Sex Slave Survival
by YFNR.

This story originates on board the same space liner as the story Misunderstandings by Zack. Plan A was for Zack and me to co-author a story. However, our characters wound up in different solar systems, and we could not see a good way to bring them together again. This is an independent story despite its common origin with Misunderstandings.

I enjoy writing science-fiction stories with a bondage slant. If you want to read BDSM sex and torture scenes linked by a little bit of story line, then I am not the author for you.


Warp systems alarm!

A drive-instability alarm had sounded on the elderly starship Gropius . Erik Gunderson sat in the Central Security Room, scanning the inputs on the large screen in front of him. He was the ship's master-at-arms, and this was his station during alarm drills. A real alarm would put a red flag on his screen to let him know that he should evacuate too.

Several dozen video cameras, coupled with motion detectors, were spread throughout the ship. Erik had the skills to maintain the system, so most of the cameras worked, and many of them even worked well. When a motion detector caught something moving, the signal from the associated camera was sent to the Central Security Room screen. That screen was usually divided into twelve small pictures, from twelve cameras at once. Individual views could be enlarged if something happened that required more careful study.

Erik watched as the screen showed most of the passengers and crew en route to their escape pods. Those who were closest to the pods when the alarm sounded had already begun to strap in. Erik had monitored quite a few emergency drills from his station. Everything appeared to be normal.

Then one of the views was automatically enlarged to the area normally used by four views at a time. During every previous drill Erik had watched the Chief Engineer leading his people to their escape pods in a calm, dignified manner. This time the engineer was running, and the enlarged view showed his frightened expression clearly. All of the other engineering staff were running just as fast to stay behind him. The ship had had several alarms so far during its outbound journey, but Erik's screen never had a red flag. The previous alarms had been just 'drills', but Erik suspected the drive problems had been real, although repaired in time, and the alarms were precautions taken in case engine trouble got worse. Quite evidently this alarm was real. Erik's entire screen turned red as he dashed out of Central Security.

The Chief Engineer was running, so Erik ran too. As he started down the corridor, he remembered that his shortest route to a life pod bay ran through Compartment H-1, where the Sweet Su's All-Girl Band was staying. As Master-At-Arms, he had access to just about every compartment on the ship. He used his master magnetic keying ring to open the door of compartment H-1.

Two of the Sweet Su band members were still on their bunks, naked, startled awake when Erik crashed into their room. There was no time to persuade them to evacuate. Fortunately one of them was on each side of the room. Erik was able to reach out with both hands, and grab a wrist in each. He tripped the emergency exit latch at the other end of the compartment with one knee, kicked the hatch open, and dived across the pod bay into the nearest escape pod, pulling the girls along. He had been assigned to a different pod, farther down the bay, but he had seen the chief engineer running, so he wanted to be safely into a pod as quickly as possible.

He somersaulted as he landed in the life pod, and he ended up looking back out through the hatchway. He had a half-second glimpse of the Chief Engineer, who wore a horrified expression as the automatic pod hatch slammed shut in his face. Then came an unusually strong dose of the twisting-inside-out feeling that normally occurs when a starship drops out of warp. The pod's hyperspacial disemulator had absorbed some of the energy released as the ship vaporized and had launched the pod into hyperspace. Erik Gunderson and two naked women were its only occupants.

These three people then had a very fortunate stroke of good luck. The pseudogravity field in an escape pod is not well-controlled or consistent when that pod is launched into subspace. Erik and his two companions were pushed by field strengths that felt as high as 3 Gs, exerted over angles that varied as much as 40 degrees from design vertical. But there was never any net force upward from where the three were lying in a heap. They had never strapped in properly, so they could have been tossed all over the escape pod with multiple broken bones. Luckily that did not happen. The force finally settled down at about 0.7 G, with the display and interface at one end of the passenger compartment somewhat "uphill" from the rest.

Both of the women had fainted, a common response to the stresses of an escape pod launch. Erik felt woozy for a time, but then he picked himself up and moved to the display screen and interface. When the women woke up, he was studying the numbers on that screen with a worried expression on his face.

One of the women asked "Wow, what happened? When can we, uh, go back to our quarters?" Erik's frown deepened. The woman was a real Snow White beauty, with lustrous black hair and very pale skin, but based on that question she was apparently rather stupid. Erik knew that he did not have enough patience to keep from getting angry at a beautiful stupid woman while waiting to be rescued.

The other woman answered,"Never, Marzena. The drive blew up. The ship is gone. Our quarters went with it. This is what escape pods are for, to allow people to escape when a warp drive fails." Erik turned toward her and gave her a quick grin. She was a beauty also, with the unusual combination of coffee-with-cream complexion and long pale blond hair. Her nose had a cute bulb at the tip. She seemed to have enough brains to help in dealing with the stupid one.

She looked at Erik and at the expression on his face as he studied the numbers on the display screen. She asked "What's wrong?"

Erik answered "I don't like the looks of the planet this pod is carrying us to. The best available data appears to be from the classic Fourth Galactic Survey several centuries ago. Total sunlight is about right, the planet is in the middle of the temperate zone around its star. Large hydrosphere, over 60% coverage by oceans, seas, and large lakes. Axial tilt only 10 degrees, and orbital eccentricity only 0.05, so seasons will be mild. But the spin is rather slow, so that one day and night add up to 59 hours. Gravity is 114% of normal, stiff but not unbearable. Worst of all is the atmosphere: nitrogen, carbon dioxide, methane, and lots of ammonia. It's easy to see why the early settlers out here decided to live on Zovia instead. If that ammonia starts getting into our systems, eventually it will poison us all. And it will make the local water supply completely undrinkable."

The smart one replied "Oh", with a discouraged tone to her voice.

The other one said "Let's go somewhere else instead."

The smart one said "It doesn't work that way, Marzena. A failing starship warp drive can toss escape pods off in all directions. There is no good way to fully control the collapse of the residual warp field for each pod. The AI which guides each pod picks the best choice it can."

Erik said "I'm afraid she's right, Marzena. We are heading for the best possible destination, given the exact moment when our pod was launched. A few microseconds either way can sometimes put an escape pod on an entirely different planet in an entirely different solar system. Unfortunately the best possible for us is still pretty bad." Then he turned to the smart one and asked "What's your name? I'm Erik, and we are obviously going to be much better acquainted before this little adventure is over."

"Aliea." She felt his eyes scanning every inch of her body, and she added "Do we have any spare clothing in this pod?"

"There is almost certainly some stored clothing. This was the chief engineer's selected escape pod. I think that he did a very thorough job of fitting it out properly. It's a newer replacement in better shape than any of the Gropius' old pods. However, I appear to be your captain on this voyage now, and I think that I am going to make a rule: no clothing for passengers. I like the views that I've got." He kept right on looking, shifting his eyes back and forth between the women.

Aliea's skin darkened just a bit, but she gave no other outward sign of her reaction. She apparently wanted to hide the fact that she was reacting at all.

Marzena's pale skin turned intense pink over much of her body. She sat up and thrust her shoulders back to better display her breasts. Embarrassed or not, Marzena had apparently gotten what she wanted from men before by using her body. She was willing to try the same tactic again. Erik had to admit that she did it effectively.

The escape pod auto system interrupted the moment by announcing "Final breakout from warp. All personnel strap in. Final breakout in twenty seconds."

Erik ordered "Strap in quickly," and followed his own advice, using the couch by the AI interface.

The AI voice said "10 - 9 - 8 - 7 -". as the two women buckled in hastily. The breakout from warp felt milder than normal, since much of the warp energy had been dissipated when the pod was launched. Then pseudogravity disappeared. They were in free fall and normal space.

The AI interface screen displayed their destination planet. The clouds were white, the oceans were green and blue, and the continents were iron-ore-red, granite-grey, and silica-tan with no signs of life.

Erik unbuckled and traveled the length of the passenger cabin in a free-fall swim. He ducked into the lavatory. Two minutes later he heard Aliea say "I don't think you should touch the interface controls, Marzena. You might mess something up."

Erik immediately popped back out of the lavatory and somersaulted up to the other end of the cabin, arriving feet-first at the forward bulkhead just to the left of the interface panel. He kicked off to reverse his direction of flight and grabbed Marzena around the waist with one arm while using his other hand to grab a wrist. His course pushed Marzena's body onto an acceleration couch. He placed her wrist in a spring clip alongside the headrest, and the clip snapped shut. Erik then pushed her other wrist into a matching clamp on the other side of the headrest before shifting downwards to strap her calves to the base of the couch. It was a beautiful demonstration of the free-fall movement skills of a veteran spaceman.

Marzena complained "I, uh, just wanted to see if any other, uh, escape pods were also going to land on the same planet. I'm, uh, worried about Su and the other band members."

Erik answered "We can worry about that later. These pods have cats-walking-across-the-keys programming. If the AI senses that some complete ignoramus is using the keyboard, it will lock the manual inputs out and we will have no further control of what happens. I sure hope that you didn't push enough keys to trigger that program."

Soon he was frowning at the interface. He ordered "Check instrument calibrations."

After a few seconds, the AI responded "All instruments in nominal calibration."

He tried "Display properties of local sun", and then "Display Fourth Galactic Survey data on planet and on local sun." He compared the properties from both lists and scratched his head. Some of the read-outs were not what he was expecting. He ordered "Controller competency check"; the AI displayed a quiz in one corner of the viewscreen, and he began to answer the questions to prove to the AI that a competent spaceman was at the controls. Once he successfully completed this, the AI switched from its normal dumb-passenger mode and provided more information and options to Erik.

Aliea asked "Why is that ocean on the right of the viewscreen so green?" She was floating in place stretched along the compartment ceiling, steadying her position in free fall with one hand on a grip strap above and behind her. She looked at the AI display over Erik's shoulder.

Erik turned and looked up and back at her. Her body looked especially good because there was no net gravity distorting her curves. He didn't have time for that kind of distraction just then, so he turned back to the interface and said "Green is a normal color for bodies of water seen from space."

"I have never seen that shade of green before. And besides, look at that smaller sea off to the left, on the other side of that isthmus. That sea is blue. Why is the ocean green?"

Erik looked more closely. The water of the larger ocean was greener, for some reason. He ordered "Display Fourth Galactic Survey planetary images." The old images showed that the ocean water had been blue.

Erik thought for a moment, then gave further orders: "Aim spectroscopes at center of ocean. Delete signals from water. Delete signals from nitrogen. Delete signals from carbon dioxide. Identify residual signals."

The AI responded "With 92.3% certainty, chlorophyll is detected. Atmosphere contains oxygen."

And Erik shouted "Wow-O-boy and hot damn! Somebody has prepared the planet for us! We could survive there for years if we have to!"

Aliea asked "What happened?"

"Somebody dumped some life forms into the ocean, probably several hundred years ago. The life forms have completely reworked the atmosphere. The ammonia and methane are gone, and there is about 4% oxygen in their place. The systems of this escape pod will have no trouble concentrating that oxygen up to a breathable level for us.Carbon dioxide is way down too; that's a greenhouse gas, so the planet is cooler than it used to be."

"Is that what the Instant Ecology Mixture is supposed to do?"

"Exactly. A drum of Instant Ecology Mix is full of life forms, mostly single-cell, that are designed to spread like gangbusters even when starting conditions on a planet are rough. The plants use ammonia as a fertilizer, not a toxic poison. I wonder who dumped Instant Ecology here?"

"The survey ship from the Fourth Galactic Survey. It was mentioned in a footnote to that table you had on the screen a few minutes ago."

"Aliea, you are hereby appointed Chief Forester for the planet we are about to land on. Your job is to observe the forest while I am still staring at the trees. Now we can try to pick the best possible landing spot. Do you have any suggestions?"

Aliea thought for a moment, and then answered "East shore of that large ocean. West coast of the adjacent continent."

Erik said "Okay". He immediately marked that target area on the planetary image in the viewscreen. He knew that the sooner a target was chosen, the better. Delaying a decision while still far from the planet could put a desired landing spot out of reach due to the limited power of the escape pod's thrusters.

The AI said "Landing in designated area is possible." The thrusters began to fire. Aliea shifted her pose, stretching her hands out to two grip straps to hold her position better as the pod shifted its course. She floated in a spreadeagle position along the ceiling. She and Erik watched the planetary image grow in the viewscreen for over an hour.

Erik grinned up at her and asked "Why did you pick the shoreline that you picked? We don't want to be inland on this planet, 'cause that is likely to be nasty desert, and we obviously don't want to land in the ocean. But why pick this particular shore?"

Aliea answered "When I was a little girl, I had a book called The Story of Old Earth, which had a chapter on weather and climate. I was brought up on mining asteroids and in domes on airless planets, so I was never exposed to anything like that. I was curious about weather, so I studied that chapter real carefully. On old Earth, hurricanes and cyclones hit cities like Miami and Manila, on the western shores of oceans. They never hit Lisbon or San Francisco or other cities on eastern shores. I don't know if this planet has hurricanes; it might not, because it spins so slowly. But in any case I don't want to be anywhere near where a hurricane might strike."

A warning chime sounded. The AI announced "First pass through atmosphere, to burn off excess momentum. Severe deceleration and rough ride expected. All personnel strap in."

Aliea followed this order. Erik went over to Marzena and buckled a thigh strap, a waist strap, and two shoulder straps onto her body. The shoulder straps crossed between her breasts, buckling to the waist strap above the opposite hips. He left her wrist clips firmly in place. He tightened her calf straps. Then he returned to the couch in front of the AI interface, and strapped himself in also.

Deceleration pushed Erik, Aliea, and Marzena into their couches. The display screen went pink due to ionized air and gases from the pod's heat shielding. The force peaked at about 4G, then faded away again. The pod climbed back out of the planetary atmosphere as it overflew the selected landing target area, and Erik ordered the AI to take photos. The pod thrusters fired a long burst to further reduce the pod's momentum, keeping it in a closed orbit around the planet. Then during the next two hours they were back in free fall.

Erik and Aliea carefully studied the photos of the target area and discussed their options. They left Marzena strapped to her acceleration couch. One small peninsula seemed to have a good combination of broad sandy beaches to serve as runways, with a gentle rise to a central spine that would be high enough to be safe from flooding. Erik marked that spot on the display screen, and once again the AI said "Landing in designated area is possible. All personnel strap in securely." The thrusters fired again, pushing the pod sideways, making a final adjustment of their course.

Erik pulled his safety harness a bit tighter and warned "Securely, Aliea. I'm an old Space Marine, and I've been through aerodynamic forced landings before. The final touchdowns are likely to be quite rough."

The display screen went pink once again, and there was a renewed peak of deceleration. The pink faded to show a continent flashing past below. The pod's aerodynamic wings unfolded, putting it into a supersonic glide path, steadily losing altitude. A drag parachute deployed automatically, rapidly killing their forward momentum. More wing area unfolded to slow their descent as the speed fell away to subsonic. The drag parachute detached as the pod touched the water of a little coastal bay. The pod skipped across the water like a flat stone, bouncing its passengers against their safety straps. It slid onto the beach of their target peninsula, climbed up the slope of that beach well out of reach of storm and tide, and shuddered to a stop just short of a small cliff. Under the circumstances, it was a beautiful landing.

Erik unstrapped himself and said "Well, we made it."

Aliea asked "Were these wrist clips supposed to release automatically? I can't see how to undo them."

Erik turned to look at the women. Aliea had buckled and tightened all of her straps and then placed her wrists in the spring clips on either side of her headrest. She had made herself as helpless as Marzena, and of course both women were equally naked. Erik said "Wow!" and gave them a wicked grin. The girls watched as his pants changed shape. Something inside the front of those pants had gotten larger. The rest of him was already quite large. He looked like exactly what he was, a retired Space Marine.

* * *

Aliea complained "You told me to strap in extra securely. I notice that you didn't put your own wrists in spring clips."

Erik answered "There are no clips by the chair in front of the control panel. The designers assumed that whoever sat there wouldn't have toraya fever and might need to use his or her hands to operate the controls."

"Toraya fever?"

"Perhaps you have never heard of it. It's much more common in sectors to the galactic north of here, where the Gropius was operating when this escape pod was added to her equipment. It's a disease of the nervous system with symptoms that come and go, come and go, for as long as you have it. When the symptoms come, you lose coordination. Your arms and legs wave around almost at random. You could easily break an arm or hurt somebody or something else. So when people have an attack of the symptoms, they have to sleep securely strapped down. That's what the wrist clips are for, to strap down somebody who has to abandon ship in the middle of a toraya-fever attack. Those clips are quite secure. When you are in them, you will stay in them until somebody turns you loose."

Erik focused on Aliea and moved toward her. As he took each step, he added "I see no reason, to turn you loose, right now, or anytime soon." He leaned over her until their noses were less than five centimeters apart. He stared intimately into her lovely brown eyes.

Then he abruptly pulled back and said "Oh shit! You girls aren't totally dedicated lesbians, are you? Please tell me that at least one of you is at least bi."

Aliea asked "What would you do if we were both lesbian?"

"I would have two choices, and I don't like either of them. I could rape you, and then live in a cloud of your frustrated hatred. Or I could leave you alone, and watch you enjoying each other, and wind up bitterly frustrated myself. So please tell me that at least one of you is at least bi."

Aliea responded "You can quit worrying. I think that it is time I told you something about myself. All three of us will get to know each other a lot better before we get back to civilization, if we ever do."

She continued: "Once upon a time, I was completely hetero. I had a wonderful boyfriend whom I completely adored. I couldn't see any flaws at all in him. I can't believe how naive I was then.

"I finally learned the truth. He was a selfish bastard. I was his trophy girlfriend, a decorative element in the way he presented himself to the world, of no more real importance to him than his stylish jacket, probably less important than the fancy car he kept on a nearby planet. He wasn't a two-timer, oh, no. He never had fewer than three girlfriends at a time, sometimes four or five, scattered across that planet and the nearby asteroid belt.

"When I finally realized the truth, I smacked him across the face and walked off. But I couldn't walk far enough. We were living on the same mining asteroid, with a total population of less than one thousand. I still saw him or one of his friends every day. I needed to get out of there.

"And then I saw an ad. A group called 'Sweet Su and her All-Girl Band' was being organized on the nearby planet, and they needed a drummer. I was a pretty good drummer in high school, both in dance bands and in the marching band. I met the other members of the Sweet Su group, and they were obviously lesbians. I was still naive enough to believe that lesbians wouldn't break each other's hearts the way my boyfriend had broken mine, so I joined up.

"I have been bumming around the spacelanes ever since. The sex has been lesbian or nothing, because Su wouldn't tolerate any of her band members getting mixed up with a guy. But now she's not here, and you are.

"Come closer. Please, come closer. Much closer." When Erik's face was less than two centimeters from hers, Aliea stretched her neck against the grip of the shoulder straps and kissed him.

Erik leaned down on her, squashed her head against the headrest of her acceleration couch, and returned her kiss, very enthusiastically, with open lips and active tongue. He said "I can see that you and I are going to have a lot of fun together while we are trapped on this planet."

But then he backed off and began mumbling into her ear, so that he could not be overheard by Marzena. "They say that two's company and three's a crowd. We have to prove that that isn't always true now. No two of us can pair off exclusively with each other and leave the third person all alone. I'm not going to spend the time from now 'til we get rescued in the cloud of nasty jealousy that that would cause. I'll be back", and he kissed Aliea once more gently, "but I have to think about Marzena too."

He turned to Marzena and asked "Who are you, really, and what is your sexual orientation?"

"Uh, well, uh, my name is Marzena, and uh, I play, uh, second woodwind in Sweet Su's band, and, uh . . I can also play, uh, guitar, and sing, although I'm not especially good at either of those, so I didn't sing or play many solos. I danced a lot during our, uh, shows; I'm a trained dancer. And, uh, I like sex with the boss. Su was the boss of the, uh, band, but she chose Mari, 'cause, uh, I didn't like to be hit the way she wants to hit her, uh, sex partners. I guess you are the boss of the, uh, three of us here. I suppose that I will enjoy, uh, you having me. I will even, uh, enjoy Aliea having me, if you, uh, give me orders to, uh, do that. I hope you uh, don't like, uh, to, uh, hit girls." She squirmed in her straps and wrist clips.

Erik thought that she looked good. She had bigger breasts and a curvier figure than Aliea. But he also wondered if there was anything in the escape pod that would make an effective, comfortable, and safe gag for long-term wearing. Keeping her gagged might be the only way to prevent her from saying "uh" at least thirty times a minute.

Aliea watched Erik wince with each "uh". She said "Gag rule, Marzena."

Marzena answered "Mmm. Mm-mmmm." The tone of her hums indicated her meaning as (Oh. Okay.)

Aliea added "Sweet Su didn't like the way that Marzena, uh, sometimes speaks, especially when she is, uh, nervous. I don't think that Marzena can help it. So Su invented the gag rule. Marzena isn't allowed to open her mouth to say anything when that is in force."

Marzena nodded and replied "Mm, mmm-hmm." (Yeah, that's true.) Then she continued "Mmm. Mm-mmm-mmmm, mm mm mmm!", with vigorous wiggling of fingers.

Aliea translated "I think she needs to use the lavatory, right away."

"MMM!" (Yes!)

So Erik unstrapped and unclipped Marzena, saying "Take it slow and be careful. Remember you are going to be heavier than you have ever been before."

Marzena walked back to the lavatory, commenting "mm-MMM!" (Goddamn!) at the high gravity.

Several minutes passed before she returned. Erik used the time to search through several drawers and bins, surveying the emergency supplies at their disposal. One of the bins contained some black fabric carrying bags, an item that might have any number of uses for a group of survivors trying to stay alive. Erik pulled one of these bags out.

When Marzena came back out, she focused her attention tightly on Erik. It was easy to tell what she wanted to do from the look in her eyes. She said "mmMMm, mm mmm mm!" (Come here, you sexy thing!)

Erik observed "This seems like a good moment for us to celebrate our safe landing." He grabbed Marzena where she stood and gave her an enthusiastic kiss. She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him back just as enthusiastically.

Erik commented "I have always had privacy when I did this kind of thing. I never invited anybody to watch." He took the black fabric carrying bag that he had just found and pulled it over Aliea's head. A tug on the drawstrings brought the mouth of the bag snug around Aliea's neck. He tied a bow; Aliea couldn't undo it with her wrists still securely clipped down. Then he said "Now we're private", and he put his arms back around Marzena.

The acceleration couches in the escape pod could be converted into bunks, suitable for long-term use as sleeping accommodations for survivors while waiting for rescue. Erik demonstrated to Marzena how easily one of these couches could be adjusted flat. He put her on the flattened couch, and his hands and lips began to wander over her body. Hands and lips proved sufficient to bring her to her first orgasm. She exclaimed "MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmm!!" Her hands roamed over his back until her peak was reached, when she grabbed and held him firmly.

Erik tugged Marzena's wrists alongside her head and put them back into the spring clips. He began to tickle her. She couldn't keep her mouth shut under that kind of challenge; she laughed and screamed with her lips open. He slipped into her well-lubricated crotch and began to bounce. She thrust right back at him, matching his rhythm. Her second climax was much more intense than her first.

Afterwards Erik lay close alongside Marzena and held her. She relaxed into this aftercare and fell asleep after about half an hour.

Erik shifted away from Marzena when he felt her relax into slumber. He turned to Aliea, undid the drawstring bow, and removed the black bag from her head. The expression that he found on her face told its own story, of frustration, and longing, and even a bit of anger. She had been intensely stimulated by listening to Erik and Marzena. She was mad because Erik had chosen Marzena over her. She couldn't do anything about it because the safety straps still confined her unable to move on her acceleration couch. She wanted somebody to take her, preferably right away.

Erik shoved his mouth within less than two centimeters from Aliea's ear. One hand checked her crotch to make certain that she was wet. He said very quietly "Marzena was lucky and got the first one. You are going to be even luckier and get the best one. I've blown my rocks off once, now. I can be much more patient and caring the second time around." Then he proved the truth of this statement by sliding into her and working her up to peak after peak of passion over about the next hour. He left her clipped down when they both went to sleep.

Erik's old habits as a veteran Space Marine then reasserted themselves. He woke up after four hours, as he had frequently done while living on a shipboard watch schedule. The slogan "Be Prepared" applies to Space Marines as strongly as it does to Boy Scouts, so he resumed his survey of available resources. Most of the supplies were in locked cabinets and drawers, an unusual feature in an escape pod. Apparently the Chief Engineer had realized that many of his ship's crew members were likely to steal and sell anything, even important survival supplies, if those supplies were kept in unlocked compartments. Fortunately Erik's master-at-arms master keying ring could open these cabinets and drawers without needing to force them.

Erik found a variety of stored food, and tools, and medical supplies, and games and books and other pastimes. According to the instrument-panel readouts, the recycling systems and the oxygen concentration systems were doing their jobs well. With these supplies, it should be possible to survive for years.

The available outside gear included one fully armored protective suit, in the Chief Engineer's size, too small for Erik and too big for either of the girls. Fortunately the conditions on this planet did not appear to require such total protection. Simple tank-fed respirators would be adequate, and several were available. One extra-large storage compartment contained a genuine Mark-96A inflatable tent, a type that Erik had lived in often during his Marine career. It looked to be in good shape, presumably having been declared surplus when the Mark-96B was introduced. It might never have been used. Another extra-large compartment contained a complete set of accessories for that tent.

The available gear also included a selection of coveralls in a full range of sizes, and rolls of different fabrics, plus buttons and other fasteners of various types. Erik decided to keep the bins where these supplies were stored securely locked. He liked having his women naked. Besides, the fabric could be used to make all sorts of other things in addition to clothing.

* * *

Erik began a more detailed survey of medical supplies, making certain that everything on the list in the computer was actually available in the supply drawers. By that point in his survey of resources, the women were waking up. It was time to establish a lifestyle that would keep all three survivors alive and sane for years if necessary in the hope that a rescue might come.

Marzena said "I guess it is time for breakfast. But what are we going to, uh, do after that? I had a really good gameplayer panel on the Gropius. You didn't give me a chance to bring that with me. Are there any, uh, gameplayers on this pod?"

Aliea answered "There's always sex. Actual hetero sex with a great-looking guy. Don't you think that will be fun?"

"Yeah, the sex was great, before we all slept, but we can't do sex, uh, all day and all night, can we? Especially not if the days and the nights will be as long as Erik said. Our pussies would get, uh, awfully sore."

"Marzena, your most important sex organ isn't between your legs. It's in your head. It's your brain. If we play the right games, we could stay turned on for days at a time. Look, I'll show you." She turned her head toward Erik and demanded "Hey, how about unclipping us from these things and getting us some breakfast!"

Erik thought that he understood the game she was playing. He replied "I need to finish this survey of medical supplies first."

Aliea pleaded "O Master Who is Greatly to be Feared, your slaves and servants beg you for some food."

Erik answered "Screw the medical-supplies survey." He opened a drawer and took three survivor breakfast food bars out. He unwrapped them, put one of them on the tummy of each woman, and began to eat the third. He ordered "Keep begging."

Aliea said "O Master Who is Greatly to be Feared, please grant your slave a bite." She squirmed as sexily as she could while strapped and clipped to her acceleration couch. Erik held her food bar to her mouth, and she bit off a piece.

Marzena took the hint and tried to use the same plea to get a bite of her own food bar. Aliea said "That is my line, Marzena. When I call him Master Who is Greatly to be Feared, the gag rule is automatically in effect."

Erik said "That sounds like a pretty good rule, Marzena. Gag rule until told otherwise. Aliea, you are hereby under gag rule also."

And so the women had to ask for each remaining bite of their breakfast bars by humming " Mmm mm mmm, mmmm?"

* * *

After breakfast Erik left his women strapped down while he opened the tool drawer and some supply bins and went to work. After about twenty minutes, he showed them what he had made: "Slave whip. The handle is forty centimeters of nanofill plastic, very rigid. The lashes are synleather belting. You do not want to be struck with these lashes." He took the ends of both lashes in his left hand and pushed them toward the handle. One lash curled upward and the other curled downward. When he tugged the ends away from the handle again, the lashes came together with a wonderfully menacing snap!. Both women winced.

Erik went into marine-top-sergeant mode, saying "Listen up! There will be quizzes. You will feel this whip if you can't give the right answers, and you will feel it even worse if you don't follow the procedures I am about to give you. You will thank me every time I whip you, because that means that your actions won't be tried by a higher court. Mother Nature is the judge on the highest court on this planet. She is likely to hand out sentences of death if you break the rules, and those sentences will be imposed by slow asphyxiation, or slow starvation, or other uncomfortable ways to die. She might impose one of her sentences on me if I let you be careless, so I have to be strict. So listen up!" He emphasized his words with another snap! of his whip lashes.

Then he released both women from their couches and introduced them to the respirators. He taught them how to fill the tanks with pure oxygen, and how to adjust the valves to feed just enough oxygen to the face masks to mix with the planet's atmosphere and produce a breathable blend of gases, and how to check on how much oxygen is in a tank. Then he opened three lunch bars and passed them out.

The long slow planetary day continued. The instrument panel indicated that a cool morning was still in progress. Erik opened one of the storage bins and issued coveralls for everybody. When they were dressed, he took them out through the airlock into the damp sea breeze and showed them how it feels to be short on oxygen and what to adjust and check if that feeling occurred. That lesson took several hours.

Then it was time for another meal. Erik ordered "Women eat naked." He collected the women's coveralls, stowed them in a drawer, and locked it. Then he unlocked a food drawer and handed out a round of food bars.

Clouds had been building up all morning. As noon of the long day approached, a thunderstorm began. Erik ordered siesta. Everybody slept, with no sex this time. The rain lasted for about five hours; then the winds shifted, blowing from the land, and the sun came out again.

The appropriate safety precautions for outside work had been explained and demonstrated. Erik and the girls put their respirators back on, but he saw no reason to issue clothing again while a hot land breeze was blowing. He tied Aliea's left wrist and ankle to Marzena's right wrist and ankle, tied the women together waist-to-waist, and adjusted the lengths of the ropes between them very carefully. He took them out through the airlock, snapped his whip once again, and said "Now to work! Come over here! You will pose at what we will call Modified Attention! Stand up straight, outside hands at your hips, rope between waists just taut, inside hands stretched toward each other, heels together, toes apart at forty-five degrees, eyes straight forward looking at the horizon. Move!" When he had the women placed as he wanted them, he pushed a half-meter metal stake into the gleaming white beach sand between the toes of each woman.

The next order was "Step back!" Erik hammered the stakes into the sand until only short stubs still poked out.

Then he stood by one of the stubs and said "Marzena, place yourself with that other stub between your feet. Turn and face over there. Aliea, go around to her other side. Inside arms up, both of you. Aliea, stretch the waist rope just taut." He knelt down, bent his head near the stub at his feet, looked carefully over to the other stub where Marzena was standing, and ordered "Aliea, shuffle a bit forward. Just a bit more. OK, Modified Attensh-HUT!" He walked over to Aliea and pushed another half-meter stake between her feet.

Aliea asked "O Master Who is Greatly to be Feared, this slave begs to know what we are doing."

Erik grinned and relaxed just a bit. He explained "A mark-96A tent is anchored into position by tent stakes that are spaced at two-meter intervals in straight lines. I adjusted the ropes so that when you two are standing at Modified Attention, there is exactly two meters between the spots marked by your feet. When I kneel down, I can sight down the row of stakes to keep them in a straight line. I have set up this type of tent more than once in the past, working with fellow marines." He looked both of the women up and down and added "Doing it this way is sexier."

Then he went back into marine-top-sergeant mode, ordering "Step back!" before he hammered the third stake down into the sand. After that he continued to use the women and the ropes between them as his measuring scale for placing stakes in straight lines at two-meter intervals.

The sun was setting by the time that all of the stakes were in. Erik brought his women back into the escape pod, put both women onto their acceleration couches, strapped and clipped them securely into place, and served a round of food bars. He liked the sound of beautiful women begging for another bite of food by saying "Mmm mm mmm?" Meals of nothing but food bars would have been very boring if they had been eaten any other way.

He allowed each woman a lavatory visit, then re-secured them in straps and clips and followed up by hooding them both in black bags. He tickled and caressed them both for a while, without trying for or reaching any climaxes. Then he ordered "Get some sleep."

Halfway through the long night, Erik woke the women up and announced "Atseis. That is "siesta" spelled backward. We will be dividing the long day on this planet into three wake-sleep periods. We will work morning and evening, with siesta in between. We will sleep early and late at night, with atseis in between. Nobody should have to work all the time. During atseis we will have fun."

Then he announced "Tying contest. Round one. Marzena, let's see what you can do to Aliea with fifty meters of rope." Of course there was a generous supply of rope included in the pod's survival supplies.

Marzena answered "I'm not very good at tying. I always preferred, uh, being tied."

Erik looked at Aliea. Aliea looked at Marzena and said "OK", then looked around the cabin of the pod, saluted in a very un-military way, and said "Yes, O Master Who is Greatly to be Feared. Stand over there, Marzena."

Aliea had obviously done ropework of some sort before. In just a few minutes, Marzena was standing stretched in a spread eagle between two of the ceiling loops that acted as grab straps in free fall. Her ankles were stretched apart by ropes that were tied at floor level to the mechanisms for the reclining acceleration couches. None of the knots were anywhere near her hands, and she could not move to reach them. Aliea turned to Erik and asked "How's that, O Master Who is Greatly to be Feared?"

Erik said "Great work, Aliea. I'll give you a special reward. Sponge baths are what we will be taking, I'm afraid, at least until we have a chance to set up a better water supply. You will now give Marzena her first sponge bath. Your reward is that you get the choice of what water temperature to use." He handed Aliea a bucket, another of the many useful items that the escape pod had been equipped with.

Aliea gave Marzena a sadistic grin. She shivered, as if an ice-cold sponge were being rubbed across her own skin. She went into the lavatory and filled the bucket half full. She returned to Marzena, gave a wicked laugh, and started in.

Marzena discovered that the water was quite warm. Aliea had realized in time that she was likely to be the next person who would be given a sponge bath while tied in a standing spread eagle. She was right about this. She didn't want Marzena to use ice-cold water when their roles were reversed, which happened just a short while later.

Afterwards Erik rigged up a couple of rope handle loops, hanging from the ceiling straps. He filled two buckets with warm water, took his coverall off, grabbed the rope handle loops, spread his feet apart, and ordered "Wash me!"

All told it was one of the most erotic baths ever taken by three people using less than forty liters of water in total.

Then Erik strapped and clipped the women into their couches, fed everybody one food bar each, announced "Aleia's turn", and put a bag over Marzena's head. After some additional passion, all three finished the long, long night of the planet by getting some more sleep.

And the first full day on the planet came to an end.

* * *

That first day set several patterns that were followed in the days that came afterward.

The first pattern was a natural one: the weather. The slow spin, the resulting long days and nights, and the gentle axial tilt meant that sea breezes and land breezes were the most important part of their weather pattern. A cool sea breeze blew every morning, causing a build-up of clouds and thunderstorms over the noontide hours. A hot dry land breeze blew each afternoon, growing gradually cooler as the evening approached.

The survivors' life style was adjusted to this weather pattern. Mornings were spent doing outdoor work in coveralls. The noontime thunderstorms signaled time for siesta. The hot early afternoons were for indoor work, such as cleaning and sewing. Later afternoons were spent doing more outdoor work while the women were naked.

There was a great deal of outdoor work to do:

-- The Mark-96A tent was set up in a single morning. It was inflated quickly with local air to give it strength and stability before the noontime thunderstorm winds could damage it. The auxiliary air supply for the tent was put to work concentrating oxygen from the local air to give the tent a breathable atmosphere.

-- A few well-placed explosive charges improved the best available natural path to the top of the nearby cliff, so that it became easy to walk up with a heavy load. A few more explosions dug new water channels on the cliff top. Gutters were assembled from waterproof cloth and nanofill boards, and these gutters were used to build an aqueduct that carried a generous supply of rainwater from the top of the cliff to the escape pod and the tent. It became possible to do laundry, and to give people showers instead of sponge baths.

-- Sea water was brought up from the shore and passed through nanofilters to concentrate its content of minerals, algae, and microscopic animals. The concentrates were put into the food recycler. The life forms that make up Instant Ecology were taken from the ecology of the planet Earth, so the recycler had no difficulty in rearranging these concentrates into a brown paste that was edible for Earth-life human beings. Unfortunately the recycler could not make the food delicious, just edible and nourishing.

-- Sand was mixed with concentrated algae, and cooked until the algae had broken down into a glue, and then hauled onto the top of the cliff and spread in straight lines. The sand was white. The cliff top was made of black volcanic rock from a later eruption. The resulting pattern looked like nothing in nature; it was a clear marker for any rescue spacecraft that might wander by. Due to the glue and to the natural roughness of the volcanic rock, the daily thunderstorms were unable to wash this marker away.

Erik always tried to think of an erotic way to do things. He built a two-slave-girl yoking system as a hauling tool. When Aliea and Marzena were installed in it, they were connected to each other in single file by rigid tie rods from shoulder to shoulder on each side of their necks. Wrists were also secured to these rods just a bit in front of each woman, so they had to keep their arms up. Cross braces behind each woman's neck kept the rigid tie rods apart.

A large waterproof bag was suspended between the women from the tie rods. Erik used a shovel to fill that bag with sand, or a bucket to fill it with seawater. Then he marched his women to where the sand or seawater would be used, with stern shouted orders and much snapping of his slave whip. Somehow he rarely found any need to actually hit them with that whip.

For safety's sake, much of the bondage on the planet was virtual, or else readily escapable. An accident that incapacitated him while both women were in secure bondage could otherwise kill them all. One example was the knots which secured the women's wrists to the carrying yoke tie rods. These knots were placed directly beneath their fingers. A bit of vigorous tugging on those knots would release the women and allow them to deal with any emergency. Of course the women never tried to release themselves while Erik was watching with his slave whip in his hand.

To make the lifestyle a bit more erotic, Erik announced "Nobody is allowed to take care of themselves." With that general order in force, all meals had to be fed by somebody else, and all showers had to be given, not taken.

Aliea saw an opportunity in this. At the next mealtime, she said "If you want your general order to be in force, O Master Who is Greatly to be Feared, then you must accept gag rule for yourself when we feed you. " Then Erik had to join the women in begging "Mmm mm mmm, mmmm?" with his hands behind his back every time he wanted another bite of food. Erik tried hard to make "Mmm mm mmm" sound like an order. He was never completely successful.

Food became the most boring part of the day. Most of the meals were the same bland-tasting sloppy paste from the recycling system. They ate the food bars and soup concentrates that remained in the escape pod emergency supplies only for the last meal of atseis, to make the supply last longer. But eventually the supply ran out. None of the three survivors found the recycling slop appealing enough to gain any weight.

Passion continued during early-night and late-night sleeping periods. Aliea moved into the tent, while Marzena continued to sleep in the escape pod. Erik tied both women down at the beginning of each sleeping period, and he untied them when it was time to wake up. He put them in inverted-Y position with hands together and feet apart. They could reach the knots that would release their hands, but untying those knots when there was no emergency would have been cheating and was not allowed. The women never broke that rule.

* * *

On the first night when she was tied down in the tent, Aliea asked Erik "Are you staying for the night?"

Erik answered "I don't know for certain which of you women will be sleeping alone tonight. You will get me half the time, but neither of us will know which half until the event occurs." Erik flipped a coin and added "Heads for Aliea, tails for Marzena." The coin landed tails-up. Erik dropped it back in his pocket without showing it to either woman, announced "Heads," took Marzena over to the pod, and tied her safely away. Then he returned to the tent.

He could finally relax and properly enjoy the woman he was coming to prefer. He looked down at Aliea with a wicked gleam in his eyes. Aliea said "oh-oh." He started the evening's fun by tickling her left foot. She smiled. He knew that Aliea's feet weren't very sensitive, but she knew that he would soon be working his way upward to the most sensitive part of her body. And there was nothing she could do to stop him.

She often wanted to scream when she was tickled. She had begged for gags before that night, because she knew that her screams bothered Marzena. But Marzena, now in the pod, was no longer able to hear them. Aliea relaxed and let her sound all hang out.

That sound bothered Erik, too. He knew that he had two ways to control it: gag Aliea, or switch to caresses. He liked to listen to the moans that Aliea made when he was caressing her, especially when they were not blocked by a gag. So he switched, and brought her to her first climax of the night using nothing except fingers and hands. The preliminary tickling had helped. Aliea always seemed to be more sensitive to kisses after a good tickling session.

Erik hoped that Marzena did not realize that he was falling in love with Aliea. Marzena was stupid in some ways, but she was smart enough about relationships among people to be able to see what was happening. She felt grateful that Erik was willing to spend half of his sleep periods with her anyway, especially considering the effect of this planet on her appearance. Marzena thought that Aliea's smaller breasts looked better when both women were standing in the planet's stiff gravity. Aliea didn't droop as much.

* * *

During atseis Erik and Aliea often exercised their minds. The accessories for the Mark-96A tent included a video player that put images on the wall of the tent; that wall was made of flexible display-screen material. The occupants could watch recorded performances of plays written by Sophocles, and Shakespeare, and Moliere, and Andrew Lloyd Weber, and Charles Fannington, and other great authors through the centuries. Some of these plays were presented in their archaic original languages, with subtitles in Galactic. Erik and Aliea discussed each play afterward; the Moliere led them to study French, which hadn't be used for centuries, and practice on each other. They also enjoyed reading and discussing the novels that were stored in the hand-held readers that had been in the pod's survival supplies.

Marzena developed an entirely different interest. The Mark-96A tent included a virtual bowling alley, and she played game after game.

In truth, the alley was only about three meters long. It came with two bowling balls, which each had twelve sets of finger holes set in different-colored areas of their surfaces, so anybody could find finger holes that they were comfortable in using. The alley was set up facing one wall of the tent.

To use it, Marzena wore 3D glasses, stood at one end, took two strides, and sent the ball down the alley. The ball went to the other end, fell quietly into a padded gutter, and returned to the start position. During the meter or so of free travel down the lane, the motion of the ball was monitored by doppler tracking instruments on the sides of the alley and by inertial measurements within the ball itself. A computer calculated what the ball would have done in a full-length alley. A display system showed the ball continuing down the virtual alley, while a sound system generated "whirr - crash!" (or "whirr - thunk" for a gutter ball). Then the display system displayed an updated score board over the alley, and also displayed the new pin set or the remaining pins still standing. All was ready for the bowler to send the next ball down the alley.

Erik and Aliea bowled occasionally. Before they joined in, Erik usually re-set both the virtual force of gravity that made the pins topple, and also the virtual coefficients of friction between the balls and different parts of the alley where a ball might or might not hook properly to make a strike. These changes would throw Marzena's timing off and improve the chances that one of the others would win a game. But Marzena soon learned to adapt very rapidly to differences in the way the lane was operating. Erik and Aliea needed large handicaps in order to play evenly-matched games.

* * *

The three castaways did develop one interest more-or-less in common. Late one atseis Erik, Aliea, and Marzena were relaxing in the tent, sitting on folding chaise-longue chairs and reading. Abruptly Marzena asked "Aliea, do you think that our Master Who is Greatly to be Feared is, uh, a bit of a wimp when he ties us up?"

Aliea put her book reader down with a surprised expression on her face and said "He has always seemed pretty strict to me. What makes you think otherwise?"

"I found a book on this, uh, bookreader with pictures of really tough positions. Book number 0808-0234, it's called, uh, Advanced Bondage. I think that it might be fun and challenging to try, uh, some of the tie-ups in that book."

Erik put down his bookreader and responded "I couldn't do you both at once, you know. If something happens to me while you are both in tough bondage positions, you would both die slowly and horribly without being able to get loose."

"You could do us, uh, one at a time."

"You first?"

"Okay, me first."

Erik brought his bag of ropes over to the chair where Marzena was sitting. Then he decided that both of his women should be involved, so he ordered "Aliea, come over here. You did a great job tying Marzena back on about the first night on this planet. You will help me do the tying now also. Marzena, lie down on your tummy and put your hands behind your back."

Aliea studied the picture of the tied-up woman that Marzena had found in the book on bondage. Aliea said "Hoo boy, this one is nasty!", and they went to work. Twenty minutes passed before she said "Done!" and crawled out from under Marzena's thighs, which she had propped up on her own lap while applying a hogtie. Lifting Marzena's thighs in this manner had helped them pull the hogtie extremely tight.

One rope was braided into Marzena's hair. It pulled her head back and up, attaching it to her big toes. Another rope connected her rolled-up-fabric gag to her ankles. Her feet were actually above her butt, pulled far forward, tied to her gag and to her waist, and also to ropes around her chest Her arms were pulled tight across her back, with each hand actually touching the opposite upper arm. Marzena's tummy rested on her chaise lounge, but nothing else did. The rest of her body curved up and away from the chaise lounge at both ends.

Erik commented "That is rugged. I don't think that we should leave her in it for very long."

Aliea answered "Please, O Master Who is Greatly to be Feared, don't do that to me. If you used a tie-up like that one on me, it would be a severe punishment. You wouldn't be my Master Who is Greatly to be Feared any more. Instead you would be the Master of Whom I am Absolutely Terrified."

Erik and Aliea both sat with their bookreaders in front of them for the next half an hour, but neither of them was able to pay much attention to their books. Marzena's moans were too distracting.

Finally Aliea untied Marzena, beginning with her hair and gag ropes. As she undid knots, she asked "How are you feeling?"

"Great. Stretched. Relaxed. I can't wait to do it again. Even though I am also, uh, scared about doing it again. It's hard to, uh, breathe, when the ropes are that tight."

"We'll do something different next time. Let us know when you are ready."

Every third or fourth atseis afterwards, Marzena told Erik and Aliea "I'm ready." She didn't have to say any more than that. She was put into reverse-prayer positions, or wrists to the back of the neck with elbows pointing upward and tied together, or hands palm to palm behind her back with forearms wrapped touching all the way up to her elbows, or a hogtie variant with the calves tied tailor-fashion foot-to-knee before the hogtie ropes were applied. Marzena was proud of her ability to stay in some of these positions for hours at a time. She knew that she wasn't as smart as Aliea, and that Aliea was a better musician. She liked knowing that there was something besides bowling that she could do better than Aliea.

The long, long days slipped into weeks, and months, and years. Nothing ever seemed to change, until finally everything did.

* * *

The starship Amerigo Vespucci settled into orbit around an unsettled planet for the fifth time so far on this voyage of exploration. The board of directors of the Vespucci Foundation met in the starship's conference room to review the data about this planet and compare it with the previous four planets that they had seen. The directors were planning to start a new colony. They did not yet know where it would be.

The Chairman of the Board said "Well, there you see the pictures and the numbers. Does anybody see any big enough advantages to this planet to make us decide to stop searching and settle here?" One hand went up. The hand belonged to a teen-age girl who had just stepped quietly into the room. The Chairman looked puzzled, and asked "Uhm, yes, Gianna?"

Gianna answered "One big advantage: a District Senate seat, soonest."

"How so?"

"I'm taking civics, now. My teacher has just talked about the qualifications for a Senate seat. Unlike the District House, which goes by planetary population, every planet gets one District Senate seat as soon as it qualifies as a full member of the Amalgamation. Full membership comes when a planet has a population of at least 100,000, and this population is growing, and some members of the population have been on the planet for at least ten years and they intend to stay. That is what the Constitution requires. There is no definition in the Constitution about how many people are needed to be 'some members' of a planetary population. Do I have that much right?"

"Very good, Gianna. Go on."

"There are some survivors of a wrecked starship on the planet. They have clearly been there for years. Lieutenant Sampson sent me to tell you that we have just spotted them. If we can persuade them to stay, then they will be 'some members' of our population and we will qualify for a District Senate seat a lot sooner. You should switch the video screen over to Command Bridge input. Lieutenant Sampson is sending you images of the survivors' landing site."

The Chairman ordered "Command Bridge input video, now!" The ship's AI heard, and it changed the image on the conference room wall screen. The new picture showed a small peninsula on one of the planet's coastlines. There was no icon on the screen to indicate the location of an escape-pod marker beacon; apparently the beacon on the escape pod had failed. However, there was no mistaking the 3-4-5 right triangle, with squares extending from each side as a demonstration of Pythagoras' theorem, traced in white on black volcanic rock. With that as a clue, it was easy to pick out the escape pod and the older-model Marine Corps tent on the nearby beach.

Gianna ordered the AI to "Zoom in! Shift right! Another notch right! Shift down! Zoom in another notch! There, do you see them, sir? It looks like three survivors, hauling more white sand up onto the black rock to maintain their Pythagoras figure, doing it all on foot with no powered equipment. They don't even have a wheelbarrow. How many years did it take them to make that big figure with all those lines, hauling the sand a basketful at a time?"

"I don't know, Gianna, but you are right. It must have taken quite a while."

Director Charles Durand asked "Could we make them stay, legally?"

Gianna answered "I don't think they would count as 'some people'. Prisoners on a planet wouldn't qualify. We would need to pay them a pension, or something, to make them want to stay."

Durand said "I move we make them an offer too good to refuse." The Chairman knew that Durand had ambitions for a Senate seat.

After some further discussion, the motion passed. Most of the better planets in the region had already been colonized by earlier explorers. The other directors thought that they were not likely to find a better uninhabited planet in any case.

* * *

On the day everything changed, late in the afternoon, the three survivors were starting back down their trail to the beach after adding some white sand to the Pythagoras figure on the black volcanic rock at the top of their cliff. Aliea and Marzena wore only their breathing equipment. They carried a large emptied bag between them suspended on the two-girl slave coffle yoke. Erik followed them, wearing a coverall and an emptied backpack; he did his share of the grunt work, and he had hauled his share of the sand up to the top of the cliff. He carried his slave whip, but none of them seriously expected that he would hit anybody with it.

Erik, Aliea, and Marzena were familiar with the usual sounds in their little world of survival. When they were out walking, those sounds included the hiss of oxygen from their portable tanks to their breathing masks, the whistle of wind past their ears, the sounds of their own breathing, and the occasional snap! of the lashes of Erik's whip . The impacts of bare feet on rock created hardly any noise at all. The dominant natural sound was the endless crashing of ocean waves on the shoreline. There were no cries of birds, or animals, or insects.

The first clue that the survivors noticed was a high-pitched scream in the air, a sound that had once been familiar to all of them but that none of them had heard since they landed on the planet. They stopped and looked up. A shuttlecraft was approaching for a landing, with a scream of turbines and a wail of lift fans. Marzena said "WAHOO! Rescue! We're finally getting a way to clear off of this goddamned planet!."

The shuttlecraft touched down on the volcanic-rock cliff top, with the lift fans blowing sand in all directions. Fortunately the three survivors had already moved far enough down the trail that the flying sand grains passed safely over their heads.

Director Durand led the group that descended from the shuttle. He walked to the edge of the cliff and looked down on the most unusual audience he had ever had for one of his speeches. Two naked women stood with their feet pointing down a trail. They had to turn their necks to watch him because of the way they were confined. Their hands were lashed in front to poles that passed over their shoulders and connected them together. Both women were beauties, one a brunette with fair skin, the other a blonde with coffee-colored skin. A man built like a Norse god stood behind them dressed in a coverall with a slave whip in his hand. At first glance, it appeared that he must have been abusing the women. But a second glance showed that the poles that confined these women were well padded at their shoulders, and there were no whip scars on their bodies. The relationship might be more complicated than was readily apparent.

Durand had given impromptu political speeches to a wide variety of audiences many times before. It took him only a few seconds to organize his thoughts before beginning to address the three survivors:

"Greetings from the Vespucci Foundation. You must have been on this planet for more than a few years. We can now give you the opportunity for the years that you have spent here to count for something.

"If you stay, you will become leading members of the settlement that the Foundation is about to put here. We are prepared to give you full title to the peninsula that your escape pod has landed on, plus all of the support that you would need to make this land productive. There will be a cash pension for each of you in addition.

"Come on over to the shuttle. We have coveralls on board which should fit the women. We can take you up to our starship for meetings with our Board of Directors."

The women waited for Erik to take charge, as he had done so often before. He looked over Durand, concluded that he was too obviously a politician, and replied "You don't understand the unusual social system that we have organized down here. That isn't too surprising, considering that you have only been on the planet for about five minutes. I suggest instead that you visit us in the main room of our tent, in about an hour. We will hold a meeting of the Supreme Planetary Council then to discuss your offer." After a moment's pause, he added "You may wish to bribe the Council members. If so, bring food, something like fruit or ice cream, anything except escape-pod slop."

Then Erik ordered "Coffle carrying detail, forward, March!" The three survivors went on down the trail to the beach, leaving the landing party from the shuttle behind on the cliff top feeling dumbfounded. Director Durand had expected that the survivors would immediately and thankfully board the shuttle.

What was this Supreme Planetary Council? Nobody else had been seen in the photos taken from orbit. Were there more survivors, who never left the pod or the tent? Perhaps those survivors had been injured when the escape pod crash-landed. The obvious way to find out was to accept the invitation to a meeting in the tent.

An hour later, Director Durand entered the tent and found nobody else, only the three survivors that he had been aware of. They looked rather different than they had on the cliffside trail. All three were freshly cleaned, with hair freshly combed, and all three wore fresh coveralls. Erik explained "We have only three people on the planet, so we all have to play multiple roles to keep our society functioning. At this time, I would like to introduce you to Councillor Marzena, and Councillor Aliea." Both women tried their best to look like important people. "I am Erik Gunderson, Chairman of the Council. Can you spell out your offer in greater detail?"

Director Durant gave a speech about the offer the Vespucci Foundation had authorized, an offer intended to be too good to refuse. It included:

-- a cash subsidy for each of the three survivors;

-- ownership of the entire peninsula where the escape pod had crashed;

-- the use of heavy equipment and some explosives to reduce porous hard black lava-flow rock to mineral-rich powder;

-- a generous supply of algae pumped up from the ocean to act as fertilizer, improving the powder for growing and helping to convert it to soil;

-- bacteria, worms, and insects needed to create a proper soil ecology;

-- plant seeds of various types;

-- a set of farming robots to do the grunt work of tending to the plants that grew from those seeds;

-- several hundred square meters of special tenting film, to make an inflated dome over the farm;

-- a small prefab aluminum-and-plastic house to live in;

-- cement, to be used in mixing concrete, for blocks to be used in building a larger residence, and for building fences on their property.

Of course the entire offer was contingent on the survivors staying on the planet and joining the colony.

Gianna was in the landing party, as a reward for her recommendation to the board of directors about how to obtain a Senate seat quickly. She was in charge of supplying the bribe that Erik had requested. She passed around fruit plates, with apple slices and tangerine wedges and cherries and prunes, plates which she had put together from the supplies in the shuttle. Marzena attacked her plateful and began to eat very enthusiastically. She forgot all about trying to look important.

When the three survivors had first returned to the tent about an hour earlier, Erik had told his women "These people want something, and we have it. We're not just helpless castaways any more. We're going to be playing a different game now. Take showers, on your own, not given by each other. Do your hair as neatly as you can. I will be issuing fresh coveralls for everybody. We are all going to be Planetary Council members."

When Director Durant and Gianna finished making their offer, Erik turned to Aliea and they exchanged glances. Each could read the other's thoughts: these people did indeed definitely want something.

Erik replied "Your offer sounds very promising. What will we be joining, if we stay? What do you plan to do with this planet?"

Director Durant answered "The settlers from the Vespucci Foundation are planning to launch an economy based on cattle raising. We will sell beef to starship commissaries. The population of the Theta Quadrant is increasing rapidly, and that will mean much more space traffic past this region of space. The carniculture vats of a starship could provide adequate-quality meat, but superb-quality steaks can come only from the muscles of cattle which have lived and exercised under real gravity. The stiff 1.15 G gravitational field of this planet will actually be an advantage from that point of view.

"Cattle raising requires large inflated domes of special tenting film, covering large fields of grass, growing in soil that will have to be created by mixing local rock with ocean algae. The tenting fabric and the soil-creation efforts that the Vespucci Foundation will be giving you will be the same types that we will be using over our own cattle pastures.

"The tenting film is porous to water, so that rainwater will seep through in a gentle drizzle onto the crops below. This film tends to trap oxygen and preserve a breathable atmosphere inside each inflated dome for the cattle and for the people. It's transparent to sunlight, so that plants under it will have the energy they need to grow."

Erik replied "That sounds like a good business proposal. You should be able to make a go of it here. Why are you being so generous with us? Won't that cut into your profits?"

Durand said "We value our independence very highly. If you stay, the foundation of our colony will be backdated to your arrival on this planet. We will be able to become a full member of the Amalgamation much sooner. Please stay. You will be contributing to the freedom of an entire planet full of people."

Aliea and Marzena looked at Erik, expecting him to make a decision. He said "We will hold an immediate executive session of our Council, in the escape pod. We should get back to you in a few minutes. You can enjoy the hospitality of this tent - such as it is - until we return."

* * *

After the three entered the pod, Erik asked "Should we believe this offer? I've always believed TANSTAAFL, There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch."

Aliea answered "I think so. Their boss-guy and spokesman Durand will be on our side. Have you ever seen a more totally ambitious politician on the make? We could ruin his chances for a Senate seat if we leave because their offer turns out to be phony."

"I agree with you. Besides, I have bummed around the spacelanes for long enough to lose any further desire to travel. I doubt that I could find a better deal for settling down anywhere else. Marzena, how about you?"

"If we say no, they, uh, couldn't just leave us here on this goddamn planet, could they?"

"I wouldn't want to risk that, in their position. If somebody else found us later and brought us back to civilization, then these people could all be convicted of abandoning castaways, and that is a serious crime."

"Will we be, uh, allowed to take vacations, or something? I don't want to be trapped on this, uh, planet, uh, all of the time."

"Space Marines, like me, sometimes live on planets distant from home for years, and home is still home. It's still a place which you can go back to and be welcomed. You have to prove that you are still welcomed by visiting home every so often, but that shouldn't be a problem. No matter how long you are away on vacation, Aliea and I will welcome you back whenever you return. Aliea, you are willing to stay, aren't you? And keep a room open for Marzena?"

Aliea put her hands behind her back and said "Erik, if you wish to stay here, then I will stay here. You are still my Master Who is Greatly to be Feared. My biggest fear is losing you. I love you. Right now, for you, I am naked, and my wrists are cuffed, and my ankles are shackled, and my neck has a collar and leash, and you are holding the leash handle. Other people may not see the chains, and they may see me wearing a coverall that isn't truly there for your eyes. You may do whatever you wish, as long as you keep me with you. I'm yours."

Erik looked back and forth between his women. He had been keeping a balance between them so carefully, for so long, that he felt a strong need to watch his words and avoid upsetting either of them.

Marzena spoke up. "I, uh, love you, uh, both. But I have seen what has, uh, developed between you for uh-while now. I'm not getting between you any more. Thank you for, uh, taking such good care of me for, uh, all these years. I'll visit, uh, often enough to say this is home, but I won't stay."

And so the three castaways returned to their tent and accepted the offer from the Vespucci Foundation.

* * *

Erik wasn't interested in cattle farming. He decided to grow herbs and spices, instead. Several years of eating nothing but escape-pod slop had left him desperate for different flavorings. He thought that there would be a ready market for herbs and spices among the passengers of long-haul spaceliners.

He remembered a very old song, and suggested the name "Scarborough" for the planet, in the hope that it would become the place for passing spacecraft to buy parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. He also planned to grow poppies, for poppyseed to be used in Danish pastry, and carroway, for seeds to be used in Jewish-style rye bread, and several other spices as well.

It turned out that he had made a smart decision. Eventually many of the other settlers began to grow spices too. Naming their planet Scarborough proved to be very smart marketing.

* * *

Aliea became Erik's partner in operating the farm. He did most of the programming and maintenance on the crop-tending robots. She handled sales and billing, dealing with the chefs, cooks, and purchasing agents from the passing spacecraft. Men were happy to buy from her, in part because she was still as pretty as she had been when Sweet Su had hired her as the drummer for a band of cute girls. Women who were not affected by her looks were still happy to buy from her due to her pleasant personality.

Marzena became a professional bowler. She maintained a legal residence with Erik and Aliea, but she spent most of her time on tour on other planets. As a castaway, she had played game after game on Scarborough in a 1.15 g gravity field, and she had developed the endurance needed for long multi-game tourneys anywhere. Erik had made many changes in the settings the computer used to calculate virtual friction and virtual gravity in the virtual alley. This had taught Marzena how to play on real alleys with any type of wax finish, on planets with any strength of gravitational field.

* * *

Several more years passed.

Late one afternoon Aliea was looking over the tally of the day's sales on her computer screen when she felt somebody looking over her shoulder. She turned, shouted "Marzena!", jumped up, and gave her old castaway partner a big hug. Marzena smiled, but couldn't hug back right away. Her arms were wrapped around a large awkward box.

Aliea faced her desk and called out "Erik! Marzena's here!" Then she turned back to Marzena and asked "What's in the box?"

"A bowling trophy."

"That big?"

"It takes a big trophy to celebrate a big win. I just won the District Inter-Planetary Open. I had to beat Andrei Sugimoto in the final. He rolled a spare in the tenth frame of his last game, and I caught him by rolling five strikes in a row on my last two frames! Thriller-diller ending! The videos of the tourney should be on Scarborough Sports Network very soon. They were shipped on the same space liner that I came in on." She put the trophy box down in a corner of the room.

"Wow! Big bucks for first prize, I'd bet."

"A few bucks, anyway. 'Way, 'way more than enough to buy a trophy shelf for this thing and for the others that I have won. Are things changing between you and Erik? I noticed that you just called him 'Erik'."

"I'm his business partner during the days. I call him 'Erik'. During the nights, I still call him 'O Master Who is Greatly to be Feared'. Remember that nights last almost thirty hours on this planet. He never lets me out of chains during atseis."

"Chains, now? You still have rope available, don't you? You remember how you used to use it on me?"

"Chains, now. They are as inescapable as the really tight ropework Erik and I used to use on you, and the inescapability gives me a thrill that I couldn't get when I was tied up with you and there were only three of us on this planet. Back then, inescapable tie-ups on both of us at the same time were unsafe. Now, it would be different. Do you want to try hogtie chains? They go on a lot faster than hogtie ropework."

"I'll try anything once."

Erik had entered the room quietly behind Marzena. He joined the conversation by saying "Try anything once? Good!" and he grabbed her arms and slapped a pair of Irish-8 handcuffs onto her wrists behind her back. He added "The subsidy from the Vespucci Foundation is large enough to let us buy all sorts of nifty stuff, including these handcuffs, and also some bigger items. We got one of them just for you. We'll put you in it for supper."

Then he turned to Aliea and said "We'll have supper right away before the sun goes down. The sun is just touching the horizon now. End of sunset will be in about an hour. Go and get, The Chair." His tone of voice clearly indicated that 'The Chair' should be spelled with capital letters.

Aliea said "Right on, Erik." She re-set her computer to display "Closed until tomorrow, on-planet time" to anybody who was trying to buy some spices. She left the room.

Erik stood behind Marzena, hugged her, and said "Hi, Marzena, great to have you back to visit." He began to unbutton her clothing. She was wearing a lightweight jacket and a sleeveless blouse which were both easily undone. He soon had them hanging from her handcuffed wrists behind her back. He could have undressed her even more quickly if he hadn't spent so much time kissing her shoulders and her neck as they were bared and telling her how pretty they were.

Aliea returned to the room pushing The Chair. Marzena looked it over. The seat was supported on a thick metal pole with a broad wheeled base. The back was a curved piece of relatively thin plastic. The top of this piece was low enough that the handcuffed arms of somebody sitting in The Chair could reach behind the back to hang freely. Two more pieces of thin plastic, each about 15 centimeters wide, were designed to support hips and legs. These supports poked horizontally outward from just below the back, then downward, and then for a short stretch outward again. Straps sprouted all over.

Marzena found that she was surrounded. Aliea hugged Marzena from in front and undid the clasp on Marzena's bra. The bra soon joined the other garments hanging from Marzena's handcuffed wrists. Erik reached around from in back and unzipped Marzena's pants. Aliea kneeled down, hugged Marzena's legs, and pulled Marzena's pants and panties into a puddle of clothing at their feet.

Erik put his hands under Marzena's armpits and lifted her up and out of her pants, panties, and sandals. He set her down in The Chair while Aliea buckled a broad waist strap. Then Aliea and Erik each buckled a thigh to the horizontal part of a leg support, a calf and an ankle to the downward part, and a foot to the short final outward stretch.

As finishing touches, Erik applied linked broad leather cuffs to Marzena's forearms, undid the Irish-8 cuffs, and removed the dangling upper-body clothing. Aliea installed a wide posture collar on Marzena's neck. When the job was done, Marzena was seated helpless and naked in The Chair.

Erik ordered "Robochef, activate! Special meal Marzena Greeting number one!" A green indicator light illuminated on the front of the robochef. It used direct heat and microwaves in ideal combination to produce properly-cooked food very quickly. Soon it announced "Food is ready."

Erik wheeled The Chair and Marzena up to the dining-room table. Aliea opened the robochef door and served three meals. Only two of them were steaks. Marzena laughed out loud.

Erik asked "What's so funny about your meal?"

Marzena smiled and answered "Scarborough Angus beef has already established a reputation in the Theta Quadrant as the very finest-quality meat anywhere. I have eaten it a time or two, dozens of light-years away from here, as part of meals celebrating wins in bowling tournaments. I haven't had enough money to buy it and eat it often. Now here I am, on the home planet of this beef, which is also my home planet, with two of my closest friends. And what do they serve me? Brown escape-pod recycling slop!"

Aliea picked up a spoonful and said "You can't escape it now. With that posture collar on, you can't even turn your head to try to avoid it. Open wide."

Marzena accepted that escape was impossible. She took a deep breath and held it, shut her eyes, wrinkled her nose, and opened her mouth as ordered. Aliea gave her that first spoonful. Erik and Aliea watched her reaction.

Shock. Amazement. Pleasure. Wonder. Happiness. Confusion. All of these showed on Marzena's face. In an astonished tone of voice, she asked "What did you do to this?! It tastes Good!!"

Aliea answered "The complete formulation is secret. We are willing to say that it includes sage, garlic, beef bouillon, and other seasonings. Now try this one." She held up another spoonful of recycle paste.

Marzena swirled this one around in her mouth and said "Breakfast roll?"

"Good guess. Cinnamon, poppy seeds, powdered extract of butter, and other spices. Both spice mixtures are super concentrated so as not to take up much space or much weight allowance. Both are believed to be long-term stable. We will be marketing them as valuable supplements for escape-pod food supplies."

"Oh do I ever wish we had them when we were castaways."

"So do I."

(The entire incident had been video-recorded. The labels of packages that they sold in later years included a close-up of Marzena's face when she first realized how good the spiced recycle slop tasted. The spice mixtures sold very well.)

Erik and Aliea enjoyed their steaks, potatoes, and salads. They each fed Marzena spoonfuls of spiced recycling slop. Marzena told them the story of how she had qualified for the District Inter-Planetary Open, and how she had won that contest starting as an unranked outsider. No other unranked bowler had had the endurance to bowl well in game after game from the earliest elimination rounds to the final championship. Her many games under 1.15 G had paid off big time.

At the end of the meal, Erik looked at Aliea with a stern expression and observed "The sun has set now."

Aliea answered "Yes, O Master Who is Greatly to be Feared. How do you want me?"

Erik ordered "Nude, on the upright kneeler. I'll get it while you strip."

The Chair was then pulled back from the dining-room table and turned so that Marzena could watch what happened next. The upright kneeler proved to be a small wheeled platform with a one-by-six plywood board sticking up from the middle of the edge on one side. There were knee pads on the base by either edge of that board. Aliea stripped and kneeled up, with hips straight and knees at right angles on the knee pads. Erik secured her with straps mounted on the platform for ankles and backs of knees, and more straps from the upright board around thighs, and hips, and waist, and chest. Finally Erik added leather-strap handcuffs behind Aliea's back, and a collar with two leashing straps. The straps connected on each side of Aliea's neck.

Then Erik moved behind Marzena and The Chair. He adjusted something and said "Spread your legs, Marzena." She found that the leg supports could suddenly pivot freely apart. But then she found that they were on ratchets. She couldn't bring her legs back together again.

Erick adjusted something else. A motor began to whir, and Marzena felt herself moving upward. The main support pole for The Chair had a powered telescoping system, and the motor was extending it.

When the height was correctly adjusted, Erik connected both of Aliea's leashing straps to mechanisms on the bottom of the seat on The Chair. He began working the operating levers on those mechanisms. Marzena began to realize why The Chair was always mentioned in a tone of voice that implied capital letters in the spelling. Click, click, click, click, Aliea was pulled closer. Eventually her face was only a few centimeters from Marzena's naked crotch.

Erik released the leg ratchet on The Chair, so that Marzena could squeeze Aliea's head between her thighs if she wished. He ordered "Aliea, enjoy your dessert. Marzena, enjoy Aliea enjoying her dessert." Then he sat back in his own comfortable chair to watch the fun.

Since the three castaways had been rescued and started their new lives, Erik had never had any chances to play with two women at once . In all his life he had never played with two women and chains before. He eventually switched their places, so that Marzena kneeled with her face at Aliea's crotch. He kept the women linked together one way or another all through the early-night sleep period and the following atseis. The women were chained side-by-side onto a bed, or they had arms wrapped around a pole between them either in front or behind, or sometimes they were simply connected by a single pair of handcuffs. Neither was allowed to eat on her own; each of them had to feed the other.

Erik loved them both. But Erik was still in love only with Aliea. In the end, Aliea was the one who shared his bed for late-night sleep period, while Marzena was put into her own guest bedroom.

* * *

As Erik unchained Aliea the next morning, she commented "Did you notice something different about our bowling champion Marzena last night?"

Eric answered "She does seem more confident, somehow. Did you see something specific?"

"Yeah. It's one of the ways she seems more confident. She was awake all evening, and all early-sleep period, and all atseis. And in all that time she never said 'uh'. Not even once. I listened closely after the first few 'uh'-free minutes, and I'm sure I would have heard an 'uh' if it had happened."

The End


Author's Notes: Virtual golf courses, similar to the virtual bowling alley in this story, already exist today. It is possible to play the Old Course in Scotland without ever leaving your hotel in Florida.

The design of The Chair was inspired by one of Gord's creations, although his version differs in detail design from the one that I described. Start at timer 4:08 of This footnote was written one month to the day after Gord died. Rest in peace, Gord.

Copyright© 2013 by YFNR. All rights reserved.