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The Rowdizian Chronicles

A series of romantic science fiction short stories by


The universe is estimated to be over 13 billion years old. Within the vast unending cosmos, many planets have experienced the rise of two or more dominant species over the eons. Some of these planets, in theory, have experienced the birth, life, and death of entire ecosystems. In time, because of an insurmountable problem on the life supporting planet, or a problem exists with the planetary systems central star, the entire ecosystem dies. This cycle of life is believed to have taken place throughout the universe countless times with many civilizations rising from the primordial soup to end without any evidence of their existence or contact with another world. What follows is a short history of a planet, unique in its place in the cosmos. The planet and its indigenous life forms were allowed to evolve, undisturbed by outside influences, for millions of years. A planet that gave birth to an intelligent society shielded and blessed by the protective orbit of 12 moons. The moons that provided protection, also provided a degree of obscurity for most of those 13 billion years. The dominant, intelligent, social species long period of enlightenment nearly became their ruin when they succumbed to the curious need to explore the stars.

Captain Kimberly Colleen Terry, KC to her friends, a six year veteran of the Rowdizian Earth-Alliance Wars, cursed the dim yellow glow from the persistent caution light. Resetting the Master Caution did nothing to extinguish the indicator. She tried, but she still didnt believe the low level indication of the ships Weapons Energy Stores. How long had her squadron, well what was left of it, been in battle, 25 minutes? Something was terribly wrong. She had engaged four, and destroyed three enemy fighters. Add that to the two strafing runs on separate battle cruisers, and she shouldnt have depleted her ships stores so fast. A quick look over her right shoulder confirmed her wingman was still in position. Terry pressed the transmitter button with her thumb, Hey, Jeff. Still no visual on any leak? The fleet and the battle grew smaller in her rearview mirror. Lieutenant Jefferson Andre Norton, Terrys Wingman for the last year answered, Negative Captain. No leak detected, and I still have aahhh 65% Weapons Energy Stores. I guess youre just a little trigger happy. Jeff strained again to get a better look at leads fighter exterior, even though his position was less than a meter from Terrys Cobra. Terry shook her head and barked, Damn whatever. Doing no good out here. Besides I still have missiles. The wars behind us about 5 klicks and the Rowdizians look hell-bent to kill us all. Give me some room were coming about. Check Zero thrust, 160 degree positive pitch, then kick it with a 150% burn. Roger. Jeff acknowledged. Terry continued, On my mark 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Mark. The pair of Cobra close quarter attack fighters off the Galaxy Class Heavy Cruiser, Nova Wind, pitched nose up in unison and pivoted about their central axis. One hundred and sixty degrees into the maneuver both craft fired their main engines until they reached 150% thrust. Terry and Jeff strained at the g-force pinning them to their seats. With the power of the 150% burn arresting their away speed and then accelerating the crafts toward the desperate battle, their lives would soon be again at risk. Terry thought, Well need a butt load of luck to win the day. Were evenly matched in technology, but the Rowdizian forces outnumber us 3 to 1. She ordered, Jeff,.. set maneuvering thrust in 3, 2, 1, Mark. You take the lead Buckwheat. Captain Trigger Happy will cover your ass for a change. Jeffs excitement of having the responsibility of lead was openly displayed as his voice pitched higher and louder with each spoken word, Aye, Captain Lets kick some Rowdick ass! The pair quickly closed the distance to rejoin the battle. Enroute, a blinding white flash obscured the distance. Lt. Norton yelled, Cant see. What the hell was that? Terry shot back, Shit Jeff, I can hardly see, but on my radar theres a debris field where the Rowdizian battle cruiser Urrpvic was positioned. She explained. Lt. Norton whistled, Damn, Captain. Thats one of their capital ships. Over 8000 crew and 250+ fighters. With her gone that gives the Alliance the upper hand. Terry observed, Ive got multiple bogies, and looks like theyre running. Check three at 2 oclock, P negative 25, hot damn. Lt. Norton whooped and yelled, Weeee Haaaaa, Military Power on my mark, in each cockpit, hands danced on selected switches, We got your ass now 3, 2, 1,

MARK. Both fighters, with engines increasing to military power, banked right and pitched 25 degrees nose down, overtaking the three enemy fighters running for the safety of their mother ship. Jeffs first shots destroyed his intended target, the lead craft. The other two fighters split and the starboard ship was tagged by one of the Captains Mark 23 smart missiles. As Jeff continued a hard left turn to reengage the third target, Captain Terry, positioned off Nortons starboard, was able to maintain a perfect formation as if both fighters were one. She, acting as wing, monitored the radar and especially watched the space to their flanks and rear for any threat. As Jeff became fixated on the target, Terry became concerned, Watch out Lieutenant, were getting too close. Suggest Maneuvering Thrust on my mar. Lt. Norton, too focused on the escaping fighter, fired his pulse cannon the very second his helmet toned a target lock. The juking enemy craft darting starboard exploded from a direct hit. Thousands of fragments obscured the path of both Terry and Norton. Neither could help but fly through the debris with Captain Terry penetrating the greater concentration. The body of the dead Rowdizian pilot splashed on her windscreen. Her ship violently shook from the multiple impacts of debris and Terry yelled to no one, OH, CRAP, after several red warning lights and yellow caution lights joined the lonesome persistent ENERGY STORES on the annunciator panel. An irritating, wailing, warble sound pierced her skull. This time she didnt playfully sing, YOURE FUCKED. YOURE FUCKED. YOURE FUCKED. YOURE FUCKED. like she would during the systems warm up and self test of preflight. Terrys ship was stricken. She methodically surveyed her situation. As luck would have it, things could be worse, and they were. The automatic synthetic foam fill had fired from the sudden loss in cockpit pressure. She reasoned a portion of the destroyed fighter must have penetrated the sealed life support chamber of her single seat Cobra gunship. But that wasnt the worst thing that had happened. Terry looked to her left and noticed the port elevon and thruster cluster missing. But she figured things could be even worse, and they were. Whatever punctured the cockpit seal had ripped a four inch gash in her survival suit below her left bicep and just above the crook of her elbow. Now, she was screwed. On the positive side, cabin pressure was back up, so the synthetic patch was holding, but for how long? The bigger the hole, the less permanent the seal. At the first sign of systems failures, Terry had shut down all unnecessary power, but her ship was spinning counter-clockwise on the Y axis at about 100 RPM and the spin had to stop. Noting Thruster Fuel was at 19%, she thought, How much would it take to arrest the spin while wasting gas through the missing port array? Her helmet hissed. Hey captain, you alright? Lt. Norton called, worried about her prolonged quiet and the ships extensive damage. When his call went unanswered he became more serious, Avenger Zero Six, this is Avenger One Nine. Terry responded as she sat transfixed, watching drops of her blood exit the tear in her suit in the weightless environment. The drops floated up, then slowly accelerate to splat on the cockpit walls and instrument panel. Terry answered, One niner, this is zero six, I have to stop this spin before I can really assess my situation, standby. Terry transferred what little remained of the Energy Stores to the Thruster Fuel. The fuel gauge

now read 22% and that would have to do. She fired the thrusters and the spin quickly slowed, but the thruster gasses exhausted first and the ship still remained spinning at about 8 RPM. She looked at the gauge and cussed to herself. SHIT. ZERO. Terry now had a grand view of the closing scenes of the current battle. The Rowdizian fighters were recovering to their carrier ships as the enemy fleet maneuvered and accelerated to retreat. Allied fighters and quick, maneuverable, light cruisers and destroyers gave chase, hoping to take out a few more craft. The fight was now very much one sided. Terrys ship drifted toward the fleet, but she had no control. Her helmet hissed again. Captain, from what I can see, your Cobras toast. Not sure if theres any salvage potential, plus you have two un-stowed Mark 81 Vipers. Not sure salvage can safely capture your ship and return it to hangar. Your rotation barely exceeds the safety envelope. Lt. Norton had positioned his craft to within a few feet of her spinning wreck. Terrys reply was unenthusiastic, AAhhh, roger, Jeff . Might want to stay back a bit. Besides the warnings on the un-stowed missiles, I have an over-temp warning on the ships battery, port engine, and life support failure. I need to figure Lt. Norton interrupted, Damn it, KC just punch out. Ill call rescue and we can be eatin dinner and having a hot shower within the hour. Terry measured her predicament and said, I prayed this morning and after meditation just knew this wasnt my time to die. I Hell Captain, get out! Rescue will be here in 30 seconds. Noooo prob.... A defeated voice cut in and answered, Jeff my suits torn. Lt. Nortons heart sank. After a short pause he keyed his mike, Well Captain, you do offer somewhat of a challenge. he released the transmit button and pounded the instrument panel. Terry continued, Jeff, I thought it through. I dont have enough life support to make the hangar deck, even if you could negate most of the other problems. My Life Pack is damaged and whats left of this ship has more leaks than a colander. Besides, I still cant land with two hot missiles. She switched her intercom to the fleet channel and broadcast, All ships, this is Captain Terry, a.k.a. Avenger zero six. Systems over-load imminent, stand clear. The rescue and salvage ships coming to her aid did an immediate about face upon hearing her news. She saw the ships running except there was Jeff, a few feet away, holding formation. Jeff was at a loss of what to do, KC, I Terry switched back to the unit channel, Jeff, back off, Im sequencing the Auto Destruct system. Please. Hold on. Just like you, I had no premonition of death during prayers earlier. Terry cut in, You dont pray. Good time to learn. Last nights briefing was a tad bit melancholy, more so than most , so I thought Ive survived this long, someone or something has my back. Terry chuckled and keyed her transmitter, That would be me. Look, just stop whatever youre doing... I got an idea. What the hell speak. Oh, and by the way, the battery and engines just went critical.

Okay, Well use the spin. With each revolution, Terry could see Jeff backing off. Jeff transmitted his plan, Duct tape the hole in your suit; might buy ya some time. Jettison your engine packs first and then the battery. Then use your survival radio to communicate. Wasnt going to make a difference, thought Terry, in the end there were those two damn missiles. She ejected the systems as Jeff instructed and watched as the engines and battery slowly drifted away. All ships power was down. Even the Master Caution system. She chuckled, Well thats one way to ignore the lights. She sighed, switched on the survival radio and transmitted, I did what you asked, now what? Jeff measured her spin, Aaahhhhh You have to ask. Fire those nasty little Vipers into deep space. Cant system fail. Probably the same reason I couldnt stow them. Besides, genius are you having a blonde moment? I have no power. That little explosion to your nine oclock was my jettisoned battery. Jeff cursed himself for not thinking. Okay then, hows the suit? He willed some good news. Your trick worked somewhat. It re-inflated a tad and I think you might have bought me a few more minutes. Terry saw nothing but wasted time and energy saying, Come on, Jeff drag-up and go home. Jeff became terse, Would ya give me a second, a plans coming through. With her life support failing she offered, Its getting cold, very cold. Just Jeff maneuvered his ship to be somewhat perpendicular to her spinning craft thinking, I dont need that radome. He waited until their ships were at right angles to each other, then thrust forward and lightly bumped her port side just forward of the cockpit. The selected location containing the reinforced oxygen tank kept his pointed nose from penetrating too deeply into her fuselage. As Jeff backed off immediately and smiled seeing her spin had almost completely stopped. The fleet frequency boomed with, Lt. Norton to Salvage 21. Spin has stopped. Come grab Captain Terrys ship and return it to the hangar deck of the Nova Wind. A sad voice replied, Sorry sir, protocol. Cant with the two hot missiles Jeff thought, Screw this! He repositioned his fighter behind his leaders stricken craft. Noting the two gaping holes where the engine packs had been attached, he nosed his fighter into one of the voids. Scraping and screeching filled the interiors of both ships as they joined. You okay, KC? We still cant land, I have no skids to deploy. Jeff joked, No worries, If we make it, you get to scrub my back tonight, deal? Jeff, you pull this off, Ill scrub your whole body. Aye Captain, then its a must do. Both joined crafts, now as one, slowly approached the Nova Wind flight deck. Controllers ordered them to stay clear, but Jeff ignored the warnings. This action was famously characteristic of Jefferson Norton and one reason he was still a lieutenant. He reported the Captain injured. At 200 meters from the hangar, Jeff rolled both ships to land upside down. The warnings changed to words of nervous encouragement when hangar control realized the crazy plan. The conjoined fighters gently touched down and skidded

only a few feet before stopping. Space suited ground crews moved in the vacuum of space and carefully attached safety pins in the missiles to make them safe. An overhead gantry lowered lines to lift the damaged ships so their crew could escape. The immediate area was made secure and sealed so an atmosphere could be obtained. Captain Terry released her harness and tumbled to the reduced gravity flight deck. She struggled to regain her breath. Lt. Norton arrived in time to help her slide from under the suspended fighters. The PA boomed, Lieutenant Norton report to operations, Captain Terry to sickbay. The message repeated as Jeff helped Captain Terry to her feet. Jeff steadied Terry by her shoulders and asked, I wonder how much trouble Im in this time? Ill see ya in the mess. As Jeff stepped to Ops, Terry called, Jeff, Ill wait, and thanks! She waved away a pair of litter bearers and took a few minutes to look over the extent of damage to her ship. Her arm was starting to throb. She watched the repair crews pour over both fighters and listened to the ground crews main debate of how to get the fighters apart without causing more damage. Captain Terry took hundreds of pictures when she overheard one mechanic say, Shes not worth the trouble. Incredulously, Captain Terry demanded, What are you talking about? Seeing he was misunderstood the Chief of the Deck begged, No Sir. I mean, the ship is too damaged to repair. Salvage some parts, yes, but look here, he motioned her to the left wing, not only is the port tip and elevon missing but a good portion of the main spar is gone. And the spars one piece tip to tip. Thats the first thing laid, then they build the ship around it. Terry laughed, Well hell, Chief, put your hand in the hole by the spar to give me some scale for a picture. The Chief did as instructed, then asked, Shit! Captain Terry, I have a better one. Ya seen this yet? The warbling wail of the Master Caution screamed for a few seconds before a tech, reinstalling a battery, located and pulled the circuits electrical breaker. The missiles had been removed and the landing gear was being extended as the ship was righted. The Chief continued, Look here! He splayed his fingers to give dimension to the damage, and slowly swept his open hand through a massive gash in the port ventral fuselage. Whatever it was, penetrated the cabin just under the forward left console. Hell Captain, if you dont own stock in EmergiSeal, you should. That, or do a product endorsement. Shits only good for up to golf ball size damage. That hole of yours is bigger than a softball. The ground crew erupted in laughter. Terry rolled her eyes and the Chief, realizing his misinterpreted comment, turned bright red. I understand Chief. Terry slapped his shoulder, Thanks. Seeing some more of her blood had escaped the duct tape patch, she felt a little light headed and decided it was time to make for the infirmary. The passageways were filled with crew running materials and bodies to their point of need. The Nova Wind, she would learn, was heavily damaged and had over 1500 casualties out of her present crew of 6300. Captain Terry stepped gingerly. The decks were awash with a mixture of leaking lubricants and blood throughout the spaces. She chose right to go to the Sick Bay near the flight deck, because she would also learn the main infirmary was choked with hundreds of wounded and suffering. The hangar decks

were heavily reinforced, designed to protect the ground crews and fighters from attack. The extra reinforcement also protected the main part of the cruiser from damage should an accident or hit in the hangar set off the munitions and volatile fuels. Aircrew Sick Bay was small and generally treated minor ailments because wounded flight crews usually didnt make it back for treatment. Entering sick bay, Terry was happily greeted by a flight nurse in an OD flight suit. Good afternoon Captain. What can we do for you today? The nurse passed a scanner over Terrys right neck retrieving vitals, labs, and Terrys medical history. Got this scratch out there this morning. Terry tugged at the tape and blood gushed from the hole and ran down her sleeve. A pool of the crimson tissue splattered on the floor and their legs. Seeing what she had caused Terry said, Sorry. Noting the amount of blood, the nurse quickly guided the wounded captain to a stretcher. No need to be sorry, Captain. Thats more than a little blood. The nurse called for help and an orderly arrived as she was cutting off the survival suits sleeve. Run and get Doctor Carter! she instructed the acne faced youth. Tell him, possible nicked brachial artery. The nurse slapped an old sphygmomanometer above the wound and pumped. As the cuff inflated, the flow decreased to a drip. She then started an IV in her patients right hand, cut off the rest of the survival suit, and waited for the doctor. Well that explains the rapid heartbeat and the low blood pressure. She offered to herself. Is everything okay? asked Terry, she was beginning to feel lightheaded. The nurse looked into Terrys beautiful green eyes and said, Im surprised you made it off the hangar deck. Captain Terry was surprised by the answer, Please call me KC. What do you think? Only if you call me Tracy. I think whatever tore your suit entered your arm just above the elbow and damaged your brachial artery. Your little patch kept you from bleeding out. Keep your arm still. Let it hang dependent. There you go, just let it hang by your side. Whatever is in there is continuing to cause damage whenever you bend your left arm. The flight surgeon entered and looked at the two women. Which one is the patient? He noted both women were in flight suits and both had a fair amount of blood on their hands, arms, and legs. At the same time, he watched both women point to KC, identifying her as the patient. Tracy explained her theory to the doctor, and added the fact that soon after the injury the patient reported there was very little bleeding and she had not applied a bandage. KC, moving the arm, must have driven the object deeper into the tissues and probably damaged the artery later. Yeah, I saw the blood trail. Im Doctor Carter. Like the tourniquet. How longs it been on? Tracy answered, About 8 minutes. Dr. Carter retrieved a pair of gloves and said, Fine. Lets start a unit of whole blood, but first I want to take a look at this little scratch. Tracy maneuvered to help remove the bandages. Dr. Carter carefully looked under the dressing, and studied the wound. Blood continued to ooze from a 1 inch cut to the inner aspect of her bicep near the elbow.

Taking a deep breath, he instructed, Terry, release a little of that restriction from the blood pressure cuff little more. he listened to the hiss of air escaping from the valve. Suddenly, he commanded, Stop, stop, stop. Blood spurted from the cut, and just as quickly stopped. The spray caught Dr. Carter on the chest. He looked to the two women while he thought through the challenge of the procedure, and after several seconds, said, Shit, I can do this. We need to prep a clean room in sick bay and call in a scrub nurse from the backup crew. Tracy, can you help? Tracy said, Sure, but what about the operating theaters? Dr. Carter answered, Be tomorrow before shes seen. Therere casualties all over the place. Captain Terry, this isnt an emergency that will get you to the head of the line. You may have to wait 24 hours to have that taken out. KC suspected there was another unspoken option, But what other choice do I have? Dr Carter scratched the side of his nose and said, This is really a simple, straightforward surgery. I can inject anesthesia into your armpit and do a regional block; youll be awake. Well keep the blood flow restricted, find the damage, and throw in a little stitch or two. After that, we sew up the muscle and work our way out. Probably leave a small tube in for a few days to help drain any leakage. Youll be as good as new and back to flight status in a few weeks. Wide eyed KC asked, Youre kidding, its that bad? Dr. Carter patted her on the shoulder and reassured her, I would call the injury serious. You could bleed out, or if we keep the pressure up to reduce the bleeding, we could kill the lower arm. KC had an apprehensive look, I would call that very serious, and I really dont want to be awake while youre working on my arm. Dr. Carter worked to reassure his reluctant patient, Look Captain, with the drape and the anesthesia, you wont feel or see a thing Aaahhh... Youll hear us talking, and if you want, you can use your personal music player for a distraction. We should have no problems. All you have to do is relax. Want something to relax? KC paused for a few seconds to weigh her options. After a large sigh she said, Sure. What the hell. Lets do it. Dr. Carter announced, Great! Tracy, give our good Captain here two milligrams of Ativan IV, and prep the room. The surgical theater for outpatient services became a flurry of activity to prepare for KC and her surgical teams use. Tracy gathered the instrument packs and other supplies, and another nurse from the backup staff assisted. As planned, the procedure went smoothly; without any complication. Recovery was uneventful. A two inch sliver of decking from under the forward left pedestal was retrieved from her upper arm. Aside from that, good old Lortab eased the pain. Later that night, Jeff knocked on the wall outside KCs hospital berth. A tired KC beckoned, Enter. Hi Captain, how ya doin? Jeff smiled a toothy grin. He could see her well proportioned figure under the thin sheet and her injured arm was protected against the far wall. Her flaming red, shoulder length hair was askew on the pillow. He also confirmed,

through the thin sheet, she was a true redhead. Hearing Jeffs voice, KC brightened, I found out what happened to my Energy Stores. Chief said there was a malfunctioning sending unit that read full when the fighter was only 60% filled. I told him to use it as a teaching aid because any Cobra purges all of its plasma before recovery and should always require a specific amount of plasma to refill the tanks. This wasnt a little mistake. Damn KC! Jeff tensed, ran his fingers through his hair, then said, Thousands of lives could have been effected by such an oversight. Jeff seemed distracted. Puzzled at his display, KC asked, You seem to have gotten away with something, whats up? She pulled the privacy curtain further back to give herself a better view of his striking features. The Colonel called me on the carpet to chew me out for that stunt I pulled bringing you in. About half way through the ass chewing, he started laughing. Couldnt blame me for what I did and said hed put me in for a Distinguished Flying Cross. Jeff shrugged his shoulders, Go figure. Jeff then grabbed a chair, magically spun it around with one hand, and planted himself in the seat, inches from her berth. KC countered with, I, for one, am glad you did what you did, her right hand reached across the distance and took Jeffs hand, giving him a warm squeeze, I prayed for help, I prayed for your steady hand, and I prayed those damn missiles wouldnt fire. Jeff reared back, Thats an awful lot of praying, KC. Do you believe we were guided by my skills, or helped by divine providence? Jeff, feeling a closeness he had never experienced, returned the shared tenderness. KC closed her eyes, thinking of the last 24 hours. A tear formed and ran down her face, before she confided, Jeff, I told you earlier today, this wasnt my day to die. I weve had some really close calls. Hell, both of us have been amazed we lived through some missions. Through my studies and beliefs, Ive embraced the Ancient Eastern philosophies. I cant seem to get behind the traditional Christian belief of a Heaven and Hell no. Too many religions, too many different philosophies. I ask myself, can they all be right? KCs fingers lightly traced the back of Jeffs hand and inner thigh. Noticing and enjoying KCs tender advances, Jeff asked, Okay, today wasnt your day to die. We both agreed a long time ago that our presence on this plane of existence would be ended at any time. Hate to say it, but Im about three years beyond a pilots life expectancy and your about five years tempting fate. So, you think youve used up your allowance? KC carefully rolled to her right side to better talk with her wingman. The sheet slipped, revealing her firm, ample breasts. Her nipples were taught with desire. Are we alone? She smiled and waggled her eyebrows upon seeing his reaction. Jeff, was confused, Yes, maam, the bay is empty. Jeff soaked in the chance to witness her lovely, naked features. Tell me of your familys spiritual beliefs. She had trouble covering herself with her stiff left arm and her right arm supported her position. Do you mind helping cover me before someone comes in and gets the wrong idea? Her smile was an invitation. Jeff stammered his answer, Yes, I mean, No. Its just, I agree we need to cover you before someone comes in and sees the two of us. Avoiding the bandage, Jeff gently drew the sheet and accidentally rubbed her breast, bare shoulder, and hair. Im sorry, Im

a klutz. Excuse me, maybe I should go. He started to leave. Wait, you didnt answer my question. She also noticed his growing interest. He stammered over the one syllable word. What? Your familys spiritual beliefs. Jeff offered he was raised in a morally responsible home, but his family wasnt big on organized religion. There was belief in a supreme being; the family celebrated Christmas and Easter, but that was about it. No formal church. He couldnt remember even one day anyone in the family attended church. But his family was spiritual in the sense that they didnt tempt fate and only treated others as they wished to be treated. KC was really interested, I was brought up with a belief in the individual spirit, and how that spirit never dies. We, our spirits, just use these bodies as a host for the time we spend in this conscious state, learning and expanding our knowledge . Strange, Huh? Not really. So, you believe in reincarnation? There is support of that belief in some Eastern philosophies. Jeff asked leaning back in the chair. I guess no, I would have to say every day my faith grows and more simply, I do. You see, let me repeat. I was taught the spirit lives on forever and only temporarily resides in a hosts body. When one dies the spirit is released. That spirit, over time, gains the knowledge of the universe. Cant use the collective knowledge when in the body of a host, but when we enter the spiritual plane we share with others are one something like that. Bet youd never guess I was odd girl out with my friends. I would never think you odd. Your familys beliefs would then support deja vu . Have you ever had a solid experience like that? Asked Jeff. Now some of the deep talks theyd shared over the months since he was assigned as her second, explained yet added to her mystery and beauty. You wont laugh? she softly pleaded. Never, no maam. Thought would never cross my mind. Unless you get really far out there. He laughed and she joined him. Serious though, she adjusted again and the sheet fell, but this time her right arm was able to readjust the cover, Ive had visions of flying off the deck of the Yorktown to engage enemy aircraft. She closed her eyes to relive the vision. Well, hell yes. We were both stationed on the heavy cruiser Yorktown for a short I was in a piston powered aircraft and taking off over water. KC looked to Jeff with a knowing look and said, It was so real, I felt I was there. Jeff I could smell the oil and aviation gas of the radial engine I felt the rush of the carrier deck falling away as I became airborne. I engaged other piston powered aircraft meatballs Japanese. It was all so real, in fact, yes I truly believe I was there. Well, we all know Earth history and the naval battles of World War Two. KC continued, Jeff, I was rocked by the explosion aboard the Columbia and felt the searing heat, and my skin charred as the orbiter burnt up on reentry. She shivered, remembering the event. Jeff looked into her eyes in the dim light of the bay. You mean the accidental fuel leak and blast on the destroyer Clumbanus? I too, had my whole life flash before my eyes. I thought we were dead.

Jeff, that was the trigger, but I distinctly remember dying a horrible death that morning. I can swear I was there, in the shuttle Columbia when it was lost. Jeff stared at her covered breasts then quickly flushed with embarrassment, closed his eyes and said, So you always come back as a pilot. No no. But its funny. One evening I was falling asleep when the ships PA system announced the Lexington was joining our battle group, and my mind flashed to the township in the old Americas. I was near a bridge, shooting a rifle, or musket at soldiers in red uniforms. Jeff sighed, KC, the more we fight, the more I find myself thinking our luck is running out. Thats why Ive taken up the ritual, a little prayer wont hurt. Statistically, each time we launch, is one launch closer to our, or at least my, death. Just a matter of time. Jeff shook then hung his head. KC again took Jeffs hand, but this time brought his fingers to her lips. Her breathing became more labored as she took the end of his index finger into her mouth and sensuously sucked, then licked, the tips. Jeff, breathless, choked a confused question, KC? Jeff, our play in the gym and mess hall borders on the get a room. Its been over a year since we started flying together. Thats a relationship of trust a couple can only hope to achieve. We spend more time together than any husband and wife. Ive grown to love you. I agree with your concerns and have the same thoughts as you. Were not long for this world. This isnt the time or place, but in a few days I want you in my quarters. Ive been attracted to you for months. Just afraid to say anything. KC, Im tired, youre tired and its been a stressful day. I He gave up. They wanted each other. There wasnt anymore veiled invitations or coy attempts at secrecy. Jeff moved and as best he could, carefully took KC in a halting embrace and kissed her deeply. He explored her features. The discomfort of her left arm was masked by her want of him. KC lightly slid her fingers down his back and finally found Jeffs rigid shaft and stroked its length. The more Jeff explored the more KC became aroused to his touch. They groped to fulfill the lust and love they held for the other. Jeff fingered her hot wet mound and used her sweet juices to tease KCs engorged clitoris. Their passion was abruptly interrupted by the sound of the dogged hatch being opened, and the two lovers recovered to an appropriate pose as Tracy entered the space. Too brightly Tracy said, Well, hi you two. Just came to collect some vitals and Ill be gone. How are you doing KC? Im fine. KC said, smiling and hiding her frustration. Jeff quickly gathered his composure and excused himself, Im beat, and must be ready for morning briefing in a few hours. Maneuvering to keep his back to Tracy in order to hide his erection, he said, Goodnight ladies. Tracy dreamingly said, Goodnight Lieutenant. As she followed his muscular six foot plus frame squeeze past her in the narrow space. KC offered an even, Goodnight Jeff. As the wheel spun the dogs to secure the hatch, Tracy asked, Is he seeing anyone? I mean hes one fine hard-body. He looks tasty. As her eyes grew heavy, KC offered no claim. she said, as she faked falling off to sleep, Hes a great guy, married to aviation. You know

KC felt so much better after several days rest. The drain was out and she was working with physical therapy to strengthen her arm. She harbored some disappointment because, without his lead, and because the heavy cruiser, Karma, took terrible fighter losses in the last battle, Lieutenant Norton was transferred to the Karma for temporary duty. KC had to admit, she was developing some very strong feelings for Jeff, and that was a problem. He, or she, would be over protective and that could lead to mistakes in battle. On the surface, KC felt she could separate her feelings from her duty, but deep down inside, she knew better. Soon, if he ever returned to the Nova Wind, she would have him reassigned to another squadron. What was it they agreed on, that every flight was one step closer to death. Command reported the Rowdizians must have taken a terrible beating. Their standard operating procedure was to counterattack within days of any battle, no matter the outcome. There had been over a week of down time for each side to measure their losses and prepare for the next engagement. Alliance forces had moved closer to Rowdizian territory in preparation for an attack on the Rowdizian home world. Intelligence had little to offer in the way of information so informed decisions could be made. By the sixth week, and with reinforcements from the Alliance home world, the fleet strength was more than battle ready. No longer needed on the Karma, Jeff was reassigned to the Nova Wind. Captain Terry was finishing a session of physical therapy when a hand caressed her waist. Is there anyway I can help you with your workout? Jeff hugged KC to his side. Careful, youll get sweat all over your pretty flight suit. KC said, turning in his arms and returning the embrace. Missed you. she cooed. Jeffs lips nearly touched hers and he breathed, You cant imagine how much I felt like a fish out of water every day I was on the Karma. The staff were accommodating, but I didnt know anyone. It was the loneliest duty Ive ever pulled. No one wanted to form relationships. They were all haunted by doom. Jeffs hand pulled her tighter and he kissed KC tenderly. Whats more, I couldnt get you or our last interrupted time together out of my mind. God, KC I adore you. KC ran her fingers up his sides and across his chest, finally taking Jeffs face in her hands. Returning the kiss she suggested, How about a shower? My quarters, now. Havent had a better offer in weeks. Jeff and KC supported and carried their shared love and passion down the passageways to their previously interrupted rendezvous. The occasional tear of fabric signaled their eagerness to satisfy the needs of the one they had come to trust and love. The shower only heightened their desire for the others tenderness. The lovers fell into the bed, eager to explore and test the skill and ability of their shared need for intimacy. Excited yet timid hands explored the sensuous areas that aroused their lover. Too much time had elapsed since the first time either one had felt a hunger and attraction for the other. Any touch that gave or delivered pleasure was tested and when the recipients response indicated a want, the giver of the desire pleasured more. For hours they teased, touched, tested, and drove each other to heights of ecstasy never imagined. Their lust was fulfilled many times over until each was totally exhausted and breathless. The clock signaled 0437 hours. KC and Jeff were again drenched in sweat. KC

spoke of her need to share her life with Jeff and of wanting a future filled with hope and children. Soon the conversation returned to cultural philosophies, and Jeff was intrigued, So tell me again, what happens to a person when they die? Letting his softness fall from her teasing hand, she laughed, Well thats one way to change a subject. Why are you asking now? Just thinking that during my time on the Karma, we had a lot of down time and without you, I thought of what you and I talked about these past few months. I actually became more focused on what happens after death. Ive been praying more. KC, I really feel its just a matter of time. Im not afraid to die I just wished I had a foundation and a belief in what happens to the soul when one ceases to exist. So please, your thoughts what happens to a person when they die? KC repositioned in the berth where she was reclined against Jeffs chest. He held her from behind, his arms around her chest. Her head rested against his shoulder and neck. Jeff cupped her breast and tested her engorged nipples. KC enjoyed his stimulation and teased Jeffs inner thigh, coaxing another erection. When relaxed and comfortably positioned she continued, I believe the body to be a shell to carry and nourish the spirit or soul. When the body ceases to function the soul is released to return to the center of the universe where it can share its experience and knowledge with other spirits awaiting rebirth into the next shell that will offer dimension, feeling, and sensation. I believe the soul, or ones spirit, lives for an eternity and throughout time collects information to fulfill the spirits thirst for knowledge. Some believe there to be barriers to the release of a soul that will entrap the spirit for a time or eternity. Jeffs playful hands continued to explore her soft abdomen and firm, tempting breasts, What do you believe would be so powerful to trap a persons spirit? I was taught, some believe that a persons unremorseful ability to cause harm to another would entrap the perverted spirit and others believe something as simple as the freezing of the shell at the time of death would have the same effect. KC took Jeffs hand and gently kissed each finger. She could feel her juices flowing, wanting another physical encounter with the man she desired. She also knew they both would be distracted if they continued to fly together. Jeff had protested, but in the end, understood the devotion they felt for the other would interfere with their individual duties and their ability to maintain a cohesive fighting unit. KC asked, How can we continue to have a loving relationship and be so sure that our minute to minute, and at times, life effecting decisions wont be guided by our relationship and, thereby place someone in jeopardy? Jefferson, I dont mean just you and me, Im talking about others that depend on our ability to make decisions that effect, at times, thousands. We are dependent on the other pilots uninterrupted concentration. Jeff felt there was no easy answer, I could be assigned to another squadron and we wouldnt be so prone to distraction. Wed still be able to meet and share our love with one another between missions. He lightly touched his finger to her thigh and traced a whisper of a line to her breasts and neck. He was leaning to nibble her ear when . The grating sound of the klaxon sounded General Quarters. The PA announced, All hands, man your battle stations. Pilots report to your ready fighters. Attack imminent. Rowdizian forces are on an intercept course with our fleet. Repeat, all hands,

report to your battle stations and pilots report to their ready fighters. KC and Jeff were dressed in seconds. Jeff asked, Where to? I dont have an assignment. KC agreed, Me neither. And I dont think Ive been returned to flight status. Lets head to operations and see whats going on! she suggested. Agree! Jeff grabbed KC and they embraced like the touch would have to last for ever. Then just as quickly, they were running through the passageways, dodging sailors, and drinking in the excitement of unknown risk. A dozen times during their dash, the ship was rocked by heavy explosions from enemy missile strikes. The concussions knocked crewmen to the decks. When KC and Jeff reached operations, the division commander relayed the grim news that a passageway had been hit, killing more than two dozen pilots. He quickly ordered all available crewmembers to find and man a serviceable fighter. As Avenger Zero Six and Avenger One Nine raced to the launch bay, they were thrown to the deck several more times as the Nova Wind rocked from the continued bombardment from enemy missiles. One time, as Jeff reached to help KC up, she protested and pulled him to his knees. Over the wail of speakers calling all to action, and the cries of wounded suffering through the terror of expected certain death, KC had received a mental flash of her fighter exploding and pleaded, Wait! Her head bowed and hands folded. After several seconds she shouted, Jefferson, I just have to give time to God and ask for Him to help and protect us I love you, she kissed him tenderly and shouted, and todays as good a time to die as any. GO! Arriving in the launch bay, they found four fighters in position, silently awaiting their assigned crews never to come. KC and Jeff jumped into the nearest available Cobras. A launch specialist fired the catapults when each pilot saluted and signaled their ready. When the fighters cleared the launch tubes, the pair were bewildered by the devastation already wrought. KC ordered, Jeff take the lead, Im rusty and havent logged an hour in weeks. Aye, Captain. Because of the debris, lets have maneuvering thrust and weapons hot on my mark. Again, like a ballet of graceful midgets, their fingers danced in orchestrated steps across panels of precision and waiting death after several seconds Jeff signaled, 3, 2, 1, Mark. Both craft coasted as thrust was reduced and the Avengers maneuvered to strafe a burning but still deadly Rowdizian Pocket Destroyer. KC reported all systems 97 to 100% operational. The enemys defensive guns were devastating but lacked the quick response to adjust for the Avengers evasive maneuvers. The combined impact of the pairs pulse cannons, added to damage from previous attacks, and finally breached a vital section of the Pocket Destroyers hull. A cascade of rippling explosions signaled the ships death. An 80 degree positive P helped the Avengers escape the millions of pieces of lethal shrapnel released by the final moments of the destroyers life. Jeff cried a victory yell and soon found a trio of enemy fighters closing on their position. Jeff reported, Looks like they want to play chicken. Steady on the center then you take port and Ill take starboard when they split. Zero thrust, Yaw axis to track and engage at the pass... 3, 2, 1, Mark! Both ships cut their engines to zero thrust and concentrated fire on the center, lead

fighter. As expected, when the closing flights passed, the enemy wings split to circle back to attack the two Cobras that had just destroyed their leader. Jeff and KC, however, pivoted around their central axis and after 130 degrees of rotation found their assigned targets arcing about in a large radius turn to cut off and kill the Avengers. KC and Jeff both received tone locks and fired self guided Viper missiles destroying both targets. Jeff commented, Here we are in a target rich environment, outnumbered, and look at the radar, oops better turn. KC, return to original heading, then maneuvering power on my mark, 3, 2, 1, Mark. The pair re-formed and quickly selected their next victim, and raced to engage. Allied and enemy fighters swarmed around the capital ships with the Rowdizians concentrating their efforts on the allied mother ships. KC noticed the enemies new tactic was ignoring the pesky fighters. She saw on her target display several empty areas where Alliance Galaxy Class ships were once positioned. The battle wouldnt last much longer. She called Jeff. Hey partner, Taking out the fighters is a waste of energy and weapons. If you want a chance of sleeping in a bed later, we need to concentrate on their mother ships. suggested KC. Enough said Captain. You would think about sex at a time like this. Follow me. Jeff had selected the nearest and largest ship of the enemy battle group. KC observed, Thats what I love about you, Jeff. Find the biggest bully in the schoolyard and stomp on his foot. She sealed her observation with a kiss. Military bearing be damned, an ataraxis enveloped her psyche and she felt her hours were numbered. As the Avenger group rolled in to target the Rowdizian Battleship Shiffvic, three other pairs of Cobra fighters joined in the attack. Their combined efforts concentrated on the main weapons and energy stores of the leviathan. The tactic worked. With a noticeable sudden expansion of hull plating, the Shiffvic erupted along her structural bulkheads. Nothing would save the more than 10,500 beings. Yet the battle was far from over and neither side was ready to yield. KC laughed to herself. Fragmented machines and beings littered the void. Her mind flashed to long ago visits to her grandparents. Their home was several miles down a graveled country road. Her father would cuss the constant assault of loose stones kicked up by the tires. A body bouncing off her canopy jerked her back to reality. Hey Captain, you okay? Jeff asked. Im fine. Why? replied KC. You were a little loose after that last pass. Just having one of those associations again. Flack so thick, you could walk on it. She explained. I dont get it. Look, another six Cobras are hanging with us. Ive assigned chalks one through eight, KC youre chalk two. KC, embarrassed at her lapse, returned a sharp, Roger. A drawn out southern accent interjected, Lead, chalk three, that was an analogy to the World War Three clich, referencing heavy anti aircraft fire. Another voice corrected, Thats World War Two . Energy weapons were the standard for WW III.

KC again laughed and Jeff couldnt believe the banter, with such a critical engagement surrounding them. He commanded, Flight, check that enemy Corvette maneuvering against the Nova Wind . Follow my lead, target center mass, aft of bridge. He also knew the loose talk was a therapeutic way of reliving the stress of expected death. The new Avenger flight released a volley of missiles as they closed on the threat. Still not fully repaired from her last battle, the Nova Wind, although twice the tonnage of her attacker, could not afford to trade punches with the smaller ship. The two warships exchanged shots in the classic naval broadside battle. The 16 missiles from the Cobras found their mark, and crippled the menace. The Corvette, Dungruevic, didnt ignore the Cobras. Her weapons officers slaved several batteries of pulse cannons toward the Avenger flight while continuing with the ships primary attack. Another volley of missiles preceded the Cobras rhythmic release of pulsed cannon energy. Chalks five, six and eight were destroyed simultaneously by the corvettes defensive guns. Seconds later, the blinding flash of chalk three signaled its end. Chalk seven lost a wing, thereby losing control, and flamed into the Nova Wind. The fighter losses were regrettable, but their efforts paid off. The Dungruevic began an uncontrolled, slow, spinning drift away from Jeff and KCs home. As the three remaining Cobras of Avenger flight pitched up, KCs fighter took a cannon hit aft of the cockpit. The only light on her Master Caution Panel not illuminated was LIFE SUPPORT and it was dimly blinking a hint of something yet to fail. What remained of her stricken ship slowly tumbled on a collision course with the enemy war ship. At first her mind relaxed and accepted the end. Jeff saw what was left of KCs fighter continue toward the enemy ship. His earphones hissed, Jeff, Im toast. Think Ill go crap on this Rowdick trash heap. Love you. KCeeee. he wailed. She didnt wait for a reply. Not dead yet, her physics class kicked in and yelled, You still have an option! The wreckages spin pointed her away from her trajectory with each revolution. She just had to time it right, and she ejected and the seat rockets thrust kicked her away from the cockpits disintegration when it impacted the corvette. Skimming across the Dungruevics hull and barely missing a traversing cannon battery, KC was clear of the obstacle in less than a second. Her slow tumble allowed her a birds eye view of the raging duel as she drifted toward the battles nucleus. Starburst explosions, pulsating expanding energy waves, and maneuvering opponents firing missiles tracing countless webs of spent gasses, colored the vacuum in a surreal painting of mistrust, envy, hate, and greed. The starbursts were the most beautiful. Thousands of bright pinpoints of burning fuels and metals racing outward from a each massive release of energy. Unlike an explosion in a gravity environment where the debris was pulled in the direction of the mass, in space the fragments continued their original course until acted on by some other powerful, invisible force. KC looked at her watch, then her life support readings. She thought, Damn, the suit was down 10%. Lets see, two hours Ive wasted 12 minutes daydreaming! Her slow spin allowed her to witness the massive explosion of the Dungruevic. She chuckled, At least I helped destroy you. Quickly, she plugged her helmet jack into the survival radio and switched it on. No worries, the radio battery would outlast life support by a

factor of 20. As she listened, an occasional scream for help from the dying could be heard on the guard frequency. She decided she would not transmit unless a friendly ship was close. The Rowdizians were rumored to slowly torture their prisoners to death, and they monitored all the Alliance channels. KC armed a failsafe trigger to allow the radio to transmit a beacon after two hours. Damn military thought of everything, right down to marking where your body rested. As she drifted she reasoned luck didnt seem to be on her side. The closer she floated toward the action, the more she closed on the enemys positions. Something better change. It was so quiet. At times she would hold her breath and listen to the relaxed slow beat of her heart. A check of her watch and life support readings agreed she had about 30 minutes to go. One thing that had yet to challenge her was one of the millions of pieces of debris rocketing in every imaginable direction. Soon after the thought, she saw a hatch on a collision course and lifted her legs in time to avoid the deadly impact. Any second a rocketing micro missile would end her life, so she prayed. At first, she watched the brilliance of the fight from an outside perspective. Now she was inside the bowels of the beast. In every direction were the results of the struggle. Two sides, both secure in their belief of right. Both determined to destroy the other, having never shared the experience of a peaceful thought since the start of the war. The starbursts were everywhere. The display reminded her of family times and holiday celebrations. In the vastness of the universe, and with the backdrop of the celestial heavens, the display was awe-inspiring. She thought of Jeff and how she would miss his touch. She prayed he was safe. KC shivered from the cold. Another check of life support read 10%, and there was no malfunction. She reasoned environmental control must be failing. Another burst, then another, and another. My God it was beautiful. She cried. It was so cold. The fighting seemed to stop. Stricken vessels burned, and when efforts to save a doomed crew failed, another brilliant explosion painted the heavens. Strange, she thought, someone seemed to be launching escape capsules. But not just an occasional one, all ships had a capsule launch, and at times she witnessed thousands of life rafts launch when a ship was destroyed. Yet, the battle seemed to be over, the fighting had stopped. No retreat. Everything had just stopped. Most of the fires are out and the combatants have aligned in orderly formation. She asked herself, Did we lose? Did we win? Still, an occasional life boat would launch. KC thought, Its so cold. Where are the stars? Its so dark! She felt it strange that she was now numb to sensation, yet sensed, Ive been picked up, by a salvage ship? Her sensations continued to tease, Im in a cavernous, brightly lit, foreign hangar bay. I cant move! Oh, my God theyre Rowdizians! Hundreds of them! Damn, their long faces, those big, dark, round eyes, pointed nose, and long necks that support their V shaped heads. Im moving, and that six fingered creature said, agree it is sad. Jeff? JEFF! HELP ME! . Youre crying. Have they hurt you? The Rowdizian officer seems to be giving you support and comfort. Youre in your dress uniform? You never did like the stiff leather neck feel. Youre glad they found me? Its been three days? Im glad you found me. Yes, pick me up. Come here, let me whisper my love for you. A single flower? It looks like a black rose. Jeff, I love you too. The creature said the black flower is a Rowdizian symbol of tragic loss. You can have the ashes after they are sifted for solid matter? Oh, God no. Im not! Whats this? Fire. Its warm, no hot, and it feels so good,

so. This is one fantastic dream. I am again outside the ship and accelerating? How? They are still launching escape pods. No, those are pinpoints of light. And all the lights are moving in the same direction. Faster. The stars are stretching. Faster. Hundreds, no, now thousands of lights joining with I. We are one, going home to, to the origin. To rest. To share. To evolve. Such calm. So pure. So peaceful. Such knowledge. Such love. Such pain. No, stop. STOP! The pressure, it hurts. STOP. Why? NO, QUIT PUSHING, I am content with the soft noises, warm liquid, and soft light. Stop, STOP. Quit PUSHING. It hurts, I can not move. Where is the warm soothing liquid, it is so cold. Screams. I cant breath, I SCREAM. Look blink the noise is that being, and what, yes take it. It feels good, tastes creamy, rich, smooth. Suckle? Ummmmmm. A commanding voice protested, I know it has been three hundred years since the Great Rowdizian-Earth war. Tens of millions died on both sides. We live in peace, but our only daughter couples with a human. Look, the pups eyes are large and round, and a deep cobalt blue, not black. And it has a soft, weak chin, not the strong, sharp angle of a male Rowdizian. Then the final twist, just because her mates distant, great father was a hero of the Great War, our daughter insists we name the newborn male Jefferson Rossvatia Norton. Oh, daddy, quit. The newborn has six In bounced an exhausted, tall, uniformed man, full of grace and dignity. He cooed, Isnt the baby beautiful? Then with deep respect, Greetings Ambassador Rossvatia. Turning, he took his mother-in-laws hand and gently touched it to his lips. Matron Rossvatia, your beauty is, as always, breathtaking. When he straightened, Jeff said, Flight was late, problem refueling on Mars. Had to literally run the last kilometer. The new mother spoke, Jeff, the newborns a male. The proud father beamed, Look grand-paw, he even has your cute little pointed nose. The room erupted in joyful laughter. Jefferson continued the contented suckling at his mothers breast. The new, clearer, oddly familiar voice and speech reminded him of another time. A strange flash of blurred memory relived a moment of shared love and trust. Jefferson continued kneading the soft, warm tissue around the nipple and dreamed of mysterious, wonderful, adventurous things.

Lieutenant Nortons mind just wouldnt accept what he had just witnessed. What was left of KCs fighter had impacted the side of the Rowdizian Corvette, Dungruevic, at over a thousand feet per second. Well, at least thats what his senses told him. Considering his last visual of her damaged craft was during his positive pitch up maneuver to avoid the same fate, and the last thing he saw was the intact cockpit just before impact. Logic dictated she was dead. The commander of Avenger squadron, Captain K. C. Terry, was surely out of action and that left Lt. Jeff Norton in charge of what? Himself and a lone surviving fighter pilot from some other squadron. Jeff didnt even know his new wingmans name, and the way he felt, that may be best. The cosmic void, in all directions, was filled with the tools of war. Massive ships fought opposing massive ships. Small tactical fighters fought small lethal opponents. Then fighter pairs and triplets cruised the expanse, dodging debris, missiles, and their sworn enemies. Like flies circling discarded waste, the deadly swarm made their presence known. Every single being was fighting a desperate struggle for supremacy. Norton thought, So much debris you could walk on it. At least thats what KC said before she died. Lead, were clear. I cant take much more of this maneuver. Came a stressful squeaky plea from the last remaining ship in the formation. Chalk fours answer came quick. Jeff stopped the positive P, pitch up, while checking the radar. Roger On my mark, zero thrust front is clear positive pivot on pitch axis 180 degrees 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Mark. Lt. Norton commanded. Both ships in unison reduced their thrust to zero and then pivoted about their pitch axis until the fighters were facing the direction from which they came. The formation of two close combat Cobra fighters watched the stricken enemy Corvette Dungruevic drift helplessly away from the Galaxy Class Heavy Cruiser Nova Wind. The large mother ships had been exchanging blows, like a classic naval broadside battle until KC and her flight dealt the Dungruevic a fatal blow. Lt. Norton quickly glanced out his left window and noted the other fighter, flying wing, several feet off his wing, Over the squadron frequency he called, Maneuvering thrust on my mark follow me 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Mark. Both pilots were squeezed into their seat backs as the maneuvering thrust burn, slowly arrested their rearward movement and then quickly accelerated the two paired Alliance fighters back into the battle. From their vantage point, the pilots watched the Corvette pitch upward and roll counterclockwise. Escape capsules were jettisoning from hundreds of points along the ship, while the main hull began to systematically buckle and explode. Up to a crew of 3,800 beings, thought Jeff. Even with the Dungruevics fate sealed, Jeffs mother ship, the Nova Wind, wasnt through with the engagement. For good measure and a waste of precious weapons, she let loose with another volley of over a dozen missiles. Two battles over the last 7 weeks had taken over 30% of the Nova Winds crew of 8,000, and the Nova Wind was out for a little revenge. Less than two kilometers separated the opposing warships. Jeff

watched as half the launched missiles snaked across the distance hitting hapless escape pods and the other half exploded inside a defenseless exploding hulk. Something else immediately caught his eye. From out of the debris and fire, flew one of the jettisoned pods that was more than three times the size of the rest. Furthermore, the strange craft, that seemed more than twice as wide as it was in length, had the ability to maneuver. This new development called for investigation. The mysterious craft accelerated and was now out of sight. Hey wing, whats your name? Called Jeff. A dripping, sultry, female voice replied, Susan. Pleased to meet you Susan. Those that know me call me Jeff. But, right now, 100% thrust on my mark 3, 2, 1, Mark. The two remaining fighters of Avenger squadron accelerated and closed quickly on the escaping enemy craft. No defensive fire came from the capsule. As Avenger flight came into visual range, Jeff called to Susan, Wing, look. I count at least four hatches on the rear bulkhead. Thats unusual. The Cobras maneuvered alongside and above the capsule and got their answer to the mystery. This object was the bridge section to the Corvette Dungruevic. There had to be someone or something important inside to allow for this remarkable modification. Jeff fired several warning shots across the flight path of the escaping mystery. The Rowdizian vessel didnt falter a bit. Susan called to Jeff, Hey lead, whatever youre going to do, you better be quick. Id say therere over 25 Rowdick fighters burning hot in our direction. Bet theyre interested in us, being interested in this big old escape pod. Roger. Susan this thing has to be very important. I really want to capture it, but youre right, we dont have time. Back off, lets destroy it. Both Cobras reduced thrust 15% and let the capsule move away. Still above and behind the craft, Jeffs fingers danced across his panel and selected matching speed and his most lethal weapons. He fired a missile and watched the impact have no effect on the top of the spacecrafts hull. Excited, Susan called, Damn Lead, companys almost in range. Theyre angling for attack positions. Probably arguing over who gets to kill the dumbass Earthlings. And just to make things worse, the guy were chasing is heading for that giant Galaxy Class Rowdizian Battleship. Susan, fire at the bottom of the hull, everything you got. She quickly maneuvered into position and did as ordered while Jeff let go a long three second burst with his pulse cannon, again with no effect. Jeff was stumped and added, Damn this thing is armored better than the flight deck on the Nova Wind. Son of a BITCH. Susan quickly suggested, Put one up her ass. The engines gotta be weak. And HURRY, she yelled. Jeff had already fallen behind the mysterious craft. He fired two missiles and a third for good measure. The explosions rocked the fleeing vessel. The third impact caused the now drifting capsule to slowly tumble end over end at about 2 revolutions a minute. Several bodies of Rowdizian crewmembers were ejected through the hole in the damaged hull. The hole, about the size of the Cobras forward fuselage, was all that was left of the main engine nozzle. Jeff called to Susan, Go! Susan run. Make a dash for the Nova Wind. I have to check this out. Damn Lead, youre pure frickin crazy. Theyll be here in a second Damn it.

was her closing statement as she banked hard and jammed the throttles to the limits to escape the closing enemy fighters. Her ships ENERGY STORES and FUEL LOW caution lights flashed on the Master Caution panel. Susan thought, Just give me 15 more seconds get rid of the fuel besides, the shit will just make for a brighter flash when they shoot me. The enemy fighters couldnt miss her, but Susan was far from being their main focus. Jeff had matched rotation with the slowly tumbling capsule. Remembering his stunt from a few weeks earlier, he said a little prayer to KC and her guiding spirit, Well KC, here I go again, this time doing something Ill probably live to regret. But, I truly love you and hope you found the peace we both were looking for. Jeff used his thrusters to nose into the void in the hull, and when his canopy passed into the interior of the enemy craft he fired his main engine to jam the fighter into the gaping hole. Laying on his side in relation to the deck of the Rowdizian escape capsule, he could see bodies and debris floating in the weightlessness of the tumbling hulk. Funny, no warning or caution lights were illuminated on his fighters Master Caution panel. His hull integrity was nominal. Just before he shut down his fighter, he saw in the front view screens of the Rowdizian craft, swarms of enemy fighters were now circling the former bridge of the Dungruevic. He also noted thousands of strands of limp angle hair pasta looking filaments flying through the cabin toward his ship. The scene was surreal and weird. The life support display on his survival suit read 100%. Got at least two hours to play around as long as they dont dock, storm in here, and kill me. They damn sure better knock first he thought. Jeff fired a quick burst of maneuvering thrusters to arrest the tumble of the escape capsule. He then shut down the fighters secondary systems and placed the primary systems on standby. When he cracked the canopy he thought it strange when the filaments rushed into his cockpit and there wasnt a blast of oxygen escaping his craft. Jeff frowned. There was pressure still in the Rowdizian capsule. The CABIN PRESSURE caution light on his annunciator panel had blinked on and extinguished. Pressure was nominal. That indicated the pressure inside the Rowdizian ship was greater than his cockpit. He read the Gasses Sampler on his right console. It indicated breathable atmosphere. Releasing his retention belts, he floated out into the cabin and pressed his mag boots against the floor plating. A soft click assured him the magnetic soles were functioning correctly. Jeff looked to the hull where his fighter was jammed and burst out laughing, Damn Rowdicks have better EmergiSeal than us. Shit sealed the gap between my ship and their hull. That explains the flying spaghetti. He reached out, caught a strand, and tested the sealant. Damn good shit. he thought. The stuff was tacky and he had a hard time freeing it from his gloved hand. Jeff then walked around the deck and inspected the bodies of the Rowdizian crew. The metallic clank of his boots was hardly noticeable because of the continued loud, excited Rowdizian language coming from the cabin speakers. He understood about 95% of what the booming voices were saying. Then Jeff quickly realized he was the hot topic, or rather, the capsule he was in, was the bulk of the excited radio traffic. He continued his exploring. Eggplant colored droplets of blood floated throughout the cabin. Finding a console containing a control panel with the universal symbol of a fan, Jeff tested several of the controls until the sound of suction and the muffled wail of a vacuum was heard. The droplets were slowly drawn to several registers on the aft

bulkhead. He started to shut down the evacuation system when he realized the loose EmergiSeal not sealing the damaged hull had coalesced into balls and were no longer sticky. Damn good shit! he yelled to no one. When only a few of the floating droplets remained, Jeff shutdown his survival suit and removed his helmet. The sweet, faint odor of rotten eggs attacked his sense of smell. Hydrogen Sulfide. He thought, Okay, they like the smell of their home world so much they even carry it with them. They had no problem existing in Earths atmosphere. Jeff returning to his fighter, stowed his helmet inside the cockpit of the Cobra and closed the canopy.. Continuing his inspection, he silently swore to himself noting all the high ranking symbols on their uniforms. This was a special ship, but why was it going toe to toe with the Nova Wind? An Alliance ship twice her size. Flag ships dont get into the heat of battle, unless theyre desperate? Shit, that wasnt it. The Rowdizians were winning this battle and probably the war. So, he thought, No had to be something else . What ever. Im dead. I killed some of their top dogs and Im toast. Probably feed me alive to whatever they keep for pets. The ship was still barely tumbling. Jeff figured if the Rowdicks tried to board the capsule he would fire the thrusters in his fighter and spin the Dungruevic hulk like a top. Thatd fuck up their day. He walked about the cabin, secured the floating bodies, and lashed them to the deck at the aft bulkhead. He wasnt so much caring reverently for their dead as he was trying to stop the occasional bug-eyed beings from floating into his field of vision. Scared the shit out of him each time he was studying a panel or system and got tapped on the shoulder. Hed turn and thered be these big, round, black eyes set in a V shaped face, with a strong pointed chin and a tiny ski sloped nose floating inches from him. They were so tall, and lanky, and the tiny holes for ears and their tiny mouths where booming baritones sang, only added to their unique appearance and mannerisms. After securing the floating corpses, he even removed the few crew strapped into their command chairs, and secured them on the aft deck. Dont ever ask him why, but a little voice told Jeff to cross the crewmembers arms in the shape of an X where the hands were touching opposite shoulders. Proud of his efforts, Jeff studied his situation. When the Nova Wind slowly came into distant view, he hatched a plan. No time now, but in another 10 minutes the rotation would complete another cycle, then he could act. Jeff found in the center of the flight deck, on the floor plating, a recessed panel with a clear cover. The cover was flush with the deck. Jeff was intrigued. He spoke Rowdizian, having learned it over the last seven years. The first year or so, was during the time when Earth proved we were not alone and tried to build mutual relations with their new friends. The last six years, fighting in the Rowdizian Earth-Alliance War, he continued to study their language and customs as a diversion from the long hours of boredom and stress. Yep, he thought, speak it, but never learned how to read it. Oh, well these are probably the controls to the self-destruct system. Rowdicks are going to kill me anyway. What the hell. The panel was at the edge of a circle about two meters in diameter. There were three buttons, one red, one green, and one blue. Jeff studied the buttons and thought, In my world red would be bad, green good, and blue pretty Oh, hell just push one. Jeff flipped open the clear cover and stabbed pretty. The buttons lit up. Surprised nothing happened he then selected red. Nothing, except the three colors started flashing. He whispered, KC, that might not be good... SHIT! He stabbed the

green button, and a grating low-pitched warning sounded. Then a cold, smoky fog hissed and blew as the seal to the circle released. The circle started to rise. Jeff yelled into the space, What the FUCK have I done now? The circle slowly became a cylinder as the tube slowly rose from the deck. Jeff retreated a few steps and realized the device was an elevator to a lower deck and thought, Lower deck, other Rowdizians, and just as quickly un-holstered his sidearm for protection. Holding the weapon steady with both hands, he moved to cover the rising device. Inside the lift he saw two Rowdicks sitting against the far concave wall with their eyes slits closed, and a third lying on the floor with glassy black eyes staring at the ceiling. The body was in a pool of eggplant colored blood. Too late, as the lift neared the top of its cycle, Jeff noticed the legs of the creature lying on the floor were not entirely in the tube. Even over the noise of the radios and warning buzzer he could hear the sickening crunch of the bones being crushed and the legs severed as the lift completed its cycle. More officers and these two are alive prisoners, he thought, and just maybe my luck may change. The three new comers started slowly levitating off the floor. Re-holstering his weapon, Jeff mistakenly took the dead upper torso to the rear of the ship first and secured it to the deck. As he stood, one of the creatures had awakened and jumped, throwing a body block, slamming Jeff against the rear bulkhead. From a distance the creature punched Jeff repeatedly, and Jeff didnt have a chance. Stunned, he was slowly sinking to the deck when he realized, gun. The creature danced rearward, sure of the outcome. A human didnt have much of a chance in hand-to-hand combat with a Rowdizian. The creatures had arms and legs that were about 15% longer than that of a human. This clash was almost over, but the creature paused when it noticed the equalizer pointed at its chest. Stop! the other creature yelled in English. His arms were outstretched to his sides and the six fingers of each hand splayed. Please. Jeff, with the pistol still pointed at the younger beings chest, relaxed his trigger finger and said, You speak English. The English speaking creature said in his own tongue to the younger Rowdizian, Stand still and do not move, the Earth creature will not harm you. The younger creature replied in a disgusted voice, Commodore, I have a weapon in my sash. Have the enemy lower its weapon, and I will kill the woujung piece of excrement. Do not move! the English speaking creature commanded in Rowdizian. Jeff interjected in English, I take it, Freddie fisticuffs here doesnt speak English. The Commodore answered Jeff in English, No, he does not. And his name is Deejunkdo. his vertical eye slits narrowed, What is fisticuffs? Fighting with your hands. Jeff bounced and weaved, shadow boxing when he noted the younger creature nearest him slowly reaching for the hidden weapon. Targeting Deejunkdos nose Jeff said, Better tell Deejunkdo to stop again. The Commodore ordered Deejunkdo, The creature orders you to keep your hands out to your sides and turn around and face me! There was unspoken purpose in the command. Deejunkdo protested, but complied.

Seeing the weapon in his sash, Jeff gingerly retrieved it and said, Maybe you better tie Deejunkdo to one of the seats. That would be an excellent idea. the Commodore answered. He then instructed the younger being to sit, while he secured his arms with their combined ceremonial sashes. The whole time the younger creature cursed and loathed the situation, and the Commodore, for not helping to attack the man holding them prisoner. Jeff finally said, The little one really despises my whole species. You speak Rowdizian? the surprised Commodore asked. Yes, sir. Thought it the next best thing to do when I was still in the academy. You know both our species wed just met a little kiss-kiss, we were getting along splendidly that is, before it all turned to shit. Jeff shrugged his shoulders. What are we to do now? asked the Commodore taking a seat and fastening only the lap retention belt. Jeff had observed the creatures mag boots silently engaged and released with each step. Those too, were a step above his own equipment. Jeff answered with more questions, May I ask what is below and what the three of you were doing? Oh. And is there anyone else below? The bound Deejunkdo let loose, spewing venomous derogatory hatred at their captor. His diatribe was laced with the occasional nonproductive spitting that was the customary Rowdizian guttural expression of distain. Jeff commented, Cute little thing, isnt he? Jeff holstered his weapon and saluted the Commodore stating, Sir, Im Lieutenant Jefferson Norton, commander of Avenger attack wing number 165, stationed aboard the Nova Wind. The Commodore returned the gesture and boomed to Deejunkdo in Rowdizian, Watch your tongues you insolent fool, the human understands our language! The narrowing of Deejunkdos eye slits punctuated his expression of surprised terror. Seeing the young creatures expression, the Commodore and Jeff collectively shared a hearty laugh. But Jeffs problems were far from solved. Looking to the view screens that were filled with circling Rowdizian fighters, flown by angry pilots very confused and without a clue of what had happened inside the capsule, Jeff figured he needed a plan. In the distance, a recovery vessel approached the drifting ship. Jeff was sure this chapter of his life might just be coming to a close. Needing more time to think Jeff asked, Could you ask your rescue craft and fighters to stand down and calm down, please? Jeff checked the time, shook his head and saw an opportunity. A little over an hour ago, a beautiful woman whom I love and trusted with my life, died in this battle. We need to have some degree of trust. The older creature thought this predicament was looking better since the human, Jefferson, was becoming overly familiar. The Commodore thought he still might survive the day, that is until the mention of Jeffersons mate being killed. The Commodore answered deliberately and carefully, I am truly sorry for your loss. I will address the fleet. He slowly reached for communication headgear and after passing his hand from left to right in front of his face, touched an invisible panel to select the proper frequency. Hesitating he remembered, I am called Doweejunkdo Jefferson, if I may call you by your given name, I also have a weapon in my back waist. You may have it. Jeff was only slightly surprised and said, Keep it Commodore Doweejunkdo. I

believe we may have an opportunity to come to some kind of understanding, By the way, if my very limited knowledge of Rowdizian customs and language is correct, youre related to this little tyke with the huge vocabulary. Hes your Nephew and your knowledge is commanding. Doweejunkdo didnt want to give up all his immediate secrets, so he offered, I will call for all the ships to back off. Should that calm your concerns. The Commodore thought his last observation odd because the human didnt excrete one pheromone of fear. His hand again swept an invisible screen and a finger stabbed an invisible button. A stern booming voice filled the cabin, This is Commodore Doweejunkdo of the Corvette Dungruevic. I and Deejunkdo survived the destruction of our ship. I command all ships and fighters to maintain a nonthreatening distance from our vessel. A human has taken us prisoner and we are safe for now. I further command all ships to stand down and maintain defensive posture only. Jeff watched as the approaching Rowdizian rescue craft fired her thrusters and held a parking position several hundred meters off their nose. After touching the invisible panel, Doweejunkdo turned in his seat, raised his hands above his head, interlaced his fingers and cradled the back of his head with the formed support. After a lengthy silence he asked. What now? Youre not my prisoner. Jeff offered, trying to explore his options. Yes, we are. You are in command of this situation. Not really. Im a single human, in the middle of the Rowdizian fleet, in a useless, drifting escape capsule, and you still have a weapon. Doweejunkdo forced his chair to recline slightly, Point made, but Deejunkdo is tied up. Would we be better off if he was loose? Another point well made. I might enjoy being your hostage. Doweejunkdo turned slightly to view the space surrounding the capsule. The destruction had stopped. Only the occasional dying expression of a critically damaged vessel would burst in splendid finality flashing the blackness of the void. The creature continued, Jefferson, could you please command your fleet to stand down and back off a safe distance? They wont listen. And stop playing the victim card. Youre not my hostage. Jeff stepped to the side of the Commodore and held out his left hand. His right hand though, remained within a comfortable closeness to his holstered sidearm. I will bet you dinner, that when you tell them what is transpiring, you will become the most important human within a thousand light-years of our location. Doweejunkdo found another wireless headset and handed it to Jeff. Then his fingers selected a few specific invisible buttons and he said, You are now on your fleets command channel. You will be broadcasting in the clear. What the Hell, Commodore. Whatever you say. On the bridge of the Nova Wind, the Fleet Admiral had just ordered all ships to give chase to the fleeing Rowdizian warships and fighters. The allied fleets luck had changed and he wasnt about to let the opportunity slip by. Suddenly, the ships intercom boomed with a message broadcast in the clear on the command frequency. Attention all Alliance warships and fighters The Fleet Admiral was furious, What idiot is on my command frequency, and

furthermore the idiot is broadcasting in the clear! A Marine General respectfully hushed his commander. Do not fire on any fleeing ships. They are repositioning, and standing down. I repeat, this is Lieutenant Norton, ranking commander of fighter wing 165 off the Nova Wind. I have captured Commodore Doweejunkdo of the Rowdizian Fleet. Please stand down. Jeff regretted the use of the term captured. An excited flurry of activity enveloped the bridge of the Nova Wind. Aids were debating the proper response. Orders were barked to prepare a boarding crew. Some cautioned the whole thing a ruse to get the Alliance to drop their guard. That was until the answer came to the prepared preplanned and briefed daily questions in the event of such a scenario. Fleet Admiral Dixon slapped the Marine General on the back and dreamed of a political future. Damn they had probably just won the war. The Admiral then barked, Comply! The communications officer scratched his neck and responded, Roger Lt. Norton. All Alliance ships are ordered to stand down, fighters are to return to a ship to rearm and refuel. All ships are to launch their reserve Combat Air Patrols and assume a defensive posture. We will be sending a party to secure the prisoners immediately. Jeff looked to Commodore Doweejunkdo and transmitted, Negative, Nova Wind. These officers are not prisoners. Doweejunkdo seeing Jeffersons frustration joked, See. I just knew we were your hostages! No you are not my prisoners or my hostages. He said, shaking his head, and unknowingly, broadcasting into the universe. The communication officer on the Nova Wind asked, Lieutenant Norton, what are WE suppose to do? Standby please. Were exploring our options. Jeff turned to Doweejunkdo and gave the universal sign to cut the link by slashing his fingers across his throat. Doweejunkdo did as he was silently instructed and tapped a button on the invisible screen. The transmission is terminated. Jefferson, I do not want to speak with anyone else. You have captured us and as is our custom, if we are to move forward, it will be with the pure intentions of the honored victor. You are not my prisoners. Jeff shot back I will not debate a trivial matter. Give me safe passage and I will return to my ship. That! the Commodore pointed to the wrecked Cobra plugging the hole. You know youre very difficult to speak with. Im just a Marine Lieutenant. Number two of ten officer ranks. Not to be confused with a naval Lieutenant Commander O4. If I could stay out of trouble, Id made Captain by now. An O3 not a O6 like the Navy. I am not the one you need to move forward with. Stop. How did you say. Oh, yes quit playing the victim card. You Jefferson are of pure intent. Except for your life, you see nothing to gain. Others are, at this time the Rowdizian thought long, Your species say not to count your fowl before they birth. Yes? Jeff laughed. You sir, are an enigma . Whatever. Open the channel. Please. That is another thing I like about you. You treat me like I am your equal. No

demands. No preconceived notion of who or what I am. An element of trust. Jeff starred into Doweejunkdos large round black eyes and felt a beginning. He tapped his lips and his enemy opened the channel, Nova Wind this is Norton. Commodore Doweejunkdo says he will only speak with and through me at this time. He again requests all ships of both fleets to take defensive positions and standby. A curt affirmative filled the cabin. Then a few minutes later an unidentified voice in Rowdizian came through the speakers, Be of purity and openness. Jeff frowned, Im not familiar with the saying. What is the intended meaning? That you and I are to have open and honest discussions. Still not clear, Jeff asked, What? Jefferson, we will talk. We are to establish a foundation an understanding. Do you desire something to drink? No, thank you. I could never stomach that sulfur laced water your species so religiously craved. Jeff, walked to his ship to retrieve a bottled water and yelled, Want a bottled water? No, I could never enjoy that tasteless clear fluid. Jefferson, could you please, if you are going to walk the decks, obtain a pair of our Magboots from one of the dead? The clicking of your boots is disrupting my thoughts. Jeff walked to the resting bodies and immediately saw an unusually tall specimen that had feet about the size of his. Removing the boots, Jeff stood on one foot and tried on the advanced footgear. He marveled how the form fitting boots fit like they were custom built for his feet. As he was returning to the command center, he called out how impressed he was with the fit. Rounding the lift, he stopped in mid-stride. Doweejunkdo sat quietly in the chair and his hand held a weapon in his lap. Deejunkdo, struggling at his restraints screamed, Kill it, kill it, kill it! Jeffs heart sank. He was devastated. Twice in one month, no day, his world had collapsed. Doweejunkdo immediately saw his error, No no, you misunderstand. To enter into talks there must be no position of strength. Doweejunkdo tossed the weapon across the weightless space for Jeff to catch. You may place the side arms in the locker. Doweejunkdo pointed to a cabinet and called out the sequenced Rowdizian symbols. If you like, write the code next to the panel. Jeff placed all of the weapons from all of the crew into the space. He then released the holster supporting his own weapon and placed it inside, then locked the door. Turning to the Commodore he asked, Without the engine, how much power reserves do we have? About thirty of your Earth days. Thatll do. I believe so . Jefferson, come sit with me and tell me of your mate. Jeff angled across the deck and checked the security of the bonds holding Deejunkdo. As he wiped eggplant colored blood from the seat next to the Commodore, he remarked, Your nephew really has issues. What did I ever do to him? Not really you, but what he is required to do by our customs. All offspring are expected to fight for their home world. We have nine planets. And Jefferson, when I say everyone, I mean all males and females. No one is exempt. This war is a distraction from

Deejunkdos wants. He is young and upset by the requirement of service. He longs to be home chasing the females, and forgets the responsibility of procreation. Hes pissed because he cant get any? Doweejunkdos eye slits narrowed, Explain. Jeff laughed, Is denied copulation with a female. Yes, that is it. He is considered brash and immature. Jeff joked, Boy needs a therapeutic ass whipping. Now it was Doweejunkdos time to be confused, A what? Jeff thought it best to slow down and just have a civil conversation with the creature, like he shared with KC over the previous year. He offered, I promise to refrain from slang. As you wish. Still, tell me of your mate. Not much to tell. Jeff plopped in a chair, secured the lap belt, and adjusted in the angle. I was assigned to her squadron about 5 years ago. After and between missions we would talk about the mysteries of the universe. Got along great. Last year I became her wingman and weve been fighting together in the war till today. I felt an attraction to her, you know more than our working relationship for the last 6 months. We finally found out how much we cared the past month. Jeff was beginning to tear. We both were worried that our mutual attraction would interfere with our ability to fight. We were concerned that flying together and more specifically in battle, the other would be a distraction. I was to transfer to another squadron when todays alert called us from her quarters. You did not have offspring? No, we barely had sex. We only found love in the last few weeks. But you said you were assigned to her unit years ago. What stood in your way? Stood in our way? Jeff didnt understand the question or where the conversation was headed. Yes, copulation. What prevented copulation? Doweejunkdo asked. We dont just jump into bed with anyone at anytime. We have to feel an attraction and some degree of love for the one we are attracted to. Doweejunkdo threw his arms up and exclaimed, BULLSHIT! Surprised, Jeff demanded, WHAT? Did I not use the expletive correctly? Yes, I guess maybe you did, if you meant it as a statement of disbelief. Good. Then, BULLSHIT. My species uses copulation as a form of release and fun filled entertainment. The Rowdizian female has the ability to release her eggs when she wills. If she chooses not to release eggs during a mating, no unwanted offspring will result. I now know why your species has such pent up frustration. Lack of release. Jefferson, you have to do the deed. Gotta get down. Discuss the big bang theory. Play hide the sausage. Spank the monkey no thats self serving and frowned upon. Whatever, you are all sexually frustrated and as a result tens of millions of beings are dead! Dont you think that to be an over simplification of the events? No. Doweejunkdo answered. Well, you say your species is sexually mature and youre still fighting a war with

humans. Human terrorists attacked a peaceful delegation from my home world. Over one hundred Rowdizians were killed. Doweejunkdo teared. So did over three hundred humans at the same conference. The terrorist were caught. Well Jefferson, therein lies the problem. This war might have been avoided if your people had turned over the guilty to my government to exact justice! From what Im told, your species doles out some of the most horrific punishments known in the universe. Your world and its justice system are testaments to cruel and unusual punishment! We have no crime, and NO ONE is above the law. defended Doweejunkdo. But you are known to torture the guilty in public for days. I have read your laws. Jefferson, we have not tortured anyone for centuries. Our prisons are nearly empty. We only hold those for the most petty of crimes, and the perceived wrong usually is just a misunderstanding. Doweejunkdo, have we yet to accomplish anything? Jeff asked. I believe much has been learned. Your species is sexually frustrated, and lacks the trust necessary to have the enjoyment of a pairing with a member of the opposite sex. You confuse responsibility with consequences. A human on your planet rarely atones for their breaking of the law. While the normal person would never trade freedom for security, the creature willing to break the laws of your worlds does not think the punishment severe enough to temper their action for the possible consequences. And your punishment never deters the criminal, it only gives pause to the responsible. What have you learned of our customs? Your species doesnt put up with shit! Does make for an orderly civilization. Would you not agree? coaxed Doweejunkdo. Point taken. admitted Jeff. Lets return to the terrorist attack on Earth. You were troubled by the mention of the event. Why? Doweejunkdo teared again and wiped the flow from beneath his nose. I was part of the official delegation that was posted on Earth. My family and I attended the conference that fateful day. I was about to give an address when the bomb detonated. Most of my family was sitting over the area where the device was stored. Others were safe because they were sitting with the government delegation. The tears were flowing and a towel was located to collect the fluid. Even Deejunkdo was affected, but he only responded with anger. Commodore, I had no idea you and your family suffered the greatest loss. I read the reports and your family was by far, listed as the largest group of attendees, I didnt follow through with the final results of the carnage. The scenes were horrible. Jeff bowed and shook his head. It was more horrific for my species. When your species rescue units arrived, and the area was mapped for evidence, they just unceremoniously grabbed the nearest body part and threw it into a bag. That is not our custom. We pleaded for ritual. Many of us understood your frustration. Jeff rubbed his eyes with the palms of his hands. We later learned of our mistake, but continued to use our mistake as a stupid

reason for your species to go to war. The news organizations didnt help by repeating the pieces were dead, useless body parts, and how stupid it was to hold dead tissue with such reverence. If my species is consistent at one thing, that would be the ignorance we have for others. We are egocentric and have little regard for the feelings of those around us. I, too, will agree to your point. But Jefferson, understand, given your species crude behaviors and lack of understanding for our customs, the final indiscretion was when we saw the workers playing with the bodies. I never saw that! We may have been uncaring, but not that disrespectful. defended Jeff. Then you never saw the raw, unedited recordings. It was sickening. Doweejunkdo noticed Jefferson was visibly moved, and for that, the Commodore felt the negotiations had reached a new level, so he punctuated the restricted information with, I lost my mate, 8 female offspring, and 12 male offspring. Doweejunkdo allowed the revelation to sink into the psyche of his guest. Jeff was stunned. He thought, Nothing was ever said of what I just learned. We completely dismissed the feelings of this new species, smug in our self righteous importance. We didnt treat them as equals and we dismissed the ignorance of our emergency workers even when they displayed a lack of respect for humans. Hell, we had little respect for ourselves. Jeff had trouble finding words and offered, I am speechless at your loss and this revelation. Jefferson, I am secure in the events of this date. I grieve your loss. After a short span of silence, he reached out and slapped Jeffs knee, Hungry? Startled, Jeff replied, Yes, but wait remembering KC he asked, Can we instruct our fleets to start recovering the dead? Do not underestimate yourself, Lieutenant Jefferson. You are a strong opponent and a good negotiator. I am honored to have you as an equal partner in these proceedings. Doweejunkdo unbuckled his restraint. We will do as you suggest. The two enemies instructed their fleets to begin the process of recovering all the dead and dying combatants. Jeff instructed his commanders to use extra respect when a Rowdizian was found and passed along the ritualistic crossing of the arms. Turning to Doweejunkdo he asked, Explain the crossing of the arms, please. Doweejunkdos eye slits narrowed, I thought you knew! The pair walked to the open lift, and stepped in carefully avoided the pool of drying blood. The creature continued, Our souls are centered in our hearts. At least, that is our traditional belief. We do view the complete body as nothing more than a life support system for the brain, but from the most ancient of times our species has always viewed the soul as resting within the heart. Now that we are better informed, we still follow ancient beliefs out of tradition. The ritual of crossing of the arms is thought to hold the soul within the body a few moments longer so the family may offer their last goodbyes before the spirit returns to the center of the universe, there awaiting its time to be reborn in the next being. Doweejunkdo looked at the puzzled, questioning look on Jeffersons face and replied, Tradition supports the foundation of any culture. Without tradition a species are just animals existing for the procreation of an unfulfilled existence. He selected the green button to lower the lift. Doweejunkdo tilted his head to the side and

with a questioning look and asked, You seem puzzled, Jefferson. Without tradition and customs we would be nothing more than an appetizer holding our place on the food chain. As the tube moved to the lower deck, Jeff held up a finger and clarified his disbelief, Okay, Im confused by your comment of learning that the soul is resting within the brain, but accepting ancient beliefs that it rests within the heart. How do you know? The Rowdizian laughed at his guests confusion. My species isnt so self important to believe we hold the secret to the mysteries of life. Oh, some Rowdizians, with low self esteem and a troubled identity would insist their beliefs are not to be questioned, but Jefferson, the answer is simple The knowledge comes from faith. Arriving on the lower deck, Jeff was immediately aware of the lack of odor in the air. In fact, he thought there was no or maybe too much H2S in the atmosphere, and worried asked, I dont smell the hint of Hydrogen Sulfide. Is the concentration greater in this lower compartment? You can relax. There is no H2S in this compartment. Im sorry, but we accidentally killed a few of your species upon our arrival to your planet, when they first boarded our ships. We didnt realize that above a certain high concentration, H2S was deadly to your biological makeup. We like it because it reminds us of home and acts as a natural stimulant to our biological makeup, even in higher concentrations. We also learned that the threshold for it to be instantly toxic to your species was undetectable to your sense of smell. So, Jefferson my friend, do be wary of a Rowdizian ship, or for that matter any artificial space, where that wonderful rotten egg odor is missing. The two beings stepped off the lift into a spacious compartment. Jeff noticed a hint of artificial gravity on this deck. An area to their front that served as a galley was unmistakable. Immediately adjacent to the galley were tables and seats for dining. A forth of the space was devoted to a lounge and the remainder, Doweejunkdo explained, was made up of short hallways perpendicular to the outer bulkhead that served as the crew berths. Jeff asked, Could you further explain the lack of H2S? And do I detect a slight gravity? My most humble of apologizes. I continue to assume you to be in complete understanding of our culture and physiology. You have told me of your limits. Did you ever notice during that short time we were on Earth, we took a lot of artificial stimulants? He paused shortly for an answer, and not receiving one continued, You should find the atmosphere scrubbed of the gas in any sleeping area. We sleep like a newly birthed pup without the H2S. Natural sleep aid. Back home, a hundred or more years ago, a few of our ancestors collected a fortune in credits retrofitting the sleep quarters in our dens with these marvelous scrubbing devices. And another quickly discovered benefit was if one wanted to extend copulation, Doweejunkdo waggled his thin arching eyebrows, just turn off the scrubber to stimulate the pair and lengthen the act. A hint of a smile crossed the creatures thin, tiny lips. Come Jefferson, I questioned your hunger and have yet to give you food. Jeff followed his host into the galley. And speaking of food, we like it to stay on our plate before we consume it so a slight gravity environment is built into any galley. Hot or cold? Hot food, cold beverage.

Typical Earthling. I have a meat the texture and flavor of beef, and a fluid that resembles what you would call tea. Youll love out breads, most humans do. Doweejunkdo pressed the tips of his right six fingers and kissed making a loud smack. Would that be acceptable? Yes. Thinking, Jeff watched the creature walk to a storage unit and collect dishes and glassware. Doweejunkdo I wasnt questioning your beliefs earlier I was intrigued by your description of the soul and its return to a central place after death. The creature selected a container from a refrigerated storage unit and other trays of plant materials vaguely familiar to Jeff. Selections of meat were purposely taken from the container and placed into a device that resembled a microwave oven. After Doweejunkdo selected a cooking time, he poured two tall, cylindrical containers of brown-green liquid and offered one to his guest. I believe you will be satisfied with my offering. As he took a drink Doweejunkdo held up a finger to allow for a pause before he continued. To satisfy your curiosity, Jefferson, our species believes in an afterlife where the spirit returns to the beginnings of the universe to be reborn in the shell of another form. KC held the same beliefs. She also had several visions of having experienced a given situation in a past time or life. Tears again hinted at Jeffs loss. You speak of brakashee. In my culture we truly believe in reincarnation. It means the spirit may return to inhabit a Rowdizian host, but may also be reborn into the shell of any animal on any planet. We believe these visions are memories of past experiences. Our beliefs teach us to honor and embrace these thoughts. We have little The creature slowly took his chin in his right hand as if he was deep in thought before continuing, then held up a finger when the answer came, mental illness on our planet. We teach from birth of the chance one may have these visions of a former life and when a being has such, they embrace the experience as a gift and insight to a higher plain of existence. We believe the greater frequency is synonymous with the spirits higher amount of rebirths. To a point the visions can be understood and are not considered psychotic behaviors or thoughts. It is only when the visions interfere with the beings ability to function, that a problem exists. If KC had these visions often, her spirit possessed a greater knowledge and now exists on a higher level. Doweejunkdo observed his guest and then held his hands up, Please, do not take what I am about to say as being offensive or wrong. Your mate is blessed. She has had many rebirths. Im not offended. I believe Im here to stop this madness. I want us to have a chance at growing old, of having many children, and living a comfortable retirement. At least thats what KC confided in me the last time we were together. You, unlike your nephew, seem to hold no animosity toward me for causing the deaths of so many of your peers and possibly your friends. The oven dinged and Doweejunkdo retrieved the meat and began to prepare the meal. After two dishes were filled, he placed his six fingers of each hand together at the tips and began a soft chant. Several seconds later, he bowed his head and offered the food. Then guiding Jeff to the nearest table by pointing with a plate the pair each took a seat and after a deep breath, Doweejunkdo said, Please do not insult me with your continued feelings of inadequacy. Speak with me openly and honestly. I can be your best ally or worst enemy. I feel faith has delivered me and my species a great gift that would

be you. As for causing the deaths of my fellow officers, you as they were doing assigned duties. Death is just a brief interruption to the cycle of life. Their spirits are now on the journey to begin again. Their spirits are released. Now, tell me of your demands. Only if you stop referring to me as your captor. And I make or have made no demands I could call a shuttle and return to my ship and you to yours. What would we accomplish? I want the war to end like most of those fighting within the Alliance. If by some chance we should conquer your worlds what have we gained? Subjugation of an alien species and Jeff shook his head, Not worth the effort. The thrill of the fight has long past. Now we only fight until we are killed. Six years is so long and too costly to make any reward worth the sacrifice. Im beaten. Doweejunkdo laughed, Then I will accept your gift of freedom. Jeff started to protest but was cut-off by the laughter, Jefferson, do you truly not know of what you have done? Yeah, I stumbled upon the enemy fleets Commodore and his nephew. Oh, and my efforts may have killed many high ranking Rowdizian officers Still a standoff, any minute well start killing again. Hungry, Jeff continued eating the delicious food. Still laughing, Doweejunkdo took a large portion of meat and placed it in his mouth. He was distracted by the oddity of circumstances. Between chewing he said, You have won! By the way, do not shoot a Rowdizian in the head. That is an area like your lungs. Our brain envelops our heart in our chest I am just thinking of when you threatened nephew. A hearty laugh shook the quarters again, Have you not figured out my and my nephews importance? Why do you think your commanders were so hurried to take over. Ive already said to you, or thought to myself, there was great importance to this vessel Doweejunkdo choked for a few seconds on the food and finally ejected the offending meat out his nostrils, Jefferson, I am married to a sister of the Empress and my nephew is the male offspring of our leaders. One of two males I might add. Very, very important. So, my friend, YOU have won! I dont want to win. I dont want to enslave your species. I just wanted this to stop hours ago, heck years ago. Jeff held his forehead in his hand and rested his elbow on the table. Doweejunkdo, sensing Jeffs loss for direction, placed his hand on Jeffs shoulder to comfort, Since you seem to be at a loss for intermediate steps, and only know your goal, I will make the following suggestion. The creature stood and retrieved a tablet and pen from a drawer. Taking a seat across from Jeff, he spoke as he wrote, Each opposing fleet will withdraw to an section of space an equal distant from our headquartered home worlds. A flotilla of armed escorts of equal strength may search our claimed territory for salvage and the dead. We will each be allowed to refuel and resupply on the others worlds as needed, appropriate compensation to be paid. Delegations of 1000 beings are to be exchanged as ambassadors and support staff for the purpose of continuing an open dialog and advancing our peace. The war is a stalemate and the fighting is to stop. When Doweejunkdo finished writing he looked to Jeff and said, My world will accept these terms. Since you are not in a position of power, it might be a more difficult thing for you to propose.

Jeff looked at the document. Damn, Doweejunkdo could even write English, he asked, Thats it? Doweejunkdos slits narrowed and he leaned slightly toward Jeff, then took back the document and began writing in his own language. Not quite Jeff thought, Okay, the other shoes about to drop. What now? Jefferson, I will demand that you are to lead your delegation to my home world. I am not an ambassador. You will be. Your atmosphere stinks. We have scrubbers. I wont know anyone. I will introduce you to my six daughters of breeding age. I cant breed with them. In time we can fix that if you choose. Youre kidding! Not at all What about my side? I believe it to be a good time to ask. Doweejunkdo passed his hand across an empty area in front of his face. On the panel, visible only to him, he touched the air, selecting a frequency and channel. You are now on a frequency to your home world government. Ask. Doweejunkdo slid the document back to Jeff. His signature was affixed. Shit! Jeff was overwhelmed. The devices in which to defecate are located in the sleeping berths. Doweejunkdo pointed toward the general area. No, No, No! This is all so beyond Jeff didnt finish. This creature had already admonished him for underestimating himself. Doweejunkdo offered a stop to the hostilities. The creature honored him with a position he was not sure he was willing or able to accept, but a chance at ending the war was too great a prize. Jeff took a deep breath and slowly nodded his head yes. I will go first. Doweejunkdo selected a frequency and told his listeners of the situation, of mutual understanding, and read the agreement. He was certain the situation had been reported several hours ago by his sub-commander, but Doweejunkdos perspective would be best. Ten minutes later, a reply accepting the terms and congratulations was received. They had finished eating and Doweejunkdo said, Jefferson, it is your turn. Doweejunkdo, I am humbled by your faith. Spoken like a true ambassador. Jeff opened the link, identified himself and reported his situation. He then read the document to the unknown recipient over the light-years of separation. Jeffs home world was quite a distance away. A little over twenty minutes later came the reply, Well Jeff, this is President Keegan. How is that tall, long-faced, amber colored alien doing? Of course we accept these terms. What took so long Doweejunkdo? Glad youre still sucking H2S. I wont wait for an answer because of the distance so Ambassador Norton, you have the

authority of the state to sign for our worlds. Take good care of my friend Doweejunkdo. Jeff looked at Doweejunkdo, who was holding his left hand over his heart and said, So you know President Keegan? Yes, He was a Senator the last time I was on your home world. Strange, I would have never thought Keegan to aspire to the highest office. Most attitudes changed the day of the terrorist attack. Six years is a long time. I believe these initial proceedings have come to a close. Could we transmit copies of the document to the fleets and those that may be interested in our truce? Jeff signed the document and finished his tea. You make a strong case for my returning to your home world. I am honored, but for now I wish to return to the Nova Wind and see to the recovery process of our honored dead. Do you agree? Jefferson call for a shuttle, I have selected your fleet frequency. Doweejunkdo extended a hand and said, I believe it your custom to shake. The two creatures gripped firmly and Doweejunkdo continued, I do not know whether to shout for joy or cry. For now I will just drink in this historic moment. I will wait till you are safely away to call for a tow. Jeff was about to enter the universal hatch to transfer to the shuttle when he turned and engaged Doweejunkdo for the last time that fateful day, I will always wish we had this meeting days ago. Jefferson, the foundation of any relationship is built on trust. Much blood has been shed to support the groundwork we have started this date. I will call in a few days to have you and your command staff join us for a banquet to honor the many sacrifices. We, too, will be honored. Wait a minute, my command staff? Yes, Ambassador Jefferson. It was a bit much for one day. One more thing six daughters? Yes, and all of breeding age. They are all very frisky, I am told. Doweejunkdo smiled. Jeff smiled a wide grin and looked to Deejunkdo, still struggling in the restraints. In Rowdizian Jeff said, Look at the bright side Prince, at least you can go home and work on your word usage. Back on the Nova Wind, Jeff quickly grew weary of all the congratulatory backslapping he received. The only cherished moment came when he was stepping from the transport and up bounced Susan. She grabbed Jeff in a passionate embrace and kissed him deeply and invitingly while one hand found and groped his butt. Her sultry voice purred in his ear, Because of you cowboy, I get to live a long and happy life. Anything you want just ask. The hangar bay echoed with cheers. Following a debriefing, he was immediately moved to quarters appropriate for a head of state. After the parade of support staff put away his small inventory of personal gear, he sat on the comfortable bed and cried. He thought, one stinking day. It was now more than twelve hours since the destruction of the Dungruevic, and the loss of KCs damaged fighter. He was sure if she was captured alive, she would have gotten word back to the fleet. Then in his hopelessness he thought, She may have been injured, and is unable to communicate. Thats stupid, she would have ID and the Rowdizians had

nothing to gain by keeping her status a secret. But if her ID was lost and she was injured and couldnt communicate, there was a chance. Jeff grabbed the sides of his head in his hands and fell back on the bed. Staring at the overhead, he prayed. Repairs on all the ships were proceeding well. The Rowdizians even gave the Allies several pallets of their version of EmergiSeal to place in workspaces that had a high risk of a hull breach. Praise for the new found cooperation was added to the lives saved when the emergency product saved dozens of workers on three separate ships. Twenty-four hours after the signing of the treaty, an official invitation for a banquet on the Rowdizian flagship, Katvanshevic, was extended. Jeff was disappointed the communiqu didnt contain information on KC. There had been a few lucky crewmen from both sides that in the closing hours of the war had survived. Early the morning of the banquet, the Admiral of the Fleet appeared knocking at Jeffs door. Ambassador Norton, may I come in? At first Jeff displayed his military bearing by standing at attention, before remembering who was the superior. Please come in Admiral Dixon. How can I help you? May I sit Ambassador? Please, I apologize for not offering? Jeff motioned the flag officer to the overstuffed brown leather couch. After Jeff took a seat in a matching chair the Admiral said, This mornings contact with the Rowdizian flag outlined the days proceedings. The Admiral handed Jeff a program copy. There is a slight change. The Rowdicks, Im sorry, the Rowdizians wish to have a memorial ceremony before the banquet. That would be most fitting. We are to bring 500 men in dress uniform and the Rowdizians will have the same honor guard on hand. Dinner will follow the ceremony. Yes sir. That was in yesterdays dispatch. Anything else? The Admiral leaned forward and looked into Jeffs eyes. They found Captain Terry. Im sorry she didnt make it. Doweejunkdo asked if you would like her remains returned to the Nova Wind for a separate service? Jeffs eyes teared and then he couldnt stop crying from the irony and knowing. Hed dreamed she died, drifting in space, in the closing moments of the war. He was probably talking with Doweejunkdo as she gasped her last cold breath. A voice asked, Can I get you anything? Jeff wiped his eyes and sniffed before answering, No sir, we really have done enough. I thank you for personally delivering the message. Could you please tell the Rowdizians that including her in todays service would be fitting? What time do we depart for the Katvanshevic? Twelve hundred hours. I will inform Doweejunkdo of your wishes, and I will have an aid collect Captain Terrys dress blues. Are you going in dress blues? Affirmative. Jeff stood indicating the visit was coming to a close. Well, you may want to run down to ship stores and get some tailoring done to your uniform, Major. I think a ceremony wouldnt be that important right now for you, but here are copies of your orders for rank and decorations you received in the last few weeks. You can wear them this afternoon if you like. Handing Jeff the orders, the

Admiral turned to leave. Thank you admiral. I will meet you on the flight deck at 11:30 hours. The Rowdizian Battle Cruiser, Katvanshevic, was enormous. Her port hangar deck was packed with Rowdizian fighters and Alliance transports. There was barely room left to park the transport Jeff, the flag officers, and field officers took for their short trip. The men and women of the allied delegation were greeted by Doweejunkdo and Prince Deejunkdo. Deejunkdo had learned to tame his tongues, and bowed at the waist when Jeff stepped from the craft. Welcome aboard, Ambassador Norton. said the subdued youngster. Thank you, Prince Deejunkdo. Im humbled by this solemn occasion. Jeff proceeded to introduce his party and when he was finished the group was escorted through the passageways of the ship and led to the opposite hangar bay. The enormous space was brightly lit with bluish-white lights. An honor guard of over one thousand Rowdizian and Alliance soldiers stood in perfect formation. When the senior officers entered the area, the formation as one, snapped to attention from the call of a lone voice. Across from the formation was a table stretching the length of the bay. In Alliance and Rowdizian uniform lay the honored dead. Another order brought the formation to present arms. The expanse was totally quiet. Doweejunkdo, Deejunkdo, and Jeff started the long walk along the length of the table which was actually a black, purple, and gold cloth draped conveyor belt. The remainder of the party followed in trail, stopping at each body and decorating each service member with posthumous awards. Occasionally, one of the three leaders would recognize a friend or collogue, and stop to offer an additional personal thank you or prayer. About ten bodies from the end lay KC in her full dress uniform. Her chest was adorned with dozens of medals awarded in her six years of combat. Her flaming red hair framed her beautiful unblemished face. Jeff learned, on the flight over, that KC had not impacted the hull of the Dungruevic. Instead, she had exhausted her life support and died from exposure and asphyxiation. The Rowdizian recovery team found her earlier this date. Doweejunkdo placed a hand on Jeffs shoulder and said, We were lucky. Her trajectory and speed took her through the main body of our fleet and she was traveling into a void of unexplored space. It was by chance she was found. With tears tracing his cheeks, Jeff said, Its so sad. She just wanted the fighting to end. She knew her time had come. Three cycles is a long time and she had traveled far. We were lucky her beacon still functioned. Doweejunkdo squeezed Jeffs shoulders. From behind, an aid handed Doweejunkdo a single flower in bloom. Jefferson please take this flower, a Rowdizian symbol of tragic loss. Thank you, Jeff accepted the black rose like bloom and placed it in the right hand of KCs crossed arms. He then laid another Purple Heart and Silver Star on her left chest. Jeff also thanked the Rowdizian species for having such respect and reverence for the departed. The staff of the Katvanshevic went to great lengths to prepare every body for the ceremony and cremation. Walking the last steps to the chamber, the party stood at attention while Deejunkdo stepped to a podium to read the names of the honored. By the end of the first

announced fallen, the door to the crematorium opened and the conveyor belt started the slow procession of the dead. Doweejunkdo steadied his new friend and offered, Later, after we have sifted the ashes for solid matter, you may have her remains to cast to the stars. This too is a custom my species developed after our first travels through the heavens. It also returns the body from which it came. As is our beliefs. Jeff stiffened as KCs body slid into the furnace. He, as did the other dignitary, continued standing until the last body passed through the open door. He then said, Doweejunkdo, the best thing you and I can do for our mutual benefit, is to build a foundation of cooperation, trust, and understanding to last a thousand years. With the closing of the crematorium door, the formation was dismissed and instructed to move to the main mess for a meal to honor the dead. Watching the two former enemies cautiously blend, Doweejunkdo placed a arm around the shoulders of his new friend and said, I mostly agree Jefferson, but I was hoping our friendship could last for an eternity. But, first we must eat and I will tell you of my six daughters. Of breeding age. Smiled Jefferson.

Another massive explosion rocked the Galaxy Class Heavy Cruiser Nova Wind. Jeff slowly picked himself up off the hard, cold, steel deck and ignoring the dull pain in his knees, quickly tunneled back into the soft, warm cocoon of his VIP berth. It had been only ten days since the cessation of hostilities and he was finally adjusting to not jumping when an explosion or an alarm sounded. He rolled over on his back, thinking, How many was that? Before his thoughts could answer, the public address system called for medics and damage control parties to report to Plasma Storage Locker number 143. That damaged locker, he thought, is located just a few bulkheads from my quarters. Several seconds later, the intercom spoke, Ambassador Norton this is control. Jeffs hand snaked from beneath the covers, found and stabbed the talk button. A muffled voice answered the intrusion, Norton. The yeoman in control could barely hear the reply, but answered, Sir, a plasma leak and explosion in storage locker number 143 doesnt pose a problem to your immediate area. The blast was directed into space as designed. No reported causalities. Do you need anything, Sir? Sleep! Jeff released the button and rolled to his back, while his right hand found a hot firmness between his legs. Hed been dreaming of KC again. This time KCs apparition kissed him, mouthed good bye, and said that she understood. She again insisted, as her form morphed into an intense pinpoint of bluish white light, that it was time for him to move on. He thought, What a great dream. It even got better when Susan rolled on top, kissed him again, then started tonguing and kissing her way down his chest. The explosion stopped his vision of her at his navel. He thought, Well that sucked. Jeff stretched then tugged the warm comforter from covering his eyes. Relaxing, he deeply breathed the scrubbed recycled air, then placed both of his hands under the pillow to add support to his head. Softly he said to the lonely space, Damn it, Jeff KC died only ten days ago and here you are, lusting after a Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade that you met the day KC died. Hell, you picked her up during a dog fight in the closing hours of the war. Marine Aviation Lieutenant, then Major, then Ambassador Jefferson Norton felt a deep, shameful guilt for his new attraction to Susan. The devotion and admiration he felt toward KC had grown over years. As a brand new lieutenant, he had been assigned to her fighter squadron. Between missions Jeff and KC discovered their many shared interests both mental and physical. On a good day she could kick his ass at handball or three dimensional chess. They would clear any dayroom with their long, intense philosophical discussions over the meaning of life, death, and eternity. Their mutual attraction had slowly reached a climax. In the weeks before she died, he knew he was in love with her, as she was toward him, and their attraction finally culminated with a long passionate tryst in her quarters, only hours before she was killed. A knock on the door cleared his mind of immediate conflict. Yes? Jeff looked at the wall clock and thought, Damn, only two in the morning! The cold, dry, darkness retreated when his touch illuminated the bedside lamp.

The door slowly opened and Susan asked as she passed the threshold, May I come in? She was dressed in an above the knee length, white, terrycloth robe with a caduceus on the breast pocket, then added, Please. Jeff drank in her beauty. Susans sixty-nine inch frame was blessed with breast length blonde hair, deep blue eyes, full sensuous lips, creamy unblemished skin, firm well developed breasts, an hour-glass figure, and long legs that went clear up to a firm round ass. He felt another growing sensation and hoped the comforter would mask his guttered interest. Holding out his arms and splaying his hands he said, Sure, whats got you up at this hour? She slowly and completely entered his quarters and quietly closed the door. Leaning, with her back against the polished mahogany, she replied, I just finished flying CAP and was taking a shower when the locker exploded. I fell to the deck and cut my knee. Susan walked to the bedside and lifted her leg so he could examine the injury. Jeff noticed when she lifted her leg that the robe opened and Susan wasnt wearing panties, but her leg was strategically positioned so her thigh blocked his view. He looked at the small bleeding cut and thought, this was the third time Susan had come to his quarters looking to fulfill her promise that day the war ended. He would never forget her bouncing across the hangar deck, embracing him and throwing in a deeply passionate wet kiss. Then shed whispered in his ear something like, Because of your crazy stunt cowboy, I get to live a long and happy life. Anything you want just ask. Jeff wished he could take back his remark as soon as his brain realized what his mouth had spoke, It sure is a shame to have blemished that beautiful body. Susan smiled and allowed her leg to slowly and teasingly slide to the side. More than a veiled invitation was opening. Jeffs mind reeled and he thought, Shit, you did not just say THAT! a little voice replied, Oh, yes you did. Jeff rolled away from the temptress, feigning to retrieve a cloth to dress the wound and allowing her time to recover. He hoped his act would cool their inflamed passions. His tongue stumbled over, Ill get a dressing. When he rolled back to blot the injury, Susan stood with her hands on the lapels of the robe, her breasts held back the material exposing her full naked beauty. I cant. he said in a hushed whisper. For the first time Susan teared. She was about to let the garment fall when she quickly set it straight on her shoulders and rewrapped the gift. Turning to leave she said, Im so sorry, Ambassador, as she reached for the doorknob. Jeff felt like shit, Stop. Please. Noticing her hesitation, he grabbed his own robe from a chair and putting it on, stood to apologize for the misunderstanding. She faced the door and Jeff closed to within inches of her body, careful not to invade her space with an erect betrayal of his words. Really, Im sorry. His right hand found her left hand and he gently guided Susans focus back into the room. Youre a lovely woman. Can we just sit and talk... for now? Tears fell from her cheeks, she felt cheap. Ive thrown myself at you since the first time we met. It just dawned on me, you must think Im some kind of slut. No. No not at all. He tried to lighten the mood, Well, I thought the first time you kissed me and I swallowed your tongue might have been a bit forward, but I chalked that up to the excitement of us having just ended the war. You were very

instrumental in that historic event. He reached up and dried her tears with the cloth from the drawer. Sit, please. When do you next report for duty? Susan took a deep breath to calm her trepidation. I have the next thirty-six hours off. Good, would you like a drink? Jeff eased her into a brown leather upholstered chair and walked to a mirrored and mahogany kitchenette. Yes. Crown or a good tequila neat. Susan crossed her legs and the robe fell open. She quickly and quietly covered her exposed lower waist. Will Cabo Uno be okay? He poured two highball glasses with the smooth spirits. Cabo Uno youre kidding? Jeff exclaimed, Nope, this place is better equipped than a five star hotel in Beijing. When he turned to face her she asked, Why? she tugged her robe together to hide any implied invitation, Why did you stop me from leaving? Jeff handed her the glass. After taking a sip of his own he said, Good question. Im sorry for not telling you the last two times youve come to my door. My work wasnt that important that it couldnt wait, but I felt an obligation to another woman. Susan gasped, Im an idiot. I never thought that someone as poised, handsome, and as self-assured as you, would be committed in a relationship. Were so far from home. Shes one lucky, woman to have a devoted man such as you. Was Jeff bit his tongue. He had to move on. Tears formed. What do you mean, was? Jeff returned to the bed and piled the four queen size pillows against the headboard. After straightening the covers, he crawled into the middle, careful not to expose himself, and rolled to his back. A few jerks of his muscular frame adjusted his comfort and he answered, You spoke to her... KC. She commanded and piloted chalk two when you happened upon our squadron. Susan squirmed, because she too had believed she knew of twos fate. Jeff gave enough information of what had happened to form a picture, but not enough to paint a complete canvas. She now understood his internal conflict. His discomfort would be cute, if not for the tragedy of KCs death. His consciousness was torn between the two women. His explanation returned to when Susan and what remained of her squadron were reforming when Jeff invited the handful of fighters to join with him and KC. He reminded Susan that that fateful decision set in motion events which, as a team, helped to destroy the Rowdizian flag ship, Dungruevic. Shaking his head he paused and thought, I need to move on, not too quick. Slowly. Susan was sitting with her legs crossed. Her angle was such that if the robe fell open, Jeff would have a clear view of her hidden treasure. As he spoke, her slight adjustments in her chair allowed the fabric to part. The parting was proceeding nicely and unnoticed by her. Before you again tempt me with a show of your lovely naked body, Jeff extended an inviting hand, please come sit with me and I will share with you my hours on the Dungruevic with Commodore Doweejunkdo. A shared comfort and touch nothing more. Susan stood, carefully adjusting the security of her garment. Jeff guided her onto

the bed to rest her back against his lounging body. From behind, he wrapped his arms around her waist. She laid against his muscular chest and rested the back of her head near his right shoulder. After some minor adjustments, the pair could not find a better shared position for relaxation. Jeff told of Doweejunkdos opinion that the human species was enslaved by their sexual inhibitions. Copulation was not a shameful act on his world, and furthermore, the human species need for release only added to human frustration and emotional stress when denied. Susan giggled when Jeff relayed the exchange where Doweejunkdo used guttural slang to describe the act of human intercourse. She was growing closer to this wonderful man and enjoyed everything about him, except for his occasional reminders of his former love interest. Susan, he was amazed that KC and I knew each other for so long and had never had a sexual encounter. He stopped short of saying on his home world if a male or female felt the need to share a coupling, then just go for it. It was almost like sex was akin to tickling or scratching an itch. Another swallow nearly emptied her third glass. She whispered, I believe you should listen to your mentor. Too late. Susan felt the deep rhythmic movement of his chest signaling total relaxation and sleep. She thought, Well, we will finally sleep together. Just not exactly what I had in mind. She was going to move to his side, but was reassured by the comfort of their shared position. Susan surrendered to the liquor relaxing her mind. Her eyes grew heavy. Jeff adjusted slightly and a hand moved to unknowingly cup her right breast. His breath tickled her scalp. She fell asleep tracing her fingers along his right outer thigh, longing for the stiff, long, hot organ pressing between her cheeks. Jeff awoke to the aroma of eggs, sausage, toast, coffee, and cinnamon. Susan was sitting at the table, clothed in her robe, and staring at a laptop screen. He watched as she quietly sipped a taste of the steaming hot coffee. Her hair nearest him was pulled back and resting on her right shoulder the further half hung from her head and formed a golden backdrop to her striking facial profile. His mind was hypnotized by her beauty. Then his sense of smell fought for attention when the hint of onion, tomatoes, and green pepper gently filled his nostrils. Jeff continued to lay quietly and spied her through slits of barely opened eyes. Another erection embarrassingly announced his need to use the head. He finally noticed an odorous hint of sex in the room. He wasnt that drunk, he thought. But he desperately had to pee. Grabbing his robe he bid good morning to the sitting goddess and made for the bath. His robe fell open and his penis pointed the way. Susan noticed his troubled efforts at hiding his attentive member. She giggled and returned to her coffee. From the bath she heard a sharp Damn. Knowing of his problem she offered in a raised voice, If its that stiff just pee in the shower. A few minutes later, she saw Jeff standing in the doorway of the bath, his face was beet red. Understanding his embarrassment, she added, I grew up the only girl in the middle of four brothers. I know what a piss hard is. Besides, you neednt be embarrassed. Susan patted the chair to the left of hers and said, Sit. Jeff, trying to be smooth asked, Breakfast? The clock displayed twelve-hundred hours.

Can you fuckin believe the stroke an Ambassador has on this vessel? I called the galley 45 minutes ago and said, This is Ambassador Nortons quarters. and ordered whatever I wanted. Western omelets, sausage, toast, coffee, and cinnamon buns. Breakfast closed four hours earlier! Susan selected a portion of omelet, topped it with a slice of jalapeo, then placing it in her mouth, slowly chewed the tasty bite, her senses savoring the richness and quantity of flavors. Her robe hung loosely from her shoulders allowing Jeff an unobstructed view of her right breast. She noticed he was attempting to avert his stare and said, Jefferson, you must be working too hard. You slept like the dead last night. Once you fell asleep, nothing was going to wake you, not even me. Must have been the alcohol. You did cop a feel by cupping my breast cute, really cute. I woke up about five hours ago and there you were again, rock solid. I counted at least six erections during the night. When do you have to return to duties? The openness of her conversation allowed Jeff to relax. He didnt realize how much he had shared of his experience on the Dungruevic. He was chronically fatigued. Susan was using the shared experience to challenge Jeffs views just like Doweejunkdo had done. Finally he answered, Not until tomorrow at twelve-hundred hours. Susan dripped in her sultry voice, Good. That gives us time to have a little fun. Jeff was taken aback, What kind of fun? Neither one of us has anything to do for the next twenty-four hours. That is except to do each other. Susan giggled at her wit. Jeff, I went down on you twice this morning You sprayed like a fountain Never woke up. My God. I have no claims on you. I have family back on our home world. My plans are to return to Earth. You, my sexually frustrated boy, are going to the Rowdizian home world. As I said last night, listen to Doweejunkdo. Now, Susan lightly touched his questioning lips, tell your secretary that we are not to be disturbed. Jeff looked to Susan, hesitated until a sly smile formed on his lips. So, you think your up to the next 23 hours? I am, I wonder if you are. she purred. Her left leg had found a nest between his legs and her toe gently stroked a growing interest. Jeff stabbed the intercom and when his aid answered Jeff said, Mike, this is Jeff. I can barely think Im not to be disturbed for anything until we depart for the Katvanshevic at noon tomorrow. Understood? Jeff tickled Susans foot which she quickly withdrew. The naval Captain replied, Aye, Ambassador. Jeff thought it was peculiar for an Ambassador to have military staff. A military attach yes, but he was appointed in the closing hours of a six year war and there were not many civilian political hanger-ons around from which to choose. After a relaxing breakfast the two fighter pilots climbed back into bed and explored the many wonders that made for their shared sexual gratification. Their time was spent exploring the many points that excited the human body. Each learned and grew in their ability to please their lover. They shared the shower, the bed, and any space that allowed for sexual fulfillment. Jeff and Susan slept and they played. Leaving the shower at the 20th hour they brunched and planned their next tryst. Susan warned, Jeff, I will not accompany you to the Rowdizian home world. Susan, I could only hope.

Doweejunkdo is to introduce you to his daughters of breeding age. I am so attracted to you. Jeff, Im sorry, but I have to go home. The only way we could continue a relationship is for you to return to Earth. That isnt going to happen. I am physically attracted to you but not emotionally attracted at this time. Kind of fits the Rowdizian view of relationships. And please, dont mistake this for a cold sexual romp between the sheets. Jeff thought of her statement and said, I never thought of you in that way. Good, makes for a better experience and a cleaner break. Susan offered. He threw up his hands and shrugged his shoulders, OK. No ties. So, lets do lunch on the Katvanshevic. Jeff extended the unexpected date. Flight suit will be fine. Its an informal lunch. The Rowdizians and I have to review the events up to this date. Thats how we modified the fallback agreement. Neither side has 100% functioning ships. We agreed to allow all of our ships to stand in place and repair. Our biggest problem is that the capital ships had their hyper-drives damaged and are not able to recover to their respective home worlds. Susan protested, Ill be out of place. Nonsense, Jeff countered, Youll come as my aid and you said so yourself, Doweejunkdo would be proud of my continued adjustment to a more libertarian stance. The shuttle departed the Nova Wind at 1130 hours. The trip would take less than 10 minutes, but there was no way the delegation was going to be late. Susan sat next to Ambassador Norton. Several staff noticed a nervous, absentminded lieutenant gently rubbing the inner thigh of the newly appointed Ambassador. A few knowing, stifled giggles softened the stuffy air, rich with military bearing. When the craft settled on the hangar deck of the Katvanshevic, a delegation of Rowdizian elite military greeted the party. Several of the Alliance group had skipped Rowdizian physiology class, and were shocked by the heavy smell of H2S in the air. Seeing their discomfort, Jeff informed them their sense of smell would adjust in a short time. Doweejunkdo introduced the assembled command staff. As the Alliance officers sidestepped down the receiving line, they offered a handshake, their name, and their title to the bobbing Rowdizians. Susan suppressed a laugh at the scene of richly decorated beings in purple, black, and gold trimmed uniforms, bending in unison as they greeted each member of the delegation. She had followed the Ambassador at his insistence. Several of the Flag Officers coughed their displeasure, and Jeff shot a disapproving look their way. Susan didnt know whose military career stood the greater risk, hers for jumping protocol or theirs for the rude display. In the battle for one-upmanship, she figured, I win! As the delegation continued the formality, Doweejunkdo noticed Susan and Jeff eyeing the shining Rowdizian tactical fighters lining the deck. When Jeff looked to Doweejunkdo and their eyes met the creature called a halt to the procession, and asked, Ambassador Norton, do you wish to view our first line fighter, the Cooja? Jeff smiled and said, Can we? Laughing the creature replied, Of course. Doweejunkdo spoke into a communicator and then directed in both English and Rowdizian for the receiving line to

continue. Jeff and Susan walked to the line of newly serviced predators. Each ship was perfectly aligned with the adjacent fighter. Susan touched the glass smooth metal and marveled at the coldness of the skin. Within seconds a Rowdizian pilot joined the pair and asked in Rowdizian how he might be of service. Jeff answered in the creatures native tongue. If you dont mind, we would like to see the interior of the Cooja. Do you speak English? My humble apologies, Ambassador. Doweejunkdo briefed the fleet of your first meeting and we were shown the video of your actions on the bridge of the Dungruevic. I mistakenly assumed the female also spoke Rowdizian. The creature continued in English, My duty is to show you whatever you wish, Ambassador Norton. I am called Jungeedo. the creature bowed slightly at the waist and extended its right hand. Jeff and Susan obliged the gesture and waited for the demonstration. Jungeedo passed his hand over an invisible sensor and a control panel appeared that was invisible to the humans. As he touched the controls of the holographic panel, Susan asked, Jungeedo, what are you doing? My apologies Lieutenant, I am unlocking the entry portal. When I passed my hand over the embedded sensor in the ship, this holographic panel appeared. Jungeedos hands framed an empty spot near the surface of the fighter. If the security system was activated, I would have had to slap my hand on the surface so it could read my palm print. He further explained, Now, the projected image is of a light spectrum not visible to humans. I will change the frequency of the image. the creature touched an invisible point and as he slid his finger toward the deck, a blue panel with white, black, green, and red markings and dials materialized in the air. Better? Amazing, Susan exclaimed as she stepped to the creature and asked, May I try the controls? Jungeedo stepped aside and with a slight bow and tilt of his head answered, Of course. Grinning from ear to ear, Susan asked, What do I do? In the upper right corner, touch the green button. Susan easily found the button and touched the glowing green spot. Five white buttons with Rowdizian symbols flashed below the green button. Now select, three, five, three, one, two. Susans right index finger hovered above the panel. She hesitated for a second and then said as she selected the buttons, Whatever three five three one two. Guessing the buttons were numbered one to five from left to right. Jungeedo began explaining what they were seeing and hearing. A loud hiss of escaping cold gaseous vapors and fog fell from the broken seal as the canopy lifted. The interior was charcoal black and different panels lit as the ship performed a self diagnostic test. Many of the panels flashed for several seconds and in time glowed steady. The pilots seat was a gel-filled, molded contraption that would perfectly fit the body of its Rowdizian pilot. Susan was excited and glad Jeff had insisted she come. She asked, May I get in? Of course. She started to climb over the side.

Wait, commanded Jungeedo, turn and face away from the panel. Susan did as she was instructed and Jungeedo selected a few more buttons. A bright red horizontal scanning light passed over her body from her head to her heels. He then said, watch the seat, as he selected and touched another control. Jeff swore, Damn, would you believe that? I would love to have one of these. Amazing. was all Susan could muster. They watched as the fabric and material and frame of the seat adjusted to a form fitting replica with the unmistakable shape of a human. The change took about ten seconds. Jungeedo instructed, You can step anywhere on the seat, it will return to your shape when you have settled in. The fit would be more precise if you were wearing one of our formfitting flight suits. Yours is a bit baggy and doesnt offer a close match. From across the hangar bay Doweejunkdo called, You two have fun with your new toy. We will start with drinks and the meal will be served in thirty-five minutes. Jeff answered, Are you sure? Not a problem. Thirty-five minutes. Doweejunkdo gave a wave of his hand as he ushered the delegation down a large passageway. Jeff entered the dining hall just as the others were taking their seats. Doweejunkdo motioned Jeff to two empty seats next to his. As the Ambassador approached he asked, I believe, Jefferson, that you lost Lieutenant Branch, your aid. Always the joker, Jeff thought, then said, She asked to be excused because of a better offer from Commander Jungeedo. He took her out for a flight in a two place Cooja. Doweejunkdo laughed, Better watch out. Jungeedo is without a mate and moves in fast to impress the females. Likes to, Doweejunkdo narrowed his eye slits in deep thought, that is it. Your species says, play the field. Jeff protested, Ive no claim on Lieutenant Branch. Well, if you do not, I cannot understand why she is releasing so many pheromones. She nearly knocked me over when she stepped off the shuttle. And Jefferson my friend, except for you, I do not see another member, of those present, that she might be trying to attract. We really must work on your sense of smell. His laughter shook the dining hall. The lunch continued with small talk, the repairs to the jump drives, and the fleet status of the former enemies. The Allies seemed to be more guarded with anything they had to offer to the conversation, but the Rowdizians had no problem telling of their problems, progress, and status. It was quickly realized that the members of the Alliance were not a trusting bunch. Toward the end of the meal Lieutenant Branch, dressed from head to toe in a skin tight silver metallic body suit, bounced into the banquet hall, Sorry, but that was one hell of an orientation to the Rowdizian first line fighter. The assembled Alliance dignitaries stared at the intrusion of the novice officer. Doweejunkdo interjected a face saving comment, The Cooja is an excellent machine in the hands of a formidable foe. Tell us, what have you learned? Susan was too excited to feel the contempt of the Alliance group and continued

the presentation of her experience, Jungeedo took me to a preflight ready room where I had to strip naked and several, but not all, of the connections to life support equipment were stuck to my skin. Jeff interrupted, Explain strip naked. He stared at the suit that left little to ones imagination. Not a stitch of clothes, shed everything. Jungeedo said I could keep my undergarments, but mission ready pilots strip all the way so ALL, she pointed to her crotch, devices can be inserted or attached. I then had a bag and facemask placed on my head. I stepped into a chamber and, Susan raised her arms to her sides and slowly turned to aid in the visual, this synthetic gel was sprayed over my entire body. Oh, I forgot, I put on some formfitting footies that double as mag boots. She picked up her right foot and wiggled her enclosed toes. Jeff asked for clarification, Why strip? Susan beamed, Thats the best part. This, she snapped the synthetic material on her left forearm, allows for a better connection to their form fitting seat which is a sophisticated biofeedback system to measure a pilots response to maneuvers and stress. You can also think some of your commands. When youre in that seat, only your hands and face are exposed. Simply amazing. Doweejunkdo asked, Are you hungry? Yes, Sir! came her reply. Then come sit between Jefferson and me. the gracious creature patted the empty chair between them. Jeff stood to help with her seat and touched the silky materiel after she was situated at the table. The scene was viewed by the objectionable stares of the Alliance officers. The Fleet Admiral spoke, Im sorry Commodore, but we must be getting back to the Nova Wind. He touched his napkin to his lips to signal an end to the meeting. Doweejunkdo, forever in love with Western American slang and mannerisms, said, Why the hurry to get back and sit on our collective asses while the real worker bees do all the labor? I can show you the Katvanshevic. That should take up the remainder of the day. Seeing he was being outmaneuvered, Admiral Dixon quickly came back with a lie, I have a communiqu from Earth that I must review and respond to this date. Your hospitality is excellent and the food delicious. I will contact you so we can dine on my ship before your departure. Doweejunkdo stood, as did the gathering, and said, Wonderful, I will look forward to the occasion. The kids, he motioned to Jeff and Susan, can return after the female has completed her meal. I really believe The Admiral was about to protest when an explosion rocked the Battle Cruiser. The lighting switched to emergency power and the room became dim. Everyone was thrown to the deck and slowly began to levitate from the floor. Artificial gravitation was disrupted and offline. The Rowdizians quickly tapped their feet to the deck and were planted firmly. Jeff and the Alliance delegation continued to float into the air. Susan remembered her own mag boots and touched the floor before she was out of reach of the deck. She then grabbed Jeff before he floated away.

An indignant Fleet Admiral Dixon yelled, What the hell was that? The intercom system revealed to the Commodore the nature of the problem in Rowdizian. Jeff translated, Security footage shows that our ship vaporized and destroyed a fairly large portion of the equipment in the hangar deck. What is the meaning of this Doweejunkdo? We have a truce and are progressing with talks to establish a peace treaty. The Admiral was caught by a Rowdizian aid before he was out of reach. The Commodore and the Prince were surprised at the thinly veiled accusation and breach of protocol. To put the pompous ass in his place, Prince Deejunkdo looked to Ambassador Norton being held by Susan and asked, Ambassador Norton, what do YOU wish at this time? Prince Deejunkdo, Can we request a shuttle from the Nova Wind to return the officers to their ship? Jeff was positioned to the front of Susan and she held him to the deck by his shoulders. Why dont I have one of my transports return the party to the Nova Wind. asked the Prince. Jeff agreed, That would be acc The Admiral shot back, I will call for one of my own shuttles and No! Jeff commanded. One of OUR ships has been destroyed and endangered our hosts. I will not allow another ship from our fleet to dock with the Rowdizians until we have learned of the cause of this incident. Lowering his voice and temper he asked, Commodore, have there been any casualties from the explosion? As you have heard yourself Jefferson, no reports. Doweejunkdo smiled his thin smile for Jeffs benefit. Jeff extended a hand and asked, I am sorry for the incident. May I stay and help with the investigation, and may I secure transport for the rest of my delegation? Doweejunkdo laughed, You my friend, are always welcome. Your aid may also need to stay and help. I will have transport ready in a short time. What else do you require Ambassador? The public address system blared a warning that artificial gravity was to be restored in five minutes and all hands be prepared for the change. Doweejunkdo called on his communicator for a shuttle to be readied to return the delegation to their ship. Everyone was briefed by Ambassador Norton of what would happen for the rest of the day. Put in their place, the top brass chose to keep their collective mouths shut and accept the plan. As signaled the artificial gravity returned and the collective stress reduced once firm contact with the deck was reestablished. Once the shuttle departed, Jeff asked to tour the hangar. Doweejunkdo offered his opinion, There will be a little delay while the crews repair damage to the containment fields. There is not much left of your transport. My investigators have determined that there was a detonator onboard your ship that ignited the plasma stores. Security footage shows no one approached your shuttle while it was parked in our hangar. That leaves us with one of two possibilities. One, this was meant to damage or destroy the Katvanshevic and destroy the peace, or two, it was meant to kill the delegation and possibly you in an attempt to destroy the peace by making it look like my species did this?

Susan asked, Is it possible for the security recording to be altered? Doweejunkdo expected the question and said, Of course but there is one problem. Soon after we developed recording devices and technology allowed those with the skills to alter recordings, we developed security lines and codes imbedded in the files that would immediately report an alteration if a nanosecond of a file was altered. Drives filmmakers to anger, because there is a lot of good non-sensitive and unclassified material that cannot be used in commercial films. This pesky little altered file symbol is ghosted in the middle of the view field. he laughed. Jeff offered, Well, I dont think it was meant directly for me. That wouldnt change much. And I dont believe it was meant to inflame the Rowdizians by damaging or destroying the Katvanshevic. Not only would the explosion have taken out this ship, Doweejunkdo, but the Alliance delegation would have suffered the same fate. I believe the device was meant to be seen as your species harming our delegation in an attempt destroy the truce and to fan the smoldering coals of our recent hostilities. Jefferson, my friend, you speak so well and I see you have reached the only logical conclusion, but I feel there is more. You see the mistrust and contempt your flag officers have for me and my species. A feeling, I might add, which supports your theory. I am afraid that feeling runs through many of your people as it does with my staff and species. I cannot blame any of them. We both have caused much misery and hate for our respective opponent. Forgiveness will be long in coming. At this time, all we have accomplished is relief from the stress of battle and allowed time for reflection. That is a good first step. The healing may only be complete with the passage of time. Doweejunkdo paused and allowed for his new friend to offer a thought. Seeing both Jefferson and Susans expressions of sorrow, he continued, You are welcome to see the data we have collected. I, my staff, and the crew of this ship are available for your questions. It had been a long day. Jeff checked his watch and surprised by the lateness of the hour asked, Lets let things settle. Ill look at the data tomorrow. Do you have quarters for the Lieutenant and me? One or two rooms? Jeff looked to Susan and before he could answer she said, One, please. Glad Susan wanted to share another evening of intimate pleasure, Jeffs mind continued to fantasize of a possible continued relationship. She was a caring, passionate lover. He actually began to think of the possibility of her coming to the Rowdizian home world. His thoughts were tempered with her dismissal of such a scenario when she said she had a family and was returning to Earth. His hand found the small of her back and guided her closer. Do you have time to give the two of us a tour of this fine vessel? Jefferson, you requested quarters. Do you not want to take a break and copulate? Her pheromones are raging! Susan laughed and Jeff was embarrassed. He answered, a tour would be fine. Doweejunkdo tilted his head to the side and said, Not only is your language strange but so is your culture. He again laughed his thunderous laugh and raising his hands to call attention to the surroundings, became the quintessential tour guide, saying, Come follow me for a show that will excite the senses. Marvel at the beauty and all technological wonders we have gathered in one place. The creature started down a

corridor, arms continuing to direct ones attention to every detail of the ship. Susan and Jeff followed, his hand around her waist and her hand squeezing his butt. She asked, Commodore, ever been to the Beijing Universe theme park? Doweejunkdo continued to walk and talk. Twisting his upper body and head to see his following audience, his frown telegraphed his deep concentration. His smile answered, Eight times! He skipped his lanky body and returned to conducting the tour. Susan whispered to Jeff, Damn, it cost four of us 35,000 credits to go just one time. Kissing her on the temple Jeff whispered back, Rank has its privileges. I heard that! Doweejunkdo laughed. In a normal volume Jeff said, I forgot. Rowdizians have excellent hearing. A little thing you need to remember if you wish to share guarded thoughts. Doweejunkdos thunderous laugh shook the passageway. The Katvanshevic was enormous. Twenty minutes into the tour, Susan learned Rowdizians were not going to give up creature comforts even in a ship of war. Every section for 100 crew contained a complete artificial environment replicating a park from their home world. That would be over 80 parks. Everything was enormous. The individual crew quarters contained a large view screen on a bulkhead that offered a live view of space in the direction of the wall. The causal observer could confuse their stateroom for one on a luxury cruise ship. The days excitement quickly wore on Susan and she soon asked, Commodore, I didnt realize how tired I am. Could you please direct us to quarters? Jeff added, Would it be possible to get a few hours rest and then have dinner? Come this way, Doweejunkdo led Susan and Jeff down a short corridor that was somewhat wider than normal. When they reached the end of the hall Doweejunkdo waved his hand across a panel and the door opened. After selecting a few controls, he said, Now each of you place your dominate hand on this panel until this light turns green. This will allow either of you to unlock and open the door. Dinner will be in five hours. Anything else? Susan was the first to answer, I cant thank you enough for everything youve done for me today. You are a most gracious and generous host. Doweejunkdo turned his head to his side and blushed. I only exist to serve you and the Empire. Their hosts were more than accommodating. A wild night was enjoyed in the scrubbed stateroom of the elite. Plush would be an understatement for the accommodations. Anything a creature could desire was available for the occupants. Susan woke again, drenched in sweat, Damn Jeff, dont you ever think about sleep? It never crossed my mind. I cant believe Im so attracted to you and your, oh my God hard body. I wanted this night to never end. Jeff lay on his back an erection waiting another romp. Stroking him she said, Sorry lover Im so sore, I may have trouble walking for the next few days. Susan confided in Jeff, If you want another roll in the sack, youll have to be very gentle. By the way, Im beginning to have a strange feeling about our continued relationship.

Strange how? I dont know. Just a feeling. Lets not dwell on my silly sensations and get back to more important things. Jeff continued to think of her comment then said, Okay Im finished too. Lets just shower, get dressed, and go to breakfast. Not until I take care of the rigid conveyer of sexual satisfaction. What? Susan focused on his unfulfilled needs. Finally understanding, Jeff moaned, Ohhhhhhhhhhh. After a long shared shower, Jeff and Susan joined Doweejunkdo in a prearranged crew dining area. Their host looked at his two guests and offered, Good new day. Missed you at dinner last evening. I expect your quarters were acceptable. Susan was quick to answer, Commodore, I cant say it enough, youre the most gracious of hosts. The old Rowdizian blushed a dark shade of eggplant, Come then. Let us enjoy a morning meal. We eat with the crew. On a ship of war, there is no separate dining area for the officers. Meals are a social event and our home world doesnt allow for any social class separation. Susan was momentarily puzzled and asked, But, yesterday during lunch we were separate. For the benefit of our guests. A special luncheon. But, Doweejunkdo, You, at times, have referred to the elite as royals. Isnt that a distinction of class? Jeff asked for clarification. Why, Jefferson. You speak Rowdizian. Is there a word in my species vocabulary that translates directly to royal. Jeff gave the question a few seconds consideration and answered, Come to think of it no. What comes close is, leader, one of high authority, and there is a slightly religious connotation to the phrase or word. But, Doweejunkdo, Ive heard you use the word to describe the Emperor, the Empress and their close family and associations. In fact you just did, yesterday. For your societies benefit. The Rowdizian ushered his guests through a set of double doors and Jeff, then Susan were dumb struck by the occupied round tables for eight that dotted the gigantic mess hall. Prince Deejunkdo was flicking some objectionable lint from his uniform and straightened at the sight of the guests. The dining room fell silent and every Rowdizian in attendance stood and faced the trio. The closest crewmember of junior ranking said in a thundering voice, Sir. Each of us and all of our resources are at your disposal. We regret yesterdays incident and beg your forgiveness. We join you in purity and openness. In one thunderous voice the hall responded, of purity and openness! The young Rowdizian continued, And to the female Lieutenant, we are here to serve your command. The hall again erupted, As you command. The room fell to complete silence. Jeff whispered to Susan tugging at his arm, Ill tell you in a minute. then Jeff cocked his head and whispered in Doweejunkdos ear, what am I suppose to do? Doweejunkdo answered in thundering Rowdizian, We are at you and your

females disposal. He then switched to English and whispered to Jefferson, We like to eat, so honor them, thank them, and give it your best shot Ambassador. Shit, thought Jeff. A speech this early in the morning and he was unprepared. Taking a deep breath he spoke in Rowdizian, I and my home world are humbled by your support and openness. As we work together to build a lasting peace there may be times of friction and misunderstood intent. I ask all Rowdizians to forgive our missteps and help us to build a future of mutual cooperation and understanding that will bridge our differences and last for an eternity. At this time I believe that we, together, should share this morning meal and move forward in purity and openness. The hall again erupted in one thunderous cheer, followed by an honored chant to the Gods. Prince Deejunkdo stepped before Jeff, bowed at the waist and offered, I am glad you bested me and I did not damage you, the Prince extended his right hand and closed, we have a wonderful offering of food that will tempt the human and our species. Please come. Taking the Princes hand, Jeff replied, You do throw a mean punch lets eat. Prince Deejunkdo vigorously shook Jeffs hand and belched a sincere belly laugh. He then guided his guests to the morning buffet. The table was adorned in black and purple striped cloth trimmed in gold piping. The dishes were of meats, vegetables, breads, and sauces. Over fifty items adorned the line, each with a placard written in English to advise the aliens of the contents and spiciness of the dish. Prince Deejunkdo advised, I would not ask the origin of the dish if I were you. And if you do, I would be obliged to answer. Please, just look at the cards and sample those you are not sure of the description. Susan, an adventurous type, said, In survival school, I ate some pretty gross things just to get by. Cant be any worse. Doweejunkdo supported her enthusiasm with, That is of great spirit. Take all you can carry. Jeff translated for the Prince. Really Commodore, I have to watch my girlish figure. Susan teased. Puzzled Doweejunkdo asked, You study female calculations? Susan put down her full plate and said, Oh, no, no, no. Striking a pose and sweeping her hands from her breasts to her legs, she continued, I have to watch out and not put on too much weight. I have a duty to excite the males. she laughed. Now Doweejunkdo understood, Yes, yes, yes. The human females secondary sexual characteristics. Why Jefferson, Susan does display a fine healthy length of head hair, the correct proportion of body fat on the butt and thighs, and her breasts are large, firm and the nipples are engorged and erect. When one does compare Susan to the ideal mate, there are no attributes that would disqualify her from selection. You have chosen well. Wide eyed and stunned, Jeff took a few seconds to recover from the abrupt and innocent opinion of his host, Yes, Doweejunkdo, you as always, have a firm grasp of the obvious. You have described my aides characteristics well. She is a fine specimen. Susan was speechless from the exchange. Jeff and the creature were speaking of her like she was a piece of meat. Or, was she missing something. The Rowdizians were not inhibited by sex and they held their females in high regard. In fact, the species may be a matriarchal society. Susan shifted gears, Commodore, you seem to believe that the

Rowdizian female does not ever have a weight problem. Would that be correct? You are correct. Hundreds of years ago, our scientists discovered the key to fat storage. They reengineered our genetic structures to be more close to the life cycle of hair. Our bodies store very little fat as long as we eat a healthy generous amount of food. We .shed it quite readily. However, if the body detects a period of starvation, it will store all unused nutrients in the form of fats. You will rarely see an overweight Rowdizian. We have ample food stores and the way to a thinner body is to eat more. Actually, I think a better analogy is to compare our makeup to that of a tree. Trees or plants growing near a plentiful water supply and usually have little storage of water within their cells. Yet the same exact plants, in an arid environment, are found full of stored water to help the plant survive periods of drought. Doweejunkdo waggled his eyebrows then continued, Humans are a few hundred thousand years younger than our species, and still held to ancient cycles of evolutionary mapping. Come. The foursome found an empty table. Prince Deejunkdo announced to the large gathering, If others choose to honor us with their presence, for the human female, please be able to speak in her native tongue. Within minutes, four other crew bowed and joined the Ambassadors party. Each bowed to Susan and touched her hand to their lips. Two were Rowdizian females. Susan was taken aback by the greater display of respect toward her. After being seated, the women quickly found a common topic of how males, no matter the age or species, were like pups needing to suckle the birth mother. Jeff felt somewhat at a disadvantage, but the other males took the playful banter in stride. They knew their place and function. Susan found a common bond with the strong willed Rowdizian women. Soon the men were collectively rolling the large black eyes to the measured playful contempt of the females. Doweejunkdo in an attempt to change the subject, instructed his guests to a special feature of each place setting. Imbedded in the tabletop was a switch for each place to heat or cool the plate of the diner, if so desired. This allowed for the extended meal times of Rowdizian custom. An aid approached and interrupted the meal. My apologies Ambassador, but I have a communiqu from the Nova Wind. Handing the Ambassador the message the yeoman saluted and headed for the buffet. Accepting the transmittal, Jeff read the note before sharing it with his group. It seems the report from the Nova Wind indicates a masked figure, twelve hours before departure of the shuttle, was seen entering the craft and after ten minutes left the shuttle without the object he carried on board. They couldnt determine the identification of the saboteur and for that matter have yet to determine why. He had to be a member of the military or one of the civilian contract workers, which means anyone. A review of background screening is underway. The Admiral sends his apologies. Doweejunkdo was quick to respond, Well, Jefferson my good friend, I am afraid we are back to someone trying to kill you, or destroy our ship thereby ruining any chance at peace. Jeff theorized, I believe the latter to be true. Why kill the delegation and destroy the chance for peace if I was the intended target? Just attack me on the Nova Wind. A Rowdizian female fighter pilot replied, Might they hold a disdain for you and the peace? Jeff was frank in his answer, Many of the delegation are angered by the chance at

an end of hostilities. They live for the excitement of the battle and the thrill of ultimate risk of ones own life. Our shuttle could have just as easily been parked near a volatile area of your ship and subsequently destroyed the Katvanshevic. I believe the chance for peace is the intended target. A very young sub officer replied, Ambassador, forgive me. I believe if my intended target was you, what better way to deflect suspicion away from the assassin on the Nova Wind than to just kill everyone while on our ship. You cannot debate the fact that the timing of the device was set for arrival at this location. To kill just you on your own ship, narrows the possibilities. Susan grabbed Jeffs hand and pleaded, Jeff, we should stay here. Im afraid for your safety. I mean no offense to the Rowdizians, but less than two weeks ago we were trying to destroy the others way of life. Doweejunkdo answered for the assembled group, No offense taken Jefferson. There is another possibility. What would that be? Jeff wiped his mouth with a cloth and caught a tasty piece of meat in the corner of his lips before it could fall. The Prince, still working on perfecting his English, slipped between the two languages, My uncle wants us to stop the intrigue and consider the volatile nature of energized plasma. This whole event could have just been a freak accident. Jeff shook his head and offered, Freak would be right. With the advent of stabilizers on our ships, we have not had an accident in over a hundred years. Prince Deejunkdo countered, There is always a chance. Susan asked, But what about the plasma explosions on our ship? Weve had what, six eight? And dont forget the masked figure. Jeff answered with authority, Different problem. Stored raw plasma, without stabilizers is very unstable and takes little to disrupt the containment field. Once the plasma is placed in the compartment of a vessel for its intended use, stabilizers are blended to make the plasma more safe. However, the stabilizers quickly destabilize the energy content of the plasma and that is why we vent the unused contaminated plasma into space. Dependent on the quantity and time, the material becomes useless after several hours. Energy Management 101. Susan, did you skip the class? Im having a blonde moment. Might be the H2S. But, there is a reserve of raw plasma carried on shuttles to allow for extended loitering and is blended before use. she shyly answered. Jeff remembered, Crap, I forgot. Sorry. The Rowdizians within earshot were somewhat puzzled by the short exchange. Doweejunkdo asked, Let us be of open mind and consider all possibilities. Susan is correct. Until the cause of this event is determined, you two should quarter on the Katvanshevic. You still have our data to review. Jeff shook his head and countered, No! I will return to the Nova Wind and help with the investigation. If possible, send the data back with me. Can you ready a shuttle please? Susan begged, Jeff, Doweejunkdo is right. It is safer for you here. Susan, you can stay and if she wouldnt mind, ready my quarters and prepare for

my trip to the Rowdizian home world. You can also help with questions of the design of our shuttle. Looking to Doweejunkdo Jeff asked, Would that be permissible? Of course. Maybe she would be enticed to return to the Rowdizian home world with us. Doweejunkdo slyly said. Prince Deejunkdo excused himself and communicated the need for the shuttle and data. Susan tapped the Commodore in the chest and stated, Wait, I thought you were going to introduce Jefferson to your daughters of breeding age. Doweejunkdo gasped jerking a thumb at Jeff, He told you of that? Susan nodded her head, Yes, and something about lengthening the penis. Jefferson, are no secrets with your coupling partner? And Commodore, hed better keep it that way. Susan laughed at the horrified look on Doweejunkdos face. His skin turned a deep purple, again showing his embarrassment. When he realized he was fooled, he laughed another thunderous laugh. He begged, Susan, please reconsider returning to my home world. I do not want Jefferson to long for your touch and become homesick in our alien environment. You are truly a refreshing change. The PA announced a shuttle ready for departure for the Nova Wind and Jeff quickly bid farewell. As he left the dining hall he asked Doweejunkdo, Please explain all the pomp and circumstance of this morning. Susan missed much of the heart and soul of the event. As he made for the hangar he heard the Rowdizian call, I will playback the English version readied for transmission to your home world. Jefferson, remember your position and that you are always on stage. Jefferson cringed at the thought of his speech. He couldnt actually remember what he said. He did remembered it was well received by the intended audience, but all he really could recall was lets eat. Jumping on the empty shuttle, he saluted the pilot and thanked him in advance for the ride. The ship commander beckoned the Ambassador to take the empty copilot seat, asking, Are you not a pilot? Jeff was happy to accept the honor and buckled in, Thank you Commander. Thank me? By the time we arrive on board the Nova Wind, you will be able to pilot this craft as ordered by Prince Deejunkdo. May I have your name please? A laugh was followed by, Jungeedo. Jefferson realized his forgetfulness and begged Susans pilots forgiveness. I am not so easily offended, Ambassador Norton. Besides, I am told all of us Rowdicks look the same to you humans. A thunderous laugh shook the interior. Let us continue to communicate in Rowdizian. My language will make identification of the controls and systems easier. I have already reduced the wavelength of the lighting so you will be able to identify all the panels. I have reset the defaults to the proper frequency just in case. Just in case of what? asked Jeff. And please call me Jeff. I am honored Jefferson.

Just Jeff. That would not be proper. That is what my friends call me. Maybe in your world, Jefferson, but to do that in my culture denotes a certain degree of intimacy. Shortened, given names are only used within immediate families or lovers. I now understand. So what emergency? Always be prepared my friend. Jungeedo held up a loose fist with his sixth finger extended as a sign of emphasis and attention, So, let us begin. The ten minute flight between the two warships took almost two hours. By the time the shuttle landed on the Nova Wind, Jeff was able to pilot the craft solo. Jungeedo made him approach, land, park, and shut down the shuttles systems. As they departed the ship Jungeedo had Jeff enter his handprint into the security system of the craft. Jeff had further learned during the trip that Jungeedo was to stay with Jeff as a bodyguard. The Rowdizian would sacrifice his life to protect the Ambassador. Jeff had tried to protest but was informed by Doweejunkdo to get used to the idea because Jungeedo would be the head of Jeffersons security detail from now on. The Rowdizians were not about to have the first Earth Ambassador to their home world come to harm. This was to become another non-negotiable term. The Master-at-Arms approached as Jeff and Jungeedo were securing their transportation. On Celestial Warships the duty was the responsibility of an officer. After a short wait the officer requested, Excuse me, Ambassador Norton. The Fleet Admiral asked me to remind you that Rowdizian personnel are not to carry arms aboard any Alliance vessel. The three looked to Jungeedos shoulder holster. Jeffs hand settled on his newly appointed bodyguards shoulder. He then made an effort to stare at the messengers name tag before he spoke, Captain Richardson, that directive has two distinct problems at this time. One, this shuttle carries an array of weapons, so my good friend Jungeedo here, is in violation until he departs. Second, Jungeedo is my head of security, has my diplomatic immunity, so I dont believe you expect him to throw harsh terms at an attacker. He will be staying with me, armed, requires the adjoining quarters, and have someone from engineering help him to install his H2S system. Captain Richardson knew the proverbial shit was going to hit the fan when the Admiral received the news. A cold sweat beaded Richardsons forehead. Finally a defeated, Aye, Sir! surrendered. Can I get you and Commander Jungeedo anything else? The Captains stress turned into a forced, then accepting grin, thinking of the Admiral being bested. Jeff smiled a knowing smile and asked, Could you please get me five cases of 9 millimeter 148 grain subsonic rounds? Not a problem, Sir. I will also be carrying my Sig 226 for the time being. Aye, Sir! The grin grew bigger, anything else? Jungeedo asked, My good Captain Richardson Are there seven good crew members on this vessel that we could entrust with the Ambassadors life?

Stumped for a few seconds, Captain Richards offered, Sir, we have a SEAL Team aboard. If theyre ordered to protect the devil, they will do so, or die trying. The Rowdizian thought of the news and asked, How many beings? Six. That will do fine. Looking to the Ambassador, Jungeedo asked, Is there a room adjoining yours, opposite mine? Captain Richardson, also in charge of ships security, answered facetiously for the Ambassador, Sir, there is. That room is occupied by the Nova Winds Captain. Im sure he will gladly vacate the quarters. Jungeedo laughed and curtly responded, That will be more than adequate. My complements to the flag officers. Could you please have the SEAL Team commander report to the Ambassadors quarters immediately? Aye, Sir. Ambassador Norton asked for a description of the SEAL commander including tattoos. He apologized for any wrath that might descend upon Captain Richardsons career, but Jeff was making this plan up as they continued to collect information. Stepping on toes was the least of his worries at this time. Before the impromptu meeting was concluded, Jeff and Jungeedo felt a trust developing with Captain Richardson. Richardson, an orphan and single, eagerly accepted a posting as the Ambassadors Military Liaison. Jeff concluded the meeting with, Christine, run along and inform the Admiral of these requirements and changes. Save your new posting for last. Then return to my quarters for security planning, dinner and a drink. The trios fears took a short rest to share a laugh and visualize the firestorm that would soon engulf the bridge. Captain Christine Richardson, USMC, and Military Liaison to Earths Ambassador to the Rowdizian home world, saluted smartly, turned, and eagerly carried out her orders. When Jungeedo and Jeff reached the passageway to his cabin, they were met by two armed Navy SEALs in battle dress. Jungeedo postured and quickly relaxed when he noted the unique telltale description of the SEAL Team commander. The black officer with cobalt blue eyes reported, Lieutenant Jackson MacGregor reporting as ordered, Ambassador. The Ambassador returned the Lieutenants salute, What do your friends call you Lieutenant? Jackson, Sir! Whos your sidekick? Chief Petty Officer William Carpenter, Sir. Jeff continued with the introductions, Great gentlemen, this is Commander Jungeedo, head of my security detachment. The Rowdizian bowed at the waist as he shook the new arrivals hands. Jeff suggested, Lets move this meeting into my room so we can have a little privacy. Removing an old fashioned key to unlock the door, Jungeedo reached to stop Jeff. Wait! The creature grabbed Jeffs hand before he could insert the key. I will open the door and inspect your room. Mister MacGregor and Carpenter, will you please assume positions at the entries to this corridor? Let us proceed slowly.

Jackson slapped Bill on the shoulder, Damn Bill, I told you after Captain Richardsons brief, I would like this Rowdic sorry, Sir. None taken gentlemen, we have much more important matters than my feelings. Now, let us see if the Rowdick bastard dies in the coming minutes. Jungeedos laughter resonated in the passageway, as the two SEALs moved to their positions of watch. Jungeedo removed a small video camera from a pouch and attached a thin 6 inch fiber optic tube to the lens. Carefully, he inserted its glowing tip into the lock. The cameras view depicted a clean lock tunnel to accept the key. The creature then inserted the key with his non-dominant left hand and positioned himself as far from the door as possible, bumping into the Ambassador. He breathed a deep sigh then said, Would you mind, Jefferson? While I am trying to keep you from harm, please move behind one of the guards. Sorry. Jeff felt this to be a little over the top, but did as he was told. Jungeedo slowly turned the knob testing for any unnatural resistance to his efforts. When the knob had turned the complete rotation, he slowly pushed the door into the room. When enough space allowed for another visual device, Jungeedo gingerly snaked a flexible camera into the space and studied the interior. Captain Richardson entered the bridge and found the Fleet Admiral Dixon sitting in his chair studying the Rowdizian fleet in the distance. She did as instructed by the Ambassador and her report increased the anger and volume of the Admirals response as Richardson continued to explain what had happened. She was enjoying the display and when she said, And Sir, the Ambassador has suggested you and the Captain vacate your quarters so his security force can control the immediate area. Well do no such thing. the Admiral fumed. Christine held her composure and corrected, Im sorry Sir. The Ambassador didnt ask he insisted. The Admiral blew, I cant wait until that former, do as he pleases, Lieutenant, I mean Major, is off my ship and on his way to the damn Rowdick home world. And when his bed bitch returns Ill have her busted, locked in a head, and scrubbing toilets till we get back to Earth. He knew he had gone too far after he demanded, Is that fucking everything you have to report, Captain? Captain Richardson stood at attention and answered, No, Sir. I am to report immediately to the Ambassador and serve as his Military Liaison. He directed that you, without delay, have the transfer orders cut. Will that be all, Sir? The Captain held at attention with a salute and a suppressed laugh. A defeated flag officer breathed, No that is quite enough dismissed. Christine half walked and half ran to the Ambassadors cabin. Rounding a corner she was stopped by the barrel of a small lethal sub-machine gun. A determined soldier had one finger alongside the trigger guard and another finger placed to his lips. Christine asked in a whisper, What gives? Checking for bombs. Find any?

Three so far. Fuck! She quietly exclaimed. Still alive. Who are you? Petty Officer Carpenter, Maam. Im Shhhhh. I know. Captain Richardson, pleased to meet you. He tipped his finger to his brow. Wheres the Ambassador? She continued. At the other end of the hall with the Lieutenant. Is there anything I can do? No Maam, just be quiet. Im being as quiet as I can. No Maam, you can do better How? You ask too many questions. You want me to shut up? That would be nice, so I can listen down the passageway. Well His hand finally covered her mouth and he slowly guided her behind his field of fire. He quietly broadcast, Somethings coming and being real quiet about it. Suddenly the lights in the passageway extinguished as another Plasma Storage locker exploded. This time the detonation was very near. An overhead steam line ruptured and the corridor was quickly filled with a cloud of white scalding hot water vapor. Regaining his bearings, Carpenter crawled back to the intersection and aimed in the direction of the previous noise. Nothing. Quickly the other four members of the team reported they were maneuvering through the passageways to the Ambassadors quarters. They were less than 20 meters from the ends of the passageway. The radio hissed, Is the Ambassador, okay? Lieutenant MacGregor casting a glance over his shoulder reported, MacGregor here, the Ambassador is trying to shut down the steam. Hes fine. A whining voice cried, Ask him to hurry. My makeups running. Carpenter relaxed when he heard from the distant hall, Hey Chief. Found your noise makers. Looks like a couple of crew. Injured pretty bad. Yashootem? As Carpenter stood, Petty Officer Jones called over the intercom for medics. Then the ships PA system boomed, Attention all hands Damage control parties and medical to Section 14 corridor C. Plasma Locker 149 involved. Jeff found the intercom and yelled, Bridge, This is Ambassador Norton. Order all hands to stand down, immediately! Were okay. Internal damage negligible. Have a medical team of six report to corridor C in five minutes. And tell them to be careful. I and a few elite crew have some very itchy trigger fingers right now. Everyone not directly assigned to the Ambassadors team are to avoid section 14. Is that clear? Aye, Ambassador. The ships PA boomed again announcing the change in plans. Section 14 was placed off-limits. Only crew with the permission of the Ambassadors party were to enter.

Deadly force would be used against any unauthorized personnel. Christine approached Jungeedo standing in the door of the Ambassadors quarters. The creature asked, Do you believe our leader to be a little harsh? You have to ask? Christine looked at the Rowdizian through unbelieving wide eyes, You found three bombs in his quarters! No, we did not. the cool Jungeedo deadpanned. Christines stress, screamed, You mean that damn Carpenter was just feeding me a line of bullshit? I do not know what line of bullshit Carpenter fed you. I found four devices. Why would you consume bullshit? As she grew weak in her knees, Christine yelled, Crap! Minutes later, Jeff and Lt. MacGregor approached, the creature asked, What is this females obsession with animal waste? Both men looked to each other, shrugged their shoulders and Lt. MacGregor said, I briefed my four other men and they are guarding the approaches. Is it safe to use the Ambassadors quarters? Jungeedo allowed the forth device to swing like a pendulum from the detonator, We may still survive this assignment. Jefferson, it seems we have answered the question. Someone is after you. Jeff squeezed his temples with his thumb and middle finger, then ran his fingers through his sweat drenched hair, I take it the room is safe? Of course. Please come in. The team took seats as the Ambassador suggested drinks. He poured the requests and after serving his assembled staff, Jeff pulled a schematic of the ship so they could better plan their defense. Jungeedo had a problem convincing his new responsibility that a better plan would be to return to the Katvanshevic where Jefferson would be out of danger. The Ambassador wasnt about to run. He was the bait and they would remain on the Nova Wind to draw out whatever faction was intent on destroying the peace. Besides, Lt. MacGregor added his opinion that there was no guarantee the Ambassador would be safe on the Rowdizian ship. Finally, the Ambassadors team agreed, it would be best to fight an unknown foe at their present location. Checking the ships menu, Jeff started to order evening meals for nine. A cautious Captain Richardson suggested they only eat from sealed packets of long-range rations. Dont worry Christine, Jeff reassured, I have a secret weapon to seek out poisons. The meals were ordered and a specific delivery time was instructed to the galley. A chest of ice and an assortment of canned soft drinks were to be included. The galley was again instructed not to be too early or late. Jeff and his team continued to review the ship schematics. Approach points were limited to two possible directions out to 100 meters. That would be their control points. The four explosive devices were to be strategically placed along the corridors. One at each outer branch and one in each hall at 50 meters. Jeff contacted the bridge and informed the Admiral of the four bombs found in his quarters and their plan to draw out the group attempting to change the events of the past two weeks. Other suggestions to limit causalities were discussed. The Admiral gave up suggesting the Ambassador return

to the Katvanshevic then offered what every resources were needed by the team. The connection was then closed. Jeff announced, We have to have an end time. We cant stay here forever. When we get word of the completed repairs to the Katvanshevics hyper-drive, I and a few of you will transfer to the Rowdizian ship, whether we have discovered the aggressors or not. Agree? There was no dissent. A waiting game had started. The tempting bait of the Ambassador, the man who single-handedly ended the conflict, was too attractive a target for someone to let escape. Time would pass quickly. They did not have long to rest. When dinner arrived, everyone was hesitant to try the food. Jeff asked, Well Jungeedo, what do you think? The creature passed his head above the trays and then selected a balanced meal. Fine with me Jefferson. Dig in. Captain Richardson was dumbfounded, Thats it. Dig in. No testing? Jeff answered, Relax Christine, Jungeedo has an incredible sense of smell. He can detect the minute chemical signatures of anything, including poisons. Were safe for now. Some poisons are odorous! she countered. To us yes, but not to that olfactory system. Relax. smiled Jeff. After dinner, the adjacent rooms were cleared of personal effects. Jungeedo setup his H2S device with the help of Captain Richardson. She insisted he start the machine and she would stay to learn first hand of life in the creatures home world. She held an honest interest in the Allies possible new partner. Christine was also somewhat attracted to the strangely handsome creature. She was intrigued by its self assured swagger. Jeff woke to a quiet stateroom. The constant low hum of the environmental control system gave a pleasing white noise to the setting. He had consumed too much alcohol as the night worn on. Lt. MacGregor abstained after one drink and returned to his duty of providing security. Jungeedo, not effected by human spirits, could still be heard in the adjoining room talking to a laughing, slightly inebriated, Captain Richardson who was falling for the creatures genuine charm. The rumble of loud snoring announced the deep sleep of the relieved guard in the opposite room. Jeffs mind returned to dissect the last dream before he woke. He could again feel a hardness between his legs. This time, KC appeared as an intensely bright bluish white light, before she morphed into her recognizable shape. Her hands cupped his face as she spoke of the importance of moving on. Then the dream seemed to take on a warning of continued sexual relations with Susan. How had KCs form put the cold and calculated delivery? Continued transfer of genetic material would result in the production of a male offspring. Continued transfer of genetic material sounded like some science fiction character in a B rated movie. Jeff dismissed the vision to the irresponsible consumption of way too much Crown. That sounded good and allowed him to put in perspective the dreams. He looked to his empty bed and longed for Susans presence. Just as quickly, his logical half reminded him that in a few days, maybe hours, Susan would return to the Nova Wind and he would be accelerating to hyperspace

on a new adventure to Rowdizia aboard the Katvanshevic. He wished he had not allowed her to stay on the Rowdizian ship. He had a selfish need for her warmth, touch, and intimacy. With some sense of reality, his mind began hoping Doweejunkdo wasnt kidding about his daughters of breeding age. Self satisfaction for the next few years would soon grow tiresome. An intercom commanded his attention. Ambassador Norton? the speaker hissed. He stabbed the answer button, Norton, go. Sir, we have just received word that the Katvanshevic has completed diagnostic testing of their hyper-drive and is preparing for departure. Did they give any indication of their expected jump time? Jeff looked at the wall clock. 0800. The confused reply completely answered Jeffs question. Yes, Sir they expect to jump in three hours, once they complete the morning meal? Jeff paused and thought of what he needed to pack. Didnt matter. They were leaving and he was not to miss the boat. Thank you. We will be ready in plenty of time. And thank you for the update. Norton out. Not much time he thought. Jeff hurried and woke the others and assembled the core team. The briefing was short and sweet. Lieutenant MacGregor and his team were expected to provide security for Susan until she returned to Earth. Of course, Jungeedo would return to the Katvanshevic with Jeff. Captain Richardson did not need much convincing to continue as the Ambassadors military liaison. She more than indicated she was ready for the change. Earlier Jeff had caught Christine patting Jungeedo on his alien ass. The small group had their assignments. They skipped breakfast in order to prepare for the risky transfer to the shuttle. Lt. MacGregor lamented, I wish the bomb planting assholes had shown their cowardly faces. No telling who the group is. Bastards. Jeff rubbed the Lieutenants shoulder, Lets work for a clean break and live to see another day. Agree? MacGregor nodded his head, Without a doubt, Sir. And please, Ell, Tee, take care of Susan. Understood? Aye, Sir! Thirty minutes later, Christine returned with packed bags. She dumped her luggage in the passageway and waited for the others. While checking a pair of night vision goggles and testing her 9 millimeter submachine gun she was comforted by Jungeedos appearance. Are you prepared Christine? The alien asked. She reached up and stroked his cheek, As ready as Ill ever be. Good. I will enjoy teaching you the wonders of my world. I cant wait. Suddenly, five distinct metallic thumps were heard striking the deck near the outer guard follow by the unmistakable sound of rolling steel balls on a steel deck. Down! She yelled. Only to be cut off by the rapid sequential detonation of five fragmentation grenades. With ears ringing and muffled yells filling the halls, Jungeedo cocked a weapon and awaited the enemys advance.

Christine slowly recovered. She painfully rose to her hands and knees, her body and mind stunned by the concussions. A steady supply of blood was dripping from her nose, only to compete with a flowing cut near her right temple. She motioned with her hand for Jungeedo to take the hallway in the direction she pointed. When he followed her directive, she crawled toward the opposite passage. Adding to the noise and confusion the PA blared, All responding forces. Fire upon any person in battle dress or without civilian clothes. And do not shoot the Rowdick! More explosions rocked the corridors. Three wounded team members stumbled and fell back as the traps were detonated. Bullets now ricocheted off the bulkheads like angry hornets searching for the bothersome victim. One SEAL was nearly disemboweled. Blood, urine, chyme, and stool spilled to the deck, announcing his remaining life was only minutes long. With determined superhuman effort, he grabbed a small satchel charge and motioned for the others to retreat, then slowly clawed his way in the direction of the enemy. Several seconds later, after he had disappeared in the smoke and fumes, another massive explosion rocked the ships interior. Lt. MacGregor leapt from the Ambassadors quarters with the Ambassador in tow. Tripping over Jungeedo he stopped and yelled, Report! Jungeedo, seeing his responsibility still safe, gathered a second strength and yelled, The passageway to the shuttle has been for the most part cleared. Standing on shaky legs he yelled, Let us go! and ran in a crouch down the corridor. Jeff and Jackson followed a short distance behind. A burst of sub-machinegun fire announced another obstacle in the intended direction of travel. Another long burst was followed by several single shots from small caliber weapons. Another burst of machinegun fire and the corridor fell silent. Cordite and sulfur hung heavily in the air. Broken lights rained sparks of brightly arcing metal and ignited chemicals. When Lt. MacGregor and Jeff reached Jungeedo, the creature lay in a pool of deep purple blood. His only words were, Protect the Ambassador. This is that emergency Jefferson, go with purity and openness. Jeff and MacGregor jumped over Jungeedo then stepped on several bodies of attackers that littered the decks. Rounding a corner, a well hidden killer fired on the pair. A round caught MacGregor in his left arm. Jeff, superficially struck in the left forearm, found, methodically took aim, and killed the threat. Without missing a beat MacGregor tugged at Jeffs arm. Sir, run! Ill cover. The two men leaped-frogged toward the waiting shuttle, each providing cover fire for their advancing partner. When they reached the hangar another round caught MacGregor in the foot. Because of the confusion that would be caused by releasing all available security forces, Jeff had demanded that only special teams take part in the dash. The PA again blared, All responding forces. Fire upon any person in battle dress or without clothes. And do not shoot the Rowdick! Christine, for the first time hearing the announcement thought, Damn, Jungeedo, you sly bastard. Thats why you insisted we all put on our civilian clothes this morning. She searched the halls for the creature as she made her way to the waiting ship. She fell to the deck in tears when she found his lifeless body lying in a growing pool of blood. A

bullet hole was centered above and between his deep staring black eyes. Christine, in a short time had grown an attachment to him. She buried her head in his tunic and cried at her loss. Finally, a familiar voiced asked, Do you think we could save the tears for later, and help a wounded warrior to his vessel? Her nose still bleeding, she reeled in surprise when she heard him speak, But? I will explain later if we live. Help me make for the ship. Jungeedo grimaced in tremendous pain as he tried to sit up. I am afraid the bone in my right leg has been damaged. It will not support weight. I dont think I can carry you. She handed her machinegun to him. Carry, drag, any effort that moves me toward the shuttle would be greatly appreciated. Christine knelt in a attempt to lift the heavy creature. She quickly stopped when her efforts caused Jungeedo to cry out in agony from the pain of moving the injured leg. She took back her weapon and slung it across her chest. Remembering troops were given morphine in wartime, she retrieved an injector asking, Do Rowdizians take Morphine? Confused, Jungeedo asked, Chemical makeup? She looked at the injector responding, MSO4. That will suffice. Christine jabbed the auto injector into his thigh. Not wanting to wait, she then grabbed his arms and began to drag him toward the waiting ship. After making a few feet of progress, Jungeedo shook his arms to gain her attention. From the direction of the VIP quarters, yelling and gunfire approached. They both saw a silhouetted figure take aim at Christines attempt at rescue. Before she could raise her weapon in defense a long burst of the attackers gunfire deafened the hall. As Christine fell her last view was of the flame belching from the attackers gun. Jeff reached the shuttle. MacGregor knelt a few feet away in the exposed hangar space. Scattered support, dressed in civilian clothes, could be seen filtering in through the upper catwalks. Jeff gingerly placed his right palm against the designated area he was shown the previous day and in a flash retracted his hand zapped by a 50,000 volt jolt. Damn what the hell? MacGregor yelled over his shoulder, Whats wrong! Jeff massaged his stinging hand and upper arm, Shit! The ship just shocked me! Just when I thought I could see the light Were screwed. Lets move to cover. MacGregor yelled. Jeff paused, remembered, then yelled, Wait! Jungeedo said not to hesitate, just slap my palm against the hull. Jeff wasnt totally sure, his hand and arm still hurt. The bullets, bouncing off the hull near where he stood, gave him new determination. He slapped the sensor. His hand tingled. A holographic image glowed before his face. Jeff quickly entered the access code and the portal hissed open. To MacGregor he yelled, Lets go! The SEAL commander limped, stumbled, and dove into the crafts interior. Jeff closed the door as MacGregor cleared the opening. Bullets continued to bounce off the hull of the shuttle.

For now Jeff was safe. The Ambassador breathed a deep sigh to clear his mind and recalled Jungeedos instructions. Jeff if you are in a hurry, just push all switches forward or up. Jeff remembered, followed the instructions and the ships interior lit up with more system panels. The displays were easy to follow. Finally, with everything on, Jeff powered up and idled the engines. Dials glowed the proper degree of readiness. Jeff jumped when the radios barked to life. Preparing for departure, Jeff was saddened by the loss of all those devoted to give their lives so he could live. A hand jerked at Captain Richardson who was laying across the chest of Jungeedo. She wasnt hit or much worse, dead. She looked to see two dead crewmen dressed in battle fatigues lying on the deck inches from Jungeedos feet. A pool of fresh blood slowly crept toward her. The person tugging at her arm was Carpenter. He was yelling. Carpenter had cut down the two aggressors that had changed tactics and headed straight for the hangar deck. He didnt see Richardson and Jungeedo until his targets fell. He hoped if the Ambassador had made it, they had yet to depart. Only one way to find out. Grabbing the creature he yelled, Damn, hes heavy. Help me. MacGregor had moved to the empty left seat and continued to watch the battle outside. After a short calculation he remarked, Jeff where the hell did all these assholes come from? As he made the final preparations for departure, Jeff offered, This is one hell of a big ship. Some areas dont see a scheduled human for over a year. Plenty of places to hide men and equipment. Jeff unlocked the magnetic docking clamps and increased power to the thrusters then called, Nova Wind, the Ambassadors shuttle is ready for departure. A voice answered, Affirmative, shuttle. Then the familiar voice of a gruff flag officer yelled, Norton, just get your ass out of here before you get killed! Jeff replied, Roger. As Jeff was thrusting the ship to a hover, MacGregor observed, Here comes Richardson, Carpenter, and Jungeedo. Jeff rotated the craft 180 degrees to position the entry door away from the threats and then settled back to the deck. Carpenter and Richardson were having difficulty carrying the heavy Rowdizian. They circled the ship and entered the opening. Jeff closed the hatch remotely from his seat and yelled, Buckle up! Not a word was said during the short trip to the Katvanshevic. Everyone knew their duty. One or more wounds graced the body of each occupant with Jungeedo the most serious. Bleeding was stopped to allow more time to reach medical attention. A splint was placed on Jungeedos leg. As they parked in the hangar of the Rowdizian Battle Cruiser, Jeff asked, Did anyone else make it? MacGregor solemnly answered, Dont know. All happened too fast. I know two of my four other men are dead. Any word of the mop up on the Nova Wind? Not yet. Nothing shared. Im afraid theyll have their hands full for a while. A medical team met the shuttle and boarded as soon as the craft was secure on the Rowdizian Flagship.

A determined Fleet Admiral ordered, Damn it! Start identifying the bodies. I want all security recordings reviewed for whomever these asshole associated with. I cant believe it, over 40 rebels on an Alliance Ship of War. There has to be a better explanation than they didnt want peace with the Rowdizians. The rushed meeting with his staff was closing, None of you are to rest until we have some answers. No, a lot of answers. Am I understood? For emphasis the Fleet Admiral slammed his fist on the table. He had a right to be angry. More than 40 traitors on his ship and over 60 dead in a heated close quarters battle to kill one man. It didnt make a lot of sense. In the Rowdizian Causality Center, Prince Deejunkdo and the Commodore checked on the injured. Rowdizian medicine was much more advanced than that of humans. By the extent of their injuries, no one would have to stay the night in sickbay. Christine continued to press Jungeedo to explain how a head wound would not be life threatening. His answer was always later. Susan was distraught and at the same time mad at Jeff for allowing himself to be bait, and drawing out the faction that was after what? Him? With this new twist there would be a slight delay while navigation recalculated a hyperspace path. The Katvanshevic would jump in about two hours. Susan lightly touched Jeffs injured arm, What am I going to do with you? Are you sure you dont want to come to Rowdizia? Jeff rubbed her back and pulled Susan closer. I told you. I want to go home and see my family. I havent seen them in years. Im an aunt 6 times over and I even have a new baby brother. Please dont ask. She began to cry. Jeff brushed away her tears and kissed her forehead, Fair enough. Family is important. If I didnt have this great new job with great compensation, Id return to Earth too. How much are they paying you to abandon me? She pouted. Jeff thought for a few seconds before answering, You know, I was never told about the pay, but I do have the pick of six Rowdizian females of breeding age. The loud sharp crack of skin being slapped, followed by the scream of an injured Ambassador filled the infirmary. Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at Susan and Jeff. Susan stood with her hands covering her face while Jeff lay on the exam table moaning and guarding an aching left arm. Oh, Jeff. Im so sorry. I was playing. Susan cried. Jungeedo, on the next table was propped on one arm and offered, Why? As the Ambassadors head of security I would say he deserved it! Laughter filled the room. Later, on the bridge of the Katvanshevic, Jeff entered, followed by Captain Richardson. A large panoramic view screen filled the far bulkhead. The view ahead was of a beautiful star filled expanse. Three large chairs were centered in the large space. The center chair was occupied by Prince Deejunkdo and in the chair to his right sat Doweejunkdo. The Prince motioned for Jeff to take the seat to his left. Once settled Jeff asked, Who usually sits here? The Fleet Fighter Commander. Doweejunkdo answered. Ill move when he returns. Jeff offered.

That will not be necessary Jefferson. The female is dead. said Doweejunkdo. When? In, hopefully, the last battle of the war. Deejunkdo added. A speaker announced the fleet would jump in five minutes. Jeff translated for Christine. Trying to change the subject Deejunkdo asked, Were you able to say a proper farewell to your female? Yes, Deejunkdo. And Susan asked for me to thank you for the privacy of your quarters while mine are being cleaned and painted. Jeff smiled. For you, anything, Ambassador. Deejunkdo replied. The three beings laughed. Whats so funny gentlemen? Captain Richardson asked. When Doweejunkdo caught his breath he answered, Jefferson and Deejunkdo were not the best of friends when they first met. On the bridge of the Nova Wind, Lieutenant Branch saluted the Admiral and said, Lieutenant Branch reporting, Sir. The Admiral, still not recovered from the embarrassment he felt, sternly looked at the young officer and said, Well. Well. Well. What do we have here? Susan stood at attention and asked, Sir, could we please switch the view screens to watch the departure of the Rowdizian fleet? Lieutenant, I really dont give a damn about the Rowdizian fleets departure. You and I need discuss protocol. That will be fine, Sir. She had had enough, Susan reached into her breast pocket and retrieved a card, But, Sir If I may, I am the Rowdizian diplomatic liaisons attach and bed bitch of Earths Ambassador to Rowdizia, two Rowdizian creatures entered the bridge, we would like to view our fleets departure, please. Snatching the ID from her fingers, the admiral saw his career ending. These last ten days had been missteps at every turn of events. Finally he said, Captain could you please assist the Rowdizian delegation with anything they wish? Will do, Sir. a thin smile crossed the Captains lips. The view screens immediately switched to a scene of the departing warships. The bluish glow of the main drives began to power up. What do you mean, asked Christine. Jeff said, The young Deejunkdo here, proceeded to whip my ass before I pulled a gun. Then he called me some of the most horrible things a creature could be called by a Rowdizian. Didnt know I spoke their language. Wanted Uncle Doweejunkdo to shoot me. Deejunkdo interjected, We were still at war! Jeff answered the interruption, A small technicality. The three began laughing again. Come Captain Richardson, join us, sit we have to talk. Doweejunkdo motioned to a fourth seat, lower and to the front, and continued, The enemy of my enemy is my friend. The PA squawked 20 seconds to jump, and began an unmistakable

countdown discernable in any language. After Jeff translated he added, Ancient Arabic proverb, Doweejunkdo. Doweejunkdo countered, I prefer the Chinese proverb. Anyway Jefferson, we need to talk, We have bigger fish to fry! Jump! They all watched the screen as the beauty of the seemingly motionless stars elongated.

His left wingman was just destroyed in a ball of energized plasma, and the enemy fighters maneuvered to complete their attack. Jeff stole a glance out his right wing and was reassured by Quedocdos remaining, tightly formed, Cooja fighter. Several close shots and a pair of missiles launched caused them both to pitch up, then right, and finally down with a following increase to maximum thrust that caused him to nearly lose consciousness. Jeff raced for the planets surface with Quedocdo flying cover. Less than three minutes to impact the surface the computer warned. The g-forces from the constant tight maneuvering was excruciating and the remaining wingman screamed in protest. The enemy was keenly aware of his formations lack of reserves and continued to attack like wolves sensing an injured prey. Jeff was not about to give up, because to do so would mean certain failure and possible death. What was the count now? Five to one and the enemy had the advantage. It didnt matter, it would take only one well placed shot to end his life. The ships warning sensors also screamed their protest at his high g maneuvers. Jeff would have lost consciousness countless times except the specially designed seat continued to squeeze the right amount of blood from his lower extremities to his brain, which in turn caused a massive headache. He cursed that the fighter was able to take much more stress than the human body. A dozen times he felt like punching the override and taking the compensation system offline. Jeff felt a gray out would be a better measure of ones limit. Those damn sensors would allow for the greatest degree of stress without killing the pilot, a condition that, for his physiology, was difficult to get accustomed to. A half dozen balls of plasma energy from his rear to front signaled he was again nearly destroyed. Sweat began to fill the space between his flight suit and skin which in turn started to interrupt the biofeedback connection that kept the fighter from overstressing the pilot. Another Master Caution light on the malfunction panel warned of the Loss of Feedback. Jeff looked at the bright red warning light and punched the reset as a Terrain warning flashed red. Another string of bright blue plasma pulses streaked across his canopy and disappeared in the distance. Too close. The terrain was coming up too fast. Level off now, his mind screamed, buying another second longer might help to fool the pursuers. Most had positioned relatively above his intended path, so when he did pull out he and his wingman would have to fly through a wall of deadly cannon fire. Quedocdo was prepared. Jeff transmitted, Now! In unison both fighters rolled 180 degrees and pulled back hard to arrest their perpendicular dash to the surface. The enemys momentary hesitation doomed the four fighters that had continued the vertical dash. The g-meters read 12.65 at their highest point. The enemy fighter that was following below their flight path had begun to pull up early, but when it noticed the deception, it too rolled to continue chase. So did the three positioned above the fleeing Cooja fighters. Jeff and Quedocdo barely cleared the lush vegetation of the valley floor. The enemy wasnt as lucky. All four craft that were giving chase crashed into the forest. That left the six enemy fighters which had raced to the far end of the mountain pass in an effort to set up an ambush. With the safety of distance, Jeff asked, Quedocdo, do you want to call it a day and dash for the comfort and protection of the Katvanshevic?

The deep, female, Rowdizian voice hissed in his earphones, Jefferson. Im am crying tears of blood from the stress however, if we run for the ship, they will live and we will have to fight them another day. Thats the spirit! Ill go easier on the maneuvering. He offered. Quedocdo sighed, Then we will surely die. Not today set course for home. When they give chase, and are within missile range, Ill turn directly into their path and you swing wide around and take them from behind. Ill switch on my transponder when you launch. Fire everything. Got it? As you command. The pair of Cooja fighters: with their forward swept, crescent-shaped wings; canards mounted forward of the cockpit; and gloss black, carbon ceramic skin; looked deadly and fast even when they sat idle on the hangar deck. Jeff angled for their mother ship, the Katvanshevic. At full power, the deadly pair continued to accelerate, fighting gravitys grip. Before they reached 10,000 meters, Quedocdo yelled, Here they come six 60 degrees negative pitch. Jeff rolled inverted for a visual. Keying the transmit button, he said, Well, almost right on time. Jefferson. I believe they are a little late. We may pass the troposphere before they are in range. Then we break in 15 seconds. They will have warning of the frontal attack and I will have to turn too wide an arc to be effective. What ever comes after me will have the advantage. Negative. Quedocdo asked, how can you be sure Theyll be too busy avoiding my attack. 3, 2, 1, BREAK! Quedocdo continued on her original path in a wide sweeping arc. At the apex of her turn she rolled inverted to watch any enemy in pursuit take advantage of her purposeful maneuver. Jeff, meanwhile, air-braked and fired reverse thrust to rapidly slow his ascent. Almost to the point of stall, he then lazily turned to face four of the enemy fighters that continued on their original vector. Just before he lost control of the slowing Cooja, he rammed the throttles to the stops and was slammed into the rear of the custom fitted seat. One half second later, his ship was screaming toward the advancing foe. Their closure rate was over 7,000 kilometers per hour. A warble tone signaling a lock on the two craft chasing Quedocdo was his impetus to fire. A pair of Rapier hypersonic, fire and forget, close proximity warheads, slid off his concealed rails and gave chase to the pair. The four fighters closing on Jeff gave no quarter in this dangerous game of high stakes chicken. Jeff knew they wouldnt flinch. A Missile Lock warning light preceded two of his challengers fired missiles, and that was their first mistake. Four would have been a certain kill. Out of missiles, Jeff stole a last look at his own missile trails streaking for the now juking, hunted enemy pair chasing Quedocdo. They seemed to be worried for their own lives. Jeff then fired good old fashion flares and chaff to confuse the enemys hunting warheads that were fired at him. A check of the gauges showed 80% weapons energy remained. Jeff thought, forty seconds good, and held the trigger for the

release of a continuous stream of deadly pulsating plasma. One missile was destroyed and before the second struck, Jeff juked hoping to avoid the deadly projectile. Luck was with him. The second missile passed and harmlessly expended its remaining fuel before falling to the planets surface. His wild hosing of the closing ships managed to destroy one of the fighters and make a space for him to pass. The three remaining ships were too busy avoiding his cannon fire to effectively counter Jeffs crazy attack. A yellow caution warned of Weapon Stores depleted. During all the excitement, he had lost sight of Quedocdo, but could see on his radar she was closing to a launch point. The fighters that had gone after her were no longer visible on radar. His last pair of Rapiers had done their job. Passing thought the enemys now loose formation, Jeffs left index finger reached to switch on his Identify Friend or Foe, only seconds after Quedocdo fired a volley of four Rapiers. Nothing except another yellow caution light blinked on the holographic panel indicating failed IFF. Considering the seriousness of the situation Jeff thought, That light should be red In a last attempt, his mind commanded, Reset IFF Breaker! The caution light extinguished and flashed on. Jeff again stabbed the on button. Nothing. Too late. While he was attempting to correct the failure of his IFF, the four Rapier, fire and forget smart weapons, were communicating amongst themselves and selecting their targets. Jefferson Norton, Earths first Ambassador to the Rowdizian home world was about to die. Watching the surreal scene of the four weapons streaking toward his position, he finally located the one selected to destroy him. He could hear Quedocdos Sorry Jeffer as the warhead exploded, sending hundreds of shards of white-hot, lethal shrapnel through his ship and his body. Jeff screamed in agony. All power failed as his lifeless body and fighter fell to the mountainous surface. A hiss signaled the escape of pressured gasses as the canopy opened. Jungeedo stood on the platform with his arms folded and shaking his head. Quedocdos adjacent simulator opened to allow for the Rowdizian females egress. She looked to Jeff and said, As always Ambassador, you make for a wild ride! Jungeedo wasnt quite so impressed. Jefferson, must you always let out that horrible scream when you have failed at your simulated mission? What has it been? A week? Jungeedo, as my head of security, you more than anyone know I believe in realism. Yes, Jefferson but The screaming adds a bit of realism for the playback! Jeff countered, I like it. But today there was wait, you knew there was a novice technician in control. Your extra effort was intended. accused Jungeedo. Jeffs eyes grew wide and he feigned innocence, I didnt know. Jungeedo pointed a trembling finger at Jefferson, and scolded, The pup ejected his morning meal onto the console. It will take days to clean and repair. Jeff apologized, thinking maybe this time hed gone too far, I am truly sorry for the incident. How can I correct this unfortunate situation? Jungeedo released a thunderous laugh. He had bested Jeff. He said, Really we

have learned by now to warn every being of your antics. You should see the look on your round human face. Quedocdo joined in the joke. Jefferson had been bested. Jeff looked up at his Rowdizian security officer and asked. Okay, you got me. What time do we dine with the Commodore? Jungeedo was now sitting on the deck, laughing, enjoying the ruse. In two hours Jefferson. he could hardly speak. Alright, alright, laugh it up. Screw with the human. Good one. Jeff climbed out of the cockpit and stifled a painful scream. Catching his breath, Jungeedo said, I have told you to have your pubic hair permanently removed in the genetic engineering lab. Why do you resist? Jeff answered, I thought I would try a lubricant this time. Didnt work. Now why is it that body hair isnt affected? The creature shook his head, Jefferson, your body hair is fine, short, and silky, but your pubic hair is course and long. The synthetic material of the sprayed on suit grabs the texture of the larger, longer hairs. Jeff thought, Okay, bald balls and a penis wasnt going to kill him, and the synthetic, sprayed on flight suit hurt his crotch by pulling the pubic hairs when he took a wide step. He definitely needed to visit the genetics lab. Whatever your choice. Just do something to quiet your complaining. Jungeedo stood with his hands on his hips and postured to add emphasis to his point of view. He relaxed adding, Good mission, nice kills, let us go and get ready for the evening meal. Before Jefferson reached the staircase, Quedocdo intercepted him and while lightly tracing her right index finger along his jaw line cooed, I would release an egg for a night with you. The comment had the desired effect. His growing erection pushed out the suits material and in turn painfully pulled at the pubes. Jeff gritted his teeth to steel himself from the pinpricks of pain and said, You did that on purpose, didnt you? Quedocdo giggled, I am sorry. I, of course, meant what I said. She took his hand and lightly traced, with her finger, the distinct numbers, 4, 6, 5, 1 in his palm. Her touch electrified him. Puzzled, Jeff asked, Whats that for? The extension to my quarters. Call when you are ready. She blew a kiss and made for the stairs. Jeff thought, Doweejunkdo wasnt kidding. Rowdizian females held the upper hand in sexual matters and were extremely promiscuous. God, you had to love this species. On his way to his quarters, Jeff literally ran into Captain Patterson exiting Jungeedos room. Catching her from behind before she fell, Jeff said, Whats the hurry? Christine straightened her uniform and replied, Sorry Ambassador I needed to do some final prep before this evenings dinner. Doweejunkdo gave me more files to load for, as he puts it, added effect. Christine looked down the hall at Jeffs ever-present shadow, Petty Officer Carpenter and smiled. Jeff didnt bite on the briefing diversion. He plowed ahead with, Christine, weve been guests of the Rowdizians for more than a week. You dont have to hide your

relationship with Jungeedo. Hes an honest and sincere creature. She shyly hung her head slightly and replied, There Sir, you said it yourself creature. Jeff gently took her chin and lifted her gaze to meet his eyes, There was no disrespect in my comment. I admire my head of security and trust him with my life. Ambassador, I too mean no disrespect. But if my friends back home knew I had a relationship with a Rowdizian, Id be barred from their circles. They arent that open minded. Well Christine, Id have to admit that this presents a bit more of a challenge than racial mixing of a few hundred years ago, but the concept is the same. Would your friends approve of your relationship with anyone except an Anglo-Saxon male? Jeff countered. To a minimal degree yes, but still there would be limits. She shook her head. Jeff hugged his military liaison. Look, Youre cute, and no one on this ship harbors any resentment toward you or your relationship with Jungeedo. Maybe just maybe, we humans can learn something from the filthy aliens. Relax and enjoy the creature. His qualities far exceed that of most humans. Youre serious. she observed. His gaze confirmed his sincerity. She kissed her superior on the cheek, took a step back, and crossing her chest with her arms she said, with purity and openness how were we so lucky that fate chose you? Well that would depend on ones point of view. Better move along, Jeff lightly smacked her on the butt as she departed and cringed at his overly familiar behavior. Christine turned and teased, Ill tell Susan. Not if I tell her first. Jeffs wide smile didnt betray his lightly cursing himself for his behavior. Even if it was only a month since the end of the war and he was appointed Earths Ambassador to the Rowdizian home world, he needed to check his behavior. Rounding the corner in the maze of corridors, he found his room and noted the number of door openings on the display panel that lit when he placed his palm on the security sensor. No change. Humans, smug in their superiority, believed they were the more advanced civilization when they encountered the Rowdizians. How wrong we were. The aliens were over a thousand years ahead in evolution over the humans. Technologically, the two species were about even, but technology was secondary to enlightenment. That is where the Rowdizians excelled. Jeff entered his room and remembered the last time he and Susan were there. He wondered what she was doing. The Nova Wind would be orbiting earth in less than 20 hours. A long, hot shower, a shave, a change of clothes and he was ready. Jeff was glad tonight was casual night. He threw on some jeans and a sweatshirt emblazoned with Jar Head its a Marine thing before heading for the dining room. Closing and locking the door, Jeff turned and said, Good evening Lapgeedo. The Rowdizian guard in full dress uniform, carried a deadly 9 millimeter SMG. He bowed and replied. An honor to serve, Ambassador. Jefferson, please. Ambassador, please. I am on duty. Jeff offered,, Can I get you anything?

I am content, Sir. On his way to the dining room he passed several crew busily going about their assigned duties. Carpenter, Lapgeedo, or another guard was always close. Some would wave and some would bid the Ambassador greetings. Jeff and his staff had become quite familiar to the crew and most didnt give them a second glance. Maybe tonight, he thought, the dining room would be different. Stopping just before the entrance, Jeff was slightly embarrassed at his choice for casual. He almost returned to his room to change because in the Rowdizian military, casual meant they only abstained from the ceremonial sashes and ribbons. The protocol jogged his memory as he reached to open the door. Shrugging, he straightened his sweatshirt and short crop of hair. Taking a deep breath, he opened the entry door. The muffled speech of over a thousand beings hushed within seconds. Everyone stood and faced his direction. At the nearest table for eight, one seat was vacant. That was Jeffs place. From his table, a very young female spoke in the high pitched voice of a prepuberty child, Greetings Ambassador Norton. We, the assembled, beg you to join us for the evening meal. Excuse our humble offering, for your presence honors our galley, our ship, and our fleet. Please join us with purity and openness. Again, as with every meal, the entire room closed with a resounding, With purity and openness! And now it was Jeffs turn to speak. He had really, really hoped casual would forgo the ceremony. He, as always, held a more self-centered wish. With a large genuine smile he said, I, as always, am the receiver of the greatest gift. Your food, your company, and your friendship. I am blessed to be on this great ship with her great crew. Let us eat! Cheers erupted in the hall and the assembled took their seats. Jeff thought, one of these evenings Ill eat in my room, but that would insult my hosts. A little voice in his head said to just suck it up and get used to it. After touring the buffet, he took the only seat available between the young Rowdizian female and Prince Deejunkdo. Directly across from his seat at the eight place table sat Doweejunkdo. To his left was Captain Patterson and Jungeedo, and to his right was Petty Officer Carpenter. Another female crewmember of initial grade completed the seating. Once situated, Jeff switched on the imbedded plate heater for his dish. Looking to the two youngest diners, Jeff asked, May you please honor me with your names? If youre still guessing, Im Ambassador Norton. My friends and dinner guests call me Jefferson. The two confused youngsters looked to Prince Deejunkdo for permission. Jefferson represented a head of state and protocol didnt allow for the breach. The Princes eye slits almost completely closed and he slightly bowed his head. The silent signal gave the young adults permission to address the ambassador by his given name. The Prince looked to Jefferson and said, They may stumble, Jefferson. You have just given them permission to waive a capital sin. Jeff apologized for his lack of understanding and from the mouth of babes came, But, Ambassador. I mean Jefferson, it is we that have the issue to overcome. Jeffs table and the nearby tables erupted in laughter. Two hours into the meal, Jefferson asked, Doweejunkdo, when are you going to explain to me your comment from a week ago of our two species having, bigger fish to

fry? Im at a loss and you seem to have no urgency. The entire hall fell silent. Doweejunkdo placed another morsel into his mouth, chewed, took a deep breath, swallowed, and said, I would apologize for the delay, but we had to assemble a variety of information to fully explain the severity of our shared situations. In Rowdizian he addressed the crowd, dismissing anyone that wanted to leave. No one left. Looking to Jefferson, he asked, coffee? Jefferson thought, stimulants, yes, and nodded his agreement. Waiters with urns of coffee, passed throughout the room. A giant screen dropped from the ceiling against the near wall. The room remained silent. The briefing was to be given in English, with Doweejunkdo facilitating and Captain Patterson assisting. A few of the assembled Rowdizian crew put on headphones to translate the message. Most spoke English. Doweejunkdo asked, Please Jefferson, keep any expression or reaction to yourself. This briefing is to be transmitted to my home world and to the Earth Alliance governments for their use. The screen filled with a celestial map showing the locations of the Rowdizian home world and the Earth Alliance. Completing a near perfect equilateral triangle was another named star system, Tilldoc, unknown to Jeff. Doweejunkdo began, Welcome, to everyone watching this transmission. I am Commodore Doweejunkdo, commander of the Rowdizian Fleet and former Rowdizian Ambassador to the Earth Alliance home world. Over six years ago, my species attempted contact with the Earth Alliance. We were met with a less than hospitable welcome. The screen filled with protests on Earth demanding the departure of the newly discovered species. These demonstrations were at times ugly and sometimes deadly. The screen switched to recorded scenes of the devastation at the conference that marked the final straw and led to the Six Year War. We, as different worlds, have a common enemy. Prejudice. However, Rowdizia is acutely aware of another shared enemy that Earth has yet to discover. That is the purpose of our briefing at this time. Please be of purity and open mind as we proceed. The screen returned to the celestial map. Doweejunkdo took a drink of the steaming coffee and continued, The Rowdizian species is about one thousand years ahead of Earths civilization. I harbor and mean no offense. We discovered flight roughly 900 years before humans, then followed space flight, plasma energy, and hyper-drive. Unless a developing peaceful species destroys itself or suffers some great upheaval during this time, it was believed all cultures develop at roughly the same pace. With our highly advanced technology, we watched your world evolve and prosper. We watched as you nearly destroyed yourselves in your twenty-first century. We reached out to Earth over six years ago and disaster resulted. Again, collectively, we will be best served to move on. Captain Patterson took over, Thank you for allowing me to brief you of the situation as I know it. I am Captain Christine Patterson, Military Liaison to Earths Ambassador to the Rowdizian home world. While the advanced Rowdizian world was monitoring Earth, they were also watching an interesting area of the heavens that was slightly more advanced than Earth by several hundred years. This planets highest life form referred to themselves as the Tilldoc. For most cultures that would present no problem except this new, growing society was militaristic to the point of subjugating all

conquered peoples and they are human. A few mumbles broke the silence. I know youre thinking how? It is theorized that over 20 million years ago an impact event struck the Earth a glancing blow and took with it the developing genetic material of the Hominidae family. This material deposited itself in the primordial soup of this new world and another human civilization developed. The bigger problem is the beings from this younger civilization, seeded themselves on Earth during the late 19th century. Many of you are asking, how can a less advanced people advance so quickly given that all cultures advance at roughly the same rate. Eugenics. More hushed conversation disturbed the room. The Tilldoc progressed rapidly to the point where they were exploring the outer planets and nearby neighbors about the time of the Americas colonization. This is where a tremendous change in their society took place and set them back a little. A civil war broke out on Tilldoc where the undesirables and their supporters revolted. Less than a century later, only genetically superior humans were free to roam the planet Tilldoc. Doweejunkdo again took the floor, Earths society suffered through a period when selective breeding for the more perfect human was all the rage. Figures like Woodrow Wilson, H. G. Wells, Oliver Wendell Holmes, John D. Rockefeller, Margret Sanger, Alexander Graham Bell, and Hitler, were all believers in this form of genetic selection to create a master race. They also believed in keeping undesirables from procreation, by sterilization or extermination. When Captain Patterson spoke of the Tilldoc seeding the Planet Earth, she was correct. The Tilldoc learned of Earth, their cousins in the universe, many centuries ago and traveled on a one way trip to colonize and influence Earths people. They arrived in the Earths late 19th century. Doweejunkdo sipped another taste then continued, From what we know, in the last 50 years, the Tilldoc have discovered Plasma Energy and just recently discovered hyper-drive. Many of you may be thinking, Wait how did the Tilldoc discover Earth, when the people of Earth had yet to discover radio and broadcast their existence? I must admit, that was the inadvertent fault of my species. The images you are now viewing are of a Rowdizian colony of scientists and military experts from several centuries ago that, covertly, were monitoring the Tilldoc home world. Discovered, our scientists and observers could not escape and were tortured to death when captured. Recorded scenes of the gruesome butchering and harsh interrogations were continuously transmitted to the Rowdizian home world until the communication equipment was discovered and destroyed by the Tilldoc. As you can see, mercy is not in their vernacular and our species were treated like pests. The recording of a Rowdizian pup having its head crushed under the boots of several Tilldoc gave pause to the briefing. Doweejunkdo, visibly moved, allowed Christine to continue, The Rowdizians went to great lengths to avoid influencing other cultures in the galaxy. Over 2000 scientists and support personnel were killed. They had no chance of escape, because any advanced technology, to include advanced weapons and a ship with hyper-drive, were not available in case of just such a discovery and capture. The powerful and commanding Doweejunkdo stood, My species has made mistakes. Many mistakes our first mistake was getting too close to the Tilldoc. Our second was waiting too long and some think, not destroying the Tilldoc home world. But that action would make us no better. The creature paused for more fresh coffee, Our third mistake was allowing our pride to overrule logic when we were not treated

equally on your home world, and blaming all Earths people for that fateful day when the terrorist attack killed almost all of the Rowdizian diplomatic delegation. I, we were angered by Earths coddling of the perpetrators. We forgot to respect your cultures laws. And for that, and the tens of millions of beings that have died because of a war ignited by our ignorant pride, we are truly sorry. The weight of Doweejunkdos revelation left him drained. Christine continued, All options weighed, the next briefing will contain the Rowdizian and Ambassador Nortons proposal. Goodbye for now. The dim dining room lights increased to full brightness, illuminating the complete silence. The only movement was Jeff walking to confront Doweejunkdo. Standing before the creature and Christine he demanded in a hushed, deliberate tone, Why? why didnt you warn me? Doweejunkdo exhaled such a heavy sigh his head whistled, Christine and I thought it best you get the pertinent information and not be distracted by trivial fillers. That will come later. Its those trivial fillers that give dimension to the central theme. he huffed. Christine was terse, Ambassador Doweejunkdo has a valid point. Listen what are the chances of the Earth-Alliance allying with a species of bugs over their physically compatible, and matched in every way, cousins? Doweejunkdo continued, Actually, all this was her idea, the creature tossed a hand toward Christine, I tried to warn her, but she had the better idea. Christine was speechless and felt betrayed. Doweejunkdo let out another of his thunderous belly laughs, You should see the look on your faces. Priceless. Jefferson, knowing his new friend, let Christine demand, Whats so funny? I worked hard to be prepared for this presentation. I believe in what we are attempting to do. Jeff began laughing, Christine, Doweejunkdo isnt laughing at your expense hes The creature thought it better he explain, Christine, I am laughing at the overwhelming odds against us at pulling this off. If we fail, your world will be subjugated, and my species will cease to exist. I fail to see the humor. she began to cry. Jefferson explained, Christine, were all crazy for even trying. On Earth there exists so much bigotry and closed-mindedness, a lasting peace with the Rowdizians will be nearly impossible. Throw the Tilldoc into the equation and poof, Jeff splayed all his fingers upward, impossible. You said so yourself hours ago. Your friends would reject you for your relationship with Jungeedo. Doweejunkdo added, Think of the situation this way. For our species to go forward as one, we have to collectively agree we are equals, and maybe at some future date, our worlds can agree to manipulate our combined genetic structures to establish a hybrid that is acceptable to both species. Christine exaggerated the roll of her head and eyes to emphasize her thought, Now your talking like a Tilldoc. Eugenics Jefferson defended, No, Christine. The manipulation to allow for the combining

of genetic material, not the perfection. Actually we have researched the possibilities since we contacted your species. It is doable. A human male can impregnate a Rowdizian female, But for some reason, a Rowdizian males seamen can not fertilize a human females egg. Do not you and Jungeedo want to have a pup one day? Waggling his eyebrows, Doweejunkdo softly poked Christines abdomen with his finger. Jungeedo has told me in the past, when the day came and he settled down, he would seed at least 25 offspring. A small number I know, but he figured he would be starting later in the lifecycle. Christine swooned and collapsed into the nearest chair. Jungeedo arrived and asked, Has Christine taken ill? Jeff countered, Naw I believe she is shocked by the small family you desire. Understanding human physiology, Jungeedo said, She would be very busy. Doweejunkdo suggested the group retire for the evening. There was too much information to digest and they could discuss the situation tomorrow during the morning meal. Jeff helped guide Christine back to her room. He knew she felt a strong attraction to the Rowdizian head of security, but twenty-five? When they reached their rooms, Jungeedo asked Jeff to wait before going to the morning meal. Concerned, Jeff asked of any problem. Jungeedo answered, Nothing, Jefferson. Tomorrows meeting will have a greater degree of security and we will not be dining in the Great Hall. Jeff understood saying, Just knock when youre ready. Ill be dressed. As you command. the tall Rowdizian bowed at the waist, Good evening, Jefferson. Jeff checked the door count before entering. No unexpected change. Once inside he commanded a comfortable light level and poured a glass of Crown neat. This bottle would be gone before morning and he had eleven to go. The Rowdizian galley crew had secured a sample his first full day on board and promised to replicate the spirits. The chief cook reassured Jeff of the quality saying, We learned how to copy from the Chinese. Settling into an overstuffed chair, Jeff began his nightly routine. Tonight he chose files of information on the Tilldoc society. The index listed hundreds of years of collected data. Now he understood the need for the condensed version at the briefing. They had only scratched the tip of the proverbial iceberg. At least the bridge crew would get a break from Jeffs nightly technical questions in reference to the capabilities of Rowdizian ships and weaponry, or the translation of specific Rowdizian words he was unfamiliar with. The information was so telling. Even the most bigoted man on Earth should see that he too would be classified as less then perfect. If a Tilldocs IQ was below genius they were cast into the servitude of the elite. Their thumbs were rumored to be removed to prevent the dexterity to man an effective revolt. The perversion had moved beyond physical characteristics and evolved into superior mental capacity. By 11:00 PM and his fourth drink, Jeff fell asleep watching a portion of the complete playback of the torture and killing of the research group. It was sickening. His eyes and ears closed to the horror when a disemboweled Rowdizian, while being skinned, blurted out the existence of the Earth home world. Susan rescued him from the sickness plaguing his thoughts. Her gentle touch

aroused his unconscious mind. He resisted the fulfilling dream and Susan morphed into several Rowdizian females satisfying his every desire. They had the ability to control the individual halves of their split tongues. One kissed and then wrapped her tongue around two of his fingers, then gently and rhythmically stroked the fingers length. Amazed at the display, he continued his focus as the others explored every millimeter of his body, affording Jeff a continued erotic experience of tingling, stimulating electrical sensation. He was about to awake from the heavenly orgy when KCs light drifted into his dream. She breathed, Jeff enjoy your fantasy move on however, you do have feelings for Susan. You must talk to her and think of your greater responsibilities. Susan returned and was positioned on top of his supine body. Together they gyrated in an effort to give the greatest pleasure to their partner. As one, they climaxed and fell into a tangled mesh of steaming, sweat drenched skin. She kissed Jeff long and deeply, her tongue exploring his, then she slowly traced the contours of his chest. As she arrived at his navel, her moans of pleasure caused him to awaken. He immediately realized three things; he was alone, his hand was rubbing a sticky, wet portion of his robe, and the female cries of wanton fulfilled pleasure were coming from Jungeedos room. Christine must have recovered and found her way back to Jeffs security officer. It was 2:00 AM. Slightly embarrassed, yet satisfied by his stolen pleasure, Jeff finished a near empty glass of whiskey and repositioned to the shower. The slippery, wet, steaming hot liquid mixed with soap felt wonderful to his skin. After a vigorous scrubbing he finished the shower by cleaning his crotch. Susan again joined his mind in the confined space, and he and his erection woke the next morning to Jungeedos knock. Cracking open the door, a barely awake Jeff said, I apologize, Jungeedo. I must have overslept. Not a problem, Jefferson. I will wait in the hall while you dress. Knowing of human inhibitions, he thought it best. The room smelled of sex. Jeff showered again and dressed. Within ten minutes and with wet hair he joined the creature tasked with protecting his life. He took note of Jungeedos casual outfit. This was the first time he had seen an officer of the Rowdizian military dress down during a duty period. The pair walked and talked on their way to the special working meal. Jungeedo asked, Did you have a productive and relaxing evening? A little too enthusiastically Jeff said, Both got some research of the Tilldoc completed and found mindless bliss in a bottle of Crown. How about you? Did Christine ever get over her shock. Quite well I must say. She came to my room later. I must beg your forgiveness. She is very vocal in her reaction to copulation and the preceding rituals. Really, I wouldve never guessed. smiled Jeff, and thought, well including me theres two Earthlings won over. Only another 13 billion to go. Doweejunkdo, dressed in a comfortable two piece work uniform of black slacks and a gray pullover shirt, matched the other assembled officers. Their defining rank was embroidered on their collars. He excitedly welcomed the pair into the briefing room designed specifically for the purpose of presenting sensitive information that was best delivered with the wide assortment of audio and visual tools. The creature stepped quickly closing the distance separating him from Jefferson, his new friend. We have a

variety of morning meal dishes that will be brought out when everyone is assembled. Please tell the attendants what you desire to drink. Stretching to look around Jeff and Jungeedo, he added, where is Captain Richardson? Jungeedo answered, Commodore, She will be joining us shortly. She is still recovering from the shock of yesterday evening. Jeff added, Yes, the revelation of the Tilldoc and number of potential children did take its toll. Doweejunkdo frowned and his eye slits narrowed, Peculiar she helped prepare the brief. Shrugging his shoulders, his long arms then motioned Jeffs attention to the expansive room. On every wall hung a combination screen and white board that was able to display recorded presentations and allow for the direct input at the screen or source for additional information to enhance the presentation. Jeff was amazed that at the present time the boards displayed a 360 degree view of the area around the ship as it traveled through hyperspace. It was breathtaking. He had never traveled this deep into the Rowdizian portion of the quadrant, and the known celestial bodies revealed a different beauty from this vantage point. While he watched the screens a significant course correction took place that was not discernable by any of his other senses. He asked, Doweejunkdo, why the course correction? Jefferson, we are less than a days travel to my home world. Prince Deejunkdo thought it best to show you first hand one of our colonies established on the nearest habitable planet to Rowdizia. Christine, dressed in a pair of jeans and sweatshirt, entered the briefing room for the first time and spun around, taking in all the technology as she made her way to the table. In the center of the room was a fifty place boat shaped conference table. Each setting had its own view screen and device for inputting information. She counted fifteen places set with assorted plates, glasses, cups, and tableware. This room is amazing. Wholl be joining us? Doweejunkdo answered, Well, good morning Christine. Besides the five of us, the heads and assistants of intelligence, logistics, operations, personnel, and science will be joining us. Jefferson this briefing is for your understanding and to allow you to make a more informed decision. It is the fillers. Jeff shook his head, You have my support. I did more research last night what decision? We will give you a deeper understanding of what both our worlds face. After we finish, you will be able to decide how to best release last nights revelation to the governments of the Alliance. You lost me. I thought you broadcast last nights event to both our worlds. Not at this time. Jefferson, when we finish, I hope you will understand how delicate a situation we are facing. The remaining staff entered dressed in similar attire. Christine maneuvered to introduce the new arrivals. After getting everyones attention, she introduced Jeff to all of the Rowdizian staff officers. Jeff was impressed. While he had relaxed and taken somewhat of a vacation since boarding, Christine had been hard at work preparing for last evening. Jeff apologized, I feel at a loss for not being more involved for the past week.

Not only is Christines knowledge far greater of the challenges we face, but she has also labored at learning our hosts language. A planned distraction, Prince Deejunkdo said. Let us sit and consume the morning meal. We will explain our actions and help paint a clearer picture. Did I use that metaphor correctly? Yes you did. You are your uncles nephew. Still, I am confused, but Im sure of the necessity of your efforts. Jeff took the honored place at the tables head. The remaining staff divided evenly between the two sides. Shortly, doors opened and a half dozen wait staff entered to offer the meal. After they served, additional covered platters were left on a nearby buffet. Jeff continued, So tell me, why the big production? Christine asked, How did you feel during and after? Spooning a portion of the Rowdizian version of eggs, sausage, potatoes, and cheese, Jeff held the utensil to accent his words. Blown away. Overwhelmed, denial, anger. They did unspeakable things to the scientists and observers. The food fell to his plate and Jeff retrieved the errant bite before tossing it into his mouth. Doweejunkdo pressed, But Jefferson, tell us how you felt toward the Tilldoc? Your full range of feelings. Jeff knew immediately where this was heading and he immediately knew the why, I was for moments, excited there was another planet of humans in the galaxy. I wished for a dialogue and understanding with our cousins. Jeff expressed a deep sigh, And I had hoped there was some gross miscommunication, that the butchery, like the war we just fought, was an explainable, costly mistake. Jungeedo laughed wanting to interject his opinion, Good the desired effect was achieved by a close friend and ally. Jefferson, there are many of your species, that if they have any positive feelings or open mindedness, will be swayed to question the motives of Rowdizia. You still, to this day, have many that scoff at your species descent from primates. Our distant ancestors were worms. Jungeedo held his hands palm up to mimic a set of scales, Let us see, align with the insects, or a race of beings that for all intents and purposes are from our own gene pool. The hand signifying the Tilldocs hit the table from the presumed weight of public opinion. Ending the war was easy. Your and my species had had enough. You would not have defeated us. Bloodied our nose yes, but you give me a look of skepticism. Just wait till this time tomorrow. Jungeedo paused, took several bites of his meal as did the others at the table, before clarification, Let us eat before the food becomes cold and then we will dive deeply into the meat of the matter. Jefferson, you probably have a hundred questions. As we dine, enter them into your computer system so we can address each of them before the days end. Small talk continued during the meal. Everyone agreed to wait until all were finished before the complete disclosure. Doweejunkdo and the others laughed with the explanation of Jeff being excluded for the past week. Jeff answered yes to having fun and mastering the skills of a Cooja fighter pilot. Doweejunkdos explanation was immediate. It was important for Jefferson to have fun after the stress of the war, and to a greater degree, he master the Rowdizian first line fighter. The not too distant future would require every skilled instructor to train a new generation of pilots. The plan was simple in its complexity having been developed over seven years ago and tweaked since its

inception. Jeffersons education continued. The Rowdizians had been debating when to contact the Alliance for over a year before that historic day. The females of Rowdizia knew the meeting could lead to an interstellar war and began birthing large broods of offspring. At the same time, knowing that defense of the Rowdizian home world or fleeing to a distant part of the universe might become necessary, large, modern military transports capable of battle were designed and to this day many more were still being built. Time was both an ally and enemy. More so the latter, when a year after the first contact, the terrorists attacked the Rowdizian delegation. The Alliance proved to be a formidable enemy. The Rowdizians were buying time. The ships were now built and the third broods would mature in the coming twelve months. The first were near graduation. A war of attrition, that was all it was once started. The Rowdizians wanted it stopped. They didnt expect a protracted war. They also miscalculated and didnt expect the Alliance to be so bigoted. Coming out of their enlightened period, many new and dangerous weapons of war were designed, built, and tested by the more advanced Rowdizian society. Doweejunkdo joked, Nothing better at getting those creative juices flowing like self preservation. The intercom announced the Katvanshevics deceleration and the ship would be entering orbit above New Terra in five minutes. Jeffs head hurt from all the new information. He agreed Doweejunkdo and the other staff were right. This would be an almost impossible sell to the people of the Alliance. So he asked, What other choices do we have? Doweejunkdo countered, Choices? Few. We have to convince the Alliance that we are the lesser of two evils. How? The deck is stacked. Now youve got me using clichs. Jeff bowed and shook his head. Jefferson, your species is going to either like us, which I doubt, or they will despise the Tilldoc more. We might be able to accommodate that. Doweejunkdo laughed. Come, let us go to the surface of New Terra and visit the colony. On the way to the shuttle bay Jeff changed into clothing matching the Rowdizian staff. He noticed the golden symbol on his collar matched that of Prince Deejunkdos, the government crest. After a short flight to the surface, the shuttle circled a modern city that made up the only built up area of the planet. An air/space port was clearly located on the edge of the city. Both Jeff and Christine couldnt believe their senses when the shuttle door opened and they were greeted by thousands of cheering humans in an atmosphere devoid of H2S. At a loss for words, Jeff asked, Christine? She responded, Im just as in the dark as you are. Jeff smiled and waved for a minute then turned to Doweejunkdo, Explain! Surprised, the creature said, When we left your planet six years ago, we had many human sympathizers who asked to return with us. We had two warships in orbit capable of carrying over eight thousand beings each, and we were not about to let the potentially great opportunity pass. Just over eight thousand humans returned with us. We

allowed the majority to colonize this planet. About two thousand make their home on Rowdizia. New Terra is now their home and they have sworn allegiance to our world. Doweejunkdo gently patted Jeff on the shoulder. They know of you and your involvement in our chance at peace. Jefferson, you will not find a more accepting crowd. Please be their hope and hero. From the elevated vantage point of the shuttle, Jeff rejoined Christine on the stairway. It was plain to see about a fifth of the crowd were Rowdizian. Jeff, Christine and the dignitaries descended the stairs to the waiting throng. The group worked the crowd like politicians on the stump. The mass flanked the narrow walkway leading to a grand meeting center. Most of the humans spoke English, but many were fluent in Rowdizian. The two hundred meters to the building took half an hour to negotiate. Once inside the building Jeff asked, What now? A speech in less than an hour. Jungeedo answered. Wide eyed Jeff protested, You guys have to stop. Im not prepared. Doweejunkdo countered, I believe your deliveries from the heart to be best. We will guide you with the best theme and the crowds expectation. We need to hurry and take transport to the coliseum. Why? The crowd is here. Give me a mike and Ill stand on the roof. Jeff shrugged his shoulders. The main assembly is waiting in the coliseum. Their work period is complete. This was just the greeters How many? Christine pressed. Now it was Doweejunkdos turn to shrug, About eight thousand. The math doesnt work, frowned Christine. Jungeedo clarified, There are several thousand Rowdizians on this planet. Jeff said suspiciously, Guards? Jefferson, please. Doweejunkdo shook his head in disbelief. They are professionals, instructors, tradesmen, and mates. Mates? Jeff was really confused, Doweejunkdo, youre now telling me you already have the technology to genetically reengineer the differences between humans and your species? Exactly! I told you, human male to Rowdizian female was possible. Almost on cue, a Rowdizian female dressed in a deep blue flowing ankle length gown, crossed the lobby pushing a stroller. The pup was cute, however the sharp characteristics of the Rowdizian form were absent. The hybrid had a more rounded chin, softer cheekbones, silky blond hair, outer ears and most striking were the large round eyes. Their color was a deep rich green. As the mother and child were about to pass, the infant cooed and waved to the dignitaries with six tiny fingers. Doweejunkdo beckoned the mother to join them. Madam, Please, may we see your beautiful young pup? Stopping before the group, she bowed then said, Doweejunkdo, Prince Deejunkdo, and Ambassador I am honored that you should ask. The infant protested the interruption to its excursion and the female stooped to retrieve the manipulating pup. When she stood cradling the child she continued, I am Teedocdo, and this is my male offspring, Mathew. She began bouncing the child on her hip. Intrigued, Jeff asked, Are you meeting a flight?

Not really, Ambassador. We came to greet your arrival and to hear your speech. Isnt the chance at peace exciting? Jeff continued, I agree. Is your mate coming? Oh no. I do not know when he will be granted leave. He serves aboard the Katvanshevic. He is a weapons officer. Surprised Jeff said, Im sorry for our false assumption. The childs features lead us to believe your husband to be human. Your assumption is correct. Mathews father is quite human. We met on Rowdizia five years ago. My father was less than enthusiastic at our coupling, but John had given up everything to support our species. We conceived the pup the last time he was home on leave. Her eyes, smile, and mood telegraphed the love and attachment she had for her mate. My parents are so happy their daughter and grandchild are part of the future hybrid generation. They will be moving to New Terra as soon as they have completed their responsibilities and affairs. So are you an only child? Jungeedo asked. Oh no. Mother delivered thirty-two pups of which sixteen were birthed seven years ago. The last sixteen will begin War Academy advanced education and training in a few weeks. Jeff offered, Would you like to accompany us to the stadium? You and Mathew can join us on stage. Ambassador, that is such a gracious offer, I Prince Deejunkdo stood behind Jeff and vigorously nodded his head yes. Teedocdo smiled and said, Of course, I am honored. Embraced by the arid breezes of the luscious planet, the dignitaries plus two boarded the ground shuttles to the stadium. Jeff invited Teedocdo to a seat beside him and asked countless questions about her immediate family and life on New Terra. The war had taken eleven of her siblings. Six females and five males. Time for grieving had passed. Her family served either in the medical corps or flight squadrons. John, her mate, was the odd one out. She was a wealth of information. An accomplished surgeon at New Terra Medical Center, she specialized in thoracic surgery on both species. When they settled into the stadium the crowd was seated before Prince Deejunkdo began the rally. Thunderous cheers greeted Ambassador Norton. His twenty minute delivery was interrupted several times by a supporting crowd drunk on the cessation of hostilities. The twenty minutes stretched to thirty and greeted the sunset, a beautiful red orange scarlet affair that signaled an end to the gathering. Once back on board the Katvanshevic shuttle, Jeff asked, Why didnt you tell me of humans serving aboard Rowdizian warships? Doweejunkdo sighed, It never came up. Well the prospects of our two species procreating has and you kept this success secret. Jefferson, it was not germane to the conversation at the time. And I did tell you of our knowing the Rowdizian female and human male could conceive. Maybe you wish to debate the need, but we had developed a sequential plan to give you, in time, all the information to make an informed decision. I believe I have chosen well the Alliances

representative. You have on more than one occasion complained of headaches due to information overload. Doweejunkdo, thats just a figure of speech. Tell me all, Ill be fine. As you command. There are one hundred and fifty-two humans serving on our warships at this time. Seventy-three have died in the line of duty to the Empire. Six have received the Empires highest award for bravery. Eighteen serve aboard the Katvanshevic. We did not hide them from you, Jefferson. My friend, you have probably been exposed to less than half the entire crew since you have been aboard. The shuttle landed and maneuvered to a parking slot. As soon as the tie-down clamps engaged, the portal opened for disembarking. Jeff continued hot on the trail of the Commodore, demanding answers to his every question. Finally, having had enough, Doweejunkdo abruptly stopped and ushered his friend to a secluded area in the hangar bay. Once inside another shuttle, Doweejunkdo closed the portal. Jeff recovered to continue his barrage of demands. The creature held up a six finger hand and visually signaled a stop with an accompanying oral booming, Enough! The creature sat, placed his hands on his knees, bowed at the waist and shook his hanging head. The black dreadlocks danced from his scalp. The chance at completing a true alliance with your home world is calculated at less than 1%. We could have, and many believe should have, destroyed your species. The minority, of which I am one, wanted to take the greater risk and build an alliance with your species. The first wave of birthed pups from the planning for major casualties have completed basic military training. We can field another sixteen Galaxy Class Battle Ships. We could halve our current crews to man the additional ships and supplement the crew shortages with inexperienced replacements. How many ships does the Alliance hold in reserve? Jeff was sure Doweejunkdo knew the answer and was just fishing for confirmation. He bowed his head and whispered, None. Look at me! Look me in the eyes. I told you when we first met, you were fearless and good at deception. I am your greatest ally. Jeff stared at the Rowdizian. He didnt want this confrontation. His need for information and the slow manner at which he was being brought into the loop was upsetting. But his friend was correct. Jeff felt purposely left out, and much of that was his own fault. I am sorry for any embarrassment I have caused you. We have no other ships that I know of in reserve. What is my place in all this intrigue? Doweejunkdo spun his arms in wild circles for effect, Jefferson, rule number one of a leader or diplomat. Always act like you are part of the whole. Never divulge your ignorance in any matter, unless it is purposeful for planned deception. Have a commanding presence. That is the man I met on the bridge of the Dungruevic. The creature motioned Jeff to the seat directly across from his. I too, am sorry for mishandling your education. So can we still work to understand and, if necessary, defeat this new threat? I pledge to do what is best for both our worlds. Doweejunkdo chuckled, That, my friend, can be a most troublesome task. Rest assured, we are not your masters. So what are we to do?

Return to the briefing chamber. Did you list any questions? About fifty. Good. You will have another five hundred before this night is over. Proceed to the briefing chamber. As the portal opened, Doweejunkdo slapped Jeff on the back and signaling things had returned to normal by saying, I really sense sexual frustration. Just think, this time tomorrow, I will introduce you to my six daughters Jeff smiled and finished, of breeding age. Exactly! This time the briefing room was set up buffet style. The delegation would have to fend for themselves. Once everyone had returned to their seats with full plates and beverages, Doweejunkdo commanded their attention. The gathered staff ate while the Commodore restarted the briefing. Ladies and gentlemen, here is our fantastic and desperate plan. We have been able to detect the genetic code of the Tilldoc species courtesy of our first capture and sampling on the Alliance home world. When returning home, all humans were tested and those few pure blood Tilldoc that tried to board were not allowed on the ships. We returned them to Earth. Since then we have refined the process and have found less than two percent of the colonists on New Terra have a faint genetic trait, meaning they are distant cousins to the Tilldoc. We plan to reintroduce a portion of the humans from New Terra back into Earths society. Intensive psychological testing and training has readied the Terrans for this most dangerous of duties. Over time, they will infiltrate the Eugenic groups, collect data and when necessary, eliminate the Tilldoc spies. At the same time we will begin programs in medicine and agriculture to improve quality, production, and yield. We hope we will be seen as an asset to our combined species future. We will also have to convince the humans of Earth that many of them will be viewed as less than desirable by the Tilldoc, in an attempt to drive a wedge between these two closely related species. Doweejunkdo paused to sample the evenings fare. Taking advantage of the pause, Jungeedo asked, Commodore. What if during the time we are trying to sway opinion, the Tilldoc show up to make their presence known? Jeff offered his view at tactics. By that time, I should have secretly briefed the heads of state we believe, through profiling, we can trust. If they did arrive on Earth and try to change the outcome of our efforts, then we would need to attack the Tilldoc home world. We would have to use a force large enough to cause significant damage whereby the Tilldoc fleet would be recalled to defend their home world. This would be seen as an act of pure aggression to anyone not directly effected and looking for an excuse to disrupt any treaty between Rowdizia and the Earth Alliance. Doweejunkdo added, An excellent observation Jefferson. Someone must have slipped you the plan. There was laughter around the table. Hopefully our human operatives will have time to seek out and neutralize the Tilldoc on Earth. By neutralize, do you mean kill? Christine asked. I mean our operatives will be risking their lives to save the people of Earth from themselves. They are to use the force necessary to eliminate any threat or spy. That is what the Tilldoc are spies. My species has no illusions. Changing your culture will be

impossible. And should our operatives be caught and charged with murder, fifteen to twenty years will give us plenty of time to get them released. Doweejunkdo looked at Jeff, I believe if we test the DNA of those that killed the Rowdizian delegation six years ago, I am certain they will prove to be pure Tilldoc. Lucky for us, the terrorists still languish in Earth prisons. Jeff thought through the timeline and was amazed at the patience of the Rowdizians. He looked to his mentor, Doweejunkdo how long do think this operation will take to complete? Doweejunkdo set down his utensils, patted his lips with a beige cloth napkin and rocked back in his chair. Chasing, with his tongue, what remained of his last bite before swallowing, he then slowly took a swallow of tea to chase the food. Exhaling a long sigh, he said, Jefferson my trusted friend, that is the greatest challenge. If nothing forces our hand, this shift in cultural belief will take generations. You will see the results of this endeavor. At my age, I surely will have returned to the origin. Standing, Jeff said, Then we must proceed. The hour is late and I must rest. Please excuse me, for some reason I am beat. Prince Deejunkdo offered an explanation, We increased the ships gravity eighteen percent in preparation for our return to Rowdizia. It will help with the transition to our planet. Orbit in ten hours. Jeff yawned, Okay. Excuse me... and good night. As he left the room Jeff was joined by Petty Officer Carpenter who had been guarding the door, Bill, did you get a break and something to eat after we returned? Aye, Sir. Three hours a meal in the mess and a nap. Lapgeedo will relieve me in two hours. I resume duty in the morning before we depart for Rowdizia. Good education? Long. Jeff soon reached his quarters. The door count was one greater than the last time he entered. Chief, door counts off. Should be by one Sir. I allowed housekeeping in while I was on break. Swept it afterwards, clean. For insurance, Carpenter entered first. Two minutes later he reported, Clear, Sir. Thanks Chief. Entering the room, Jeffs mind returned to a day very long ago when his parents took him and his sisters on a trip to Beijing Universe. The orderly crispness and the fresh clean smell of the room reminded him of the Beijing Marriott. Smiling, Jeff removed his clothing and draped the pants and shirt over a chair. Falling into bed, he was asleep before he could cover with the comforter. Tonight his thoughts were blank. A deep, restful sleep enveloped and cleared Jeffs mind. Near five in the morning Jeff was so relaxed he didnt notice the red, orange, black and yellow insect crawling up his hand and working its way to his chest. About the size of a large ant, the tiny creature was in search of food and its colony. A necessary insect vital to the fertilization of plants on the planet New Terra, it was also deadly to some of the humans that had settled the new world. One of the delegates must have inadvertently brought the tiny hitchhiker aboard. Or that would be the best explanation. The insect was drawn to a warm moist spot near Jeffs neck. Sensing a meal, it plunged its proboscis into Jeffs flesh. As it injected digestive fluids into the tissue, an immune response caused the host

to scream in pain, SHIT! Jeff slapped at the welt rapidly forming near the base of his neck and jumped out of bed. The wounded insect fell to the sheets and Lapgeedo burst into the room ready to kill any intruder. Jeff pointed to the injured creature in his bed while he inspected the wound in the mirror. Lapgeedo, whats that. Taking a highball glass from a shelf and scooping up the dying creature, Lapgeedo replied, Not good. His neck hurt like hell. Turning, Jeff stood in his underwear holding the left side of his neck and said, Notgood. Thats what its called? No Ambassador, it is called a Plete. From the beetle family. You have a chance at surviving. His Rowdizian guard stabbed the intercom, selected the bridge, and calmly announced, Medical emergency to the Ambassadors quarters. Medical emergency to the Ambassadors quarters. A chance at surviving, what The room began to spin. Lapgeedo instructed Jeff to sit, and said something about the poison not directly entering the bloodstream, otherwise he would be dead. Jeffs last thoughts were of the flurry of beings in his room, and the dream seemed so real, right down to the excruciating pain in his neck and chest. Opening his eyes, Jeff was greeted by a female Rowdizian doctor and a human nurse. Behind the nurse stood Prince Deejunkdo. All eyes were fixed on Jeff. Jefferson, focus. the doctor commanded. Jeffs right hand slowly moved to touch the bandage on his neck, shoulder, and chest. Every joint in his body ached. He mouthed three times the words what happened before he finally vocalized the question. The doctor explained, You were bitten by a small insect called a Plete. You were lucky that the creature missed a blood vessel, they are usually accurate, and Lapgeedo summoned medical immediately. How do you feel? Oh yeah, I do remember Lap saying I had a chance at survival. Damn, I hurt all over. SHIT! Jeff yelled as a dull allover ache with an occasional searing, stabbing pain reminded him he was alive. The nurse handed Jeff the control to a patient controlled analgesic pump and explained, Jeff, if you feel any pain just push the button. The narcotic will help ease the pain, but your body will have to naturally excrete what is left of the poison in your system a few days. You called me Jeff. The nurse recovered, Im sorry what would you like me to address you by, Ambassador Norton? Jeffs fine, its just, he squinted his eyes and rubbed them with his fingers. When he refocused he said, Youre human? Attached? Her left hand was lightly resting on the sheet near his left hip when she noticed a stirring tugging at the cloth. Thats right Jeff. And no, Im single. The nurse turned to the doctor and said, I predict a full recovery, Doctor Cheedocdo. Ill keep a close eye on him, hes already trying to get up. The doctor instructed, Please change the dressing in another hour. I will schedule a theater for possible debridement and reconstruction this afternoon. Agree? As you command. The nurse replied.

The Prince asked, So, a few more days here before discharge? Doctor Cheedocdo replied, That would be optimistic, Prince Deejunkdo. But he is strong and healthy. His recovery will be quick. He owes Lapgeedo his life. That is very true. And we too owe the Ambassador so much. I have business on the surface. Three of his guards are to remain on the ship. Take excellent care of our hero. the Prince requested. With a slight bow at the waist the nurse replied, As you command. Her eyes then returned to the still growing lump under the sheet. Christines foot falls echoed throughout the empty halls and spaces of the closed embassy. She met Jungeedo in the massive foyer and exclaimed, This place is huge. We could house over a hundred personnel here. My God Jungeedo, its so posh. Christine, we could staff over three hundred here. Evidently you have not seen the basement/bomb shelter. Jungeedo frowned asking, What do you mean by posh? Christine smiled, Sorry posh is another way of saying elegant. Damn Jungeedo, its a palace. Jungeedo agreed, You are correct. Built over nine hundred years ago and maintained as a summer retreat for the Emperor. It has not been used in years, but there is a permanent staff that maintains the buildings and grounds. She spun around, taking in the interiors striking beauty. Then without warning, grabbed the security chief and demanded, Come. Now. I saw rooms with beds and I want you. He pleaded, Chris, we have work and Come my sexy alien. Im even hotter for you now after seeing the hybrid pups on New Terra. Two hours, and then we can work later tonight deal? You are a most wonderful temptress. Jungeedo stepped back and placed his arms across his chest then bowed his head slightly, Chris, I am afraid you have stolen my heart. I too long for your touch. I can not believe, in such a short time, that I have been smitten. I hope the experience on New Terra draws you closer to me. It is not quite midday, will three hours be enough? The lovers, hand in hand, ascended the giant sweeping staircase to the second floor. Selecting the wing full of bedroom suites, they found the Emperors bedroom and fell naked into the bedding. The staff in the gardens were at first concerned by the cries coming from the second floor, but soon realized the reason and smiled as they returned to their work. Jeff awoke pushing the button on the PCA. His vision still took some time to focus and finally a sign suspended from the ceiling about four feet from his face read, MORNING 3 DAYS. He laughed at the anticipated tool. Minutes later the nurse entered his room and checked the saturated bandage. He opened his eyes before she left. Im sorry, I cant remember your name. Well Jeff, maybe thats because you never ask. You just grope. She smiled. Youre kidding? Nope, and for the millionth time, my name is Janis. Not tight ass, nice tits, or hot body.

Im so sorry for my behavior. Please forgive me. Really Jeff its not your fault. The poison released by the Plete causes several days of delirium and pain. You were out of your mind. Jeff became instantly clear. I didnt hurt you in any way, did I? No I said groped. Not hit. And at times your comments were cute. Look, Ive taken care of two other humans that eventually recovered from the bite. A male and a female. Both were physical, crude, rude and unapologetic. Most of their poor behavior was directed at the Rowdizian doctors and nurses. They both had one more thing in common. A hint of Tilldoc genetic traits. I cant believe I touched you without your permission. I Look Jeff you have my permission. Its just not ethical for me to be with a patient much less when they are compromised and suffering delirium. She picked up his hand and kissed it tenderly. Lets see how you feel after youre discharged. Janis. he said softly. Yes? Nothing, just working to remember. a giant smile crossed his face. Jungeedo looked around the foyer to the assembled staff. Carpenter, how is the work progressing in the armory? Chief Petty Officer Carpenter reported, Except for the surface to air missiles we are up and running. We can field three hundred troops if necessary. Each would have a submachine gun and pistol, ample ammunition, and grenades. Great. Patterson? Jungeedo, fifty missiles will be here by morning. Also, we will receive fifty antitank weapons. A training schedule is posted for the staff. We could repel an invasion within a month. Christine concluded. Chef Shedocdo report. Sir, the kitchen, interior, and grounds staff are ready. We have supplies for a month and food for six months. The power supply will last a year. Staff are familiar with the training schedule and have passed their physicals. Most are veterans of the war and look forward to serving the honored Ambassador. Transportation, medical, and communications reported their ready status. Jungeedo was pleased. As head of security he was also Chief of Staff. The Earth Alliance Embassy was secure and ready for operation. Usually an Embassy was staffed from the home country but with the fast paced turn of events there were to be only four humans on the premises. Jefferson had requested his doctor and head nurse from the Katvanshevic be assigned to his embassy and they gladly accepted the honor. Jungeedo addressed the staff managers before dismissal, Ladies and gentlemen. In the morning Ambassador Norton will be transferring from hospital on board the Katvanshevic to the embassy. We expect him early, so be ready now. Does anyone have any questions on how to proceed? Everyone was well briefed and silent. Good. Remember the training schedules. I expect all staff under the age of fifty to be combat ready before months end. Understood? The managers as one responded, Yes, Sir! Briefing at 0500... Dismissed.

On the outer reaches of the frontier, a scout ship noticed on long range radar an unidentified object heading in the direction of the Rowdizian home world. Like any other lifeless body, the object was reported to Celestial Command for tagging, tracking, and if necessary, interception. The commander of the scout ship wondered out loud to his bridge crew, Do you think there will ever be an asteroid that is large enough to hit and destroy our planet? The comment instantly set off a debate over planetary mechanics, the great thickness of the Rowdizian atmosphere and that throughout their recorded history, a space object had never impacted the planet. There was no proof. The planets 12 moons intercepted the close calls over the eons. Even though it was virtually impossible it had never happened yet. Jefferson Norton felt like an old man. Janis helped him dress, because the poison still caused his joints to ache. The doctor had said another week and offered oral pain medications. Jeff refused. He thought, Tuff it out. Get out of bed and moving. Doweejunkdo returned to the Katvanshevic to rescue him, or at least accompany his friend to the first Earth Alliance Embassy. Jeff was told his remaining staff had secured their belongings in the shuttle and were ready for departure. Adjusting the knot of his tie he said he was ready and addressed the crew of the Katvanshevic thanking them for their support, care, guidance, and friendship. For that he was truly grateful. The trip to the surface was uneventful. The planets star was behind the shuttle and as they entered the upper atmosphere a giant circular rainbow reflected off the clouds of ice crystals in the thin outer reaches of space. The planet was magnificent. Deep blue oceans covered eighty-five percent of the surface. The polar icecaps were an unmistakable bluish-white. Mountains ascended to over twenty thousand meters and the majestic twin spires of Rowdizia were visible from over 200 kilometers. A thin band of debris encircled the planet like the rings of Saturn. Beautiful fell well short of a proper description. Jeff drank in all that was available and marveled at his new and wondrous home. The day was even better when Jeff factored in; being discharged from sickbay, seeing the Rowdizian home world for the first time, and because of his illness, not having to give a speech for a few days. The pomp and circumstance of his arrival was down played. The Ambassador still needed to rest and recover from his near death experience, so no assemblage awaited his arrival. The shuttle landed in the large heli/spaceport of the Northern grounds. A caravan of limousines stood at the ready to transfer the arriving party. Measuring the distance to the buildings, Jeff insisted on walking the well manicured grounds surrounding the compound. The medical staff were unaware of his decision until he was 50 meters away. Jeff realized his mistake about 60 meters into the journey. A wheelchair following for just such an event cradled the dignitary as he collapsed. The palace staff awaiting his arrival could see a pair of beings, a human and Rowdizian female hovering around the Ambassador. What they missed was the exchange. Doctor Cheedocdo was busy admonishing her patient, Try a stunt like that again

and I will return to my former duties with or without your blessing. Am I understood? Please Doctor Cheedocdo, I wasnt thinking I made it clear. You were to transfer to the vehicle. What was so hard to understand? You voiced understanding. Tears filled her eyes, Do not insult me with you thought better. Do WE have an understanding? Jeff felt he would feel better if he threw up. Which he promptly did. The world spun. He thought, all this from that fuckin little bug. He was rushed into the medical clinic of the compound. Doweejunkdo asked, Will he recover? Doctor Cheedocdo answered, If we can keep him compliant. If he will follow direction. After this last stunt, another three to five days before any appearance. Understood? Doweejunkdo and the assembled staff of supervisors agreed. They were not about to cross the doctor. I will tie him down if we need to. promised Doweejunkdo. Doctor Cheedocdo checked the IV and said, It may have to come to that. What a pig headed ass. Doweejunkdo are you sure you made the right choice? The serious Commodore replied, Absolutely! Celestial Command marveled at object 4127s trajectory. For an errant asteroid it sure was making all the necessary near misses with planets and stars to effect its course. And it was slowing down. Now hours after its discovery a more exact path was drawn by the tracking computers. The senior heavens analyst recomputed the data four times and poured over the results. She came to the same conclusion every time, the object would pass between the ninth and tenth moon of Rowdizia and possibly establish an orbit. Impossible. A call was made to Central Command. The following morning Jeff was awakened by Janis. She told him of his relapse and how he better toe the line or one of the finest doctors on Rowdizia would leave. And if that happened Janis would not be far behind. Jeff felt horrible for his immature behavior. All he had to do was listen to his doctor and follow her instructions. Piece of cake. Jeff looked at his luscious, beautiful nurse and thought of their conversation, he wasnt sure, yesterday? She was strikingly attractive with deep brown eyes and jet black short wavy hair. And she was available. As Jeff fell off to sleep, Susan entered his lustful vision of a naked Janis. Susan spoke of the troubles on Earth and how she missed Jeffs company. Her strength of presence took over his other thoughts and he found himself wrapped up in another reminder of his attraction to her. The dream, no matter what wandering intimate course it took, always ended the same, with the pair lying on his bed, and Jeff holding Susan in his arms. An extremely large asteroid, fourteen kilometers long and a five kilometers wide, was possibly going to hit the Rowdizian home world. A live image from a giant orbiting telescope filled one of the situation rooms three by five meter view screens. Other screens modeled the objects path from the frontier to Rowdizia. A separate screen modeled the projected impact with the planet. The majority still held out hope they were wrong. Impossible. Never happen was the majority scientific communities

collective view. The object was projected to impact in the next twenty hours. Ambassador Norton, joined the briefing from the Earth Alliance Embassy via video conference, he still not having fully recovered from his near death experience. The head of the Emperors Scientific Department finally entered the situation room in the Imperial Palace. Doweejunkdo and Prince Deejunkdo, seated next to the Emperor, listened intently as the updated information only confirmed earlier projections. The object would strike a glancing blow to their planet. Planetary field disruption would be unheard of. Massive tectonic plate shifting and tidal waves would result. If there was any bright news to the grim prediction it was; the object would contact the outer atmosphere at the edge of the largest of Rowdizias oceans and its energy would dissipate while it crossed the great sea. Population centers were not in immediate jeopardy from the initial pass. An hour into the brief, the Emperor asked, Has any division inspected the object closely? Prince Deejunkdo answered his father, a research vessel will establish a parking orbit within the hour. If this is a spacecraft, the object has not responded to any known frequencies. It has to be a product of some advanced civilization. Deejunkdo you are the first to suggest it be a product of another world. What brings you to postulate this theory? asked the Emperor. Father I may have jumped ahead of the outline and Doweejunkdo interrupted, My nephew, your Eminence, strongly believes this to be calculated. He, as do I, embrace the data showing this event not to be happenstance. Too many perfectly executed maneuvers involving moving natural objects to effect the objects trajectory and speed. This was not a natural event, it was planned. May I suggest all planetary defenses be placed on full alert? To accent the revelation, a vacant screen flashed a warning of an incoming message. The communications officer allowed the data stream. The screen filled with the Director of Celestial Command requesting time to offer more information. The Emperor answered, Good new day, Dooreejacdo. I pray you are about to grace us with some good news. Your Eminence it would be in how one views the information. The monarch thought, Why didnt he just say more bad news. then voiced, Proceed. My division has had time to confirm all data and have even confirmed the point of origin. Two hundred and seventy-one years, forty-seven days and eighteen hours ago this object originated from Tilldoc. The assembled debated in hushed murmurs. An occasional raised voice would exclaim impossible! The Emperor raised his hand commanding silence. Doweejunkdo whispered to Deejunkdo, Would you not like to have THAT Tilldoc astrophysicists on your staff? Deejunkdo stifled a laugh even though the situation was grave. Having heard enough, Emperor Junkdo commanded, Hear me ninety percent of all ships are to be loaded with half the military and all possible civilian evacuees then transferred to New Terra. Cram the ships to capacity with the necessary equipment and beings for our species survival. We can load till the last possible moment because there is only time for one trip. Selection will be the beings closest to the assembly points and

work outward. No lottery. No time. The other ten percent of our warships are to immediately attack the object. The Emperor adjusted to make more comfortable his position, Planetary defenses to maximum. Move those Rowdizians too far from the rally points to underground shelters. Ambassador Norton, you and your immediate staff may join me on my shuttle. Surprised Jeff responded, Thank you for your gracious offer your eminence. Might I ask where Doweejunkdo will be working from? Of course the Emperor instructed the Commodore to answer, Doweejunkdo. Outside the sounds of sirens wailed, warning the populace of an impending disaster. Jefferson, I will be staying here in the event of a ground invasion. I doubt that will occur, but there is always the possibility. I can also oversee the fleet from my headquarters in Central Command. If necessary, should the time come, I can reposition to the Katvanshevic and direct our response from there. Thinking of his options, the choice was easy, even though Jeff had only met his staff hours ago, he said, For now I choose to stay here at the embassy. I have already informed the staff. My staff and I will continue to plan and prepare for a defense should that become necessary. I will make myself available if I am needed. The gates to the compound are open to allow the surrounding population access to our spaceport. If there is nothing more, I must close. Jeff glanced at the security camera monitors that displayed the driveway and courtyards. Armed embassy staff had positioned themselves to line the path from the main gate to the heli/spaceport. The first shuttle was landing to board the first evacuees. There was no panic. Minutes later the first trickle of a coming flood traversed the distance. A male, female, and six offspring of less than a half dozen years walked the path. Janis entered his room. Jeff, how are you doing today? Jefferson gathered his loose robe and answered, Much better. The pain is almost gone. Still some stiffness, but Im working and moving as much as possible. Dont overdo it. Is an attack imminent? She pulled back the bandage to view the wound at the base of his neck. Hmmm, its much better. Janis, I dont think the Tilldoc came all this way to exchange recipes. Help me up please. Wait! She moved to get the wheelchair. I instructed Jungeedo to prepare my quarters in the command bunker. I suggest you and the doc get what you need and join us. Reporting from the surface of the object, the research vessel didnt offer any encouraging news. Doweejunkdo and his staff listened to the report. We have mapped the entire surface of the object. Definitely not natural. Something constructed this vessel and disguised it to look like an asteroid right down to the fake impact craters. The object is broadcasting some kind of powerful short range interference. Within a kilometer of the object we lost control of our sub-light drives and used thrusters to close and maintain position. Good thing we had already braked to maneuvering speed. Our equipment and sensors cannot penetrate the outer shell. Some kind of steel alloy. This thing is welded together. The surface welds suggest the hull may be up to two feet thick. The sheets had

to be cast and formed in space. There are no openings, none. Some areas of the metal are glass smooth and highly polished maybe sensors. If something or someone is inside, the builders had to load the object and then weld the access shut. On our side channel we have been thinking, just maybe this was built to be an asteroid. Can you imagine the destruction it would cause if it did impact our planet? The only thing that counters that theory is why slow it down? The spacewalking team turned and flew to the rear of the object, one last thing the picture showed giant hook shaped devices as large as the Rowdizian scientist, there are eight of these hooks spaced an equal distance about the rear of the object. Anything else? Doweejunkdo shook his head and sighed, I would suggest you and your crew return to your original mission and put some distance between your ship and the object. Five warships will arrive within the hour to attack the object. Might get a little dicey. Commodore, can we return to Rowdizia and help with the evacuation? We can load about one hundred and eighty. An excellent idea, so those are your new orders. Be careful. As you command. Jeff hadnt eaten all day and wasnt hungry. Only seven hours to go before the object brushed the outer reaches of the Rowdizian atmosphere. The attempt to destroy or damage the object by the five Galaxy Class Battle Cruisers resulted in no discernible damage. The weapons either bounced off or warmed the surface. Even its course wasnt effected. Now, an entire world waited for the arrival. He thought Rowdizians. These creatures were amazing. No panic. They accepted their fate and didnt place self ahead of, or at the expense of others. Authorities had to persuade some families to evacuate. The Empire didnt want to waste one seat. Scientists reported the atmospheric display would be breathtaking. As the object entered the planets outer atmosphere, the friction would cause displacement of large waves of refractive light and gasses. The sound waves would be shocking. All colors of the light spectrum would be dancing in the churning turbulence of the braking mass. As the outer layers of the hull burned off, great clouds of billowing smoke and fire would trail the object. The right amount of friction could result in electrical arcing. Hearing protection was a must. The release of intense energy would boil the water and burn the land it passed over. This event would be something few beings ever witnessed and lived to remember. Jeff couldnt sleep. Earlier, Janis came by to offer a sleep aid or herself to help him rest. Too much was happening. Janis was disappointed and left in a pout, but thought she understood. She didnt. A communiqu from Susan had finally reached Jeff. Two hours now and he had yet to playback the message. It was against doctors orders, but he poured a small glass of Cabo Uno neat. Lounging in cut-off sweats and a sleeveless tee, he sipped the spirits as he opened the file. Susans figure from the waist up filled the display, Hi handsome. Hows those six daughters of breeding age? You probably tossed this file in the recycle bin being so busy with those sexually liberated and promiscuous Rowdizian females. I dreamed of your arrival on the Rowdizian home world and all the parades youd have to endure.

Youre not one for public display are you? Suck it up buddy, you couldve come home with me. Speaking of that, my trip was uneventful. I wish I had a replay of the exchange on the bridge when the Admiral learned the Ambassadors bed bitch was part of the Rowdizian delegation. Priceless. Back home we disembarked in New Chicago Susan rolled her eyes and shook her head, about half the crowd was there to welcome the returning heroes and the other half were carrying signs that read; Get back to work, The jobs not over, Kill the Rowdicks. Its bad Jeff. Youd think we were still in the middle of a war. People extremist are upset. Many despise the Rowdizian species. The Rowdizian delegation has an infantry company guarding their compound. There are countless death threats. Ive even had some pretty horrible things said to me. Im billed as the liaison to the delegation. Im sure I couldnt walk the streets if it was known I was part of the delegation. Jeff I envy you. Except for the smell, the Rowdizian planet is beautiful and the species genuine. We, on the other hand, come from a world of closedminded dickheads. I shouldnt be that harsh. A large, very vocal minority is the problem. Eugenics has raised its ugly head again, with the same progressive minds pushing for its adoption. I cant see how youre going to sell a lasting peace to the Earth-Alliance. You sir, have one tough uphill battle. What has it been, two weeks? Heres what youre missing! Susan opened her blouse and exposed her firm, full breasts. She then licked her index fingers and traced the fullness of her nipples with the wet tips. Across the light years, Jeff could see Susans nipples engorge from the stimulation. She leaned forward and the blouse hid her show as she continued, miss you much. Damn, I kick myself for not going with you. If you have moved on, I completely understand. I was so damn strong and throwing up all sorts of excuses for us not placing any more effort into a relationship. I encouraged we just enjoy some recreational sex. I believe I misread you and on the return trip, hoped we could be something more. No strings though. I truly will understand what direction you wish to take. It may be years, if ever, if we cross paths again. I have a bond to you that, although fleeting, will always touch my heart. Whatever you want. A friend always. Keep safe and in touch. Jeff played back the final seconds. He thought he saw a tear. No. He played it again but this time he could see the tears forming in the bottom of Susans eyes. He played it again, and the tears were forming and her voice started to break as she stopped the recording. Jeff didnt know whether to jump for joy or sink further into his funk. He wanted her to come with him to Rowdizia. Susan couldve returned to Earth and then returned with her family. Having moved on at the insistence of KCs prodding dreams, he thought, with Susans I dont want to get involved approach he would return to his promiscuous ways. But every time he had the opportunity, and he has had the opportunity, a hint of guilt and longing for Susan deflated his immediate desire. He replayed the entire recording and poured another glass of tequila. Jeff was having trouble keeping his eyes open. Soon, after the third time he opened the recording, he saw KC enter his room. The intense light morphed into a beautiful floating apparition of the first woman he had truly loved and lost. She was always direct, Jeff, I see the females are offering themselves to you again. Really, it never stopped. That nurse caring for me on the Nova Wind had the hots for you. You really need to talk with Susan. Im surprised you havent moved in to form a relationship with her. Your behavior says something. Feelings

are there. And she has tremendous feelings for you. Be true. Tell her how you feel. She can still be a strong ally. In another month A knock on the door returned Jeff to the real world. Another knock, Yes? Jefferson, it is Jungeedo. The time is 0430 and one can see the object with the naked eye. Jeff hurried and grabbed his robe, Wait. Ill need help walking. Come in. Jungeedo opened the bedroom door and crossed the ten meters to reach the bed and his friend. I will help you to the roof. The power to the city was disrupted a few minutes ago to rid the area of light pollution. We shut down the emergency generator and only the emergency interior lights are on. Come. Jungeedo took Jeffs right arm and draped it across his shoulder and with his left arm enveloped Jeffs waist. Ready? Lead on. Jungeedo nearly carried his boss up the three flights of stairs. When they reached the roof Jeff was surprised to see the staff lounging and holding beverages. Candles burned in the cool, still night air. Three of the planets moons reflected various amounts of light onto the surface. Because of the increased thickness of the Rowdizian atmosphere and the constant illumination of the surface by two or more moons, the stars were not as bright as the displays on Earth. However, with the artificial lights extinguished, there was still a brilliant display. Rowdizias position in the cosmos was within a much greater dense star filled section of the galaxy than that of Earth. Jeff saw several of the staff pointing toward a specific spot in the heavens. At first Jeff was startled. A large black object streaked fast across the face of the brightest moon rising. The object was moving from East to West. Christine handed Jeff a pair of ear protectors and a glass of Crown on the rocks and said, or was this a tequila night? Jeff smiled, The Crown is fine nervous? Overhearing, several of the embassy staff answered, Yes. Jeff positioned himself to the front of his staff and sat on a wall railing. In Rowdizian he said, Well, ladies and gentlemen, there is nothing we can do at this time but enjoy the show. There are ships stationed in the Nodohee Sea, north and south of the objects path. We will be able to playback the event after we lose sight of it. For right now, I suggest we relax and marvel at its display. Nervous muffled laughter could be heard as Jeff took an offered lounge chair. As predicted, faint flashes of light marked the objects first contact with the outer reaches of the atmosphere. The lighted waves grew in intensity the deeper the object came into the planets atmosphere. When it was almost directly overhead it was completely enveloped in rich colorful glowing pulsating gasses. Lightening bolts shot from the object to electrically charged ions in the nothingness of the sky. The front of the hull was glowing bright red and the glow could be seen moving along the surface to the rear of the object. As it crossed the shoreline to the West the nose was now white hot and a tremendous sonic boom shook the building. The unmistakable sound of breaking glass could be heard across the compound. A second boom knocked several of the standing staff to their knees. A collective exclamation of awe filled the roof. Sunrise was in less than an hour. Jefferson are you going to come to the operations bunker and watch the

playback as it crosses the sea? Jungeedo asked. With a deep sigh Jeff said, You go ahead, Ive seen enough for now. Breaking and slowing was predicted to take an hour to allow the object to complete the first orbit. I want to see its second pass. Jeff noticed tables and chairs to his rear, Inform Chef Shedocdo we, about ten, will be having the morning meal on the roof. That way we will be able to have breakfast and still see the third pass live. Jungeedo bowed and said, as you command. Jeff slowly made his way to a sparse buffet and found a carafe of coffee. The morning was becoming cooler and the Navy style handle-less porcelain cups were a welcome treat to his cold hands. He smiled thinking, hot and black. He claimed an empty table with six chairs. It seemed everyone went downstairs to watch the video of the object. Rolling his head on its axis, he thought hed slipped back into his comforting dreams when a set of professional kneading fingers massaged his neck. He dreamingly begged for the feeling not to stop. God, he was feeling so relaxed. Setting the cup on the glass table, his hands moved to caress the blissful fingers. Before he could reach his neck a tongue teased his right ear and someones lips and teeth gently nibbled the lobe. Eyes wide he quickly scanned the deck for staff. Vacant. He again thought and now wished for everyone to be downstairs watching the object crossing the sea. Who was behind him? Doweejunkdo had said for me to work on my sense of smell. Closing his eyes, he breathed deeply searching for the fragrance of the unknown female. Then his memory jogged, What? No way. Impossible. He stole a second deep breath to make sure. Finally, Jeff said, Quedocdo, this is a pleasant surprise. With eyes closed, he faced up and to the right again when her exploring long wet tongue traced the right side of his neck and soon a mouth began exploring his. Pausing, a seductive familiar female voice said, You never called. I almost died. Excuses. Not in front of the hired help. They are all watching the end of the world. Could be exciting. I have a much better plan. she purred. Breakfast? Cute, if that is what you want to call it. Really I wanted to see the first orbit of the object. The more I am frustrated, the longer I have to copulate to release any tension. Then lets frustrate you some more. An exploring hand found his erection, My God Jefferson, you might not require surgical extending. Before he knew what was happening, Quedocdo swung into his lap and instantly, he was inside of her. He could feel the macro-cilia of her vaginal tunnel pulling him deeper into her vault. The sensation was without description. When the pulling stopped a rhythmic stroking deepened his pleasure. He had never in his life felt this degree of rapture. He felt he was again being pulled deeper. Remembering where he was, Jeff regained his senses and searched the roof. Empty except for the two of them. She kissed

him deeply. Her robe was open, allowing him to gaze upon her beautiful well proportioned muscular body. The nipples of her large breasts brushed his chest, his hairs tickling their erect form. The alternating pulling and stroking continued until Jeff climaxed, yet she refused to release him. Quedocdo exhaled a long shrill moan as she climaxed, and a tremendous pull guided him even deeper. Again and again they were fulfilled. Finally, her cilia rhythmically stroked his length for the last time, then reversed, pushing him out. Quedocdo swooned. Jeff held her for the minutes it took for her to recover her breath and strength. Voices could be heard ascending the staircase. A grin from stolen pleasure was the only forgiveness she would seek. Flipping off his lap as easily as she had mounted him, Quedocdo closed and adjusted her thick, knee length, navy blue, terrycloth robe then sat in the chair next to his. Jeff straightened his robe and reached for the cup of coffee. Her right index finger traced his jaw line commanding attention. When he gazed into her round black eyes she said, I almost released an egg for your seed. Surprised, Jeff said, I thought we would have to be altered for fertilization to take place? Only some of the Rowdizian females have to be genetically altered the human male has to be lengthened. Just a few centimeters. Helps with the placement of the semen. You, Jefferson. have the length. Of course, more would not hurt and it would further pleasure me. Thats great information for the human male ego. I was altered years ago. I have four hybrids at home She let the news sink in and added, my human mate was killed in the war ten months ago. We lived on Rowdizia and he was a Cooja pilot. A damn fine one too. Jeff took and gently squeezed her right hand. Staff began to filter back onto the roof. The kitchen staff delivered covered platters of traditional morning dishes to tempt any species. Janis bounced up on the roof and hesitated when she spied Jeff and the unknown Rowdizian female. Crossing the roof to see her patient, she switched on a tiny flashlight and inspected the dressing before claiming the chair to the right of Jeff. A dripping voice almost hid the challenging contempt, as Janis asked, And who is this lovely creature? Jeff looked to the two females flanking his position and said, Janis, please meet Quedocdo, my training partner and wingman. Quedocdo, please meet Janis, my nurse and caregiver. Happy with himself, Jeff breathed a sigh of relief. The ladies exchanged pleasantries, then began the challenge of one-upmanship as they compared intimate stories of their experiences with the Ambassador. Quedocdo was refined enough to leave out the last thirty minutes of their shared experiences. The Rowdizian sun began to break over the Eastern horizon. Jungeedo approached the trio and said, Command reports the object has achieved a low orbit and will be visible on the Eastern horizon in a few minutes. Holding his cup as if offering the contents, Jeff asked, Have you and Christine had the morning meal yet? Not yet. Christine returned to her room to change and we will sit with you when she joins us. She said... his voice abruptly stopped. She said what? Jeff noticed Jungeedo staring toward the East.

With an outstretched arm Jungeedo commanded, Look! On the horizon, a bright star-like dot grew quickly as it raced toward the West. Within minutes, the glowing, sparking, smoking hulk was recognizable as it continued to shed portions of its burnt hull. Occasional electrical discharges between the object and the atmosphere flashed as the slowed leviathan adjusted to its low planetary orbit. Small yet visible pieces flamed as they fell and extinguished when their mass was spent. Even at this distance, Jeff noticed a peculiar change in the objects shape. Earlier images from space matched the general shape of the object during its first dip into Rowdizias outer atmosphere. The object was shaped like a dirigible of old, except now much of the forward portion of the vessels hull was burnt away. Not a lot, but enough for the naked eye to see a difference. Jungeedo, Jefferson jumped as the answer came, advise Central Command to get a ship up to the object to inspect the hull. There has been a significant change to the deafening sound of a surface-to-air missile roared from its rail a block away and the deadly lance could be seen streaking toward the object. Seconds later a second missile fired from the same battery. Again, the roar of a solid fuel rocket motor startled the staff. Janis counted out loud 3, 4, 5, 6 as another four missiles, from batteries across the city, raced into the sky. The first missiles exploded under and short of the vessel. Janis continued to keep count and quickly enumerated seven through thirteen as various batteries fired their lethal protectors of the cities. Inside the robotic weapons platform, three small nuclear reactors continued the process of increasing their output to power the systems within the vessel. The signal for switching on the death ship came when a sequence of events culminated as the object touched the Rowdizian atmosphere. When the first orbit was complete, all systems were functional, and the planned erosion of the outer hull was a calculated success. Conveyors carried the first dumb bombs to the ejection ports and released a continuous stream of weapons. As the bombs fell on their terminal paths, the Rowdizian Air Defense missiles scored success after success, but it was only a matter of time. Janis, how many was that? asked Quedocdo. At least sixty-five. I cant keep up theyre being launched so fast. Besides there have been a couple of dozen fired from the city well to the South. What are they shooting at? The rockets are exploding way below that thing? The weapon platform was finally offshore over the Nodohee sea, but the batteries continued to fire. Jeff was remarking about the dozens of snaking missile and vapor trails randomly painting thick gray billowing lines in the sky when about forty kilometers away a blinding flash was followed by the unmistakable signs of a nuclear weapon detonation. Several gasps were heard on the rooftop. Jeffersons eyes were on the weapons platform far out to sea when the nuclear device exploded way to the South of their location. He saw the intense flash from the corner of his eye and said, I was afraid of that. What do you think Jungeedo? Two missiles for every bomb. Id say the object dropped roughly fifty bombs. I would estimate 80. The missiles were detonating far enough apart that their

targets could not have been the same warhead. Jeff exhaled a long whistle, Then this planet has a serious problem. I would wager there are more nuclear weapons on the platform than the planet has missiles positioned for defense. Just like a few seconds ago, one, two, maybe three percent will reach the surface. We have to do something else. What do you suggest, Jefferson? The initial shockwave of the blast, having dissipated after traveling over the great distance from ground zero, reached the palace just as Jungeedo finished his question. The gale force winds whipped the creatures dreadlocks and blew the light items, umbrellas, and plates off the roof. With Jeff still thinking of the solution, Jungeedo yelled, We need to get below to the bunkers and communicate with Central Command. Assisting an agreeable Jeff to stand, Jungeedo and Quedocdo helped to support Jeff and move him to the complex beneath the palace. When Jeff and his aids reached the second barrier of the underground complex Doctor Cheedocdo met them as the inner door was secured. Looking at the five dusty late comers she said, Been sight seeing in the nuclear fallout? Jeff answered for the group and was horrified he made such a nonchalant comment to his doctor. He wished he could take the words back as they crossed his lips, Just a little blow. The doctors hands were promptly thrust on her hips and she leaned forward about ten degrees by bending at the waist, Well mister just a little blow and crew, as you well know that was a nuclear blast south of here and the winds carried fallout. She pointed to a meter on the wall that was indicating well into the danger zone. Thrusting her thumb to the left she commanded, Go into that room, strip, shower, and repeat until the meter is in the safe area. Janis leaned into the showers and complained, Its only one room! Not willing to negotiate, the doctor said, You are all adults, I am responsible for any potential medical problems in our facility. This is not a time for modesty, hurry! The five entered the shower room and did as they were told. The shed clothes were placed in special containment bags for disposal. Doctor Cheedocdo switched on an automatic decontamination system for the hall as she joined the group in the shower. Nozzles sprayed a mixture of hot water and soap on the timid group. Taking the opportunity, Jeff happened to glance at Jungeedo and was speechless. The communal bath was tolerated. Jeff and Janis required a second scrubbing and Cheedocdo suggested they scrub each others backs. In for the second scrub, Janis followed the doctors orders a little too eagerly. Now alone, she teased Jeff exploring his body. Once rinsed, they rejoined the group, dried, put on robes, then headed for the Situation Room. Petty Officer Carpenter and Lapgeedo were intently watching the large monitor on a far wall. Both wore headsets to monitor the Rowdizian Command radio traffic. Noticing the group enter the Situation Room, Carpenter reported, Ambassador, the weapons platform has just made landfall on the East coast and will be here in fourteen minutes. Its dropping bombs and so far two more have reached a detonation point. Neither hit a populated area. It seems the targeting is indiscriminate, and the platform can only distinguish between water and land. Wait another bomb was reported to have just detonated over a large city.

Jefferson motioned for Lapgeedo to give up his chair and headset. When he was situated Jeff asked, Would you please set me to the command frequency? As you command. Lapgeedo bowed and stood to the rear of the Ambassador. Carpenter was curious as to why everyone was in robes and asked, Been swimming? As Quedocdo answered she flashed the soldier, skinny dipping! Janis laughed just catching the spectacle and carefully opened Jeffs robe to dry and dress his wound. Finding the transmit button Jeff called, Central Command this is Ambassador Norton. He hoped there were no cameras recording their every move. Hed ask Jungeedo later. A young Rowdizian Radio operator answered, This is command, go ahead Ambassador. Yes Sir. Is Commodore Doweejunkdo available? Yes Ambassador, I will send for him. Standby. Several minutes later the Commodore responded, Jefferson I hope all is well with your compound and staff. Were all in the bunker. A weapon detonated South of our location and I believe we need to attack the weapon platform itself. Are there plenty of missiles for air defense? Jefferson, we received a report from South of your location. The city Ardjee was destroyed. Our missiles are limited, and we have attempted an attack on the platform, but there is a slight problem. Our fighters have no effect. The object is too heavily armored. Another problem; we lost a wing of Coojas. There are counter fighter defense batteries on the platform. Very accurate. Jeff wasnt surprised, Thats why I called. I calculated the size of the object to possibly contain over ten thousand nuclear weapons. I feared the planets defenses would be insufficient. Is there no way to approach the platform? Maybe a battle cruisers main weapons would work. We tried. No effect. Nearly lost the Buienvinleevic, one of our newer ships with the latest weapons. We did discover the rear half of the hull is still very much intact. There was no threat from that area. Any suggestions? Nudge it. What? Nudge it. Those massive hooks at the rear of the object were probably for whatever accelerated the weapon and sent it on its merry way. Rig a cable on the front of three or four ships and latch on to the hooks and propel the platform out of orbit. Direct the platform to fall into your sun. Ill bet that disrupter or jamming device the survey ship first encounter is damaged and not operational. Fair plan and it might work. replied a hopeful Doweejunkdo. Wait! The Coojas didnt loose power to their main engines did they? If not, the disrupter IS down. Is there anything we can do to help? Jeff asked. No, just stay down and pray. This will take about two hours. Doweejunkdo immediately commanded the fleet to prepare. In case the platform

was able to fire upon the ships securing to the vessel for the tow, he planned for fighters and capital ships to distract the defense batteries by simultaneously attacking the front. This plan needed to work. By the time the platform finished its third pass, nineteen bombs had successfully detonated and six cities were destroyed or heavily damaged. Waiting for the fourth pass seemed to drag on forever. Jeff decided to pass the time by answering Susans video. With all the staff watching the slow destruction of the Rowdizian home world, he quietly and without comment went to his room and locked the door. He really didnt know what to say. His experience with Quedocdo was breathtaking. Getting dressed, he put on a comfortable pair of jeans and a sweatshirt emblazoned with MIT. Pouring a glass of the synthesized Crown he sat at his desk and started the recording. Hi there Susan. Funny you should bring up Doweejunkdos family, the old Commodore has yet to introduce me to his daughters. Ive been on Rowdizia for less than two days. I got sick on the way here because of a small bug bite and had to stay on the Katvanshevic till I recovered. God, I was sick. Little shit was the size of an ant. Im sure that bug will be the first of many new and strange things I get to discover in this different world. I too wish I could have seen the look on the Admirals face. Bet he was cooking up some big surprise for your return. Look, you need to be careful. Doweejunkdo and I have had some long talks of the bigotry he and the first Rowdizians suffered when they came to Earth. I cant believe after the way they were treated, they stayed a full year. I do know its very important we align with and support this species. When I get more information Ill fill you in on some important gaps in whats happening. Youre right about these beings, they are the most genuine group I have ever had the pleasure to associate with. With the education Im getting here I think we can come up with a plan to change the culture of the haters and move to a more enlightened people. Youre also right about eugenics. It was and is a horrible social movement that nearly destroyed our world in the twentieth century. And dont get me wrong, Im not so much upset about improving the species, but to kill off those thought to be lesser is just inhuman. Susan, I miss you too and I think about you all the time. This mornings welcomed rape by Quedocdo flashed an instant, wonderful memory. Do I need to come back to Earth to get you, or are you willing to take the next transport and come here? Bring your family. You really do get used to the H2S. Ive learned there are other planets in the realm without the gas. I need to go for now. Ill leave us at, I wanted you to come with me. I havent moved on. Ill wait for you to tell me where to take this. You and your family will be safer here. Jeff cringed thinking, Okay maybe that was a little misleading. The continued, I want to be with you. Be safe, communicate often. I love you Susan. Jeffs right fingers reached for the camera and he switched off the recording with his left hand. Solemnly, he thought through what was just recorded and not feeling there was anything to add, selected the transmit button. A knock at his door startled his deep personal time thinking about the trials of their separation. Yes! Jeff called. An aid spoke through the steel barrier, Sir, the platform is starting another pass.

Reports indicate massive damage to the cities on the opposite side of the planet. We Jeff quickly opened the door and scared the young Rowdizian messenger, Any word about the plan to nudge the platform? No, Sir. Not yet. Jeff finished the Crown and handed the empty glass to the aid, Can you get me another please? Returning to the control room Jeff asked, Any word on boosting that damn thing out of orbit? Carpenter answered, No Ambassador. Things dont bode well for the home team. Do you want us to ready your shuttle? Not yet. I heard about the other side of the planet. Anything else? About 5% of the weapons are getting through. Missile batteries are running low and may be out before the end of this pass. All staff are underground. A television crew set up East of our compound and we can catch the live feed. Carpenter pointed to a console monitor with an exterior view. Put it on the main screen. Jeff ordered. Seconds later the large wall monitor was filled with a view of the fight taking place several kilometers above the planet. The Corvettes added to the dimension of the platform and it was easy to discern the ships locked in battle with the weapon orbiting Rowdizia. Every 15 seconds the view would switch to a wide shot of the horizon and the hundreds of surface to air missiles hunting a target, then back to the struggle in space. Periodic, blinding white flashes signaled a missed bomb exploding. With each switching of the perspective, the fight and destruction marched closer to the embassy. For several minutes there seemed to be a lull in successful detonations, then the television crew disappeared to static. Shocked faces looked to others in the bunker when suddenly, the power failed followed by the ceiling collapsing. Contact between Central Command and the Earth Alliance Embassy was lost. Twenty-five hours later, Doweejunkdo accompanied a search and recovery team to the coordinates of the former summer palace. A dry, dusty wind blew the ash of burnt vegetation, structures, and beings into giant dust devils. Hundreds of these mini tornadoes danced across the bleak, barren rubble of a once vibrant city. The lush rolling landscape, now violated by the fractured scorched towers of twisted steel, shimmered in the heat of irradiated soil and the midday sun. Dressed in sweat drenched protective suits, the team waited while excavators removed debris from the bunker entrance. Once clear, a worker brushed away sand and melted childrens toys with a broom, then knocked on the reinforced entrance with a sledgehammer. With each passing second, Doweejunkdos fears mounted. Was the shielding not thick enough to protect the occupants from pulsed radiation? Another team member was setting explosives to blow the door when the broken seal released a puff of dust around the perimeter and the door slowly opened. Doctor Cheedocdo, dressed in a protective suit, greeted the recovery team and invited them in. Our radiation is barely above normal in here. Hurry. Get inside. Shower, clean up, you have probably been exposed for too long. Except for some cuts and bruises, we are all fine. Hurry, come in. We have been recovering from a tremendous tectonic plate shift. Working to access the underground structure, the team had passed their exposure

time and were lucky the bunker was still functional. The instant cleanup would negate their staying past the safe half time for exposure. Everyone stripped and entered the communal decontamination showers. Their suits and clothes were packaged for safe disposal. After a fifteen minute scrubbing, they quietly dried and put on the offered sweat suits. Doweejunkdo asked, May I see the Ambassador? Cheedocdo directed the Commodore to the dining area. The floor sparkled with minute pieces of broken lights. A few ceiling tiles were still suspended from what was left of the false covering. Cracks in the reinforced concrete allowed small amounts of soil to periodically rain down. The steady drone of a large engine powered generator could be heard through the vibrations in the ground. Passing through the Situation Room Doweejunkdo asked, Greetings Jungeedo, have you been able to establish communications with Central Command? The Rowdizian turned to Christine for confirmation and then replied, Yes, Commodore. Just now we were able to raise a satellite antenna above the rubble and established a secure link. That is wonderful. Please report we have found the bunker and everyone is safe. Jungeedo slightly stiffened and said, As you command. Doweejunkdo found the dining area with Jeff seated and flanked by two lovely females. The three were eating and sharing a light conversation. The room was nearly at capacity, however there was still an empty fourth chair across from his friend. The gracious commander asked, Jefferson may I join you and these two lovely creatures for the midday snack? The females giggled. Jeff stood and warmly shook his mentors hand, Anytime Doweejunkdo, you sir, never need an invitation. Doweejunkdo, with a slight bow, addressed the ladies, Quedocdo, Janis, I am glad to see the two of you safe and well. They smiled and thanked him for the rescue. Lacking new information Jeff asked, How bad? Doweejunkdo shook his head in despair, Quarter million dead and another half million will die in the coming months from exposure. Lost seven percent of the military. We were lucky in a sense. We projected the orbit of the platform and moved assets away from the paths we felt were threatened. It was a wise move. We would have lost another four divisions of air/space infantry. Quedocdo leaned forward to shield her hand groping the inner portion of Jeffs thigh and asked, What came of the weapon platform? Gone. Doweejunkdo answered. Surprised, Jeff remarked, Your forces were able to penetrate its defenses? No, Jefferson your plan worked. We lost another dozen fighters and had to abandon a Corvette that was part of the tow team, but we successfully nudged the platform out of orbit and pushed it toward our central star. It will impact in another the creature checked his watch, thirty eight hours. Doweejunkdo, thats fantastic. I just wish we couldve nudged it sooner. Regrettable. Jefferson come, Doweejunkdo stood, we have urgent matters to discuss that require privacy. Taking the hint, Jefferson suggested retiring to his room and excused himself with

his friends. Neither spoke as they negotiated the corridors. Once inside Jeffs suite they poured drinks and settled into comfortable upholstered chairs. Doweejunkdos spirit portion was three times the size of Jeffs. After a sip of Crown, Jeff took the jump drive offered by the creature. Doweejunkdo said, This came early this morning. It is a communiqu from Susan. Ill save it for later. Probably just talking about the trip home and her family. What has you so clandestine? We were dealt a severe blow by the Tilldoc from hundreds of years ago. The Emperor is afraid of another platform coming on the heels of this one. But you know how to combat the object before it enters the atmosphere. There is another problem. The council has voted for an immediate attack on the Tilldoc home world. Well, you do have an excuse to attack now. I believe we are still too premature. I was hoping for some time to rebuild, train, and infiltrate Earth. I was hoping to influence the negative forces on your home world. We could still do that. Are you ready? Are the humans on New Terra ready? Thats whats important, Doweejunkdo. The people we send into harms way have to have the resolve to follow through with their mission. The Rowdizian commander and former diplomat stroked his chin and replied, I balance this decision with the news I have received from your world and I am afraid the Tilldoc are almost ready to strike if we dont deliver the first punch. We are backed into a corner my friend. You need to listen to the letter from Susan. You read my diplomatic mail? Wasnt diplomatic. Never send anything by electronic means if you intend to keep it secret. Doweejunkdo laughed, She loves you. You did read my mail. I just glanced at the hard copy and the prophesy caught my eye. It is telling. Please, I meant no harm and the letter was not coded, it came in the clear. Just listen to it. Retrieving the memory drive from his pocket, Jeff inserted the device into his computer. After opening the file, Susans bust appeared on the monitor. Her top allowed the casual observer to view her ample cleavage. Her intense blue eyes complimented the tiny blue specks in her white spring dress. Jeffs memory flashed to the first morning he woke to Susan sitting by the bed; her hair gathered and falling to caress her left breast. Oh, Jefferson. Her fingers gently touched the camera, Im so happy to hear from you so quickly. Im glad we share mutual feelings. She mouthed a kiss across the light-years, Just wanted to send a quick short note. Im ready for work and I need to get going, but think you need to hear what I discovered over the past few days. There seems to be a movement, almost a religion, that spews hatred, and their followers support the breeding of a master race. A minority are overt and in your face like during the twenty and twenty-first centuries. They fear and loath the weaker, inferior humans and work to promoter the purity of the species. They are also converting others to their egocentric way of thinking. These are the core of the protesters and leaders that fuel the riots and beatings

that are increasing on Earth. I love you and want you, but I believe you need to be careful, especially around humans. Listen to their prophesy. Susan cleared her throat and held up a paper, Gods chosen beings will enjoy a period of great prosperity, but in time, one will rise up from the wretched and build a force to smite the chosen and bring about the end of times. Tears filled her eyes and she touched the lens, Jefferson, thats you. This fanatical group is after you. Thats who attacked you on the Nova Wind. They believe you will work to destroy them. I know this sounds strange, but when those that believe and fail to question false prophesy become strong, then the innocent suffer. I know heavy stuff before work. I mentioned to mom about moving to Rowdizia and she seems to be warming to the idea. I dont know about the rest of my family, but thatd be their choice. I have work here, just come and get me. All my love, Susan. Jeff scratched his forehead, Well that explains most things. What are we to do now? Doweejunkdo whistled a heavy sigh, A portion of the fleet will be reallocated to attack the Tilldoc home world. Another small group will stay here to defend Rowdizia should another attack from the Tilldoc be uncovered. In a few days, we will send our official delegation to Earth. The ship will also contain the New Terra operatives to infiltrate the groups on your planet and attempt to change behavior. We have dramatic before and after footage of the destroyed cities. The council recommended we release a report to the Earth Alliance of the attack and its origin, but leave out we know the species. It should get a bit of sympathy from those on your planet with a conscience. Jeff tossed back a fair portion of Crown, Sounds like a plan. Report me missing. Why? Im going back too, except I want to be covert. Can we trust the President? Most likely yes. We sampled him years ago no traits. But, Jefferson, why you? We need this operation to be successful. Im human and you can trust me to maintain the secret identities of the New Terra group. If anyone betrays the mission and intent, I can find and eliminate them. I have to say Ambassador, we did have concern for such an event. You do know you are probably the most recognizable human to both our worlds, dont you? I was hoping if you could extend my penis, plastic surgery on the face would be a snap. Well then, pour another drink and we will discuss the details. Open the file on the drive marked Earth. It is our overview of operation, Pacify. Weapons? I apologize in advance. We have thousands of serviceable 9mm Springfield XDMs collected from Alliance pilots during the war. Our weapons builders manufactured tactical barrels and suppressors for the pistols. It is a very accurate weapon. Handing the Rowdizian a tall glass of the distilled spirits, Jeff asked, Will you control the fleet from here? Doweejunkdo downed half the glass and robustly said, Love this stuff. Kind of weak though. Only get a slight buzz. I will command the fleet attacking Tilldoc.

Deejunkdo will command the operations from here, Looking at Jeffersons skeptical gaze he continued, it is his time. Then we cant lose. They toasted the mission and the many who would not return. It was time.

Sitting on a well-worn, green, mass transit bench, the non-descript six foot three inch male with five days growth of beard looked as though hed missed several days of support in one of the cities many shelters. His baggy, worn, threadbare clothing had seen better days. Pedestrians gave a wide berth to the destitute, irresponsible creature. If they had bothered to pass closer, or for that matter engage the retched soul, they would not have detected any expected foul odor. A well worn knit cap covered his ears and eyebrows, out of place on this warm early summer day. Tufts of stringy brown hair haphazardly exiting the cap complemented his disheveled look. His fingerless black gloves covered clean palms, yet exposed filthy fingers and unkempt nails. His mustard, catsup, and spittle stained sweatshirt broadcast unsightly, slovenly filth, yet the smell of fresh laundry was enjoyed by the wearer. The casual observer would tag him as a victim of schizophrenia, non-compliant and in need of institutionalization. So the busy averted their eyes, avoiding a chance glance at the pitiful wraith with a disgusting twenty centimeter length of drool dangling from the center of his lower lip. His dusty, scuffed, salt-stained combat boots were properly laced and serviceable. This was his bench. Even the police avoided a chance encounter, fearing what might lead to their needing to soil their hands. People not only avoided him, they didnt see him. Oh, there was the occasional bleeding heart that stopped with an offer of help, however the vagrant would snarl his displeasure and keep to himself. He just stared out at a world surrounding, but rejecting him. The disguise had the desired effect. Through the heavily reinforced steelwork of the ornate embassy gate, he could see the occasional patrolling soldier. He waited patiently for his dream. There she was, on time, leaving the small pedestrian gate to the diplomatic compound. The guards covert stares followed in her wake, undressing her with lustful looks. She was a striking female in her late twenties that drew stolen glances from those around her; actually she was gorgeous, and he wanted her. Today she wore the thin, mint green, knee length dress, its flowing lines gathered at her thin waist with a wide white belt. A gold necklace dangled a sparkling, diamond studded, asymmetrical, heart shaped pendent touching the apex of her cleavage. In her left hand, the French manicured fingers held a matching white clutch. Three inch white heels allowed her eyes to exceed the five foot nine mark and completed the ensemble. She was his favorite. The perfect ends of her long blond hair bounced in unison with her breasts as she walked the predictable path to her apartment. Again, as she did most days, she started to illegally cross the four lane boulevard and was walking toward him. He sat up holding his crotch, faking a need to pee. Her pace was normal for this daily off-work stroll. Getting up, he walked toward her home and she followed twenty meters to his rear. His mind held visions of holding her soft breasts and touching her cloaked vulva. Taking a pair of dirty, scratched sunglasses from his pocket, the crowds didnt notice the tiny mirrors allowing him to watch his rear. Oh, shit! he thought as she unexpectedly turned into the park. He might lose her because the next entrance was one hundred meters away; reversing course might attract attention. Calming himself, he continued his pace and turned at the next opening. There she was. Well ahead. To run would be out of character, so he strolled. The only change in her routine was

cutting through the park. His pace was slowly closing the distance to his Goddess, when he spotted three heavily tattooed late twenty-somethings angling to intercept. When they were within a few meters, they began taunting and cussing his presumed low class. Increasing his pace only baited their hungry hatred and need for confrontation. They closed the distance and began to punch and kick at the defenseless cowering victim of assumed irresponsible choices. Finally, the vagrant ineffectively punched back and cried to be left alone. Yelling he just wanted to get out of the park and get to the shelter. Another received punch and he lunged at the nearest attacker. They laughed and yelled he should have been aborted. The poor, pitiful man fell to the grass crying. An attacker yelled, Oh, I think I have dog shit on my boot, and proceeded to wipe his footwear on the fetal positioned soul. As the boot crossed the vagrants face, the victim forcibly grabbed the boot to keep it from injuring his skin and planted a chip on the front of the heel. Having demonstrated their arrogant abilities, the skinheads finally left, congratulating themselves for their superior skills. The vagrant, feigning dizziness and confusion, slowly got up and continued his stalking of the beautiful woman. He thought, Where did the green dress go? The park was void of green clothing. Continuing on the projected path shed taken, he nearly ran into her as she exited a corner grocery. It was Friday. She shopped on Saturdays. Must have run out of something, he thought. He groaned disapproval and tripped away to avoid touching her. Wrong tactic. She, seeing that she had nearly caused a collision, moved to apologize to the poor wretched soul. He again grumbled disapproval. Seeing her efforts were only causing greater stress, the fashionable woman apologized and continued for home. At the next intersection, she continued straight and he turned left to cross the street. As the woman entered her apartment building, she didnt see a disheveled man walk down an alley and enter the abandoned building across the street; a building scheduled for demolition in the fall. As she entered her third floor walkup, a pair of deep green piercing eyes watched her close and lock the door, set down her clutch, newspaper, and bag, then walk to the bathroom. Susan Branch, Earth attach to the Rowdizian Embassy, chuckled as she gently wiped herself. Having to pee, she had almost wet her panties when nearly knocking over the homeless man outside Miles Grocery. Lucky so far, she didnt want to wait for the Saturday shopping trip. It was past time for her period and she needed tampons and she didnt care for the ones available in the womans toilet at the embassy. Anytime, she thought as she inserted the cotton. Susan hated spotting, and she was blessed with an irregular period. Nearly two months now. Three months without a period was her record. After washing her hands Susan moved to the bedroom and removed her high heels and selected a pair of slippers for lounging. She started for the kitchen when, wanting more comfort, she returned to the bed and removed her pantyhose. Feeling the sudden coolness of the room on her legs she smiled and went to the kitchen. Sitting in cover over fifteen meters from the glassless large window wall of the dilapidated building, the stalker was perfectly concealed from any searching eyes outside his lair. Using a telescope, he scanned her apartment for movement. The drapes covering

the bedroom windows were almost always closed. The Earthbound Goddess only opened them on cleaning days. She had been out of sight for quite some time and he guessed she had changed clothes. Come out naked, he commanded, his mind dreamed of her naked beauty. There, there she was, now entering the kitchen and retrieving a souvenir pilsner glass from his last trip to Beijing Universe. Ahhhh, yes. A frozen margarita spooned from the bucket in the freezer there, open the fridge and get a lime. Yes, squeeze in half the fruit juice, because its a large glass and you like the sharp, tangy taste of lime. Squeeze it like youre going to squeeze me. Hello, Susan, thats it look at me. Let me lust for your touch and for your lips. His perverted thoughts stirred his soul. Picking up the evening paper from the entry table, Susan tucked it under her arm then padded into the large living room; stopped, and stared out her apartment window. Sometimes she felt like someone was watching her and, at those times, goose bumps would cover her body. The tiny blond hairs on her arms instantly stood erect. She had that feeling again. Looking toward the building across the street, she vowed to again complain to the city that the abandoned building was an eyesore and needed to be demolished immediately. This time she would use her position on the Rowdizian diplomatic staff to make an official complaint. Shyly covering her cleavage, she chuckled at her trepidation. Hell she thought. Shed been a fighter pilot stationed on the Nova Wind and fought in the Rowdizian Earth Six Year War. Here, safe in her home, with the cat wheres the cat? There you are! Finally, a large, fat, grossly independent animal uncurled from the back of the couch and stretched. She sweetly called the pet and it stared at her, then stared at its empty dish in the kitchen, then back at Susan before deciding it was a good time to use the litter box. Slinking to the end of the couch, the cat stopped, gave one last glance at its owner, and flipped up his tail as a FUCK YOU because its digits were too small to form an effective bird. Hitting the floor with a thump, the gray tabby darted for the small office. Thinking, ungrateful shit Susan selected the beige micro-fiber rocker recliner to relax away the evening. Taking the seat, she extended the footrest. Opening the paper she couldnt help but see, above the fold, another story of a young woman murdered, this time in a nearby alley. What did that make this year? Twenty-two? Halfway through the article Susan suffered a brain freeze from too large a swallow of her drink. Closing her eyes, she wished away the pain. Recovered, she returned to the article where it listed the similarities of the crimes. The victims were women, and they were between the ages of twenty and forty. Even their ages were too wide spread to establish age as a specific common criteria. Only one thing stood out, all the victims were women. The trespasser watched as Susan read the newspaper and consumed her drink. Pulling back the sleeve of his sweatshirt, he checked the time on his Seiko chronograph. The hour matched the long shadows and low light level in the filthy room. One last lustful peek and it was time to change. Maybe tonight he would go to her and fulfill her wildest dreams. Women wanted him and he was sure she would too. Below the fold she read a teaser about the Alliance embracing peace and the upcoming world economic summit, but what really caught her eye was another small

story of a young, tattooed, bald man being murdered outside an uptown nightclub. He had been stabbed in the throat. Susan wondered, shrugged her shoulders and started for the bedroom, unzipping her dress as she walked. Thats it beautiful unzip the dress and let it fall. Nooo She was out of sight. The two man team wore jeans and dark tees with their most inflaming, in your face, statements displayed on the shirts. Their hair was close cropped almost to the point of being bald. Hardly noticeable were the tiny earplugs/communicators in their ears. When they started from the more upscale side of town, the pair were viewed as spoiled rebellious youth, out for a night of drunken partying. The tasteless tees read; Screw the World, and Hitler Wasnt All Bad. On the back, each had printed, Id Rather Be Gassing. The closer they got to uptown, the acceptance of their appearance by onlookers was measurable. Jason looked at the tracker and it indicated the target was inside a building less than a block away. He passed the information to his partner. In the direction of the transmitter could be heard the pounding beat of techno hate spilling into the street. At ten meters distance the music was deafening and Jason slipped the tracker into his pocket. They began bumping into the overflow gyrating crowd spilling into the street. Being gentle and courteous would be out of place. When a body slammed into them, they would push back and laugh hysterically, and at other times let loose a string of filthy profanity. The main entrance was a no go. There was no way the haphazard line would be allowed entry tonight. The team pushed their way to the stage door when several teens flew from the stage entrance. As the teens picked up their injured pride, a slew of guttural filth spewed from their collective mouths. Instantly a pair of three hundred pound bouncers ran to the disrespectful teens and proceeded to beat them to death. The crowd in the alley watched and cheered the quick punishment being dealt. Jason and his partner Jeff, used the commotion as their chance and stole backstage. Inside, Jeffs shouting remarked, Its not always this easy to get in. The pair laughed at their fortune. Time would tell if it was good or not. Hiding in a corner near the stage, the screaming of the lyrics and the blasting of the music made it almost impossible to hear the other speak. Jason tapped Jeff on the shoulder and pointed to a tattooed male standing at the foot of the stage. Jeff recognized the man and gave a thumbs up to Jason. This wasnt the first time the team had been in this club. The pair were known to be part of the scene, but were careful not to establish a pattern to associate their presence with any event. Jeff and Jason watched as their target groped several of the females in the crowd. Some grabbed back but a few would slap the low class sexual perverts. After about the fifth physical rejection, Jeff watched the angry leader yell at his buddies and hastily push his way out of the crowd. Time. Jeff signaled Jason and they left by way of the stage door. The bouncers gave a thumbs up to the two self assured men as they passed. One bouncer yelled, Whered ya get the shirts? The pair ignored the question over the din of the music and made for the main street. Susan lay on the bed and cried, It didnt make sense. Jeff was missing. No one on

Rowdizia knew where he could be. The news was terrible of the earthquakes that damaged more than half the planet. The reports listed more that three hundred thousand dead. Videos of the mountainous funeral pyres were awe inspiring. Flames leapt thousands of meters into the air. Earth bound commentators used hyperbole when narrating the panoramic videos of some cities, stating the images looked like a nuclear blast had occurred. Still, she felt despair when she lay down and he entered her dreams. His last communication expressed his love for her and his wanting her with him. That was more than four weeks ago. She had cried herself to sleep almost every night since he was reported missing. Across the street from the club, Jeff and Jason watched from the shadows as the trio pushed their way outside shoving and cussing, then headed down to empty streets of closed upscale shops. Jeff had learned that the club was tolerated because the rent was paid on time, in full, and all the shops and customers were long gone by the time it opened each night. The club also had good business sense insuring the surrounding streets were clean and fresh by daylight. Only the patrons of the club really knew of its existence. The team knew their assigned territory well. They had studied the area for weeks and knew every square foot of the neighborhood. The targets were most likely headed for club keine Nicht weien so there was time to set a trap. Jeff ran ahead, taking side alleys to mask his passing. Three blocks from the club he stood in the middle of the street acting drunk and swearing into his cell phone. Jeff stumbled, No fuckin way, what alley shit Im right there let me have some. he laughed a psychotic tone and cadence. The three skinheads approached, drawn by the animated display and language. The Alpha male demanded, Whats going on? Touching an index finger to the lips of his unsteady body, he slurred, My friend hooked up with some drunken bitch thats giving it away down the alley. Jeff took off, stumbling down an alley he knew to be dimly lit and surrounded by closed businesses with no security cameras. The three, sensing no threat and the chance for often denied rewards, followed. Rounding a corner, the three back peddled as soon as they saw Jeff standing by a dumpster dimly lit by a flickering floodlight. The suppressed pistol in his right hand was unmistakable. With Jeff aiming at the Alpha male, his two side kicks ran only to be met by Jason as they turned the corner. Jason herded the stampeding two by using suggestive waves of his weapon. Out of breath, they returned to their abandoned friend. The Alpha male demanded, What the fuck do you want? Surprised Jason observed, Got balls. as a cat knocked a bottle off a nearby fence, the sound of shattering, falling glass disturbed the tense mood. Jeff was less than impressed, Only with the weak. You three face the dumpster. NOW. Jeff retrieved a monitor from his pocket and set it on the side of the large, blue, smelly garbage container. Using the monitor, he scanned the street at the end of the alley. Nothing. Deserted, except for way in the distance, patrons of keine Nicht weien could be seen standing and dancing in the street. Whos your leader? A minor player mocked, Take me to your leader assholes! and promptly fell back as the thump of the silenced bullet entered his skull.

Tripping over the weight of their predicament, the Alpha male stammered, Fuck man we didnt do nothing Jesus what do you want. Jeff deadpanned, didnt do anything we didnt do anything. You used a double negative. Not good He stammered on, Youre youre youre killing us for poor grammar? Jeff and Jason shared a laugh, No that, he pointed with his pistol at the dead former member of the trio, was for being a smartass and not answering a simple question. Whos your leader? To what White Supremacist group do you belong? Shit Children of the One God. Fuck man, Ill tell you whatever you want. Jeff ordered, For now, shut up. looking to Jason he said, Checkem. Jason took what looked like a blood glucose meter from his pocket and inserted a tiny tube. Sampling the blood draining from the dead skinhead, Jason reported the reading at ten percent. Both standing skinheads were given lancets and told to prick their fingers. Pressing the barrel of his pistol in turn into the back of each skinheads neck, Jason eventually and carefully retrieved his samples. Both young skinheads were one hundred percent Tilldoc. Theyre pureblooded descendents of the original invaders. reported Jason. Are you two brothers? Jason asked. No. Jason looked to Jeff, Both are pegged. Jeff continued the interrogation, How did you two meet? The Alpha male answered, Both our families have known the other since before we were born. Jeff looked to Jason and said, Jackpot! Both of you take off your shoes and hold your wallets on your right shoulders. Toss your shoes at my feet Slowly. The two skinheads did as they were told. Jason collected the wallets and Jeff slowly picked up the boots. Feeling for the micro-transmitter, he said as he found and removed the chip, Do the two of you ever mess with the homeless. Chase them, kick them, wipe your dog shit covered boots on their face? Surprised, the Alpha male said, You? Yes. Ever think if you just stayed in bed this morning your life would be much better? Jeff shot the second minor player in the stomach and then the heart. Now Ill not ask again, who is your leader who do you report to? I told you the church, the leader of the church, asshole. Jeff shot the Alpha male in the pelvis, then the abdomen, and then the heart. As they always did on the nights when they would be working outside, they had checked the weather forecast and before three in the morning there was predicted a 70% chance of rain. Jason helped search the bodies and toss them in the dumpster. The container was only half full and their research showed it would be emptied in the morning. Finished with the nights mission they returned to the abandoned high-rise. Once inside, Jeff said, You okay, Jason? A flat Yes was his answer. Jason speak. How can you do it. I know we received intensive operational training on the trip here from New Terra. I know those chosen for the assignment, including me, had

extensive psychological testing before selection. I know none of those selected have a hint of Tilldoc traits in our genetic code. But. But what? You never thought youd have to kill someone. Executing the agents was a variable you trained for. You didnt, did you? and wait till its a woman. You werent on Rowdizia when the bombs fell. Premeditated murder planned by the Tilldoc nearly three hundred years ago. Think of the women and children, blinded by the flash, whose flesh was burned from their bones, and their bodies instantly micro waved, boiled from the inside out. Think of this planet, our planet, hundreds of years ago, invaded by a race wanting nothing more than our resources and to genetically enhance their idea of the superior human. A race that believes in their superiority and easily corrupted the people of this world to kill or sterilize those humans of inferior quality. Think of one day your child, finally able to speak, and the child has a stutter and the perfection police arrest, detain, and destroy your child for a minor affliction that may never inhibit the childs true potential. Damn it, Jeff. Jump off the soap box. I just never saw a person killed before. Give me a break let it sink in. Dont tell me the first time you killed someone it didnt give you pause to what you had done. Sorry to disappoint you, but it didnt. I destroyed an enemy fighter. A lot different than watching a being bleed out after falling to the ground. I guess this over the top display was my way of adjusting to the first person I killed face to face. Im stressed beyond belief. ReallyId never have guessed it. You were so cold and calculating. I was amazed at how you followed the plan to the letter. Jeff shook his head, My stomach churned when I popped the first. The next two werent as hard. I knew Id have to kill them. The worst thing was going through the motions. Once I killed the first, my mind only had to accept the other two were dead. Jason was silent for a few seconds before he answered, Sounds like your psyche is trying to place your actions into prospective. Jeff, you can count on me, its just Im going to need your support. Thats all. I hope the other teams are able to get through the first test with minimal upset. Well theyre not to go active until theyve more time to study their targets. We kind of jumped the gun. Jeff, Ill be fine. I was probably one of the weakest links identified during testing and for that, was paired with you youre a solid warrior. Thats supposed to make me feel good? Jason suggested, Cant we just move on? A long sigh proceeded Jeffs directive, Fine. Lets study the info we collected. Get out the wallets, Jason placed the three wallets on the four place dinette. Jeff rose from the well worn ladder-back chair and made for the kitchen asking, Want something to drink? Removing the contents from each billfold, Jason answered, Yeah, sure. Id do a rum and Diet Pepsi. While Jeff prepared the drinks, Jason counted the combined sum of money. Hey, these three shits had over fifteen hundred credits of various currency between them. Jeff returned to the living area and placed Jasons drink on the table. Walking to

the window of a failed and bankrupt, empty, office high-rise, he gazed out from the 125th floor over the lights of a waking city. Turning to Jason he said, Two pure blooded families, hundreds of years after they invaded Earth, and they live in the same neighborhood. Jason interjected, Try, next door to each other. Bet we find clusters of these racist bastards all over the country, maybe all over the world. Id never argue that. I said during classes, some of these Midwestern extremist groups are probably 100% Tilldoc. Walking to a large dry erase board, Jeff drew two boxes and listed the two exterminated targets as male 100% then turned, sipped his Crown and said, Okay, lets draw a connection to the parents. Whats listed in the database? Jason had already run a search using the available data from the last census and found the Alpha male to have three grown brothers and two sisters. The other male had a grown brother and sister and two younger sisters. Jason whistled, Alpha males sister married a man from three streets over and now lives in an apartment about a mile from their parents home After labeling a genealogy tree with the new information, Jeff put down the marker and moved to stand next to Jason. Another slug of Crown preceded his review of the new information on the whiteboard. Well that wasnt hard. Lets copy all the addresses of everyone we can identify, map their locations and later today take a trip upstate. For now, transmit the new information to the command ship. Looking at his Seiko timepiece, the vagrant quickly measured his artistic talents, it would be light soon. Biting the bent joint of his left index finger to suppress a cry of overwhelming joy, he remarked how she was even more beautiful with the growing halo of crimson liquid surrounding her head. Her long blond hair was carefully arranged radiating in all degrees of a circle from her scalp. The spilled blood desperately tried to wick up the strands of hair in a feeble attempt to return breath to the lifeless body. Blue green eyes stared at her instructor, begging for recognition of her talents. A cooling right hand gently covered her left breast in an attempt to dignify her lost modesty. The vagrants erotic fulfillment overwhelmed his senses, yet he recovered from his climactic trance to catch his spittle before spilling from vile lips. It was time. Time to get back and watch his favorite go shopping this fine morning. The rain had stopped and he figured the concrete and asphalt riverbeds would erase his tracks as he returned to his lair. He checked the Seiko again. He liked the watch. It was a gift from his first work of art, a male, but the watch was the only gift and pleasure he took from his work that night. He couldnt achieve innocence with the male form and a month later when he posed his first woman, he found his calling. The vagrant often wondered if others that came after him enjoyed his work as much as he. Jesus Jeff. After a week of mapping this town youd think there were only supremacists among the population. Jeff held a finger to his lips commanding silence before the three pedestrians passed close to their parked telecommunications van. When the interlopers were distant Jeff said in a low voice, Thats if you overlook the town meeting/rally where we heard

the racist overtures or the swastika emblazoned on the wall of Alpha males parents downstairs split level. Add to that the inordinate amount of close cropped male hairdos and blond haired blue-eyed women. No, nothing out of the ordinary. Shaking his head in disbelief Jeff shot back, Hell, Jason! These townspeople would be out of place in a Scandinavian country. Jason defended, Look I was agreeing with you. Theres a company picnic next weekend held by the only international business in town, Genetics Pharmaceuticals. I think if we infiltrate the meeting or tag a participant with a microphone we can get some great intel. How do you propose we infiltrate this group? They seem to be very tight close-lipped. Jeff watched three blond beauties enter a womens clothing store. Still waiting for any suggestion, he finally said, Lets go. Ive seen enough. Tapping the drive start/engage button, Jeff carefully joined the weekday traffic as he returned to their motel room. Although the proprietor of the lodging near the interstate could have had ties to the Tilldoc, research showed he and his wife were products of families without a trace of Tilldoc heritage. They still needed a test. Susan awoke late from another Friday night of longing for Jeff. The acceptance of circumstances surrounding Jeffs disappearance had been getting somewhat easier to process since the first report of him missing. The Rowdizians were still searching, but after all this time there wasnt much hope of finding him alive. Susan knew it wasnt their fault. They didnt cause the shift in tectonic plates. Susan, however, sensed something being purposely left out of the communiqus. None of this made any sense. All of his support staff had sent their condolences, yet Jeff wasnt among the group when they were found in the bunker, and there was no other explanation as to why he didnt take shelter. She was sure they were hiding something. How had they become separated? Why, if separated during the earth quakes, and Jeff was injured or killed, wasnt his body found nearby? Her mind spun from the possibilities. None of it made any sense. She held out some hope he would be found safe and whole. The stalker mumbled his perverted thoughts, There you are my lovely. Good morning. It seems were up a little late today. I hope youre okay. The area of concealment smelled of stale sex. At times, the stalker masturbated while watching Susan go about her day. Thats it. Weve arrived at another weekend, and its past time to go shopping. What? Youre not getting dressed? Its time for the morning run. That evening paper is old news. Alright, lets have some morning coffee and a little light reading. Rubbing his crotch, he watched as the object of his lustful dreams opened a laptop. Then his mind answered his prying gaze, The internet is current. I can wait. He continued to rub his growing lust for his favorite untested model. Returning to her routine, Susan poured some dry food into Nortons dish and called the cat. Norton was already at her feet having succumbed to a Pavlovian response when the dry food tinkled into the porcelain bowl. There you are you big sweet beautiful kitty. Norton, knowing it was time to perform, rubbed against Susans lower legs, using an in and out path, and walking a figure eight pattern. Noting the cats response, Susan

purred with a wide smile, There you go, you ungrateful little shit! Keep it up. You do know Rowdizians love the taste of cats. Norton, sensing displeasure from the being obligated to refill his food dish, decided it was time for a coy expression of subservient need and said, Meow! Then he threw in a loud purr and some cat cheek to human ankle rubbing for added emotional response. Look at the pretty kitty, cooed Susan, youre such a good boy! Norton believed it was time to go for broke and rolled over on his back and pawed the air. Susan, seeing the cute display responded in a higher pitch lilt, Oh, isnt Norton such a good boy, hes happy to have mommy home on the weekend. Enough! Lets eat! Norton jumped to his feet and attacked the bowl. Having mended whatever rift existed between her and the cat, Susan poured a cup of black coffee and decided to surf the internet for information on hate groups around the world. There had to be some connection to the killings reported throughout the region, and bald, tattooed men was a common denominator; although the paper and police werent making an issue of the connection. Since the realignment and culling of the Muslim world population during the 21st century, the only hate group still posturing for recognition were the White Supremacists. A cold chill shook her body, the feeling of being watched still waltzed through her soul, but she wasnt going to succumb to such childish feelings. The recliner had become her favorite spot, and she plopped down, then extended the footrest. An hour into various websites, she saw the same basic hatred spewed by all the regional groups. It was an oxymoron; they viewed themselves as above others, yet failed to see they were of lesser means, value, and purity to ever be held in any degree of high esteem. Acceptance of others for their limits and whom they were was the enlightened view of the sapient being. Just by embracing their perverted beliefs, they could never be better than or superior to anyone or any being. The foundation of a bigots beliefs betrayed any hope of serious recognition. Norton jumped to the footrest and curled up between her legs. What am I going to do with you? That cats in my spot smelling your sweet fragrance. Maybe tonight would be best to visit. Youll probably stay home and be in need of my company. For now Ill get some rest. Enjoy your Saturday morning. Im right here if you need me. Jeff looked to Jason and stretching said, Are you up to some breakfast? Sure. Where to? Jeff looked to his teammate and suggested, Since we have to gather more info on this group and our sources seem to be limited, lets eat at the motel diner and see how much the owners are willing to share. Well its worth a try. What do you think the logical target would be, other than the whole town, that is if we had the resources? From last nights conference call and feedback, this pattern of building towns and staying to themselves seems to be the operational method of all the Tilldoc

infiltrators. Only makes sense. Appear as much as possible to be a normal human town yet continue to influence the outside indigenous population by spreading hate. We need to find out where the training is conducted. If were lucky, we might be able to put a dent in their operation if we take out the trainers. Jason was surprised, A dent Jeff is that all? Im working on another angle. Come on. Lets eat. The two men, each dressed in jeans and knit company shirts, straightened their clothing and exited the room. Both wore dark sunglasses to shield their eyes from the morning sun and hide their constantly shifting gaze. Carefully checking the parking lot for curious strangers was a quick, necessary protocol to assure the teams safety and security. When satisfied, they appeared to casually walk to the diner. The motels restaurant was a busy and crowded establishment seating about ninety-five and smelling of coffee, maple syrup, bacon, and baked goods. A West Virginia couple and their two children were ahead of them and waiting for a table. Spying two stools empty at the counter, Jeff and Jason quickly claimed the spots. An older waitress with an attitude of expected tip no matter the service asked, Whatre you two having this morning? Jason answered, For now, two coffees black. We havent had a chance to look at the menus. Seeing the menu holder empty, a perturbed look snatched two menus from below the counter and thrust them into the new customers hands. Ill get your coffee, take your time and yell when youre ready to order. The cantankerous woman plodded to the waitstation and grabbed a pot of steaming coffee off a warmer, then walked the line topping off all the cups. Jeff and Jason looked to each other and Jeff said, Dont you just love the courteous service and staffs attending to each customers every need? Well the food has to be great, replied Jason, to offset the other areas of negative performance. Taking out the test meter he leaned toward Jeff and whispered, I stole a light skin scraping from her hand. Shes clammy. He then covertly pressed the matter from under his left index fingernail into a tiny sample tube. Ill be right back, just need to use the head. While Jason was gone a booth became empty and no one was waiting to be seated, so Jeff claimed the clean, abandoned space. The transfer also gave them access to a different waitress. As Jason located Jeff and walked to their new table, a late twenty something approached with a better customer service attitude and said, Good morning. as Jason slid onto the empty cushioned bench. Im Heather. Have you had a chance to review the menu or do you need more time? Jason, studying the bright and friendly young woman allowed her beauty to temporarily steal his thoughts. Admiring Heathers long, curly, flaming red hair, deep green eyes, and creamy smooth complexion, his thoughts returned after several pregnant seconds and said brightly, Good morning to you. His brain started locking again so he begged, Could we please have just a little more time? Therere so many choices. Heather answered, I know, Ive told daddy to pare down the menu, because theres way too much to choose from. He doesnt care. The meals are better than good

and he wants everyone to have a wide selection. Evidently he knows best, because customers keep coming back now for over thirty years. Jeff looked up from the menu and said, Good morning Heather youre right, there are a lot, maybe too many choices. For now could you bring us a half dozen biscuits, butter and assorted jellies? Thatll give us something to start on and more time to choose. Sounds like a plan guys, be right back. She spun on her heal allowing the short black pleated skirt to flare out exposing most of her silky smooth unblemished legs and a hint of panties. Jeff, looking over the top of his menu said, Jason, you might want to close your mouth. Shell be back. My God Jeff, shes gorgeous. What about Rita Rude? One hundred percent. Really? Jason glanced to Heather and she seeing him, smiled back. Lowering his voice he confirmed, Pure Tilldoc. Jasons bench bounced from the children from West Virginia who were rambunctious in the next booth and refused to settle down until their mom threatened them with a whipping. The threat worked, both immediately plopped into their seat and froze. Jason smiled. Im wondering. Except for the shitty attitude, everything about Rita Rude is beyond perfect. Maybe the wait staff are mostly Tilldoc. Except for those two over in the corner bussing tables. Probably wouldnt meet the purity standards. Jeff observed nodding in the direction of the simple pair. Jason hung his head, Crap probably the same for Heather. Well just test her. Jeff leaned back in the booth and let the menu fall to the table. He was enjoying Jasons infatuation. Easier said than done. Jason surrendered. Why? Not getting an answer, Jeff sat up waiting to strike. My turn, here she comes. Give me the meter. Approaching with a small tray balanced on her left palm and forearm, Jeff noticed a small gauze bandage on the back of Heathers left hand. After she served the ordered food, she refilled their coffee and said, Anytime guys. Really, no rush, the crowds starting to thin. Always does about this time on a Saturday morning. If you want, Ill be back in a few after checking my other tables. Jeff smiled and answered, Thatll work. Were in no hurry. Heather smiled at Jeff and lightly touched Jasons forearm saying, Great. She hurried to round on the rest of her section. Jeff chuckled, Dont you have a relationship back home? Just a dog. Been too busy at work doing advanced weapons and communications research. Mostly the lab is made up of, he leaned closer and whispered, Rowdizians. I go out some with the opposite sex, if you know what I mean. After a short pause he continued, Now thats an indescribable, pleasurable experience. Oh my God! And the beings are socially wonderful. The most gracious and giving group Ive ever had the opportunity to associate. Whoa!

Jeffs huge smile and large bright eyes, communicated understanding, I know. Jason quickly shot a frown in Jeffs direction, I thought youre in love with Susan. At least thats the only woman Ive ever heard you express feelings for. And that relationship started before you moved to your new home. Right? I dont kiss and tell. Jason blurted, Oh, Shit! The little boy behind Jason yelled, Mommy, that man said a bad word. The West Virginia family immediately requested go boxes and left after Heather gave them their check. Patrons were now pacing the race for the cash register. A line was forming. Heather took a check and debit card then paid out another nearby table. Jason watched as she whispered something to the hostess. With a large smile she poured herself a soft drink and returned to Jeff and Jasons table. Standing next to Jason she said, Are you going to offer me a seat, or am I going to have to force you to move over? Jason was dumbfounded and Jeff answered, Be quicker to force him over. As Heather slid into the seat next to Jason, he yielded space. Still silent and in shock. Heather looked to Jeff and asked, He okay? Jeff answered, Sorry, the boys kind of an enigma. Been all over the universe, but doesnt get out much. Work! Studying the logo on Jeffs shirt, she asked, Galaxy Communications what work does a hyper-speed space telecommunications corporation have to do on this planet? Or for that matter, in this town. Jason recovered saying, Although much of our work revolves around space based interstellar communications platforms, we do have planet side up and down links. Heather was surprised and Jeff laughed, See Heather, whatd I tell you. All work. She looked to Jason and with a large smile said, Youre cute. Just the right thing to say and cause another brain lock. When you do stay Earth side, where do you live? Jason was still locked, so Jeff answered, The city. Thats where the regional office is located. Were up here to scout a location for a new large array, and maybe some hunting and fishing locations in the National Forest. Daddy might be able to help with the hunting. Goes many times every year. Looking at the bandage Jeff finally asked, What happened to your hand? I was doing dishes this morning and got stuck by a butcher knife. Doesnt matter how many times you tell people not to leave sharp knives in the sink, they still do. Fucking idiots. Probably was Rita. Bitch. Jason again recovered saying, You noticed? The three shared a good laugh. Then Jeff said, Can I see the cut? Okay. Thats a strange request, but sure. What are you, some kind of vampire? She thought briefly of the renewed craze for vampire love stories on the entertainment channels. No. retrieving a small kit from a small fanny pack around his waist, Jeff slowly removed the gauze and the deep cut began to ooze. You probably shouldve had this stitched. Surprised she said, I can still make it to the Doc in a Box and be back before

the lunch crowd hits. Jason took over as Jeff excused himself with the bloodied gauze and napkins. Jeff said, I have to use the head and Ill get rid of this stuff. Holding the soiled tissues and gauze, he quickly found the toilets. Looking in Jasons eyes Heathers sultry voice breathed, I like your smile and the way you carry yourself. Been watching you since you came in. You remind me of my last love. Now the professional, Jason said, Let me help you with this wound. He blotted the new blood with a fresh napkin. When was the last time you had a tetanus shot? About a year ago. Get cut often. Glad you had the shot. Jason took her left fingers between his right thumb and index fingers and curled them over the back of his right hand. Securing an unfamiliar and strange tube of medicine in his left hand, he used his teeth to unscrew the cap. Heather asked, Whats that? Will it sting? Youll feel warmth and something like an electrical tingling. The medication will speed up the repair response of your body. Makes the cells accelerate to light speed. Jason held the tiny tube between his left thumb and middle finger, then squeezed a portion on his left index finger and finally rubbed the ointment into her wound. Heather couldnt believe the sensation, Whats this stuff. I feel I feel I feel like theres an electrical charge in my hand. I Heather watched and was dumbfounded as the skin around the wound glowed a soft red and she exhaled, Oh, my God! The wound began to close. A minute later Jeff returned to the booth and covertly gave a thumbs up to Jason. As he slid into his seat, he watched the final seconds as Heathers cut disappeared. Heather was speechless. A good five seconds passed before she could function. After rubbing the back of her left hand to ensure it wasnt a dream, she asked, What just happened? Jason answered, The ointment speeds up the wound repair process about 1000 fold. So instead of days, healing takes minutes. Where did that stuff come from? Her eyes were still fixated on the back of her hand. Jason lowered his voice, Rowdizia. Heathers eyes suddenly grew as big as saucers. She forcefully whispered, Be quiet. Dont say that too loud, at least not in a positive way. Jeff frowned, What? Rowdizia? Heather replied with her gleaming white teeth clenched in another forced whisperer, Yes. Jason asked, Whats the problem? Guys, theres a lot of people around here that hate outsiders and you cant get more outside than Rowdizia. I grew up here. Please! she put her fingers to her lips, Just keep it down. Jason was amazed, Damn, youre genuinely afraid. Can we talk somewhere more discreet? Heather cautiously smiled, Since you havent figured out what to eat. She called out. Hey dad, these two want a Lumberjack each. Turning, she asked, How do you

want your eggs? From the kitchen a deep male voice acknowledged the order. Jeff said, Scrambled. Jason blurted, Over easy. Heather called out to the kitchen, One over easy and one scrambled. then returning her attention to the men asked, How about your steaks? Jeff said, Rare. Jason wanted, Well done. And daddy, burn the easy and walk the scrambled by the fire! Again, the deep voice from the kitchen acknowledged the updates. She turned back to Jeff and Jason, Look, Ill tell you all about this town. Tonight. Wherere you two staying? Jason answered, Room thirty-four. Heather let out a sigh of relief and added, Great, I get off at four. Wait, am I inviting myself over uninvited? Jason was quick to add, No not at all. Please come, youre more than welcome. Heather changed gears, So Jeff, did you say you fought in the war? She winked and hoped he was savvy enough to take the hint. Jeff didnt miss a beat, Jason and I served in the thirty first fighter squadron. I was there for a few years and Jason joined the last when were you assigned? Jason added, Hell, Jeff, right at a year ago, so I fought in the last eleven months of the war. Must have been stressful. Heather looked at Jason and smiled a warm, inviting smile. All Ive heard around here are a bunch of glorious one sided, boastful stories of how the local veterans fought and won pitched desperate battles with the Rowdicks. Jeff shook his head and teared, remembering, The glory wore off partway through my first battle, and I was scared shitless for the first year. After that, I just saw myself as dead. Numb. Most of us did. Nothing to boast about. Heathers father approached carrying the ordered platters and introduced himself. A white, food-stained apron, chefs hat, and beads of sweat identified him as a dedicated kitchen worker. Heather took the plates and introduced the warriors. Her father beamed, We owe everyone that fought in the war a great deal. Just wish that damn jarhead hero wouldnt have ended it before the bugs were completely wiped out. Yep, owe all of you a great deal. Gotta get back to work. He shook their hands and returned to the kitchen. Jason agreed, I still cant believe its over and I lived through it. So many fine people I knew didnt come back. He felt somewhat guilty for claiming to have participated in the war, having spent the entire period building advanced weapons on New Terra. Besides good food to eat, what else is there to do around this area? Heathers hand found Jasons and she said, Besides movies, out at the lakes theres swimming and other water sports, mountain climbing, camping, fishing, hiking hunting during the fall and winter. Oh, and one of my favorites is going up on Bald mountain at night and star gazing, but that would probably be kind of lame to you two after being stationed on a celestial warship. Heather looked to Jeff and was intrigued by his eyes.

Jeff smiled back continuing to slowly chew a mouthful of the delicious meal while studying the couple sitting across from him. Jason attacked his plate and would scoop runny egg yoke and cooked whites with a generous portion of steak, followed by a bite of heavily buttered toast. Jasons rugged muscular body and strong chiseled facial features only missed a red plaid shirt and wide suspenders to be the poster boy for his lumberjack breakfast. Even more piercing were his green eyes that fought for attention next to Heathers red hair. Only a few short months ago, Jeff could still see himself in Jasons place with KC at his side. Yes he thought, the war did mess with our minds and stole our innocence, but it was nothing to boast about. He, in deep thought, stared ahead. Heather for the third time said, Hey Jeff, you okay? she gently touched his cheek. Startled, Jeff blinked and said, Sorry I was in another time. Really, doing what? Jeffs smile warmed the booth, Enjoying a wonderful woman with whom I was deeply in love. Jason offered, Susan. Jeff softly countered, No KC. Heather cut back in and excused herself, Interesting, but Ive got to get back to work and prepare my area for the lunch crowd. What do I need to bring? Jason, having warmed to her presence answered, Yourself and some good stories about this town, you, and your family. Like Chinese? Love it. Then well order delivery after you arrive. Heather hopped up and spun around, I havent had a date in years. And with a fighter pilot, at that. Im a rum girl, guys. See ya later. Jeff watched Jasons gaze follow Heather until she disappeared into the kitchen and finally broke his trance with, I think she likes you. Really? Back in their hotel room, the team studied aerials of the surrounding forests for several hours before striking out to check firsthand the forest traffic on weekends. The many oblique stills of interesting sites gave dimension to the compounds selected. Some of the sites were no-brainers for identifying hate groups. All had distinct gun ranges. The factions that used these places were not ashamed to post racial slurs to support their narrow bigoted views. A first hand, real time inspection would show what the stills didnt use. Printing out several topographical maps with points of interest marked, the men changed their knit shirts for more durable long-sleeved motocross shirts, and grabbed their work boots for added foot and ankle protection. Thirty-five minutes later they parked on a service road just inside the boundaries of the forest. From the rear of the van Jeff and Jason unloaded a pair of 250 c.c. two cycle enduro dirt bikes to run the trails. Full-face helmets, gloves, and concealed Springfield 9mm XDM pistols completed the outfits. After checking the bikes they secured any loose equipment and started their afternoon trip. Site #1 was a secure, fenced in, primitive campsite with a gate and no-trespassing

signs to deter the curious. The site and the entrance looked as if it had been months since the place had seen use. Still they rode the fence line to see if there was another hidden entrance and the unused main was just a decoy. After an hour, they were satisfied it was vacant. Site #2 was very much in use. Jeff and Jason braked to a stop at the entrance of the compound. A morbidly obese male guard in tight painted on camouflage and full battle dress stood the duty. A muffin top roll of fat peeked from between his shirt and pants. Abrupt and dismissive of their questions, he was stupid enough to think his refusal to offer answers yielded no information. The rotund guard carried an M-4 slung across his chest that, in proportion to his mass, appeared to be a kids toy. Automatic weapons fire could be heard in the distance. Jeff asked if they could use the range and received psychotic laughter for an answer. Counting the number of cars in the dirt lot and the number of men, women, and children walking the grounds, the pair picked up some valuable info. At site #3 they received the same routine, except this guard revealed the last guard at the previous site had warned him of the two dirt bikers. The last site, site #4 was also active, however this time Jeff and Jason hid their bikes and equipment about a half mile from the camp and used stealth to approach the fence line. From what they saw there were hundreds of people milling about the grounds. A large barbeque was being prepared for the evening meal and at the range, nearly every participant was firing fully automatic weapons or pistols. In another part of the camp, classes on survival, tactics, and racial purity held a large groups attention. Having seen enough, Jeff and Jason decided to leave before their luck failed and they were caught snooping around. Back at the motel, Jeff claimed the shower first and promised to pick up the food when it was ready. It took several minutes for the showers water to change from mud to clear. He inwardly smiled at the fun they shared running the forest trails. The steaming bath was stifling. Jeff with a towel around his waist, was chilled upon entering the coolness of the air-conditioned room and warmed to see Jason and Heather talking. Heather asked to use the bath and Jeff quickly dressed while she was out of the main room. When she returned Jason dashed for the shower. Jeff asked, Do you know what you want to eat? Heather observed, Damn, you dress quick. and laughed thinking of Jeffs dash to dress, I love pork fried rice please, and Jason mentioned glass noodle salad, but isnt that Thai? She sipped from her mixed drink waiting for clarification and understanding. Jeff offered, Earlier this week, Jason and I found this small kitchen called The Asian Prince, which serves a mixture of Chinese and Thai food. We ate lunch there one day and fell in love with the place. Pulling his cell from his pocket, Jeff speed dialed the restaurant and ordered carryout. A final call to Jason confirmed they were all satisfied with the selection. With a wave, Jeff asked, Heather, can you think of anything else we need? Taking another taste of her drink, she finally answered, Not a thing. Jeff took his time driving to the restaurant and scouted other roads yet to be explored. Arriving early, he waited for the food to be prepared.

Jason unknowingly experienced the same thing as Jeff. The soapy water ran filthy for several minutes while he scrubbed his body. Yelling to Heather he asked, What did you mean, you hadnt been on a date in years? Was that some kind of joke? I can hardly hear you. Can I open the door and not have to yell through the wall? He answered, Sorry sure. Then thought, Even with the water running I can hear her fine. Heather sat on the closed toilet and watched Jasons form through the thin curtain thinking, Damn, for some reason Im really attracted to this man, really attracted to a stranger Id only met hours ago. She hadnt had sex with a real partner in over a year. She wanted to strip and join him in the shower, but that would surely be misunderstood and maybe brand her as cheap and easy. Jason asked, You okay? Youre suddenly quiet. Oh, Im just thinking it strange, a few hours ago we met and now here I am sitting in the bathroom of your hotel room with you naked a few feet away. Jason laughed, I guess it would be more strange if I was showering dressed. Okay, you win that one Taking a deep breath she answered the earlier question, I was married for five years. My husband and I met while we attended school at the University of Texas. He was a fine man and a Cobra fighter pilot assigned to Avenger Squadron aboard the Nova Wind. He was killed in action about eight months ago. She watched as Jason stopped washing and stood with the water spraying his scalp. Heather, Im so sorry for your tragic loss. He also knew she was more familiar with the pilots and squadron protocols than he and he needed to be real careful, You should see this filthy water. Ill probably have to bathe more than once to get totally clean. Heather watched as he returned to washing and his hand and rag found his crotch and a growing interest from his current situation. It was unmistakable, his hand caressed the shadowed shaft and he washed the tip. You remind me very much of a man I can no longer have and still adore to this day. She felt her breathing become more labored. Wetting her finger tips, she traced her hand up under her loose top and easily found the erect, engorged nipple of her left breast. Braless, her firm round breasts tingled from her gentle circular teasing. Heathers eyes grew wide when she saw Jason stroke his length. She said, Dont come out yet, I need to use the toilet. What the hell, she thought and quietly stripped her top, shorts and panties, then draped the clean garments on an empty towel bar. Sucking on the fingers of her left hand, she continued to watch Jason bathe as her left fingers found the wet, sweet center of her vulva. She was hotter than the steam of the small bath. She tensed as Jason stroked again and Heather was not able to hold back any longer. As her body arched from her own expertly placed stimulation, she decided to see if he was all she hoped hed be. Having been married to a wonderful lover, a year was too long to only experience the joy of self satisfaction. She had to have Jason. Silently opening the curtain, Heather carefully stepped into the energizing, pulsating stream and as Jason turned to face her, she kissed him tenderly. Her tongue searched his mouth, his neck, and his face. His movements and exploration matched hers, move for move. A hand found her wanting mound and his wet soapy fingers teased while her hand found his shaft and stroked its length with a soap filled palm. They agreed the shower was a difficult place to totally fulfill a woman, but he maneuvered to her back and held her tight as one

hand continued to explore the depths of her vaginal tunnel and finger her engorged clitoris. His other hand divided its time between caressing and soaping her breasts and tracing her neck to her mouth where hungry lips kissed and sucked his fingers length. Jason had guided Heather to face the pulsating shower where a horizontal handicap bar hung at waist level. She continued to stroke his length. Jasons mind reeled as Heather coaxed his hard shaft to grow even longer. With each stroke, she pulled outward demanding more blood to extend the shaft. Finally, she begged him to enter her, and bent at the waist while securely holding the well-placed bar. Jasons hands caressed her breasts and his fingers teasingly circled her nipples. Knowing she was ready, Heather still reached down and tested the moistness of her waiting lips, not wanting to lose any of the delirious sensations they had achieved. Expert hands released her breasts and clasped her shoulders and he finally drove into her depths. Deeper he drove with each rhythmic stroke. Knowing the position was more suited for his pleasure, she reacted purposely opposite as he drove even deeper. He guided his right hand back to her jealous clitoris and stroked the engorged tip. Heather moaned and her body racked in rhythmic waves of ecstasy. She cried tears of joy from a pleasure never before felt. She begged for Jason not to stop although her heart raced and felt as if it would burst from her chest. She was light headed and while her mind warned of enough, her pleasure starved body demanded more. Nearly awash in an electrified delirium she moaned a joyful cry while nearing unconsciousness. Jason exploded in her depths. His muscular arms held her from falling as he settled into the tub guiding her to sit on his still rigid shaft. Turning with him still inside, she maneuvered to drive him deeper. In breathless pants she surprisingly said, Youre still hard! She could still feel him pulsating deep inside. I want to have you again now. Jason gasped. We need a bed. she begged. Jeffll return any second. Lets rinse and eat. He reasoned. They rinsed and shared the shower, sensuously washing their willing partner. Heather was even more impressed because Jason was still hard to her touch. As they were drying off she sat on the toilet, grabbed the firm cheeks of his ass and swallowed his length until Jason was soft with satisfied bliss. Surrendering the bath, they moved to the main room where they found boxes of takeout still hot to the touch. A note by the food read, If you want me to join you two for dinner, call me. If not, no problem. Theres an interesting movie playing I havent seen. Call either way so I can make plans. Heather teared and Jason, not understanding, asked, Did I say or do something wrong? No silly, its Jeff. Hes a saint and a good friend. She found Jasons cell and asked, Can I call him? Sure. Jason selected the programmed number and returned the phone to Heather. Jason listened to Heathers one-sided conversation, Hello, Jeff? Youre sweet. I promised to tell you and Jason of this town and my family. Tonights a social event. Maybe later. It was wonderful. she closed the connection. Curious, Jason asked, What did he say? Nothing.

That was a pretty long one sided conversation for not saying anything. Jasons mind spun. From what he heard there was more, and Heather was holding back. The sound of a key entering the lock was followed by Jeff opening the door. May I come in? Heather teased, Of course, silly. Jason grabbed a fresh pair of jeans and a clean tee and went to the bathroom to dress. When he returned to the main room, Jeff and Heather were laughing. The room had a kitchenette and the evening meal was ready on the dinette table. Heather, in Jasons robe announced, Guys my turn to get dressed. Be right back. She quickly ducked into the bathroom. Jason held a finger to his lips commanding silence. In a hushed whisper he said, Damn it Jeff. Her husband was a Cobra fighter pilot aboard the Nova Wind and he was killed about eight months ago. Oh, and he was assigned to Avenger squadron. Wasnt that your squadron? I just knew there was something special about her. What was his name? I dont know. She didnt tell me. Come on Jeff. The guy was killed eight months ago and had a wife back on Earth. Jason, a lot of pilots died every time we went into battle. Line us all up and one or more would be dead before the end of the mission. Thats why we became numb to death. Death rode with us on every flight. The bath door opened and a dressed, sexually satisfied Heather entered the room. She looked at the two men, one of which she would have again before the night was over. The thought caused her to tremble as she said. Lets eat. Drinks flowed and the trio enjoyed the shared evening. Heather, feeling she now owed the greater debt for the satisfaction given by Jason, was a wealth of knowledge of a typical Supremacists compound. Although she failed to mention anything about the Tilldoc invasion, her stories were typical of a group spreading hatred and feeling themselves elevated above the common man. Heather didnt hold back. A little tipsy she said, Guys, imagine growing up in a town where everyone looks at you as an outsider. Mom got cancer at a young age and had a total hysterectomy. I was the only child my parents had and here I am with flaming red hair and freckles. Not your common blonde hair, blue eyed Arian babe. Jeff was surprised at her candor, You mentioned Arian. Please explain. Come on your typical Hitler Youth Movement. The attitude of this town is purity and breeding the best offspring. Im the odd bitch out. Now mind you, in school I was popular because all the Arians wanted to fuck the strange redheaded bitch. Wanted to do me a favor. Even my parents wanted me to be more outgoing hoping to be accepted by the town. See these? She lifted her top, flashing the guys. Flat-chested at seventeen, my parents insisted I have implants to fit in better. Most girls around here were B cups before sweet sixteen. I found out after I left for college that there was something more to this town. Once I had access to unfiltered, uncensored material, I was able to locate the many compounds around the world that were the definition of the narcissistic behavior they promoted. This, their grotesque belief of a superior race. Anyway, dads not doing so well, and mom, try as she might, is not accepted into the

circles of this closed Arian society. Theyre screwed because their babys different. Jason asked, What about your husband? Heather took another drink and held the glass out for Jeff to refresh, Best thing that ever happened to me. Pulled me away from this town and, to some degree, made my parents happy. Mind you, Steven wasnt from here, but he had a dick, and genetic material that would possibly result in grandchildren. No one from this town was ever going to commit to the redheaded freak. Jason had a hard time accepting the guttural contempt Heather painted of the towns people. He asked, This is all so unbelievable. How did you survive growing up in a town where everyone rejected your very existence? Heather laughed, Drugs and alcohol. she laughed hard at their stares of disbelief then continued, Not really. I knew this town to be an abomination. The boys didnt just want to get into my pants to ejaculate a self serving thrill, they wanted to seed me with their superior genes. What! Fuck them. I wasnt in any way prepared to have children. I wasnt one of their blonde bimbos that spread her legs wanting the Alpha male to spew his semen into her ripe cervix. Guys, this place is beyond weird. The only chance I had at a normal life is when I left and married. Her eyes grew wide then drooped as she adjusted to the spirits effects, I have a Masters in Psychology and just shy of a Doctorate. I cant see a career around these parts. But, I have to help mom and dad. Thats why Im here now. I just wish theyd sell the motel and move away. Jason didnt know how to release the special information he and Jeff had. So, he tested the waters. Look, this morning your father made an issue of the war ending early and the Alliance not finishing the job. What drives his opinion? She stifled a burp, Where we live. The biggest relief I ever felt is when I went to Austin to attend college. My dad said what he said for no other reason than that is how he is expected to react. He doesnt know you guys from shit. Even in the short 29 years Ive graced this town, Ive seen patrons disappear. You have no idea to what length this town will go to keep their special lives a secret. I dont understand why Rita Rude is working at your families business. Jason wondered out loud. Heather lightly brushed Jasons cheek and kissed his lips, Thats the quasi organized crime aspect of this place. The town elders are consulted for all issues, and they give the okay to businesses and loans. My grandparents owned this place first, built it with the permission and funding of the town. Even when a loan is satisfied, the borrower maintains a perpetual obligation. Heathers candid revelations, to a certain degree, shocked her audience. Jeff and Jason were beginning to understand the perverted grip the elite held over the social group. The three sat in silence, reflecting on the shared information. They had all night and nothing was lacking except for Jeffs need to contact Susan. A long lull in the exchange allowed for relaxed consumption. The conversation became light and the food was, as promised excellent. Heather even tried the Glass Noodle Salad and was forever hooked. Jeff needed more information and decided to further test the waters. Heather, I mean no offense by what Im about to say, but I dont think your mom and dad are your biological parents. Jeff wasnt prepared for her response. Taking another sip of the freshened rum and Diet Pepsi, a very, very mellow

Heather laughed, No shit. Your Fin kidding. I realized what the odds were twenty years ago. Now, dont take me wrong, I love Bill and Kathy to death and would never hurt them. Im their daughter by whatever measure one would use. Theyve sacrificed so much for me. Hell, I got a full scholarship to UT and didnt have to work a day to get by living in another state. Mom and dad gave me their bug out money to live on. Over one hundred thousand credits. Sweet.... She pressed her finger to her lips and added, Got a job anyway. Maintained my 4.0 average, and after graduate school, I pushed the total to well over a hundred thousand. With the compensation from Stevens death, my parents could just walk away. Ive mentioned it, but for now theyre content with their arrangement. Jason asked, Would you like to know for sure if they are you biological parents? Heathers eyes grew and threatened to pop out of her skull. When she recovered she said, Sure youre going to confirm what I already know. Go ahead. She lifted her glass to salute the effort. Jason was careful not to offer false promises. He took the tube containing genetic material from her father and place it in the meter. He explained to Heather what he was doing. When the meter read 100%, he informed Heather that her loving parents must have adopted her. With tears tracing her cheeks she said, Are you sure? I mean Ive suspected for years, but how do you know? Jason explained, Some more of those miracle devices and items from the Rowdizians. This is a genetic coding device. He held up the meter. Theres much more to this story, but I dont know if youre ready for a heavy dose of reality yet. Jeff cut in, Im ready, but have other plans. You two stay here and have fun. Im going back to the city and check up on some things that require my attention. Jason asked, Tonight? Jeff countered with, Do you want me to wait till morning? Heather interjected, If youre up to it tonight would be great. Jason and I have some unfinished common interests. Jeff stood and grabbed a jacket. Early summer. Suppose to be a little cool tonight. Id love to stay and watch but I need to go. A few seconds later Jeff roared with laughter, You two should see the look on your faces gotta go. Be back Monday morning. Bye. The perverted vile stalker, again lusted from a safe distance. Only the sound of flesh slapping flesh was audible in the abandoned building. Even the rats yielded the floor to the sociopath. He licked his lips and tasted the semen that his hand brought to his mouth before it spilled to the floor. He thought, Im just testing the flavor you long to drink, my lovely, special, little lover. Again we have fallen asleep in the recliner and your pussy enjoys the scent and flavor of your precious mound. A come-stained dry rag wiped his chapped lips. He being immune to the surroundings, the overpowering scent of stale sex and filthy sweat would be revolting to the normal observer. Jumping onto the recliner, Norton purred and pushed his furry head deeper into the odorous space between his masters legs. The wonderful female purveyor of delicious

foods was without the monthly musty smell of needful sex. Norton could always detect the monthly odor in the building along with many of his peers waiting to be fed or released. There had been a slight change in his master, unnoticed by the uninformed. Her covered space was warm and moist. It felt good and offered a feeling of security. Waking and feeling Norton, the perverted cat, push his head into the space between her legs, Susan vowed to return the animal to the pound where she had discovered him. The recliner had become her favorite spot to rest and sleep. The bed was way too big for one person and the empty space increased her longing for Jeff. She focused on the giant wall clock. It read one thirty-three in the morning. Damn cat. Susan decided to move to the bedroom, but on the way stopped in the bathroom and checked her tampon. Dropping the moist bloodless cotton into the toilet, she inserted another and finally slid into her empty bed. A few paws at the door signaled Nortons displeasure from the forced separation. Undecided as to the cats full range and territory, Susan decided to leave the door closed and within seconds she was asleep. Jeff took the ticket from the automatic dispensing machine and parked in the garage three blocks from the abandoned high rise. The garage, he and Jason discovered earlier in the month, kept prying eyes from seeing their true destination. When he reached the underground entrance to the darkened skyscraper, only the ghostly glow of emergency lighting lit the unfinished structure. Entering from an abandoned utility tunnel, Jeff checked the service elevator and noting no use, entered a code that allowed him to ride to the 125th floor. Once inside the security of their staging area, Jeff opened the wide screen laptop and entered the access codes. The area surrounding the Rowdizian Embassy was quiet just before four on a Sunday morning. The camera, transmitting the scene outside Susans apartment, displayed an empty street. The curtains of her bedroom were closed and the living area was dim, but empty. A sudden movement revealed the cat darting down the hall. The cameras surrounding the high rise were motionless except for the image of a solitary guard walking the unfinished parking lot and grounds encircling the first floor. Jeff resisted the urge to drive to her apartment and ring the bell. Morning would have to do. Perverted, unfulfilled lust beckoned him to the empty streets. The hour was late, but he was sure there was someone this night that required his artistic talents. Slow purposeful movements and watching from within the shadows, the stalker found a lonely bag lady desperately in need of posing. After an hour of observing the woman hug then repeatedly pose a dirty, well-worn, childs doll, the stalker introduced himself and offered his often demanded services. The confused, psychotic, and delusional woman accepted the seemingly well-intentioned, yet self-serving offer of the stranger. He seemed to know her needs. Her treatment had never been this knowing and fulfilling in the many institutions where she received services. The caring man was so accommodating, so brilliant and understanding of her needs. Suddenly his vice-like hands encircled the destitute womans neck, and she could feel, yet misunderstood his hard erection pressing against her left thigh. Her mind screamed as she lost consciousness, never feeling the knife puncture her abdomen and slide up through her diaphragm. The trauma, suffocating

the need for life sustaining oxygen became her cause of death. Minutes later, the womans shopping cart was visible in the photographic statement of her final minutes. Sunday morning, Jeff waited for Susans routine venture into the park near her apartment. He was prepared, dressed as a vagrant in need of another chance at life. Working a coffee filled mouth, he allowed a thick piece of planned drool to freshly stain his clean, filthy-looking shirt. After reading his hidden Seiko chronograph, Jeff realized it was nine oclock and Susan must have slept in late this Sunday morning. Thirty-seven minutes later a motion detector alarm monitoring Susans apartment sounded on his slim-line pocket computer. There she was, when the video feed blossomed. Dressed and making coffee, Jeff watched as she looked through the peephole, then quickly retrieved the paper at her door. He watched as Susan looked at the unopened paper while sipping several tastes of the steamy hot, fresh, rich domestic brew. Jeff, smiled as a brief thought crossed his consciousness, wondering how many more times and positions Jason and Heather used to fill their evening. Heather, he mused, seemed to be the perfect ally, yet their goal or mission was not yet fully disclosed and Heathers willingness to help could change after learning their full intent. The real test would be when her parents were told of the plan and their unknown reaction was revealed. So much would instantly change, or be rejected. Unknown to Susan, the vagrant watched as she finished her morning coffee and returned to the bathroom to empty Nortons box. With the soiled litter in hand, Susan skipped down the stairs and quickly deposited the waste in a waiting dumpster. Adjusting her short, revealing too much jogging shorts, Susan began her Sunday jog to the park. Jeff spied her from his secluded spot in front of Miles Grocery. Susan crossed the street and closed the distance to her destination. Seeing his chance, Jeff tripped onto the sidewalk and was plowed over by an unsuspecting Susan. Falling to the concrete, Jeff guarded his right side and moaned his discomfort. Surprised and guilt ridden by the pain she might have caused, Susan kneeled by the uninjured vagrant and offered her help. In a genuine display of concern, Susan asked, Oh, my God. Im so sorry, is there anything I can do for you? Her hand extended and touched his arm to alleviate his discomfort. Jeff, modeling tormented pain, grunted in a voice barely understood, My side hurts. I need to Not understanding his hacking, whispered, tortured speech, Susan leaned closer, Im sorry, what can I do to help? Jeff quickly scanned the street and said in a clear voice, Please, be calm... Susan please dont overreact. Its me, Jeff Shhhh. Surprised and angered, she demanded, Is this some kind of bad joke? Who put you up to this? No, please I can explain. Help me to the diner across the street KC the Nova Wind Jungeedo Doweejunkdo. Pedestrians started to gather at a distance to snoop the scene. Intrigued by the vagrants words and knowing a public place offered some degree of safety, she announced to the onlookers, Hell be fine, just weak from a lack food.

A know-it-all type yelled, Hell, yes hes weak from lack of food, but I bet his alcohol level is through the roof! Several of the gathered laughed and, the easily bored continued to their original destinations. Susan stood, knowing her modesty was in question, and for the hundredth time readjusted the shorts. As Jeff slowly and painfully stood, she said, Come on mister Ill get ya something to eat across the street in the diner. Jeff allowed the vagrant to hesitantly accepted the offer. Susan, playing along with the ruse, coaxed, Come on, whatever you want my treat. The all knowing stranger shouted, Dont give him credits. Hell just drink them up and hurl everything later. A few of the remaining onlookers groaned disapproval of the tasteless, unsolicited comment as they too bored and returned to their day. Entering the mostly empty 42nd Street Diner, Jeff pointed to a booth furthest from any curious eavesdropping ears, and sat with a commanding view of the clean, well maintained establishment. Placing a finger to his lips, he began, Im truly sorry for the intrigue. A waitress approached the table and offered menus, then left to get their drink orders. Jeff positioned his head in his hands, resting his elbows on the table. He felt the need to mask his speaking before continuing, Susan Ill tell you a little now and more detailed answers will come later. For now, you were right there is a group after me and more importantly, he tapped the table for added effect, they want to destroy our, this planets, way of life. Im here to gather information and, if necessary, brief the heads of state we believe we can trust with this delicate information. The waitress returned and Susan ordered the meals. Jeff continued to support his head with his propped left arm and stared intently into her eyes. Mouthing I love you, he continued, There is another known species in the universe, and this species is warlike and domineering to the point of subjugating conquered beings into slavery or putting them to death. And they have been on Earth for hundreds of years. Susans eyes showed her surprise, but she wanted one important thing answered first, Jeff, if you really are Jeff, what happened to your face? Were you injured in the tectonic disaster on Rowdizia? The last thing I heard was, you were missing and searchers hadnt found you. Explain. We didnt want anyone to know I was here. Im pretty well known, so when you consider there are beings are out to kill me and Im supposed to be investigating those that have it in for me, kind of makes sense. The Rowdizians have very advanced medical skills and inserted several removable prosthetics. He touched the location of the implants. Cutting to healing took less than a day. Im really sorry. I had to tell you in person because we cant trust that our communications are secure. Keep the changes, looks better. Youre kidding? Well, the more defined chin is nice. Youre not kidding. She giggled, Of course Did they lengthen, her eyes gazed through the table to his crotch, that? No, and before you say any more, I still havent met Doweejunkdos daughters.

But his mind flashed to the single intense sexual encounter with Quedocdo, the Rowdizian female fighter pilot. Jeff felt guilty, even though he didnt encourage the romp, he also didnt demand she stop after she surprised him. The memory of the sensation was so intense, his crotch ached and immediately stiffened. Whats wrong? Susan puzzled. Why do you ask? was Jeffs defense. Silly, your eyes glassed over like you were in some kind of trance. Sorry. Can we meet at a motel outside the city after lunch? A place where well have some privacy. Youre naughty. Wanting to bed me and we only just met. Anyway, what makes you think Im still attracted to you? My feelings for you have only grown. Didnt you get my last communication? he asked. Yes. It was sweet. Have transportation? She reached for his right hand as Jeff retracted his, What? she was surprised. Here comes the food. She whispered, Oh, I understand. The weekend lunch crowd was beginning to filter in. Susan updated Jeff on her experiences since returning to Earth. Jeff quietly laughed, learning of his namesake Norton, and the cats arrogant behaviors. By the end of the meal Susan needed no further convincing that before her sat the real thing. In the short time they had been together, she also knew she was very much in love with the man, not the face. With the rendezvous set, Jeff left first. Ten minutes later Susan returned home, her morning run postponed, after paying the check. Handing the key card to the attractive woman, the front desk clerk was sure the man she was meeting wasnt her husband. He thought, Lady, why come to a hotel from the city at two in the afternoon in separate cars? Undressing her with his mind, the clerk imagined Susan being nailed to the bed within minutes of entering the room. A knock at the door triggered Jeffs heart to race. He calmed his breathing to answer. Susan ached for his touch and had pleased herself on the drive up, as she had done so many times since their separation. To her, Jeffs openness, thoughtfulness, and self assured mannerisms only increased her attraction to him. What was it that caused him to take such extreme measures, and return to Earth in disguise? She was about to find out. For the next hour their clothes stayed on and they shared drinks and conversation. An occasional playful touch previewed an evening yet fully experienced. Jeffs tale was unbelievable and fascinating. Hundreds of years ago, the Rowdizians had discovered a species of beings known as Tilldoc. The Tilldoc were nearly a perfect genetic match to humans and that was how they blended in with humans when they sent an advance party to Earth arriving at the end of the 19th century. Believing in eugenics and their goal of the perfection of their superior race, the Tilldoc remained in large, guarded, social groups. They were the drive behind the antithesis to the racial movements which caused increasing tensions on Earth. These were the white supremacist hate groups and were

positioned all over the planet. Susan was skeptical, Jefferson, hate and racial tensions existed long before the 20th century. Did it ever occur to you the Rowdizians are manipulating you for some other reason? Many times Ive questioned what would be their secondary gain. I read the data and reviewed the tapes of the grotesque slaughter of a defenseless Rowdizian outpost near the Tilldoc home world. These distant cousins of humans are butchers. Susan sipped the Crown on the rocks and asked, If theyre so entrenched in our society and are pushing our collective buttons, furthermore fanning the flames of our hatred, bigotry, and mistrust of others, how do you stop them? Upset the moderates and minorities to the point where they will strike out against the Tilldoc. Thought of that last night. Jeff sat in an upholstered chair with his feet propped on the bed. Susan shook her head and said, Okay lets say I believe you. You cant get up and give a speech to the world. Youll be laughed off the stage. Given the choice, our narrow minded species would rather be associated with humans than the Rowdizians. The idiot politicians would attempt to negotiate with the worse scum in the universe if they thought there was a slim chance to get along. During the Second World War we nearly exterminated the Japanese and Germans to destroy their resolve and will to fight. Then it took over a hundred years of trying to negotiate with terrorists before we gave up and killed off hundreds of millions of perverted believers. Damn Jeff We just ended a six year war where tens of millions of humans and Rowdizians were killed. You said it yourself, those wounds would take decades to heal, if ever. No speech. Were going to push the Tilldocs buttons. Get them worked into a frenzy thinking the groups they hate are killing them off, one skinhead at a time. Once weve stirred that pot, then a superior Rowdizian fleet will take the fight to the Tilldoc home world. Ive seen the Rowdizian fleet and its massive. They have a massive fleet? Why didnt they use it against us and win the war? Thats the interesting part. There was the timing of pups coming of age. They wanted an alliance. The Rowdizians believe at any moment the Tilldoc will travel to Earth, introduce themselves, form a larger alliance, and then together attack Rowdizia. She adjusted her place on the bed, then quickly got up, heading for the bath. Enroute Susan asked, What can I do? Before she closed the door Jeff answered, Its going to get messy around here, come back to Rowdizia with me. Minutes later she opened the door, Youre right about it getting messy. Jeff looked to her voice. Susan stood partially naked in the bathroom doorway. Her hands rested on the frame and her head lightly rested on her hands. A white terrycloth robe reminded Jeff of the first time they made love. He smiled, Forever beautiful and inviting. Well, you want some of this or you want to talk? Susans left leg was seductively bent, allowing Jeff an unobstructed view of a small tuft of blonde hair located on her mons pubis just above the clitoral hood. Refilling their highball glasses, Jeff walked to the bed and said, Both. He

extended his arm, offering the refill which required Susan to move near him and the bed. She noticed Jeffs solid, bulging interest while taking the spirits. He emptied the contents of his glass and let it fall to the plush, carpeted floor. His hands cupped Susans ample breasts, kneading their firmness before tracing his fingers lightly up her chest to assist the robes slipping from her smooth, creamy shoulders. Jeff kissed her neck and nibbled on her ear. Susans longing for his touch sent shivers throughout her body. She surrendered, Whatever you want, Im yours to take anything. Just ask God, I missed your masterful touch. When his tongue found her hungry mouth, his fingers found her moist labial lips. Susan moaned from the return of his expert touch when he parted her folds and stroked her wet, vertical warmth. Alternating between stroking the wetness of her vaginal tunnel and teasing her clitoris with his juice covered fingers, Jeff eased Susan onto the waiting bed. She begged him not to stop adding, Theres no doubt youre the Jefferson I know. He abandoned her mouth to nibble and tongue his way to her engorged sensitive nipples all the while his fingers explored her trembling mound. She cried tears of joy as her body rocked from spasms of waiting climactic energy. Wanting to please the man she loved, Susans desperate fingers found the fasteners to his pants while he quickly removed his knit shirt. Jeff continued to answer Susans calls for more and his mouth began the smooth short journey to allow his tongue to taste the sweetness of her juices. Freeing Jeffs enormous shaft, her left hand squeezed and stroked his length as she breathlessly cried out in ecstasy from her third climactic wave. His tongue just inches from Jeffs intermediate goal, Susan begged, My God stop, stop, no more, more, more your lips and tongue are magic. Why? Is there something wrong? he asked. Everything is more than right, she pushed him onto his back and began to tongue and kiss his body. Sitting up and arching her back she breathed, Your turn. She toyed with his erection by flicking the tip of his head with her dancing tongue and wetly sucked his shaft. She moved on the bed for a better position wanting to swallow his entire length. Now with her knees by his chest, the position allowed his pulsing rod to slide completely down her throat. Susan rhythmically stroked from the base to the tip until Jeff exploded. Swallowing his salty seed only added to her want to fulfill Jeffs desires. She continued to work his tool, sucking and drawing more blood into the swollen organ. I think weve topped that thirty hours on the Nova Wind. he laughed, Waiting to build up to his next climax, Jeff eased his head between her legs and playfully kissed and licked her inner thighs. Piling loose pillows behind his head and shoulders raised Jeff to the perfect height allowing him to plunge his tongue into her hot, juicy vulva. Instead of fingers, his lips and tongue stimulated her swollen clitoris. Susan cried more tears of joy from Jeffs masterful practice of cunnilingus. As she rocked back and forth Susan hoped he was receiving as much pleasure as she was receiving. She could feel his head swelling, but she suddenly stopped and pressed her clitoris hard into his mouth. A muffled scream announced her fourth orgasm as she pressed her face into the sheets. Jeff wasnt finished and was almost brought to climax

from Susans blissful demonstration of the art of fellatio. Susan rolled to her back; again breathless. Each time the electric waves of boundless pleasure came, she thought she might never recover from her pounding, racing heart. Jeff, drenched in sweat, smoothly rolled to the bedside table and drank from Susans glass. He then kissed her long and deeply. His fingers tested the wetness of her vulva and Susans hand was again stroking his rigid organ. His fingers moved from exploring the depths of her vulva to teasing her clit. He asked, Want a drink? Please. Laughing he held the glass inches above her lips and poured the soothing spirits into her open mouth. More? She smiled, shook her head no, swallowed, and cooed, Lay back I want to go down on you again. That would be great, but, He kissed her mouth then nibbled her tempting nipples teasing and testing various parts of her luscious body. Seductively repositioning between her legs, he kissed her abdomen before teasingly reversing course, kissed her breasts, and then kissed his way back to her mouth. Another deep, passionate kiss was designed to distract Susans focus. When he felt his tip touch the moist tissues of her vulva, and the head, painted by her lubricating juices slide in effortlessly, Jeff lunged deep inside saying, foreplays over. Susan gasped from the shock of his enormous length, and looked forward to her anticipated mindless delirium. Deeper, and deeper he drove, his gyrating motions bringing her again and again to climactic bliss. She cried hacking sobs of joyful, fulfillment begging for Jeff to stop, but like an addict demanding more, her words didnt match her fingers gripping his cheeks, pulling with each thrust. Harder and harder he pounded until he sprayed his hot sticky seed. Slowing, teasing, pressing deeply into her vault, Jeff smiled then kissed the tip of her nose. As he became limp, the tissues of her vaginal walls pushed out his spent organ. Exhausted, drenched in sweat, Jeff rolled off Susan and lay on his back. Yet, Susan wasnt finished. She needed to cool down and rolled on top of the man she loved. Laying her sweat soaked, matted hair on his heaving chest, her tongue explored his right nipple while she humped her still engorged clit on his muscular thigh. She panted, No doubt, you are my Jeff... er son Oh God Oh God Ohhh My God. She bit his chest in response to another crashing wavelike climax. Deeply inhaling to offset the pain, Jeff wanted her again now but suppressed the urge. She was the one he loved, of that he was sure. But for now, he needed to focus on the mission and carry out his assignment. For another ten minutes they lay silently wrapped, recovering from their shared ecstasy, until Susan finally asked, Whats the plan? I love you. he answered. As I am very much in love with you. She crawled up so her lips could kiss the features of his neck and face. Are you sure even when I kill in a premeditated, cold, calculated fashion? Jeff lay on his back, staring at the ceiling, and explained the three skinheads. Count me in diplomatic duties bore me. Shit Jeff, were both fighter

pilots. Soldiers. Only difference is youre a marine and Im a sailor. Jeff frowned, he could think of another distinct difference. Looking into her beautiful blue eyes, he explained, For me, theres a big difference in killing a machine at a distance compared to killing a being so close the sour smell of your targets fear and your own combine to assault the senses. Rolling to his side, Susan supported her head with her left hand to better view his glistening muscular nakedness. Gently teasing his right nipple, she smiled watching his hidden limp organ fill again with excited juices and slowly roll to attention, Killing in a more personal manner Ill probably hurl and I definitely dont want to get to the point, like during the war, where I became numb to the act of killing. Jefferson, Ill have your back. Feeling the stickiness of their beautiful afternoon, her mind commanded she rise and she suggest, Lets shower Im hungry in more ways than one. She stood, glided to the table, dropped a few ice cubes into two clean glasses and pour more drinks. Then, with a sultry tilt and nod of her head, she beckoned Jeff to follow. The reunited couple spent another hour washing and exploring, making up for the many weeks of separation. Susan laughed at his many stories of the Rowdizians and discovered why he was shaved down there. It was still early evening when they returned to their room from a wonderful romantic dinner in one of the cities many five star restaurants. Susan collapsed on the bed and kicked off her high heels, the knee length skirt didnt hide her panty less crotch. Jeff poured two more drinks and placed them on a small table flanked by two upholstered chairs. He stared at her invitation. Susan watched as he undressed and returned his suit to a hanger. Susan followed by stripping naked and getting a hotel robe from the bath, and Jeff did the same. A light kiss preceded them taking their seats by the table to enjoy more spirits and further discuss the mission. Susan asked, Jefferson, explain, push their buttons? Were identifying their biggest, most vocal mouths and trainers around the world. When we execute a target, we leave behind racial messages to suggest these are revenge killings for the hatred and vicious treatment of minorities and the disadvantaged around the world. This is further fanning the flames of hatred and weakening the resolve of the passive majority. We feel in short order the centrist will rise up and demand it stop and theyll revolt. She gave thought to the result, You and the teams are going to start a race war similar to the religious wars of the 21st century. Exactly! Innocents will be killed. lamented Susan. Better a few now than a hundredfold later. Jeff shrugged his shoulders then hung his head, Susan, in any conflict, innocents are killed. Youre well aware of that. And the side that worries more about collateral damage than winning, is the side thats doomed to lose. Slaughter the enemy to the point where so few remain, their opposing thoughts are lost in the vastness of the victors beliefs. Jeff sipped his drink, wanting to remain sober and in control. After thinking through what Jeff had just said she replied, But thats not the target. I mean the people of this planet.

No. The target or the goal is to undermine the supremacist ability to influence the public. Simple.. Except we have to change a culture of hundreds of years of perverted acceptance. The target is the perversion and hate toward those different or branded lesser. If we could reason with the supporters of bigotry we would. But we cant. Like arguing with a teenager, or getting into a pissing contest with a skunk, Jeff paused to let his point sink in. And added, youll lose. Susan slid to the floor and slinked to sit at Jeffs feet. Resting her head between his legs, she kissed his inner left thigh and said, Is there more? I mean, other than pissing off the world by killing a bunch of assholes, what else is planned. Jeff ran his fingers through her long silky hair. Only one other major objective. Susan looked at the time and wished the evening would never end. I sure am going to be sore and tired tomorrow. Do you need to go home before work? Naw, Nortonll be fine and I brought enough clothes even for work. Jeff she looked up and lightly stroked his leg, can we play hooky till Tuesday? His huge, warm, agreeable smile warmed her heart. Jeff flipped open his cell and pressed a key, Hello, Heather? Really. Well, Im beat too, and feel like taking tomorrow off. Susan.Yes, were together. Ill be back before lunch on Tuesday. You two be careful. Bye, Heather. Jeff closed the cell and waggled his eyebrows at Susan saying, We have a lot more time. Susan tingled as Jeffs finger lightly touched her neck. She rose to her knees and said, Now you have to explain more; the major objective, what I can do, Jason, and Heather she finished her drink and flipped open his robe, we need to make up for all those lonely weeks. She noticed, his spreading legs agreed. Jason looked up at the sound of a key entering the lock. He was still cautious even though Jeff called ahead. The motel room door opened slowly and Jeff entered carrying his suitcase and suit bag. Jeff, stared at the suppressed XDM on the table and asked, Something happen? Heather left a little while ago and since you left for the city, she filled me in on her nearly 20 years of shitty treatment by the inhabitants of this area. Learn much? A lot. You have to promise me one thing, Jason expertly ejected the magazine and pulled back the slide of his pistol ejecting the chambered round. What? Releasing the slide, Jason spoke through gritted teeth, I get to pop the next asshole. having taken aim at the TV, the sound of the falling striker punctuated his anger. Jesus, what happened? Jeff asked while hanging his clothes. They raped her. Who? When? Three damn Tilldoc boys when she was in high school. What happened to them? Nothing, at first. No one believed her allegations except her parents. Since then all three disappeared. Heather said the one that raped her went missing within three

weeks. The other two that held her down, disappeared soon after she met her husband. Jeff her stories of how she was treated growing up and how she was ostracized by her peers, its a wonder she doesnt have some tremendous psychiatric problems. Heather said her strength was knowing she could one day leave and knowing the true problems lay within this perverted community. Jeff walked to the dinette table and grabbed a chair by the back, spun it around and plopped into the seat backwards. Resting his chin on folded arms, he asked, How can we use her experience and knowledge to our advantage? Last night, she told me of a place on Bald mountain littered with the skeletons of small animals, mostly birds. Jeff was very alert to the news and asked, Did she mention a structure nearby? Jason puzzled answered, Something, I mean she described it, but she described an old fire watch tower. The description of the base and legs was strange. Too big. Worth a look. Jeff thought, So the weekend had been very productive. and said, Had breakfast yet? No. Jasons affect glowed, knowing he would see Heather soon. He asked, Motel diner? Jeff laughed, Of course. Ready? Always. The pair of Galaxy Communication technicians agreed things were getting much more unsettling. Dressed in their work uniforms, they each chose to carry weapons just in case the locals wanted to help them disappear. Their presence was sure to have upset the natural flow of the community. It wouldnt be long before someone challenged their presence. Heather was back at work carrying a new and invigorated step in her walk. Her mother was acting as hostess and brightened when meeting Jason for the first time. Without asking, she set the men in her daughters section and proceeded to banter about the weather, business, the city, and life and love. After several minutes she excused herself after noting a line forming at the entry. Jeff offered, Me thinks your future mom-in-law likes you. Puzzled, Jason asked, Youre just screwing with me. Nope! Bet ya Heather and mom had a heart to heart this morning and you were the topic. Ya think? Jasons face lit up with the implied news. Id bet. That lady knows about you, and from the sounds of it, Heather spilled all the details. Jason suddenly was alarmed and his expression showed his guarded horror. Jeff quietly laughed and said, Relax buddy. Im sure by Heathers moms reaction to you, she just got the details of your playing around since Saturday afternoon. Now Jason was even more shocked, but before he could get clarification from Jeff, up bounced Heather, Good morning guys, besides me, whatll you have this morning? Jeff observed, Watch out Rita Rude is staring. Heather countered, Fuck the bitch! Dont ruin my morning. Two coffees and

biscuits with assorted jellies first? Right? Jason answered, You know best. as Jeff laughed. The smell of fresh baked bread fought for dominance over the stale smelling, dried wasted sex of the lair. The vagrant hadnt seen his beautiful object of perverted lust for more than forty-eight hours. The cat was the only moving thing prowling the apartment. Last night he went to her and she wasnt there. The locked door was no match for his superior skills. At first he buried his face in the cushion of the recliner, inhaling her aroma. On to her bedroom that also smelled so rich with her scent. What a lovely fragrance. He laid on her made bed, with designer covers and pillows, and pleasured himself with lustful thoughts of her enjoying his juices. He lay stroking his desire until the cat scratched his cheek for some unknown violation of space. He had tried to kill the animal, but it was faster and meaner, having scratched the vagrant several more times while hiding in its well known territory. Retreating, the vagrant recovered to his area and waited for his chance at redemption. He pressed the blade of the knife into his palm and with no thought of pain or purpose, drew blood. The bitch would be mine tonight. Susan walked with a renewed purpose. The deep blue above the knee skirt hem bounced with each step on two inch heeled feet as she entered the Rowdizian compound. The white bra under the thin white blouse lifted her breasts to a sensuous height that invited all to look. A tease she was not, self assured in her purpose and character, she was. She watched the guard tip his hat attempting to hide undressing eyes and thought, Jesus, so early in the morning? Susan was ready to move on, but was happy to stay at the Rowdizian Embassy as a communication link to the Rowdizian home world. Jeff looked to Heather and asked, Have a nice weekend? Heather returned the sly look and said, I could ask the same of you. Wear it out? Sensing Heather wasnt one to just let things drop, said, I had a wonderful time. I renewed some ties that needed mending. She understands our purpose. Heather softly said, Jason said enough. Just tell me what to do. then she yelled, Hey dad. Same thing again. Two Lumberjacks. One scrambled and walk it by the fire and one over easy and burn it. Just to tease Jeff she added, shouldve stayed around. A three way wouldve been nice! Heather laughed as she served her other tables. Jeff with a surprised, shocked look asked, She that kinky? Nope. Just getting you back for the comment you made that evening we first met. Jeff, having forgot his offhanded remark, would be forever puzzled by Jasons answer. The trip to the remote fire tower was mostly uneventful. Near the summit, Jeff looked back down the switchback service road and saw a dusty black pickup truck following fast and tearing up the gravel. It would be another thirty minutes until the black truck reached the summit. Parking the van near the gate of the chain link fence, Jason grabbed a pair of New York master keys and cut the lock. Jeff and Jason spent a few minutes searching the woods surrounding the tower and true to Heathers word, they

found several skeletons of birds and other small animals. What was most interesting was the tower itself. Unlike most fire watch towers that rose from the ground on spindly legs, this one had a solid defined structure. Jason found vertical striations on the legs that indicated the upper structure was able to be moved for several degrees off perpendicular. The striations indicated up to a twenty centimeter adjustment. The tower could be aimed at an object in space. Jason said, This has to be a hyper-speed transceiver. It can only send and receive when its perfectly aligned with the Tilldoc home world or a repeater. Jeff that could be any second! Lets get out of here! Jasons fears were punctuated by a mechanical whirring sound and the tower began to tilt on its legs. The team ran, then dove for the gate as a sensation of pulsating electrified energy touched their bodies. Simultaneously, a flock of crows over-flew the site and many of the birds folded their wings and fell dead to the ground. The strange feeling stopped as Jeff and Jason crossed the boundary of the barrier fence. What just happened? asked Jeff. Check the time. instructed Jason. Its eleven thirty-five. I think we were just hyper-driven! observed Jason, picking himself up off the ground and dusting his clothes off . Jeff asked, What? reaching for Jasons offered hand. This ground station just transmitted a signal, and with positioning and time we can detect to where they were transmitting. This is what the Rowdizian Science Counsel feared was happening on Earth. Are you okay? We were in the danger zone when the hyper frequency transmission was initiated. I feel fine. Whats next? Jeff checked a scrape to his left forearm. We need to coordinate with the other teams, upload the data to the ships and get an idea where the other transmitters are placed. Lets get off the mountain Jeffs voice trailed off as the black pickup reached the summit. Well, okay. Lets see what these gents want? Jason joked as he checked his suppressed weapon, Hey Jeff, lets see if they need our help with hyper-speed transmission services. Jason opened the drivers door acting as if he was preparing to leave. Jeff hesitated, waved to the new arrivals, and did the same. The black truck stopped 25 meters to their front, effectively blocking the road. Jeff climbed into the passenger seat as four men jumped from the crew cab truck. One of the strangers demanded, What the fuck you two doing up here? as the group closed the distance. The four tensed and relaxed their fists, posturing for a confrontation. Jeff calmly mumbled. Ready. Jason yelled, Hey, ya mind moving your truck so we can leave? Jason thought it was funny they had yet to pull out weapons. Not getting a response and having tolerated enough of their aggressive behavior, Jason yelled, Stop! then lifted his pistol. Their combined anger kept advancing, so he popped the speaker twice in the chest. The three men left standing instantly froze. Jeff slid out of his seat, closed the passenger door, and leveled a Lage M9-11 in their direction.

Jason sternly instructed, Hands up, slowly turn around and face your truck. Two of the men carried pistols in the small of their back. Well, well seems were not such an innocent group. Who elses in the truck? Jeff continued to maneuver toward the truck when the passenger door opened and a gun began firing from between the door and the frame. The three men drew their weapons and spun to fire at Jason. Jeff emptied a full magazine into the pickup and Jason shot two of the three before they had a chance to return fire. The last aggressor fell to his knees and raised his hands high in the air, begging not to be shot. While Jeff inspected the trucks interior, Jason pressed the hot tip of the suppressor against the forehead of the remaining Tilldoc. Jason asked, Twenty questions, Adolf. The angry man hissed, My name is Martin Martin Bormann. Okay, Martin, Martin Bormann who sent you? Fuck you! Having returned from his inspection of the truck and noticing the stalemate, Jeff pressed the side of his hot suppressor canister against the back of Bormanns neck. A yelp masked the sound of sizzling flesh. Jeff offered, Mines much hotter, just having 32 rounds fired through it hes not going to ask again, sport. Hans Fisher. Jason took over, And who is this Mister Fisher? He is the leader of the church. What church? Children of the One God. And wheres this church located should we want to attend services? Bormann frowned, shrugged his shoulders, and answered, Twenty-two hundred State Street. Sunday morning, ten. Jason looked to Jeff with an anything else look, and Jeff shook his head no. Jason asked, What were you suppose to do with us? Jason squeezed the trigger as the answer came. We were told to and fell to the side, blood mixed with gray matter oozed from a 9mm hole in his forehead. Jeff observed, Big change from a few nights ago. You okay? Jason walked to the edge of the mountain and peered over the side. He didnt see another vehicle on the service road. Turning he answered, Im fine Jeff. Really. In the truck, anyone we know? Rita Rude. No Shit? Jason trotted over and looked inside, then promptly threw up. Jesus, Jeff. Theres nothing left of her face he threw up again, recovered and said, Or, for that matter, her head. Are you sure? Got a good look at the bitch before I opened fire. She almost got me. Jeff poked his fingers through two holes in the flank of his shirt. Jason gingerly tested the temperature of his suppressor. Finding it warm, he unscrewed the device and installed the thread protector. Returning to their van he asked, What do we do with this mess?

Jeff shook his head, Why did these assholes have to come looking for trouble now? Jeff rubbed his eyes with the heals of his palms before continuing, Well our works done here. Test them, put them in the truck and well put the truck at the base of the tower. Rig it with explosives. Be a nice, nasty little surprise for whomever finds it. Jeff and Jason worked quickly covering up the evidence in the clearing. Rigging the truck took the greatest part of their time. It would be another twenty-two hours before the tower could transmit, so for now, they were safe. Just before starting down the mountain, Jeff placed a duct tape patch over a bullet hole in his door. Looking to Jason he said, Dont want to do anything to draw attention to ourselves. The men shared a nervous laugh, because now they were sure to be the hunted. Aaron Fisher sat before the leadership counsel and reminded everyone of their sacred duty, Our ancestors sacrificed for our very survival and launched this mission over five hundred years ago. And after all this time, theres a serious discussion in this chamber to go after two service men from the city, because Rita, that works at the diner, thinks they may be trouble. So what if theyre snooping around. We cannot afford to draw unnecessary attention to our presence. I, and the other ministers around the world agree, to watch, gather information and NOT incite the humans. Orders from Tilldoc are to focus resentment and anger of the humans toward the Rowdizians. All of you are to instruct everyone. No, no this is better tell every Tilldoc that in any way treats ANY human with the slightest degree of disrespect will be dealt with very severely. If anything, we should work to insure the whole human population is united against the horrible creatures that killed so many of our brothers. This meeting is adjourned. The village leaders filed out the quaint New England church. Having been rebuilt after the collapse of the former United States in the early 21st century, there were few, if any, remaining scars marking the upheaval of that period. The hour was late as the men returned to their homes for the evening. On the Rowdizian home world, Quedocdo adjusted the collar of her hybrid males uniform. He was the oldest of four and the only male. Six years since birthed, his beautiful cobalt blue eyes and well proportioned nose reminded her of her late human husband. As a sign of deep affection, she gently pressed her forehead against his and after a brief hug, kissed his crest. Franklin had graduated top of his class in secondary education and was now ranked ten out of six thousand in his current position, just one year into studies at the Rowdizian War College. He had been selected for flight training and would start within the month. The Humans, Rowdizians, and Hybrids were all proud of their cultural advances made over the past six years. Completing the room were Franklins three hybrid sisters who were a mixed lot of a litter birthed a year after him. Two followed in the tradition of the family, wanting to attend academy and serve to honor and defend the Empire. The last birthed, Rossvatia, longed for a career in the diplomatic corps and begrudgingly followed the necessary first step of serving the Empire through the military. The widowed Quedocdo, breathed a deep proud sigh wishing her husband could see his namesake and as he called them his girls. She smiled knowing their father was

never in doubt of their strengths and future. Crossing her arms, Quedocdo sighed, Your father is so proud of you as am I. Franklin stood straight and proudly said, My sisters and I will forever honor his memory as we will yours. You have always unselfishly placed our needs first. A tradition strongly reinforced by my mate. I am glad to have yielded to his overwhelming need for one of us to always be there for our brood. Quedocdo gathered her offspring in a group hug. Genuinely showing interest, Franklin asked, How is your student, the Alliance Ambassador, taking to commanding our air and space craft? Their mothers eye slits closed adding to her look of contentment thus betraying the ruse, He has mastered the task and shows extraordinary skills. Uncharacteristic of a diplomat, Rossvatia wasnt one to mince words, Mother, you speak of Ambassador Norton in the present form, though he was reported missing shortly after the Tilldoc attack. Would you please share with us something not reported. After a long silence without comment, Rossvatia pressed, Mother, whenever you speak of the ambassador your voice takes on a longing lilt and your pheromones markedly increase. Rossvatias siblings shared a guarded chuckle. Mother? You do know a secret is best shared with no one? Quedocdo asked and her brood nodded their understanding. So I will share with you this. The four leaned close for a rare and unheard of break of protocol, I will admit I have deep feelings for Jefferson. He reminds me so much of your father. Not just the fact that both are human, but Jefferson is also caring, sincere, honest, unselfish, and true to his convictions. No one will ever replace your father, but your suspicions are correct I am deeply attracted to the man. Rare tears formed in her eyes and she ended with, yet I have no idea where he could be. Franklin smiled, Your happiness is most important. Since father was reported killed, you had been in a constant state of melancholy. The first time you mentioned the Ambassador, we knew, and were pleased, you had moved on. Your whole aura changed and has grown more content with each passing report. Quedocdo smiled at her own transparency, and her offsprings insight. Rossvatia warned, Mother, I believe you mentioned him to have a human female mate. Quedocdo chuckled, Now look who speaks in the present tense. No matter. The future has yet to be written. I last saw Jefferson the day of the attack, and the human female chose to return to Earth. I pray he is soon found safe. She hugged each with the love of a mother never wanting to let go, then asked, Has everyone had enough of the morning meal? They collectively nodded content. The brood bowed to their mother and bid farewell. Quedocdo shooed them out the door with a final closing, All of you be careful, and do well in school. I am to report to the Katvanshevic and will return in 4 days. The proud mother stood on her 86th floor balcony and watched the crimson-blue sky darken with an approaching storm. Her offspring were safe, catching the tube in the lower levels of their building, only ten stops separated their address from the educational and dormitory complexes. Quedocdo lightly rubbed her abdomen containing the nourishing juices keeping Jeffersons seed alive. She had several more weeks to decide

whether to release one or more eggs, but trapping him was not what she wanted. Since the afternoon she visited his injured form in the medical bay of the Katvanshevic and allowed him to suckle the nourishment of her breast, she had longed to become much closer and even couple in hopes of forming a lasting mating. In the shower she cried tears of sorrow for she missed this new male, this human male, and longed for his return. Gently rubbing her abdomen, breasts, and vaginal crest in the ritualistic pattern practiced by her species females for eons, Quedocdo moaned in unison with the countless climactic waves as her body flushed Jeffersons genetic material into the drain. She thought of the two long, lonely hours to make a five minute trip to the spaceport, so she chose to allow the soothing, hot, pulsating waters to relax her mood and wash away her tears. She prayed Susan had moved on. There she was. Late. His lovely lady had changed so many of her habits these past few days and the vagrant wondered what life-changing event might now be influencing her actions. Even the damn cat had missed her daily routine and was now uncharacteristically seeking her attention. He increased the power of the spotting scope for a better view and watched her rummage through the kitchen. After cleaning the cats dishes she refilled the containers then prepared herself a large salad. He whispered, Yesyes, keep fit and trim. Your luscious body will beg for my expert talents. Nearby, a feral cat silently caught a rat and retreated from the stench of sex and sweat in the abandoned structure. Jeff and Jason had just completed the download of information from the Rowdizian command ship orbiting Earth. True to what they suspected, the planet Tilldoc was nearly perfectly overhead when the transmission pulse had generated. Taking time to travel, then allowing for decoding and response, the locations of other earth stations were quickly located and confirmed. The Tilldoc were never more that ten hours from being able to communicate with their home world. Jeff selected a narrow slice of pizza and placed it in the microwave for a few little seconds of touchup reheat. Taking a bite of pie and sip of beer, he frowned, I believe we have a slight problem. What you really think theres a problem? Any second theyll burst through the door and kill us? Jason nervously fingered the suppressed pistol on the bedside table. Jeff countered, No, you saw the reports. The supremacists groups around the world have gone all warm and fuzzy with every race and religion on this planet. Theyre bringing all humans together to fight a common foe, the Rowdizians. This has to be a directive from their home world. We shouldve expected this. Jeff returned to his seat and sat facing the glass patio door. Look, Im going to Farmington, New Mexico to meet face to face with the President tomorrow. You need to return to the city for your own safety and regroup. Well Jeff was cut short when someone tried the door. Jeff and Jason picked up their weapons and faced the entry. A knock was followed by Heathers voice, Its me, Heather. Jason removed the doors safety catch and threw back the latch. He then took a few steps backward and readied for any sudden movement. The door opened slowly. Heather seeing the tension in the room, slowly and silently slid inside and locked

the door behind her. Turning to face the men she quietly observed, Service technicians, youre not. Jason returned to his chair and said. Youre late. Yeah, Rita Rude didnt show up for her shift and I had to work a double. Puzzled she asked, You two wouldnt know anything about that, would you? Jeff placed his pistol on the table and took another bite of pizza, I confess, we might. Hungry? Not really. Mom, dad, and I had a long talk. Heather found a clean glass, ice, and the Crown. After pouring a drink she lay on the bed next to Jason. As Heather kissed his hand Jason said, Mind telling us of your day and any unusual happenings? Guys, this was a monumental day. Without telling everything to my parents, because I cant blame them for the hold this place has over them, I tested where they stood. They told me they walked a fine line between supporting the community and supporting their daughter. Mom cried. I was adopted from a lady in the city that didnt have the means to care for me and made them promise to give me every chance at life. Dad apologized for not leaving sooner, but was afraid of what the elders would do. Theyre ready to leave now. I asked them to explain the bug out money and they said it was to finance the familys escape. Their turning point was watching how mean and vile their species could be when dealing with an outsider. And I was and outsider. When I left for school, they relaxed knowing I was safe. Dad begged forgiveness. He didnt realize until the rape, how horrible this town had become. Finally realizing what was said, Jason blurted, Species! What do you mean? That was the strange part, she took a large drink of her Crown and continued, mom and dad talked about a planet with an almost identical human population. This parallel world. Heather gave an honest description of the Tilldoc society and their quest for racial purity. She reported she was told of the Tilldoc five hundred year mission to infiltrate Earth and manipulate the human society to embrace the Tilldoc beliefs of a supreme race. When circumstances failed to produce a society of likeminded followers, the sects around the planet worked to influence the human species to view the white race as the dominate race. Heather even said her parents gave a short history of eugenics and the purpose of the movement. From everything being said, Jefferson and Jason were still cautious. Jeff asked, Given what they believe, how much longer do they plan to stay here? Heather sat quietly and cried, Mom and dad are ready to leave, but where? They said they cant continue to stay here and allow me to be abused by this place. Their bags have been packed for years. Jason answered, The city. Then we will see how far they really want to go. Jason looked to Jeff for some sign that he was giving away secrets that were too early to release. Jeff just nodded his head as a sign to continue. Jason wasnt naive to what needed to be done. He leaned over and kissed Heather before continuing, Do you want to continue? Your life will be forever changed. Theres no going back. The tears of uncertainty were flowing from Heathers stress, What do we have to do?

Jeff instructed, Go to your parents, watch them, tell them to grab only what is dear to them in preparation to leave. Be here by eight tomorrow morning ready to assume a new life. Do not tell anyone. Anyone! Jason asked, Do you want me to come with you? Heather wiped her tears and answered, Please. Jeff having seen where the events were headed, said, You two be careful. Im going to a meeting tomorrow and will take a bike into the city tonight to catch my flight. Secure the van and set the alarms. Heather, as soon as your family is ready, return with Jason to our high rise. Ill meet you there in 36 to 48 hours. Having packed earlier in the evening, Jeff loaded his belongings into the van and strapped a small bag on the bike. When he reentered the room he said to Heather, Take care of my boy, and take care of yourself. Gently kissing her forehead Jeff turned to leave when she grabbed him and said, Thank you. and pecked him on the lips. Not satisfied she asked, What happened to Rita? Jason answered, Wont be coming back. Why? Dead. Jason answered. How? Shit this could go on all night, Jeff swore, I shot and killed the bitch because she was shooting at me. After a few seconds, Heather said, Bitch deserved it! Jason can explain, I want to get going. Meet you in the high rise in a few days. Jeff closed the door behind him and a minute later, the sound of the motorcycle engine roared to life. Heather, lets get packed, then we can go to your parents home and give them the news. The pair hurriedly packed what was out and returned everything to the van except for a small overnight case. Heather and Jason walked to the family quarters behind the motel lobby. Susan curled on the recliner, reading the evening paper. She had great news for Jeff and had attempted to call him several times in the last hour. Norton was acting a little strange this evening, but for Norton, when was the cat ever not strange. Enjoying another cup of hot tea, she closed her eyes and dreamt of Jefferson satisfying her sexual needs. Her fingers found a moist mound and massaged her engorged tissues. Her moment was stolen when the cat burrowed into her zone and insisted on attention. Being brought back to the present, Susan cursed the tom and tossed it to the floor. A strange meow crossed Nortons lips and he began pawing at the entrance door. Intrigued, Susan asked, Whats wrong, you narcissistic feline? Im not allowed to get off because something has your attention at the door. Jesus. Susan peered through the peephole while Norton changed from pawing to hissing. Something had the cats attention. Susan reached for the Glock 26 she carried between her legs. Opening the door, she searched the landing and found it to be empty. Norton ran up the staircase and disappeared into the upper floors. Susan wondered if Norton was upset at a neighbors passing. This was strange, even for the strange cat. Susan spent another 5 minutes calling

Norton without a response. Finally giving up, she retreated to the security of the apartment and locked the door. Jefferson arrived at the airport and a waiting government business jet stood ready on the tarmac. With his face being altered, file pictures were useless so the security team used a combination of fingerprints and retinal scans. Their efforts revealed the real Jefferson Norton or one hell of a good fake. As they were boarding the jet, an agent said, Thank you Ambassador Norton for what you accomplished, seeing the blank look on Jeffersons face he added, I mean ending the war. Jeff answered, Im glad I could help. I just wish we could have ended the fighting sooner. The agent laughed, My sons war was over, and you were instrumental in his final hours. Wait, your sons alive, isnt he? Because Im becoming very confused. Im sorry for your loss. The men took their seats and buckled up for the flight. Very much alive, Ambassador Norton. He served aboard the Dungruevic. By now the agent was laughing at the confusion on the Ambassadors face. Sir, my boy jettisoned from the dying ship in an escape pod. Was rescued. Then returned to the Katvanshevic. And before you ask, he served with the Rowdizian Military. Hes an idealist and returned to the Rowdizian home world over six years ago. How did you know your son returned with the Rowdizians? We didnt. He disappeared. Our relationship wasnt the best over the years. But as soon as the war ended he contacted us, apologized and then spent hours telling us of his adventures. He also told us of the last hours of the war. What really happened. We were so relieved he was alive and proud he embraced a cause, although at this time we still dont let others know of the choices he made. The agent droned on about how he and his wife were proud of their sons accomplishments, but the hour was late and Jeff quickly grew more tired and fell asleep. From the air and after landing, one could see little marked the area as the seat of power for the former leader of the free world. Farmington, New Mexico was in the middle of a pristine nowhere. The volcanic wasteland was uninviting to most and that feature was chosen by design. The political hangars on and the other fodder that swelled the political establishment like a festering sore were discouraged from getting too comfortable in this seat of power in the middle of nowhere! The area was and would forever remain beautiful, unspoiled by the corruption of unchecked power. The sky this night was cloudless and the stars almost as brilliant as seen from the deck of a celestial ship of war. The drive to the capital and presidential quarters was marked by a few hotels and fast food restaurants, but nothing jumped out as stating this was the capital of a world power. Even the full moon revealed the White House grounds to be nothing. In this desert climate all Federal buildings were earthen structures built underground. Most of the land was owned by the government or the Indians. No monuments, no museums, no five star hotels. Come in, state your business, and get out. Thats why Norton was here this day. The President greeted Ambassador Norton several hours later at 7:00 in the

morning. The two men exchanged pleasantries and launched into the heart of the meeting over breakfast. Two hours later, Norton was afraid of the meetings outcome. The President saw the challenge and wonderment of a species almost identical to humans as a Devine blessing. The President was sure there was some grave misunderstanding that had resulted in the devastating events up to now. He even dismissed the premeditated murder and attack on the Rowdizians hundreds of years in the making. The President pledged, as would other world leaders, to work his best to include all species into the fold of a new alliance. He knew working with the other countries of Earth to welcome the Rowdizians and the Tilldoc was in everyones best interest. The meeting ended with the President requesting Jefferson to return to Rowdizia and work to alleviate the Rowdizians fears of past events dictating the future. Jeffersons concerns had fallen on deaf ears. Doweejunkdo was right, The humans would rather form a pact with the devil that looked like themselves, than to associate with a species of enlightened bugs. Returning to the city by late afternoon, Jefferson met Jason, Heather, and Heathers parents in the secretive unit within the abandoned high rise. Jeff shared the regrettable news. Heathers parents, Bill and Kathy, quietly listened to Jeffs recount of the trip to see the President. Kathy interjected, Is there anything we could do to influence his decision? We are Tilldoc. Jeff shook his head no and said, The Rowdizians predicted this. So far, the species with the worst reputation are the ones we know best, the humans and Rowdizians. The Tilldoc will easily influence the humans to see their side of any dispute. I remember Doweejunkdo telling me his species predicted the odds of a successful alliance with the humans at less than 1%. Jason hugged Heather as she asked, What are we to do now? Was there a surprise before lunch? Jeff asked. Heathers eyes grew large, Boy, was there. We were on the way out of town and wham an explosion shook the van! Jeff chuckled, Well, there goes the Earthbound Tilldocs ability to communicate with mommy and daddy. Jason told us your teams destroyed all the Tilldoc hyper-speed stations around the planet. Bill rubbed the back of his neck and squinted, That could pose a problem. Heather asked, What do you mean, daddy? The Home World may come to investigate the loss of communication. Bill answered. Jeff offered a possible solution, I dont believe the Tilldoc will come in any large force before theyre ready. We also planned to leave a crew to man one of the outer planet hyper transmitters when the communications were severed. The Rowdizians broke the Tilldoc codes decades ago. They also figured out the logarithm that sequenced the changing of the codes. A crew on Eos can position a selected transceiver for up to two months before it falls outside the cone of reception of the Tilldoc home world. Jason volunteered, Ill stay, I mean, Ill stay to operate the communications. Heather pointed to Jason, Id like to go with him. Without hesitation Bill and Kathy volunteered to go with their daughter.

Jeff ordered, Well see. Jason pack and have a shuttle pick us up in, he looked at his watch, four hours. Jeff grabbed a jacket and bolted for the door. Jason called after Jeff, Where you going? A distant voice answered, To get Susan. Norton had redeemed himself and returned home earlier in the evening. Susan looked at the wayward feline and asked, Where the hell did you go last night? Get you some, huh? At least you didnt bring home any dead animals. Norton jumped up on the counter and begged more attention. As she stroked the cat, a dark, sticky substance transferred to her fingers. Puzzled, Susan lightly sniffed the material and then passed her fingers under running water. The substance turned bright red as it flowed into the white porcelain sink. Damn Norton, what happened? Inspecting the cats fur, she found a bald spot and partially dried cut at his left hip. Grabbing a dampened washcloth she cooed, Poor thing did that bitch get a little rough with you? Was it worth it? Then Susan, using a deep voice answered for Norton, Of course, any piece of tail is worth a few cuts and bruises. Admiring her work, she gently put Norton on the floor and let him attack his fresh food. Parking at the curb in front of Susans apartment, Jeff thought it strange she had the living room drapes closed. It was after ten oclock, so he quietly ascended the common stairs. He knocked on the door for over a minute. She had to be home. Unmistakable classic rock music could be heard from inside her apartment. Taking a key she had given him, he quietly unlocked and opened the door. A blue hue lit the apartments interior. Vegetable oil was spilled on the hardwood floor from the entry down the hall. Norton lay crouched at the bedroom door. He was hissing and his tail jerked, side to side, poised to attack whatever was on the other side of the barrier. Jeff readied his pistol and focused on the door to Susans bedroom. Turning the knob, he silently cracked the opening. On the bed, Susan lay on her right side facing away from the door. A thin sheet covered her lovely features. Cautiously, Jeff further opened the door and called, Susan? Jeff, she stretched and rolled to her back, I was dreaming of our wonderful time last weekend. Come here, stud. Confused, he slid into the room and searched the interior. His mind calculated the possibilities. The room, seemed clear, so Jeff walked toward Susans beckoning arms. Looks like your cat got into a bottle of vegetable oil and trashed the entry and hall. Puzzled, she said, Are you sure, I dont have any vegetable The closet door crashed open and a dark figure surprised Jeff and Susan. Figuring Jeff to be the more lethal opponent, the vagrant slammed Jeff into the nightstand and wall. The sound of breaking wood and metal sliding across a wooden floor filled the room. Stunned, Jeff rolled to his back and looked up at the dark figure over him. The unmistakable flash of blue light on a polished knife blade brought his senses into quick focus. Jeffs left hand punched out to block the bladed weapon as his right hand reached for his missing pistol. Susan was stunned from smashing her left temple on the solid wood headboard.

The vagrant pressed with all his might, trying to drive the 4 centimeter blade into the floor through the intruding mans heart. Suddenly, the vagrant felt the upward thrust of a leg against his lower body and a second hand grabbed his left. Jeffs powerful kick tossed the dark figure over his head. As Jeff scrambled to gain a position to better fight the threat, he saw his pistols green laser racing toward him. In a last ditch effort to attack and possibly help Susan, Jeff lunged at the dark form. Bringing her weapon to point directly at the center of the dark mass, Susan squeezed the trigger as the green laser passed her face. Hearing the tremendous crack of a discharged pistol, Jeff missed tackling the attacker and was confused at not feeling any pain as the bullet enter his body. Susan rolled to the opposite side of the bed and switched on the bedside light, her Glock was still pointed in the direction of the threat. The room was a mess. The door to her walk-in closet was open and askew. The opposite bedside table and lamp were destroyed. Jeff lay across the lower portion of the intruders lifeless body. Taking a deep breath she whispered, Jeff Jeff Answer me. Im alive He rolled off the vagrant and asked, you know this shit? Jeff picked up his pistol and switched off the laser. Jeff hadnt been shot. A check for a carotid pulse indicated the intruder was dead. The hole in the center of his chest, surrounded by a growing blood stain, added to the confirmation. Dialing her cell, Susan requested the police and was assured they were dispatched minutes earlier from another call. She described the scene to the operator and said she would meet the officers at the door. Jeff would stay in the room and cover the intruder. Ten minutes later the officers arrived at her front door about five minutes after EMS had arrived. Susan offered to clean the oil off the floor, but since the apartment was a crime scene the arriving forensics team asked for her not to disturb anything. Jeff, checking the time, said to the lead investigators, Are we finished here guys, because I gotta go? Ive a flight to catch. Several minutes later, another member of the forensics team dashed out of the bedroom and exclaimed, Shit, would you believe this? Slipping on the oily floor, he slammed into the opposite wall. Would someone clean this shit up? Recovering his pride he continued, You two just helped solve over thirty murders in this city alone. The perps DNA matches that of the Random Serial Killer. Susan asked, Random Serial? The tech, knowing he was now the center of attention said, Yeah, only thing similar was the DNA and he posed his victims. All except one were female. The next thirty minutes was spent answering questions. With time running out, Jeff guided Susan to the entry. Quietly he said, Susan, I have to go. I have a shuttle to catch. You cant stay here. Grab some things and the cat, and come with me. She kissed him softly asking, Where? Off world Rowdizia. Susan didnt want a confrontation. This wasnt the time to explain. Jeff, I cant leave right now. Taken aback he stammered, What? Why? Mom called and needs me home in New Braunfels. Jeff was devastated, I thought it was understood you would return with me if I

came to get you? Your family can come. I thought your mother was warming to the idea? Susan was crying knowing this wouldnt end well and she loved Jeff dearly. She softly begged, Jeff, please stay here. There seems to be a big change in the attitude of the people, and I think theres a chance for everyone to compromise and get along. Please stay with me. I need you. Jeff couldnt believe what he was hearing. He thought, God, was she just having another blonde moment? Doweejunkdo was more than right about a less than 1% chance at forming a lasting alliance. Susan embraced the Rowdizians, or did she? Jeff had even taken the time to explain everything to Susan. Susan... Im sorry I have a responsibility and duty on Rowdizia and need to return. I have a flight to catch in less than an hour. Kissing her deeply, Jeff couldnt believe he was going to leave Susan again, but she was more than able to make her own choices. Kissing her tears and forehead, he whispered, I love you, and was gone.

The dimly lit passageway was cold and pristine from a recent scrubbing, yet the air still contained the faint ever-present smell of rotten eggs. Jason marveled at how a ship of death, better yet, a ship of war, could seem so sterile when his own exposure to death was so vile. He touched the bulkhead and slowly withdrew his hand all the while marveling, like a child, at the hairs on his arm being drawn to the electrically charged walls. The aura of the Rowdizian hyper-drive engines, running at sub-light speed, energized the hull and the near space surrounding the vessel. Shaking his head to return to the present, Jason touched a smooth glass panel to open the door to his quarters. Once inside the fourteen by sixteen space, the smell in the air quickly changed to a sweet hint of apple cinnamon. Jason still couldnt sleep. At first he chose to return to studying the formulas for times and trajectory of the hyper-drive communication system on Eos, but decided not to waste any effort if the Rowdizian government thought it best that he, Heather, and her parents not be trusted with so important a duty. Checking his watch, he noted it had been a little less than six hours since the ship had departed Earth orbit. He figured it would be another twenty hours transit to Eos; one of fifty outer planetary hyper-drive communication relay stations lying outside the Earths solar system. In another four hours the day wake cycle would begin and the morning meal would be served. Jason looked to the lovely redheaded beauty gracing his bed. Heather readjusted her position but the thick comforter failed to move at the same pace. Rolling from left to right allowed her naked form to peek from beneath the covering. Jason wondered what Gods he had pleased to deserve such a witty temptress at this point in his life. Heather seductively moaned, Sweetie, if you cant sleep come over here and Ill wear you out. With arms wide spread, she welcomed his touch. Jason played with Heathers long curly locks after settling next to her lean five foot ten inch frame. In return, the light touch of her fingers electrified his skin, but the weight of the next twenty-four hours was too distracting. Puzzled, she wondered what had changed. This wasnt the same man she was instantly attracted to less than a week ago. Tracing her inviting light touch down the center of his abdomen, she was surprised to find Jason uninterested. Slowly inhaling a deep breath while kneading the limp tissue, Heather quietly asked, Whats wrong? Have you changed your mind about us coming? Now Jason felt like shit for not confiding in her. The transfer from Earth to the Rowdizian Battle Cruiser Potswanavic was done nearly in total silence after learning Susan refused to accompany Jeff to the Rowdizian home world. Propping himself on his right elbow he said, No, nothing like that. There are so many things bothering me right now, and my personal feelings are the least of my thoughts. Heather switched on a bulkhead mounted reading light and slid from beneath the covers. She felt Jasons eyes following her naked form as she walked to the toilet. When

Heather returned to the bed she crawled across the mattress until her full firm breasts hovered above his chest. Her nipples teasingly brushed his skin. Her strategically placed right thigh telegraphed his continued distraction. She warned, Lover, well not tonight. You need to be the man I met and share everything with me. I dont understand your mood. Here we are, mom, dad, and the redheaded bitch, on a celestial warship of a species that a few weeks ago was hell-bent on killing all humans. And to top it off, theyre your friends. Now Jason really felt like shit. He kissed her lightly and then pulled her tightly to him, kissing Heather deeply for being the woman he knew was right for him. Still feeling bad for not communicating his thoughts, he said, Its all of that and more, much more. He rolled her to his right side and lightly traced her shoulder with his lips as he collected his thoughts. After a few seconds he continued, Im so sorry. Im troubled by what the next few hours may bring, and Im, to some degree, selfish. Im worried that the Rowdizian home world may not grant us permission to stay at Eos and work the hypercommunications equipment. But Im also at a loss as to what may happen to you and your parents. Heather shook her head and replied, Why worry? Whats done is done. My parents and I came of our own free will into this great unknown. I dont believe the Rowdizians plan to dissect our bodies for research. She visibly shuddered visualizing what she had just said. You contacted the ship before we left the motel and we were granted permission for both my parents and me to come. Why so down? Jason sighed, Your parents are Tilldoc. One hundred percent Tilldoc and the Rowdizians havent ever knowingly let a Tilldoc on one of their ships, let alone their home world. For effect she gently shoved him away. Well damn, look at the bright side. My parents are the FIRST Tilldoc to ever board a Rowdizian starship as guests. Add to that, were off that egocentric planet. You need to start embracing the positive side of things. Heather viewed the monitor mounted on the far wall at the foot of their bed. She could see the density of the Trojans asteroid belt was becoming more sparse as the Potswanavic passed Jupiters orbit. I know, he sighed and cupped her breast. Carefully massaging the inviting nipple, he confided, you and your parents are taking the greater risk. The more I try to think things through, the more I feel Im only thinking of myself. Somewhat like I did six years ago, you and your parents left everything and almost everyone behind. Even the several hundred thousand credits your family amassed are for now, worthless. So much has happened so fast. Well, I believe we can find a branch of Bank of the Universe and get a good exchange rate. For now, credits are not a priority. Never did it on a starship before. Heather finally felt a revival between Jasons legs. She smiled saying, Soon it will be time for breakfast. Mom, dad, and I cant wait to sample what the Rowdizians offer, but first, I want you now. Standing tall and staring straight ahead at the wall opposite her post, the Rowdizian Security Force guard could clearly see every movement down the corridor to her left and right. When a being passed, her head never turned to follow the approach, or

departure. The guards large black eyes, developed over millions of years of evolution, were able to discern anything through a 230 degree field of view. The females dress uniform was crisp, and displayed the many medals she had earned during the Rowdizian Earth-Alliance Six year War. A simple, yet deadly 9mm sub-machine gun covered with a dull black finish dangled from a one-point sling. Doelapgeedo was assigned morning shift. The door to her right opened and the Ambassador stepped to the wall opposite her station. She remained silent. Jefferson Norton, Earth Alliance Ambassador to the Rowdizian home world, continued to towel dry his hair as he stepped into the corridor to speak with the guard. Leaning against the wall opposite Doelapgeedo, he greeted, Good new day Doelapgeedo, hows your father? Good morning Ambassador Norton. Father is well. He went ahead aboard the Corvette Nuevanshevic and should be docked at Eos by this time. One of her long black dreadlocks fell onto her face and still she stood her duty, without moving to correct the errant strand. Jeff reached out to reposition the lock. May I? Without a sound of protest from the lovely twenty year old Rowdizian female he did so and continued, Please call me Jeff. Doelapgeedo softly laughed, You know better Ambassador Norton. Unless that is you wish to copulate. I will be relieved at 1800 hours. Jeff, having spent the last few weeks exposed to the culture of Earth, had temporarily forgotten Rowdizian beliefs and customs. He stumbled, Doelapgeedo, forgive my lapse of understanding. Please call me Jefferson. She chuckled again saying, as you command. But Jefferson, the offer still stands. Eighteen hundred hours. Jeff quickly changed the subject, not wanting a sexual encounter with the offspring of Jungeedo, his Chief of Staff and head of Security, Have you enjoyed the morning meal? Yes, Sir. Jungeedo and Captain Richardson will be joining you this day. Doelapgeedo still had not moved. No threat was detected in the immediate area. When did they arrive? asked Jeff. Yesterday. Your reports of the events on Earth seems to have concerned Prince Deejunkdo. He dispatched three Corvettes and two additional Battle Cruisers to join us in case there was trouble in the system Sol. Jeff considered the weight of her information and asked, Im going to finish dressing, he lowered his voice in the empty hall, does the crew know there are two Tilldoc aboard. Of course Jefferson. We could smell them, though not an offensive odor. As you well know, we are of purity and openness. There will be no trouble from the crew. Doelapgeedo smiled. Their conversation had triggered a slight release of Jeffersons pheromones for attraction. Oh, and another thing when the Prince and I first met, he called me a piece of woujung excrement. I know excrement to be waste, but is there something particularly disgusting about woujung? Jeff hung the towel around his neck. Doelapgeedo was having difficulty maintaining her composure. Stifling a laugh

she answered, You do know Rowdizians do not make pets of food sources. Your species would call it cute, but a woujung is a poisonous, long-haired, disgusting smelling, creature that looks like a small dog. What is worse is its waste. There is nothing lower or more revolting, and the animals odor grows more nauseating with age. The term woujung can be used as both; a derogatory insult, or an offhand, jokingly positive term used in a familiar relationship. Jeff laughed, I dont think Prince Deejunkdo was being positive or friendly at the time. She burst out laughing, I am sorry Jefferson. No problem. Ill just be a few more minutes, and Jeff return to his spacious quarters to finish getting ready. Removing the jeans and MIT sweatshirt, he chose a pair of black slacks and a beige knit shirt with collar. His short cropped blonde hair was dry and he ran a brush across his scalp to comb back the strands. Passing through the exit, he slapped the lock panel and noted the number of openings. With a lets go wave of his fingers, Jeff turned right and stepped to the dining room; the armed Doelapgeedo following three steps behind. At the entry to the main dining hall stood Jungeedo in his duty dress uniform and Captain Christine Richardson in her Navy summer whites. Together, they greeted their boss. Jungeedo bowed at the waist and extended his six fingered right hand. It is so good to see you Jefferson. The surgeons did a fine job changing your features. Christine quickly embraced the Ambassador and kissed him on the cheek. Surprised, he said, A kiss thats a first. Great news, I hope. Jeff was pleased to see his head of security/chief of staff and military liaison. Whats up? Jungeedo offered, Jason, Heather, William, and Katherine are seated at the first table. A young female hybrid, Sub-Ensign Lyiaquedocdo, fresh from secondary education and with a deep desire to attend the academy will be joining us. We are preparing for war. I do not know how it will affect your guests, but a short rousing patriotic topic would be welcomed. Of course, another speech. Jefferson straightened his clothing and opened the door to the great hall. The banter of over a thousand beings fell to silence upon seeing the Ambassador enter. Bill and Kathy were perplexed by the scene of Jeff standing in the doorway flanked by military officers, one a human female and the other a Rowdizian. Of greater concern was the Rowdizian soldier standing to their left rear noticeably armed with a small menacing weapon. Everyone in the hall stood. The young female, Lyiaquedocdo was facing the new arrivals and speaking. The remainder of her table stood. Ambassador Norton, we the crew of this great ship, the Potswanavic, welcome you to join us for our presentation of the morning meal. We hope it meets your expectations and we pledge to honor and protect you as we would our own. We shall always humbly grace you with purity and openness. The entire hall erupted as one repeating, With purity and openness! Bill nervously looked to Kathy and asked, Whats happening? Kathy answered in a whisper, I have no idea. Im a little distressed by the one with the gun. Just listen. They both picked up their earphones to hear the interpretation. Jeff took several steps toward the audience, then crossed his arms across his chest,

his fingertips touching the opposite shoulder. He then bowed slightly at the waist, In Rowdizian he said, I am forever humbled by the greatness you bestow upon me. I am returning to Rowdizia, my new home, to help this great species defeat the Tilldoc for the suffering they have brought to you. I pray that in time the Earth-Alliance will join us in ridding the universe of this terrible menace that attacks the innocent. I join you in purity and openness. The hall erupted again in a thunderous cheer followed by a solemn chant, a prayer to those that would not return. When the prayer ended, Jeff finished with, Lets eat! Thunderous laughter broke the ice and the spell. Walking to his assigned table, Jeff introduced everyone and suggested they walk the buffet first. There would be plenty of time for socialization later. In the line, Kathy would occasionally ask what a dish was called and Jason would interpret for Heather and her parents. About halfway down the long food filled table Bill observed, Jason, Im really impressed you speak Rowdizian. To which Jason replied in Tilldoc, Being a communications officer and weapons researcher in the Rowdizian military kind of requires it, Kathy swooned and steadied herself before she fell. Jason quickly reassured the stunned couple, dont be alarmed. Youll learn many new and wonderful things. No one is here to harm you. Bill and Kathy recovered, yet both stood slack jawed. Finally, Bill asked, How long have you been in or with the Rowdizian military? Jason chuckled, last five years. We need to move along were holding up the line. When Jeff returned to the table he cautioned the human guests to take their time and explained the Rowdizian custom of large, long, morning and evening meals. He also pointed out the device imbedded in the table at each diners place than allowed for the warming or cooling of the plate. He was comforted to find everyone at the table spoke English. After the weeks of separation, he asked, Jungeedo, how are the staff? Swallowing a mouthful of food and sampling a taste of coffee, the creature answered, For now, everyone is fine. We moved the Embassy into a section of the Royal Palace. The Emperor is forever in your debt for helping destroy the Tilldoc weapons platform. Are they aware? He added gesturing in the direction of Heather and her parents. Shaking his head no, Jeff asked, How many now? Knowing Jefferson was referring to the casualties from the Tilldoc attack, Catherine replied, Jeff, the death toll is over 600 thousand and another 1.4 million are injured or dying. Heather blurted out, What are you talking about? Jeff held out his hands palms down for calm. Please. Heather, you and your parents know nothing of what happened a little over a month ago. Jeff took a sip of hot tea and continued, Bill, Kathy, like your ancestors that traveled to Earth hundreds of years ago the Tilldoc launched another ship. Only this ship wasnt carrying an advanced party of Tilldoc to infiltrate a similar species to lay the foundation for future conquest. This ship was a weapons platform filled with nuclear bombs and a sophisticated defense array. Really quite a remarkable weapon in design and purpose. This weapons platform was launched hundreds of years ago with one mission, to seriously damage or destroy the Rowdizian species.

Bill angrily demanded, How can you be so sure it was Tilldoc? Jeff again asked for calm, Settle down. Its trajectory was traced back to the point of origin, the Tilldoc home world. Ill give you other data and bomb fragments with Tilldoc symbols to verify the attack. Bill sighed his response as Kathy jabbed him in the ribs, We were schooled in our species history. We knew of our purpose and were told of a plan to attack the Rowdizian home world. It all seemed so fantastic, so improbable. Now our legends are taking shape. We also know the Tilldoc home world has recently perfected hyper-drive and its only a matter of time before enough ships are constructed to allow for an attack. Kathy interjected, When the war with Rowdizia started, the majority of Tilldoc on Earth rejoiced in the slim chance for Earth to weaken or destroy our sworn enemy. Many signed up and saw their opportunity to help destroy this sub-species. Kathy realized where she was and apologized, Oh, no I beg your forgiveness, for all Rowdizians forgiveness for what I just said and for what my species has done. I really didnt mean that the way it came out. Jungeedo held up a hand for calm and offered, What was done was set in motion hundreds of years ago. Even if your great-great-great father helped to build the weapon, our beliefs would never allow for us to hold the pup responsible for the actions of the parent. What is in your heart? Bill, Kathy, and Heather couldnt believe what they were hearing. This beings planet had just suffered a tremendous assault from Bill and Kathys ancestors and the Rowdizians displayed no anger, no need for retribution, or did they. Kathy answered, Bill and I are keenly aware of how the superior Tilldoc look down upon anyone or anything they consider of lesser importance. When I was young and became sick with cervical cancer, I became less worthy of the people I had grown up with. I was damaged goods. I was lucky Bill loved me so much and he suffered along with me during some of the lowest times in our lives. Just one disease, a treatable disease, and we became less in the eyes of the superior race. We were tolerated because of our combined family history, but mainly we were tolerated because we could gather information and the remainder of the town wouldnt have to dirty their hands associating with the humans. Lyiaquedocdo was intrigued and asked, Why didnt you leave? Kathy was now crying, she explained, We were thinking of running, but a lady with a beautiful red headed baby stopped by the diner one snowy December morning. She sat in a booth all day and picked at her food and drank little. By mid afternoon she must have made her decision because she called me over to her table and asked me to join her. She confided in me that she had been recently diagnosed with a rare incurable disease and didnt have long to live. Heather was her only family and the woman asked if I would care for and give a good home to her baby. After I spoke with Bill, we swore we would and at that moment we became the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl. For the next few weeks Bill and I would take turns driving into the city to share with the woman her precious gift. The last two weeks of the ladys life, one of us went to her every day, bringing Heather to visit with her dying mother. Heather and I were there the evening her mother passed. Now all at the table were tearing or crying, so were several of the nearby tables. Kathy apologized for being so loud, and a light chuckle consumed those within earshot.

Lyiaquedocdo explained, Katherine, if you want to keep something confidential, speak really low or not in the company of Rowdizians. We are blessed with extraordinary senses. Hearing being one of those heightened senses. Bill took over and continued the story, Once we had the responsibility of Heather, leaving wasnt a option. Because all Tilldoc were schooled in our peoples history, no one was allowed to leave. They would hunt a runner down and kill them. Our religious leaders sanctioned the silencing of a few to protect the many and the Tilldoc fatherland. The conversation was interrupted as an aid approached the table and offered a communiqu. Jungeedo took the paper and read the contents. After several more bites of his meal he requested the tables attention. Looking to Jefferson he said, Well my good friend Jefferson Commodore Doweejunkdo sends his regards and has deferred the decision on manning Eos to you and me. You did get permission from your government for us to occupy the facility, did you not? Of course, he answered, do we need to speak in private? Jeff, after an hour of paced eating was becoming quite full. Jungeedo shook his head no and said, I do not believe that to be necessary. I have assigned thirty of this ships crew to man the station. You will be leaving Jeff looked to his guests and answered, Heather and her parents, and Jason. I believe that to be their plan. Heather yelped and cheered at the welcome news. Jungeedo looked to his watch, then in less than an hour there will be a briefing and training in the situation room to instruct the caretakers of their part in the deception. Several terabytes of data will also be transferred to assist staff with the ruse. For now, are there any questions? Without an answer the table returned to small talk. Jeff excused himself and returned to his quarters. Lyiaquedocdo caught up with Jeff before he reached his cabin and getting his attention said, Jefferson, mother sends her love. A surprised Jefferson replied, I should have known. Lyia Quedocdo, thats so obvious. She told you of me? Jeffs mind again flashed to that wonderful sexual encounter with Quedocdo on the roof of the Earth-Alliance Embassy. Lyiaquedocdo smiled, In a roundabout way she spoke of you. She longs for your return. She really didnt come right out and say she loves you, but my sisters, brother, and I can tell she is very attracted to you. By the way, where is Susan? Now Jeff was stunned, You know about Susan? Not really. Mother let slip one night during the evening meal that you had a human female mate named Susan, and that you cared for her dearly. I thought since she had returned to Earth, and we had just departed Earth, she would be with you. She still has business on Earth. Jeffs heart again sank, having felt a wedge had been driven between he and Susan. He wondered what was so important that she refused to return with him to Rowdizia. Recovering his thoughts to the present, he asked, Where is Quedocdo now? With this new information Lyiaquedocdo beamed, Mother spends four to six cycles on the Katvanshevic then rotates home for an equal number of cycles. At present, she is aboard the Katvanshevic. She is training academy graduates in tactics. Mother will

be starting a six day home cycle when we reach Rowdizia. Jeff frowned from the wealth of unsolicited information, Does your mother know youre meeting with me? Mother knows I was posted to the corvette Gustosavic, she is not aware of my transfer to the Potswanavic. Besides, how would she know you were scheduled to return? Lyiaquedocdo smiled a sly, knowing smile and added, Jefferson, make her brood smile and visit her when you arrive. Mother cares dearly for you. Jefferson bowed slightly at the waist and closed with, As you command. Lyiaquedocdo giggled at thoughts of her mother enjoying a relationship with Jefferson. Father had died nearly ten months ago. His loss was tragic, as were the millions that had also died in the war. She turned in the direction of the great hall, reliving the memories of her human father and how much joy he brought to mother and the brood. Kissing Jefferson on the cheek, she teasingly waved her fingers and was gone. The Potswanavic, along with her six escorts, held station a kilometer from the Eos structure. Best described as a Christmas tree, the base of the structure was constructed to house the crew quarters and all associated equipment to operate the station. Even the large, directional receiving dish on the bottom gave the appearance of a stand. The boughs of the tree were the focused array to magnify and beam communication snippets to distant ships and planets. Any amount of information could be transmitted, but brevity at a great distance was best. When required, the point of the cone was aimed in the direction of the intended receiver. The station was vary large and could house, for up to a year, seventy-five caretaking/ support staff. Currently the Eos caretakers only comprised a crew of fifteen. This structure was a basic government operation built without really assessing the requirements for size or function. The station also had a complement of three shuttles to explore the surrounding emptiness, and when needed, recover ice from a nearby dwarf planetoid. Non-volatile ice was broken down and melted to power the stations thrusters. Everything was recycled except the spent thruster gasses. Life was tedious and comprised of long hours of caretaking, but this day Eos took on a serious life saving mission for the Rowdizian species. Jason, Heather, and her parents, along with Jungeedo and Jefferson sat around one of a dozen empty dining tables in the stations galley. Heather thoughts remembered Jeffs only words about Susan when he returned from going to get her last night, Susan says shes staying. Lets go! That was all. Hed been melancholy since. Heather looked to Jason and when her gaze finally caught the attention of his deep green eyes she tilted her head and arched her eyebrows silently requesting Jasons permission to pry. When Jason didnt say anything, she looked to Jeff and forged ahead, Youve been beyond quiet Jeff. We dont have much time, before you leave tell us what happened with Susan? Jungeedo and Christine, interested, looked to Jeff for a reply. Jason cringed, knowing Jeff wouldve shared if he chose to do so. Bill and Kathy were perplexed, and at a loss because of their lack of background information. However, Jeff relented, I went to her apartment and she was in bed. She had given me a key to her apartment earlier. The place was a mess and her cat was upset. I could tell something was very wrong. When I entered her bedroom Susan was asleep on

the bed, and as I woke her, some asshole burst from the closet. He had a knife. We fought, broke some furniture, and just before he was about to shoot me with my own gun, Susan shot first, killing him. Jeff sipped from a cup of freshly brewed coffee before he continued, Good thing she was armed, or Id be dead. The police took another ten minutes to get to her apartment. They were all hopped up and acting tactical upon entering the building. Even at that time in the morning youd think the police response time would be better. Anyway, during the initial investigation, we discovered, well actually someone told us, the case of the Random Serial killer had been solved. The intruders DNA matched that of 30 murder scenes in the city. A tech said the intruder was also involved in countless murders in at least eighteen Eastern states. Jeff paused briefly, took another sip of coffee, and allowed time for any questions. His audience was quiet and spellbound, so he continued, Susan, for the time being, was okay. We talked. I asked her to come with me. She refused, saying that her mother needed her at home in New Braunfels. She couldnt fully explain, and added since there was a tremendous change in the behavior of the Tilldoc on Earth, their more accepting attitudes might signal a chance for peace between our three species. After talking to President Keegan that morning, I was disgusted that humans were so gullible to jump at the chance of reconciliation when evidence clearly indicated otherwise. Bill requested clarification, Susans family is from New Braunfels, Texas? Jeff answered, Yes. Bill stated, That area of the state has a deep Germanic history, he paused to allow the obvious to sink in, She may be of Tilldoc descent. Jeff countered, But she fought in the war. And so did many other Tilldoc, wanting a chance to kill the Rowdick menace. Kathy blushed, saying, Im sorry Jungeedo, bad habit. Jungeedo narrowed his eye slits and slightly bowed and tilted his head responding, None taken, Matron Katherine. Kathy remarked, Im so embarrassed she held up a hand requesting to continue, tears ran down her cheeks. All of you Rowdizians are so so gallant, accommodating, kind. Humans and Tilldoc are soooo shallow. To lighten the mood Jungeedo responded, Well, my species is either well accepted or despised. It is easy to be initially disconcerted when the Rowdicks look to be giant bugs. The table nervously chuckled and Jason offered, Jeff, we couldve waited another 24 to 48 hours. Jeff countered, No, Jason we just destroyed the earthbound Tilldocs ability to communicate with their home world. We had to leave immediately. Shaking his head he continued, I trust the four of you have poured over all communications from the Tilldoc home world and come up with some believable excuse or reply for your responses. I believe the last thirty hours without a transmission from Earth can be best explained by stating an Earth starship, waiting for space dock, was positioned between the two worlds. Lame, but how are the Tilldoc to confirm the deception? Bill asked, what do you expect from Kathy and me? Jeff answered, I hope you and Kathy will listen to every message and when you feel there is important information, no matter how small, or some incongruity from the

home world, report your concerns to the other crew. The two of you have a very unique position being the only full-blooded Tilldoc on the station. I would hope that gives us the upper hand over the coming weeks. Heather reached for and squeezed Jeffs hand as she said, Thank you for believing in us. We will not let you or the Rowdizians down. Jeff and Jungeedo stood to leave. Looking to the four adults sitting at the table Jeff took a deep breath and said, Its time to leave. Pay close attention to the transmissions and measure your replies. Your lives may depend on your responses. Good luck. Jeff and Jungeedo returned to the shuttle bay and readied for departure. As Jungeedo strapped in he thanked Jeff for having the foresight to order Eos to intercept all transmissions for the past week. The captured information might just be the one small piece that would make this plan believable. Jungeedo asked, anything else, Jefferson? Jeff shrugged his shoulders and said, Yes, but I want to enjoy the short flight back to the Potswanavic. Jungeedo interlaced his twelve fingers and placed his hands behind his head. Reclining in the copilots seat, he said, Enjoy? Why, you get to pilot us back. I need to rest and ponder your security. Please do not damage the station or the equipment. You need to practice. Jeff playfully bumped the deck of the station as he departed Eos. On the bridge of the Potswanavic, Jefferson looked to Jungeedo and asked, What is your opinion of leaving the Tilldoc couple to assist with the fake transmissions? Jefferson, I trust your ability to think through the ramifications of a poor decision. There is a big difference between nature and nurture. While a species does retain behaviors from their genetic history, nurture plays an important role in the offsprings behavior. It is easy to raise any animal to be mean and dangerous. All one has to do is instill fear, hate, choler, loathing, and ignorance into the creatures development. You made a good choice. I like them. Heathers parents have the unique perspective of Tilldoc life that we could never replicate. Either they will be discovered quickly or some small oversight will reveal their deception in the future. It is only a matter of time. Christine asked, If they are discovered, will someone be able to extract them before they can be harmed? Jeff looked to Christine and before he answered he paused, but tensed when he wasnt rescued by the silent Jungeedo. Taking a deep breath, Jeff replied, No. Christine gasped, and was instantly at a loss for words. No... only a matter of time tortured her thoughts. Over the ships public address system the jump countdown, clearly audible in the H2S laced air, continued. The spoken numbers during the last twenty seconds of the countdown were called out sequentially, a last warning to brace for the overwhelming acceleration softened by the inverse pull of the inertial dampeners. The sensation caused most creatures to momentarily black out. Jeff, Jungeedo, and Christine quickly took chairs and sat quietly waiting for the hyper-drive engagement. The sultry female

Rowdizian voice drifted through all ships spaces five, four, three, two, one, jump. The view of the stars elongated as the Potswanavic instantly accelerated beyond light speed. Jeff and Jungeedo met with Commodore Doweejunkdo and Prince Deejunkdo immediately upon their return to Rowdizia. The meeting was designed to clarify what Jeff had learned during his and the other operatives time on Earth. They were also instructed by the Emperor to review the Rowdizian readiness and plan to attack the Tilldoc home world. The Rowdizian palace had escaped damage from the Tilldoc attack seven weeks earlier. The summer palace converted to house the original Earth-Alliance Embassy and the entire surrounding city was destroyed during the attack and would not be habitable for many decades. The briefing took place in the palace wing housing the temporary EarthAlliance Embassy. Doweejunkdo had missed and been very worried about his human friend. With long thin arms held wide and inviting, Doweejunkdo greeted, Jefferson, it has seemed like years, not weeks, since we last met. I truly missed my greatest ally and closest human friend. Come. The creature held out his arms in a rare beckoning indicating more than a hand shake was being offered. When Jefferson was near, Doweejunkdo took Jeffersons head in his hands and gently pressed his crest against Jeffs forehead. Retracting two steps to give the human space, Doweejunkdo then extended his hand. Jeff took the offered hand and warmly responded, I missed the warmth and sincerity of the Rowdizian species. We, as one, will shape the future. In purity and openness. Laughing, Doweejunkdo said, I see you embrace our customs more each and every day. Forgive me for asking, but is the chin implant the only change the surgeons made to disguise your appearance? Thinking of Susans comment, Jeff answered, Oh, no! During the trip to my home world, your excellent surgeons implanted a total of seven devices to disguise my appearance. On the return trip they removed all except the chin implant. Susan liked the stronger chin. It does make for a more striking feature. And Susan, she is well? Doweejunkdo knew there was a problem, but felt obligated to ask. Jeff thought it best to keep his reply brief, Susans mother needed her help at this time. She can always move to Rowdizia later. Excellent, family is most important. Doweejunkdo wanted the subject to change, knowing there to be no communiqus from Susan since Jefferson departed Earth. His nephew quickly rescued the mood. Prince Deejunkdo motioned the group to a prepared setting after the pleasantries. The ten place table, covered with the morning meal, was centered in a large room. Surrounding walls were ornate and each had a view screen to display any visual aids required during a meeting. Their small talk over the next half an hour morphed into a serious discussion of the upcoming attack. Jeff was glad to be included in the planning. A slight chuckle preceded, Gentlemen, I was overwhelmed when the Potswanavic took her place and moored in space dock. Doweejunkdo, I believe your count was off. I counted twenty battleships,

and over three dozen battle cruisers. I lost count at around forty corvettes. There were countless other support vessels. My loose estimate would be more than three times the number of warships you told me the Rowdizians possessed at the end of the war. Doweejunkdo chuckled, Impressive is it not? Some of the ships are still being outfitted and it will be several more months before they are combat ready. Those and others we will leave behind during the initial attack. How many? Jeff asked. Doweejunkdo smiled slyly, A flotilla of about sixty. Surprised, Jeff placed both hands on the table and leaned forward in his chair, blurting, To attack? Deejunkdo answered, No, my good friend you misunderstand. We have to continue completion of the vessels and use them to protect our home world. Jefferson, my uncle informed you weeks ago that my species possessed more than enough ships to defeat the Earth-Alliance. I am afraid an alliance with humans is not now in our immediate future. At this point, it is better if your world takes an ambiguous stance and adopts a position of neutrality. A little selfish and shortsighted, I might add. Jeff observed, Deejunkdo, your use of English is excellent. I am amazed at how much youve learned since we first met. Deejunkdo bowed slightly and continued, Thank you Jefferson. Our plan is to station another flotilla of thirty ships near New Terra. We heard your concerns and have dispatched three swift Corvettes to loiter near the system Sol. The remainder of the fleet will be sent to the Tilldoc home world to attack their fleet and installations, thereby crippling their ability fight and travel in space. Jeff stood and walked to a screen of a celestial map with the fleet repositioning for the attack. He asked, Why such a large number of ships? Bill Hartmann informed me that the Tilldoc have just discovered hyper-drive and are having difficulty harnessing its use. Their ships are most likely vastly inferior to yours. Deejunkdo said, What Mister Hartmann said is unconfirmed. Jeff turned and stared at the Prince. You think Hartmann lied? Deejunkdo shook his head, We believe him to be honest, I just believe we should err on the side of caution he could have been given false information. Besides, Jefferson Tilldoc may have superior planetary defenses, and it may take more than what we are taking to penetrate those defenses. We have been extremely covert when gathering additional intelligence. Uncle felt this to be a wise plan. Jeff looked to Doweejunkdo who shrugged his shoulders and said, I told you it was time for Deejunkdo to lead. He then became more serious, Our world is badly damaged. Great parts of the land will be uninhabitable for many years to come. We need a decisive blow to the Tilldoc ability to wage war and expand their empire. Deejunkdo came up with the idea to also have a thirty ship flotilla stand by near New Terra. I believe five swift Corvettes need to be sent to protect our interests in the system Sol. There are so many unanswered questions. Our first scouts are to report their findings on the new day. Reports from Eos indicate the deception is working. The Tilldoc home world is very concerned and continues to send orders for their operatives on Earth to cooperate and spread the message of peace and understanding. Our agents are stepping up their stirring the pot and continue to take out the Tilldoc when the opportunity presents itself. The

only problem is security forces have been increased in the areas where the Tilldoc live. Of greater concern is, some of the covert Tilldoc areas where we have yet to cause problems are also enjoying increased protection. It seems they have somehow learned of the Tilldoc presence on Earth. Jefferson what are your plans here on Rowdizia? I dont know. Jeff walked back to the table, There isnt much for me to do here at this time. Jeff was very troubled by the increase in security. I can continue to impress upon my government to accept a treaty with your species and work to form a pact for mutual defense. Its almost impossible to make them open their eyes and see the viciousness of the Tilldoc unprovoked attack but, Doweejunkdo, Ill keep trying. That is an excellent idea. Doweejunkdo stood, I have one more favor that is against protocol, but I am sure you would be hurt if I did not ask. Doweejunkdo, just ask. The creature smiled knowing the answer in advance, Will you accept a temporary position training Cooja pilots? Jeff said laughing, Youre right, I would be hurt, and Id love to teach new pilots how to operate the Cooja. Deejunkdo stood and shook Jeffs hand, Jefferson, we are all honored by your assistance. We could never repay you for service. Jeff was slightly embarrassed and answered, I am the one that is most grateful. Doweejunkdo has blessed me with an adventure most only dream of experiencing. Shall we meet here at the same time tomorrow? Doweejunkdo and Deejunkdo together answered, Please. Jeff started walking his guests to the door as the conversation wound down, Then, in that case, I will inform the staff. Hopefully the reports from the scouts will bring welcome news. Good day my friends. Jeff didnt rush his guests, but he was somewhat in a hurry to see Quedocdo. As he rehearsed what to say, Jeffs thoughts returned to his having sent a communiqu to Susan days ago and had yet to receive an answer. He also was beginning to have concerns of her returning to her mothers home in Texas. Why was security increased around the pockets of Tilldoc on Earth? Especially those areas that had yet to have anyone harmed. Did Susan betray the operation or was the increase in security because of the obvious increase in mishaps to the Tilldoc operatives? For now, Jeff would purge his mind, he needed to contact Quedocdo. Jeff toyed with the lovely creature displayed on the view screen. I just got back in town and was wondering if you were doing anything this evening? Quedocdos heart raced, Ambassador Norton My brood is serving the Empire or away at school. You are invited to join me here or I am available to go wherever you like. I can show you the nightlife here in the capital if that suits you. Sighing, Jeff answered, Jungeedo still insists on me having a security detail when I leave the palace. It might be best to enjoy a quiet evening here. The palace would be nice. I have never been inside. What time shall I come? I will send a car at 1700 hours. Will that be okay with you? Jeff hoped. I will be ready. I like the chin, although the old one did not detract from your features. Tell me Was anything besides your chin lengthened?

Quedocdo you know me to be a private person. Besides, I have no idea what youre referring to remember 1700 hours. Goodbye. Jeff closed the connection and called the kitchen staff. Shedocdo appeared on the view screen. Yes, Ambassador Norton. Shedocdo, I have invited one female guest for dinner this evening. She is Rowdizian and very special to me. Will dinner at 1900 hours be a problem? Shedocdo smiled, Never a problem, Jefferson. I will dismiss most of the interior staff. Anything else? Jeff answered, No, and thank you for your dedication. Shedocdo was overjoyed hearing the new information. Ever since learning the Ambassadors human mate was not returning with him, the mood of the embassy was a bit sad. She smiled, Jefferson needed companionship as did all social beings, and it was understood he had strong feelings for the female, Susan. But now a Rowdizian female! Quedocdo had planned to hire a ride for the trip to the palace, but Jefferson tended to plan for everything. The time passed quickly. Stepping through the building entrance at the agreed hour, Quedocdo immediately saw two limousines emblazoned with the Government Crest parked at the curb. A small crowd remained a comfortable distance. An aide opened the rear door and out stepped a dashing Ambassador Norton dressed in a black tuxedo. Jeff was overjoyed at the sight of Quedocdo. Her almond skin was even more radiant accented by her choice of a shimmering emerald green dress. The neckline plunged to a point midway between her breasts and her abdomen. Her V-shaped collar and lapels barely covered the nipples of her full round breasts. Her cleavage invited stares. A multi strand necklace of black obsidian, and black, grey, and white pearls adorned her neck. Her waist was encircled by a black patent leather belt and she carried a matching evening clutch. The cut of the purposely jagged hem ran from her right midthigh to her left mid-calf. Her tall frame didnt require additional height, but the matching black high heels gave greater definition to her curves. Jeff smiled at her beauty and extended a hand, silently calling to her. As she took his hand he said, I thought you might show me the sights of the capital for about the next hour. Dinner will be served at 1900 hours. You are a sly one Jefferson. By your dress, do I detect a change in plans? Who is in the other car? My security detail, and no change. Jeff guided his lovely guest into the vehicles plush interior. As Quedocdo glided across the rear seat, Jeff slid in to sit next to her. As the aide closed the door, Quedocdo turned and gently kissed Jeffersons lips. She opened hers eyes and cooed, I missed you. You, too, were in my thoughts. Did you expect my return? Jeff took her right hand and squeezed, then kissed a tender spot below her right ear. Her fragrance was inviting. He suggested, Better tell the driver where to go before we attract a bigger crowd. Quedocdo cleared her throat and announced into the space, Driver, do you know of the Red Route used for tours? Yes, Mistress Quedocdo. the driver answered.

She smiled, Excellent, please follow the complete route, starting at the corner of 1 and Main, before returning to the palace. The driver tipped his brow and said, As you command. then closed the opaque partition separating the compartments. Jefferson, I am surprised and pleased you have returned so early. I expected you to be gone for many more months. The lovely creature gently stroked Jeffersons jaw line. Quedocdos touch sent chills throughout Jeffs body. Really at a loss for words, he asked, How long will it take to return to the palace? We shouldnt be late for Shedocdos efforts. We will be there in time. What is prepared for the evening meal I left it to Shedocdos good judgment. I informed her two would be dining and one would be a Rowdizian female. Quedocdo playfully pushed Jefferson away saying, Discreet you are not, you schemer. Jeff laughed, Youre one to speak of discreet. When will I get to meet your brood? Quedocdos eye slits narrowed and she frowned, Except for Lyiaquedocdo, they will be home at weeks end. I have no objections you meet them, but may I ask, what is your interest? Actually she was glad he showed an interest. Jeff shifted in the seat and said, From Lyiaquedocdos description, your offspring are excited about a possible relationship between you and me. Now, how would they dream up that scenario? You met Lyiaquedocdo? Aboard the Potswanavic. Quedocdo blushed, And I believed Rossvatia to be the schemer of my brood. A sly growing smile blossomed as she continued, I might have spoken of you too often when I was home. My offspring also ask poignant questions, so it is difficult to avoid answers. When I do attempt to change the subject, they are quick to accept my deception as confirmation of their thoughts. They are a gifted group, and I do not say that because I birthed the pups. So, Jefferson tell me of Susan. Jeff was somewhat shocked at her request, saying, Not much to tell. We enjoyed each others company for several days, and when it came time for me to leave, she couldnt accompany me. Susan had to be with her mother. Quedocdo, Im really not comfortable talking about Susan. Quedocdo lightly brushed Jeffersons left temple and tongued his earlobe. She whispered, Jefferson you spoke of her often during the weeks we spent training on the Katvanshevic. If I did not know better, I would have believed her to be your life mate. Rowdizian females only wish for their companions happiness. Jealousy is rare. I only wish to comfort you and bring you pleasure. If a relationship between us should grow, I will welcome it. If your destiny is to be forever with Susan, then I will be happy for you. Do not confuse copulation as a measure of ones love. To a Rowdizian, love has nothing to do with Quedocdo paused, stared into his deep blue eyes searching for the English word, then said, sex. Jeff felt her hand touch his growing response to her teasing his ear. Turning to

face the beautiful creature, his hand found the softness of her breasts and when his lips found hers, he kissed her deeply. Their passion smoldered until suddenly pulling back Jeff said, Ill be honest. I still care very deeply for Susan, but something has me troubled. Something has changed with her. Im torn, because I also care deeply for you. Jefferson you must be conflicted. I can feel you chose to have the surgical lengthening process. That was only necessary to heighten the pleasure of a Rowdizian female. Looking out the tinted window, she noticed a water fountain and directed, Jefferson, look the Fountains of Serenity are on full display! Quedocdo found the switch and pushed to open the sunroof. Awed, Jeff stared at the spectacle that rivaled anything ever presented on the Vegas Strip. In two areas of the giant traffic circle, the waters arched across the lanes. Jeff was so distracted he didnt see or feel Quedocdos efforts until her long wet tongue began to stroke his length. He breathed, Quedocdo dinner. Smiling up at his contented look she comforted, Relax, the drive from the fountains to the palace takes about thirty minutes. Her tongue tickled his tip, If you allow tonight I will show you how to please me. Jeff looked into her large beautiful black eyes. She sat curled on the floor, her head rested on his left thigh. Quedocdos tongue continued to tease. Closing his eyes, Jeff leaned back, relaxed, and drifted into a world of ecstasy. Arriving at the Earth-Alliance wing of the palace, Jeff and Quedocdo finished their drinks before exiting the car. Aided by the driver taking her hand, Quedocdo froze when she stepped from the vehicle. Jeff was quick with a greeting, Emperor Junkdo, how nice of you to welcome us. The Emperor took Quedocdos hand offered by the driver and said, Jefferson, I just wanted to see what lovely creature you were bringing to dinner. I hope I have not intruded? The Emperor gently kissed her hand. Not at all your highness. Allow me to introduce, Quedocdo. Jeff had now stepped around the rear of the car and stood next to her. Finding her voice she shyly said, Jefferson did not tell me we were to join the Emperor for the evening meal. Emperor Junkdo blushed, No, not this evening, but you do look elegant. Anyway, We have the grand-pups over. Thirty-six. I just wanted to meet the mystery female that is the talk of the staff, and tell you we will be using the pool till 2200 hours. After that the facilities are all yours. We will not disturb you. However, the Empress swims at dawn; in the nude. The leader of the Rowdizian home world paused, then let out a roaring belly laugh. The look on your faces is priceless. Jefferson, Doweejunkdo said you like a good joke. Catching his breath the Emperor continued, Anyway, the Empress likes to lounge nude in the hot tub or whirlpool, whatever it is called, in the evening. I will send a messenger on the new day with an invitation to an evening meal. Will tomorrow night be fine? Quedocdo paused for Jefferson to answer, He looked to her nod of approval and said, Emperor Junkdo, your invitation and hospitality are most welcome. We will be honored.

Excellent! The monarch kissed Quedocdos hand again and bid the couple goodnight saying, She is very much a beautiful creature Jefferson, and I do not believe those pheromones are for me. Goodnight. Jefferson checked his watch and noted the time at 1900 hours. Turning to Quedocdo he asked, Are you ready for dinner? She looked into his eyes and nodded yes. Are you okay? Quedocdo took a deep breath and said, That was the Emperor and we are to have the evening meal with him and others tomorrow evening. Yes, you were paying attention. Can we have dinner now? Still somewhat scattered come. Jeff took her arm and they strolled into his quarters. The following morning a still quite elegant Quedocdo was thanking Jefferson for a wonderful night when the attendees to the morning meal and meeting arrived. During the greetings, Quedocdo started to feel out of place and wished she had left for home an hour earlier. Before she asked for a car, a messenger from the palace arrived and asked for her. Prince Deejunkdo asked, Quedocdo, is this the first time you have visited the palace? Yes. She answered as she opened the message, then said before reading, It is from the Empress she writes let the males discuss the upcoming war please honor me and come to this mornings meal. We have many things to discuss. Quedocdo spread her arms wide and frowned, Look at me! I am dressed in evening attire I have nothing else to wear. Deejunkdo suggested, In the future Quedocdo, if you have a particular taste in clothes, I would advise you bring a few changes whenever you come to visit. My mother and father have a habit of inviting guests to stay for a few days. They dont get out often and like to live vicariously through their guests. he motioned an aide over, and directed, Please take Quedocdo to the females closet. When she is finished changing, show her to the family dining room. The aide bowed, replying, As you command. then extended an arm for Quedocdos hand. As she took the aides arm, Quedocdo looked back over her shoulder teasing, You males enjoy moving your assets around and strategizing outcomes. Ill be with the Empress. Enjoy your morning. A backward wave accented her exit. Jungeedo passed Quedocdo and her escort as they left the room. Approaching the three beings he offered, If she is going to the morning meal, she is a bit overdressed. Deejunkdo questioned, Is it just me, or do all the most desirable females seem to be attracted to the humans? Doweejunkdo quipped, She could have dined with us. Her odor is most pleasing. Jeff tried to return to more serious events, We have to move assets and strategize the coming war. All of you may lust later.

Doweejunkdo agreed, Come The news from the scouts is important and disturbing. Doweejunkdo motioned the planners into the briefing room and continued, The reports will require us to make wise, careful choices. We have a sacred duty to those we send to protect our way of life. As the beings took their seats, Jeff asked, What is this troubling news? Doweejunkdo sighed, Look to the monitors for charts interpreting the data transmitted overnight from the Corvette Lifvaluvic. The ship spent months gathering data from different assets in Tilldoc space before being discovered. The Lifvaluvic spent the last 36 hours evading capture or destruction from Tilldoc warships. The information indicates the Tilldoc have a substantial fleet approximately half the size of Rowdizian forces. The Lifvaluvic was caught in an ambush and feared destroyed hours ago. Tilldoc propulsion is not as sophisticated as Rowdizian, however it is far more advanced than we were lead to believe. They are well beyond initial discovery of hyper-drive technology. That information can not be confirmed, however the Captains last transmission indicated life support was failing and the ships ability to defend herself was in question. Knowing what we know of the treatment of prisoners by the Tilldoc, we feel Captain Valgeedacdeedo set the ships self destruct sequence. We have lost contact with the Lifvaluvic, and fear she is lost. Jeff calmly sipped a cup of coffee and offered, The crew didnt die in vain. Their information will help save countless lives during the upcoming battles. Was the Lifvaluvic able to determine the weapons strength of the Tilldoc fleet? Deejunkdo raised his head from a prayer for the dead and answered, Jefferson, while they were unable to confirm the capabilities of the specific category of ship, they did return data for us to make an informed estimate. That is where, given the number and size of their fleet, we determined it to be half the strength of ours. The Tilldoc weapons technology is roughly par to ours. Because there was never an opportunity to test, of a greater concern is their planetary defenses. I feel we should assume their defense capability to be greater than originally thought, and we should add a factor of 25% to their ability to defend their planet. Jeff was intrigued, On what basis, Deejunkdo, do you calculate the Tilldoc ability to defend their home world at a factor of an additional 25% of current estimates? Doweejunkdo interjected, knowing the lack of confidence in Deejunkdo expressed by Jefferson in the past, Because my good friend, if their defensive ability is greater than 25% of our former estimates, then the match will be essentially even. While we slug it out in the heavens, our ability to inflict a cultural change will be useless. We will have no chance to destroy their ability to manufacture additional weapons. A stalemate will result. Weighing the gravity of the data, Jefferson pondered, To wait would invite further strengthening by the enemy and a chance the Tilldoc could convince the EarthAlliance to join in a battle to defeat this world. There are few options. Doweejunkdo exclaimed, Then it is settled. Our forces are to reposition for an offensive as soon as we are able. Last estimates indicated the fleet to be at 97% operational strength. I am ready to lead the fleet. We can take this fight to the Tilldoc home world. In purity and openness we will fight for the survival of our species. Is everyone in agreement?

Quiet signaled the assembled consent. Jungeedo asked, Deejunkdo. What is my assignment during the coming weeks? Deejunkdo answered, Good friend you are to continue to provide security for Ambassador Norton. You are also to report to the Fleet Training Squadron Nine, and help with the training of several thousand replacements for the war. Two more mass birthing groups will mature in the coming weeks. Our hopes for winning distant battles yet engaged are in the skilled hands of many such as you. The Ambassador will require your consult as our species requires your skills. With the overview decided, let us enjoy the morning meal and decide the details. Doweejunkdo waggled his eyebrows at Jefferson and said, Your thoughts. Jeffs terse smile was tempered by the thoughts of the many yet to die. He finally answered, You are correct my friend your nephew seems more than capable of leading the Empire in battle. Let us plan for your return. I will pray for your safety. Six days travel from Rowdizia, Doweejunkdo sat in his elevated leather covered black command chair and reviewed the reports of fleet readiness from the flag bridge of the Katvanshevic. One hundred and eighty-nine ships, carrying over 950,000 beings were under his command. Captain Tossleedocdo approached his old friend and said, Commodore, since repairs, the old girl is operating at peak performance. Laughing, Doweejunkdo massaged his friends shoulder adding, This ship will outlive the two of us and most of her crews. She has always come home no matter how badly damaged. I served aboard her in the first battle of the Rowdizian Earth-Alliance Six Year War. The humans were found to be worthy opponents. After two complete cycles of fighting, her Captain was lost and the Katvanshevic required a tow home. He slapped the console for emphasis, We almost lost her, but this beautifully rugged female would not die. Took months to get her home to space dock. Over fifty percent of her original crew died in that exchange. Their heroism was without equal. Captain Tossleedocdo observed, Commodore, your bravery and excellent command of tactics, will ultimately insure our victory. This fleet has pledged to fight and, if necessary, die as you command. Doweejunkdo chuckled, Well my good friend. Let us pray we do a little less dying and much more killing. This effort will most certainly not be waged as we did the Six Year War. We will accept nothing less than total victory and if necessary, the complete annihilation of the Tilldoc species. But for now, my old bones have grown tired. I will rest. Have my aide wake me in twelve hours for the morning meal. Command Staff briefing at 1100 hours. Doweejunkdo stood. Captain Tossleedocdo bowed and answered, As you command. Back in his cabin, Doweejunkdo relaxed and gave thought to his last days on Rowdizia before the fleets departure. Quedocdos behavior was quaint after her morning meal with the Empress and the grand-pups. Another smile and slightly stifled inward chuckle, echoed from the bulkheads as he pictured the female creatures expression and gestures attempting to explain the enormousness of the event. Quedocdo was so excited that the next Governmental decree was first discussed with her before it was to be released to the public. The Empress was to ask all Rowdizian females to birth at least six

pups in the coming months. The war with Tilldoc would require many replacements. Losses were projected to be over a million Rowdizians. Laying on his bed, Doweejunkdo drank a large portion of his Rowdizian Ale, and hoped only a million deaths would satisfy the Gods. He feared there were far too many surprises awaiting their arrival in the Tilldoc system. Jeffs thoughts were torn since finally receiving a response to the videos he sent Susan. No upbeat playing around or toying with him as she had done in the past; Susan said she was too busy helping her mother organize rallies in support of unification with the Tilldoc home world to timely respond to his communiqus. She reported she no longer worked at the Rowdizian Embassy because of increased security concerns. There was some difficulty getting the majority of the Earth-Alliance countries to agree to enter talks and offer Rowdizia inclusion in any negotiations involving the three species. Sitting naked in an upholstered chair, Jeff powered up his tablet and placed the combo earpiece/mike in his right ear. Reviewing the listed files, there were only the two responses from Susan mixed in with the dozens of official government communiqus. Seeing the new file from President Keegan, Jeff decided it would have to wait while he settled his mind with the latest unwelcome twist in his life. As the cursor crossed Susans last message, he double tapped the pad. Susans blossoming image on the screen added a soft glow to Jeffs form. A loose, gray sweatshirt hung from her shoulders. Hi Jeff. Just a short note to tell you that Im not trying to ignore you, its just with the fast pace turn of events here on good old mother Earth, its hard to keep up with all the changes. I have not spoken a word about what you shared with me the last time you were home. The Premier of Britain, or whatever they call the head of that country now, spilled the beans to the world about the existence of the Tilldoc. President Keegan, in a later address, cautioned the world about the Tilldoc quest for racial purity. Id say there to be a 70/30 split in world opinion. The majority are skeptical of an alliance with a world purported to be nothing more than a white supremacy group. The minority, who also hold a greater degree of power, see nothing but a greater good. After being around mom, Im falling off the fence to the minority. I believe we can all come to some kind of understanding and work together for a better universe. Gotta run. I moved to Austin and have a support rally to facilitate on the capital grounds. Lots of love, take care. The file ended and the screen turned blue. A softened noise shook Jeff back to reality. The covers on the bed stirred again and Quedocdo sleepily asked, Jefferson are you lamenting over the messages again? Jeff looked to the file screen and seeing his cursor was over the Presidents last message, quickly tapped the pad and answered, I am just opening a communiqu from the President. Quedocdo closed her eyes knowing of Jeffersons torment. She breathed a great sigh and thought of her own dynamic in this triangle, further thinking, He didnt answer my direct question and I have no right to ask. I dont want to win Jefferson by being available and around all the time. It is not fair to his former mate and especially not fair to him. I need to distance myself. We will still get to work together training new pilots to master the Cooja fighter. We have scheduled flights this afternoon. I will need to purge

his seed before the missions. But first She sat up, allowing the sheets to fall from her naked form. The shimmering, rippling moonlight reflecting off the wind blown waters of the nearby pool beckoned the most prudish male to bed. Jefferson please bring something to drink. Come back to bed, along with a fresh desire to fulfill my want of your expert touch. Ill finish Keegans dispatch later. Jeff freshened earlier glasses and slid onto the bed, offering his teacher the Rowdizian Ale. Remembering Susans last letter, he tried to clear his mind and what he just read, drifted from his thoughts. He laughed, Youre the instructor responsible for my expert touch. I feel I continue to be the receiver of the greater amount of pleasure from our trysts. Jeff raised his glass motioning for a toast. As he clinked her glass of ale, he continued, To our continued relationship. May it grow stronger with each passing hour. Leaning closer, Jeff kissed Quedocdo below the left ear and traced his tongue down her soft luscious neck. Arriving at the base of her neck, he gently sucked the skin with tender kisses. His left fingers found her inner thigh and he teasingly traced her skin. She moaned. Quedocdos thoughts were difficult to focus through the intense heat filling her soul. She had taught Jefferson well, and he possessed the unique ability to ignite every erogenous zone throughout her body. She moaned, Oh, my Gods Jefferson I want our coupling to never end. Please dont ever stop. Jeff thought it might be a good time to be more direct. He had strong feelings for this creature as he knew she did for him, so he asked as his mouth reached to sample her breast, Do you plan to follow the Empresses decree and birth six pups in the coming months? Her passion was on the precipice of becoming lost in mindless bliss when his words shocked her back to corporeality. She quickly tossed Jefferson onto his back and maneuvered on top of him. Her dreadlocks danced above his face. Catching her breath she said, Timing Jefferson timing. You suggest to take our relationship to a level for which I believe you are not prepared. For now, can we enjoy our coupling and company? I am in no hurry. A time will come when you are more than certain of your feelings for me and others in your life. Now is too soon. Quedocdo kissed Jefferson and knew not to rush into the creation of offspring to be best as she guided him into her. She knew by her current efforts, both would later enjoy the morning meal, sexually satisfied with joyous thoughts of their next rendezvous. Doweejunkdo sat at the head of the conference table having just finished his morning meal. Looking to his assembled staff and those attending by video conference, he said, Is there anyone that has not received their briefing packet and initial orders? Except for Sub-Commodore Wesgeedo, a moment of silence telegraphed their acknowledgement. Finally, a nervous Wesgeedo blurted, I have located mine. Doweejunkdo continued, All of our assets have been divided into equal battle groups and color coded for easy identity. New coordinates are being sent to your navigation computers. We will position the fleet behind the Tilldoc central star and from there jump at the designated times to each battle groups assigned position. Should the planetary defenses prove challenging, the Red, Blue, Silver, Gold, Black, and Green battle groups will be standing by in reserve to support the destruction of those defenses.

Any questions so far? The commander of Rowdizian Ground Attack Unit 4 asked, Commodore, at what point will my unit be sent to the Tilldoc surface? Doweejunkdo answered, When the fleet has neutralized the planetary defenses to a point of acceptable losses, then we will order your forces to the surface. At this time I can not make an educated guess with our limited intelligence. You will have to wait until we have more information as the battle unfolds. I want all of the commanders, down to each individual ship, to understand that we are to fight this battle like we are at a disadvantage. I want everyone to know that the slightest mistake may cost us the war. I want everyone to know that if they do their duty to the Empire, that we will be victorious this day, and every day to come. With our large fleet, do not become complacent. The battle is yet to be fought, and the war is not over. Are there any questions? The silence indicated none. Previously the staff had been given detailed plans for the upcoming engagement to be prepared for this pre-launch briefing, so Doweejunkdo added, I pray we take the necessary steps to minimize our losses and end this conflict as soon as possible. Dismissed. The massive Rowdizian fleet established a parking orbit adjacent to the Tilldoc central star. Masked by the star, dozens of small fast scout ships launched from the fleet to map the Tilldoc star system and update current information. Doweejunkdo instructed his operations commander, Captain Choseedo, here is your first change. Order Gold Group to a point equidistant and opposite our position from the Tilldoc home world. Instruct Sub-Commodore Bolducdedo best speed and avoid detection. Oh, and guard his area well. The Operations Officer immediately transmitted the orders. Except for the hushed musical beeps of data bursts between ships, and chimes indicating additional information being plotted on the fleet status board, the flag bridge was eerily quiet. In the center of the tactical chart, a red and yellow striped sphere marked Tilldoc. Within minutes, additional red and yellow striped symbols appeared on the chart. Each mark signified a Tilldoc outpost, station, ship, or other enemy possession. As the chart became littered with Tilldoc symbols, Doweejunkdo became concerned. Stretching in his chair, Doweejunkdo ordered, Captain Choseedo, have Green Group launch a rear patrol of two Corvettes and a Battle Cruiser. Their area of operations will be the hemispherical space to our rear. And suggest the ships be staffed with experienced crews. Moments later, Choseedo reported, Commodore, Green Group Commander is hailing. Doweejunkdos eye slits narrowed as he looked to Choseedo. Taking a sip of coffee, he hesitantly touched the holographic communications panel to his right speaking, Sub-Commodore Teejundeedo, How may I be of service? My experienced crews? Doweejunkdo. Doweejunkdo slowly ran his right hand through his dreadlocks and answered, Yes, Teejundeedo. Shortly we will be fighting a great battle. The responsibility of this assignment is best suited for the seasoned. There will be plenty of excitement in the main battle. I am sure you would agree that our blind backside is best covered by the most

experienced. Teejundeedos display on the view screen smiled and she saluted by placing her right fist to the center of her chest and suggested, Then I should dispatch myself. A slightly less experienced commander should suffice. I will require you to be at my side. Doweejunkdo laughed and toasted her image. Teejundeedo blushed saying, As you command. She closed the connection hoping to experience another wonderful coupling after the battle. Doweejunkdo inhaled deeply, closed his eyes, and prayed for the safety of his mate and their offspring. He had been blessed with Teejundeedos companionship since a year after the death of his first mate. Together, they had birthed twenty pups. She showed equal love and devotion to his surviving offspring from his first mate who had died in the Tilldoc terrorist attack on Earth. He again asked the Gods for blessed protection for his entire family, especially the fifteen assigned to various ships throughout the fleet. An hour had passed and there still was no enemy contact. Doweejunkdos thoughts were of the scouts being at their decision point for fuel. Also, Gold Group had another few minutes of travel to reach their new assignment. From the symbols on the display, the Rowdizians still enjoyed a tactical and numerical advantage. He watched breathlessly as Gold Groups symbol began to flash, indicating the battle group had slowed to sub-light speed, and when the symbol glowed steady the ships were on station. He studied the tactical chart, imagining Sub-Commodore Bolducdedo ordering operational dispersal, launching of the Combat Air Patrol, and the launching of scouts. Over the muffled chirps and chimes of the incoming data streams, Doweejunkdo, with his love of Earth expressions, looked to his Operations Officer, Well Choseedo, looks like it is time to kick this party into high gear. With eye slits narrowed and frowning, Choseedo questioned, Commodore, you do mean to launch the attack, yes? Doweejunkdo smiled knowing history would write the first seconds of the war were confused by his pupish behavior. He clarified, Of course signal the atta The tactical display distant of Gold Groups position flashed with more than a dozen red and yellow striped symbols. Doweejunkdo barked, Countermand that last. Standby! With his left hand, Doweejunkdo stroked his chin and said, Well, well, well Choseedo, what have we here? Choseedo was glad the Gods had him misunderstand the Commodores first command. He stood quietly awaiting his commanders next order. Speaking to everyone and to no one, Doweejunkdo mused, The Tilldoc believe they have a little surprise for us. Doweejunkdo studied distances and a few minutes later said, Choseedo, they can still have their surprise. Order Red Group to a point this side of Gold Group a hundred kilometers outside effective use of long range sensors. Order all ships to continue to avoid contact. Go. Doweejunkdo pressed the tips of his fingers together and studied the tactical chart. He thought, The game is afoot. While Red Group repositioned, and the fleet stood ready for the commencement of hostilities, a priority message flashed on the tactical display. Intrigued, Doweejunkdo touched the reception button on his holographic display. The communications officer said, Commodore, I just received a message from the Eos Battle Group. It reads that a vessel, most likely Tilldoc, has attacked Eos station.

The unidentified vessel has been engaged by their three Rowdizian Corvettes. The Corvettes intervened before the station received too much damage, but the ship is refusing to yield. Its focus is mainly on the stati... Message terminated. Doweejunkdo again touched the panel to end the connection and said to his Operations Officer. Well Choseedo, it would seem, in this battle, the Tilldoc have again opened with the first punch. Doweejunkdo studied the tactical chart and noted Red Groups position. Signal all ships to standby for the attack orders. When Red Group is in position, we will commence. Choseedo signaled the fleet and watched as Red Group approached their assigned position. Choseedo took a drink of tea and leaned on the console waiting for updated commands. As the Red Group symbol flashed, Doweejunkdo in a calm voice ordered, Signal the fleet to attack. As Choseedo instructed the fleet, he could see on the monitors the Katvanshevic was turning to begin her run and lead Yellow Group to attack the Tilldoc ships orbiting their home world. Stealing a glance at the master clock, he noted the battle to be almost two hours old. Sweat stained his tunic. Brown Group, whose duty was to insert and support the ground forces, was bombarding the planets surface. For more than ten minutes the ships of Brown and Yellow met little resistance. Hundreds of enemy fighters made feeble attempts to inflict damage to the heavily armored vessels. The battle was going according to plan when Doweejunkdo spotted on his view screen the explosion of a battle cruiser from Brown Group. Doweejunkdo called, Sub-Commodore Nordeedo, status. A wounded Nordeedo answered, Doweejunkdo, my group is suffering heavy damage from several ground-based energy weapons. We have destroyed one, however my battle group will be destroyed before all ground-based threats are eliminated. We require more fire power. Doweejunkdo knew the importance of defeating the planets defenses. Without taking his eyes off the tactical display, he ordered, Choseedo order Green Group to join Brown and support the bombardment of the planet. He then stabbed the communications panel and said, Nordeedo Green Group will join you shortly. You have operational command. He closed the transmission and thought, Katvanshevic and Yellow Group will be protected from the planetary defenses as long as we are disbursed among the Tilldoc ships. May the Gods guide your thoughts, Nordeedo. Doweejunkdo continued to divide his attention between the tactical map and the view screens filled with the battle high above the planets surface. He watched as fighters from both sides strafed enemy ships and fought desperately to destroy their sworn enemies. Occasional volleys of missiles from a ship would trace lines across the emptiness. Soon the space was filled with spent exhaust gasses of hundreds of weapons launched with hostile intent. Holding group formation was not a Rowdizian tactic. Without warning one ore more corvettes dashed into the formations of Tilldoc ships and unleashed massive amounts of firepower before they returned to the safety of their battle groups. Between dashes, the swarms of Rowdizian fighters would strafe enemy ships when not engaged in combat with a Tilldoc fighter. The Rowdizian fighters flew in

triplets and the Tilldoc fighters fought alone. Doweejunkdo thought it strange not to have the necessary support and protection of at least one wingman. Doweejunkdo saw that Brown and Green Groups had entered into a slugfest with the ground-based weapons. Sub-Commodore Nordeedo and Teejundeedo were not letting up the pressure. He had commanded his fighters to attack surface targets, including power stations. The tactic was working because energy to operate the weapons was lost when power was interrupted or destroyed. Any target of importance was fair. Dams, refineries, airfields, spaceports, defensive weapons, and factories were all acceptable targets. Now seeing that an area within the defensive array was cleared, Doweejunkdo ordered, Choseedo time to send in the ground troops. As the new order was given, Doweejunkdo noted the time on the master clock. Three and a half hours had passed since the Rowdizian fleet had dropped out of hyperspace. The battle was going well, with a slight advantage to the Rowdizian forces. Within minutes there would be Rowdizian troops on the surface of the Tilldoc home world. Suddenly, the Katvanshevic shuddered from multiple explosions. Slaving a monitor to see the cause, Doweejunkdo immediately located a large Tilldoc ship approaching from the stern and firing massive volleys of missiles. A Rowdizian Corvette intercepted the enemy ship and after several minutes of fighting, the corvette exploded. The Tilldoc ship, although severely damaged, continued her attack. As the vessel grew closer, Doweejunkdo offered, Choseedo, please inform the Captain Tossleedocdo that I believe the Tilldoc vessel approaching from the stern intends to ram his ship. He then selected Blue Groups channel and transmitted, Sub-Commodore Masedocdo, would you please join Yellow Group for the festivities above the Tilldoc home world. As you command, replied Sub-Commodore Masedocdo. Doweejunkdo selected a different data stream for his secondary display. Instantly a list of destroyed Rowdizian vessels filled the monitor. A slightly larger list of destroyed Tilldoc vessels filled the right half of the monitor. Feeling the forward acceleration to sub-light speed of the Katvanshevic, Doweejunkdo switched back to the bow display to see what was in store. The Katvanshevic and two sister battle cruisers were in support of two battleships and an assortment of corvettes and frigates. Yellow/Blue Group were being maneuvered into a flotilla of over twenty Tilldoc ships. Switching to a rear view, Doweejunkdo watched as the aft Tilldoc warship received a punishing beating from hundreds of Rowdizian fighters. The vessel slowed and began to yield to the pull of Tilldoc gravity. Growing tired of the coffee, Doweejunkdo requested tea before the two main forces closed and erupted in close combat. He knew it would soon become very noisy, indeed. Jason ran through the smoke filled passages to locate Heather and her parents. He remembered earlier Bill and Kathy had gone two decks below to service the main drive for the hyper-drive transmitter. A simple task made dangerous when a Tilldoc vessel approached the station and opened fire. Finding an Emergency Equipment locker, Jason grabbed a respirator before continuing his search. The female voice of the stations computer drifted among the acidic smoke announcing crewmember names that had jettisoned escape capsules and were now safely away. Finding a console, Jason requested the computer give the locations on Heather and her parents. The computer responded

locating her parents in the Main Drive compartment and Heather was located on the Engineering Deck, which indicated she was on the same level. Another violent explosion knocked Jason to the deck. The computers voice calmly announced Bill and Kathy had departed the station, which was impossible, unless; the computer then calmly announced Life Support failure in the Main Drive compartment. Gathering his strength, Jason rose, readjusted the mask, and stumbled to the nearest viewport. Desperately yelling for Heather, Jason feared the station couldnt take much more damage. Through the smoke he finally located the staircase to the lower decks and fell as the sultry computerized voice announced Gyroscopic Stabilization failure. Venting gasses from damaged tubing forced Eos into a disorienting tumble. Raising to his hands and knees, Jason cursed the churning smoke. He yelled Heathers name again and hearing his muffled voice, cursed the impossible situation. Finally, the smoke thinned and he could see Heather trying to open the hatch to the Main Drive compartment. Jason yelled, Heather, dont! and crawled to stop her. When he reached her side he gently said, dont. Heather was coughing from the thick smoke and she cried, Jason... help me, mom and dad are in there. Jason removed his respirator then forced the breathing device on Heather adding, Theyre gone, life support failed. We can get them, maybe revive them... we have to try, she begged. Coughing from the smoke he said, Heather, Im sorry... theyre gone. Outer hull breach. The compartment is a vacuum and the hatch safety locks are engaged. Cant open it unless the pressure is equal on both sides... come... come with me, now! Finding another Emergency Equipment locker, Jason grabbed a respirator and flashlight. Half crawling and half stumbling, Jason knew they needed to be off the station now. His knees hurt from the constant falling and crawling on the diamond plated maintenance deck. Heather held tightly to Jasons hand. She was numb from the reality of her loss.... Just holding on to her last spark of hope took all of her energy. The rhythmic jerking of her arm slowly turned her thoughts to survival. The sultry female voice announced a few more crewmember names then added, All escape pods are away. Jason yelled to himself, Shit! Stopping to collect his thoughts, Heather scampered to his side. Through the mask he could hear a muffled, What now? Jason looked to Heather and held up one finger to request a moment, then he yelled, Shuttle! Crawling the short distance to the closest ship, he and Heather stumbled into the small craft. Removing their masks, they immediately smelled the strong odor of vomit and saw two crewmembers arguing in the cockpit. Heather yelled, Hey... whats wrong? A too young civilian and two Rowdizian station crew responded, We dont know how to start this thing. Jason asked, wheres a pilot? The young civilian answered, Im positive the second explosion took out the crew quarters. They were in there. If these two would leave me alone, I think I could figure it out.

Jason demanded, Get out of the way. I logged several hours in this thing going to retrieve ice. As the trio moved, Jason slid into the command seat, and announced, Heather strap in here. Jason slapped the empty copilot seat. Taking a second to scan the cockpit he asked, Wheres the checklist? A Rowdizian technician handed Jason a thick blue ring binder marked, Checklist. Jason turned to the Pre Start section and immediately realized his understanding the correlation between the list and the switches was a foreign concept. There were just too many switches... switches... SWITCHES! His thoughts immediately remembered the time when a pilot with a smartass reputation allowed Jason to help pilot the shuttle. Jason, doing what he was taught, pulled out the checklist and the pilot jerked it from Jasons hands, nonchalantly tossed the book over his shoulder and said, Listen, Buck Rogers.... If you ever get in here and have to leave in a hurry, remember... all switches forward, push this button to start the engines, push this to close and lock the hatch, and push this to release the clamps. Jason methodically relived the routine. The man was right, in describing the ships built in simplicity of function. Seconds later Jason adjusted a condition lever to hover the ship and eased the control stick in the direction of flight. Clearing the station, the last survivors immediately noted in the distance three Rowdizian Corvettes surrounding a large debris field. At a loss of what to do next, Jason confessed to Heather, I dont remember how to operate the radios. Heather, even with the weight of the days events, laughed, Youre kidding... youre a hyper-drive communications technician.... Jason allowed the shuttle to drift and stared at Heather. As his hand pointed to the console, he said, Really... these are a different type of communication equipment. Heather apologized, Im sorry Jason... Im just stressed... fucked up day. Taking a deep breath, Jason said, Im the one whos truly sorry, Heather. Im being insensitive. You might want to hold any comments until were safe. Not only do I not know the Rowdizian frequencies, Ive never docked inside a ship. The interior of the shuttle brightened from a flash as Eos station exploded. Suddenly the cabin speaker boomed, Eos shuttle, please select guard frequency 121 point 5 or 243 point zero to communicate. A fighter will be alongside momentarily to guide you to a hangar and parking. Jason scanned the console. Spotting a numeric pad, he entered 121.5 then pressed the enter key. A female voice spoke, Im sorry, but the waypoint coordinates you have entered require the ship to navigate through an asteroid field. Re-input destination. Now Heather was screaming with laughter. She could hardly catch her breath. Not wanting to add to Jasons anxiety, she pointed to another numeric panel with the label COMM 1 identifying its function. Jason again tried entering the frequency. This time he warned, Brace yourselves.... I dont know, when I press this trigger, whether Ill be communicating with the Rowdizians or shooting at them. Prince Deejunkdo looked to his father, Emperor Junkdo, and then to his mother, Empress Junkdo, before he bowed. Behind him a wall-size monitor was filled with a split screen of data and tactical maps of the current conflict. He began the evening briefing in sync with the changing display, First reports from the battle in the planetary system

Tilldoc are guarded, but encouraging. Both fleets are about evenly matched, with our forces suffering fewer losses. Approximately 4% of our forces in the Tilldoc battle have been lost. We still have more than 40% of our fleet being held in reserve and we believe the reserve are still undetected. Tilldoc planetary defenses have been neutralized over the largest industrialized region. Ground forces are landing as we speak and reporting heavy resistance. In the Sol System the Eos station was attacked and destroyed by a Tilldoc warship. The battle cruiser size vessel was engaged and destroyed by the three corvettes assigned to the area. Sixty percent of the station crew were rescued. The battle group stationed near New Terra remains at 100% operational readiness. The group reports no enemy activity. Here in our own system, the battle groups are now at 60% readiness, with a 10% increase in operational readiness projected every four cycles. Empress Junkdo asked, Deejunkdo, how many Cooja fighters are in reserve and what is our estimated stores of plasma energy if all ships and weapons were engaged in battle? Empress, if our fighter losses were 50% higher than we suffered during the last conflict, we would exhaust our reserve and production in six months. We are producing pilots at a far greater rate than fighters and transports. Plasma energy stores, at the current rate of production, will keep pace with our projected use for the coming year. Empress Junkdo whispered to her mate before speaking, Deejunkdo, tomorrow work on a plan to increase equipment production to supply a conflict lasting a full year. Of course additional increases in support materials and personnel will also need to be calculated. Your tactics are producing acceptable results. With our limited intelligence of the Tilldoc species, we expected far greater losses this first day. If you have nothing else, have you and your staff join us for the evening meal. I have finished mother. Thank you for your invitation. Jeff wasnt hungry and respectfully declined another invitation to dine with the Emperor and Empress. Lounging in an upholstered recliner, he reread the dispatch just readied for transmission to President Keegan. Mr. President, I have just learned that Rowdizian forces have engaged the Tilldoc fleet within the Tilldoc system. This attack was in direct response to the unprovoked attack by the Tilldoc on the Rowdizian home world. I have further learned a Tilldoc warship attacked Eos station, destroying the structure. Many of the Eos crew were killed. Rowdizian warships are to return the human survivors to Earth. Emperor Junkdo respectfully requests the Earth-Alliance join his world and together fight this enemy of all free beings. If the members of the Earth-Alliance still feel it in their best interest not to join with the Rowdizians, the Emperor requests the Earth-Alliance assume a position of neutrality to best serve everyones interest. Respectfully,

Jefferson Norton, Ambassador Jeff looked at the dispatch, rubbed his burning eyes, and wondered if he should call Quedocdo. He shook his head replaying her last comment after this mornings training mission, where she again said, Time... Jefferson... time. Looking at his empty glass, Jeff then eyed the half empty bottle of Crown and wondered when he had opened the bottle. He spoke to no one in the empty room, Im glad the Six Year War is over and Im happy not to be fighting again, but Im damn sure sick that Rowdizia is fighting alone to save themselves and in turn saving humanity. Fucking gullible humans. Standing, Jeff encrypted the communiqu, then tapped the send button. After pouring another drink, Jeff thought of how tired he felt and moved to the bedroom to get some needed rest. Earlier he had opened the window walls, to allow the cool evening breeze to flow through the space. Sheer white drapes drifted on the brisk, invisible currents of air. The moon glow reflecting off the pool offered enough ambient light that artificial lamps were unnecessary. All Jeff thought he wanted to do now was sleep and get to that state fast. He downed half his glass of spirits and set the remainder on the bedside table. Checking the time, he started to call Quedocdo, but hesitated thinking of their last conversation, Jefferson, slow down, we are moving too fast. Maybe I am around too much. You need space, and you need to be that self-assured human I know you to be. Jeff fell back into the sheets and thought of Susans brief response to his communiqus. His thoughts drifted to Quedocdos touch, and as her form filled his thoughts KCs voice slowly pushed the other females into the darkness. Jeff looked toward the pool and the sound of KCs voice. He still missed her and the tragedy of her death in the closing hours of the war tortured his spirit. Jeff teared, longing for KCs presence. Her voice became a brilliant bluish-white light and as it drifted through the drapes, the light slowly took KCs form; floated across the floor to finally settle into the bed. Jefferson, I see youve moved on. Her fingers soothingly stroked Jeffs temple. Quedocdo is a fine female and she cares greatly for you, however you still have a strong tie to Susan. There is no need to rush any relationship. Jeff, the universe is so lovely, so dynamic, so peaceful. Our experience at conflict has less impact on the expanse than a drop of water in all the seas of all the worlds. There is plenty of time. Susan entered the room and silently stared at Jeff. KC quietly drifted away and morphed into a whiff of disappearing smoke. Jeff watched the breeze flip strands of Susans long blonde hair around her head. Susan let her white, terrycloth, knee-length robe fall to the floor. Her naked body floated onto the bed and she caressed and kissed Jeffs features. She hunted and explored his erogenous zones. Her lips finally found his and she kissed him tenderly, then deeply. As Susan straddled his hips, Jeff moaned when she gently guided him inside her. His mind reeled from her rhythmic ride. When she slowed, he sensed a pulling sensation that was beyond belief, and from experience only one species was capable of such a sensation. Rolling his head from side to side he slowly opened his eyes to see Quedocdo sitting on his groin, her right hand magically massaged his balls. She refused to release, and Jeff finally blacked out from the indescribable stimulation. Just before sunrise, Jefferson awoke to the lovely fragrance of Quedocdo soundly sleeping at his side.

Accepting the offered tea, Doweejunkdo studied the tactical chart and mentally measured the distances separating the opposing forces. Minor impacts from weapons fire of the Tilldoc fighters and the cycling of the defensive cannons vibrated the Katvanshevics hull. As Yellow/Blue Group closed on the Tilldoc fleet, his greater concern and concentration was focused on Gold/Red Groups area of operation. No further Tilldoc movement in the region still warranted close study. Doweejunkdo suspected the identified warships were not the only weapons the Tilldoc held in tactical reserve. Ahead of Yellow/Blue Group, Doweejunkdo watched the Tilldoc warships release what seemed to be their entire reserve of fighters. He saw countless deadly machines spill from the belly of each warship. As the opposing forces closed, he watched as hundreds of missiles crossed the short distance separating the opponents. Flashes of lethal, concentrated energy marked the impacts of the deadly ordinance. The Commodore mused, The orchestrated destruction of thousands of hours of effort to build messengers of forceful intent, were making their position known where diplomacy had failed. Discussions not attempted were leaving starbursts of destroyed equipment and spent wasted lives in the cold vacuum of nothingness. While Doweejunkdo maneuvered his giant tactical chess game to counter the opposing forces commander, his subordinate commanders struggled to take tactical advantage of their immediate responsibilities in continued hopes of a Rowdizian victory with the least casualties. The stress on the flag bridge was measurable and occasionally, the flag officers surrounding Doweejunkdo would needlessly flinch as a piece of debris or the lifeless body of a crewmember impacted the protected cameras mounted on the ships hull. The vast emptiness was becoming littered. Doweejunkdo noted the tactics of the Tilldoc fighters stressed individually, and even though it allowed for a greater number of individual weapons, their ability to support and cover their comrades was compromised. So far the Tilldoc were losing 3 fighters to every 1 Rowdizian ship. Doweejunkdo chuckled to himself, Even the Earth Alliance had yet to discover the simple fact that the Rowdizian species could replace fighters, and to a greater extent pilots, much faster than any other species. Calling to Choseedo, he commanded, Instruct all groups to order their Cooja pilots to be more aggressive in their attacks on the enemy. Have the captains of the flotilla be more aggressive in their attacks on opposing enemy warships. I want to see a 100% increase in destroyed Tilldoc equipment within the next hour. Choseedo agreed the fleet was being too timid. This new order should result in more immediate results. Choseedo stiffened, As you command. Doweejunkdo reviewed the status of the ground forces. As the Rowdizians poured combatants onto the planet and established secure landing zones, their losses decreased to a manageable 4% in the opening minutes of the surface battle. Doweejunkdo selected the Brown/Green Group channel to monitor their efficiency. He smiled at the professional chatter between the supporting Brown and Green Battle Groups and the forces on the surface. Tapping a control allowed the surface tactical display to enlarge and as he listened, the ground forces requested bombardment of the industrial complex to their East. Doweejunkdo had a birds eye view of an ever-expanding and exploding line of offense. He marveled at how Brown Groups Weapons officer was so efficient, accurate,

and deadly. Looking to the master clock, he noted the battle was now 5 hours old. Doweejunkdo wondered if technology would trump evolution, because in another 5 hours the ground forces would be fighting a much different battle at night. Unleashing a surprise, Yellow/Blue Group opened formation and dashed into the orbiting Tilldoc home defense fleet. The great massive opposing groups fought broadside battles. The Corvettes continued their dash in, fire a volley, and dash away tactics. As the Rowdizians planned, the enmeshed fighting forces slowly drifted away from Brown/Green Groups area of operation. Doweejunkdo informed Choseedo to have Yellow/Blue Group continue the calculated herding of their celestial fight in the general direction of the Tilldoc seat of power. He then checked the tactical display and noted the rear guard was well dispersed in their area of responsibility and only a few Tilldoc outposts were identified and mapped, but Doweejunkdo still had cause for concern. Doweejunkdo again mulled the mystery of the Tilldoc warships opposing Gold Group and why this enemy had yet to join the fight. He imagined, Surely their sensors could detect Gold Group. Even if there were additional ships outside the range of Gold Groups sensors, why did they wait? Finally, Doweejunkdo believed he had the answer, and to confirm his suspicions, the fleet opposing Gold Group began to move in the direction of Gold. As soon as the ships closed the distance, fourteen ships became twenty, then twenty became thirty. Doweejunkdo watched as Sub-Commodore Bolducdo maneuvered Gold Group to engage the increasing threat. Now the Tilldoc force opposing Gold was revealed to be just over sixty assorted ships. On the bridge of the Potswanavic, Bolducdo continued to hold Red Group in reserve and allowed the much larger Tilldoc force to press the attack. He enjoyed plenty of reserves and knew help was but a few minutes away. Doweejunkdos attention was quickly drawn to the battle in their immediate vicinity. The Katvanshevic continued to be rocked by enemy missile hits. Several compartments had been reported compromised and one of her three sub-light engines was destroyed. The ship had also received damage when an adjacent Rowdizian battleship exploded and the shock had thrust Katvanshevic into a Tilldoc warship of equal size. The rammed Tilldoc ship must have suffered loss of directional control, because the enemy vessel drifted into the gravitational field of the planet and no matter what the gallant crew did to recover the doomed ship, it slowly began a fiery plunge to the planets surface. A wave of a hand beckoned Choseedo. He was thrown to a console as another large explosion jarred the ship. Regaining his footing he asked, Yes, Commodore? Doweejunkdo sighed, Choseedo, it seems all areas of conflict are about evenly matched or we enjoy overwhelming firepower. We still have to wait and see the full extent of the Tilldoc forces opposing Gold Group, but Gold still has Red Group held in reserve. I believe, since our main focus is on the Tilldoc fleet orbiting their home world and it is keeping our immediate forces from bombarding the planet, what say we bring Silver Group up to support the ground attack and begin an advance on their capital? Choseedo agreed, An excellent idea, and if needed, we still have Black Group in reserve. I will transmit the change immediately. Doweejunkdo continued to study the Gold Group engagement. Red Group had fallen back another fifty kilometers, and as Doweejunkdo selected Gold Groups frequency to inquire why, he saw the symbol for Red Group forces split and dash to the

flanks. Then the split formations began an end run in order to circle to the Tilldoc forces rear. Doweejunkdo cheered, YES! and yelled, Bolducdo, you old woujung. Excellent idea! With a lilt in his voice, Doweejunkdo asked, Choseedo, where is the data on nuclear and plasma facilities on this planet and in this system? Commodore, I have been in contact with White Group, and their scouts have just now finished the recon. Data will appear on the tactical charts in a few minutes. smiled Choseedo. Studying the map, Doweejunkdo continued to watch the drama in Gold Groups sector. As white symbols signifying the energy and weapons producing areas of the Tilldoc system appeared, he looked to the master clock which indicated twelve and a half hours had elapsed. Doweejunkdo scratched his crest and moved a curser over each planet or moon with an energy symbol. As the image enlarged a more detailed view of pinpointed locations became clear. Choseedo, have all ships surrounding the home planet make the destruction of these energy production facilities of high priority. Signal White Group and have them destroy nuclear production facilities off Tilldoc. They should also capture about six or seven plasma production facilities off world; refill our energy transports, ships, and after we are topped off destroy those facilities too. Choseedo answered, As you command, and returned to his tactical station to work out the details. Accepting the challenge, he thought, Destroying facilities was not a problem, capturing and refueling in the midst of a battle posed great challenges. Red and White striped symbols in the Gold and Red section of the war started to disappear off the map at a three to two rate over the Rowdizian vessels. Doweejunkdo figured at this pace Gold/Red Group would finish with only 40% of their original flotilla. Shaking his head, Doweejunkdo figured the losses harsh, but acceptable. Viewing his secondary screen, he watched with great interest as the white energy symbols began to disappear on the Tilldoc planet. Choseedo called, Commodore... priority message from Bolducdo. Happy for the transmission, Doweejunkdo wanted to congratulate his longtime friend, but did not want to bother him with idle chit-chat in the heat of the battle. Tapping the button to open the channel he said, Excellent tactics Bolducdo, I believe you have played your hand well. Proceed. Bolducdo placed his right fist on his center chest and bowed, Coming from you, that is a tremendous compliment. But, my friend, I have called to inform you of what I fear is a serious problem. We have encountered... and the transmission terminated at the source to static. Jeff was angrily watching the clock and counting the seconds it would take for a response. If an immediate reply was sent, he would have heard something five minutes ago. A Rowdizian cycle was 32 Earth hours. He looked at the 24 hour clock with Farmington time, and saw it was just after 0200. Jeff thought, Okay, they had to wake the President up. Shit, he had to be stalling. Finally.... Jungeedo entered the office and said, Jefferson, a priority message from President Keegan was just received by Palace Communications. It is addressed to both the Emperor and you. The Emperor has asked for you to join him in reviewing the communiqu.

Jeff puzzled, looked to his monitor as a message from the President appeared on his desktop. Nodding his head, he stood and said, Lets go. Entering the receiving area of the palace, Jeff and Jungeedo were ushered into the family dining area and met by the Emperor and Empress. Emperor Junkdo said, Good new day... good new day. The Empress and I wish you to join us for the morning meal while we examine the response from President Keegan. Please have a seat. Having been called to speak with the Emperor over two hours earlier, and being told of Doweejunkdos revelation, Jeff now wondered what this message from the President contained. He sat quietly waiting to be served by the staff. The four sat at the far end of a table for twelve. The Emperor and Jungeedo talked while the Empress opened the letter to a view screen on a near wall. The letter read: Emperor Junkdo, I am extremely surprised and appalled by the information I just received from Ambassador Norton. I, nor my advisors, knew nothing of this turn of events. From Ambassador Nortons communiqu, I learned your forces fighting in the Tilldoc planetary system have encountered Alliance warships fighting alongside Tilldoc forces. We were aware, several weeks ago, of several warships from European and South American countries traveling outside the Sol system to practice combat maneuvers. The mission was not part of an organized Earth-Alliance treaty operation. We thought nothing of the event, because individual nations, many times, operate independently of the Alliance. These are all sovereign nations and as long as their actions do not violate the Alliance articles, they are free to act independently. Your identification of French, British, German, Spanish, and Argentinean warships matches the list of twenty-three ships contained in the maneuver orders. Because of the diverse views of the members of the Alliance, the majority consensus was to assume a position of neutrality. We were to maintain that position until further information and possible direct talks with the Tilldoc took place. My government has immediately contacted the other treaty nations for an explanation of how this was allowed to happen. I am truly sorry for this turn of events. Expect my continued support of your world. Respectfully, President John Keegan Jeff sighed, Well, Im glad to learn that my home country didnt participate in this misadventure. Jeff checked his email remotely with his notebook, and reported, The exact same message was sent to me. No variation. The Empress asked, Jefferson, do you feel there to be sincerity in this response? Jeff shifted in his chair answering, Yes maam. President Keegan has nothing to gain or lose by not being honest. He could have just as easily denied any knowledge. Verifying the ships to be from the suspected countries and those countries belonging to the European and South American Partnership, only further supports my concerns. Emperor Junkdo asked, And what are those concerns?

Jeff cleared his throat, I believe there to be strong separatists feelings in the Alliance by members of that partnership. Those countries contain large supremacist groups that are active in political circles. They have political clout. The appeasement of those groups allowed for greater immigration and concentration of undesirables. Im not surprised by this information coming after the news from Doweejunkdo. The Empress held up her hands and offered, Then let us first pray for the safety of our forces and then later reevaluate how this effects our ability to fight.... The involvement of the entire Earth-Alliance on the side of the Tilldoc was a scenario calculated before the start of hostilities. That outcome still favored Rowdizian forces.... Our morning meal has yet to be touched, let us eat.... Having effectively halted any debate, Empress Junkdo giggled and said, Now Jefferson, tell us of your experiences with Quedocdo and her brood. Another large explosion and Doweejunkdo strained to right himself after he was nearly thrown from his seat. He looked at the tremors in his hands, thinking he needed to calm himself. The abrupt end to the conversation with Bolducdo had worried him, but that was now in the past. Learning of Bolducdos fate was worse, and now Doweejunkdo was angry. After reestablishing contact with Gold/Red Group forces, Doweejunkdo gritted his teeth learning his friend, Bolducdo was dead. Doweejunkdo immediately ordered transfer of command to the Red Group Sub-Commodore and directed the combined flotilla continue the fight. Taking deep breaths to steady his resolve, Doweejunkdo damned the Earth-Alliance for their deception. He thought out loud, This war has just become much deadlier and more costly. I pledge not to stop until our enemies are totally defeated. Reviewing the tactical chart, he again calculated the strength of the separate battles. Satisfied, he called Red/Gold Group, Sub-Commodore Reejacdo. Yes, Commodore... your orders. Reejacdos ship was slammed by three successive explosions, yet the creature held form and saluted his superior. Doweejunkdo stared at the monitor, Reejacdo, I see you are still quite busy. Have you identified and tagged the treacherous Alliance vessels? Yes, Commodore... I instructed my fighters on their last pass to tag their targets and, if possible, identify the vessels flag country. All remaining enemy ships in this area are so identified. Reejacdo again braced from another explosion. With a sly grin, Doweejunkdo said, I knew pairing you with Bolducdo would bring complimentary commands. Looking to the tactical display he continued, I see a Spanish battle cruiser is furthest from your fight. Except for the Spanish ship, please destroy all Alliance vessels. When you get a chance, target the main drive on the Spanish vessel and if they run, let them go, but without hyper-drive. Insure you destroy the Spanish ships hyper-drive! Understood? Reejacdo more than understood. Saluting the monitor he said, As you command. Choseedo, new orders. Doweejunkdo barked. The Operations Officer handed his commander another tea saying, Brilliant plan. Your orders, Commodore. Doweejunkdos emotions ran wild this day. Shaking his head he ordered, I do

this reluctantly, but direct all ships to only rescue our forces in distress. The celestial battle seems to be winding down. As you command, Choseedo added, Sub-Commodore Wesgeedo has signaled the securing of seven plasma production and storage facilities. She is ready at moon 93 to resupply the fleet. Doweejunkdo slapped the arm of his chair saying, Excellent news. Have her contact the different battle groups and coordinate the refueling. Excellent! With adrenalin pumping and being too juiced to feel fatigue, Doweejunkdo noted the battle was 16 hours old. Less than half the number of symbols that started the day remained. Red/Gold Groups opponents were reassembling and running. Only the Spanish Alliance ship remained and she was limping at sub-light speed toward Earth. Only three heavily damaged Tilldoc battleships and three small corvette size ships remained in orbit around the home planet, and soon they would be destroyed. Looking at the ground forces operational lines, Doweejunkdo was reaching to signal the commander when suddenly, a tremendous concussion rocked the Katvanshevic, and the ships artificial gravity failed. Doweejunkdo heard, Order Yellow/Blue Group to fall back, Now! Switching to a live view of the battle around Katvanshevic, Doweejunkdo immediately saw the problem, and reviewed their situation. The Tilldoc home world was firing ground based energy weapons into Yellow/Blue Group. Even what was left of the Tilldoc fleet was at risk and a nearby Tilldoc battleship had been struck along with a Rowdizian battle cruiser. The Tilldoc were now desperate. The instantaneous release of combined energy had further damaged other nearby ships. Choseedo was correct in immediately ordering the withdrawal. Doweejunkdo watched another massive energy burst penetrate the vacated space and another Tilldoc battleship and a drifting Rowdizian battle cruiser disintegrated. The concussion de-orbited the third Tilldoc battleship and it started a fiery reentry to end its service slamming into her builders arms. That gave Doweejunkdo an idea. Commodore Doweejunkdo began finalizing plans for withdrawal. Their objective this battle was to inflict enough damage on the Tilldoc species as to hinder their ability to attack outside their star system. Complete conquest of the Tilldoc home world was not the missions stated goal. The ground forces were meeting heavy resistance. Selecting the channel to White Group, Doweejunkdo asked, Wesgeedo... how are your refueling efforts proceeding? Wesgeedo saluted, Excellent, Doweejunkdo. In fact, better than I could have ever hoped. At each facility, we found over one hundred Tilldoc slaves. At first we believed they were regular workers until they helped us to eliminate the guards and they all have one strange thing in common... no thumbs. Wesgeedo held up and wiggled her thumbs for emphasis. Then the rumors are true... the Tilldoc cut off the thumbs of anyone they believe to be lesser, but of some value, and are still to be subservient to the master being. said Doweejunkdo. Puzzled, Wesgeedo asked, but Commodore, why remove the thumbs? Makes it too hard to wield a weapon. he answered. Oh.... Well, for having that limitation, these creatures have a determined fighting

spirit. And may we feed them? Their rations seem to be just above starvation. A bigger plan was churning in Doweejunkdos mind, Do they have a leader? Yes, at each facility, they have one they look to for guidance. Standby and yes satisfy your female instincts and feed them. Doweejunkdo closed the connection, then opened a channel to the commander of Ground Attack Unit 4, General Dirkjeedocdo. He greeted the rugged warrior, A slightly premature good new day, General... how goes the fight? Doweejunkdo, you old woujung.... Is your command seat rubbing you raw? Do you long to join me on the surface and do some up close and personal fighting? Dirkjeedocdo burst out laughing, then catching his breath added, These Tilldoc were surprised at the night fighting ability of our lesser species. They are too smart for their own good. Never occurred to them our large eyes allowed us better night vision, he yelled, so we have been kicking an awful lot of Tilldoc ass. As always, the Empire can rely on their greatest ground commander. Good friend... would you be open to staying behind with your ground forces provided you had sufficient air and celestial support? I never knew leaving was an option. I see by the tactical charts you have decimated their celestial fleet. What is your plan? We have discovered Tilldoc slaves that may be receptive to fighting their masters, that is, if they had the proper support and training. A welcome twist, Doweejunkdo. Yes... this could be very challenging and rewarding. My forces have pushed out another twenty kilometers since we last spoke. My headquarters is secure unless they launch nukes, but then I have anti-missile missiles. The headquarters also seems to be out of range of their artillery, so tactical nukes will not reach us. We also command the skies in our immediate area of operation. Do you wish to come down to discuss this change, or should I come to you? And, if we are to do this, may I now have the reserves in Black Group? Doweejunkdo smiled, I will come to the surface. Are you in immediate need of reinforcements? I may have other plans for Black Group. Dirkjeedocdo excitedly clasped his hands and responded, The soldiers will rejoice in seeing their supreme leader share in the rigors of surface combat. Your presence will strengthen their resolve and for now I am not in need of immediate reinforcement, however an additional company from Green Group will aid in your security. I will call your lovely mate. Doweejunkdo thought of the time it would require to workout a basic plan and closed with, I may be a little late, but I plan to be on the surface in time to share the morning meal with you and your command staff. Agreed? Well, dont come down too hungry. Since we landed, we have yet to enjoy a break and a completely relaxed seating. The only way my troops are able to keep their weight off is from the increased physical activity and stress. Dirkjeedocdo closed by saluting his superior and slightly bowing at the waist. Doweejunkdos attention returned to the overall operation, Choseedo report. Commodore, at 18 hours into the battle, Yellow/Blue Group is out of range of ground based energy weapons. A few of the remaining Tilldoc home fleet, two able ships, are running for the area where Red/Gold Groups opponents disappeared. Their remaining

two heavily damaged ships are drifting in a stationary orbit above their capital. SubCommodore Reejacdo of Red/Gold has nearly completed transfer of crewmen and salvageable equipment from those ships identified as total losses. Sub-Commodore Wesgeedo of White Group reports 35% of our vessels are refueled. The process is assisted by the former Tilldoc slaves and having seven refueling points. Black Group is at 100% readiness and itching to get into the fight. Our total combat effectiveness and readiness has decreased 53%. A detailed list of each Groups and ships readiness is available on your display. So far we have approximately 203,400 dead or missing. The wounded are too numerous to accurately estimate at this time, and is feared to be a much higher number. My Gods! Doweejunkdo slumped in his chair. Eighteen hours. We estimated far greater numbers in the planning, but only 18 hours of fighting, and to hear you speak the casualty figures is just unconscionable. The reverent supreme commander hung his head in thought before he continued, Please, immediately arrange a conference with the Tilldoc slave leaders manning the refueling sites. When it is arranged, contact me in my quarters. I will be preparing a report for the Royals. Doweejunkdo cautiously chuckled, You know, Choseedo, I like that term Royals, it is more succinct than addressing them as the Emperor and Empress. Maybe Ambassador Norton was right. Our system of governance does hold the Emperor and Empress at a level of esteem and respect as ancient Earth once did for their long forgotten Royalty. Yes, I do like the title. Jumping off the elevated command chair, Doweejunkdo saluted Choseedo and strutted away to his quarters. Mother, father, Prince Deejunkdo addressed his birth parents, Doweejunkdos report is most interesting. I agree with his proposal. What is your response? Empress Junkdo answered, Inform my sisters mate our devoted, trusted advisor he has the full backing of the Emperor and I. We look forward to the results of his and his commanders efforts. He may proceed. Doweejunkdo closed the connection to the leaders of the former Tilldoc slaves and asked Choseedo, Is my shuttle ready? Yes Commodore, and a case of Rowdizian Ale has been loaded. Choseedo answered. Very well keep the fleet busy collecting our dead and injured. Excuse me I am rambling on like you need supervision you know very well what to do. Please inform me immediately if the Tilldoc spring any more surprises. I will be back by the evening meal. The operational conference for consolidation and redeployment will commence with this evenings meal before the thirty-second hour. Any questions? Enjoy your time on the surface.. And Doweejunkdo I learned from the best. Choseedo said as he saluted. Doweejunkdo joked with the commanders plucked from the nearby Battle Groups as the shuttle descended through the green hued sky to the Tilldoc surface. Teejundeedo marveled at the intense beauty of the distant horizon as the shuttle passed into darkness, Colleagues did you look toward the terminator? My Gods, I am captivated by the

richness of the colors transitioning from blue to green and finally red/orange and the whisper or a hint of indigo. Visualization of the Tilldoc atmosphere is breathtaking. The crotchety Sub-Commodore Masedocdo, commander of Blue Group, interjected, I just wish the atmosphere had a rich helping of H2S. I always get an upset stomach and gas when I have to consume stimulants in H2S free environments. The creature let loose a loud tremendous burp. Sorry I was not going to contain that monster, the shuttle roared with laughter. Doweejunkdo, this mainly concerns us, the group commanders, so who gets to stay behind and protect the ground forces and who gets to escort the Spanish vessel limping home? Teejundeedo teased. Doweejunkdo looked at his watch and replied, I had no intention of speaking of those subjects just yet. I wished to have all group commanders included before making those assignments. Let us brace for the hostilities on the surface and speak to new assignments later. the shuttle suddenly became quiet. On the Tilldoc surface, General Dirkjeedocdo greeted his guests. The landing zone was surrounded by 50 elite troops providing security for the Commodore and his staff. Doweejunkdo looked to the surrounding buildings and saw no area left without a lookout posted. Measuring the extent of the effort, Doweejunkdo asked, Dirkjeedocdo, I believe you boasted about the headquarters area being secure, yet I see security beyond belief. Brushing aside the backhanded compliment, Dirkjeedocdo said, I am not overly concerned for the safety of the supreme commander of Rowdizian forces, but I and my troops will do everything to protect the lovely females that grace our presence. Come partake of the morning meal Doweejunkdo, before some hidden Tilldoc shoots your ancient mass. Two hours into the discussions and debate of possible best options for the Rowdizian forces, Doweejunkdo commanded silence. I appreciate the positions and consultation of all my commanders, with that in mind I will proceed in the following manner: Our least damaged and best manned ships will be assigned to Brown, Blue and Green Groups. We are currently consolidating our resources throughout the fleet and determining what is of salvage potential. These identified battle groups will remain behind for now and provide cover and security for General Dirkjeedocdo and his ground forces. Command of the ground will of course be the General and command of the celestial forces will belong to Sub-Commodore Teejundeedo. Silver and White Groups, with Sub-Commodore Wesgeedo in operational command, will shadow the Spanish bait. Does anyone have anything to add? Even the Rowdizian Ale did not let down the guards of the assembled commanders. Good The remainder of the fleet will depart for home in the next sixty hours. We will work out the details and address the specific needs of the individual units during the evening meal aboard the Katvanshevic. Advise your crews and soldiers that requests for transfers need to be submitted in the next twenty-six hours. Doweejunkdo finished his tea and stood to lead a prayer to the Gods for the wounded, and the families of those spirits that had returned to the center of the universe. When he finished the creature eyed the assembled saying, You may return to your areas of responsibility to prepare for the next meeting, as for me Doweejunkdo picked up a submachine gun and bandolier of full magazines then stared straight at the ground forces

commander, General Dirkjeedocdo, where is this up close and personal fighting you promised? The surprised staff watched while the pair of supreme commanders jostled and joked as they made their way to a waiting convoy of armored combat fighting vehicles.

Doweejunkdo looked up into the green hued cloudless afternoon sky and tried to dismiss the tremendous pain he felt in his head, chest, and right leg. Moments later an aide blocked his view of the sky. Whatever the creature standing over him was saying was lost in the garbled confusion and destroyed tissues of the Commodores head. The tremendous ringing in Doweejunkdos ears did little to help with his attempts at understanding the circumstances of his pain. Slowly, the fog in his mind cleared and he discerned the shouted instructions. The air was alive with the cracks of hundreds of bullets passing over their position. Worried, the aide tried to comfort his wounded superior and yelled, Commodore, dont move. Help is coming. Lie still, you have been injured! Wiping the stinging blood tinged sweat from his right eye, Doweejunkdo could finally recall what had brought him to this moment. After the meeting earlier in the day to plan the continued ground offensive against the Tilldoc home world, Doweejunkdo, at General Dirkjeedocdos invitation, had mounted up in a convoy of armored attack vehicles and traveled to the front to get up close and personal with the Tilldoc defenders. Doweejunkdo wasnt satisfied fighting the Tilldoc by using turret mounted weapons and from the safety of a vehicle. When spotting a rally of Rowdizian troops attacking a built up Tilldoc position, Doweejunkdo insisted on experiencing the fight in the open. Cresting a mound of rubble, he was immediately impacted by automatic weapons fire. Now, he tried to sit up, but couldnt move. When he turned his head in an attempt to escape the pain, he noticed he was laying amongst several human bodies. When he lifted his hand to view the wet substance covering his fingertips, Doweejunkdo was surprised to see he was missing his right thumb. Another wave of tremendous pain shocked him back to reality. He was grieved not to have found and spoken to his male offspring, Vessweejunkdo, who had been facilitating a different briefing for unit commanders. Thoughts of the yet to be experienced fury he would receive from his mate Teejundeedo, when she learned of his condition, gave him pause. Thinking he would be better off dead, he slowly drifted into a surreal world of delirium and finally lost consciousness. The Trauma Intensive Care Unit aboard the Katvanshevic was filled with combatants clinging to life. Teejundeedo stroked the matted, course hair radiating from her mates scalp. She prayed, Oh, please see it in your hearts to spare our offsprings father. I know this is much to ask since we have not sacrificed even one of our family in this great battle while others have sacrificed all. For now we are safe, and I thank the Gods for our protection. She tearfully willed her mate to wake. You are of little faith and rarely consult the Gods. coughed Doweejunkdo. He then grimaced from the pain, and surprisingly asked, Really, all are alive? I would think the answer to that question should have been found before your little excursion. Allowing the jab to slide he strained to ask, They are well? Teejundeedo wiped the tears from her cheeks and succinctly answered, Yes.

After another cough Doweejunkdo asked, What time is it? Teejundeedo lovingly stroked her mates cheek with the back of her fingers, then gently pressed her crest against his. After tenderly kissing his lips she responded, It has been five cycles since you were almost killed on Tilldoc. What of the fleet? He sighed. You should rest. I will rest after you report. he pressed. A female nurse quietly entered the tense room and administered pain medication to the recovering supreme commander. Without additional requirements of the pair, she quickly and wordlessly left. Teejundeedo checked her smoldering anger and offered a condensed briefing, I reallocated vessels and brought the groups that would remain in the Tilldoc system to full battle strength. Except for Yellow Group, I followed your briefed plans after you were injured. The only other change was the combined groups of damaged vessels and the wounded departed for Rowdizia one cycle later than you had originally planned. I feel useless why did I not return to Rowdizia with the other wounded and the damaged fleet? I insisted you were to remain with me. Laughing till it hurt he said, Oh, you just wanted me around to make good on satisfying your need for stimulation and coupling. Teejundeedo stood erect with her hands strategically placed on her hips, And you would be mistaken. I was not about to let you escape my condemnation by returning to our home planet and resting quietly in a hospital bed. Groaning from the pain and an anticipated bleak future filled with female scorn, Doweejunkdo asked, Who is Anticipating the subject change and curiosity, she interrupted, Since I am the senior surviving commander and am not prone to reckless mistakes, the Empress placed the operational control of the fleet in my hands. Well she is your sister. Do not mock me. Teejundeedo tensed. I beg your forgiveness. I, as always, was attempting to interject humor into a delicate situation. Doweejunkdo raised his hands ad splayed his fingers in an effort to surrender when he noticed, Wait I distinctly remember missing a thumb. You are correct. Your missing thumb was the least problematic wound of your many injuries and required surgeries. A suitable donor was found among the thousands of departed Rowdizian combatants. When I first saw you brought onboard, and viewed the extent of your wounds, the surgeons flippant remark about replacing your right thumb after finding a suitable donor gave me an idea. I figured with all the Tilldoc soldiers giving up their lives on the surface, we could use their organs and body parts to repair the mutilation of the former Tilldoc slaves. The idea was met with much enthusiasm from the Tilldoc rebels commander. He was first to have the corrective surgery. That is excellent news. Doweejunkdo forced a smile. Your surgeon told me you will be in hospital another five cycles and then will be in rehab for at least a week. Surprised, Doweejunkdo asked, Rehab, why rehab?

Teejundeedo softened and stroked her mates crest, Because my love, you have lost your right leg above the knee. Doweejunkdo closed his eye slits and took slow, deep breaths knowing the implication of the news. I am so sorry the surgeons tried desperately to revive the tissues, but the damage to your knee was so extensive and the arteries to the lower leg were severed. You have a rare tissue type and the medics were lucky to find and harvest the thumb from a fallen soldier. She had stepped on a mine, so her legs were totally destroyed. Finally, after several minutes of silence, Doweejunkdo offered, Well, we do have excellent prosthetics, and if you birth another set of pups, I can stay home and raise the brood. Now, tears were rolling down Teejundeedos cheeks and she cried her view of the future, Dear Doweejunkdo, she kissed his crest, cheeks, and lips, you will be commanding the fleet again. Soon. I will still hold you to a shared coupling as soon as you are able, but for now has the pain eased? Yes, within seconds after the nurse injected the medication. he answered. Teejundeedo closed the glass door and privacy curtain then repositioned and asked, Would you like to drink the healing nourishment of my breast? as she unbuttoned her tunic. Please. I thought you would never ask. Heather bounced across the tarmac and greeted Jeff, giving him an enveloping hug and multiple kisses. Jason followed, shaking Jeffs hand after Heather relinquished their friend. Jeff offered, Im glad to see both of you safe and well. Heather, Im deeply sorry for the loss of your parents. Heather, only days after her parents death from the Tilldoc attack said, Jeff, Im so proud of them, you would be too. The Rowdizian crew marveled at Bill and Kathys attention to detail and how much they helped with the translations and preparing the proper responses to the underlying, unspoken meanings in the Tilldoc communications. Mom and dad felt so essential to the mission. During the morning and evening meals we really got to know the Rowdizian staff and their perspectives. The crew were so gracious and accommodating. I believe they would list these past weeks as the best time of their lives. Jeff still felt devastated for Heathers loss. Except for Jason, she was now alone in a new and alien world. Not having coordinated a welcome, he thought, Since it was just after noon, I will arrange for a dinner and share the evening meal. Quedocdo was expected. He asked, Are you tired? Jason answered, Id just like to get settled and unpack. Maybe a short nap. Even though they increased the gravity on the ship about 24 hours ago, this planets grasp still takes some getting use to. Jeff continued, Unpack? Id think you got off the station with the clothes on your backs,! Heather somberly said, We did. When the lets see, you call it yes, Battle Group returned to Earth to drop off the few humans from Earth that survived Eos, we went shopping in Britain. Heather squeezed the side of her head with her hands,

Everywhere we went the people openly talked of the possible war between Rowdizia and Tilldoc and how awful it was the Rowdizians had yet to have their fill of war. Many wanted the British Government to join with the Tilldoc to bully the Rowdizians to accept peace. Jeff observed, Sounds like the attitude of Neville Chamberlin. The appeasers got their ass kicked in that war too. Well enough about history repeating itself how about you two rest and well have the evening meal in my quarters tonight at 1900 hours? Shedocdo is an excellent chef. Sounds great, agreed Jason, whats the dress? Casual. Just be the four of us. You two, me and Quedocdo. Jeff answered. Heather chimed in saying, Sounds great. Cant wait to meet Quedocdo. Sub-Commodore Wesgeedo studied the giant electronic tactical display from the comfort of her command chair aboard the flagship Fesloshevic. This was the largest group of ships the relatively junior Sub-Commodore had the honor to command, and like her predecessors, she chose a Fast Attack Corvette as her flagship. The fast attack corvette had the capability to get out of a pending disaster as quickly as it could dash into a confrontation. Five cycles earlier she had briefed her commanders of three simple plans for the exploitation of the tempting Spanish warship that was being used as bait. Having lost its jump drive in the first battle between the Tilldoc and Rowdizia, the doomed ship was limping for Earth. Without hyper-drive, the Alliance crew would be long dead from starvation or old age considering the many decades it would take for their crippled ship to reach the system Sol. She knew their fate served the Spanish well for joining the Tilldoc in battle against the Rowdizian species. Wesgeedo smiled as she reviewed the tactical plans. Plan Green was to be used for the arrival of a single rescue ship where only two Rowdizian light cruisers would engage the attempt to tow. Plan Blue would be employed should two to five enemy ships arrive to help the desperate vessel. An equal number of Rowdizian warships plus five would engage such an attempt. Finally, should six or more enemy ships ride to the aid of the Spanish Battle Cruiser, Wesgeedo would release all thirty-eight ships at her disposal by ordering plan Red. With such a large force, the Tilldoc or the Earth-Alliance would be insane to attempt further rescue efforts once they learned the size of her combined battle groups shadowing the crippled vessel. Wesgeedo continued to watch the progress of the crippled Alliance Battle Cruiser traveling at sub-light speed. A faint dot, at the limit of the Rowdizian ships sensors, represented the limping enemies location. Her communications officer had monitored numerous distress calls from the Spanish vessel, and finally, after six cycles a Tilldoc Fast Attack Cruiser responded. She closed her eye-slits, praying to the Gods for protection of her crews during the approaching battle. As the blips indicating the two ships positions met, Wesgeedo commanded, Captain Trussdeedo, initiate plan Green and launch the ready fighters. Bring the assigned battle group to within weapons range of the fleeing enemy vessels. Remind everyone to target the hyper-drive of the Tilldoc warship first. Then destroy the Tilldoc rescue ship after our ships have sustained sufficient damage. Captain Trussdeedo saluted Wesgeedo and replied, As you command.

With thirty-eight celestial warships operating at over 98% efficiency at her disposal, Sub-Commodore Wesgeedos first engagement was over before it started. The art of the ruse was to give the appearance that her Rowdizian warships were withdrawing because of damage suffered at the hands of the fleeing enemy. A planned risky venture that, if swallowed, would reap greater rewards. Like a cat playing with and tormenting an injured mouse, Wesgeedo hoped a much larger rescue flotilla would soon be dispatched. Heather, wrapped in an almond colored sheet and with her matted, sweat soaked, flaming red hair in a mess, answered the door, Oh. Hi, Jeff. Do you want to come in? Jeff knew better. The two young lovers seemed to be forever testing their shared sexual satisfaction whenever they were alone. He answered, No. It looks like a call wouldve been better. He felt a stir seeing the sheet supported by her ample breasts, the material failed at hiding her erect nipples. Slightly embarrassed, he continued, I just came by to update you on dinner plans The four of us will be dining with Emperor and Empress Junkdo and their son Prince Deejunkdo in the main dining room same time. Youve got to be kidding. My first evening on this planet and Im a guest of the ruling family? What will I wear? responded a shocked Heather. Business casual the Empress has never met or spoken to anyone that has grown up under the influence of the Tilldoc culture. Expect lots of questions about the town youre from and its inhabitants. She is also aware of your loss, so I believe she wouldnt press for information if youre uncomfortable. Damn Jefferson. Im so honored. Still. Im at a loss for something to wear. We didnt buy any really nice clothes when we shopped. Thought wed wait till we got here. she complained. Jeff really needed to go and quickly closed with, Just call the palace switchboard and request an aide to show you the female clothing closet. I understand there are hundreds of outfits in many sizes to choose from. There is also a tailor on site to alter something you might choose. Skeptical, Heather said, Youre kidding. Not at all. The Emperor and Empress from time to time shanghai unprepared guests, and the male and female closets are a means of squelching I have nothing to wear. I understand they live vicariously through the stories of their guests. They really are a lovely, down to earth couple. Quedocdo and I will be by to get you two at 1830. Heather kissed Jeff on the cheek and said, Jeff, youre a dear. Cant wait to meet your date. Purposely looking to his crotch, she added, Wanna join us? Heather laughed hysterically as Jeff walked away, shaking his head from the continuing veiled, inside joke. Fighting on the Tilldoc home world was proceeding as planned. The Rowdizian forces enjoyed air superiority throughout their entire sector and the ground forces met strong, yet manageable resistance. Causalities remained below anticipated projections. General Dirkjeedocdo looked at the current operational report and thanked the Gods for the liberated Tilldoc slaves fighting efforts alongside his forces. With just over a thousand trained and equipped Tilldoc rebels assisting the Rowdizians, the twist added to the overall success of Rowdizian forces. General Dirkjeedocdo called to his S-4, I see in

the reports we are barely keeping up with resupplying our forces. What do you believe the problem to be, Captain Bossleedo? General Dirkjeedocdo, our gallant forces are outrunning the supply lines. I either require more soldiers and equipment to help with the resupply of the fighting, fastmoving, front lines, or we need to slow and consolidate our positions. Bossleedo braced for the Generals wrath. Bossleedo that is why you will forever be welcome at my table. You not only give an accurate description to the needs of the Army, but you offer solutions without fear of repercussion. I agree. Switching to another channel, Dirkjeedocdo contacted his unit commanders. When they had all answered the command for a conference call, Dirkjeedocdo said, Commanders I could not ask for better results from the efforts of our troops. I feel it would be best if we gave our soldiers a little break and fortified our current lines and positions. Use your current areas of operations to provide a space to store supplies to better serve your advances in the coming cycles. Any input or concerns? After a few sidebar conversations between commanders with adjacent forces, the video conference quieted, Bossleedo was just requesting needed areas for storage of materials to match a units five cycle usage when the display of the unit commander closest to the Tilldoc capital went blank. Adjacent unit commanders audio coincidently came alive with the sounds of distant bombardment. Quedocdo, wearing a sexy, shimmering, deep purple, knee length dress with a slit from the hem to her right hip, graciously complemented and hugged Heather and Jason. The ravishing creature adjusted her plunging neckline that barely covered her breasts, a neckline that stopped just centimeters above her navel. She said, Jefferson has told me so much about the two of you. It is almost as if the three of you spent the past annual cycle together. Heather, Jefferson also remarked on the beauty of your artificially enhanced breasts, but really, I want to hear your perspective of your adventures on Earth. Jefferson tends to leave out the details. Jason was stunned and Heather giggled. Seeing Jason was victim to another of his social brain locks, Heather said, I owe so much to these two, she kissed Jasons hand and continued, they rescued me and my parents from a stagnant nothingness and gave us hope for the future. Even though my parents died within weeks of their new found hope, that hope and a boundless future graced their thoughts till their end. Quedocdo bowed and offered, Jefferson has indicated to me, through his words, his continued care and devotion to your happiness and security. I pledge that we will do everything in our means to make your acclimation to our world as pleasant and rewarding as can be. I and my family are at your disposal to guide you through this transition. Heather, please speak freely and without hesitation. Our customs are vastly different and at times challenging, but we do recognize the differences in our cultures and do not take offense at a beings lack of understanding. Heather tingled with the excitement of her meeting Quedocdo. She swelled with the emotional joy of expected fulfillment and said, Im so overwhelmed with joy I could just hug you. Quedocdo gently took Heather in her hands and explained, Then we will start

here, the creature placed her crest warmly and softly against Heathers forehead and said, this gesture is an endearing expression of love and the acceptance of shared intimacy. Much like the love a parent has for their offspring. The gesture suggests a special bond exists between the pair. Heather warmed to the ritual and at first thought it mimicked a simple hug. But after thinking of Quedocdos explanation, she realized there was more to the ritual than a simplistic embrace shared by friends. When Quedocdo stepped back, Heather wordlessly and slowly mimicked Quedocdo and returned the feeling. When Heather stepped back, Quedocdo said, Jason you have found a loving, caring, honest, and devoted female. I will pray you are deserving of her. Jeff, seeing the introductions were going a tad too long suggested, Its almost 1900 hours. We need to adjourn to the main dining room. Mustnt keep the heads of state waiting. The foursome crossed the well manicured courtyard and upon entering the main dining room, Jeff introduced his guests to Emperor and Empress Junkdo, Prince Deejunkdo and Janis, Jeffs private nurse. Initial talk centered on the war with the planet Tilldoc and the strained relations with the Earth-Alliance. Heather marveled at the grand pairs of upward sweeping arches centered on each of the four walls of the main reception area. Centered in the base of each arch were a pair of massive, highly polished, wooden doors allowing access to the adjoining rooms. The arches were a purposeful reminder of the Twin Spires of Rowdizia, a natural formation ten thousand meters high and reported to hold mystical powers. She blushed as Emperor Junkdo took her elbow and ushered the group to the dining room and seated the group at a table for twelve. Once seated he requested everyones attention. Emperor Junkdo announced, The Empress and I agreed not to speak of the war during the evening meal. We would like to share with our blended cultures an evening of greater understanding and friendship. As the party took their assigned seats, the Emperor continued, please sample all that our staff have prepared. We feel your palates will be pleased with the offering. Now for more important matters; Jefferson, are you closer to a prolonged relationship with Quedocdo? Jason leaned to Heather and quietly whispered, Rowdizians tend to be direct, and mean no offense. It is a genuine curiosity, not gossip. Jeff answered honestly, We grow closer with each passing cycle. I respect Quedocdos opinion. She believes that I seem to rush relationships. Even though I have not heard from Susan in over two weeks, Quedocdo believes it best for me to be sure of my feelings for her and, if warranted, put my former relationship in the past. Heather was mystified by the conversation. The Empress agreed, Jefferson. Quedocdo is a lovely and responsible creature. She adores you and will forever support you and your efforts. Her offspring excel in their studies and are destined for greatness. It would be best for you to make a thoughtful decision concerning the path you may chose. From Doweejunkdos description, Susan is also a fine female, however from her own lips Susan has chosen to be separate from you, your responsibilities, and your life. Jeff thought, Whoa! I never thought my relationship with Susan would be the

topic of conversation for the rulers of the Rowdizian Empire. Their interest caused him to think, Susan has made a choice to be separate from me, but... After a thoughtful pause, Jeff said, Empress Junkdo, your wisdom is without limits. You simply state what Im blind to see, and that which is so obvious. I do care deeply for Quedocdo and will work to build a permanent relationship. Now I am curious Prince Deejunkdo has taken to seeing this beautiful creature named Janis. What are their plans? Prince Deejunkdo laughed and said, You had your chance Ambassador Norton. I will not speak for Janis, but I will say she cares deeply for our species and for some odd reason has taken a liking to me. I am lucky fate has introduced me to her. The Empress interjected, And I am happy he is with a female. After a short pause a tremendous roar of laughter vibrated the dining room. Deejunkdo turned a deep shade of purplish-black. Empress Junkdos eyes grew wide in horror, and she stuttered, I beg Deejunkdos forgiveness. I did not think my words before the error of a misspoken multiple usage crossed my lips, the laughter died when she continued, I simply meant our son has settled into a compatible steady relationship. And what is more delightful, Janis served the Empire in time of conflict. Jason whispered to Heather, All Rowdizians are expected to train in the military and serve the Empire. There is no higher honor. Janis smiled and stroked Deejunkdos cheek with the tips of her fingers saying, Empress, Emperor. Dee and I have been sharing moments since we met on the Katvanshevic during Jeffersons recovery. After the Tilldoc attack on our home world, and after your gracious offer to move the Earth-Alliance Embassy into the main palace, my feelings for your wonderful male offspring have only grown. Jeff was sure everyone noted Janis endearing slip of Deejunkdos name and thought he might test the waters of their relationship. Slapping Deejunkdo on the shoulder Jeff said, I must say a lot has changed since the first day we met and you tried to kill me. Deejunkdo quickly countered with, Now Jefferson, it is only by the grace of the Gods that my uncle and I survived your attack. Watch out Quedocdo, if you choose a life with our hero, he will be retelling this story countless times to your great-great-greatgrand pups. With a long suppressed giggle, Quedocdo stroked Jeffersons cheek, then while pointing a circling index finger at Deejunkdo coughed, At this time, poor Jefferson is tormented with thoughts of the love and attention of two females from different worlds and you, my young Prince, have us fretting at his boastful stories to generations yet conceived. I believe my Jefferson will be able, in time, to make an informed thoughtful decision when I know him not to be distracted or frustrated. Everyone laughed knowing the human belief that coupling to be associated with love. That belief also gave Quedocdo the upper hand, knowing Jeffersons frustration. Emperor Junkdo was very interested in the Tilldoc species and asked, Heather, does the meal meet with your expectations? Heather touched a napkin to her lips and answered, Why, yes Sir. The flavors are robust and delicious. This is probably one of the finest meals I have ever had. What are the dishes? Jason interrupted, Excuse me. May I answer that question in time?

The Empress, knowing of the vast differences in cultures answered, Heather, I believe it best to defer to Jasons request. Please settle into our world for several weeks or longer before seeking answers to our culinary delights. It would be best in aiding the transition. Perplexed, Heather surrendered, Ill wait. Still, it tastes wonderful. Emperor Junkdo cheered, That is the spirit. Back to the query, what of your time on Earth? Heather spent the next hour telling her life history. She toned down the detailed descriptions of the horrors she suffered, but told enough to give a clear picture of the superior attitudes of the Tilldoc and how any creature not meeting their standards of perfection was ostracized. Toward the end of her story, tears were flowing and she closed with, My parents and I were blessed by fate and met these two wonderful men. I can never repay what they have done for me. The Empress took Heathers hand, squeezed and said, Your shared experience is payment enough. Just make Jason happy. He has given all to the Empire and continues to serve. Dear, what is your education? You told of attending schools. Im just shy of my doctorate in psychology. answered Heather. That is great news, the Empress added, after a study of our culture and our religious beliefs, if you choose, you could be a great help to those that suffer from the tremendous loss caused by these conflicts. Heather warmed to the suggestion, That may be perfect. After a short pause, Jeff asked, This question is not about the war, it is about our friend. Can someone tell me of Doweejunkdos condition? Emperor Junkdo laughed, We have yet to receive the latest report, so I can not tell you if her sister, the Emperor jerked a thumb in his mates direction, Teejundeedo, has skinned him alive. I dont understand, Jeff was confused, I believed his injuries to be critical. And they were very serious, Jefferson, Prince Deejunkdo, took over and told of his uncles misadventure playing soldier on the surface of the Tilldoc home world. He even added, as most everyone would guess, that Doweejunkdo was probably receiving the wrath of his mate for such foolishness. The table was roaring with laughter from Deejunkdos continued wild story of Doweejunkdos suffering. Jeff interjected, Knowing the strong personalities of the two Supreme Commanders, what do you want to bet, when the old Commodore was lying there wounded and thinking of what was to come, he wished to return to the origin. The table again roared with knowing laughter. Heather softly whispered to Jason, I cant believe theyre finding this funny, when he was so gravely injured! Jason lips touched her ear and replied, Rowdizian 101, beautiful they have a strong belief in an afterlife and reincarnation plus they can fix almost any injuries. But Doweejunkdos behavior and just imagining the grief he receives from his mate, is priceless. The Emperor yelled, I hope he kept his important parts! You know if Teejundeedo wants more pups. The laughter continued for several more seconds. When it died down, Deejunkdo stood, silently requesting the floor.

Deejunkdo announced, Well, it may please everyone to know, Janis and I are expecting a, Deejunkdo paused searching for the human term, yes, a child. Janis is carrying our child. The assembled friends grew one step closer. The Empress and Emperor were overjoyed and kissed their sons mate. More drinks flowed toasting the two blessed events. The pair would be married in the coming week and in several months a hybrid heir would be birthed. Before the night was over, forces fighting light-years away on the Tilldoc home world, and all of Rowdizia would receive the news of the upcoming marriage of Prince Deejunkdo and his fiance Janis. The entire species rejoiced. As the evening was winding down and the party disbursing, distant bells began ringing. Hearing the beautiful sounds on the cool, gentle, night breeze, a tipsy Heather observed, Your Highness, that clock over there must be wrong. It still reads eight minutes till midnight. Empress Junkdo giggled and drew Heather and Jason into an embrace stating, On the contrary welcomed guests and family, one or more of the staff has leaked the wonderful news. Ladies, the morning meal will begin at nine. We have much planning and preparations for a wedding in the next six days. The males can strategize how to best prosecute the war. That should keep them occupied and out of our way. with a lilt in her voice she bid, Goodnight. Jeff looked to the Emperor, Deejunkdo, and Jason then whispered, I believe we have just been relegated to subservient status. A distant and joyful Empress shouted, As it should be! Susan helped her mother and friends prepare gift boxes for the wounded service personnel convalescing in the Brooks Celestial Command Medical Center. The sprawling complex East of San Antonio, Texas, was an association of five medical centers with a combined total of over four thousand beds. The central complex housed the clinics, surgical theaters, and all support services associated with the care of the sick and injured. Radiating outward from the central services, four wings contained the different specialty wards that served the individual patients. The facility was so large, it was visible from space and appeared as a large blue cross. The color blue was from the photovoltaic array mounted on the roof. These weekly visits were fun and uplifting for Susan during the early days. As time wore on, Susan tired of the advances of the medical staff and other professionals working in the facility when they learned she was unattached. Susan also had become guarded in her conversations with her mother and her mothers friends. Susan had a unique perspective of the Rowdizian species. Having battled with the Rowdizians during the Rowdizian Earth-Alliance War, she had come to respect their tactics and tenacity in battle. Having helped Jeff to defeat the Rowdizians in the last great act of the war and Jeffs capturing of Doweejunkdo and Prince Deejunkdo, gave her special insight to those historical events. And maybe she only experienced a few days exposure to the Rowdizian species, but she came to respect and admire every Rowdizian she had the pleasure to meet. They never degraded their foe. Susan remembered

Jungeedos perspective one afternoon when the being was teaching Susan to pilot the Cooja, the Rowdizian first line fighter. He calmly said, Susan, why would we belittle our opponents? To degrade those beings we are in conflict with, only lessens our need to fight an identified lesser foe. It brings dishonor to the enemy and to us. Susan loved and believed in Jeff and knew him to be honest and not prone to stretching the truth to support his position. Jeff had only given her factual information of the recent Tilldoc attack on the Rowdizian home world. He had also given her facts of a Tilldoc secret invasion of Earth at the end of the 19th century with the sole purpose of building a superior race and eliminating undesirables either by selective breeding or extermination. Again, no embellishment, Jeff spoke of plain simple facts that had occurred during the 20th century. She had shunned him and now events supported his truth. She felt sick and excused herself to the toilet. On her knees in preparation to hurl, her mind returned to current events. At first, when she longed for peace and placed hope in any effort to avoid conflict, she supported those wanting to negotiate a peace between the Rowdizians, the Tilldoc, and the humans. Surely the Tilldoc were open to reason. But in the weeks following the news of the existence of a species identical to humans, and having just ended a terrible and costly war with a species simplistically described as bugs, peace was not going to be easy. Furthermore, the Tilldoc on Earth, when they had first shown themselves, were all conciliatory and wanting to bring the human race together as one. These were the former race baiters that historically preached racial purity, hatred, and the elimination of the undesirables. Susan tolerated the focus of scorn projected at the Rowdizians because of the costly war and human ignorance, but over the weeks following the Tilldoc coming out, things had changed. Now groups, including her mother, were speaking of Rowdizian atrocities, as if they had first hand knowledge of such events. These experts had never met a Rowdizian. They perverted a noble species and Susan could see their intent was not reconciliation, but extermination. What made things worse, was when Susan learned she was born of Tilldoc. She and her parents were descendents of the original invaders. What had Jeff called them to allow the psyche to accept the elimination of her relatives invaders spies. Susan looked at the pistol in her hands. She agonized at how she had allowed her life to become so fucked up. She placed barriers in the way of a relationship with a man she realized she dearly loved and admired. Twice she refused to return with Jefferson to Rowdizia. She was a descendent of a self-centered species that tolerated no one. A species whose own prophecies foretold of the man she loved and how he would rise up to destroy the chosen Tilldoc. If she didnt have enough problems, now she understood what Doweejunkdo meant when he cautioned her about H2S and human female physiology. The H2S had caused the release of supportive juices and enzymes in her female reproductive tract. Her amenorrhea wasnt from strenuous exercise and running. Susans lack of a period was because she was nearly three months pregnant with Jeffs child and her overwhelming thoughts and situation caused her to contemplate desperate actions. As tears streamed down her face, Susan stood, turned, then sat on the toilet. Her behavior toward Jeff these many weeks had succeeded in forcing him away. She had trouble focusing on the hammer through her tears. Choking from the spasms of tormented misery, she thumbed the safety and squeezed the trigger.

Dirkjeedocdo repeatedly stabbed a button for the secondary frequency of the 321st Mechanized Infantry Battalion. His efforts were rewarded with the constant hiss of static. The Rowdizian Headquarters unit was a flurry of activity seeking reports from units adjacent to the 321st, yet the only reports were of hearing massive explosions in the direction of the 321st area of operation. Finally, the 83rd artillery brigade reported, Command, we are experiencing heavy fighting to our East. The Tilldoc seemed to be launching a counteroffensive. Just before contact was lost with the 321st thousands of artillery shells bombarded their position. We fired counter-battery artillery, and the Tilldoc seem to have sacrificed several hundred pieces of equipment to launch this counteroffensive. Within minutes, thousands of Tilldoc forces poured through the remnants of the former 321st infantry unit. Dirkjeedocdo quickly ordered air assets to attack and slow the advancing enemy. Minutes later the General was presented with another challenge. Whatever the device was that had been deployed and used on the Tilldoc weapons platform that attacked Rowdizia, was deployed here. Cooja pilots attempting to support the Rowdizian defenders reported loss of power and control of their fighters when approaching within five kilometers of the Tilldoc breakthrough. More than ten fighters were lost before air assets were restricted from the airspace. Dirkjeedocdo reported the current problem to Supreme Commander Teejundeedo aboard the Battle Cruiser Dossleevalvic. We just finished playing back the attack on the 321st, said Teejundeedo. Taking a deep breath she added, from our vantage point, there was not a square meter of ground that was spared from damage. What is your plan, General? I have ordered the 125th and 319th to relieve the 83rd Artillery. We will continue a fighting retreat and when the bulge is large enough and our forces risk minimal danger, I request you fire the energy weapon to eliminate the attackers. Does this meet with your approval? asked Dirkjeedocdo. A simple plan is always best, but why do they attack now in this fashion when they know we have space based weapons. Very puzzling. Very well we will also search and study the energy signature of the disrupter weapon. When found, we will destroy the transmitters. Anything else? No Teejundeedo. This setback is a minor inconvenience. My forces will ultimately prevail. Dirkjeedocdo saluted his superior and ended the meeting. Teejundeedo entered the rehab unit on the medical deck of the Dossleevalvic. She smiled seeing Doweejunkdo struggle with the newly fitted prosthetic leg. From his efforts she figured he would master the device and be ambulatory within a cycle. She called, I see the staff have placed all their efforts into helping you manage this appliance. Doweejunkdo forced a response through gritted teeth, I now know how a pup feels taking their first steps, and he promptly fell. Then he added, I also know how they feel when they fall. The warrior struggled to stand and refused all help. I disagree with you. You did not keep me here to torment my decision to dismount and fight the enemy. You have yet to chastise me. You kept me here to entertain for your amusement. Teejundeedo laughed, And you would be wrong. I refuse to admonish anyone when they are down. I am waiting for your recovery.

Damn the Gods, female. If you have harsh words for my actions, say them now. Waiting will only lessen my caring for your position. Doweejunkdos eye slits narrowed. Hurt, she said, Then I will say this and no more, tears poured down her face, how do you think I felt when the casualty list on my monitor contained your name. How do you think I and our offspring felt when we were told you were being returned to the Katvanshevic in grave condition? How do you think we felt, when you arrested in surgery? Her hands covered her face and the few staff in the bay stood by in shock. Doweejunkdo stood and limped to his mate. How do you think we felt? lowering her hands and looking her mate straight in the eyes, and continued, Doweejunkdo, you can direct a Celestial Warship into battle and be killed at any instant, be that your destiny. You can, in a desperate situation, ram an opponent with your ship, thereby ending your life and those that serve you for a greater good. But I will be damned to allow you to risk your life on some silly unnecessary puppyish jaunt to prove your male prowess. Doweejunkdo held a sobbing Teejundeedo and whispered, I truly beg your forgiveness. You are correct, I was thinking only of myself. Drying her eyes, she said, I will say no more. Looking around the bay at the few remaining staff and patients she said, I am sorry for this display. The room remained silent. Doweejunkdo scanned the crewmembers. He noticed all were half to a fourth of his age. After a long silence he said, Yes, everyone. Even us supposedly wise and thoughtful older adults do stupid, selfish acts. I pray all of you have a mate that cares for you and your offspring and be as blessed as I, turning to Teejundeedo, he asked, shall we go? Straightening her tunic, she looked to the rehab supervisor who nodded approval, then said, Well Doweejunkdo, you might be interested in several problems that have cropped up. The Tilldoc have launched a counteroffensive. Shall we adjourn to Command and Control? Wrapping an arm around her mates waist, she motioned for an orderly pushing a wheelchair to follow. As the senior commanders walked the hall the orderly tried in vain to ignore their banter. Oh, and the staff were finally able to catch up with sub-priority communiqus from Rowdizia, said Teejundeedo. Doweejunkdo observed, The messages must have had some importance for you to bring then to my attention. No I was just offering small talk fillers, nothing more. she added. Fine. You have not told me anything of the dispatches or any additional news. Now he knew she was playing and was thankful the wrath had passed. My mistake a small thing really. The Royals have promoted me to Commodore. They also liked your protagonism for the term Royal and have decreed it so. Teejundeedo, feeling his fatigue, gripped her mate more securely. A defeated Doweejunkdo sighed, Then they saw fit for me to lose command of the fleet. I believe not, since the size has increased, so has the responsibility. The Royals saw the need to elevate you to the position of Commodore of the Fleet. As it should be! he beamed.

I believe that decision was made before they learned of your stunt. she teased. You will always remind me of my missteps. Forever, Dowee, forever. Looking around the table, Jeff thought it peculiar the Earth-Alliance Embassy and its senior staff were hosting a meeting with the Rowdizians to prosecute a war. Spooning another scoop of scrambled eggs mixed with sausage, potatoes, cheese, and sprinkled with a dash of Franks hot sauce, he also thought it strange to be discussing Rowdizian wedding plans. Savoring the sharp, rich, marriage of ingredients, he swallowed and answered the quizzical stares of his guests, The problem. I just wanted to bring to everyones attention is the damaged vessels of the fleet carrying the wounded will arrive less than one cycle before this proposed wedding. Emperor Junkdo asked, Deejunkdo has not developed a case of cold feet has he? A distracted Deejunkdo asked, What is the problem? The monarch shook his head, laughed, then added, I believe last night we were caught up in the wondrous, joyful news. Our minds were clouded from too much Rowdizian Ale and the reality of our new conflict. Emperor Junkdo toggled a button on his communicator and said, Dearest Jefferson just reminded our group, that the wounded from Tilldoc will arrive less than a cycle prior to the planned wedding. The device responded with, Quedocdo offered the same insight minutes ago we females propose the wedding take place in sixty cycles. That date would be in conjunction with the beginning of the Celebration of Serenity. Emperor Junkdo nodded approval as he said, I believe that to be an excellent option. Nothing like having an anniversary in conjunction with a world holiday. Helps the happy pair to remember the blessed date. The Empress countered, It has never helped you remember ours, and the entire world celebrates our anniversary. Emperor Junkdo began to counter the playful gibe, but thought better and just let it go saying to no one, Females. Jungeedo swallowed a mouthful of savory delight while marveling at the familiarity of the monarchs. Curious for war news, he cleared his throat and asked, What is the news of Sub-Commodore Wesgeedos efforts at tailing the Spanish Battle Cruiser? Deejunkdo stood, I beg the forgiveness of this esteemed gathering. The prospect of joining with Janis has clouded my thoughts. If all agree, I will begin the daily briefing. Christine laughed, Well if were just going to eat and listen to a operational report, I can go socialize with the girls. The Emperor countered, See my male friends, females feel socialization with males is of lesser importance. Christine wasnt about to let the playful banter drop. From her seat, she kissed Jungeedo, then turned and pecked the Emperor on the cheek. Retrieving her plate, she stood and said, I love hanging with the guys, but theres serious girl talk about babies

and weddings in the other room. Please excuse me. You four can manage the carnage without my input. Jeff added, All you ever advise is Nuke em. Just do a good job, bye-bye. her free hand waved goodbye over her shoulder as she passed through the doors opened by security. Have fun Christine, enjoying the refreshing openness, and being a guest of Jefferson, the Emperor added, Ahhhh, this gathering would be complete with Doweejunkdo at our table so if I may, please Deejunkdo, you may start the briefing. Noting that everyone had full plates and drinks, Deejunkdo waved the wait staff from the room and began, Overnight, the Tilldoc mounted a counteroffensive annihilating the 321st infantry battalion. Support units have fallen back and General Dirkjeedocdo has reinforced, then relieved the 83rd Artillery to slow the advance. The Tilldoc also unveiled a weapon that disrupts the power and control systems of our fighters. This disrupter is similar to the system on the weapons platform that interfered with our approaching warships. Commodore Teejundeedo is striking the enemys rear area and slowing the Tilldoc advance. At Teejundeedos request, I have dispatched a Battle Group to escort transports and an additional twenty divisions of ground assault soldiers and supplies to increase our presence on their planet. With over 400,000 troops, I believe General Dirkjeedocdo deserves the rank of Field Marshal. Emperor Junkdo held up a finger and communicator then asked, If I may, he transmitted, Dearest. Deejunkdo has brought to my attention, in a few cycles General Dirkjeedocdo will command over 400,000 troops and deserves the rank of Field Marshal. The communicator spoke, But he too joined in the puppyish behavior and placed himself in needless danger. The Emperor paused and thought of a fitting answer. Finally he said, But he was not injured. A distant voice answered, Lame but point taken. I will call military personnel and make the change. Now is there anything else? We are discussing fabrics and menu! Emperor Junkdo rolled his head, Females. Deejunkdo, continue. As planned, Sub-Commodore Wesgeedo suffered moderate, repairable damage to two of her ships when they engaged the Tilldoc Fast Attack Cruiser attempting to tow the crippled Spanish Battle Cruiser. After a twenty-five minute battle, the Tilldoc cruiser was destroyed. Since the attack the Spanish ship is reported to have resumed its original course to the system Sol. Just before we sat down, I received a report from our scouts in the system Sol, that a moderate flotilla of 16 warships have departed the system and appear to have set course for the crippled Spanish warship. The scout ship did not chance closing to identify the nationality of the individual vessels. We have contacted SubCommodore Wesgeedo and offered this information. The Battle Group near New Terra reports 100% readiness and no unusual activity in their sector. Deejunkdo pointed a marker at the celestial map that highlighted the position. The Home Fleet is now at 100% readiness and reports no unusual activity. Deejunkdo paused for questions and sipped from his tea before continuing. As for the damaged vessels returning from Tilldoc, two Battle Cruisers and eight

Corvettes will require up to one hundred cycles to repair. The remainder of the vessels will take ten to seventy-five cycles to repair. From the reported damage, all work crews will be tasked around the clock to make expeditious repairs. We will require only 50% of the crews from the shipyards to round out the workforce. Of course, these changes will then slow new warship production by 35%. Fighter production was increased as directed and will not be effected by our work on the warships. Deejunkdo returned to his seat to close. Finally, a new issue. The Earth-Alliance seems to be fracturing, with several African, European and South American countries supporting the Tilldoc. So far The Central States Of America, China, Japan, and the Russian Federation have pledged to support Rowdizia. Just before taking his chair, Deejunkdo added, We have not heard anything from President Keegan or the Chinese Premier relating to the Spanish vessel. Jeff interjected, Maybe Rowdizia should offer to tow the crippled Spanish Warship to Earth. judging from the stares around the table, he immediately felt he should have worded the statement differently. Excuse me, Jungeedo commanded attention, Jefferson and I have discussed the failing support from the Earth-Alliance. The token showing of a few renegade Earth vessels in the opening battle of the Rowdizian-Tilldoc War still offers hope of Earths neutrality. Deejunkdo challenged, How do you and Jefferson come to that conclusion? We have no treaty with the humans. We are still operating under a truce and the actions of the Alliance warships these past few cycles violates that treaty. Jefferson, we still do not know the extent of the Tilldoc forces. If Doweejunkdo was here, he, fond of Earth expressions, would say, If you wish for peace, prepare for war. During our enlightened period we failed that truism. We failed the researchers monitoring the developing Tilldoc species. At this moment, there are just too many unknowns. Emperor Junkdo calmed the mood, Please we must all be calm and rational. All thoughts are welcome. the Emperor inhaled a deep breath and said, I understand Jeffersons position on extending an olive branch. Such a gesture might just win over some addition supporters. Surely by destroying the Alliance rebels we have not made any new friends. But Jefferson, Jungeedo, our knowledge of Tilldoc capabilities are poor at best. Let us allow the circumstances of our actions to continue on the current path. Let us see how our enemies respond to our actions. I believe that is what General Dirkjeedocdo is doing with the Tilldoc counteroffensive. Testing the waters. We consolidate we wait. For fifteen Tilldoc cycles, General Dirkjeedocdo allowed a crawling, snails-pace advance of enemy forces. Rowdizian ground forces were slowly retreating to prepared areas. They booby trapped everything before leaving any position. The Tilldoc came to fear and respect their enemy and especially feared the night. Rowdizians, with their superior unaided night vision, ruled the dark. To instill terror, the majority of Rowdizian forces rested by day and infiltrated behind enemy lines after the setting star. Silenced weapons, knives, and hands were their weapons of choice. A few captured Tilldoc described the mental fatigue and stress of fighting all day and the horrendous torture of trying to rest at night. Their perimeter guards dozed off and at times were easily

overpowered. Whole units were rumored to be found dead, with their throats cut, upon a new cycle. Rowdizian ground force loses were now at over 35,000. With the disrupters interfering with air operations, the conflict had become a mechanized infantry engagement. Slowly, the Rowdizian trap was filling with unsuspecting Tilldoc forces. Commodore Teejundeedo contacted General Dirkjeedocdo, General, I have reviewed your request, and I am in no position to bombard other areas of the planet to deflect attention from your area of operation. The enemys ground based energy weapons are accurate beyond belief. Until you disrupt generating power to those weapons, I will not be able fire on the capital or to open a second front within a protected area. My focused beam weapons can only deflect 5% off perpendicular to be effective. We will have to wait for reinforcements to insert mechanized forces opposite your location from their capital, and we may have to insert the second front so far out, it will waste many weeks just to reach the enemy. General Dirkjeedocdo sighed, A minor setback. We now have two more challenges to add to the many, the disrupters and their thick atmosphere. My forces are accustomed to the challenge of the night where the Tilldoc night vision equipment is lacking. With our foothold, we can fight this way for months. We can wait. Dirkjeedocdo paused and received a report from an aide. After reading the message he smiled, Well Teejundeedo, it seems we may have a new challenge. Sensors have picked up a formation of large aircraft heading our way. They seem to be immune to the disrupters, so their flight control systems must be shielded. Thinking Teejundeedo said, They may be systematically shutting down sectors and allowing the over flight. That may be. I will test that theory when the aircraft are in range of the missile defense systems. I will launch my fighters and maybe we can engage this new threat before they do too much damage. To be effective, I believe they have to spend time over a target without the aid of the disrupters. At least I hope. Wish us luck! Teejundeedo returned to the Command and Control tactical display and saw 26 Tilldoc symbols, representing air assets, rapidly advancing on Rowdizian ground forces. Soon, Rowdizian fighter symbols circled to the West, awaiting the assault. In less than twenty minutes this new development would be revealed. On the surface, warnings went out to the various units to expect air bombardment in 15 minutes. General Dirkjeedocdo watched the advance on the tactical display and called to Bossleedo. When the G-4 arrived, the General asked, What is our supply situation? All units are fully equipped and supplied with more than enough expendables to last seven cycles. Air defense missiles? All operational batteries have enough missiles to fire repeatedly for 4 hours. That many? Yes General Dirkjeedocdo. We have used very little of the weapons since the opening battle of the first cycle. And since the fighters have been grounded, we are tripping over the stacks of amassed weapons. Interesting I have paid little attention to the asset since the halt to the air

campaign. That may soon change. rubbing Bossleedos shoulder he added, You might want to take cover. It is about to get noisy. I will always be at your side Quickly General Dirkjeedocdo commanded his G-3, Vessweejunkdo, instruct all air defense batteries to fire on the approaching enemy aircraft when the targets are within five kilometers of their positions. They are to keep firing until they have exhausted their missiles or the targets are gone. Vessweejunkdo saluted, As you command. At Air Defense Battery 92 the crew consisting of two Rowdizians and one human discussed the new rules of engagement. The weapons specialist, a human asked, Why has command tied our hands, these missiles have an effective range of over 15 kilometers. The radar specialist agreed, I have multiple targets at 14 kilometers. Waiting will give the enemy less time to locate our position and fire counter radar missiles. The driver/loader specialists lamented, At least you two enjoy the protection of the vehicle. I have to be exposed outside and make a tempting target for every stray piece of shrapnel. Would either of you like to trade duties? The radar specialists stated, No why complain. he slapped the wall of the vehicle, I can piss through this thin armor. We have no more protection than you heads up, the enemy are closing fast. The loader jumped to the ground and warned, Joseph, make the missiles count. I feel this to be a desperate act. The Rowdizian loader saluted his crew and readied the first missile on the reload arm. Long range sensors revealed the twelve Earth-Alliance ships had just dropped out of hyperspace. The Corvette scout repositioned to its assigned area while reporting the sighting. Sub-Commodore Wesgeedo rejoiced, Ah, what a wicked web we weave. Wesgeedo thought of the possible outcomes. None resulted in her failure. The creature was self assured knowing her flotilla contained the superior group. A dozen minutes later the advance scout reported the makeup of the rescue flotilla, Sub-Commodore Wesgeedo. We have confirmed three Battle Ships, five Heavy Cruisers, and four Corvettes. Wesgeedo confirmed the information and thought, well, this does pose a bit of a challenge. As the Alliance ships continued to enter the trap, Wesgeedo confided in Tossleedocdo, Captain, the Alliance ships are maintaining a very tight formation, your thoughts? He answered, Sub-Commodore, while not allowing the full deployment of ship board cannon, the tight formation will offer protection to the one ship tasked to rig a tow. While we try to punch through the defenses, they may have time to rig the toe and jump to hyperspace, effectively completing their primary mission. A bewildered Wesgeedo thought of the Captains explanation. After a moments hesitation she quickly ordered, All ships attack immediately, Launch ready fighters and the reserve fighters. Maneuver the Corvettes to block the route of escape for the Spanish

Cruiser. The last command, having never been discussed and lacking specificity, confused the individual ship commanders. Rowdizian communications became confused with requests for clarification. Two Corvettes dashed for a point which would be the most likely direction of escape and collided, lost directional control, and one drifted into an English Corvette immediately destroying both vessels. The other Rowdizian Corvette drifted helplessly away from the engagement having lost; propulsion, directional control, and gravity. It was so tempting a target, that a German Battleship fired two dozen missiles that immediately destroyed the ship and its desperate crew. Thousands of fighters were released from the Alliance ships and quickly concentrated their efforts on the Rowdizian warships, ignoring the Rowdizian fighters. Wesgeedo spoke out loud, This fight is far from decided. Even with their eight capital ships, we still have them outnumbered. She then ordered, All vessels close to within missile range of the Alliance battle group. Target the capital ships. Pressing a transmitter he ordered, Potswanavic, attack the Alliance ship rigging the tow. The overhead speaker blared, Potswanavic maneuvering to engage. The tactical display was a confused mess of closely aligned ships. Wesgeedo had to increase the scale ten fold to view some measurable space between the vessels and still the Alliance group appeared as one big blob glowing in the center of the screen. Although the tool was needed to fight her assets, focusing on the battle was Wesgeedos second mistake. Less than thirty minutes into the fight came a desperate call from a drifting out of action Cooja on the guard frequency, Command! Six Tilldoc warships just dropped out of hyperspace 10,000 meters distant. A visibly shaken Wesgeedo commanded, Captain Tossleedocdo. Bring the ship about, recall your fighters, and engage the Tilldoc! Stabbing the transmit button Wesgeedo ordered, Buienvinleevic. Disengage, recall your fighters, and join us in a right echelon formation to engage the Tilldoc. Potswanavic, recall your fighters and dash to the rear of the Tilldoc formation. The commands were followed by several spits of guttural contempt. Wesgeedo was worried. Now that she decreased the scale of the view the causality list scrolled down a drop box. To no one she yelled, WHAT! The list displayed twenty-three disabled or destroyed Rowdizian warships. Wesgeedo had fifteen ships of questionable readiness remaining. The Alliance and Tilldoc had ten ships, eleven if one counted the stricken Spanish Cruiser. Swallowing her pride that was the catalyst for this impending disaster, Wesgeedo calmly ordered, Attention all commanders. Maneuver your vessels to best counter the enemy of immediate concern and protect your crews. I require two battle ready capital ships to join us in attacking the Tilldoc warships. May the Gods bless the spirits of those lost. A sleepy Jeff awoke to knocking on the bedroom door. The clock read 0253. Lifting Quedocdos hand from his chest he chuckled when her soft, tired voice groaned, Jeff, not again, we have students in the morning. Grabbing his plush, calf length, black robe, he quickly reached the door before another knock disturbed Quedocdo. Opening the door he was surprised to see Christine standing before him wearing a very, very short thin robe. Yawning, he asked, Whats

up? Your presence is required in the palace Command and Control, now! Christine reached for his hand to physically relay the importance of the directive. Come, the Royals are waiting. her dress was revealing and she showed greater concern for more important matters than her modesty, Jefferson, White/Silver Battle Groups fought the Alliance rescue ships and we have lost all communication. Shit, let me get some The Emperor said NOW! she tugged until he yielded. The pair trotted to the Command Center and were allowed access without challenge. Jeff looked around the darkened room. Most of the ambient light came from the display screens and a few, dim, recessed ceiling LEDs. The only beings properly dressed were the rooms assigned staff. Finding an empty seat behind the royals and next to Jungeedo he whispered, Whats happening? Empress Junkdo, turned and whispered, An early good new day Jefferson. Deejunkdo is getting some last minute information and will brief all of us. Where is Quedocdo? Sleeping. We have students at 0630. The Emperor turned interjecting, You might get to sleep in after this report. Even in the dim lighting, Jefferson saw the Emperor waggle his brows. Jeff yawned and reclined in the upholstered stadium seat. After another five minutes he thought, I couldve dressed. Turning to the sound of an opening door, he watched as Quedocdo entered wearing her flowing ankle length night gown. A wrap covered her shoulders and breasts. Taking an empty seat next to Jefferson, she cuddled and warmed her hands between his thighs. Whispering in his ear she said, What is the disaster? Weve lost communication with White/Silver Group. feeling frisky, he gently kissed and sucked her neck. The light level was increased and Deejunkdo started, Minutes ago we received some disturbing news. On the planet Tilldoc enemy bombers have raided our foothold on the surface. Their aircraft seem to be shielded from their own disrupters. We know the devices are still functional because Field Marshal Dirkjeedocdo reported our surface to air missiles lost guidance when crossing into the airspace above the enemy. There were some successful unguided interceptions. Also contact was lost with the White/Silver Battle Group. The frigate Bolnudavic, tasked with transmitting the engagement stopped sending data bursts shortly after reporting four ships were maneuvering to engage six Tilldoc warships that had dropped out of hyperspace. Deejunkdo continued for another twenty minutes. As he closed his briefing a beep indicating a priority-one message sounded on Jeffersons smart phone. The Ambassador grumbled, What now? Reading the content of the Presidential communiqu, Jefferson couldnt believe what the message contained. He requested the gatherings attention, Listen to this the Spanish authorities have asked President Keenan to request the Rowdizian government give all necessary assistance to a Spanish warship in distress at the following celestial coordinates. Deejunkdo spit, This is beyond insane. Now they are baiting us with the crippled ship.

Jeff countered, We need to go. Deejunkdo was incredulous, Now you are insane. It is a trap! Without knowledge of their capabilities, it would be unwise to dispatch a Battle Group. Our forces will be spread too thin. Jeff agreed, You are correct. With all the unknowns, we cannot afford to send a Battle Group. How are the repairs progressing on the Corvette Nuevanshevic? Surprised, Deejunkdo answered, Jefferson, the ship and crew are in a parking orbit above Rowdizia. What is your interest? She fast? Our fastest warship. Deejunkdo eye slits narrowed. What is your scheme. I wish to have no connection to any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harms way. John Paul Jones, 18th century sea captain. Later, bass guitarist in a famous Heavy Metal band. Quedocdo, understanding sat bolt upright, WHAT! Jeff saw his comment commanded attention. Taking a deep breath he laid out his plan, Simple I intend to take the Nuevanshevic and my senior staff to the ouw last known coordinates of the crippled Spanish Battle Cruiser and effect a rescue as requested by President Keegan of the Earth-Alliance. Looking to Deejunkdo, Jeff asked, At top speed what is the travel time? Deejunkdo answered, Six cycles. Father, you are not going to give command of a warship to a human no offense Jefferson. None taken. said Jeff. The Emperor observed, Well, it would not be the first time Jefferson commanded a Rowdizian vessel. Jeff was bewildered, Humor me I dont remember that. The Emperor reminded everyone, Jefferson, you had command of the Dungruevic for a short time. The Emperor smiled as Jeffersons nodding smug expression acknowledged the brief encounter. Deejunkdo blurted, That was a derelict escape pod! Excuse my male offspring. Technicalities Deejunkdo, you must relax. The Nuevanshevic has an experienced captain and crew. Of course the ships captain will have command of the ship. Jefferson will have operational command of the mission. In fact we will announce to the Alliance that Ambassador Norton is to command the mission I believe this to be an excellent plan. When can you leave Jefferson? Now. The Empress interjected, I believe the escape pods are designed to provide life support for ten cycles. I suggest reducing the crew of the Nuevanshevic by 75% to allow room for survivors. You can depart after the morning meal. Preparation, rest and reflection are in order. Quedocdo demanded, Wait! Jefferson is not going without me. Jeff started to protest, But Quedocdo stood, narrowed her eye slits, and placed her hands on her hips, No discussion Jefferson. With a reduced crew you need seasoned Cooja pilots. This may still be a trap, she poked Jefferson in the chest, and remember. You are still the number one thorn in the Tilldoc ass.

Jefferson raised his hands in surrender, Now that I have been put in my place, I will say good morning and retire. Jefferson extended an arm. Coming Dearest? Toying with Teejundeedos back, Doweejunkdo kissed the tenderness between her shoulders and teasingly worked his way to the back of her neck. His fingers lightly stroked the softness of the small of her back, while he moved to kiss the side of her neck. Teejundeedo moaned saying, We really should find a way to counter the Tilldoc advances of the past few cycles. The ground offensive is stalled. Doweejunkdo could still feel the pull of Teejundeedos vaginal tunnel, If we need to get back to work, it would be best for you to release me. He inhaled deeply from the sudden rush of climatic bliss. Teejundeedo showed off her dexterity and rolled to her back, passed her left leg between their embrace and pulled her mate deeper. I wanted fresh seed if we are to birth more pups. Finally, after several more minutes of rhythmic movement, a shrill moan signaled her bliss and immediately she released Doweejunkdo. Together they collapsed into a tangled mesh. Teejundeedo, our ability to satisfy has grown with each coupling. The ageing Rowdizians chest heaved with the need to replenish the stimulating H2S. Finally recovered, he offered, Ancient aircraft, ancient technology. I cannot take credit. Jefferson learned of our problem and felt he knew the answer, thereby sending his theory in a communiqu I received before returning to your quarters. Puzzled she requested, Explain. Jefferson theorized that the Tilldoc has had this disrupter technology for hundreds of years and have yet to discover a way to shield modern electronics. So, the Tilldoc are using ancient technology to get around the electronic issues. You see, there were mechanical controls in the first jet powered aircraft. Fly by wire wasnt developed until decades later. For propulsion, the Tilldoc are using turbojet or turboprop technology. Initial jet engine technology used mechanical controls, such as fuel controls and governors. Again, electronic controls came later. With this information, I requested Research and Development to dust off our most lethal jet fighter that did not have electronic controls and built a few dozen to test here in this theater. Building the propulsion and aircraft could take a hundred cycles, she allowed. We have a secret plan, he joked, it will take longer to train the pilots. What is the plan? she asked. Doweejunkdo put a finger to his lips and whispered, We are activating museum pieces. Smiling she asked, Do you want to share a shower? Teejundeedo got up and walked to the bath. She teased Doweejunkdo and coaxed him to follow. Jefferson, Quedocdo called from the shower, I have finished packing. Please review the contents and see if I have forgotten anything. Naked, Jeff reviewed the suitcases and felt nothing was missing. Opening the door to the bath he said, I just have to pack the toiletries when we have finished getting ready. Breakfast is in an hour. he watched her attractive curves through the clear glass enclosure and instantly was aroused.

Be the wonderful man of my dreams and wash my back. Ill have to warn you. You might be late for the morning meal, he said enter the invigorating space. No. I will be dining in here. She embraced Jefferson and slowly soaped his body. Emperor and Empress Junkdo greeted the small party in the foyer. The Empress asked, Are you packed and were you able to advise your staff? Jeff took the Empress hand and touched it to his lips. Good new day. We are ready for this adventure. I and eleven others from my staff will be going. Except for the four of us and Janis, the others are on board the Nuevanshevic. Shall we eat? Im anxious to get this show on the road. The Emperor started to ask for clarification but thought through Jeffersons comment and said, Oh, I understand your analogy. Quaint, yes. Doweejunkdo would be proud. Come, yes let us eat. As they walked to the dining room the Emperor continued, The ship is ready and awaits your command. The Captain, Rossleedocdo has been briefed and is aware of the protocol. You, Jefferson are in command of the mission. It is an honor to serve the Empire. Jefferson saluted as they walked. Janis waited, seated at the table. She and Deejunkdo stood as the Royals entered. The Royals took seats flanking the future Princess. Deejunkdo sat by his father and Quedocdo sat next to the Empress. Jeff, Jungeedo, and Christine took the remaining chairs with Jeff at Quedocdos elbow. As the servants made their rounds offering the various selections, Deejunkdo asked, Jefferson. I realize Janis is a nurse assigned to your staff, but does she have to accompany you on this possibly dangerous venture? Jeff thought, Put the ball in Janis court, then said, Deejunkdo, she is one of my staff. However, if she doesnt want to go that would be her decision. Janis quickly chimed in, Im a medical officer in the Rowdizian Celestial Command assigned to the staff of the Earth-Alliance Embassy. As a civilian I might choose not to go, but as a Rowdizian officer, this mission is my duty. Jeff quipped, She can stay. Deejunkdo begrudgingly agreed, Janis is to go. Jeff tried to lighten the mood, Look, the way I see it, this mission will take; six cycles to the Spanish Battle Cruiser, fourteen cycles to rig the tow, rescue survivors and return the ship to Earth, add six cycles to dash home and we have three cycles grace before the wedding. Jeff held out his hands palms up for emphasis. The Emperor made the next observation so his male offspring would not seem the only detractor, Jefferson, your time table does not allow for a problem, such as a trap and having to fight your way to safety. Jeff stood, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I feel there will not be a trap to stop or hinder a diplomatic mission to rescue. To do so runs counter to everything the Tilldoc are doing to give the impression of a cooperative, non-aggressive species. The Earth-Alliance diplomatic staff being on board the Nuevanshevic, might make a Tilldoc Captain think twice about breaking current Tilldoc policy. It would not look good to attack our ship.

Quedocdo observed, Jefferson, you seem so self assured. No. Im putting a lot of faith in President Keegans request. Besides, well be fine. The Empress asked, Jefferson, how can you be so sure? Because I have responsibilities here that require my attention. Jeff boasted. Jungeedo had to ask, What possibly could make you indispensable? Quedocdo smiled warmly and toyed with the tip of a braided dreadlock. Taking, then kissing Jeffersons hand she breathed, I have succumbed to this humans charms and with the catalyst of his seed, I have chosen to bear our pups. I have released six and possibly eight eggs for fertilization. The morning meal transformed into a celebration and minutes later, planning for another blessed event. Surprisingly Deejunkdo asked, Might it be possible to join these two during our ceremony? The Emperor asked, Will Quedocdo still have ample cycles remaining in her gestation period? The Empress slapped her mate on the arm and said, Only you would worry of such matters, you old woujung. Quedocdo indicated yesterday that she is only fifteen days burdened since she released her eggs. The Emperor reared back from his mate and scoffed, You knew! Female secrets. she purred. The dejected monarch said, Well I was only concerned for the developing pups safety should Quedocdo be called to battle. Quedocdo smiled, The cycle is very early. Jefferson, my friends, and the crew will work for the safe return of us all. Offering his opinion for the other now lost remark, Jefferson said, Deejunkdo, the joining of you and Janis is a very special day. We will be there in support. Jefferson. You, at times, fail to see the obvious. You sir, are as much a part of this family as I. The Empress said, Quedocdo came to me with the news. She learned we knew of her for many years and the Emperor and I rejoiced in her life. We have a special love for Quedocdo and Jefferson. Doweejunkdo thinks of Jefferson as his own. The Royals teared, Jefferson, we believe in the Tilldoc legend, and believe you to be that savior. After a long quiet, she asked, Has everyone had their fill? Do not be shy speak up. The table returned to laughter and talk of pups, babies, weddings and love. After another half an hour the Empress directed, All of you, come with me. The group walked down an ornate hall and entered an ornate sanctuary. The Empress explained as they entered the sacred room, This is the palace chapel. It is used only by the royal family. Please, join us in prayer for so many of those dear to us are and will be at risk. When you leave go with the Gods, and safe be your journey. The gathered faced a representation of the Twin Spires of Rowdizia. Except for an occasional cough, the room was reverently quiet. Finally, the Emperor turned and took Jeffersons hand, Measured thoughts, Jefferson bring yourself and our family home. Jefferson looked into the Emperors eyes and responded, As you command.

On the bridge of the Nuevanshevic, Jeff introduced himself and his staff to Captain Rossleedocdo, Good new day Captain. Captain Rossleedocdo saluted and bowed saying, Ambassador Norton. What are your orders? Best speed to the last reported position of the Spanish Battle Cruiser. Drive like its stolen! The Captain tilted his head and frowned at Jefferson. Seeing a need for a more professional approach, Jeff said, Sorry, Ill explain later. For now Captain, best speed to the last reported position, please. Captain Rossleedocdo answered, As you command. For the next thirty minutes, the Embassy staff watched the maneuvering of the Corvette and its positioning for the jump to hyperspace. After Rossleedocdo turned over the operation to his first officer, he showed the Ambassador and his party to the flag bridge, suggesting, Sir, you and your staff will be able to see and command from this station. He powered up the systems and monitors. After a quick brief to an experienced Jungeedo, the Captain passed the responsibility for training and further clarification to the Earth-Alliance Ambassadors Chief of Staff. Rossleedocdo offered, Sir Jefferson interrupted, Please call me Jefferson. But Sir is more succinct. Jefferson smiled, I agree, but in the heat of a crisis, I will respond to Jefferson. You have many sirs on this bridge. Rossleedocdo laughed, I like you already It will be an honor to die at your side, Jefferson! The commander extended a hand. We are still moving staff from quarters fitting your status. Belay that. What? asked the Captain. Jefferson offered, Since the Empress and I decimated your crew, we ask to quarter nearest the launch points for the fighters. Three of us are Cooja pilots. Very well Jefferson. I can assign you three to Squadron 60. There are only four other pilots in a bay for thirty. Take any rooms you wish. Quedocdo asked, Are the pilots experienced? We three are instructors from Flight Training Squadron Nine. Not much I fear. Only a year since academy. No combat. the Captain answered. Do the pilots have an experienced commander? She pressed. Captain Rossleedocdo chuckled, They report to the Ops Officer. Quedocdo asked, Then if you have no objection, I will take command of that squadron. It would please me to log the change. If there is nothing else, we are close to our jump point. I must return to the bridge. Captain Rossleedocdo walked the short distance to the main bridge and took his place in the command chair. Quedocdo whispered to Jefferson, Come quick. I know where the space is located where we are to billet. She grabbed Jeffersons arm and began running the passageways. Being dragged by the excited female Rowdizian, Jefferson asked, Whats the

hurry? Quedocdo laughingly shouted, We do not have much time. The computer announced ten minutes to jump. Jefferson hurry, we only have a few more minutes. Quedocdo, where are we going in such a hurry? Jeff pleaded. Here! Entering the sparse empty corridor to Squadron 60, Quedocdo searched for an unoccupied berth. She said, Jefferson, ever done it with a female Rowdizian during the jump to hyperspace? she raced to remove her clothes. No, never with anyone. confused, but willing, Jefferson quickly removed his clothing. The sight of Quedocdos nakedness quickly excited him, and he had already responded to her playful teasing. Quedocdo guided her rigid mate into her moist vaginal canal. They fell onto the mattress and slowly began to kiss and explore the features of their lovers bodies. Jefferson was again being drawn deeper than he could ever imagine into Quedocdos wet warmth. Together they reached fulfillment as the sultry computer voice reported, jump. The ships sensation of being pulled into two divergent directions added to their shared bliss. Both lost consciousness. Several hours later, Jefferson suggested, as he tongued her soft tissues, Wheres the bath? Quedocdo chuckled, It is communal. Wont be the first time we bathed with others. It was interesting, yes? And educational. Jeff yelped from a playful slap. You lusted at the sight of others? Was it your first peek of Janis? Jeff let the Janis comment die, answering, Just Jungeedo, hes hung like a horse. She kissed and tongued his length, And after all this time I find you are attracted to males? No, just impressed. Jeff sat up pulling Quedocdo into a warm embrace. He was now curious, Ive been meaning to ask after millions of years of evolution, and the ability to birth multiple pups why do Rowdizian females only have two breasts? Quedocdo warmly responded, Jefferson, our milk is sooo rich, we only have to suckle each pup for a few minutes. She guided an engorged nipple to his lips. Minutes later she stood and said, Come. Let us see if there are any beautiful crewmembers in the shower. Finding the squadrons stores, the expecting couple grabbed towels and soap before heading to the squadron bath. Since the bay appeared empty, Jeff and Quedocdo were eager to help the other bathe. From the anteroom they playfully entered the shower. The water was steaming hot allowing Quedocdo and Jefferson to enjoy the shared experience laced with the fear of being found. A few minutes before they were finished, another naked female Rowdizian entered the space and bid them greetings. As she bathed a male Rowdizian and a female human entered the space and proceeded to bathe. Jefferson and Quedocdo quietly exited the shower and returned to their billet. Jefferson asked, Is there anything larger? Crap, I mean a room. Youve lived in these spaces. Quedocdo giggled, realizing he stumbled over a reference that could be interpreted two different ways, Jefferson my love, we have to find the Squadron

Commanders berth. It should have a bed large enough to accommodate two. It would also have a private bath. He slowly backed her against the bulkhead, breathing, Que. Yes, Jefferson. Can you imagine how much you mean to me? Time will tell. Jefferson, I have longed for your touch since the tenth cycle after we were introduced. Jeff gazed into her eyes and was puzzled by her answer. Quedocdo softly kissed his lips and answered his stare, I will never forget the simulated mission when Jungeedo and I made you believe your antics had again caused a young, unsuspecting, control technician to vomit. Jeffs voice betrayed defeat, I remember the two of you almost died laughing when you made me think Id caused the reaction resulting in another damaged control console. She purred, Still your memory is lost. That was also the cycle I offered myself to you. Caressing her shoulders, Jeff slowly pressed his forehead against her crest saying, I will always remember the morning on the roof of the Embassy. The massage was, Jeff closed his eyes and slowly rolled his head reliving the experience, so wonderful and well indescribable. Quedocdo thought, there he goes, being ambiguous again. She whispered, We have almost six cycles to explore our desires, but I prefer a larger bed. Can we find that room? Jeff took her hand and said, lead on. When they returned to the main passageway, Quedocdo laughed, we must be blind. Quedocdo pointed to a hatch next to the squadron entry. A sign on the door read Commander 60th Squadron. She popped Jeff on the forehead saying, Lack of attention to detail! Fifty demerits! Youre just as bad. Picking up a small hammer hung from a half meter chain, Jefferson pounded three times on a well worn section of the bulkhead. The adjacent speaker remained silent. After a few seconds, Jeff spun the wheel to un-dog the hatch saying, Seems no one is home, Sweeping his arms through the opening he added, shall we? Quedocdo plopped on the bed as Jeff inspected the quarters. He found the room clean and it looked as if the space had never been occupied. A double bunk, a desk, two chairs, a couch, and a flat screen monitor hung on the bulkhead nearest the outer hull made up the furnishings. The head was private, but small and contained a shower barely built for one. Testing the size he remarked, We wont be coupling while bathing, Quedocdo peeked in and began to laugh, I would wager this to be the smallest shower I have ever seen. Come, let us find the rest of the squadron, and select our fighters. As they walked the passageways Jeff remarked, This ship seems spooky with three-fourths of her crew missing. I agree, answered Quedocdo who then tugged on his arm, come this way to the launch tubes.

Turning right and continuing down a short passageway, they entered the launch bay, Jefferson and Quedocdo could see that the 60th Squadron had nearly vertical launch tubes, meaning the Coojas would exit the corvette along the ships spine. In the launch bay, four other uniformed pilots reviewed the readiness of their machines. A comfortable Quedocdo, dressed in tan flowing slacks and a tight, forest green sweater asked a rhetorical question, Do you know where we can find the pilots assigned to Squadron 60? A young male responded, Maam, you are looking at the complete pilot compliment of the 60th Squadron. Really, we are standby replacements for the other units. I doubt, with our brief individual lengths of service, we would ever be launched into battle as a unit. We even report to the Operations Officer who is too busy with other primary duties. We have no Squadron Commander. What are your names? Jefferson asked. A female answered, I am Lieutenant Evedocdo. Please meet Ensigns Tracdeedocdo, Lessdeedo, and Williamson. The foursome saluted and bowed to the strangers. May we be of service? she added. Jefferson responded, I believe so this female, he indicated Quedocdo, is your commander. She is Commander Quedocdo. We are assigned to Squadron 60 for the extent of this mission. A surprised Ensign Tracdeedocdo asked, Are you not Ambassador Norton? I am. Jeff sighed, I and Commander Jungeedo, along with Commander Quedocdo will work with you four to serve the Empire. I believe if this ship encounters a danger that requires fighter protection, the three of us will join the fight, and the four of you will be right there with us. Understood? Lieutenant Evedocdo voiced reservations, But Ambassador Norton, we have very little recent training, limited flight hours, and have never been in combat, Very well then the first obstacle we are to conquer is your collective low self esteem and inexperience. When was the last time you four were on leave and returned for duty? Jeff laid the first trap. Ensign Tracdeedocdo, seeing the promise of better days answered for the group, Ambassador, we enjoyed a weeks leave on Rowdizia and returned four cycles ago. she believed the answer was favorable, raised her eyebrows and smiled. Quedocdo pressed, when was the last time any of you logged combat simulation and how many hours do you amass during a cycle of the twelve? Again the lieutenant answered, but sensed their answers were not what the new commander wanted to hear, we were told, because of the war, assigned combat crews and their immediate replacements had priority using the training equipment and operators. It is difficult to schedule and we last flew a simulation about fourteen cycles ago. Jungeedo bristled, Quedocdo, may I Chuckling, Quedocdo suggested, Jungeedo you may. Please immediately meet with the ships Operations Officer and persuade him to allow our unit two to three hours of simulator time each morning and evening. Jungeedo saluted and silently departed. Quedocdo continued, So, Lieutenant, what do the four of you do to occupy all this free time?

Looking to Quedocdo and assuming the daily routine was about to change he said, Commander we of the 60th start our mornings with a short run and hygiene, after the morning meal we again run the decks for an additional hour. Shower, then study our fighters by conducting blind drills. We then return to the squad training room to discuss tactics and study combat engagements throughout history. We wind down with another run, the evening meal, and finally down time and socialization. Impressed, Jefferson asked, This is your routine for every cycle? Except, every twelfth cycle we allow a morning of reflection and prayers for Serenity. the Lieutenant answered. I see self motivation in this novel group of fine pilots. beamed Quedocdo, their new commander. So say we adjourn to the squadron training room to access and study the space where we last had contact with Sub-Commodore Wesgeedos Battle Group? When we are finished, all of you will know the position and size of every fragment within the battleground. Three cycles worth of gray billowing dust from the intermittent Tilldoc bombardment filled the still, dry air with a chalky death, blocking the sinus passages of unprotected Rowdizian soldiers. Chemical protective masks were useless. The specialized equipment filters clogged within minutes of exposure and the mask eyepieces were covered in a thick layer of dust within seconds. It was almost impossible for individual combatants to fight in the open. Before the end of the first day of the counteroffensive, the famous Rowdizian ability to problem solve for any given situation, realized rain would solve the dust problem. However, the arid climate in this section of the planet was not forecasted to receive rain for another 75 cycles, so crews rigged shower heads over radar, viewports, and air filtering systems. Understanding the environment and terrain in which his Army would be operating, Field Marshal Dirkjeedocdo had planned for the dust problem. In less than a cycle after the first units touched the Tilldoc surface, teams of combat engineers were tasked with building massive storage containers and laying pipelines to nearby water sources. Elaborate sprinkler systems maintained a periodic rain of water in the most used areas to suppress the dust, but then came the muck. And the troops rejoiced. Field Marshal Dirkjeedocdo requested, Teejundeedo, we feel another airborne attack will take place this date. Are you in a position to fire your main energy weapon? Yes, Dirkjeedocdo. We have detected a formation of aircraft departing an airfield near the capital. The group is about 300 kilometers from your position. Your tactical display will update within seconds. Thank you I can see the enemy positional data now. Because of this blasted dust, most troops are in cover. We are ready. I will deploy the target beacon when the formation is within five kilometers of the device. My forces are just outside the target area. Inside the bridge of the Dossleevalvic, Teejundeedo warned, Dirkjeedocdo, I pray your troops are covered and outside the kill zone. I have commanded the ships orbit be decreased 25 kilometers to increase the yield of the blast. Firing while their aircraft are in the area is a fitting touch and added bonus. Pray your beacon does not fail to guide my aim. We await your signal in purity and openness.

Reviewing the closure rate and position of the incoming fighter-bombers, he quipped, I must prepare, my best to your mate give the old woujung a kiss. Under the protective cover of a dingy, canvas draped structure, three filthy, disgruntled, Tilldoc soldiers were exhausted from the monotony of cleaning and reloading thousands of magazines to replenish their fellow troop needs. They debated which duties were the worst, and all agreed by far the disposal of waste was the nastiest and most disgusting task. In the past, the disposal duty would fall to the four-fingered, unappreciative degenerates tasked for such menial jobs. However, a propaganda campaign by the filthy, ugly, invading bugs had convinced the subservient trash to run away from their benefactors. Again, the sound of bullets passed overhead, and the trio ducked and hoped not to be hit. Forgetting the sounds were warnings of more to follow, their superior intellect failed to remind them that when they heard the crack, the bullet was gone. The projectile would most likely be traveling at a rate faster than the speed of sound, and the flimsily canvas offered no protection. Attempting to recover from their never ending fear, a new unknown started shaking the ground and the three frightened Tilldoc men looked to each other; then outside for an answer to the cause of the noise and vibration. From the East, the increasing drone from a formation of large lumbering turboprop bombers approached. Collectively the trio cheered the start of another bombing run on the Rowdizian invaders. Yet, that odd mechanical sound, identified to be coming from a destroyed building on the far side of the street, repeated every five seconds and continued its hypnotic song. Finally, searching the building for clues, the trio witnessed several shaken, dislodged bricks of a once sturdy building, falling to the ground as a large cylinder rose from the rubble. The now irritating noise was emanating from the cylinder as it grew in height. Slowly the trio began to feel a warmth that morphed into a dull burning sensation throughout their torso and head. As the burning became painful, they dropped to the ground, no longer able to command the muscles in their bodies. Lying in the powdery dust of a former city and unable to blink, some soldiers last seconds of life witnessed what their Tilldoc minds shouted was impossible. The curse of the thickness of their skulls offering precious seconds of protection to the brain, allowed them to witness the horror as their skin erupted with blisters and their internal fluids boiled to the surface. Colonel Vessweejunkdo reported, Sir, I have confirmed the Dossleevalvic has shut down their energy weapon. Commodore Teejundeedo advised for you to keep your head down then laughed. The seasoned Field Marshal chuckled, And keep it down I will. Colonel Vessweejunkdo, you may proceed with the attack. May the Gods guide our thoughts, and through our own devices, prevail. As you command. Stunned as the reflective surfaces of his cockpit flashed, Jeff realized the abrupt interruption to Ensign Lessdeedos transmission along with the bright light signaled the end of his short life. Checking the short range sensor on his panel, he called to Quedocdo, Mustang zero six, Lessdeedo is lost. I have standby, Jeff strained to avoid a drifting Cooja wing. The positive pitch maneuver allowed him to glimpse another circling Tilldoc

fighter formation attempting to gain position between the Mustang squadron and the Nuevanshevic. He warned, We have another cluster of enemy fighters between us and the house. Quedocdo suggested, Jefferson, that will be our problem later. For now, allow Williamson to fly your wing and we shall press the attack on the Tilldoc Cruiser that hides within the debris field. Jeff pressed the transmit button and yelled, What the as a nearby smoldering piece of wreckage exploded, he jerked his controls in response. His Cooja glanced off the body of a humanoid combatant as another aft flash lit his cockpit. Jeffs earphones hissed, Got the piece of shit. Damn, I love these Rapier fire-and-forget missiles Williamson added, Jeff, an Asp must have fired a heat seeker. Damn close to ya too. Jefferson commented, Theres just too much shit in this debris field. If were not dodging crap, then were receiving false signals from thousands of still powered junk, or being hunted by these Tilldoc Asp fighters. Quedocdo can we regroup and approach from a different angle. Some corridor with a little more room to maneuver before were all killed? The physical stress in Quedocdos voice was measurable as she pitched to avoid another broken ship. She strained, Best path out of here is to recover to rally point Romeo and then we can search for a clearer corridor. Mustang flight 75% maneuvering thrust to Waypoint Romeo on my mark 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Mark! The small nimble Cooja fighters slowed and turned. Every remaining pilot within the 60th Fighter Squadron was soaked with a layer of sweat held between their bio flight suit and skin. Yellow Caution Lights periodically illuminated in each cockpit as the suits ability to sense the feedback from the wearer was interrupted by the sweat. Drains worked overtime attempting to remove the liquid waste and restore the needed physiological information. System fail-safes overrode the false signals and placed pilot stress at 100%; which in turn lessened the Coojas ability to respond to control input. The eight minutes it took to reach the edge of the battlefield seemed like hours to the struggling crews. The odds were one in a trillion, at least thats what a weapons specialist like Jason Watts would tell anyone that asked. It was impossible for a Rapier to miss a target unless it contacted another obstacle before reaching the intended target. If a target outran a Rapier missile, then the missiles warhead would self destruct five minutes after expending its fuel. A third failsafe was the Identify Friend or Foe processors that would not allow a missile to detonate near a friendly vessel. But today, this very cycle, the only failsafe that didnt fail a drifting Rapier missile, a missile than sped away from the previous desperate battle, a missile that was caught in a nearby planetoids gravitational field and catapulted back into the 200 cubic kilometers of wasted beings and equipment, was the missiles IFF. It worked perfectly having been set over a week ago. Sensing an incorrect code, the IFF would detonate the Rapiers warhead. Lieutenant Evedocdo was hesitant at first, having such senior leaders personally guiding the units direction was stressful. But she and the other novice pilots quickly realized their good fortune to have three senior instructors as their leaders. Ambassador Norton, the mission commander acquiesced to Quedocdos command of the squadron and never challenged her authority. He gladly accepted his place within the unit and even

deferred to Jungeedo, the Squadrons XO. Reaching the edge of the debris field, the lieutenant was finally able to close formation on Quedocdos fighter when suddenly, a red Missile Lock warning light flashed on her panel. Simultaneously, a tremendous explosion blinded her. She screamed and was pelted by thousands of fragments from Quedocdos exploding Cooja. What happened? Jeff demanded, stunned after seeing the explosion and knowing of Quedocdos fate. Lieutenant Evedocdo answered, I do not know Jefferson a missile warning flashed and the commanders fighter exploded. Silence filled the squadron frequency as they continued to Waypoint Romeo. Jungeedo ordered, I have assumed command. Are you okay Jefferson? A determined Jefferson answered through gritted teeth, Ill be fine. Just get us to those Tilldoc sons-of-bitches as quickly and safely as possible! Weve got a lot of killing to do. Jungeedo answered, Mustang flight set course for Waypoint Charlie military power plus 10% on my mark 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Mark. The five remaining members of Mustang Flight allowed their fighters to follow the leaders programmed route to a point in space designated Charlie. They reflected on the last 30 minutes of the mission and scanned their surroundings for danger. One minute short of Waypoint Charlie, Jungeedo noted a clearer corridor to the target. Mustang flight. Look alive, this path is too clear to be without surprises, warned Jungeedo, Jefferson, you target amidships and I will concentrate on her propulsion. A crisp affirmative was his answer. As the two groups closed on the Battle Cruiser, swarms of Tilldoc fighters unmasked from the surrounding clutter. Jefferson called to his two wings, See if you can keep up. Our target is amidships fire a tight volley of four missiles Followed immediately by zero thrust 180 degree positive P then a 50% burn and fire everything you got as we slow and reverse course. Questions? Silence filled his ears as fingers in the three fighters danced across the panels inputting the commands. When Jeff finished he transmitted, 3, 2, 1, Mark! Twelve Rapier Fire and Forget missiles left the launch rails of the three attackers. Jeff stabbed his transmitter button and commanded Mark! for zero thrust as Williamsons fighter exploded being hit by cannon fire erupting from the Battle Cruisers slaved weapons. What was left of Jeffersons formation streaked backwards across the upper decks of the enemy Battle Cruiser. The reverse thrust was collectively arresting the flights motion and when Jefferson and his wingman cleared the Tilldoc Warship, they opened fire on the stricken vessel. Jungeedo called, We have destroyed the ships sub-light engines at a great cost. I have lost my wingman and my Cooja is burning. Good luck, Jefferson. Jefferson thought, This isnt working. We made a mistake reducing the fighter crews by 75%. His missiles depleted, and his weapons energy down to 5%, Jeff called to his remaining wing, Whos with me? A cough preceded the strained reply, Tracdeedocdo. Jeff asked, Report status.

My ship is severely damaged. Hull integrity is compromised and I have a slight wound that will end my life. Tracdeedocdo watched imagined blood flow from the stump where her left foot had been severed. Can you maneuver? In purity and openness, as you command Jefferson. Follow me. Full power, NOW! The remaining pair of Coojas accelerated quickly and aimed for the Battle Cruiser amidships on the port side. The rate of closure approached 1000 kilometers per second when the pair impacted the ship. The gesture was the final straw. No one from the 60th was alive to witness the final seconds of the Tilldoc warships life. The hull plates buckled from too much damage to internal structures; thick sheets of composite titanium collapsed from the force of the vacuum of space. The displays on board the Nuevanshevic flashed with the brilliance of the exploding Tilldoc Battle Cruiser. The desperately attacking Tilldoc fighters had no home to return to and continued to fight gallantly, accepting their fate. Well that sucked! Jeff griped when he caught sight of Quedocdo standing on the walkway. I believe we cut the complement of pilots and fighters way too much. Jungeedo interjected, We all agreed that point over twenty simulated missions ago. Do you have a better plan? Quedocdo waited for all of 60th Squadron staff to exit the simulators. When they were standing on the walkway she said, Mustang Flight debriefing in the ready room sixty minutes. Quedocdo, Jeff got her attention and discreetly said, this debriefing could take hours and the evening meal begins in less than two hours. Can we start the debrief now? She answered, The pilots are drenched in sweat. We will arrive at the coordinates on the new cycle and our current plan will result in all of us getting killed if there is one Galaxy Class warship waiting to cause trouble. We have to see the Captain. Come. Jeff trailed a determined Quedocdo as she trotted to the bridge. Jeff asked, Que, have you a new plan? No Jefferson, have you? she called over her shoulder. I have an idea. I just need to know the capabilities of this ship. Jeff reached for her shoulder and slowed her pace. Whats the hurry? Quedocdo stopped, turned and faced Jefferson with tears forming in her eyes, Jefferson, I am carrying our pups. I do not want to die on the morrow. Jeff took her head in his hands and pressed his forehead to her crest. After several long seconds of shared tenderness, he kissed her sincerely and said, I have yet to feel our time has come. This is not a suicide mission. I am sure we will survive. Quedocdo snorted, choking back the stress of an unknown future. Standing tall she said, Let us invite Captain Rossleedocdo to the debriefing and if no answer is found we can continue to discuss tactics during the evening meal. Jeff again slowly allowed their foreheads to touch and the shared warmth gave comfort to them both. When he felt Quedocdo relax, he said, Come, lets hurry to the bridge.

Field Marshal Dirkjeedocdo looked at his watch and measured the time since the energy weapon had fired. He thought, another five minutes of artillery and we can move out. By then the surface will have cooled to a temperature that will not overcome the troops or equipment. The constant roar of outgoing artillery was deafening to his ears. Looking to Colonel Vessweejunkdo, Dirkjeedocdo raised his voice and said, It is times like these that I remember a time as a pup when I was terrified of thunder. My father explained the lightening bolts were burning the gasses of the atmosphere as the lightning tracked from ground to cloud. Then the surrounding gasses instantly filled the void causing each rumbling thunderous crash. The staccato concussions of artillery have always reminded me of that time with my father, a time I will always cherish. Finally, he heard the dreary olive-green radios broadcast, Attack! Attack! Attack! Dirkjeedocdo dusted off his battle dress uniform and patiently waited in his command track for the traffic of the advance to die down before he signaled his young driver to follow. He and his headquarters unit had one objective during this push. They were to capture as many of the intact disrupters as possible. As the mad rush to refill the void and advance the lines slowed, Dirkjeedocdo coughed a hacking cough and two large, gray colored, mucus balls ejected from his sinuses. His attentive driver passed a clean, damp cloth to his responsibility and offered a canteen of cool, fresh, sulfur-laced water. No words were spoken. None were necessary. Dirkjeedocdo cleaned his face and thanked his young driver of eight years and with a wave of his hand, they were off. There was no resistance passing through the area where the weapons energy had impacted. An eerie, shimmering wasteland of seemingly abandoned equipment littered the landscape. Only the putrid smell of overcooked animal remains hung on the still wind. Mounds of bloated, stinking tissue marked the final resting place of the enemy soldiers. Dirkjeedocdo swallowed hard to push down the acidic bile burning his throat. His driver wasnt as determined, and vomited through an open entry hatch. Taking a swig from the canteen, Dirkjeedocdo said, Here, and passed the canteen and a fresh wipe to the ailing soldier. His driver yelled over the whistling trill of the turbochargers, Sir how can you stomach the stench? Not much better than you. I am sure, to a small degree, the aroma is mixed with the vomitus of many of our troops. This is the first deployment of the energy weapon over a concentrated mass of beings. During testing, we only saw and smelled the results on a few hundred woujung, Dirkjeedocdo began laughing, and they stink to begin with! The driver was now confused and asked, We never used the weapon during the Rowdizian Earth-Alliance Six Year War? There was never a need my friend. That was a war fought in space. Only a few hundred skirmishes took place at scattered outposts and garrisons between Rowdizia and Earth. Overkill and somewhat of a Dirkjeedocdo paused and searched for the right word, dishonorable way to kill. Now the driver was baffled and asked, But sir, if we have a weapon that destroys the enemy and their will to fight, and further does not sacrifice our own species, are we not obligated to use the weapon? I wish sometimes it were that simple. You see Noveldedo, if a society indiscriminately used such powerful weapons against their enemies, the politicians would

be further drunk with the power and fruits of reckless conquest. War has to remain a horrible, filthy, disgusting venture or it becomes too sterile to inflame the minds of the public and the participant. You will forever remember the sights and smells of this cycle till the time you return to the origin. Your spirit may even grow from this experience and hold it in your subconsciousness after your next birth. Remember the words of the greatest warrior from more than 25,000 years past, For only the being that has experienced the horrors of battle first hand, can that being appreciate the need for peace. Jomdo. Having expended his energy expressing his convictions, Dirkjeedocdo promptly threw up. Captain Rossleedocdo looked to the seven senior staff gathered at the table. All were dressed in their finest uniforms to celebrate the pre-battle evening meal. Looking to Jefferson he said, Ambassador. I would think you would dress in the suit of a civil servant and not the uniform of a warrior. Jeff let the barb pass and replied, Captain. To those interested in harming us, Im here as a diplomat. As the commander of this mission, I am here as a soldier. Titles can be confusing and muddy the perspective of the observer. Let us pray this is ONLY a rescue mission, Quedocdo lamented, and we can save lives and calm the Earth-Alliance. After more than sixty simulations using all squadrons to test the various plans, we always arrive at the same result. If only one Galaxy Class warship is present and intends to do us harm we shall fail. Jeff deadpanned, We will not fail. Well this is a change from an hour ago. Jungeedo asked, What has set your determination? Stirring and positioning the food on his plate, Jeff asked, Captain. From when the order is given, what is the spool-up time before this ship can jump? Ninety of your Earth seconds. Rossleedocdo leaned forward to better view Jeffersons plate. His curiosity knew a plan was forming. And how soon does it take to spool-up the hyper-drive after the ship has just dropped out of hyperspace? I apologize for not having an answer. Rossleedocdo contacted the bridge, ordering, Search the data banks and see how much time a ship takes to reengage hyperdrive after dropping out of hyperspace. Immediately and call with the answer. Christine asked, Jeff, you have a plan, dont you? Jeff looked at the anxious faces around the table and then looking directly at the Captain said, Rossleedocdo, the ship is yours to fight, but may I suggest. Lets say the time to spool up is 90 seconds. Jeff tapped his plate as a reference, The Nuevanshevic drops out of hyperspace here on the near side of the battlefield. We have 90 seconds to survey the debris field both visually and electronically. We do not launch the CAP. Rossleedocdo scoffed, What you suggest, not launching the combat air patrol, invites disaster! Please Captain, let me finish before you call me a fool. Jeff requested. Rossleedocdo cleared his throat saying, again apologies, continue. He calmed and continued eating.

Thank you. Okay, 90 seconds and were spooling up for a jump and surveying the debris field. Now if there is a warship intent on doing us harm, its a trap, and we adjust with thrusters the X and Y axis for a clear path to jump. Maybe even do a 180 and point the ship for home, because, Jeff moved two saucers to his left and right front, an aggressor will be hiding at one of these points within the debris field to ambush the Rowdizian rescue ship. Jeff held up a finger to request a pause while he sipped tea. Placing his glass on the table, he continued, Move the crew away from the outer hull to minimize casualties, well probably take several missile hits before we can jump. Jump to a point well outside their sensor range. After we jump the enemy ship will be confused and recovering their fighters. There will be few if any enemy fighters to launch because of their recovering fighters. Well need to travel to a point about half the time and distance from the enemy ship so we can study the data and return to a point within weapons range of their ship while they are, Jeff chuckled, recovering their fighters. The Nuevanshevic just needs to drop out of hyperspace behind the enemy, launch all fighters, target their propulsion, and fire everything we carry. Just a matter of timing and placement. After a long pause, Captain Rossleedocdo asked, Are you finished? Yes, Jeff picked up his tea and waited in silence, Rossleedocdo answered his communicator and said into the device, Thank you. He then leaned forward and studied the strategically placed dinnerware around the table. No emotion showed when he said, That was the bridge. The only record of a ship returning to hyperspace after dropping out is five minutes. The Captain forgot several dignitaries on New Terra and was told by an angry Empress to return immediately and get them. Christine asked, My God, what happened to the Captain? Rossleedocdo shook his head and answered, He sits before you. Rossleedocdo gently shoved his plate into the arranged grouping, disrupting the order. He repeated, Five minutes Jefferson. Sixteen and 100 seconds What is that? wondered Quedocdo. Knowing, Rossleedocdo answered, The number of missile impacts and the time we better have jumped by. If we have not jumped, all fighters are to launch and we will stand and fight. At that point we will be lucky to see another cycle. Rossleedocdo stood, I will order my operations officer to transfer this recording into a battle plan. Come, while we wait to edit the draft operational order, we should eat. Jefferson, you do a fine job of maintaining the audiences attention. You have thought this out well. Jeff stood and helped Quedocdo. His attention remained focused on the Captain, Just think, Captain when we succeed, military schools will teach this maneuver as the Rossleedocdo Jump! Jeff beamed. I am afraid they will refer to it as the Rossleedocdo Folly should we fail. Quedocdos smooth fingertips lightly traced Jeffersons lips as she proudly cooed, Your plan is elegant in its simplicity. Her tongue then found and teased his ear while she checked for Jeffersons firmness. Finding him distracted, she suggested, You seem to be in a different world. She coaxed her mate, Tell me of your thoughts, tell me of Susan.

Jeff jumped, Nothing like throwing a little cold water on a hot fire. I am afraid your fire is less than smoldering, She adjusted in the bed to sit against the headboard, allowing the cotton sheet to fall, exposing her unblemished firm breasts and torso. and in fourteen hours we will be sitting in our Coojas waiting to launch. What has you so distracted? Brakashee. What? she said and wondered if he was certain of the meaning. Jeff sat up and moved next to Quedocdo, Dj vu you know the belief that one has experienced a current event in the past. Intrigued and knowing that KC, Jeffs former love interest had many such experiences, she asked, What exactly? The mission profile weve been flying. Ive experienced it before. Jeff took her hand and kissed her fingers as she replied. And we have flown the same scenario five times. Well actually, we have flown five different scenarios with each having the same tragic outcome. She playfully punched Jefferson in the chest for his correction and challenged, Then tell me of your brakashee. She hoped the story would not interfere with their foreplay since there seemed to still be hope for a tiny, warm, glowing ember. I dont know its just strange. Jeff took a deep breath then began, Que, except the tactical training flights weve conducted with the students, you and I have never piloted fighters together on a combat mission. I see myself being launched into a massive debris field and then the mother ship jumps away disappears and Im left alone with one other fighter and were desperately running to keep from being killed by hundreds of enemy fighters. Its probably just a bad dream. I worry about you. Who is in the other fighter? You. Okay so you and I in your dream are fighting together a desperate fight against insurmountable odds catching his gaze, she waggled her brows and finished with, sounds romantic. But earlier the last simulation we flew, the vision was triggered when your ship was destroyed. he sighed. Jeff, we have flown hundreds of simulated missions with so many different scenarios, I do not dare to count. I have killed you, you have killed me. Bad dream. One would think that with all that weve been through, we would be plagued with night terrors. She got up and walked to a small counter and poured two drinks. A large Cabo Uno for Jefferson and a large Rowdizian Ale for herself. Handing Jeff his drink she slid back to her side of the bed. Kissing Jeffersons cheek she returned to, Now, tell me about Susan. Men and women are not supposed to speak of former love interests. Well, I am comforted by the use of the word former, but there is something special about her that would steal your heart so easily. Besides, you have told me all about KC. Shes dead. And no risk of reentering your life, but Susan, I still have competition. So tell

me. Jeff could see this repartee could go on all night, so he finally relented saying, This is silly, and we have pups on the way Pups have never chained a male to a female. she gently nibbled his ear then adjusted her position for the story. So Susan. Jeff looked into Quedocdos beautiful large black eyes and sighed, I want to go on record that this is not a good idea. Fair enough. she pulled her knees to her chest, and placed her chin on her knees. After a sip of his smooth, warm spirits he began, We met the last day of the war. She and several of what remained of her squadron joined with KC and me to press an attack against the Dungruevic. The ship was hammering our home, the Nova Wind, and we helped to destroy the Rowdizian warship Quedocdo, looking through the monitor on the wall, stared deep into space and breathed, I had a male and two female siblings on the Dungruevic. and warmly smiled. Que, Im so sorry. Do not voice sorrow. They passed to a higher plane and fought valiantly. All three were Cooja pilots and were not aboard at the moment of the ships destruction. One female returned unscathed. You met her at the party when you returned from Earth. Im sorry, I dont remember. She was the female, Gahdaydocdo, hanging all over you and offering to take you home. You seemed very interested in her. I do not see how you could forget. Please. Jeff shook his head wanting to forget the encounter. Jefferson, Quedocdo giggled, your response is priceless. Susan. Jeff thought to choose his words carefully, but decided to just plow ahead, Well, Susan and I were the only two to survive the final run. I spotted the bridge escape pod and she helped me capture Doweejunkdo and Deejunkdo. Jeff sipped his drink and wondered why Que was quiet. Doweejunkdo had shared with Jeff who was on the bridge and their importance. One of the officers hed killed was an aunt of Quedocdos. He shook his head and continued, After an hour, Jefferson paused, and Quedocdo thought, he even included his reoccurring dreams, so she said, The Operations Officer of the Dungruevic was my aunt who I was extremely close to. But Jefferson, Doweejunkdo and you spoke of KCs brakashee and you say she comes to you in your dreams? Jeff got up and refreshed their drinks and figured by the time on the clock this was last call. When he turned, Quedocdo was silently crying, and his heart sank knowing he had callously said too much. He sat on the edge of the bed and gently grasped her shoulders saying, Im thoughtless to have droned on about the war and an old girlfriend. and then he became totally confused. Quedocdo laughed, No. It is you who do not understand. Quedocdo took a large drink and a deep breath before continuing, The dreams. KCs warnings. KCs knowing spirit speaks to you from the origin and you have dismissed her gift. Its a dream! he defended. Jefferson, listen to her words and interpret their meaning. Well, Im somewhat confused. Quedocdo kissed Jefferson and stood wrapped in the sheet. Then extending a hand

said, Come, let us enjoy a shared shower and return to bed. I want to enjoy you one more time before we reach our destination. The final briefing and the morning meal came too soon. Jeffs tired eyes looked over his right shoulder and saw Quedocdo blowing him a kiss. To his left, Jungeedo rested with his eyed closed, his tension betrayed by his right hand gripping the launch brace handle. Less than a minute ago they were ordered to power up for the drop out of hyperspace. Jeff wondered if the others, like him, were praying for an uneventful day. The klaxon blared a 15 second warning of the drop to sub-light. Jeff and the others waited. Fate is a capricious thing. The intercom blared, Sub-light speed. Tilldoc Battle Cruiser 65 degrees to port, 40 negative P, 5350 meters. On the bridge Captain Rossleedocdo ordered, Prepare to jump all stop thrusters to port 160 degrees He heard a voice report Sir, spread of 14 missiles fired and the enemy is launching fighters. Rossleedocdo chuckled, Jefferson so far so good. He then barked, Ready missile batteries, target Battle Cruiser and fire. Pulse cannons free to engage fighters and missiles. Quedocdo wished she was on the bridge watching the action. Checking the clock on her instrument panel, she noted 65 seconds had passed. She closed her eyes and prayed. On the bridge Captain Rossleedocdo had just received a report that the hyperdrive was at 80% readiness, time was 82 seconds. The ship began vibrating from the rapid rate of fire of the pulse cannons. He mentally reviewed everyones duty. The Propulsion Officer had her orders, when the drive hit 100% she was to jump the ship. After 120 seconds, if the drive had yet reached 100%, she was to await further orders. He watched the monitors as the 14 missiles quickly closed the distance when he heard, Sir, the enemy has launched another 20 missiles. The Nuevanshevic rocked from impacting warheads. Rossleedocdo stared at the clock, and reluctantly said, Prepare to launch the CAP. Since he and everyone else on the ship knew of a possible immediate jump after the drop to sub-light speed, he had overridden the ships computer countdown. The entire crew braced, praying for the jump. Jeff looked at his clock and wished the time was wrong. It read 105 seconds when the intercom blared, Prepare to launch the CAP. He looked to Quedocdo who was shaking her head when, in the distance, his eyes focused on a launch technician reaching for the trigger and Quedocdo was gone. He transmitted, What did you do? And saw another technician throw the former to the deck. Confused and frightened, he yelled, Damn it! Shes out there alone launch me! And the second technician reluctantly selected Jeffs fighter and pressed the trigger. On the bridge at 116 seconds, Captain Rossleedocdo lost his composure and yelled, What just happened! when his Propulsion Officer announced, Drive 100% jump! Jefferson quickly found Quedocdos fighter angling for a large section of a former Rowdizian Battle Cruiser. He increased power to join her. He called, Que, right behind you. Follow me and shut down all electronics. The Nuevanshevics position and the jump ghost may have obscured our presence and position. Quedocdo ducked her Cooja

behind the massive piece of drifting wreckage; reversed her angle, and trusted to stop. She watched as Jefferson did the same and positioned his fighter a few meters from hers. Seeing a gaping hole near what was left of the flight deck she motioned for Jefferson to follow. Once inside, Quedocdo gently nosed her fighter through the countless pieces of floating equipment and bodies then stopped when she felt safe. Jeff followed Quedocdo and positioned himself nose to nose with her ship; their cockpits less than a meter apart. When he turned off his landing light the interior fell to pitch black. Quedocdo selected her instrumentation lighting to a spectrum where Jefferson could see her and touched a finger to her lips. Jeff watched as Quedocdos interior illuminated and could see her signal to be quiet. He blew her a kiss and waited, monitoring the command frequency. Captain Rossleedocdo recovered from his anger and said, Ops, let me see the tactical display of the debris field. He was somewhat relieved by the damage reports. There were no reports of injuries nor was there any significant damage to the Nuevanshevic from the enemys missiles. Any damage to the ship was easily contained and sealed. Looking at the display, he noted the plotted position of the Tilldoc Battle Cruiser and the surrounding flotsam. As he continued his study he checked the time and commanded, Drop to sub-light, battle stations. Helm bring the ship about 180 degrees. Propulsion, see if you can spin-up the jump drive a little quicker. All hands standby jump. Looking around the bridge he called, Tactical come here when the Tactical Officer approached, Rossleedocdo continued speaking while pointing and tapping the display, We will jump to a point here, behind the Tilldoc warship, full stop that will put us 2000 meters off her stern and almost perpendicular to her position. Have helm come 20 degrees to starboard. Have all batteries, launch tubes, and cannons ready to fire. Launch all fighters and have them concentrate on enemy fighters. Everyone is to open fire when they have a target or a lock. Understood? Sir, it could not be more simple. As you command. Checking the clock, Rossleedocdo noted eight minutes had passed since they jumped away from the Tilldoc trap. He wondered what he would be doing now if he were the Tilldoc captain. The intercom spoke, Bridge, Propulsion, 102 seconds and the jump drive is ready at 100%. Rossleedocdo looked around the bridge at his staff and asked, Tactical, have you entered the plan? His answer was a curt nod and salute. The Captain bowed to his assembled bridge staff and then selected the ships intercom to address his crew, Attention, this is the Captain. The battle plan has been loaded into the ships computer. You have a few minutes to study your assignments before we are to engage the enemy. The plan is simple and, except for the specifics of where we reenter the battle, you have been briefed of what to expect. Hold steady in your resolve. We will stand and fight till the enemy yields. May the Gods favor our efforts and our destiny. Propulsion. On my command, jump in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, jump. Jeffs clock showed 17 minutes had elapsed since the Nuevanshevic jumped. He

looked to Quedocdo and getting her attention, visibly shrugged his shoulders and raised his hands palms up. He was concerned but wouldnt blame Rossleedocdo for not wanting to come back. It was crazy for a damaged Rowdizian Corvette with only 25% of her crew and a reduced fighter compliment to go up against any Battle Cruiser. He wondered if he and Quedocdo could survive until a rescue was mounted if it was mounted. Suddenly his earphones blared with Quedocdos plea. Jefferson are you asleep? We need to go. The Nuevanshevic is back! As he powered up his systems the distant faint hiss of the radios became the chatter of excited Rowdizian fighter pilots calling to their peers. He picked his way through the floating equipment with Quedocdo in trail. Clearing the wreckage he transmitted, You have the lead, Ill fly your wing. Rossleedocdo immediately spotted the Tilldoc ship to their 4 oclock as the helmsman was making the 20 degree turn to place the enemy directly on their starboard beam. Exhaust trails followed the launched missiles and the Nuevanshevic again began to shudder from the vibrations of the pulse cannons. Even the Rowdizian fighters were launched and racing toward the Battle Cruiser before the enemy had time to react. Finally, less than a minute into the engagement, the few Tilldoc fighters having yet to recover, were seen changing course to attack their nemesis. The Tilldoc Battle Cruisers main drive, now damaged and leaking plasma, exploded. Witnessing the critical loss of propulsion, Rossleedocdo knew the battle was now his to lose. He ordered, Direct all pulse cannons to target incoming missiles. Recall all fighters to attack enemy fighters and target the Tilldoc ship with every missile until it is destroyed. Quedocdo called, Nuevanshevic this is Mustang Zero Six and flight, we copy your instructions and will engage the fighters being launched. Jeff saw another aft section of the Tilldoc warship buckle and implode. He suggested, Lead, we better not get too close the Tilldoc warship may self destruct at any second. Quedocdo agreed, Jefferson, let us reposition to a point between the two warships and intercept the enemy fighters as they attack the Nuevanshevic. Captain Rossleedocdos mood was lifted by the continuing destruction of the enemies ability to fight. The horrible error of launching Quedocdo and the Ambassador was negated by their having survived the mistake. The debris field was a wealth of energy signatures and possible survivors, but he was unprepared for the next revelation. The communications officer called Captain, the Tilldoc warship is hailing us on the guard frequency! Rossleedocdo surprised, arched his brow, tilted his head, and calmly said, Put it on speaker. Rowdizian warship, this is Captain Valerius of the Tilldoc warship Suburana. I request a cease fire. Rowdizian warship, this is Captain Valerius of the Tilldoc warship Suburana. I request a cease fire. The message repeated. Rossleedocdo noted all of the remaining Tilldoc fighters were avoiding conflict and running from the Coojas. He watched as another section of the Tilldoc Battle Cruiser imploded. Taking a deep breath he ordered, All combat units are to cease fire, select all launched missiles to self destruct. Immediately. Looking to the view screens, Rossleedocdo watched as a few damaged Rowdizian and Tilldoc fighters exploded, and

dozens of launched missiles self destructed enroute to their target. He selected the guard frequency and transmitted, This is Captain Rossleedocdo of the Rowdizian warship Nuevanshevic. How may we be of service to you Captain Valerius? Captain. Rossleedocdo I see you have responded to my request. I feel there has been some mistake. We were on a peaceful recovery mission. And you have attacked my vessel. Captain Rossleedocdo bristled, I am sorry for any misunderstanding, but we too were on a rescue mission and when we dropped out of hyperspace you fired on my vessel. We made no hostile move and our purpose and mission in this region was communicated to all governments. So, that settled, what are your intentions? I and my senior staff will yield this ship to your superior skills. We are unable to fight and what is left of my ship and crew surrender. Captain Valerius, Please make your ship safe and attend to your wounded. I will send a boarding party to discuss options. Are you in agreement? Captain Rossleedocdo we are agreed. I will transmit instructions of where to land and park on my ship. Rossleedocdo looked to his First Officer and said, You know they may be stalling and more ships are just minutes away. He pinched the bridge of his nose in thought and commanded, Have Weapons target the Suburana with all missiles and cannons, and have Propulsion spin up the hyper-drive and be prepared to jump. If Captain Valerius has a surprise in store for us, we will be able to get in a last punch before we run. Fifteen minutes later, Quedocdo and Ambassador Norton were standing in front of Rossleedocdo with Quedocdo protesting, Ambassador Norton is not to go over to the Suburana. If they discover who he is, they may not care to survive knowing they have the opportunity to destroy their nemesis of legend. Rossleedocdo raised his hands in defeat, I agree, but Jefferson is the mission commander and this excursion does not directly effect this ship. I have no authority. Anyway what legend? Jefferson bowed and saluted the Captain, Thank you, Sir. I see no problem with accompanying the boarding party. Rossleedocdo shot back, Oh, I never said I agreed with your going, I was just reminding the lovely female that I have no authority to stop you. Now what legend? Quedocdo cried, It is only a little thing the Tilldoc are seeing come to fruition. She waved and pointed her finger at Jefferson as she recited the prophesy, Gods chosen beings will enjoy a period of great prosperity, but in time, One will rise up from the wretched and build a force to smite the chosen and bring about the end of times. Tears filled her eyes and ran down her cheeks, The Tilldoc are the chosen, we are the wretched, and he, she poked Jeffersons chest, is the One. Rossleedocdo whistled and looked to Jefferson, Jefferson, have you seen how ruthless these beings can be? I do not think we have stumbled on a Tilldoc with a kinder and gentler heart. Besides, the good Captain Valerius cannot control the entire crews behavior and your presence will endanger my staff and crew. It would be best for you not to go. That is my responsibility.

Jeff resigned to not risking the other members of the boarding party and said, Well, our mission was to rescue survivors in this area. Captain, can we start immediately with the Rowdizian distress signals and if we still have room, rescue any humans, and return them to Earth? What of the Tilldoc? the Captain asked. Well, I believe its a little too late now to kill them. Its your decision if you want prisoners, but we may be limited on room. If their ship survives, and I believe it will, their government can dispatch a rescue. I dont believe their predicament is our problem. We should hurry though and get out of here. Jeff watched a silent Rossleedocdo. Quedocdo asked, Captain, with your permission, Jefferson, Jungeedo, and I will begin the recovery of the living. Rossleedocdo smiled, Excellent, I will concentrate on negotiations with our captives and monitor the region. I will also place under your command some of my crew and vessels to participate in the rescue. Be careful and pay attention to this ship. If I detect another Tilldoc ship in the area or dropping out of hyperspace, I will immediately jump and return home. You will have less than two minutes to recover. Jefferson smiled at their good fortune and success. He saluted Captain Rossleedocdo and said as he left the bridge, Yes sir, it will be known as the Rossleedocdo Maneuver. That it will.

Standing on the flag bridge of the Nuevanshevic, an overjoyed commander brimming with warmth and admiration patted Ambassador Norton on the shoulder. He knew this mission had, so far, been a roaring success. Captain Rossleedocdo of the Rowdizian Corvette Nuevanshevic had believed, less than 20 hours earlier, that he and his crew would not survive their mission to see another cycle. He now thought he would never be able to repay Jefferson and his staff for their unequaled skills at tactical organization and execution. Ambassador Jefferson Norton slowly turned in his command chair and dividing his attention between the Captain and the monitors showing the flurry of activity on the ships hangar decks asked, Well Captain, what seems to have you in such fine spirits this new cycle? Excuse me, Jefferson selected a channel and ordered, Rescue unit Echo If you have completed cracking open that escape pod Bravo unit has run into a problem with an Earth-Alliance pod and requires your teams special skills. Surprised at the question, Rossleedocdo said, You have to ask? You, your staff, and the Empress must have conspired as to the crew compliment of this ship before we left Rowdizia. Non-flying combat veterans were granted leave and technical crewmembers were retained. The creature walked the flag bridge, stroking his chin in thought, You knew the automatic weapon systems would not require weapons officers to aim and operate the systems. You knew we only needed experienced officers, pilots and skilled technicians. You gambled, in fact you believed no, no you knew there would be no chance for a prolonged battle. That was always your expectation and intent. We would either die or prevail on the opening seconds of a tossup battle. The opening moves, like a game of chess, were decisive and in turn guided the outcome. Captain Rossleedocdo, nothing we did these past 28 hours was foretold. There was an expectation the Tilldoc would set a trap, yet with the Earth-Alliance Embassy staff being onboard this rescue ship, there was some hope that the Tilldoc would not take action to harm an official delegation. We misjudged the Tilldoc. All of us, including you, working together, formulated a plan that minimized our risk. Thus we prevailed. Right now we have a bigger problem. What troubles you, Jefferson? asked the Captain. Jeff sighed, We do not have the space for all we have rescued. Have you contacted the Spanish Battle Cruiser? Shaking his head from Jeffersons display of modesty, the Captain answered, I salute you, it was your plan. As to the Spanish. Finally, after 20 hours of transmissions, the crippled warship answered our hails. They replied they are reluctantly willing to accept a tow to Earth and their ship has the ability to quarter more than 3000 rescued warriors from this ill-conceived venture that has cost everyone so many lives. Their words not mine. They requested enough CO2 scrubbers to allow for the added beings. The Spanish warship Aragon waits our instructions. Thinking about the current situation, Jefferson asked, We have another 4 hours to complete the rescue of the remaining escape capsules, how long to intercept the Aragon? Captain Rossleedocdo looked to the tactical display and input a command to recall

data. Reading the information he said, Ambassador, given the distance and speed hum interesting, just under two hours in hyperspace to intercept the Aragon. Good. Whats interesting? Jeff asked. Rossleedocdo ran his fingers down the slowly scrolling data answering, It would appear the Aragons sub-light drive is damaged because the ship is barely making onehalf light speed. Will that pose a problem? Some. With the two ships combined mass, and their ships inability to reach .999 sub-light, it will provide a greater challenge dragging the Aragon past the light speed threshold. he smiled and placed his open hand on his chest, I believe I now get to display my talents at piloting a celestial warship. You do have skills. Jeff stopped the playful toying with his chair and said, And what of the Tilldoc Captain Valerius of the Suburana? I am cautious with the good captain. He has not in any way caused alarm or caused any of my staff to question his intentions. Do you believe we can trust the Tilldoc commander? Shit no! Jeff got out of his seat and walked the flag bridge, If and when he arrives back on the Tilldoc home world, do you really think our good Captain will keep his thumbs? Jeff waved his thumbs in Rossleedocdos face and was amazed at having to answer. Rossleedocdo thought for a few seconds and agreed, No. Captain Valerius will be ridiculed from this devastating defeat, thought lesser by his superiors, and be branded a subservient being. Jeff stopped his pacing, faced Rossleedocdo and asked, Do you think Captain Valerius would be inclined to come here, here to the Nuevanshevic and speak with me? Suddenly the flag bridge was filled with the deep, roaring laughter of Captain Rossleedocdo. Catching his breath he answered, Technically, he and his ship have been captured by us. I believe he has no choice. I have never been too keen on holding captives when Im trying to get their cooperation. However, what you find so funny is true. Jeff gazed out the viewport and seeing the expanse of debris, shook his head in disbelief. Focusing on the destroyed aft section of the Tilldoc warship Suburana, Jeff requested, Since you and my staff refuse to allow me to visit the Tilldoc ship, could you please arrange for Captain Valerius to be transported here immediately? Captain Rossleedocdo saluted the Ambassador and said, As you command. He then walked the short distance to the command bridge of the Nuevanshevic and made the arrangements. Jeff felt thirsty; walked to the kitchenette and poured a glass of properly sweetened iced tea. Looking at her reflection in the mirror, he asked, Que, youre quiet. Would you care for something to drink? Stretching, she answered, Hot tea and another amphetamine, please. You and I could have benefited from sleep the evening before the ship dropped out of hyperspace. We have been awake now for more than 36 hours. How are you holding up? A chime signaling the completion of the heating cycle stole his attention. Jeff doctored the hot tea to Quedocdos likening and retrieved two capsules. After handing the

tea and stimulant to his mate, he rested a tired head on her shoulder and felt her gently lay her head against his. After a minutes break he asked, Are the stimulants okay for our pups? All seven are fine and seem to be healthy. Even hybrids benefit from the effects of stimulants. Doctor Cheedocdo did a sonogram a few hours ago and I am happy with the results of her examination. Jefferson everyone is beat. Dr. Cheedocdo estimated 25% of the rescued suffered severe injuries. She and the other surgeons have not had rest from the constant flow of casualties. Why take the time for a sonogram? Jeff was now concerned. I had some spotting post battle. She just wanted to make sure the pups were fine. Quedocdo quickly added, And they are. His whole body drooped, Is there anything we can do to help the surgical staff? She rolled her head on its axis to work out the stiffness answering, Not unless you can locate any more surgeons. Jeff kissed Quedocdo and said, This has been a colossal Greek Tragedy. What a waste. Jeff blinked his eyes, feeling the drugs kick in, and added, Well, maybe these will be the last two doses required to complete our work. Wed be less tired if you hadnt kept me up talking about Susan. Quedocdo lightly punched Jefferson in the arm and said, If I may. First as to a tragedy, we are still at war with the Tilldoc, and two you are the one that went into such great romantic detail about your relationship with Susan. Besides, your feelings and how you described Susan speaks volumes as to the type of human you are. And in my eyes, she pulled Jeff close and lovingly kissed his cheek and lips, you are a fine, intelligent, and decent man that is honorable and cares for the feelings of others. I wouldnt go that far I can be very abrupt and cruel when required. countered Jeff. I am not talking about your determination during the heat of battle or a fight. I refer to this last example, only minutes old. Our engagement with the Tilldoc warship is decided and you treat your prisoners as equals. You took the same action when you captured the Dungruevics escape pod; a pod containing many of the highest ranking Rowdizian officers and leaders. All Rowdizians have had the opportunity to see the playback of your dealings with Commodore Doweejunkdo resulting in the end of the Rowdizian Earth-Alliance War. It is now required history education. Jeff rubbed his tired eyes and said, I just dont want to negotiate from a position of security and strength knowing my opponent is, to some degree in fear of the unknown. Makes for a dishonest and wasted discussion. Doweejunkdo taught me that. Jefferson, what is the Rowdizian motto? In purity and openness. Why? And you fail to see the connection? smiled Quedocdo. Jeff couldnt believe how tired he was, and the stimulants they were taking werent helping that much. He felt as though hed been dragged through the dirt for the past 30 hours. His muscles ached and his body was numb from lack of rest. He answered, Im too tired to effectively process the information provided, and Im not up to socialization. I am suffering from acute fatigue and need rest. We need to finish our immediate responsibilities and not leave any one soldier abandoned in this field of battle.

Que, out of thirty-eight Rowdizian warships, we have roughly 9430 survivors. It will not be a comfortable trip home. She stood, stretched, then offered, Come let us shower, take another stimulant, and in a few hours we can crash and rest during the trip to Earth. The shower, Quedocdo, and the drugs were invigorating. Jeff grabbed a serviceable pair of jeans and his favorite sweatshirt. He watched as Quedocdo bent to pick up a dropped pair of panties and was instantly aroused by her naked form. Lightly stroking the soft cheeks of her ass, he asked, Is this another invitation? We do have a meeting in five minutes. Quedocdo joked, Coupling. I would think you to be oversexed if you were not so damn good at it. Of course we have an important meeting to attend. I, for one, am anxious to meet one of these superior beings. Quedocdo daintily put on her panties and bra requesting, please fasten me. I hope Im always around to help you, as he hooked the bra, she turned her head and lightly bit his earlobe. Jeff added, and youre right meeting lets hurry. Jeff tied his running shoes and helped Quedocdo don her dress uniform. As Quedocdo and the Ambassador entered the situation room of the Nuevanshevic, everyone assembled stood to attention. Jeff immediately spotted the Tilldoc commander, Captain Valerius, dressed in a black uniform that must be the Tilldoc version of the officer dress uniform. His left breast was adorned with about two dozen medals. The man carried his hat between his left arm and torso. He stood about six foot six and was a trim, muscular 240 to 260 pounds. His head was topped with a wavy crop of golden hair and his stare was aided by intense, blue eyes. More interesting was the black holster supporting a pistol. Behind Captain Valerius stood Jungeedo, Jeffersons Chief of Staff and head of security. Captain Rossleedocdo did the introductions. As Captain Valerius shook Jeffs hand he said, I guess Im to be honored being allowed to meet The One, Ambassador Norton. And sir, it is an honor for me. Jeff smiled warmly and replied. Captain Valerius, Im impressed by your presence. Tell me, and in no way do I mean this as offensive, but are all Tilldoc males similar in stature as you. Surprised by the question, Valerius answered, Of course, I am a prime example of a Tilldoc male, although I am only a fraction above the minimum acceptable standard for height. Why do you ask? Nothing really however, you would stand out in a group of Earthbound Tilldoc. I would venture the average height of an Earthbound male to be five-eleven and they are identical to human form. You have a slightly larger cranium and a more pointed, Jeff stroked his chin, jaw line. Captain Valerius nodded his head, understanding Jeffersons observation, You may be correct, since the Earthbound Tilldoc have been denied the privilege to evolve on their home world for several hundred years. What does it matter? Nothing just a curious observation. Lets get down to the matters at hand. Oh, and your English is excellent. We were required to study the language in prepera the Tilldoc Captain held

his tongue realizing what he was about to disclose. Jeff chuckled, Ill finish that thought for you. In preparation for the invasion of Earth. We can continue this meeting in English, Rowdizian, or Tilldoc if you like. Your choice. English will be fine. Valerius didnt hide his discomfort at being the receiver of such openness. Would you like some Rowdizian tea? Jeff motioned to a sidebar containing beverages. Thank you for asking, and yes, I would love some iced and sweet. I hail from the Southern prefectures. Valerius chuckled. Look Captain, we were taken off guard by your requesting a cease fire. Were still a little tense thinking there might be a little surprise waiting in the shadows. I cant blame you for not trusting us, and we do not trust you. Jeff leaned back in his chair and continued, In purity and openness, is a Rowdizian axiom that this species applies to their daily, peaceful lives. The way I see it, you either have another ship, or ships nearby, and this delay is part of a plan, or you will fall victim to the self-centered Tilldoc belief in the quest for the superior being and your error has marked you as less. There is a third option that you didnt plan on. Valerius chuckled. Really, and what would that be? Jeff sipped from his hot tea. Exactly what I said yesterday, that my ship was here on a rescue mission of our own. Jeff, threw up his hands, But you fired on us! Ambassador, put yourself in our position. We are at war with the Rowdizians. You are in a Rowdizian warship. In the past few days, a crippled Spanish Battle Cruiser has been attempting to limp home to Earth and unbeknownst to anyone, the ship is being used as bait to attract rescue elements into a trap. Jeff looked the Tilldoc commander in the eyes and conceded, You do have a valid point, but the Rowdizians never enticed anyone to come and rescue this pitiful Spanish ship. However, they did announce we were coming at the invitation of the Spanish Government to effect a rescue. Youre keeping us in suspense; whats your third option? Valerius sighed, Look Im only saying, if you were in my place and had suffered the losses we have suffered over the past weeks, you may have been inclined to overreact given how close your ship dropped out of hyperspace. As for the third option. Please turn off any recording device. Valerius waited until he was reassured the recording was paused, I am the son of the current leader of the Tilldoc people. I do not believe I am in any danger from retribution should I return home. Hows that for openness? The room was quiet. Valerius looked to all the stunned expressions. To break the impasse he said, I trust you to do with me and my ship as you please. My father cares for me greatly. What happens now is in your hands. Quedocdo shook her head and observed, That puts us in a spot. What choice do we have? Our purpose was to rescue any survivors and tow the Aragon to her home. Captain Rossleedocdo suggested, We can still do that, and take Captain Valerius with us as a prisoner. Valerius countered, You mean as a hostage.

No! We are at war and you have been captured. argued Rossleedocdo. Jeff held up a hand and interjected, Im sorry Rossleedocdo, but Valerius is correct. Even if the good Captain wanted to go with us others would spin it as he was forced against his will and he was only in this sector to help. Going our separate ways is the best option. Less political fallout. Valerius directed, Please do not reveal my status, and I will keep it a secret that I have told you. I love intrigue. Should we meet on the field of battle you will find a strong opponent. However, I and many other like minded Tilldoc, grow tired of our aggressive self-centered ways. We are evolving. You will have a secret ally in the Tilldoc government. Quedocdo said, Interesting. Do you happen to have a spare surgeon? I mean, since you were on a rescue mission, you must have expected many casualties. Valerius responded, We have several. What good would a Tilldoc surgeon be to Rowdizians? I was also told you would be leaving in a few hours. Rossleedocdo, knowing the struggle in the hospital bay answered, The casualty numbers are staggering. Many are human. Besides the surgeon would have to come with us. Valerius smiled, Ah ingenious. A helper and a hostage. You may resume recording. Rossleedocdo countered, No matter who you send, from our knowledge of your species, you would not hesitate to destroy us and this ship. Think of it this way, it will be a working vacation and they might learn something. Holding up his hands to signify no intent of harm, Valerius said pointing to a pocket, Communicator I will call my ship and Stop! Jungeedo barked, Forgive me. I would prefer Jungeedo touched the air above Captain Varlerius position and imputed commands into an invisible panel, then instructed, Captain, unless you wish to speak to your ship privately, I have opened a channel. Valerius cautiously adjusted in his chair responding, Ambassador Norton, you have an observant and cautious security officer. Jungeedo, I would expect no less from my crew. This will do fine. Will one surgeon suffice? What followed was a flurry of Tilldoc dialogue, a pause, then a distinctly calm, feminine voice spoke to Captain Valerius. Within minutes two surgeons agreed to be packed and waiting a Rowdizian shuttle, understanding full well they were to remain aboard the Nuevanshevic. Finished, Valerius said to Jeff, I trust you to care for my crew as if they were your own. I believe today we have taken the first step. We have talked. I pledge your crew will be well cared for and will not feel they are hostage. promised Jefferson. He added, I will have arrangements made to return them to you after we are home. Acceptable? Valerius answered, Then we are in agreement? All heads bobbed in acceptance. Then I hear Rowdizians have a blessed experience called the morning meal. Jeff and the gathered chuckled. He said, That they do. Captain Rossleedocdo would it be appropriate for all of us to join the crew for the morning meal while final preparations are made for our departure? Rossleedocdo answered, I was getting hungry myself and thought to continue

these discussions over the meal with the crew would be fitting. Rossleedocdo stood and invited, It would please me to have all of my guests accompany me and my staff to the grand hall. Come. Jeff mumbled to Quedocdo, I guess I have to give another speech. It would be fitting. Please remember who is in attendance. Quedocdo patted a reluctant Jefferson on the ass to encourage the lagging dignitary to keep up. Valerius requested, When my surgeons arrive, would it be possible they join us for a snack? Our cycle approaches midday. Jefferson answered, I see no harm. Do they have much experience? Valerius chuckled, The elder has about 18 years practice. The younger, about a year, but she finished top of her class. Quedocdo mused, Do I detect a degree of personal pride in your voice Captain Valerius? Perceptive Commander Quedocdo, the group stopped before the entrance to the great hall and Valerius completed his answer, you would have to excuse my pride because, they are my wife and daughter. Another coughing fit was followed by the ejection of three mucus congealed grey dust balls from Dirkjeedocdos nares. He thanked his driver for the wipes asking, How many years have we served together, Noveldedo? Field Marshal Dirkjeedocdo I have had the privilege of driving and serving you for eight years. He adjusted the wheel to avoid a destroyed enemy tank. You need to wear the protective mask when you venture outside. You sound like my mate. Dirkjeedocdos voiced bounced with the jolts of the vehicle. And if the lovely female were here, she would say the same. Noveldedo countered. And with his observation, the command vehicle was filled with Dirkjeedocdos laughter. How are your offspring? asked Dirkjeedocdo with genuine interest. My mate just birthed a pair of females. Before this event we have six graduating the academy and five just finishing primary education. I have ten of my own, from three birthings. Well, it is our duty to add to the fodder. lamented Noveldedo. Do I detect a degree of disdain for our culture? Not disdain Dirkjeedocdo just a longing for our offspring to grow up and experience life. Over the past six years I have spent more time with you than with my family. There comes a point when one asks why? Serving the Empire is a euphemism for the disgusting tasks we perform. I know you feel the security of our species, and to a selfish degree, our families, is the most important responsibility we have ever been handed. Do you not agree? Of course. I just miss my family. Noveldedo felt he might have crossed a line and become too familiar with his commander. Dirkjeedocdo enjoyed Noveldedos refreshing honesty. After several minutes of silence he directed, I need to speak to Commodore Tossleedocdo. What is her channel in your environment?

The Commodore can be found on channel six, Field Marshal. He wondered what was about to transpire. The Field Marshal was well aware of the channel guide posted centimeters from his nose. Dirkjeedocdo said, Noveldedo, you are a trusted and refreshing friend. You are also a fine soldier. Prepare some orders for my signature elevating yourself to the officer ranks. I am sure your mate will enjoy spending the increased credits. Noveldedo eyed the liquor supply to see if an inordinate amount had been consumed. Seeing the supply was intact, he replied, As you command. Commodore Tossleedocdo pressed the transmit button to answer the incoming request, Dirkjeedocdo, I will continue to fire my secondary energy beam weapons just ahead of your units advance. Please insure your units provide accurate data of their positions. All units are well aware of the tragedy that would result if their inputted calculations were wrong, Dirkjeedocdo answered. I thank you for your concern. I have tasked nine special operations units to advance and destroy the Tilldoc ability to fire ground based energy weapons. We should see some results within two cycles. My greater concern was the proposed area for the second front. Those tasked with that mission have the greater distance to cover, and we will not see results from them for at least three cycles. Standby. Tossleedocdo wiggled in her chair and then elevated its height in order to see the lower section of the tactical display, The display was blocked by her feet that were resting on the command console. She waved her left hand in the air and a holographic function display panel materialized several centimeters to her left front. Selecting SCALE, she adjusted the tactical image until she had the entire region containing all Rowdizian ground forces, the Tilldoc capital, and the planned insertion point for the second front on the same topographical map. As she studied the distances, she toggled the transmitter, Dirkjeedocdo, dear I am concerned that attacks on the facilities supporting energy weapons near your location will cause the Tilldoc to increase security at all remaining weapon sites, especially Tango. Chuckling from her use of an endearing term, Dirkjeedocdo answered, Commodore, I understand your concern. The units must report each cycle and I will have Colonel Vessweejunkdo, my Operations Officer, adjust the missions for a coordinated attack. That would be a fantastic idea. Tell me, is Vessweejunkdos performance still acceptable? Laughing, Dirkjeedocdo haltingly replied, I might hurt his feelings if I spoke the truth. He is sitting right next to me. Vessweejunkdo interrupted, Mother, the old Field Marshal only tolerates me because I am the oldest male offspring of his dearest friend. By the way, how is Stumpy doing? Tossleedocdos calm was disturbed by a familiar laugh. Looking in the direction of the sound, she saw Doweejunkdo resting against a bulkhead. How long have you been eavesdropping? Doweejunkdo smiled, Since standby. You are crying. Did I miss something?

Only tears of joy. Vessweejunkdo still refers to me as mother. Stepping into the holographic display, Doweejunkdo took his mates left hand and gently touched it to his lips saying, Toss you have always treated all of Roseweejunkdos offspring as your own. He leaned forward, gently touching his crest to her crest. The speakers of the flag bridge suddenly filled with Vessweejunkdos lilt coming from the Tilldoc planets surface, Good new day. What happened? We are still down here? Not wanting to disturb this special moment, Tossleedocdo pushed transmit, Vess, standby. She closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, savoring the shared comfort of their pairing. More tears flowed and she finally said, We should get back to work. I thought you had an appointment in Rehab this morning. I did. They cancelled it. Said I was doing fine for now and did not need any further services. They would follow the recommendations of the doctors when I return. Toss, where is your staff? Together enjoying the morning meal. It is quiet and all ships are following their assignments, I believe I can handle this. Return from where? She thought this was a sudden development. He asked reminding her, Do you think you could spare Vessweejunkdo and me so we can return to Rowdizia and enjoy Deejunkdos wedding and the Celebration of Serenity? Oh, of course. I forgot about the date. I had hoped we could both attend, but one of us should stay and, she waved her right arm in the direction of the map, oversee this little conflict. She chuckled, sipped her tea, then kissed his cheek. So I know from your deception, there is more. You know me that well? Doweejunkdo feigned surprise. I have known you since flight school 22 years ago. Rose and I were best friends when she swooned in your presence in school and the academy. I was her Maid of Honor at your wedding. I grieved with you, and her offspring, when you returned with her body from Earth. Will that qualify as how well I know you, or will reminding you of some of your vivid dreams you enjoy in your sleep and speak of incessantly while in those dream states, be required? I should never doubt you. That would be wise. I yield. A communiqu from the Nuevanshevic came this morning. Quedocdo said they are nearly finished with the rescue mission and should be towing the crippled Spanish warship before the evening meal. And? And in one of the escape pods, a service member was near death and could not be revived. Tossleedocdo jumped from her seat, excited, and grabbed Doweejunkdo in her arms. The squeezed Doweejunkdo replied, I take it you guessed the rest. The service member is being maintained on life support, and they indicated he is a tissue match for my missing leg. The doctors on Rowdizia will prep me and harvest the leg as soon as the

wedding celebration has ended. Oh, Dowee this is wonderful news. Now the tears flowed and she kissed her mate repeatedly. Doweejunkdo, enjoying the attention, reminded Tossleedocdo, Toss, we have Vessweejunkdo and Dirkjeedocdo on standby. I must say, you have been a rewarding distraction. she stabbed the transmit switch, Third Army, this is the Nuevanshevic. About time. Is there something wrong? Vessweejunkdo inquired. Sorry, I forgot, and was distracted by your father. Tossleedocdo wiped her tears and added, Vess, we need to speak with Dirkjeedocdo, and stop calling your birth father Stumpy. The annual Alliance Summit, held in Haiti, was disintegrating into an ugly, verbal, mudslinging dispute over which species, the Rowdizians or the Tilldoc, were more honorable and worthy of support from the member nations. The more enlightened governments consisting of; the Central States of America, China, Russia, Japan, and many other African and Asian governments, knew their populations would be easily viewed as less than perfect, and understood the Rowdizian warnings. Those governments and peoples, smug in their cultural superiority, argued for all nations to embrace the Tilldoc. Those people supporting the Tilldoc identified with their distant human cousins, although the only ones they witnessed were the descendents of racial purity extremists that had traveled to Earth from Tilldoc in the late 19th century. Like many of the divergent views of mankind, this too would never be agreed upon unless some tangible proof was discovered to support the postulates position. Even then, those secure in their deeply held beliefs would never be swayed. The time was late, and the Presidents efforts at persuasion had been wasted. Excusing himself to those nearby, he and his staff stood and quickly exited the conference. Finding another room empty, the President ushered his team inside and closed the door. President Keenan asked his National Security Advisor, Pete, what in your opinion what is the worst that can happen if we continue to side with the Rowdizians? Mister President. This is a-no win situation in that the Alliance will fracture. If we support the Rowdizians, we will be at odds with more than half the population of the Earth and a fairly large minority of our own country. If we side with the Tilldoc, we will surely be subjugated after their eventual conquest of our planet. The action we should take is completely up to you and the Premieres of China and Russia. And your advice, Bill? asked the President of his Secretary of State. I would go with the Rowdizians. They have shown the greatest demonstration of honorable intentions. I believe what Ambassador Norton reported. The Rowdizians mistakenly entered into a costly war with the Alliance because of their injured pride. It took a long six years for Rowdizian supporters of peace and unity to influence a change in their position. President Keenan asked, What will happen if we make the wrong choice, or try to remain neutral? Sir, the Tilldoc would easily brush aside our defenses and maneuver to capture or

destroy most of our forces. Even though the Rowdizians seemed to have kicked their butts, I agree with Nortons dispatches. There are too many unknowns. The EarthAlliance suffered devastating losses, in service members and equipment, fighting the Rowdizians. We dont want another war, especially after just ending one. But if we must, fighting for freedom and self determination is our only choice. The President opened his Smartphone and selected to conference with the leaders of China and Russia, Natasha, Chung, this is John. Can you and your teams come meet with me and my staff in private? Ive sent an aide to guide you. Thanks. Within minutes, another dozen men and women joined the President. Taking the lead, Premier Chung asked, while pointing in the direction of the conference room, John, we sure could use your help out there. The opposition is swaying those not yet decided. The President replied, I apologize for leaving, but we, the big three, need this sidebar conversation, now. Besides, the whiners that contribute little to nothing give me a headache. I thought wed learned our lesson when we disbanded the UN centuries ago. The room erupted in knowing laughter. Natasha, 5 foot 4 inch in heels, the quintessential babushka asked, Well John, you did not bring us in here to remind us of the stupidity of allowing developing nations to have an equal voice. What is on your mind? John threw up his hands and sighed, No matter what the outcome of the vote is in that meeting the CSA is backing the Rowdizians. But that might destroy the Alliance. a concerned Natasha protested. Since Chung remained quiet, John added, What Alliance? There are our three nations and maybe fifteen others that funded 90% of the last conflict. Of the millions that were killed, each of our countries suffered over 30% of the casualties. Chung scratched his head and added, I really hate to dissolve this body. We need a forum where all nations can air their grievances to others and work out our differences. I understand your position John the leaders of such a forum can only be those with the power and wealth to be in charge. Surprised, Natasha countered, Chung what about the people? Chung smiled, Like you Natasha, they can come from humble beginnings and work their way to the top. Besides, Chung made a grandiose effort to look to everyone in the room, I do not see anyone of racial purity in this gathering. Then a slightly out of character opinion crossed his lips, Most of those idiots in the other room believe themselves to be superior to the others. What about the Chinese? asked John. Chung laughed, Id have to travel to the Western provinces and locate a family living in a cave to find one of pure blood. No a few hundred years of capitalism has brought us into the mixed world. Besides, the Tilldoc bigots are looking for White AngloSaxon purity. Again, the answer is simple, he jerked a thumb in the direction of the conference, but there are those that fail to see the truth because their thoughts are clouded by their superior stupid brain. Chung sighed, For a second there, I thought I would be nice. This time there was scattered laughter, John, you can count on the PRC. Natasha agreed, Same goes for the Russian Federation. Im sure many of those closely aligned with us will follow suit. How shall we proceed, John?

Lets go back out there; state our case, and demand a vote. Either way we, and those that agree with us, will immediately draw up a charter. Finding his Secretary of State, Bill, are you up to meeting with the other likeminded representatives and laying the groundwork tonight? asked John. Bill, long tired of the shallowness of many of the Alliance members, answered, I would be honored Mister President. Chung held up a finger to make a point, Bill, I think I can speak for most of us when I say; watch the vote, gather your agreeing peers, and when you get in that room, you facilitate the meeting. Do not elect a chair ignorant of whet the three of us want. We are to stand firm on our convictions that will set the tone and guide this new body. Seeing the others nod agreement, he added, speaking directly to Bill and lightly tapping his chest, Youve sat in on many discussions held in Beijing and Four Corners. We have debated many times the powers and limits a world governing body should possess. I believe the last time we met in the Forbidden City, you recorded a draft of what the three of us, although slightly inebriated, held to be the duties and responsibilities of that body, and the powers of the individual states. Like the CSA did after the collapse of the United States, the Bill of Rights are to be simple, clear and permanent. Never to be amended. The Secretary of State answered, Ladies and Gentlemen I am prepared. After a short pause, John said, Im ready to tackle this. Whos going to take the lead and stir the pot? Natasha interjected, John, your country has a better rapport with most other countries since your last revolution. I think you should keep up the appearance of a peace maker. Were hated by most, so lets let Chung lead. Chung agreed, No problem. The only country they hate more than Russia is mine. John laughed, Well, thats what you get for being the leader of the free world. Curious, Chung changed the subject and asked, Hows the rescue mission going? Shaking his head from the thought of the tremendous loss of life, John answered, They should be rigging the tow as we speak. I was hesitant to ask the Rowdizians, especially after that self-centered Dixon resigned and joined the Spanish fleet. Natasha bristled and through clenched teeth said, I believe I would have let the former Admiral rot along with his new friends. I do not believe Spain will be a member of this new charter. By the way, since the Alliance is about to become no more, what do we call this new body? Chung asked, We will invite the Rowdizians to join, yes? Without hesitation, both John and Natasha answered, Yes. Chung smiled a sly, toothy grin and said, Bill, make the necessary changes to be inclusive of other worlds and we will call it The Confederation. He then laughed and motioned the others to return to the conference. Having just finished a quiet evening meal, Emperor and Empress Junkdo lounged in the relaxing, hot waters of their ten being whirlpool. Very few words were spoken. They watched, at this late hour, as the sky burned bright with hues of flaming red, orange, and purple painting the ice crystals of wispy, high clouds. Neither moved and allowed the

churning waters to relax and cleanse their souls. How are the arrangements for the wedding progressing? asked the Emperor. We would be further along if you could help. the Empress answered. Forgive me, but I have a war to prosecute. Ouch! He jumped from a strategically placed toe and demanded, What was that for? Deejunkdo and countless other commanders are prosecuting the war. You, like me, are just a figurehead. A dejected Emperor pouted, I am counseled at times. As am I, but the answer is known beforehand, and it is their way of including us. What about my deciding who was to lead the rescue mission? Politically, who was the best choice? she asked. Jefferson. Exactly, need I say more? The Emperor lamented, But we are the Royals. Our relatives have led this world for generations. You my love, are the Empress, the ultimate leader. And as long as we have the continued approval of the counsel, we will lead. For a while I believed our reign would end with me, since Deejunkdo was failing to meet expected standards. In the distance, she could hear Heather and Jason whispering. Giggling she said, We will not bite. Please come join us. The waters are mesmerizing. Heather answered, Really, we apologize for disturbing your private time. The Empress countered with, We can discuss some loose ends of the wedding. My current tub mate is no help. I want to be completely content with preparations before Janis special day. Come, our world has never had a human Princess. I require your prospective. Heather looked to Jason and whispered, Shit, she just played the Empress card. Whatre you talking about. he asked. Her eyes were as big as a Rowdizians, She said, Come, and I require. Jason began walking the several meters to the tub saying, What the hell. As they climbed the steps to the elevated platform, Jason froze. After a short pause to think of a proper response, he said, I think we left something in the room. The Empress giggled, Shy? You two are not required to remove your garments. Join us. Please. Heather looked to Jason, let her robe fall and quickly stripped off her bikini. Then said, Come on Jason, its a big tub. as she slid into the soothing waters. After a short hesitation, Jefferson stepped into the tub and sat between Heather and the Empress before removing his trunks and tossing them to the side. The Emperor asked, Would the two of you care for something to drink? Jason answered, Please Emperor Junkdo, dont trouble yourself. Were fine. Jason, it is not a bother. The Emperor touched a nearby intercom and ordered two Rowdizian Ales and added Heather and Jasons last minute requests. Soon the conversation centered on the wedding, and the more they talked, the more Heather and Jason relaxed. The courtyard grew dark. Their reservations were easing when the Empress asked of their plans. Tell me, she inquired, Heather, have you given more thought to what you are

interested in doing on Rowdizia? Empress, Ive really been concentrating on Janis and Deejunkdos wedding. She is so excited, and is looking forward to the ceremony. To answer your question, I still would like to put my Social Work/Psychology degree to good use here. How are you progressing with your study of Rowdizia? Heather slowly chose her Rowdizian words carefully and said, The night is clear allowing for the breathtaking brilliance of the stars. The Rowdizian night skies are at times spectacular. Jason and I only use your language until I am she switched to English, stumped. The Royals laughed and clapped simultaneously, congratulating her efforts and grasp of Rowdizian in such a short time. Jason added, She did start learning back on station Eos. We even enlisted the help of the Rowdizian crewmembers. That is a good way to learn, to be immersed in the language. Heather, now I know why you have been so proficient working with the Rowdizian contractors preparing for the wedding. offered the Emperor. The Empress lamented, I wish Stujunkdo was here to attend the joyous occasion. Jason and Heather together stumbled over the question, Whos Stujunkdo? The Empress laughed, stood to retrieve another drink too distant, and answered, He is our oldest male offspring. Heather felt Jasons instant erection, stirred from the Empress naked ass being only a meter from his face. Heather questioned, Im sorry, but we were never told of another sibling. We thought Deejunkdo was an only male. Where is his brother? Emperor Junkdo answered, Prince Stujunkdo is an explorer. Even though he was first in line for leadership, he declined and unlike us, chose to explore the stars before he was burdened with the responsibility of governing. His service to the Empire has been in research. He is now the Captain of an ultra-fast Corvette and uses the ships capabilities to discreetly explore distant regions of the galaxy. Every evening, he sends a data burst log of a cycles activities. Heather asked, So whats the problem with him returning to attend the wedding? The Empress answered, Distance. Jason was intrigued, He has an ultra-fast Corvette at his disposal. Dear Jason. Our oldest male and his crew live off the planets they encounter. When they find plasma deposits, they are able to refine the raw materials to power their ship. It is truly an exciting and laborious adventure, filled with hardship. Every cycle has to be calculated for maximum efficiency. Her eyes teared, If he wanted to return home it would take a journey of 63 cycles, once we informed him of the wedding. Jason whistled wondering, The dream of all young boys and girls, before they reach puberty and lust for the opposite sex. Jason added, I pray the Gods watch over his adventure. Heather returning to the present asked, Empress, do we need to meet soon to discuss the occasion? The Empress answered, I believe we have tasks on the new day.

Heather smiled, I too, want this to be perfect. Emperor Junkdo sighed, The evening grows late. We have enjoyed your company. Please join us for the morning meal. Quedocdos sister, Gahdaydocdo, will be joining us. Extending a hand for his mate, he continued, Come, all this bare skin gives me an unusual stirring. These to young lovers may want some privacy. The Empress giggled as she stood, taking an offered towel from her mate. Together they said, Goodnight, and strolled to their bedroom, playfully teasing one another along the path. After the bedroom door closed, Jason drifted to Heathers awaiting arms and whispered softly, My God, they both have the bodies of young adults. I agree, she whispered, and is it me or were you, Heather stroked his length, moved by her? You of course, he defended, I fantasized about making love again in these waters. Liar I saw you sneaking peeks at her breasts, and when she stood... She does have nice. Ouch! he felt a sudden painful squeeze, whatd ya do that for? Testing. Remember our first time? she kissed Jason long and deeply. How could I ever forget. He teased her engorged clitoris. Heather stroked to the opposite side of the tub and strategically faced the Royals bedroom. She laid her chin on her arms saying, See if you can do as well as that first night. Moving about the Nuevanshevic was an ordeal. All spaces were packed with Rowdizians or in guarded areas, humans. The Tilldoc rescued most of their own beings and the few dozen Tilldoc the Rowdizians rescued were quickly transferred to the Aragon. Captain Rossleedocdo, as a gesture of goodwill, sent over two pallets of the Rowdizian form of EmergiSeal, and explained how it worked by placing a canister or more in a space under repair that was in danger of rupturing. Doctor Cheedocdo marveled at the surgical skills of Captain Valerius wife and daughter. Though she did complain about their aloof attitudes. After posting the duty schedule, Jeff crashed in Quedocdos arms the second they touched the bed. No amount of stimulant was going to keep them awake. Hours into a deep sleep, Jeff felt Quedocdo kissing and softly touching his body. He moaned, needing sleep, but she persisted. Starting with his eyes, she teased and tongued every known spot guaranteed to arouse any being. Jeff slowly accepted her play the further she increased the distance from his lips. The foreplay revived his energy and as her throat swallowed his length, he caressed her head to direct the speed of her rhythmic thrusts. He climaxed, yet she refused to stop. He felt his heart would explode from his chest, as she began the slow, lovely pleasant journey by kissing her way to his lips. She was smiling over him and he sensed a warm wetness on his tip, Quedocdo then slowly sat up allowing him to slide into her inviting tunnel. The macro cilia lining her vaginal walls pulled him deeper. He felt the magic of her depth and the electrified sensation as the threads lightly teased his tip. Then the rhythmic dance of pulling and pushing by her cilia brought him to organism, and she moaned from her own climactic

pleasure. She leaned down and nibbled on his nipples, and still refused to release him. Jeff closed his eyes and rolled his head, delirious from their shared passion. He whispered his devotion and began to feel a rhythmic thrusting and grinding, unusual for Rowdizian copulation. She was sitting again, working his length, but she had added a different technique to their lovemaking. Reaching to tease her nipples, he realized there had been a change. He opened his tired eyes and saw Susan thrusting her pelvis against his. Susan offered her complete self to him. He was tempted as she cooed, Anything you want, I will do. I need you. I want you. I have to have you. Please take me back, I made a mistake and Im alone and have to be with you. Jeff felt his heart race and exploded into her juicy warmth. As his erection waned, Susan moved to orally stimulate his desire. She licked and teased till he suddenly moved and said, your turn, kissing her breasts and lying her back so he could taste her wetness. Sucking on the sweetness of her hot, wet, engorged clitoris, he heard a familiar voice, Jeff I can see you still have a strong passion for Susan, but youve ignored my guidance. Jeffs hands supported Susans ass giving him a better angle to tongue her depths. He slowly looked toward the sound and saw a glowing bluish-white apparition of KC floating near the bed. KC moved closer and when Jeff returned his attention to Susan, his palms were empty. He watched as KC sat on the side of the bed near Quedocdo. KC took on greater definition and leaned over Quedocdo, then stroked her brow saying, Jefferson. You do attract the most lovely of creatures. Quedocdo is a blessing and carries your pups. You didnt listen to me before, so I will be more direct. Susan carries your male child. She is tormented by her mistake of twice letting you go. A mistake she will not make again. Jeff, you are a social creature and require companionship. Now you have two females bearing your future. Jeff watched as KC let the robe fall from her shoulders, exposing her naked beauty. I will always be here for you. Come to me now, and lets enjoy the pleasures we lost forever. Jeff laid on the bed, wanting what could never be. Slowly, he felt a wetness and rubbing to his groin as KC disappeared into a cloud of a million points of intense light that morphed into thin wisps of bluish smoke. Taking a deep breath, he slowly opened his eyes to see Quedocdo cleaning his crotch and abdomen with a warm, wet, slightly soapy, hand towel. As she noticed his eyes opening she greeted, Good new day. Sleep well? Like the dead. And I see it wasnt a dream. We did enjoy a coupling. No we for the last 18 hours. You woke me with your calling to me, Susan and KC. Oh, I wanted to swallow your enormous length, but your delirium betrayed your focus. Im sorry. Jeff was embarrassed. Why? No being can control their dreams. You subconsciously lust for former sexual partners. I am sure their experience has added to how you pleasure me. Jeff was somewhat confused. Should he really tell her. After a few minutes of weighing the situation, he said, You might be interested in my delirium. Quedocdo smiled and tossed the sticky towel toward the bath, You had better believe I am very interested in your dreams. They would give me insight into your deepest thoughts. She plopped beside Jefferson and supported her head in her hand. Should I take notes? Que, youve got to be kidding. Not if the dreams are complicated.

This is beginning to be another one of those bad ideas. Tell me what is worse... she warmly kissed his lips, talking with an understanding Rowdizian female, your mate, and mother of our seven pups, or explaining what I saw of your delirious sexual attraction to two former females, an attraction that seems to have culminated in several climatic releases? Several? At least three. Jeff gave up and told all that he remembered. A hour later he finished and asked, Well? This is interesting. How so? She wiggled closer and played with his erect nipples, all the while watching for a renewed interest. Her tongue flicked his left nipple as she answered, Did you embellish the dream and add my encounter? No the majority of this fantasy, I remember being with you. To be honest soon after we met you began to grace my dreams and my thoughts. The closer weve grown, the more I think and dream of you. My God, you cannot believe how truly wonderful a sexual experience with a Rowdizian female can be. That is true. Franklin would say the same thing. So would some of the other pilots that had coupled with Rowdizian females. I have no comparison. I have only coupled with human males. Youre kidding? he was surprised. No just Franklin and you. But all Rowdizians are sexually liberated. At least thats what Doweejunkdo told me. She again smiled, And he spoke the truth. But, many of my species enjoy monogamous relationships. Oh, I understand and am accepting of our customs. I just do not require the touch of another when I have committed to the one I love. What about Susan? Jefferson, from what you have told me before about Susan, I believe there to be a strong chance she is carrying your child. But she has not replied to my communiqus and it has been nearly four months since we first met. If she was pregnant, she would have told me. Not necessarily. You describe her to be a strong female. If I was in her place, pregnant, and had pushed the father away, I too, would not use the child to trap the male. Really? Jefferson, our social structure is more than capable of supporting an Alpha female to birth her pups and still support the brood while nursemaids care for the offspring. I know. But if she is carrying my child, maybe she became pregnant the last time we were together. That may be true and would further explain Susan not contacting you, but then you have KCs spirit, who we know has returned to the origin. KC has been attempting to warn you for months that Susan was in need of you, and for you to reach out to her. Damn Que if these dreams have merit Ive really fucked things up.

No Jefferson. You are the father of the pups I carry, and I shall always love you. In four cycles we will be in Earths orbit. We will try to find Susan and see what we need to do to correct this problem. But first, let us find Susan. Her teasing resulted in Jefferson growing the largest erection she had ever held. Her covert self stimulation had her juices flowing and she was more than ready. Quedocdo begged, Please fulfill my need for your magical touch. Are all special operation teams in place? Field Marshal Dirkjeedocdo asked as the command staff sat down for the evening meal. The briefing room was housed in an abandoned estate overlooking an inland sea. General Vessweejunkdo answered, Yes, Sir, Pointing to the portable holographic map and objective Tango, he added, we even have the primary objective within our sights. The team at Tango will place their device first, insuring the dam providing power for these ground based energy weapons is destroyed. Dirkjeedocdo studied the map and several minutes later asked, What are the Tilldoc casualty estimates for this specific target? So much is now taking place, it is difficult for me to retain all data. General Urrpgeedo, the staffs Intelligence Officer answered, Dirkjeedocdo, my operatives, both New Terra and Tilldoc, indicate the population down stream is not fleeing the city. Reliable estimates indicate the region has well over 875,000 beings. I dont like this. With the detonation of one device; we may annihilate over a million beings in a matter of minutes. The more I think of this operational objective, the more I want to wait and look at other options. lamented the Field Marshal. But destroying the hydroelectric plant will effectively shutdown five energy weapons simultaneously and allow our use of space based weapons to support the attack on the capital. The Intelligence Officer didnt hide his frustration and asked, Dirkjeedocdo, what has changed since the original planning for this operation? My understanding of their resolve. Dirkjeedocdo stared through the walls and focused on a home light-years away before answering more specifically, The Tilldoc have suffered well over a million deaths since the start of this campaign. In our rear area, we established camps to house over a quarter million expected civilian detainees and prisoners of war. The camps are nearly empty. We now have over 15,000 former Tilldoc slaves, the undesirables, fighting alongside our troops and special units. They kill with a ferociousness I have never witnessed in all my years. The Tilldoc are taught and have such an ingrained fear and hatred for our species, they would rather die than be captured. I saw this first hand when a human female child, not more than 10 years old, committed suicide when approached by Rowdizian troops. The leader of our Tilldoc rebels told me those of lesser social standing are taught hatred from birth and receive a constant reinforcement of their superiority throughout life. Dirkjeedocdo breathed a great sigh saying, I just do not want to become the mass murderer of this campaign. Do you want us to recall the teams? Vessweejunkdo asked. No no that would have placed the teams in needless danger and accomplished nothing. Have them set the timers for midmorning and return to base. All of you should know me by now and come to expect my questioning the need for, at times, what appears to be senseless slaughter. This step in the war is necessary, but I have a very

bad feeling about the ease at which we are defeating this world. Too easy. I just have to remind myself of their initial attack, weeks ago. Bossleedo, how are supplies? Field Marshal, Colonel Bossleedo answered, resupply from Rowdizia has been better than expected. All units are at better than 98% operating strength. The fuel, jet aircraft, support equipment and parts are scheduled to arrive within three cycles. The home world was well prepared for this conflict. All replacements and additional units arrive with enough supplies to sustain themselves in battle for 45 cycles. It seems my staff is full of only good news. Dirkjeedocdo continued eating his meal and asked, Someone tell me of some problems. What are we now having difficulty with, he waved an arm in the direction of the front, out there? General Vessweejunkdo offered, The dust is still playing havoc with the men and equipment. There seems to be some kind of microscopic organism in the dust that is effecting the immune systems of the Rowdizian troops. About 5% of those exposed for the longest time have fallen ill with what the surgeons are calling the Tilldoc flu. An afflicted soldier will be out of action for up to three weeks. So far 113 troops have died indirectly from complications, and another 893 are in hospital. We did convert one of the internment camps to a hospital with 2500 beds. After a long silence, the Personnel Officer brightened offering, Dirkjeedocdo, the one millionth combatant is arriving on the next transport from home. Would you be interested in meeting that soldier, when he or she has stepped off the shuttle? Dirkjeedocdo stifled a laugh and simultaneously forcefully ejected another mucus laden dirt ball from his sinuses. As it rolled to a stop on the tablecloth, he mumbled to himself, Damn barren and inhospitable planet. Reaching out with a cloth napkin to retrieve the offensive waste, he said, No I do not want to glamorize a soldiers entry into the war zone. Celebrate when we return home alive yes. Vessweejunkdo, have the physician, most knowledgeable of this disease join us on the new day for the morning meal. Vessweejunkdo saluted his superior and responded, As you command. Mother, Father, even when we factor in the terrible defeat at Planet 34347 where Sub-Commodore Wesgeedo was killed along with over 150,000 under his command, our casualty estimates still are below projections at this point in the war. Deejunkdo observed. Wiping a tear, the Empress softly cried, The numbers are still staggering. We know the Tilldoc have lost over 3.8 million beings. One third of that estimate came within the last 32 hours. For Rowdizia, when we combine the current losses from the initial attack on our home planet, now standing at 1.5 million, and with total combat losses at 403,900; we have suffered nearly two million deaths, in what a little less than 90 cycles. Staggering! The Emperor sighed, The losses cannot continue at this rate. I will back out the initial attack numbers, and just figuring combat losses we have Deejunkdo interrupted knowing the figure, Roughly 45,000 a day. One hundred million. the Empress breathed. Pardon me? a lost Deejunkdo asked. In six years, we will lose 100 million combatants at that rate. She tossed up a

hand, dismissing the comment, Nothing foolish calculations. The intensity of the fighting will slow along with daily losses. This is just the results of the initial punch. Mother, do you wish we change to non-conventional weapons? That would have to be a decision of the counsel. Our forces can still employ the release of a single weapon if the situation is grave. We were sickened by the results from the deployment of the main energy weapon aboard the Dossleevalvic. And before you become defensive, we understand circumstances necessitated the use. Remember we were briefed before its use. During a lull in the exchange, Deejunkdo finished a bite and suggested, My purpose this morning is to put the war in perspective, and request a tripling to our buildup of materials, combatants, and all associated support. We have confirmed, the Tilldoc ships that attacked Wesgeedo were not involved in the initial battle in the Tilldoc system. Looking at two blank stares he added, we do not know where they came from. Dee, prepare a repor the Empress was cut off by Deejunkdo sliding several copies of a prepared brief across the table. She smiled and patted her mates hand, Your father and I will read these and brief the counsel on the new day. We can still move command staff and allow you improved quarters. Captain Rossleedocdo stood in the hatch of Quedocdo and Ambassador Nortons quarters. Please, we have released the tow and will orbit Earth in less than a hour. What possible event could require your remaining near the launch tubes? Jeff observed, Were comfortable here. Just let the Tilldoc surgeons remain in the VIP suite. Quedocdo slipped into a light flowing white summer dress and said, Jefferson please zip me Turning her gaze to Rossleedocdo she continued, Captain, I do not trust those that still wish our extinction. Especially here in the system Sol. You are wasting your time with your efforts toward me. Maybe you can convince the Ambassador to change his mind. Jeff slipped his XDM 9mm into a paddle holster on his right hip. Then as he slipped on a lightweight sport jacket he said, I go where she goes, Captain. I have to try. Protocols. I still believe the quarters are more fitting of the two of you than two Tilldoc females. Rossleedocdo added, I will no longer ask. The shuttle will be departing when you are ready, the crew, the Tilldoc guests, and your staff are waiting onboard. Quedocdo pulled up her dress and slipped a compact 380 pistol in the holster between her thighs saying, I am ready. This will be my first trip to the planet. She grasped her hands at her waist and visible trembled, I am sooo excited! Jeff pulled her close and kissed her cheek, smiling, Then, lets go. When they passed the Captain, Jeff patted her ass to hurry Quedocdo as she pecked the surprised commander on the cheek. Boarding the shuttle, Jeff whispered a secret to Quedocdo while he counted heads. Jungeedo waved and Christine laughed sharing a joke with Doelapgeedo. Lapgeedo observed, You two are the last to board. Are you ready to depart? Seeing Jeff give a thumbs up to the question, Carpenter rose from his seat between Doctor Cheedocdo and Janis to inform the pilot they were ready to go. Jeff glanced at the stoic Doctor Valerius

and her daughter Latona, saying, Doctors Valerius and Valerius, Im am told by Doctor Cheedocdo your surgical skills are excellent. Captain Valerius wife smugly responded, We both exceed the accepted medical practice standards of our home world. We could see by the degree of trauma on this ship, our services were more than necessary. Jeff quipped, Ill take that as a glad to help. Quedocdo announced, Let me have everyones attention. My mate, the handsome Ambassador, she pointed mockingly to Jeff, just sprung another of his last minute surprises. Jeff defended, I told the Captain. This does not directly effect Rossleedocdo. she countered. I beg to differ holding up a Celestial Warship for our day and evening of fun has a great impact. Janis asked, Evening. What evening? I thought we were to be here less than eight hours. I have a wedding in nine cycles. Dont wanna be late, she smiled. Jeff answered, While all of you were resting, I contacted Premier Chung of China and asked a little favor. He teased. Jungeedo choked on his water, The. Premier owes you a favor? Christine teased, Yeah, I think youre letting this hero thing go to your head. Jeff threw up his arms saying, I get little to no respect I give up. Just try to do something for your friends. Damn! The shuttle rocked with the playful laughter of a devoted staff teasing their leader. When the joking died, Quedocdo pouted, He did not tell me and look how I am dressed. I expected lunch and an afternoon of power shopping in Beijing. I will not steal his thunder, so go on Jefferson surprise them. Jeff stood, regaining the floor, even the pilot and copilot were watching. Okay. he waved his hands, Full disclosure. The Premiers daughter is a Cobra pilot, and after being hit, ejected during the closing minutes of the Six Year War. She was rescued within an hour. So this evening, as a modest gesture of thanks from a grateful father, we will be given VIP treatment at Beijing Universe. A collective gasp filled the ship. Youll have plenty of time to shop for a change of clothing after lunch with the Premier. Since the dissolving of the Alliance, he wants to pump me for firsthand information of how to proceed with our ceasefire with the Rowdizians. The visit to Earth had just become unbelievable. Quedocdo held tightly to Jefferson, the cool night breeze and his closeness sent an electrified tingling throughout her body. They followed the staff like proud parents watching the mystical pleasure of their childrens joy. This was a welcome diversion from the horrors of the present. Even Doctor Valerius daughter brighten with the purchase of informal clothing at a boutique in the city. The elder Tilldoc female showed no emotion and tolerated her daughters slips at having fun. The slow and non-jostling rides in the early evening presented no problems, but when they read the warnings at the coasters, the group went through a comical production of selecting a stunned Chinese Security Force escort to guard their weapons while the staff enjoyed each exciting ride. Everyone, including the pilots, and Latona, became lost in the fantasy of the park.

Walking arm and arm, Quedocdo whispered to Jefferson, Look at Doctor Valerius it is killing her to continue her act. Jeff nibbled Quedocdos ear and whispered, I watched her smile several times. Ill give her another 30 minutes and shell be wanting to go on all the rides. As if on cue, they watched Janis angle toward the Tilldoc pair and speak privately to Doctor Valerius for several minutes. As they approached the next ride, Doctor Valerius hesitated and finally relented, joining her daughter in the car. Jeff cornered Janis and asked, What did you say? To who? Bitchy, bitch. Janis chuckled, I told her I was the nurse assisting in surgery earlier when she slipped up and complimented my skills. It surprised her. I then said she could get the burr out of her ass because she isnt required to be superior to us. Just have fun, well go back to killing each other in a few cycles. She shrugged her shoulders. Quedocdo gasped, What did she say? She cried thank you. After hours of fun, hushed, guarded whispers noted the time was late. As they entered the park lockers to retrieve their belongings, the rejuvenated group was met by an old warrior friend and Jeffs lover. Jackson MacGregor and Susan sat quietly at a table, watching their approach. Jeff seeing Susan froze, then releasing a cautious Quedocdos arm, quickly closed the distance to shake Lieutenant, now Captain MacGregors hand. Jackson, Susan, this is a wonderful surprise. How MacGregor quickly answered, I received a communiqu about a week ago from a Captain Rossleedocdo requesting I locate a Susan Branch, and have her in Beijing today. Quedocdo told us to come here. So, here we are. Susan forced a smile adding, Jeff, I take it this lovely creature standing a few meters behind you is Commander Quedocdo? Trying to ease any stress and make the best of a difficult situation, Jeff answered, Yes. Jeff motioned Quedocdo forward saying, Quedocdo, please this is Susan. Quedocdo, sizing up her challenger, warmly said, Jefferson has told me so many wonderful things about you. Susan tilted her head in disbelief and said, I barely know of you. You were Jeffs Cooja instructor, right. Jeff saw Quedocdo smile and nod a yes, then he quickly asked, Can the rest of you return to the shuttle? We require some privacy. The group quickly gathered their belongings and quietly departed. A Chinese escort stayed behind with a car to accompany Jefferson to the spaceport, when required. Watching the park empty at this late hour, Jeff found a quiet restaurant outside the gates and ushered Susan and MacGregor into the establishment. Quedocdo waited outside on a public bench. MacGregor offered, Susan is still considered an attach of the Rowdizian Government. I did as you said, and I can continue to provide for Susans security if needed. My supervisor has said to do what is necessary, and report my intentions. Ill wait outside with Quedocdo.

Jefferson said, Thanks, Jackson. As the SEAL commander walked outside, Jefferson ordered two drinks. Susan corrected, Ill have a Pepsi. Jeff started, God, I missed you. Apparently not enough. Susan, you pushed me away. My mother falsely claimed she needed my help and gave me false hope for unification and peace. Your whole demeanor changed after I left. I couldnt believe you left after what had happened that night. Hey wait a minute. Susan, you saved MY life. Youre strong and independent. I recognized the situation. You had already made up your mind, with or without the near tragedy. Well, didnt that count for something? Limitless, but you didnt return my communiqus. Jeff, by then I was confused. How many months now? He looked across the bistro table at her barely showing abdomen. You know? A fairy told me. Sadly shaking her head, tears formed, About four months. Since our first week. What about your family? I mean, theyre enough of a pull to come between us. Fuck them they tried to have me committed. What? During my lowest point. Having believed in them and their lies, and being pregnant with our child, I thought of how fucked up I had allowed my life to become. So while I was destitute, seeing no hope, I had a pistol, and shot my reflection in a mirror of a womens bathroom. Scared the shit out of all of them. I damned them for the lies, then ran and havent look back. What have you been doing? Like Jackson said, I still have my credentials. I wanted to get away so I requested a posting to the Rowdizian Embassy here in Beijing. I made them promise not to disclose my whereabouts, but didnt you know? No, not a word. Susan sniffed, Well, that explains why you didnt contact me. A carrot. Wasnt meant to be. Susan, I hate to have a replay of the last time we were together, but I have to go. Are you coming? he downed his shot. What about Quedocdo? Jeff hesitated, then answered, She also carries my pups. Surprised and hurt, Susan quickly stood to leave. Wait! Thats it? Youre going? I see you thought you might be traveling. You packed the cat. I hoped there was a chance that you still cared and were available.

I definitely care. Quedocdo and I have talked. She even suggested you come back with us. She doesnt want to have me by default of pending offspring or convenient distance. You can try to patch things up with your family, or well see how these challenges will play out. She knows Im carrying our child? Of course. Feel free to ask. Quedocdo stuck her head in the door and said. The two of you must be at an impasse. Susan, will you please accompany us back to Rowdizia. Jefferson still has tremendous feelings for you and will always love you. This isnt going to be worked out tonight. Im the one that had Captain Rossleedocdo send the request. Jefferson, we must hurry, the almost Princess calls. Quedocdo crossed the room and extended an inviting hand. Susan, please, she took Susans hand and added, You and I have a lifetime to make Jefferson miserable. He is one conflicted human. Quedocdo giggled and Susan joined in. They exited the restaurant, leaving Jefferson to pay the bill and gather Susans belongings. As Quedocdo and Susan entered the limo. Quedocdo yelled, Dont forget the cat. MacGregor returned and helped Jeff gather Susans belongings. As they walked to the car Jeff asked, Are you coming with us? Are you kidding! I wouldnt miss this soap opera for the world. Thanks for your vote of confidence. Gotta job for me, right? Shoot me when this gets out of hand. Id say its close. Thanks. You never said I had to make you feel good. Im fucked. Yes, Sir. You are. Jeff felt he might have made a mistake. During the ride to the spaceport, Susan and Quedocdo shared a warm conversation of their pregnancies and Quedocdo, trying to find common ground sans Jeff, spoke of her first pregnancy carrying her oldest offspring, Franklin. Franklins gallant birth father became a hot topic for the remainder of the ride. On board the shuttle, Jeff, MacGregor, Jungeedo, and Lapgeedo soon found themselves to be at a disadvantage. All the females, including Doctors Valencia Valerius and Latona Valerius, gravitated to a section of the craft that offered better seating for socialization. The guys focused on the gravity of the war with Tilldoc and the gals conversed around the important matters of offspring, work, the upcoming wedding, and the minor necessity of males. Once, when the males quietly agreed Jeff was facing a precarious future, Jeff stole a glance to Quedocdos knowing eyes and smile. She silently blew a sweet, welcomed kiss. Jeff tried to focus on the males banter, but his attention was drawn to the females. Finally, the cat playfully bit Jeffs hand to remind him of his current obligation to pet the cat. Quedocdo watched a distracted Jeff, mindlessly petting Norton, and knew their relationship had just grown stronger and more fulfilling. Quedocdo watched a distracted Jefferson get undressed. After several minutes she

said, Jefferson, everything will be fine. This will take time. I like Susan, and see why you are so attracted to her. She is a fine female for a Tilldoc. Quedocdo giggled at Jeffs expense. Que, you know the reason I didnt contact MacGregor was because of my reservations and fear of my behavior with Susan around. And Jefferson, as I stated earlier, that is exactly why I had the Captain contact MacGregor. You, my cowardly mate when it comes to relationships, were going to allow a separation of distance and prolonged absence to easily make the decision for you. Que, Im in love with you, and we have our own brood on the way. We have been through this before. Replaying what has been said will not offer a different solution. Besides, in one of the VIP berths rests another woman you love and will birth your child in another five months. Jefferson, come to bed. I want to cuddle. I give up. Damn it. But tell me, why did you bring the cat? Jeff looked to Quedocdo rubbing her cheek against the purring felines fur. I like cats. You like the texture and flavor of cat. That too. Susans alone. he breathed. Do not worry. She is a mature female and told me she usually doesnt sleep with this perverted animal. As the Nuevanshevic repositioned to her jump point, a hyper-drive transmitter from an Alliance warship aligned with the Tilldoc home world and released a nanosecond data burst. Tossleedocdo adjusted her mates uniform insuring perfect alignment of all decorations and clothing seams. General Vessweejunkdo asked, Mother, is there anything we can retrieve for you while we are home? Tossleedocdo teared. I cannot think of anything except to take care and the two of you return to me quickly and intact. Tossleedocdo gently pressed her crest to her mates son and breathed, Monitor your father. He does not do well in hospital. He will become timid and expect the medical professionals to know what they are doing, without question. Be your fathers advocate. That is the greatest thing you can do for me. Toss, is there anything we can bring from the wedding? Doweejunkdo asked. Thousands of personal pictures. Dowee, just imagine, we are going to have a Princess in the Royal family soon. You are a Princess. He teased. Not the same. Too many years have passed and my sister now has grown offspring. Toss, you have always been a Princess for me and our collective brood. Doweejunkdo added. Tossleedocdo kissed her males and said, Dowee, take care of Vess and do not cause too much stress for the hospital staff. The door to the shuttle closed and the craft quickly departed for the Katvanshevic. Doweejunkdo slapped Vessweejunkdo on the shoulder, How goes the ground

war? Vessweejunkdo hung and shook his head, Father, that would depend on ones perspective. Explain. Field Marshal Dirkjeedocdo and his staff conducted an over-flight of objective Tango Over-flight! I was led to believe atmospheric flight to be a high risk endeavor. It is, but we fly Remotely Piloted Vehicles, RPVs ahead of our aircraft and if we detect disrupter use, we quickly reverse course and land. Anyway, we saw the complete destruction of the city and surrounding area from the release of the reservoir above a dam. Total destruction would be more fitting. The reservoir above the dam was so massive, and the volume of water so great, EVERYTHING and everyone was washed away. Except for some remnants of the original dam, power lines and roads to nowhere the area was wiped clean. Just a wavy, sandy, barren riverbed remains. War is and has to remain horrible. Two reasons we allowed the war with the Alliance to continue for such a long time was that war was too far away and the daily casualties too palatable. Field Marshal Dirkjeedocdo cried. As should be expected. Doweejunkdo patted his offsprings leg, I grieved after the Celestial battle that first cycle. I fear we will have many more opportunities to mourn our successes. Vessweejunkdo looked into his fathers eyes and asked, Did you hear a rumor the counsel increased war production by a factor of five? Yes. Your cousin asked for a tripling and the counsel gave him an increase of five fold. I wonder what they fear, to require such a massive increase. Lushjunkdo looked up from the communications diagnostic report and said, Captain, the hyper-drive communication test still reads antenna error. What are your orders? Probably a simple loose ground. Well we have not been discovered, yet. Hopefully, Yoesheatos data report by focused transmission was not detected. Slamming his fist on the console in frustration, Stujunkdo questioned, Why do the Gods abandon us after all these years? Please. Oh, guardians of the universe, protect us, if not but for a few more cycles. We must power up the hyper-drive. insisted Lushjunkdo. No! The release of energy will surely call attention to our location. We will give the scout ship a chance to recover. Stujunkdo waited and studied the data as Yoesheatos compressed file continued to expand. Feeling the warm touch of a familiar hand to his neck, Stujunkdo looked to his mate and received her tender kiss and reassurance. Can we power the drive when the scout is two minutes out? asked Lushjunkdo. Stujunkdo rested his head on her shoulder, feeling her tenderness. Moments later he replied, Yes. Prepare. Quickly, Lushjunkdo instructed propulsion to standby hyper-drive. The crew readied the build-up to engage, and stopped short of powering the massive drive engines. Finally, the scouts ship appeared on the display. The ship only needed another five

minutes to reach the hangar. At two minutes distance Lushjunkdo curtly ordered, Power up hyper-drive, crew of the Galxplorvic, prepare to jump. She thought, Hurry Yoesheato, less than two minutes. Suddenly, the Proximity Alarm sounded. The tactical map showed a Tilldoc vessel dropped from hyperspace between the scout and its home. The view screen was more ominous and completely filled with the massive hulk of a Tilldoc Warship. Stujunkdo screamed, JUMP! The Empress allowed her waved hand to skip across the surface of the whirlpool. She played in the waters like a child mesmerized by the physics of hydrodynamic force. She asked, Heather, what are we to do with Susan coming to Rowdizia? Heather thought of the variables and answered, Empress, Jefferson and Quedocdo did not want to detract from the wedding of Deejunkdo and Janis. That matter was never settled. Invitations and announcements only speak of the Prince and Princess. Dear, you misunderstand. What is to come of this new development? Both females are expecting and are due in about four months. Why did they bring Susan aboard the Nuevanshevic? Empress that question is best answered by Jefferson or Quedocdo. The creation of children is the responsibility of both birth parents. Especially, my species. The answer most likely lies with Jefferson. Now as far as the wedding we just need Janis. As far as Susan is concerned there is plenty of room in the temporary Alliance Embassy. The Empress lightly rubbed her breasts and said, True. She giggled, This could become more interesting. Taking a deep breath she smiled at the approach of her mate and asked, Any news? The Emperor replied, No. This is the third cycle without a report. The Empress comforted, Stujunkdo is fine. Like all things mechanical, something broke. Heather pried, Is something wrong? The Emperor answered, Every cycle, we have received a copy of our oldest offsprings ships log. We have not received a communiqu for three cycles. I am concerned. Emperor, I would have to agree with the Empress. The more complicated we build things, the easier they are to break. smiled Heather. The Emperor dropped his robe and stepped into the churning waters. He agreed, You are correct. Tell us, How are your studies progressing? Jeff was winding down from another run with the crew of the 60th squadron. It had been more difficult to negotiate the passageways filled with survivors from The Battle of Planet 34347, but Captain Rossleedocdo insisted on clearing some space for the crew of his ship. The necessary inconvenience was almost over. The Nuevanshevic had just passed New Terra and would be home in less than a cycle. Jeff stopped at Susans door and knocked. After several hopeful minutes, he decided she was not in her quarters and returned to his own berth. He had been avoiding Susan and felt it was time to have a talk. Opening the hatch, Jeffs attention was captured by Nortons playful behavior with a

piece of crumpled cellophane. As he stepped further through the hatch, Jeff noticed Quedocdo sitting on the deck, cradling a sobbing Susan. Susans face was pressed against Quedocdos chest and Quedocdo silently motioned for Jefferson to leave. MacGregor asked, Whats the problem boss? It might be time to shoot me. Jeff answered. The SEAL team commander pulled his weapon and placed in on the table, Where dont want to mess up the floors in here. Jeff wailed, Jackson, youre no help. MacGregor laughed and added, Ambassador, this soap opera gets better every day. What happened? A hesitant Jeff answered, I just came from my quarters. Quedocdo was comforting a crying Susan. Quedocdo shooed me away. Thats great! What? I said, thats great. How? With all due respect, your problem Sir, besides not being able to keep your dick in your pants, is you have two impregnated females in the same room! MacGregor laughed. Sorry. I just have a problem getting past the tragedy. Shifting in his chair, he continued, What is Quedocdos stance? Jeff huffed, You heard her back at Beijing Universe. Theyre going to make my life miserable. I doubt thats their intent. Youre doing that on your own. Well, Ive been miserable since we picked you two up. Thanks. Jeff clarified, I didnt mean it that way. I know Im just fucking with you. Shaking his head, Jeff said, I dont even know why I discuss this with you. Thats because, Im a neutral party and dont have a horse in this race. Look at me, MacGregor leaned back spreading his arms, Do I look like I have any connection to any of you. MacGregor sat up, Good youre laughing. Jeff, from what I see you are lucky to have Quedocdo. From my limited exposure, she is one graceful and elegant lady. Shes your anchor, your foundation. I believe she is more comfortable with this problem than youll ever be. What has she said? That well work this out. Thats all? That, and we have to give this situation time. And who are you sleeping with? Jeff retracted from the question, and finally answered, Quedocdo. Do Rowdizians believe in polygamy? I dont know. Jeff brightened. I have a feeling Quedocdo is going to solve this problem so everyone wins. I think youve got it wrong. Jeff observed. Well see and she better hurry.

Why? From what little I know of the Rowdizian gestation cycle, Quedocdo and Susan are due to deliver at the same time, in less than five months. MacGregor roared with laughter. Jeff stood to leave. Youre a big help. Ill see you at the evening meal. Jeff returned to his room after an hour and found it empty. Even the cat was gone. He quickly showered and dressed. Stepping out of the room, he asked his security guard Doelapgeedo, Good evening tell me, does the Rowdizian culture believe in polygamy? Good evening Jefferson. That belief would depend on the group and the time. During our enlightened period, the practice was tolerated, but there was an equal number of males to females. With the Six Year War, our culture experienced a shift in male to female ratio of about one to two. The subject is much debated, but males seem to die in the war at a greater rate than females. My belief is, the male has this deep desire to prove himself. She stifled a chuckle, So yes it is allowed. And at times, encouraged. Interesting. Have you eaten yet? Father is to relieve me. I will be joining your table for the evening meal. She answered. Well, lets go. Jefferson made a beeline for the grand dining room, his shadow three steps behind. Premier Chung looked into the camera and voiced, It is my governments opinion that all members of the Confederation need to greatly increase their funding for defense. With the dissolution of the Alliance, we are all now faced with the possibility of a war with the Tilldoc, and additional fighting here on Earth. The Rowdizians decreed the birthing of another generation of children to replace predicted losses of a protracted conflict. Given the strong disagreement and the choosing of sides on our world, I feel it is only a matter of time before we will have to fight the supporters of the Tilldoc. President Keegan of the Central States of America responded, This will spur our economies. However, with our unemployment at 2% we will have a difficult time supplying a trained workforce to meet this new demand. Natasha offered, John, the Russian Federation, and to a greater extent, China has the manpower to cover labor shortages. Do you wish we loan these workers to the CSA? Premier Chung countered, The PRC is always in need of additional manufacturing jobs. John, I believe your best option is the output of foods? I believe therere some bright minds in the CSA. Why dont you have your scientists concentrate on research and development, then feed us the plans to produce the new products? No problem, Chung. The CSA has also received the Rowdizian formula for a more stable plasma mixture that doesnt degrade over time and doesnt have to be purged before recovery. Ambassador Norton said this new stuff allows for a more focused concentration of the energy. How about that, Natasha? Will this new process reduce the danger of extracting the energy from the source? asked Natasha. John answered, Im afraid not. Just during processing.

Natasha dismissively waved her hand to the camera, Of course it will not leave the most dangerous task to the Russians. Chung jokingly countered, Now, Natasha. Your government demanded it be allowed to maintain the sole patent on the extraction and processing. We were willing to share the risk. Natasha pouted, That is before we knew the dangers of mass production and bulk transportation. John at what point can we use this new whatever. John chuckled, I understand, as soon as the raw product is extracted from the source. Natasha coughed, Good. That should make more than 75% of the process more safe maybe my country will not be first in industrial accidents in the future. Chung began to close, Well if there is nothing further John interrupted, One more thing, Chung. Did our boy take the copies of the Confederation Treaty to Rowdizia for signatures? Chung answered, Of course. I had the additional staff members from Russia and China, that we assigned to the Confederation Embassy, carry the documents. You havent spoken with Jefferson since he left Beijing? Shaking his head the President replied, No I didnt want to bother him. I believe he has his hands full. The trio shared a knowing laugh. Jeff leaned against the door to Susans room. All packed? he asked. Susan smiled and answered, Never really unpacked. Just have to finish putting these few things on and away, then Ill be done. Susan carefully stepped into the thin, mint green, knee length dress and turned her back to Jeff, Please zip me up. As he carefully closed the zipper and hooked the clasp, Jeff announced, I love this outfit. The second time I saw you in it was that day you ran me over outside Miles grocery. Youre not going to wear the three inch heels around the ship are you? Susan turned and pecked him on the cheek, No, silly. For now, Ill wear some matching flats. Ill change into the heels when we get to the surface. After fastening the wide belt, she struck a sexy pose and asked, Hows this? Jeff swallowed hard, adjusting to the slight discomfort, Beautiful. Who did the French nails? I did, answered Quedocdo. She returned Norton to his carrier then glided to Susans side, Susan talked me through the technique. Took about three tries to get it right then, Quedocdo cradled and presented Susans hand, this is my third attempt. Not bad for a beginner. Quedocdo brushed a light patch of gray cat hairs from her lap and adjusted her breasts within her bra, then suggested, if we are ready, let us place our baggage in the shuttle. Knocking on the door to the adjacent VIP stateroom, Quedocdo smiled to the guard then asked through the door, Hello, Doctors Valerius are you ready to go? A few seconds later the door opened and Doctor Latona Valerius answered, We will be a few more minutes. Mother is still preparing. Quedocdo asked motioning to herself and Susan, Can we help? Latona answered, Please, were having a problem with mothers wardrobe.

Jeff said, Ill wait out here with the guys. Jeff shrugged his shoulders looking to the two security staff and sighed, Women. Ten minutes later the four females joined Jeff in the hall. Doctors Valerius wore matching deep blue and gold silk brocade Qui Pao dresses. Their golden hair was lifted forming a tight bun. Gold flats and a matching clutch completed the outfits. One had to look real close to tell they were not twins and see the clues to their age difference. Strolling the passageways to the hangar bay, the happy, joking trio were excited to be home. The Valerius were happy to be closer to their journeys end and were genuinely looking forward to dinner with the Ambassador and his staff at the Royal Palace. The group met Jungeedo and Christine in a cross hallway. Christine observed, Doctors youre beautifully dressed for this evenings event. Looking to Jeff and his ladies, she observed, The three of you seem to have adjusted well to your situation. Quedocdo chuckled, I have no issues, coming from a culture of openness and purity. The real stress will be for these two and their inhibitions. Everyone will need time for a period of adjustment. Jungeedo interjected, All, our worlds have gone through tremendous challenges in recent months. We he stopped when the ships PA announced thirty minutes to braking and sub-light speed. He began to finish his thought when the PA called, Ambassador Norton. Please come to the bridge for a priority message. Jeff looked around and suggested, Im going to put my stuff in the shuttle first, anyone else want to come? Captain Rossleedocdo looked to the Ambassador entering the bridge and said, I have received a communiqu from Fleet Commodore Doweejunkdo and he asked that I share it with you. Jeff brightened, hearing his friends name as he and Quedocdo stepped into the Nuevanshevics bridge, Im excited. Whats up? Rossleedocdo frowned, I do not fully understand the text of this message. I hope you can assist with the strange language. He cleared his throat and read, Captain Rossleedocdo, Good new day. Please inform Jefferson we seem to have stirred the pudding by taking a stick to a hornets nest. Stujunkdo discovered the Tilldoc world we have watched and attacked was not Tilldoc Prime. Those bigger fish have turned into a whale of a problem. Well talk more over this evenings meal with the Royals. Jeff asked, Whos Stujunkdo? Rossleedocdo was still trying to understand the message, so noticing the silence, Quedocdo answered, Stujunkdo is the Royals older male offspring. He serves the Empire as an explorer and Captains the research vessel Galxplorvic, an Ultra-Fast Corvette modified for its unique mission. Jeff searched his memory for several seconds then said, I do vaguely remember that cycle we met on the Dungruevic, Doweejunkdo mentioned Deejunkdo having an older sibling. Rossleedocdo asked, Is there some hidden meaning contained in the message? Jeff apologized, Im sorry. In Doweejunkdos special way, he says we attacked only a fraction of the Tilldoc threat, we have angered the real Tilldoc home world, and we are now in for a tremendous fight.

Rossleedocdo breathed, Oh! Stujunkdo favored his broken arm and prodded propulsion to coax every meter of speed from the hyper-drive engines. The bridge of the Galxplorvic was a mess of littered glass, plastics, aluminum, titanium and blood. He thought, Well, in some ways I and this ship have a streak of questionable luck still running through our systems. The Gods sent us a warning, I ignored it and because of that, Lushjunkdo is dead. The Nuevanshevics computer warned, Jump gate acquired sub-light speed, 50% thrust in 30 seconds. Warning. All crew prepare for braking. Standby to launch the CAP. Susan looked to the Nuevanshevics Captain and asked, Sir what is the transit time from the Gate to mooring? Rossleedocdo measured the lovely Tilldoc and replied, The trip is usually about ten minutes, however with the war and all the warships parked between the moons and Rowdizia, the transit time has increased to thirty minutes. It is a little crowded out there. Youre home. Why launch the Combat Air Patrol? Protocol Lieutenant Commander Branch. answered Rossleedocdo. He quickly called, Jefferson, let me say what an honor it has been to serve with you and your staff these past few weeks, should we get busy and separated in the near future. I know all of you are in a hurry to get home. Jefferson smiled and saluted the Captain as the computer calmly announced, Attention braking and sub-light speed in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Sub-light thrust 50%. Warning, Tilldoc Battle Cruiser closing 5,000 meters to starboard. Stunned, Rossleedocdo commanded, Sound Action Stations. Launch the CAP. Slave all batteries to target the Tilldoc threat. All available pilots to their fighters. Missile batteries target Tilldoc warship and FIRE! Quedocdo barked, Jefferson COME! as she dashed from the bridge with Jungeedo trailing. Susan yelled, What can I do to help? Rossleedocdo asked, Can you pilot a Cooja? She answered, No! Only an orientation ride. Rossleedocdo pointed, Weapons locker over there. Distribute side arms to the bridge crew and arm yourself. HELM! Hard to starboard, thrust 75%. The Doctors Valerius were stunned. Janis noticed their inaction and hustled them off the bridge. Getting their attention she said, Are you two okay? Finally snapping out of her shock, Doctor Valerius asked, What can we do to help? Janis answered, Follow me to the ships hospital. Well wait for the wounded. Jefferson quickly caught Quedocdo and Jungeedo as they entered the launch bay shared by the 60th Squadron. The roar of launching Coojas filled the cavernous hangar. Jeff, bewildered, yelled, We dont have flight/survival suits! And his observation was answered by Quedocdos and Jungeedos stripping naked. Quedocdo yelled, Next best thing! Hurry! Everyone was knocked to the deck as

several concussions rocked the Corvette. She saw Jefferson stripping as she powered up her fighters systems. MacGregor and the other Embassy security forces jogged back to the bridge, passing Janis and the Doctors Valerius ducking into the casualty center. Doing a double take when noticing Susans battle dress, MacGregor said, Ive got to have a picture of her. Captain, how can we help? Standby. Rossleedocdo watched as several Tilldoc transports angled for the Nuevanshevics flight recovery deck. He stabbed the intercom and yelled, Operations, close and seal hangar doors immediately! The Nuevanshevic rocked from another series of missile strikes. A voice replied, Sir Operations, if the pilots have an emergency, where will they land? The Fire Warning wailed and the ships computer calmly announced, Fire in Primary Hangar Bay. Incredulous Rossleedocdo yelled, Who is this? You woujung excrement. The Tilldoc are landing or crashing ships in your area of responsibility. Idiot! Wiping his face, Rossleedocdo calmly said, Captain MacGregor it seems our ship is being boarded by creatures with hostile intent. Would you please take a team and repel the intruders? The ship was rocked by another series of explosions. Stabbing the intercom Rossleedocdo barked, Security Intruder Alert, Primary Hangar! Picking himself off the deck, MacGregor answered, Aye, Captain. Susan rose to her feet and yelled, Wait! I can help. Adorned with a bandolier of spare magazines, and holding a menacing submachine gun, Susan was more than ready. Macgregor smiled, You know Commander Branch, he dug a spare communications set out of his vest, tossing it to the well dressed female, This soap opera would sell millions in syndication. What do you go by? A terse, Branch. was his answer. Then follow us, Branch. Quedocdo surveyed the situation, glad to see some of the other CAPs heading for their position; but reasoned the transit time would be several minutes, and maybe too late. She quickly led an initial strafing run on the Tilldoc aggressor. Seeking coordination, the radio finally boomed, All fighters are to target the enemy hyper-drive at this time. This is the Nuevanshevic. Repeat, all fighters target the hyper-drive of the Tilldoc warship. Quedocdo transmitted, Squadron 60, report! Her command was answered by the sequential reply of seven fighters checking in. Jefferson ended the sequence with, Chalk Seven. Maintain echelon left, target main drive. Pair of Rapiers on this pass, Quedocdo began another tight, powered, high g turn to attack the hyper-drive of the attacking Tilldoc ship. Her squadron followed in loose formation. She judged the Tilldoc warship looked to be maneuvering in the same pattern as the Rossleedocdo Maneuver and was thrusting hard to its port. Jeff transmitted, The ship is turning to jump away!

Quedocdo pressed, Target the main drive again! As the squadron turned, setting up for her second pass. Jefferson warned, Lead were too big a formation. Suggest we split in half. Quedocdo responded, Affirmative, Jungeedo you command chalks four through seven. Ill take one through three. A curt affirmative was her reply. As the fighters realigned and pressed the attack, the Tilldoc warships main drive began to increase in intensity and her aft took on a bluish-green glow. Susan asked, What are their uniforms? A charcoal gray. Believe me, you will not be confused for Tilldoc. responded MacGregor, then he chuckled at his partially erroneous response. The team worked their way through the chaotic corridors toward the hangar deck, all the while searching for signs of the intruders. Running refuges from the disastrous battle of 34347, plus smoke, steam and dust from damaged spaces drifted throughout the ship. Lighting, broken from the jarring impacts of enemy weapons, rained showers of phosphorescent sparks from the ceiling. The burnt gasses made it difficult for everyone to breath. Susan memorized what her team was wearing and prayed for a little divine guidance. As the madness cleared, they heard the distinct sounds of footfalls on broken glass ahead. Not wanting to hurt the aimless wanderings of more rescued warriors, the team held their fire. Carpenter, tasked with point, transmitted in a hushed whisper, Careful theyre here. Five meters to our front. Suddenly, the passageway erupted in the staccato sound of sub-machinegun fire. Several thousand rounds were exchanged. As the pounding concussion faded into the walls of the ship, the team anxiously awaited the results. Susan crawled to MacGregors side. What gives? She whispered, inserting a fresh magazine into her weapon and allowed the used magazine to fall quietly into her hand. Macgregor pulled an electronic pocket chart and studied the area. He briefed, There are at least two dozen more still in the hangar. Most are moving to the connecting passageway. Embassy Team advance. Lapgeedo, you and Doelapgeedo take the corridor to our right. Emergency lighting flickered as MacGregor and his team advanced on the hangar. The corridor was littered by the bodies of Tilldoc and Rowdizian forces killed in a desperate battle to guard the ship or protect the boarding. MacGregor thought through the possibilities of the confrontation. Finally realizing the purpose of the attack, he called the bridge, Rossleedocdo, the intruders are going to detonate a device. Open the hangar doors to lessen the impact on the ship! A long silence was ended with the horrific roar of a bomb detonating in the confined space of the Nuevanshevics hangar. A blinding flash startled Quedocdo as her group fired another volley of six Rapier missiles toward the powering up drive. Turning to confirm her fears, she was awestruck by the damage to the Nuevanshevic. She reacquired her target and noting the bluish intensity of the engines called, They have almost reached jump energy. Concentrate on their main drive! She then fired her pulse canons into to the light. Strange electrical arcs flashed from the Tilldoc hyper-drive to the surrounding

ships hull. Dozens of Rapiers were streaking for the main drive when the enemy warship elongated and disappeared. The missiles continued their flight to a target no longer there. As Jefferson damned himself for failing to cripple the Battle Cruiser, he was rewarded with an intense starburst over 1000 kilometers distant. Jungeedo warned, Look alive Mustang Flight, the Battle Cruiser departed and abandoned several hundred angry Asp fighters. Lieutenant Evedocdo called, Ah, Lead I have a Weapons Energy Low caution and a Port Engine Overtemp warning. Jungeedo ordered, Make for the nearest moored ship and jettison that engine if it fails to cool. Susan coughed and realized she and the security team were floating in the passageway. The distant heavy click of beings running in mag-boots approached. Seeing her feet near the overhead she reached out with her right foot and tapped the ceiling then realized she was wearing flats. Helpless she listened as occasional shots approached her position. Finding an overhead liquid supply line, she wrapped her left leg around the pipe to anchor her body. She then grabbed a floating, still unconscious MacGregor and slapped his face. He stirred to the painful stimulation and she quickly covered his mouth, effectively keeping him quiet. MacGregor whispered, Wheres the team? Carpenter should be that way. Susan pointed in the direction of the approaching noise. Lapgeedo and Doelapgeedo were behind me and took the corridor. Smoke swirled in the passage, reducing visibility. MacGregor tapped his feet to the wall and stabilized his mass with the help of his mag-boots. He quickly walked across the overhead to the opposite wall and warned, Be careful, theyre approaching fast. A whispered affirmative hissed in his earpiece. The wait was maddening. Susan prayed that Carpenter and other friendly forces were clear of her field of fire. The footfalls slowed and several quick bursts of automatic weapons fire sounded. Susan was startled by Carpenters bullet riddled body floating past her face. She thought, Enough! and opened fire. She heard MacGregors weapon and two seconds later she reloaded and resumed hosing the passageway. Her calf burned from a grazing round, then her right thigh jerked from the impact of another bullet. Gritting her teeth from the intense burning pain, she removed another spent magazine and reloaded. After two more spent magazines floated to her front, her earpiece hissed, Cease fire. They waited quietly, listening for any sound. A few distant moans drifted through the space. MacGregor looked through the fog of empty shell casings and asked, Are you okay? Susan coughed, Im hit in the lower right thigh. Ill be fine, just bandage it. MacGregor opened a field dressing and approached Susans perch. Concerned by a patch of bright blood at her crotch he said, Susan youre bleeding. No shit! She shot back. As he bandaged her thigh, he clarified, No, I meant down there! Pointing to her crotch. Seeing the blood, Susan wailed, My baby! Macgregor dragged a sobbing Susan from the ceiling and ran for the ships

hospital. Jeff closed tight on Jungeedos wing filling the gap left by Ensign Tracdeedocdos death. He called, Lead, fives been destroyed. Ive one missile plus 10% weapons and propulsion energy remaining. Jungeedo replied, Copy, about same here. Let us return to the Nuevanshevic and see if we can help. There are enough Rowdizian fighters now to clean up the remaining mess. Follow me Jefferson. I will guide you to the Secondary Hangar if it is operational. The Nuevanshevic was drifting away from Rowdizia and slowly tumbling about its longitudinal axis. What remained of the primary hanger looked as if a giant hand had ripped the structure from the port side of the ship. Some debris held a stationary orbit with the tumbling vessel. Jungeedo called, Nuevanshevic, this is Jungeedo and Norton requesting to land in the Secondary Hangar. Operations replied, Not much room Commander, and we still are without gravity. Understand. Oh, Jungeedo remembered, would it be possible for someone to bring mine and Nortons flight suits and mag-boots to the bay? Will do Commander, Commander Quedocdo will meet you. On the Squadron frequency Jeff asked, Howd she get back so fast. I never heard her call. Jungeedo agreed, Nor I Jefferson. Careful, there may still be survivors in the bay. Copy. Jeff was stunned by all the damage to the Nuevanshevic. They matched the ships rotation and approached the hangar. Ten pulse cannons tracked their approach and continued to hold fire after identifying the appropriate codes. One hundred meters from the entrance, Jeff jumped as the entire cannon array fired upon an unseen attacking lone Asp fighter. A flash to their six told of its fate. As the Coojas settled to the deck, reinforced blast doors closed behind them sealing the bay. Jeff immediately noticed damage to the only other two fighters in the hangar. One Cooja was missing a section of its canopy and unmistakable purplish-black blood smeared the side of the ship. He then smiled, seeing Quedocdo striking a pose with their flight suits draped over her left arm, the mag-boots in her left hand and her right hand supported by a shapely right hip. Several hundred survivors stood to her rear. Why Jungeedo, is that for me? Quedocdo giggled at his embarrassment. Jungeedo tersely answered, Your mate here might have some objection didnt you know, I almost always get an erection during battle? Jeff looked to his Chief of Staff and said, Ill remember to tell Christine to be close when you land after a fight. Both naked pilots were having trouble donning their suits in the weightless environment. Quedocdo held Jefferson as he put on one leg then a mag-boot. A concerned question came from Jungeedo, Is Christine alright? Quedocdo moved to help Jungeedo and answered, She is fine, but Susan is injured and in surgery. She will survive. She has a bullet wound to her right thigh and right calf. They have also saved the baby.

Surprised, Jeff blurted, Clarify save! Quedocdo held up her hands, Please be calm, she is in great spirits. I am just repeating the words of Doctors Cheedocdo and Valerius. Jungeedo asked, Anyone else injured? Ensign Lessdeedo, Quedocdo pointed to the bloody fighter, died shortly after he shut down his Cooja. I know for certain, Carpenter, Lapgeedo and Captain Rossleedocdo returned to the origin. The bridge crew are most likely all dead, because the bridge and Command and Control were destroyed by the explosion of a heavily laden shuttle crashed into the Command Center. We are operating what is left of this ship from the engineering spaces. Oh, and one more thing. Latona lost her lower left leg when she was stepping through a hatch that slammed shut from the force of the explosion. She is terribly upset, but will survive. Jeff forcefully shook his head and asked, Is that we just a figure of speech? The trio passed through the personnel hatch and sealed it behind them. Let us hurry to the hospital, suggested Quedocdo, Susan is asking for you. Jeff asked, Clarify we. As the ranking naval officer on the ship, I am in Command. Just a temporary thing. She stopped, turned, embraced and deeply kissed Jefferson. Stepping back she blinked from tears and said, She will and we will be fine. The PA blared, Warning, Artificial Gravity will be restored in 5 minutes. The computer repeated the warning. Entering the hospital bay, they quickly found a lethargic Susan lying in a separate bed next to MacGregor. Christine sat between the pair talking of the upcoming wedding. Seeing Jungeedo, Christine jumped up and ran to her Rowdizian lover. Im so glad youre safe. Weve had so much loss this day. She kissed Jungeedo and hugged him not wanting to let go. Jefferson took Susans hand and asked, You doing okay? He then tenderly kissed her forehead. Having problems forming words, Susan slurred, Our babys fine, Im fine, except I was shot, she held up two wavering fingers, twice. Quedocdo stroked her brow and said, I believe she Susan interrupted, Oh, and we were blown up. She splayed her fingers for added effect and said, poof. Doctor Cheedocdo entered the space and observed, Well, maybe a little too much pain medication and sedatives. Jeff demanded, Sedatives? MacGregor answered, She was upset beyond belief. Kept screaming my baby and please help me. Big change from the cold calculating warrior fighting in the passageways. Quedocdo kissed the back of Susans hand and chuckled, Oh, yes. She is a keeper. Jeff shot Quedocdo a strange look and said, Youve been hanging around Doweejunkdo too much. Quedocdo just smiled. Another stretcher carrying an upset Latona was maneuvered into the space. Dr Valencia Valerius followed. Seeing the gathering, she apologized, Im sorry. The spaces

are filling with the injured. I can move Latona to a passageway. Jeff interrupted, Youll do no such thing. Shell stay with us! Taking a deep breath, Susan had a second of lucid thoughts and interrupted, Oh, Hi Que, Jeff. Que, thank you for convincing me I needed to come with you and Jeff. Her strength expended, she fell into a deep sleep. Dr. Cheedocdo offered, Susan will be fine. I checked the fetus and it is not harmed. Sometime during the battle, probably the explosion, her placenta was slightly torn. Hence the bleeding. Jeff asked, Did you throw in some of the magic healing elixir? Dr. Cheedocdo clarified, Be nice, but the chemicals are harmful to a developing baby. Valencia and I had to do the repair the old fashion way, surgery. Anyway, Susan will be fine. There is an excellent plastic surgeon on Rowdizia that can repair the scars she will have from the gunshot wounds. That has to happen. She has great looking legs. The gathered laughed. Then remembered Latona. Quedocdo begged, Latona, Valencia please forgive us. Our tasteless playful banter did not respect the feelings of those present. Janis comforted a crying Latona. Dr. Valerius tersely requested, Commander Quedocdo. Is there anyway I can send a message to my husband and inform him of our status? Just follow me, I will take you to the temporary Command Center. Quedocdo motioned. After disappearing around the corner a contrite Valencia returned to say, Forgive me. It is I who intruded on your space and have been extended the precious gift of friendship. I owe a tremendous debt to all of you. She then disappeared. Jeff, feeling they were ignoring MacGregor asked, What about you Jackson. Why are you in here? Nothing much to report, MacGregor lifted his covered left hand, took one in the hand and a round in the side. Passed through the fat. Janis commented, From where I stood, I didnt see an ounce of fat on that hard body. Jeff and Jungeedo gave each other a quizzical look. MacGregor waggled his brow, What can I say, the ladies like my charm and looks. Janis caressed Latonas hand and attempted to comfort her with supportive words, The Rowdizians have some of the finest reconstructive surgeons in the universe. The area grew quiet out of respect and interest. Latona cried, You dont understand, Im now damaged. Ill be lucky to give special status. Janis grasped for support, Look, she motioned to Jefferson. Jeff almost died from a necrotic bug bite. Here at the juncture of his neck and chest you could see bone. Can you tell? Latona cautiously looked at the area and angrily said, What? Do you think Im a fool? There is no evidence of injury! My point exactly! Janis, exasperated, threw up her arms. Somewhat more calm and accepting, Latona asked, And how long does this miracle take?

Janis thought replying, Took Jeff about three to four weeks. You lie! Janis had enough, Look missy with that superior chip on your shoulder. You gasped the first day you watched the miracle of the Rowdizian wound stimulator. Youve assisted in the reattachment of limbs to a fully functioning status. So, quit feeling sorry for yourself and accept our help. A meek voice countered, I will still be marked with Special Status. Jeff asked, What is Special Status? Dr. Valencia Valerius with Quedocdo in tow, reentered the bay answering, Special Status is an identification given to persons worthy of praise and admiration that have been damaged, through no fault of their own, while serving the Empire. Well there ya go, observed Jeff, Youre Special. Dr. Valencia countered, Oh, the status doesnt diminish ones standing, it just marks the being as less than perfect. Cheedocdo was flabbergasted, Wait. There would be nothing genetically wrong with Latona, and after treatment, no one could tell, without very detailed diagnostic exams, that she was ever injured. Cheedocdo lifted the cover to view the damaged lower leg. Latona, distracted by all the attention, calmly interjected, It doesnt matter. We will be returning home in a few cycles and the procedure would take more than 30 cycles to complete. My species lacks the technology. Stay here. Jeff offered seeing another opportunity. Where? Latona asked, her affect brightening. Jeff thought, The Earth-Alliance Embassy in the Palace. Valencia was confused, asking, Jeff, you live in the Emperors Palace? Youre not Rowdizian. Hey, long story. Not now. Quedocdo interjected, Cheedocdo told you this injury could be fixed. When our doctor said fixed she did not mean a rudimentary reattachment. An unsure Latona asked, Mother? Valencia was crying, But Ill be leaving you with the enemy. Jeff quickly cut in, Well technically she would be staying in the EarthAlliance Embassy. Were not at war with your government and Rowdizia has yet to sign the Articles of Confederation, which were destroyed during the attack on the Nuevanshevic. Jeff was now laughing and said, Politics. Cheedocdo interrupted, Well if you need more information to confuse the subject, Latonas lower limb has perked up. It is alive. We can schedule her immediately for surgery, complete the reattachment and close the wound, then start phase two with an external fixator. You just tell me what to do. Latonas face was streaked with the tracks of tears, Please, do what is best. Her mother nodded agreement. Quedocdo said, Looks like we have a plan. I have to return to my station and command this vessel. This surgery will take at least, Quedocdo looked to Cheedocdo who mouthed the answer then Quedocdo said, the night. I will off load everyone except the assigned skeleton crew. With the attack, the Empress now expects all of us, except

Latona, to join her for the morning meal. Latona, you will be transferred to the Embassy Clinic when able. An inspection and salvage grew will come aboard later. Susan woke, Que. she motioned for the creature to come close and gently took Quedocdos head in her hands and pressed her forehead to Quedocdos crest saying, You and I will be fine. Just promise me one thing. Quedocdo lightly kissed Susans forehead and asked, What do you require? Promise that we get to make Jeffs life a living hell. MacGregor laughed, Im glad I came along. I wouldnt miss this triangle for the universe.

Preview of the soon to be released

The Purge
The Purge is a contemporary fictional novel set in the early 21st century. World governments continue to test the ideal of socialism and bleed the producers of their societies till no more monies exist to steal. Technology has made the need for a large workforce obsolete. The demands of an unchecked growing world without purpose has reached the breaking point, and in the United States and the world people are ripe for rebellion. The public finally realized State and Federal elections were an exercise in futility. With a catastrophic event that disrupts the basic fabric of daily life the country falters. The revolution is horribly bloody, seeking to take revenge on the elites that have preyed on those responsible working men and women who have finally had ENOUGH! Also known as the primer for the survivalist, throughout the story tayloralexander offers a detailed list of needs for the coming collapse of the United States. The fictional story of preparation is meant as an entertaining way for the reader to learn and be prepared to survive the inescapable demise. The work will be available on the tayloralexander website. The following is an excerpt from the novel, The Purge As the sun fought to heat the land, the cool air and sea won the battle, making the day a pleasant and welcome distraction from the true importance of the trip, food. Sherry and the children lost themselves in the playful frolicking in sand and surf. The couples on the pier continued to divide their time between fishing and occasional playful exploration of their partners sensual needs. By midday the trip was a rousing success. When over 350 pounds of dressed meat overfilled their coolers, they had to procure a few Styrofoam containers from the abandoned retail shack to carry the remaining catch. Half the harvest consisted of Cobia with the remainder being mostly King and a good portion of Trigger fish. In the end, the sun won. Its radiation sapped the energy of everyone exposed to the

invisible rays, leaving its mark of prolonged exposure as a testament to its unequaled power. Jamal in his relaxed posture appeared to be slumbering in the shade of the piers entrance. That assumption would be wrong. He knew the importance and trust everyone deferred to him this day. Under the visor, intent watchful brown eyes maintained a constant watch for threats. After 6 hours, half the beer remained in the cooler. Jamal felt this outing was going too smoothly. Parker shouted, Time to go. With the truck loaded, everyone except Jamal and Sherry, wanted to ride inside, out of the suns radiant strength. Cresting the bridge Parker stopped as soon as he spotted the four vehicles blocking the road. Four men stood guard with guns at the ready. Sizing up the situation, Parker thought out loud, there are at least ten more hostiles hidden somewhere in the surrounding buildings. Otherwise, there was no need to have brought 4 cars with seating for 20. Mason called Meadow Bend by radio and reported their situation. A plan was coordinated with the base and a response team was dispatched immediately. Five long minutes later, Parker released the brakes and slowly approached the obstacle. Letting the truck coast to the barricade, another 30 seconds passed before Parker stopped 50 feet short of the men. The children were asleep on the rear seat. Terry stayed in the cab to watch and protect Sherrys charges. Sherry, with a pump shotgun loaded with eight double ought buck resting on her right shoulder, walked with the others to challenge the interruption to this wonderful day. Incredulous, and standing a few feet from Parker, she asked the guard, Whats going on? The visibly nervous man cradling a bolt action hunting rifle demanded, Ill ask the questions. Do you speak for this group? Parker amused, let the exchange continue. Sherry examined the four men before she answered. All were ashen and showing signs of malnutrition. No two weapons they carried were the same. They were desperate, and they had to know they had made a terrible mistake stopping what was before them. Sherry repeated herself, Simple question, whats going on? The leader of the pitiful group paused, knowing his mistake as soon as these women and men stepped from the protection of their truck. Every one of the five strangers had glistening bronze skin, not an ounce of body fat, and were proportionally built with muscles that would be the envy of any editor of a body building magazine. The black woman doing the speaking was stunning and only a few inches shorter than the black man to her left rear. She had to be six-four. The icing on the cake was everyone carried a pistol hung from a tactical holster and their rifles were the most dangerous things he had ever seen. If these people werent military, a military unit would give them a wide berth. The die had been cast, so the guard chose his words carefully, Maybe YOU didnt understand. I have men positioned on and in the surrounding buildings, covering us. We have you outnumbered almost three to one. All I have to do is give the word. Parker stifled a laugh. Sherry, seeing the drama to the four mens rear put the opposition in check, Aahhh, well I would suggest that you tell your men that we havent found yet, to put their weapons on safe and come out now. Over the tall black womans glistening shoulder the leader of the road block saw one of his men on the roof of a restaurant standing with his hands up. A stranger had a

pistol pressed to his head. The leader wondered how much longer he would live and began to welcome thoughts of dying. Finally, he yelled, Put your guns down. Come out. Their poorly played hand was over.

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