I will do everything

possible! The Wolf smiled; "Good girl. Now get back before someone on that ship wakes up and

wonders where you are." Kath nodded, pulled her cloak closer about her, and turned to head back

to the ship; pausing at the fringe of the shadow, she turned and grinned back at the Wolf; "Tell

me… what kind of budget do I have for this "operation?"" The wolf just blinked…. "Budget?"

Kath chuckled; "Oh, if I’m going to keep in touch, especially from a place as secure at the

Brethren’s base, I’m going to need special equipment…. AND a list of any other operatives you

might have working there…. Just to help me smuggle out messages, you understand." The Wolf

just groaned.

Kath sighed as she padded back to the ship; "well, that could have gone worse…. Dammit

though, the "Tanjshooting" I was trained for was NOT of this sort! I’m NOT supposed to be a

field agent!"

The gimmicks were undone, one by one, as Kath made her way back to Wanda’s cabin. All the

shunts, and little devices were hidden, one by one, where she’d secreted them over the months.

Everyone was still in their beds, the Mink giving them a cursory inspection. Finally she laid down

at the foot of Wanda’s bed, and picked up the chain to lock herself back in position… pausing she

looked at Wanda, still snoring softly. With a soft smile, she clicked the collar’s lock shut; at the

soft sound, Wanda snorted, and rolled back over, to lay on her stomach. Kath just grinned and

laid down, to try and get some sleep. Somehow, it felt GOOD to be home.

Tanj sighed and noted the locations of all the gizmos that Kath had secreted away… she’d have

to check on them, surreptitiously. Sitting back in her station chair, the Cheetah smiled, glad she’d

bundled up blankets and pillows to make it look as if she was still in her cabin, after Mark’s little

system had alerted her to what Kath was doing. Now, all she had to do was to figure out where

the Mink had gone, and what she’d done. So far, no hordes of security guards were battering

down the airlock. The station appeared quiet, as it should be, this time of "night"….. Rising,

stretching, Tanj made her way back to her cabin, knowing she’d never be able to get to sleep

for all the questions running through her head.



This story is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to any characters, living, dead or imaginary is

purely a coincidence. Tanj is copyright Kittiara's player. Kittiara can be found on Furrymuck;

telnet 8888. Hinoki, and Zassa are copyright their players (Zassa can be found

on FurryMuck, and Hinoki on Tapestries or on FurryMuck. Mark and Mala are copyright

Ann'katar's player, who also can be found on FurryMuck. Copyright 2000. Comments,

suggestions, or flames can be directed to ha_seng@hotmail.com.