Just a warning for readers, it has been so long since I worked in this that I forget there was a lot of sex in this. Early on in my writing I wanted to be popular and knew that sex sells. I soon found out that I can’t write sex. So this project was abandoned. Tell me what you think, was I right or was I right?

Planet-rise and moon-fall

Chapter 1

It took longer than I estimated to reach moon-fall. I planned it out at just over 14 hours from start to finish with five fairly cautious jumps through a complicated planetary system – never good to leap into uncharted space without knowing exactly what you are aiming at and I hadn’t been to this system for a quarter of a century – but the nav com put less trust in my methods and without even bothering to inform me, changed two of my plot points and added four of her own so the very last leap would be line of sight.

Prior to these stages we had first been holed up for a fortnight in primary prep before travelling for a further two weeks, disguising our journey and destination from the numerous patrols and system scans which sought to deny us our goal, which we hoped would enrich us beyond our wildest dreams.

Hell, as soon as we entered our dest-sys I donned my radsuit, a rather old-fashioned jacket and trouser article made of a blend of clunky polyfoil and vegiglass, but they don’t grow many of these my size. When you are built like an orbiting bogbox you can’t afford to be choosy when you clearly can’t afford to buy custo. The nametag on the suit showed that before recycling through the charity megstore on Egius Tertio, the original owner was ‘Joe’ and my name was ‘Ivan’ but with just a crew of five on board there was really no need to change it. Three of the crew had the slightly more comfortable but also clearly second-user radsmocks and the names on those also didn’t match the people I knew as Kevlin, Skeech and Selene either.

This far into the centre of the galaxy means the stars virtually fill the cosmos and this was a triple-sun system to boot, so when I say it was bright, it was actually blinding. I swear you could feel the radiation pickling your skin through the triple hull. But the radiation wasn’t our only danger, what concerned me was what filled the voids between the planets. The trouble with triple-sun systems, is that the planetary orbits are so confusing that planets don’t last long but the resultant debris lumps of long-dead worlds can be lethal forever.

Our first leap had taken us to the edge of the first asteroid belt, but before we could leap into the space between this and the outer giant, it would take at least half a terranhour for our tiny vessel to generate another small wormhole for the next leap. It is hard for non-space-travellers to understand the principles of space travel. They look at the 3Dmovies and think the process is instantaneous and that the few seconds of time before a leap is added by the director for dramatic effect, such as I saw recently in Star Trek 492, when the stricken Enterprise escapes destruction by a leap into hyperspace. But it is nothing like that. To move a vessel containing over 600 people into warp mode, would take five or six terranhours to build an entrance and they would have to have a zylon at the destination end to simultaneously set up an exit hole. We only had the one zylon, within our own vessel, there was no other presence in this system, so it all had to be done from one end. This close to the asteroid belt, there was bound to be stray debris, so we used the vegpulse engines to follow the direction of the orbit and travel faster than the orbital speed to avoid any surprises from behind and steer past slower objects ahead. We still experienced some bumping however, but nothing the hull couldn’t cope with. It would get worse though as we penetrated further into the system towards our destination.

This system had four main planets that had still managed to avoid direct impact with one another during the lifespan of the Milky Way, just two gas giants and two rock planets. Those latter tortured spheres orbited far too close to the suns and were beyond human use, their bare rock surfaces alternating between frozen and molten every two or three hours, their atmospheres boiled away and streaming clouds of frozen dust and gases had long added to the system’s barely navigable debris; landfall on the giants was also impossible, our hull, even our brilliantly pressure-resistant interstellar pods, would cave in before we hit the outermost clouds.

Our destination was one of the moons on the inner giant, and Mylon the onboard zylon computer prepared herself for the last leap to moon orbit, waiting for 20 minutes or so for the moon to rise above the horizon so there could be no mistake. We had to leap, conventional vegpulse engines would take about seven terramonths but we wouldn’t last a day out there once we got past the outer gas giant and into the first of several icy rock asteroid belts.

As you can imagine, the rest of the crew were less than impressed by this near-21 hour shift, which didn’t auger well when your fellow travellers are cut-throat pirates and outlaws or worse, and your position as pilot-master of the vessel depends on the most tenuous of mental melds with the on-board zylon computer.

The skipper Kevlin directed a scowl in my direction, his one gold tooth in a row of mainly black ones glinting in the starlight, matched by the reflections from the heavy, deeply engraved gold ring dangling pirate-fashion from his right ear lobe and protruding between lank black and silver strands of his shoulder-length hair. His scowl was mirrored by the mate’s sneer, an unavoidable expression on his part since his past participation in a blade fight had frozen his face that way. They were both chinocauk, the second most common human race after chinoasian, and these two were as common and villainous as they come.

Even their skivvy, the galleyhand Selene, at around 20 terras the youngest member of the crew, gave me a rolling of her deep warm brown eyes in plain embarrassment at being acquainted with such demonstrative ineptitude – and she was being kind as we had shared, well, recent intimate history. Selene was a rather fetching moon-faced mongol, a rare breed nowadays after the racial cleansing of the civil war, cheerfully plump and a willing, almost too willing and certainly indiscriminating, distributor of her favours. So she was popular with, well just about all the crew.

The last member of our not-so-happy band was Lilian and she stood to the left of me by the vegpulse engine console looking cool and elegant in her stunning made-to-measure i-radshift, a modern nebulous vegsilk cloak with hood, the body part of which static-clung to her tall slim form which accentuated her heavy, but buoyant and thrillingly-pointed breasts. Only the weighty double-bladed dagger, the weapon of choice for the sophisticated lady-about-space, strapped to her waist outside her cloak, disturbed the classic line of her fabulous form. She didn’t need a name badge, even the discrete designer label of ‘Lamani’ at the base of the hood was unnecessary – clearly she was accustomed to the best, ‘making do’ didn’t even figure in her vocabulary.

Normally she wore tight-fitting dark clothes, where her shape blended into the background of the dark green inner hull, but in this yellow-sun coloured i-radshift her splendid form was a magnet for gawping at by all the crew. The Skip was clearly aroused, but as far as I could tell from a recent knifepoint nick in his left cheek that Lil had successfully rebuffed the grizzled pirate’s risky advances.

The vessel’s mate, Skeech, always drooled from his crooked mouth, but any doubts about his present state of arousal were dispelled by his hand jerking up and down inside his dull grey radsmock. And as for the second female member of the crew, Selene, despite her proclivity for regular buttwinkling, she had made no secret of her sapphist tendencies and had several times sought to add Lil to her sleeppod notches without actually troubling her whittlingblade.

Me? Well I wasn’t even in the running for Lil’s attentions. No, Lil was clearly in a class of her own and had known comfort and wealth in an earlier life before recently descending by necessity into dealing with the likes of present company.

As far as I knew, it was Lilian that funded this operation, seeking to exchange her life of comparative comfort guaranteed by befriending some planetary potentate to an independent one of limitless wealth and power.

When my homeworld was taken over by the Great Rebellion and my father and family put to the sword, the rebel general assigned to rule in his place found the coffers empty and he fruitlessly tore my homeworld apart, whilst burying me deep into the penal system where I should have been lost forever. It was this treasure house that these villains believed I could access that brought this venture thus far.

Lil merely looked down her nose at me as if she had expected little more from my pathetic piloting efforts. With the hood restricting my view of her oval face to just her black almond eyes, aquiline nose and full red lips parted slightly to show a glimpse of her twin rows of perfectly straight teeth, glacial white against her dark skin, her expressionless face spoke volumes of what she expected of me.

Lil, and she had continually corrected me for shortening her name from Lilian (which only encouraged me to use my favoured contraction at every subsequent opportunity), had made no effort to disguise how much she despised me from the start. She was a supporter of the Revolution and to her I was Imperial scum, a relic, an anachronism of a bygone age. She was clearly too perfect to be true: ferociously intelligent, elegant in movement or repose, and unbelievably attractive, to be living under the radar in the criminal underclass to which my companions, which now also included myself, were forced to endure.

To me it was obvious that Lil must be an F3 hybrid, one of the chinoblack models that I had only ever encountered once, and that brought back painful memories. The F3s only revealed their existence towards the end of the long drawn out civil war and brought about a sudden collapse in the imperial system. They were indistinguishable from the humans they were modelled on. Grown by the rebels in large numbers many years earlier and used with devastating effect to infiltrate Imperial bases, often as sleepers filled with false memories, unaware even themselves of the time bombs they were designed to become until triggered at the moment of attack, to murder and sabotage, heralding inevitable victory for the Rebels. This was a pattern that had spread across the galaxy in a few short months, ending what seemed an unending unresolvable war and led to today’s status quo, the so-called Galactic People’s Republic of Humanity.

Yes, I had certainly come across an F3 hybrid before and only survived because they took prisoners in those early days, until the penal colonies were filled to overflowing. Lil sensed I was ex-Imperial, not just because I was caukoturk, which I disguised as much as possible by complete defoliation and carboblacking my fair eyelashes, plus I had resorted to squinting my naturally round eyes for so long I forgot I was even doing it. She must have picked up the traces of serial number tattoos which separated politicos from ordinary prison stock, that I had sought to disguise as star-burn. Like old enemies, we kept ourselves at a respectful distance but always held each other in view with a wall behind our backs and a sharp blade ready to hand. My own dagger of choice was of bone, long-ago fashioned from some unnameable creature which they fed to us when on rare occasion near-rancid meat was offered for prisoners to fight over for the guards’ amusement, and that blade had faithfully preserved the integrity of my ancient arse up to this point.

Come the thieves share-out would herald the inevitable reckoning, we both knew that. OK, Kevlin and Skeech would work together once we hit civstateside, and I was certain that Selene’s sharing of her favours between the pair wouldn’t preserve her share of any treasure for long.

I had met Kevlin in the slammer, of course, where I was a forgotten political prisoner of war and he was a first-offender criminal briefly incarcerated for possession of stolen goods, hence escaping the usual capital solution for piracy. He got out before me but not until I made sure he was aware of what I knew about hidden treasure beyond his wildest dreams: the total wealth of a family that could count its forebears and accumulate power, influence to build a vast treasury through millennia. In order to obtain my own release I had to kill and assume the identity of a prisoner due for release in defiance of the system, helped by bribes from Kevlin on the outside, going past guards who didn’t check my forged papers as closely as the state paid them a pittance to do. I sought out Kevlin as the person I needed to find a crew and, following recovery of the treasure, had the contacts to launder into usable state credits. He used Lilian, for whom he had smuggled illegal luxuries, to identify, finance and prepare the right vessel. Lilian was looking to build a retirement fund to replace the favours she presently lived on from rich patrons and this venture would certainly give her that.

Kevlin was a necessary evil in this venture and I knew he would target me first, once my unique knowledge of our destination and access beyond the security system expired, I would be of little further use beyond that. We may have been setting out as a band of thieves but there would be no inference of honour among our temporary band of convenience once the promised glint of treasure became a reality.

However, I knew they would underestimate the hybrid, their kind always did. I also knew that a trained hybrid assassin would take me out before carving up the buccos, so at least I knew exactly where I stood – right at the end of a dead end called Shit Street.

OK, I had killed an F3 hybrid once, but that was 20 years ago in my prime. I had few illusions of the outcome of any one-on-one now. But for the present we all needed each other. As for Selene, well she could shag any one of us to death if she wanted to but she was without any of the skills to control or dock the ship or dispose of any of the anticipated cargo. As for poor Selene, she always was a candidate for victim rather than victor. Hell, the killing machine that I knew as Lil might even let Selene off with enough loot for her own modest means; these hybrids were bred without bottom line compassion but in my experience of them, expediency didn’t always mean total slaughter.

I smiled at the concept of a partly-human assassin having more humanity than most humans of my recent acquaintance, which was not beyond the realms of possibility.

Like my brief previous experience with Kevlin, I had seen Lil before too. She was part of a ‘do-gooding’ group that visit prisons ensuring inmates’ fair treatment. I spotted her straight off because mostly they are crabby old spinsters and widows with too much wealth and time on their hands for their own good, with guilty consciences in need of assuaging. Either that or seeking their next tame ‘house boy’. She was bright and fashionable and sensationally gorgeous. She stood out from the crowd all right and, although at the time I held hopes to, I had no expectations of ever seeing her again. If she had recognised me as more than just a face in the crowd, well so far she hadn’t acknowledged it. Since release I had filled out a bit, after being hungry for almost half my life. As for deprivation during incarceration of the caring touch of a woman, well the homely Selene had recently seen to the baser of my bodily needs.

My brief reverie was interrupted as I felt the tug of the inner gas giant on the hull as we entered the elliptical orbit that heralded the penultimate stage of our journey. Through my mind-meld connection to Mylon, a flood of information came into my consciousness, distance from the planet, speed of orbit, projections of different scenarios. Even though my link was pretty tenuous, she only let me into her edited grudging version of consciousness so far, I felt at ease with her and, well, safe.

I suppose now is the time and place to reflect on where we had come this far into my life cycle, particular as it was likely to come to a swift inglorious end very soon, now. I may never get a better chance.

***

The F1 and F2s were cloned simply to follow direct orders as fighters and as only the Rebels had them initially, they had initially tipped the balance of the war early on following their introduction. But the imperial houses were soon on the case and used the technology to good effect to restore the civil war stalemate for several decades. These first two manifestations of androids were identical soldier drones and had none of the ‘bits’ that the F3s needed so they could infiltrate without suspicion. It was the F3s which were basically genetically-enhanced humans which had a devastating effect to end the resistance of individual worlds by taking out the leadership of each with minimal effort. Hell, the F3s came in many forms, although the vast majority were female, and were made from genetically-altered human children, they could even procreate with humans, their offspring indistinguishable, which is why they don’t make them anymore since the war was won.

The new F4s are ‘bits’-less again and used purely for terraforming duties. But the surviving F3s after the war were in incredible demand by the generals and their captains that now rule every despotic planet in the galaxy, as concubines or, whether they were male or female, were well accustomed to carving out a comfortable existence in the leisure-pleasure industry. I would hardly call their existence ‘life’, but then I’m prejudiced.

One of the F3s was my unsuspecting father’s second wife. The assassin killed him while he slept. Then she destroyed every last member of my family until she met her own destiny under the full depth of my trusty battleblade.

They wear so well these damn hybrids. The damn war’s been over for nearly 20 years now and I am growing grey round the edges in middle-life, but Lil still looks fresh out of the tank.

Very soon I was no longer the centre of attention as the bombard of space debris began to register on the hull and the rest of the crew had their work cut out. It was considered suicide entering a twin-sun system with only three layers of living vegipolymer skin and a fairly rudimentary antigrav generator. The cumbersome Rebel cruisers that chased Imperial guerrillas into their hideaways had at least nine hulls and were internally micropodded to boot. But the old mobile-infantry-naval-troopship-Imperials that I was accustomed to flying were simply triple-hulled, and our current vessel was the only one in the orbit parking lot that Lil had found which fitted the bill, with a zulon willing to mindmeld with the scum it believed I had become, so we could at least make steerageway.

I say ‘willing’, this was not strictly true. There are a lot of alien life-forms out there in space, as you know, as numerous as the planets, but 99.9% of it is single-celled and red or blue or green and invariably poisonous to human touch.

The zulons are just about the most advanced alien form we know and each one of their species is a fluid collection of cells that hold loosely together as a colony within which the individual parts grow and divide and die and are reborn, so an individual colony never actually dies. They have collective thoughts and memories that make each specialised brain cell more powerful than a million human brains. They send out spores that set up new colonies of cells within the fabric of the ship, interacting with the controls, even attaching to ourselves and controlling the growing of cultures for the living polymer skin layers and all linked to the main zulon form spread out on the ceiling of the upper deck, away from the grav and poop decks where they could be crushed by human feet. They are symbiotic with us, feeding on the detritus exuded from our bodies, which is why we smell so nice even though we don’t have enough water to wash regularly. Also they provide the atmosphere that we breath as a byproduct of their own bodily functions, which are adaptable to different species. They communicate with us telepathically as they do with their own kind and with any zulon-steered craft they wish to in the galaxy, instantaneous, distance no object.

As fully-formed vessels, they are able to reproduce internal pods for a wide range of different tasks, as well as external pods which can be sent out for surveying.

Without the Zulons we would have no interstellar flight, it is they that control the jumps and hold the fabric of human civilisation together, and long ago they helped the Empire spread to every corner of the Milky Way. When humans first discovered them thousands of years ago they were enslaved by my Imperial ancestors, and the Zulons were simply too civilised, too respectful of life in whatever form it comes to resist with violence. If they wanted to, they could simply deprive us of air and suffocate us within a matter of minutes, but I don’t think that possibility would even occur to them. I had my own Zulon once, when I was a pilot, it was an intense relationship and we would have died for each other, and ultimately Pymon sacrificed her life for me and I have been alone ever since. Our onboard interstellar flight computer and me: well, we are not close, Mylon, not close at all.

Our present civilisation is in the form of symbiosis personified, humans developed the technique of growing and grafting additional hulls in vegetable form, which have become our space vessels, protecting human and Zulons alike from the killing space outside. The earth-based herbal kingdom is a lower form of life which lacks the repair and regenerative properties of the animal kingdom of which humanity is part. The biotechnicians long ago formulated the living vegetable polymer that can be fed through the cell structure to strengthen and repair the normal wear and tear damage from space. The Zulons steer and control the ships through hyperspace, and provide the air we breathe; the humans grow the vegifood that keep us alive and living vegpolymer used to keep the vessel intact; the Zulons recycle the nutrients to the vegiprops and process any gaseous waste to feed to the vegpulse engines which the humans developed at the start of Earthexodus, thousands of years ago. And finally the Zulons’ capacity for telepathy keeps the galaxy colonies and vessels in continuous instantaneous contact.

I remember when I was a pilot cadet at the Imperial Academy. They had an exhibition of the early atomic space vessels: dirty, smelly, dangerous, disease-ridden metal tubes full of vermin, which took generations to get from system to system. The Atomic Age, sometimes called the Steel Age, is ancient history. And it took a great deal of effort by the Academy Museum to keep the resident Academy Zulon from cleaning up the exhibit!

Our Zulon is called Mylon. Pilot-masters like myself were trained from infancy to meld with these fantastic creatures and build a lifelong bond. They never forget their collective memories and when I melded with this one a few short weeks ago there was no hiding from it who and what I was. My old Zulon, Pynom, that I bonded with almost from birth, has long been dead. She was destroyed more than twenty years ago in the turning years of the long war, but the lingering echoes of our relationship survive in every colony that it ever communicated with and I was recognised and tentatively accepted, although I am still on probation with any zulon I interact with. Humans with imperial connections suffer from the sins of their fathers. Fortunately, it appeared, I had few sins of my own account, which avoided immediate rejection and inevitable surrender to what nowadays masquerades as the authorities. Stealing a vessel is impossible and buying or using a vessel for nefarious activities is never easy, Mylon would never demean herself to admit as much to me but I suspect the relationship with her previous owner, a local planetary general, was tenuous at best and must have been worse than whatever feelings she had towards me.

While negotiating this intense rockstorm, steerage was pointless, the crew worked the deflectors and guided the sightless Mylon to where hull repairs were required. So I wasn’t really needed and while inactively waiting for moonrise, my attention inevitably strayed back to Lil, looking very fetching in her sinuous manipulation of the dark matter which was contained in our gravdeck as she fed antigrav through the various veg engines around the hull, deflecting the more dangerous metallic rocks which threatened the integrity of the hull.

Dark matter was tricky stuff, if released from the magnetic field plus the tough and flexible living cellulose tissue which surrounded it, this whole vessel would be crushed to a size of a hydrogen molecule. Lil stood leaning over the console and the enticing firm roundness and inviting crease of her backside was like a magnet to my aching gaze. She sensed my attention and sharply turned her hooded head in my direction. My gaze shifted as quickly as I could manage to her eyes, defiant to stare out her expected spirited challenge, but her fiery glance was only a momentary flash and, with a hint of a smile on her fully pouting ruby lips, she turned her lovely head back to her task in hand, which was quite literally saving the vessel from being crushed by multiple collisions.

Guiltily and, although on one level it was perfectly natural for me to love this beautiful woman with every fibre of my being, you don’t know on how many other levels it was wrong, such were the thoughts on my part.

I turned to look instead at Selene, where at least some progress in physical relationship was possible. Relieved of rock prodding duties, she was busy in the galley to my right, preparing hot drinks before we jumped for the last time. She also noticed me look in her direction and she blessed me with a beautiful warm smile, her even white teeth prominent against her startanned face. She had a broad head, frank and open with low brow and deeply slanted eyes under black brows, wide nose and full mouth, which I could imagine would open wide enough to please more than one man at a time. Her jet black hair was cropped close at the top and sides in the current style of startravellers. She was short and full figured, her large rounded breasts swaying in time with the movements of the ship, yet full ripe enough to defy the ever present tugging of the gravdeck. Although she was more than half my age, between late teens and early twenties, she had granted me her favours on several occasions, in between servicing the captain and mate who had first call on her services and tended to indulge in tag-teaming. However, my upbringing tended to put me off simultaneous sexual sharing and she was actually the first girl to receive my attentions after my long incarceration. You could say that this adorable girl was my one true taste of freedom on this vessel, on which looked likely to be my last voyage.

***

It was almost a month earlier when I caught up with Kevlin at Magellan Prime using the state’s onetime travel ticket from the Pen. He, Skeech and Selene then transported me in their little skiff to where Lil had found the vessel we needed. I managed to persuade the zulun controlling the vessel that I was a more suitable pilot and we took off away to a hideaway while we prepared the ship for this trip. As you know, once a vessel has been full grown you can’t simply graft on another hull, but given time and someone with a bio Ph.D you can change the characteristics to cope with a hot twin-sun system, and this is where Lil came into her own. But while she worked her biomagic the rest of the crew could relax and after 20 years of hard labour I was ready for some R’n’R.

I remember Selene was doing the same as she was now, preparing food for the next meal when I visited the open galley to refresh my cup with cool joosale. The Skip and mate were offship sourcing supplies and Lil was busy on the poop deck with the biotanks, so we were alone on the main deck. As she poured my drink from the jug she playfully ran her hand over my smooth scalp.

‘Are you this all over?’ she enquired softly, her thick accent telling me that Standard was not her native tongue, ‘it very cool, no?’

‘Y-yes’, I stuttered, after 20 years inside the Pen it was difficult to be touched without it being synonymous with pain, ‘I’m smooth all over.’

Well, she gave me goose bumps but although I guessed she was easy with her favours, I was too shy to actually touch her first. She had only just grown out of being a kid and I was well into my fifth terradecade, in fact closer to my sixth. She turned back to her chopboard and at the same time pressed her ample buttocks into my groin, moving up and down slowly and deliberately as she rhythmically sliced bean pods. My groin twitched and responded automatically and in doing so prising apart the fold between her downy buttocks.

‘Mmmm, are you grower or just get hard?’ she breathed.

‘A bit of both, I guess,’ I ventured, ‘it’s been a long time, I’m not sure if I remember.’

‘Well, maybe you ready for ’nother refresher, uhh?’ I put down my cup and used both hands to explore her very own cups through her flimsy blouse, her nipples growing exponentially between my fingers and thumbs, the rise and fall of her breasts in time with the shortening and quickening of her breathing. Although her hair was cropped short on top and down to her ears, she had left wispy curls of downy hair around the nape of her neck and I teased her neck with my lips and tongue while working her nipples, my nose buried in dark bristly hair. The Zulons have lived with us long enough to know when they are not wanted and that is particularly applicable during mating, so for the first time I could smell the natural scent of her warm hair in my nostrils. It was sweet and heady and quite simply lovely.

My tongue flicked at the nape and around the sides of her neck and I drew an ear lobe between my lips where I could taste her fresh salty sweat for the first time on my tongue and it was so good. I lightly nibbled at her skin, lifting and releasing it again, nuzzling and nipping, sucking and licking in sheer pleasure at her willing body as she pressed her back and buttocks into my torso. She had one hand pressing my head into her neck and the other clutching at one of my arse cheeks. I tore one of my hands away from a glorious breast long enough to run an index finger down the zapzip at the front of her blouse and the garment slickly parted allowing me to access directly both of her delightful orbs and I enthusiastically but gently rubbed each stiffened nipple between index finger and thumb.

My licking/nipping travailed her shoulder and into the enticing hollow of her armpits, my excited nostrils revelling in the new experience of the zingy pungency of her delicious natural musk. While still behind her, my right hand cupped her breast and lifted the nipple and enormous brown areola to my beckoning mouth. Gently I licked her nipple and sucked at her wrinkling pimply areola, while my other hand descended to her skirt’s zapzip, which responded without resistance at the lightest touch, dropping away to the floor. Clearly women’s fashions had not changed as much since my youth as I had feared. I released my own clothing and my hugely engorged member was liberated from its woven cell and I pushed it down between her legs from behind, my blood-filled cockhood pressing against her moist cunt lips.

If I was surprised at my best friend’s length and ramrod stiffness after a couple of decades of complete sexual inactivity, clearly Selene was even more impressed, although all she said was: ‘Wow! Where you been all my life?!’

I felt any reply unnecessary, but she had given me the confidence to proceed. I moved a wetted finger to her pudendum, briefly toting with her anus and then moved through her delightful folds of flesh to the top and began to caress her clit and felt its engorgement under my attention in its shy retreat in the folds of her clitoral hood. Meanwhile, one of Selene’s hands squeezed, somewhat less than gently, my left buttock, while the finger and thumb of her right hand rather more delicately eased back and forth the prepuce over the head of my throbbing cock.

I remoistened a finger and slipped it into her vagina, where I found the lubrication unnecessary, her juices flowing from her like only a ripe young woman’s cunt can.

‘I want you now,’ I breathed softly with some degree of pleading in her ear.

‘I want too,’ she replied, turning her head and moving her lips to meet mine, raising her left hand from my bum to the back of my head drawing my lips to her eager mouth, while her right hand, with thumb pointing towards my body, tugged my foreskin up and down my shaft with an unaccustomed savage force, although it would have been churlish to imply any criticism of the gesture, when my main thought was of deep-felt gratitude. My fingers worked up and down her inner labia and around her clit.

She said ‘But I still sore down there from … last night,’ and she bit my lower lip forcing me to open my eyes. She looked up into them, a trusting yet vulnerable young woman. We stood stock still for a moment staring into each other’s eyes, gently rubbing our noses together. ‘I sore vagine,’ she continued, ‘but you welcome my butt.’

She looked so sweet, beautiful round faced and big eyes, like a pet eager to please a new master. I was only half way through replying ‘Perf…’ before her mouth devoured my tongue and, while somehow maintaining lip contact, she swung her body round and, holding my right hand in her left, we walked towards the opening to the lower deck.

For the planetbound, the concept of gravdecks is strange and a little frightening at first. The gravity comes from the extraordinary pull of dark matter, finely adjusted to suit the home planet of the vessel’s crew or passengers. So when you change decks, the ceiling of the lower deck becomes the floor to which you fall to. So there are no stairs, just an opening, on the edge of which you stand with half your feet poking over. Then, keeping your feet in place, you topple head first towards the opening; if you are tall, like me, you may just bend your knees to make sure you don’t hit your head on the other side of the opening, the momentum of your fall carrying you against the pull of the ceiling on the lower deck and you end up standing upside down with your toes on the new deck and your heels hanging in space. You can either fall back on your heels and head back to the main deck, or walk forward onto the ‘ceiling’ of the lower deck towards the quarters. What appears to be the deck ceiling is actually the floor. It is fun seeing first timers trying to do what is simply the everyday normal life of spacemen.

Once below, Selene released my hand and tucked her left arm under mine, pulling herself to me as we walked towards her pod, my flesh revelling in the warm softness of her touch, her delightful nakedness. Her sleep pod recognised her approach and eagerly unsealed and yawned open invitingly for her anticipated ingress, to succour her was its only reason for existence and right now I felt that I was of the same mindset. Although pods are vegetable growths, they have no brains or intelligence, but they have a basic instinctive response to its main user and the Zulon interface which links human vegetable and single cell intelligence into one harmonious unit. Our sleep pods accommodate, cleanse and refresh us and, in an emergency, seal us from deadly space and keep us insulated and clean and sustain our air long enough for us to be rescued.

Selene’s pod closed and adjusted the internal lighting to a relaxing low light, cool air fanned our hot bodies as we pressed together and pleasured our mouths in the pure joy of contact with another human, as we sank into the velvety haired yielding softness of the pod lining, which gently pulsated, lightly massaging our naked bodies, but giving way as we wrapped our legs around one another or rolled in unison around the concave impression our bodies formed in the soft dry nest. We kissed for a long time, not to delay the consummation act, but purely for the pleasure it gave us both. Yet while I was quiet, a hangover from prison where I had so long had to conceal my pain, even on occasion the very act of breathing could give you away to the nightly depraved hunting packs, Selene had no such reticence, she moaned and sighed and squealed at each change of use of tongue or lips or teeth and we clung to each other firmly during our kiss as if letting go would deprive either of us of this fleeting moment of paradise; the next stage in our relationship could wait until we were both ready. We were so different, one shrivelled middle age man and a fresh plumply ripe young woman, but we were relaxed and unhurried and therein lay the gentle trap of love within the simple act of mutual satisfaction.

Our lips eventually needed a rest and we clung together on our sides with heads nestling in our respective shoulders, I broke the love-trance we had fallen into by blowing a long gentle raspberry where her neck joined her shoulder and in the midst of our echoing laughter we relaxed the tense grip of our enveloping arm holds to just fingertips and looked at one another with noses barely touching before gently kissing once more.

I nibbled her chin and lipkissed her throat and along both clavicles in turn before descending with inevitable appetite to her rampant nipples, drawing in as much mammary flesh as my mouth would take without gagging, first one then the other, flicking her nipples with my tongue on egress before I raised my head to look at her face. She lay back in perfect repose with her hands behind her head, her eyes closed, her gorgeous face dreamily relaxed. She was like one of those waxpaint pictures you used to see in artgals on planet primes. At that moment my heart was open to her and I wanted to drink in every wonderful morsel of her.

I kissed her soft belly, revelling in the doughy yielding of her warm soft skin and my tongue tip enjoyed the lintless cavity of her belly button so recently moistened by her slightly salty dewy sweat. I worked my way along to her furry triangle, so dark against the beige tint of her hitherto hidden unstartanned skin, her outer labia was unshaved, her inner labia lips neatly tucked away like the unlocked pleasure house of a young virgin. Gentle pressing on the outer labia popped her sexuality open like a cherry, its healthy glistening pinkness shockingly vibrant, and the aroma of her natural scent almost overwhelming to my long-denied senses. I was both giddily disorientated, yet entirely focussed on the sensual wonder in front of me. I had lost all sense of either Selene’s breathing or my own, all my other functions were on autopilot. The adrenaline pumping through me, filling me with energy for the task in hand, yet all I could think of was what do I do next? After almost half my lifetime shunning any intimacy, could I still remember the techniques I was so expected to demonstrate? What would please this lovely creature? I didn’t want to be so selfish as to simply attend to my own pleasures. but the direction of my next move was undetermined.

Selene, however, roused me from my hesitation. She was clearly in charge despite the paucity of her years, ‘Eat me, fuck-fuck bitch!’ she screamed her irresistible order, ‘Eat me now!’

I sunk my nostrils between her cunt lips and drew the tip of my nose up and down the length of her pink wet groove and around her clitoris. Her hands clasped around my head and she arched up her back to rub my face into her expectant groin, but I countered her advances, keeping the lightest tantalising contact with her flesh as I moved up and down her vaginal valley. We were both breathing hard now, the exertions of our resistance filling us both with excited anticipation. We kept this up for two or three minutes, the tip of my tongue sometimes supplementing my nose, sampling the sweetness of her sex and teasing her into responding with alternate whoops of pleasure and vapid refusals to exonerate me from the task in hand which was in her words to ‘fuck-fuck butt ’til can’t walk’.

I smiled at her words, the more vile her exhortations, the more confidence I assumed in taking control in this gradual dishing out of pleasure. To a degree this was a role-reversal that I could appreciate, up to now Selene had dished up the delights from her galley, now I was serving the her appetite of her valley. My flesh ached to enter her and I began using my tongue making my nose redundant as I pressed deep into her crenellated crevice and I sucked in her labia and tongued her vaginal entrance and, for a short while, concentrated on rimming her anus, her favoured point of entry. Selene was crying with pleasure as I worked saliva into her butt-hole, aiming to convert her natural exit into an inviting, welcoming point of entry.

I turned her over and she complied with the unspoken command of my hands pressing her into position without protest, pausing only for a brief joining of our lips in a simple lip-lick and tongueless kiss before getting onto all fours in anticipation of a good rogering. As soon as she was positioned favourably I pressed the head of my saliva-smeared cock against her puckered arsehole and pressed gently but, after meeting initial resistance, she released all her tension and I suddenly disappeared into her body up to the full hilt of my tempered flesh ‘blade’, my hips cushioned against her amply wobbly fleshy buttocks. I was surprised at the ease of my anal entry, but she soon dispelled any doubts as to the probity of my wand as Selene flexed her hyper-tone anal muscles and enveloped my cock with a more than comfortable caress and I withdrew my love muscle slowly from her embracing scabbard until just my knobhead was encased by her crinkly-defined depths. But if it slid easily enough both ways the first time, pushing it back in, which I desperately had to do, was another matter.

Like those movies of terraforming, which show salmon swimming upstream to spawn, so my fully engorged prick had to make this same gravity-defying yet extremely gratifying journey to where I would in due course discharge my futile seed. I pressed on carefully, slowly but steadily. I was juggernaut, she the ultimate redoubt, the pain of penetration bitter-sweet, with waves of pleasure coursing through us both via the unstoppable immersion into her corrugated cleft. When it was physically impossible to invade her soft sweet body any further, I moved my hips in a circular motion against her bum cheeks, the sides of my cock subtly caressing the walls of her anal canal, bringing forth sobs of pleasure from Selene. We only carried on in this vein for maybe twenty or so deliriously delightful, slow but determined shaft-long strokes before Selene admitted defeat of her original intention to restrict me just to her bum-hole.

I was just reaching at the end of a deliberately exquisite thrust when she turned her lovely head and lifted one of her supporting hands to touch one of mine, firmly employed in holding her hips steady, and said, ‘If you pleasure me like this slow-beautiful, me now want you in pussy.’ We held each other in this gaze for a few seconds, but there was to be no one-sided discussion on the merits or otherwise of anal versus vaginal lovemaking. ‘Now-w-w!’ she insisted and she was boss.

I slid all the way out and she turned round and, still on her knees, carefully sucked my cock and licked all along its drying length before falling down onto her back and pulling my shoulders towards her, her steady gaze and brilliant smile holding me in thrall. Although her neat cunt lips gave the appearance of needing the help of fingers to enable access into her airlock-less entry hole, by simply pressing my cock into her slippery dampness enabled me to slowly and steadily descend into a place where for me time stood still and I felt like I was the cocky young boy that my memories had long ago abandoned and this was my first time … again.

As we moved our bodies together in gentle but determined tantric union, the disparity in our heights meant that I could only reach the top of her head while desiring to consume even more of her than I had already. However, she put her arms around my back and she hauled herself off the bed, burying her head in my chest. She cried in echoes of my long-past pain as her sensitive fingertips traced the years of criss-crossing cruelty in the revealing tracery that was the palimpsest of the surface of my back. Selene sobbed as she relived every lash that she encountered; and I felt her simple proffered empathy and loved her more deeply for that gift and pressed home my loving gland into her eager flesh, furthering each slow but ardent stroke with a finial flourish of the hips. She nuzzled me closely, sucking at my puckering nipples and nipping at my pectoral skin with teeth sunk deep enough to draw blood. If she could have devoured me she would, on such a small vessel we were on vegetarian rations for the trip and Selene was giving full vent to her carnivorous nature. Mylon would have some human repair work to do through my own sleep-pod, but for now the ever-present alien creature kept her respectful distance like a trusty bachelor’s valet of old.

Selene pushed me away as my thrusts quickened slightly, but not entirely. Again unspoken, we manoeuvred ourselves in the confining space of the pod so that I lay on my back and she hooked her leg over to sit astride me and with a none-too-gentle thrust of her hand guided my hot erection back into the welcome warm slippery envelope of her pleasure hole. Now it was she who was dictating the pace. The hiatus in the midst of our shagging session had slightly cooled my ardour when it had almost reached the point of no return, so when Selene renewed her slow but deep hip movements down the shaft of my grateful member, I was ready to continue afresh, confident that I could last, well for a few strokes anyway, I was deliriously too far beyond promising any kind of longevity of my resolve.

Selene lowered her body in line with mine so that her breasts rested on the lower of my ribs and from here she set the pace and the direction of penetration, I merely laid back and thought of Earth in the proverbial sense, of course as no-one I ever knew had ever been to that mythical place Meanwhile, she rubbed her delectable body up and down mine and she worked my blunt blade deeply in and almost out of her velvety scabbard. As my knobhead was squeezed to within near ejection from her accommodating nest-box at the top of her stroke she was able to reach my mouth with her avaricious tongue and lips and for a few seconds on each outward stroke we paused as she enthusiastically played with my lips and tongue and nose and chin, enveloping my head with her hands and drilling my chest with her elbows as she settled down on the length of my shaft again, wriggling her perfect fleshy bottom and driving me into bursts of pure delightful ecstasy.

She could feel the rising expectation of fulfilment in my whole being as I stiffened slightly, she too was squealing in her unbridled demonstration of her enjoyment in our primary tryst. Thus she changed her partly lateral movement to an exclusively vertical one, ferociously moving her buttocks up and down, grinding at my now vertical-aligning knob with little twists of her hips. I rose to meet each thrust with one of my one and we both moved in our lovemaking as though we were two parts of the same symbiotic creature. We both grunted in perfect unison as my balls pumped my foaming gloop into her with very short violent thrusts, I jerked what felt like a decade’s-worth of spunk into the delectable Selene’s vaginal canal. We bucked and jerked without any control – we were all over the place as every semblance of cohesion vanished, we were still thrusting at each other’s pelvis but we were both lost in separate worlds, like those sad crackheads you see littering every spaceport, where their minds are on different planets to their bodies. Just for a moment we were spaced out crackheads. Eventually, my limp spent cock shrank and slid from her dribbling glory hole and tried its best to hide in a corner of my groin.

‘Oh’ she gasped, when the immediate demands of her air-hungry lungs permitted, ‘me so sore, me no fuck-fuck for a week, no way.’

Selene sighed and smiled broadly as I pulled her up to me and wrapped my arms around her with her head just under my chin. I am old school and from a far more chivalrous age than nowadays and she was only the third woman I had made love to and now I loved her as much as I had loved anyone, despite our short acquaintance. I wanted to cherish this beautiful young woman, protect her and see her safely to planetfall, but I knew in my heart that her fate was beyond me.

Her life expectancy at that time was less than a few weeks and now we neared the end of our journey sharing the same bucking deck as we dodged asteroids and near-irresistible planetary gravitational pulls it was probably no more than 20 minutes and I doubted if I would survive her demise by more than an hour, once we made moon-fall. Our destinies would be determined either by the greed of others or in retribution and we were the most likely early casualties, whichever way the adventure unfolded. She was a dead girl walking and I could do nothing to stop it. For what it was worth, I felt more emotional love for this wonderful, generous creature than I had for anyone in the past two decades.

Back to the first time we made love. Aware of my silent reverie, Selene lifted her head and kissed me long and deep and I responded as enthusiastically as my now seedling-week body could manage, she had taken so much out of me, my ancient body had given everything I had. She nestled back in my arms satisfied that my silence hadn’t implied disappointment.

‘Tomorrow,’ she whispered her promise, ‘we suck-suck,’ and I lightly kissed the top of her adorable spiky-cloaked head.

***

Selene was already back at work vigorously chopping vegetables for the stewpot, when I awoke, freshly cleaned up by Selene’s accommodating sleep pod. I made my way back to my own, which dressed me in replacement clothes and, as nonchalantly as I could manage made my way back to the main deck. As I approached the deck opening, Lil’s legs began to descend from the poop deck, where the vegprop tanks were housed. We only had the one gravdeck, so there was a ladder leading ‘down’ from the lower deck, although if you looked down the hole from the upper deck, the ladder actually appears to travel ‘up’ from the floor. Sorry if the description appears inadequate – you need to be a spaceman in order to appreciate the beauty of the arrangement!

The sound of Selene singing some ancient song in her native language, which appeared to be a simple nursery song of some kind, filled the vessel. That and the fact that the other men were still off-ship, meant that Lil and I were immediately aware that we were alone and unobserved for the first time since we boarded. She smiled. Her face was so lovely with her smile and was so unexpected that I held out my arms and Lil fell into them gratefully, clutching me in fond embrace. Tenderly, I kissed her left cheek and then her right as I cupped her familiar beautiful face in my hands, wiping away the sudden trails of tears that ran down her dark-skinned cheeks, in defiance of her happy countenance. It was like a release for her of long pent-up emotion and I gently kissed her left cheek again. As I released my hold on her head, Lil suddenly grabbed me and kissed me hard on the lips, before pressing her forehead against mine and closing her eyes, all the while using her fingers and palms to alternately squeeze and stroke my neck and shoulders. I cupped her shoulderblades with my hands but without using any force to drag her into me.

Finally, Lil released me and said, ‘I love you Bro, I have always loved you and I will always love the memory of you, even when I have killed you, dead. You know that, Ivan, don’t you, my dearest brother?’

‘I know Sis,’ These words to this woman who was both my half-sister and my first cousin, came from my lips calmly, sincerely and without choking. ‘And you know I love you, too, Lil – even if I have to kill you first.’

TO BE CONTINUED

Chapter 2

Following her prophetic revelation, Lil spun around on her toes and stepped through the yawning deck hatch to the main deck above, leaving me alone in my reverie.

Lil’s mother, Gillian, my step-mother, and previously my once-beloved Aunt Gill, the sister of my deceased mother, was a hero of the revolution. You can read about her in the history books and how ‘the Duchess of Merciant, the former Archduchess of Burbary was killed trying to defend her family by the cowardly blade of the Imperialist oppressor, her very own step-son, the Honorable Ivan of the Merciant dynasty of Comos Prime’ 20 years ago. Shit, I’ve seen the article very recently, a semi-gloss pressing was pasted to my assigned sleep pod by the time I was ready to retire the first night aboard.

Lil wasn’t there, way back on that fateful day that we had known would come one day. She was just 18 and away at college. I lost my whole family that day, as well as my freedom, as the whole planet capitulated within hours of the invasion. We had never stood a chance. We were all victims, Gill, my family, myself and Lil, too. But the two of us survived and both of us were necessary for this present mission, even if only one of the pair actually had a future, but we had much to survive before anyone could give consideration to any individual future.

When I first saw Lil she was only 5 years old and I was 16; we were not particularly fond of each other at first. It may seem strange cousins rarely meeting, but the universe was much more complicated then. Noble families had been jockeying for betterment for hundreds of years, forming alliances, fuelling feuds, fielding petty dalliances and plotting intrigues from which only the Machiavellians among us derived any pleasure. The nobility were ancient, set in their ways and too snobbish to even know what was going on outside their enclosed protectives. The galaxy was changing and the appetite for wholesale change was growing apace. Of course, the rebels would have you believe that it was the ‘Poor’ who were the supposed driving force behind the revolution, that this 70-year campaign was for the ordinary people. What rot, the poor people before the revolution are the same poor under the new regime; the only change is that some of the middle rich are now wealthy and the formerly wealthy are either dead or now, like me, forced to survive as part of the criminal underclass.

I did not learn about politics at the Academy, although I was a student at the time. I was married on my 18th birthday just before leaving for the Academy with Pynom, my Zulon
Navigator, who I had been bonding with since 1 was about 3. I left behind my arranged bride, Velda, who was 13 and who I had only just met. Arranged marriages were normal among our society then, for increasing wealth and bolstering trade or influence or both. We were connected with the Emperor’s family at great-grandfather level and Velda’s family were connected to the Empress as first cousin, which strengthened our links with the Crown Prince. I think my father was 33rd in line for enthronement, now I believe I am fourth; Lil, descended from an archduke, is in primary position for Empress, should the monarchy ever be restored.

On marriage, my new bride was only 13, which was fine for her family, but far too young for the laws on my planet. Velda was actually more than happy to delay matters, once we were sealed in the marriage bedchamber and free to discuss privately between us, that we waited to consummate our marriage until I graduated. I found myself just a few days later, light years from the world I had known all my life. All my new fellow cadets soon found themselves satisfying diversions and I was the last to hold out, finally succumbing on the last night of the first year, having discovered that due to rebel activity in the area all students were unable to go home for the holidays. The F1 hybrids, the clone army that the rebels must have been growing in secret for a quarter of a century were launched and they changed the face of space war. Prior to this point there were never any guns used in space; the convention for thousands of years were to board through airlocks near the stalk of space vessels and win control of the ship by hand-to-hand fighting with battleblades and daggers; The rebels used the F1s, who were grown in tanks as a mixture of human and vegetation tissue so they emerged already fitted with individual space armour. So the new tactics were to launch them in space around an Imperial vessel and use hand-held guns and missiles to destroy rather than capture enemy vessels. Taking officers prisoners for negotiating ransom payments suddenly became an outdated tactic and Imperial craft were being torn apart without able to put up any semblance of defence. It was a very worrying turn of events That night was when I first met Genene and fell in love for the first time.

Genene was quite old for a prostitute, quite old enough to be my grandmother, with hints of steel grey in her wispy ginger hair, but despite that, she was stunningly beautiful and I soon become obsessed with her. She was my first love and what I learned from her had guided me to this present momentous crossroad in my life.

I almost fell into her room, I was certainly pushed through by my cadet-mates. With everyone stranded onworld, it had been a busy night for all the girls and us cadets had been hitting joosale all night and I had also been downing shots of distillate for the past hour before leaving the bar. I was just with the rest of my shipmates, I hardly knew what else was going on around me.

I had been drinking fairly heavily all evening, partly due to worry about the safety of my home world and because I felt lonely.
Probably NOT to be continued! Oh, well, can’t win ’em all!