Captain Jette Jones, Star Ranger
Issue #12 – The Rock of Epsilon
By Callidus and connie k
All rights reserved. “Captain Jette Jones: Star Ranger” © 2022 All characters and stories are not to be reproduced in any form without the expressed written permission of the authors.
A routine assignment studying a peculiar asteroid field turns out to be anything but routine when Epsilon is forced to confront her past, changing the course of her future forever …
Another Epsilon? After rescuing a woman with the same biocomputronic matrix as Epsilon from an asteroid field, the crew of the Artemis also discovers a mining colony there – operated by an “army” of robot women. While on the planet Indora, the Vicars of Yasu are determining the fate of one of their own.
Five days earlier …
The mysterious Order of Yasu.
Admiral Hartley had once called the sect “controversial,” which was an understatement. There were accounts throughout the galaxy portraying them as peacekeepers and arbitrators of justice. And for many acolytes who wore the crimson robes, that was true enough. But the Vicars were also an individualistic faction with some members acting more like enforcers and galactic polizi.
There were periods, throughout their history, when the order had struggled with how best to wield their considerable power. The GSL and other governing bodies tolerated – often welcomed – their intervention in a planetary disputes, but one thing was clear: the Vicars of Yasu were ruled solely by their own code of ethics.
It was wise to give them a wide berth.
This moonrise, the hall of the Tribunal was lit, meaning a meeting had been called. Most of the Vicars who were not on a mission remained on Indora for training, so that the amphitheater’s seating was only half filled.
At its center was a long table with eight seats – three on each side and two at the end. Today, only the head of the table, its two flanking seats and one seat to the left of the other end were filled.
The woman at its head wore a tall white mitre and was dressed in white robes with a red sash across her breast denoting her as “The Superior Mother,” the chosen leader of the Order. She looked down grimly at the tablet in front of her.
“I have read the reports, some entries numerous times. It is obvious she is more interested in self-gratification than spreading the word of Yasu.”
The male vicar at the far end of the table spoke up. “Forgive me, Superior Mother, but from what I have read there were … extenuating circumstances each time.”
“We are not turtlings, Baras, hiding in our shells. I am quite aware of the needs for personal fulfillment. But not when it supersedes the edicts of the Order. She has clearly moved beyond the teachings of the ancient ones, driven by her own frailties and desires. She no longer serves the greater good.”
There were low whispers among the vicars above them.
“Therefore,” the Superior Mother continued, “I am forced to have her recalled for judgment.”
“We do not have a quorum to take such a drastic step,” Baras said. “Three members of the Tribunal are not here. Zicash is on a mission and Odell left just yesterday on an errand. We need the full Tribunal here to vote for this nonsense.”
Superior Mother Korella’s stare forced Baras’ eyes downward. “In that case, as Superior Mother, it is my prerogative to to decide such an urgent matter. She has to be recalled.”
“Then bring it to a vote!” a voice rang out from the far shadows.
The voice and the thumping echo of a rayff staff turned everyone’s head. From the darkened end of the room emerged a tall, elderly woman, who’s bright white robe nearly glowed from the light now cast upon it. She used the staff as a walking stick to hold her frail body erect. Yet even at her advanced age, she held her back straight as she approached, fighting her body’s need to hunch forward feebly and with more care.
“Sha-shara,” the Superior Mother said, “this is an unexpected and welcomed surprise.” The White Mother took her seat at the opposite end of the table, facing Korella. “My understanding was that you were away.”
Her voice was strong in reply. “How fortunate it was for me to be alerted of a meeting of the Tribunal on such short notice, Superior Mother. I returned three days ago and was not notified. Fortunately, I have been made aware.”
She peered over Baras’ shoulder at the tablet in front of him.
“I see no pressing business at hand to require a meeting of the Tribunal at this time.”
“You know why we are assembled.” Korella and Sha-shara’s eyes met.
“Yes. You do have the right to supersede without a vote, but now that we are five, a vote must be taken.”
Korella’s eyes on Sah-shara never wavered. “Very well. Kadish, Ranna, what say you?”
“Judgment, Superior Mother,” they both said in unison.
“No judgment,” Baras answered quietly.
“No judgment,” Sha-shara said sharply, her eyes locked on Korella’s. The Superior Mother began to fidget slightly, matching the stirrings of the other vicars watching the spectacle.
“I shall cast the deciding vote. I vote for judgment.” There were gasps from above. “You knew what the vote would be, White Mother. Why even bother to attend?”
“I wanted the three of you on the record,” she replied coolly. She broke the stare and looked up to address her fellow vicars. “Are these members present deciding the will of everyone in the Order?” Her voice rose. “Is this the path we are to take? Personal grievance, lusting for power, vengeance. Are these the traits we pled an oath for?”
Sha-shara looked across the table at Korella and the glare back was hard. Neither moved for a long while, although Sha-shara’s hand began to tremble slightly. It was as if a furious mental tug o’ war was being waged.
The assembled were hushed.
At last, Korella’s eyes snapped away. She sneered.
“Bring K’wari to me.”
Back at Kaplan Station, Captain Jette Jones is growing suspicious of Overseer Valinore and the mining company …
“We’re not sure what this bay was originally for but it’s been perfect for our operation.” Valinore gestured to the cavernous space around them. The level was easily ten-stories tall and nearly as wide. Where a fourth wall should’ve been, there was a shimmering force field looking out onto the sea of asteroids.
The U-shaped main level surrounded a space that could have served as a star dock. Where a vessel would’ve been moored there was a large asteroid floating gently in an anti-grav field. Jette, Lt. Riesga and Epsilon stepped closer to inspect the field.
“We use a gravity generator to pull in boulders and suspend them. Then our workers can easily extract the ore.”
Valinore pointed as gynoids and workers in coveralls walked atop the rocky surface. They were drilling out large chunks of ore to be lifted by gravity beams to the gantry above where more gynoids waited to process them.
“Tell me about this substance you’re mining.” Jette gestured to the shimmering ore being extracted from the rock. “I’m not familiar with Mg77.”
Valinore smiled. “There are very few who are. It’s one of the rarest compounds in the galaxy.”
Jette studied a large chunk making its way toward the processing apparatus above them. “Is it dangerous? Toxic?”
“Quite the opposite, in fact. Negligible radioactivity. And small amounts are as safe to consume as iron or magnesium.”
“What’s it used for?”
“Energy, Captain. Its energy density is astonishing.” Valinore gestured to a mining vehicle nearby. “We could run that machine for a year from a spoonful of Mg77.”
Jette’s eyebrows went up. “That would explain its value.”
“In part. In addition to being rare it’s nearly impossible to mine. Deposits only seem to form within dense asteroid clusters like the one around us. Very dangerous to harvest it at scale.”
Jette nodded. “Fortunate for you to have found an outpost like this. Sitting on top of a rock teeming with this precious mineral. Have you always been this lucky when it comes to mining?”
Valinore stared back at her cooly. “In my experience, luck is a product of very hard work.”
Valinore gestured at the work being done around them as they walked. “We spent nine weeks turning this facility into something habitable before we were able to extract a single ounce of ore.”
“It’s an impressive operation.” Jette walked alongside the other woman. “But, I’m curious what you did with the scientific equipment that was originally housed here?”
Riesga watched Valinore carefully. The Overseer hid her surprise well, barely breaking stride at Jette’s question.
“You’ve been here before?” Her voice betrayed nothing.
“That’s right. Nineteen months ago. It looked a bit different back then.”
Valinore considered her next words carefully. “I don’t suppose you learned anything about the original occupants? Or their attendants, maybe?”
Riesga glanced at Epsilon, whose matrix flickered briefly.
“No,” Jette replied casually. “Have you?”
Valinore was sizing up the Star Ranger out of the corner of her eye. “A little, yes. I would very much like to meet them, the beings that originally built this outpost. We couldn’t have accomplished half of what we’ve done without the technology they left behind.”
Jette stopped and turned to her. “What technology is that?”
“The synths. The robots.” Valinore gestured to a pair of the silver gynoids as they stalked past.
“You found those bots here?”
“In storage. Gods knows how long they’d been there. Hundreds of years? Thousands? They’re amazing. Better than the most advanced robotics anywhere in the galaxy. But apparently no longer useful to the beings that built this place. Based on what I’ve been able to decipher it seems they were replaced. Superseded by more advanced workers.”
Riesga looked at Epsilon. The living computer was carefully studying the synthetic women now, her matrix warbling strangely.
“And just how much have you been able to decipher about this place?” Riesga asked.
“Enough to know the technology here is ancient. And so advanced it’s still a marvel, even today. The outpost itself, the gynoids, the other tech left behind. We’ve figured out how to make some of it work but we don’t know how to duplicate any of it. And, yet it’s all thousands of years old.”
“Maybe whoever built this place wants it left alone?” Jette said flatly.
A strange look passed over Valinore’s face then. “Captain? Have you ever heard of the Coracle?”
“As in the vessel? From the Opian system?”
“Yes. Sometimes the ship is known by different names depending on where the story is being told.”
Riesga looked between them. “What story?”
Valinore took a deep breath. “The Coracle was the first vessel from any known civilization to reach interstellar space. First vessel to land on a planet in another star system.”
Valinore glanced between the three women. “But when they set foot on that planet they found ruins. Ancient beyond imagining. At first they thought it was a temple. Some sort of religious structure from an extinct, primitive society. Then they realized it was a star port.”
Riesga couldn’t hide her shock. “How old are we talking here?”
“Four hundred million years.” Valinore’s voice was filled with awe.
Jette was quiet a moment, then stepped close to Valinore. “You’re talking about the Primons.”
“Yes, Captain. The Primons.”
Riffa crept down the ladder outside the hanger and slowly stepped off, careful of every creak and squeak of her boots. She checked her hand comp. Her timer indicated there was still seven minutes before Captain Jones would arrive.
Riffa turned suddenly at the sound of approaching footsteps. Gynoids. A pair of them. Marching in perfect robot sync. They were in the main corridor and headed her way.
“Blast!” Riffa hissed. She could go back up the ladder, but they almost certainly would see her before she could get through the hatch.
Riffa glided across the floor as quietly as she could, making a beeline for the hatch that lead to the administration section. She hit the button then tapped rapidly on her hand comp and looked back over her shoulder. The bots were probably headed for the ore cache.
“Hello, Riffa.” The hatch finished peeling open revealing the sharp features and ruthless smile of the ganger.
“Fallok. Uh… hi there.”
“I was just looking for you.” Fallok smiled wider. “Overseer Valinore wanted a moment. In her office.” Fallok stepped to the side and motioned back down the hallway.
“Uh… sure. Why don’t I get cleaned up and then —” Riffa stopped short. The two gynoids were directly behind her. Their normally yellow eye slits glowed a deep red.
“Let’s not keep her waiting.”
The bots angled Riffa into the hallway. The oval hatch closed behind them.
“K’wari? Are you seeing this?” Flock’s mouth hung open as she stared at the unconscious woman on the scan table in the medical bay on Kaplan Station. Her matrix looked just like Epsilon’s. White glowing lines shifting over jet black exoskin.
“Seeing? Yes. Believing? No.” K’wari was tapping rapidly at her hand comp. “Dammit, I can’t raise the Captain. I can’t get any signal.”
“Wait til Epsilon finds out about this!”
K’wari held up her hand. “Slow down, Flock. We don’t know what this means, yet.” She peered through the transparent wall. The scan room beyond was empty of everyone except the pilot. “Where’s that surgeon?”
Flock nodded toward the hatch. “I’ll go find the others. You stay here and keep an eye on … her.”
K’wari nodded. “I’ll go find the surgeon.”
Flock raised one eyebrow as she headed for the door. “Don’t get frisky with the gynoids. Not without me anyway.”
K’wari smiled in spite of herself. “Hurry!”
“Who are the Primons?” Riesga asked.
“The first civilization in the galaxy,” Valinore replied. “Some say their home world never suffered a mass extinction event. No interruptions in their evolution. They would’ve begun developing technology from the earliest days of their planet and ventured out into space millions of years before any of us.”
Riesga looked confused again. “So… where are they now?”
Epsilon’s matrix warbled unevenly.
“That’s the mystery.” Valinore shrugged. “There are stories though —from a few dozen worlds— about early space explorers encountering a Primon. Some believe the Primons are what primitives called gods.”
“Legends.” Jette was shaking her head. “None of those stories has ever been substantiated.”
“And yet look where we stand, Captain.”
Valinore’s hand comp whistled softly. She turned to Jette. “Captain? That was Chief Fallok. She needs my authorization codes to get into to some of our files. Could we pause here while I take care of that?”
Jette checked her own hand comp. “Certainly. I need to return to our ship and check in with Ranger command. Why don’t you continue with Lt. Riesga and Epsilon once you’re finished and I’ll rejoin you all as soon as I can.”
The doors slid open and Fallok led Riffa into a spacious round room with a trio of arm chairs facing a synth wood desk. There was an enormous executive lounge chair on the far side of the work station. Fixed high on the wall, behind the desk, a large decorative globe was casting soft light.
“Have a seat, Riffa. The Overseer will be here shortly.”
Riffa glanced at the gynoids who had taken up position on either side of the door. She pretended to examine the art on the room’s single, circular wall. “How long is this going to take?”
“Just long enough to get you processed and ready to ship out.”
Riffa stiffened and turned. “I’m being let go?”
Fallok shrugged. “Your contract is up. Time to get you paid. We’re shipping you out with the Star Rangers.”
Riffa crossed the room to where Fallok stood. “I’m leaving with Captain Jones?”
“She’s agreed to take you.”
A strange expression passed across Riffa’s face. “What about the others?”
“That’s what the Overseer wants to talk about.” Fallok motioned toward three chairs. “Have a seat. It won’t be long.”
Riffa sat in the middle chair. “I’m not leaving without Kola.”
Suddenly a screech of metal cut her off as chrome manacles snaked out of the chair and locked over Riffa’s wrists and ankles. “What the hells?!” She squealed as she tugged uselessly at her bonds.
The wall behind the desk slid open and Valinore emerged from a secret passage there. “Thank you, Chief, I’ll take it from here. Why don’t you see to our uninvited guests in the meantime?”
Fallok smiled like a hungry beast as she nodded and left, taking the gynoids with her.
“Let me out of this you bitch!” Riffa rocked her whole body but the chair was firmly fixed to the floor.
Valinore stared down the other woman with thinly veiled contempt as she picked up a small box on her desk. She opened it and pressed something inside. The room’s lights dimmed and were replaced by a soft green glow. It took Riffa a moment to realize it was coming from the globe mounted to the wall above Valinore’s desk.
Valinore pressed another button and the globe began to hum with a deep, primal sound. Small tendrils emerged from behind the orb. Each was tipped with a small bead of light and shifting colors. They began to undulate, dancing and spinning around the globe.
Riffa’s brow pinched as she stared at the strange device. She felt very strange. There was something about the alien device she needed to understand.
Riffa’s eyes reflected whirling, pulsing lights as her mouth slowly fell open.
“Now Riffa,” Valinore purred, “let’s get you processed.”
The complex was even larger than Jette remembered. She raced across the large reception lobby and pressed her thumb to the wall plate. The door opened and Jette saw her beloved ship.
A woman, her back turned to Jette, waited just outside the Artemis’ main hatch. The auburn-skinned woman turned, pulling off the goggles that rested on her head.
“You’re not Riffa. But you were with her.”
“I’m Kola.” The woman pointing excitedly at her hand comp. “Riffa messaged me earlier but got cut off or something. Now, she isn’t answering. I came here to look for her. I was hoping she was with you.”
“All she told me was that something strange is going on here.”
Kola nodded urgently. “We’ve been trying to get to the bottom of it. Riffa and I. The others, they look to us. We try to keep everyone safe. But the workers are scared, Captain. At first, we thought the worst-case scenario was not getting paid. But now …”
Jette gently tugged her elbow. “Let’s talk inside.”
K’wari tapped the button for the surgery suite. The console squawked loudly and the door refused to open.
“Alright, fine.” She pulled the chrome rayff staff from her belt and flicked open one of the telescoping ends. With the top pole extended, the rayff was about a meter long. K’wari pressed the blunt tip to a lighting panel in the ceiling and it began to flicker. The pommel grew warm as the staff absorbed energy from the light.
She pulled it away and collapsed the telescoping pole once more. Then she held the rayff to the door plate and flicked one of its switches. The staff sent the stored energy arcing into the stubborn console. The red button turned green with a spark and the door slid open.
K’wari stepped into the room, her eyes fixed on the unconscious pilot. She shook her head, trying to make sense of what she was seeing. There was no record of a species remotely like Epsilon anywhere. Yet, here in the alien outpost where Epsilon had been discovered, lay a nearly identical woman! K’wari closed her eyes and pushed down the emotions bubbling within her. She whispered a mantra to help focus herself.
When she opened her eyes again, she noted that there were differences, albeit subtle, in this woman’s matrix and Epsilon’s. The concentric rings orbiting each other at the center of the pilot’s chest weren’t floating in quite the same configuration as Epsilon’s. And where Epsilon’s matrix was pure white, the lines before her glowed with a subtle green tinge. K’wari wondered if this woman sounded like Epsilon. Thought like her?
K’wari turned to the other door, where the medical bot had emerged from earlier. The only way to answer these questions would be to rouse the pilot and K’wari would need the surgeon’s help for that. She left the unconscious woman and marched through the inner door.
Riffa moaned, her lips quivering around the throaty sound. Her hands and ankles remained trapped beneath the chrome manacles but her clothing had been cut away revealing the chiseled muscles of her stomach and arms. Her abs clenched hard as she whined and flexed in the chair. She’d been trying to escape but that time had long passed.
Riffa’s eyes were huge. As if they were being held open by some unseen force. She stared, helplessly, into the throbbing orb on the wall. Tears ran from the corners of her eyes and streaked down her face. Her eyelids fluttered and spasmed occasionally, but she couldn’t close them.
She cried again and humped desperately against the chair and the river of sex she was sitting in. If there had been enough of her mind left intact to wish, she’d have wished for a hard smooth something to grind her weeping sex into. And another to fuck her like the whore she was.
Riffa shuddered, trying to drive the wanton thoughts from her mind. “Please… please no more.”
Valinore reclined in her lounge chair on the far side of the desk. Her top was open and her breasts pointed toward the ceiling. Her fingers twisted and pulled at her impressive nipples as she watched Riffa’s mind crumble.
“You don’t mean that,” she cooed hotly. “That makes it sound like you don’t want what’s coming next. But you do, Riffa. We both know you’re aching for it.”
Riffa hissed sharply and her own nipples throbbed.
“I’m not sure what this device was originally used for. But I’ve learned that it’s very useful for turning a person’s mind into something much more susceptible… to suggestion.”
Riffa’s neck muscles flexed like they wanted to shake her head from side to side. But she only quivered close to orgasm.
“It’s also quite impossible to resist. Let me show you.” Valinore stood and went to the secret door she’d come through earlier. She stepped out of Riffa’s line of sight. When she reappeared, someone else was with her. A nude woman with short dark gray hair and round, perfect breasts. The woman’s eyes were completely empty.
“B-Bev?” Riffa croaked in disbelief.
“I don’t think she remembers who that it is.” Valinore played with the other woman’s breasts absentmindedly. “Or maybe she does and she just doesn’t care anymore.”
Valinore stepped around to the front of the desk, leading Bev by the wrist. She leaned against it and spread her legs, pulling up the hem of her dress, exposing her own soaked passion. Smiling with her teeth, Valinore placed a hand on top of Bev’s head and pushed her down until she was kneeling between the Overseer’s milky thighs.
“Now, suck me!” Valinore hissed and clutched at the short gray hair as she began to grind on Bev’s face. “This is you, Riffa. You can’t stop thinking about it. You can’t stop it from turning you on more than anything ever has.”
Riffa couldn’t stop the words from penetrating her mind. Couldn’t stop them from slipping past her own will and becoming a twisted new truth in the depths of her subconscious. She felt them there. Valor’s commands. They felt like fingers pulsating inside her creamy sex. Oh, if only those fingers would fuck her!
Riffa howled in anguish.
Valinore cackled and her hands clamped down onto her breasts, squeezing her own flesh without mercy. Bev’s face was a blur of motion on her swollen pussy. “You’re just about there aren’t you, dear?” She gasped between breaths. “You want to lose, Riffa. And when you do, you’ll cum like an animal.”
Riffa sobbed and humped the chair as Valinore’s words became her truth. She was going to lose. Like Bev had lost. Valinore was going to own her. And, worst of all, she wanted it. When she finally admitted that to herself, Riffa shrieked and convulsed as the orgasm consumed her.
Valinore’s climax was close behind.
Lt. Kanivia Riesga leaned in and inspected the domicile tube. Personal belongings lined the shelves on either side of the sleep cot. Riesga noticed a collection of brightly colored sex toys peaking out from beneath a pillow. She straightened up and motioned to the other domicile tubes interlocked to the one she’d been examining. “Are they all like this?”
Chief Fallok nodded. “They’re standard issue temp housing. You load up a cargo container full of them and then deploy on site.”
“How many modules do you have?” Epsilon stood off to one side, her matrix flowing smoothly across her body.
“Two hundred. Plus another 20 group showers and relief modules.”
“And how many workers?” Riesga tapped at her hand comp, pretending to take notes.
“About?” Riesga asked. “Isn’t your job to oversee the crews?”
Fallok bristled. “Sixty-two.”
Epsilon’s matrix pulsed. “Two hundred modules for 62 workers is inefficient.”
Fallok sniffed. “We had more workers in the beginning but most of them shipped out a while ago.”
“We’ll need to contact them.” Riesga replied.
Fallok squared her shoulders. “Records are private. You’ll need judicial authorization before we can hand those over.”
Riesga smiled passively. “That won’t be an issue. Go ahead and pull the records. We’ll have the authorization transmitted.”
Flock appeared in the open hatch, her blonde hair bouncing on her shoulders. “Riesga!” She stepped through the hatch. Her look was urgent.
“Any developments with the pilot, Cadet?” Riesga said with an edge of sternness.
“Uh, yes, Lieutenant. Where’s the Captain?”
“Returned to the Artemis to take care of something. What’s going on?”
Flock’s eyes pointed toward Fallok. “Nothing. I just need to speak with her.”
Riesga got the hint and nodded slightly. “She should be back soon.”
Flock was already backing up toward the hatch. “I’ll hike back to the hangar and speak with her.”
“I’m coming with you. Thanks for the tour, Fallok. We know our way back”
The muscular woman half grunted at Riesga and left.
Epsilon stood in front of Riesga. “I’ll return to the med bay and see if K’wari needs assistance.”
Riegsa considered, then, “Alright. Let’s get back to the ship.”
“Yeah.” Flock leaned into Epsilon as the started walking. “You’ll never believe what you’ll find.”
K’wari was in a spacious white office. Digital displays fixed to the wall showed certificates, degrees and an occasional photo of smiling faces.
The silver gynoid was on the far side of the room with her back to K’wari. She was bent over a lab table, studying something on a desk comp screen. K’wari recited her mantra and tried not to let herself be mesmerized, again, by the chrome woman’s perfect ass. She shook her head away.
This is just the type of situation that got me in trouble with the Order.
“Doctor? I need to wake the patient we brought in. Looking over her vitals I don’t think that would endanger her.“
K’wari stopped next to a desk and chair facing the door. Light brown coffee rings stained the gleaming white surface.
“Waking the patient is not advised.” The surgeon’s synthetic voice wasn’t like the synths that had met them in the hangar. It was deeper and more intimate somehow. Clearly, there were subtle differences among the seemingly identical gynoid women. The surgeon bot straightened and turned to face her.
Now it was the synthetic woman’s silver breasts that K’wari was struggling to ignore. She kept her gaze fixed on the glowing eye slit above the gynoid’s mouth. “I’m a trained medic. I understand the risks and I wouldn’t be asking if it weren’t imperative. I must speak with the patient immediately.”
The silver woman considered her for several long moments. “Why?”
“She appears to be the same species as one of my shipmates. We thought Epsilon was one of a kind. But … maybe not.”
The glow of the surgeon’s eye slit drifted left and right. It seemed to K’wari she was thinking. Processing data. “The term ‘species’ is not accurate.” The surgeon stepped to one side and indicated the desk comp she’d been studying. “The patient is a construct.”
K’wari nodded. “So is Epsilon. But, they look the same. Maybe they were constructed by the same beings?”
The surgeon’s eye slit did the back and forth thing again. “That is a reasonable hypothesis. Where was your shipmate was constructed?”
“Here maybe. This outpost. This is where she was found by our captain.”
The gynoid took a step toward K’wari. She almost seemed excited. “Your shipmate should speak to The Overseer. She may have valuable information.”
K’wari motioned to the desk comp. “Do you have access to any records of the outpost itself? Maybe something that would shed some light on this?” K’wari crossed the room but the gynoid was between her and the comp in a split second. She’d barely registered that the synth woman had moved until it had already happened.
“You are not authorized for access, visitor.” The glowing eye slit pulsed forcefully.
K’wari stared back warily. She raised her open hands to show she was no threat. “I just want to get to some answers. For my friend.”
“Please wait in the scanning bay. This unit will contact the Overseer and then revive the patient.” The surgeon motioned to the door behind K’wari.
The Vicar nodded. “Thank you.” She turned to leave. “Could you ask the Overseer to contact Captain Jones? I haven’t been able to—“
The words died on her lips. K’wari turned and gawked at the wall surrounding the door. The other three walls of the room were the same spartan white as the floor and furniture. She hadn’t noticed the wall at her back until now. It was painted with a mural. Beautiful purple vines covered the rolling hills of a meadow. Beyond that, green skies and yellow mountains filled in the background. Or at least half of it.
The mural to the right of the door was complete but the artist had only started on the portion of the wall to the left. A small rolling tray in the corner, beneath the half finished section, held art supplies. There were cobwebs covering the brushes.
K’wari shook her head trying to make sense of what she was seeing. Her eyes darted around the office. The certificates on the wall. The photos. The coffee stains on the desk. The hairs on her neck stood on end. “Whose office is this?”
“The chief medical officer on site.” The synthetic voice replied.
She kept her back turned, one hand instinctively closing around the rayff staff on her belt. “And who are you?” She heard a whisper of movement behind her.
“This unit is the chief medical officer of Kaplan Station.”
“I love the mural. Did you paint it?”
“Yes, I did. If you like that you may also be interested in this.”
K’wari turned. The gynoid was holding something in her hand. A triangle of translucent material with gently curving sides. It was attached to a small silver capsule. K’wari opened her mouth to ask what that had to do with the painting.
The gynoid’s arm struck like a viper, fixing the mask over K’wari’s nose and mouth. Sweet smelling vapor flooded her senses.
K’wari ducked, even as the surgeon’s other arm was reaching for the back of her head to clamp down and hold the mask to her face. She dropped to one knee, feeling an alarmingly pleasant tingle at the top of her head. The surgeon reached down to gas her again. K’wari gripped her rayff and clicked one of its many buttons. The top telescoping node shot out and stuck the gynoid under the chin. The chrome-on-chrome impact rang like a gong as the synthetic woman staggered backwards and landed on her back.
K’wari pushed herself to her feet and felt her body wobble unsteadily. She wasn’t sure what she’d breathed in but her whole body was feeling good. Really good in fact. And she wished that had frightened her more. She had an idea of how fast the bot was. If it was even half as strong…
The gynoid planted its feet and pulled itself upright without using its hands or arms. The eye slit now glowed a deep red. “Visitor you are displaying symptoms of space dementia. Your violent outburst poses a risk to yourself and others. You must be sedated before your treatment can begin.”
The surgeon paused, as if receiving instructions. K’wari bolted for the door.
The gynoid planted one foot on the back wall and pushed off, propelling itself over the desk and across the room in a single leap.
The door to the scanning bay slid open for K’wari and she rushed through, slapping at the button plate on the wall as she ran for the outer hatch. The door began to close but screeched to a halt as a single chrome hand caught it and held tight.
K’wari’s legs were tingling now and there was a delicious ache building in her sex. She lunged forward and pressed the button for the outer hatch. The red light blinked once and squawked loudly as the door remained shut.
Sweet smelling gas filled her lungs as the mask clamped down on her face once more. K’wari’s eyes rolled up into her head as the pleasure surged through ever nerve ending in her body. The only thing she could picture in her mind was her own throbbing nipples and how badly she wanted to feel Flock’s teeth on them.
The surgeon bot turned her so they were face to face. The chrome features were growing blurry as her vision swam in and out of focus.
“Do not resist, visitor. Your body is already succumbing to the pleasure. Once your treatment is complete, you will live in a state of unending, sexual bliss. Just like me.”
K’wari’s arm dropped, pulling the rayff from her belt. She shifted her grip and pressed the staff’s blunt node to the gynoid’s chest. She pressed the button on the pommel and the rayff blasted all its remaining stored energy into the robot woman’s chrome body.
The surgeon screamed. Her whole body tensed and quivered involuntarily. The eye slit on her face flashed wildly through every color as she convulsed. She let go of K’wari and the Vicar fell to her knees.
K’wari began to crawl away and every movement of fabric over her body made her want to stop and masturbate. She’d breathed in enough gas to know that cumming while high on the stuff would be the best orgasm she’d ever have. She crawled along the transparent wall, looking towards the hatch outside in vague desperation. If only Flock or Jette would come rushing through at this very moment, she’d be saved.
She struck her staff against the transparent wall feebly. The rayff slipped from her hand and came to rest on the floor. She looked over her shoulder. The surgeon was still howling.
“OOOOoooooooOOOOOOOgodddddsssYessssssssss!” Her chrome body finally stopped shaking and the eye slit turned it’s red glow on K’wari. “MMMmmmm thank you, visitor. The only sensation I’m capable of experiencing is pleasure. And that was very pleasurable.”
K’wari reached for her hand comp, pressed the screen firmly in a specific sequence of short and long clicks to activate her emergency beacon. The robot woman loomed over her.
“There is no need to fight anymore, visitor. What awaits you is an existence devoid of everything except pleasure. No need for food or ship mates or thoughts. You’ll exist in a state right on the edge of orgasm, always. All consuming pleasure erasing everything except the task you’ve been assigned. And once your work is done… rewards that your biological mind can scarcely imagine.”
The gynoid lifted K’wari’s limp body and held her upright against the transparent wall. “Now, take your medicine.” The mask was pressed over K’wari’s face once more.
The Vicar moaned as she slipped into oblivion.
Jette leaned across the table in the Artemis’ small cafeteria. “Riffa said that Valinore is replacing the work force with synthetic labor. When did that start?”
Kola thought it over. “It was after we punched into Level X. So, several months ago.”
“What’s Level X?” Jette folded her arms.
“Oh, that’s just what we call it. We were mining up on the surface. We followed an ore vein and it forked back toward the structure and the crew punched into another chamber somewhere down below us.”
“You don’t know where it is?”
Kola shook her head. “We’ve never tried to find it from inside Kaplan station. We’ve only secured a small percentage of this place. It’s huge and a lot of it, like Level X, isn’t safe.”
“Fallok ran a probe into X and said it came back showing partial exposure to space. So we’ve learned to not go wandering very far.”
“Probably wise.” Jette straightened. “Kola? Riffa said she wanted to get all the workers off this station.”
Kola nodded eagerly. “Yes, Captain. We’re in a bad situation here. Trapped in the center of this asteroid field. The Overseer has a small army of the gyniods at this point. They obey her and Chief Fallok’s every whim. And when we found out that none of the old crews ever made it home… The workers are really scared.”
“How many of you are there, Kola?”
Jette shook her head. “I couldn’t even fit 16 onboard the Artemis. Just isn’t enough room.” She thought it over a moment. “Is there a ship here?”
Kola nodded. “We have a cargo vessel for ore transport. We’re basically using it as storage. Supposedly, that’s where all the processed ore is going.”
“The Overseer only allows the gynoids anywhere near it. ” Kola stopped short at the sound of a woman’s voice from elsewhere in the ship.
Jette stood up. “In here!”
The hatch opened and Flock stepped through, trying to catch her breath. “Captain, can I have a moment?”
Jette waved to Kola. “The servitor is on that wall if you’d like anything. Excuse me a moment.” Jette marched through the hatch and pulled Flock into the corridor.
“What’s going on, Cadet?”
“Captain, we got a look at the pilot. The surgeon cut off the flight suit and we saw underneath. Captain … she’s like Epsilon.”
Jette squinted in surprise.
“The matrix thingy. The exoskin. She’s like Epsy’s sister or something.”
“Where is Epsilon?”
“On her way to the med bay.”
“And Lt. Riesga?”
“She should be here by now.”
Jette looked at her quizzically. “Why didn’t you call me on the hand comp?”
“K’wari couldn’t reach you. Neither could I. Weak signal.”
Jette began marching toward the command module. “We can do something about that. C’mon, Flock.”
The pair entered the CM with Jette stepping over to Riesga’s seat. She flicked a series of switches, then motioned to Flock. “Tie in auxiliary power and that should give us at least a thirty percent boost to hand comp range.”
Flock did as instructed. Both of their devices chirped happily in response.
Jette straightened up. “Okay, first …“
A three-note alarm signalled from her hand comp. She tapped the screen, concern etched on her face.
“What is it?” Flock studied her captain.
“Emergency beacon.” She looked at Flock. “It’s K’wari.”
Jette raced from the CM. “C’mon!”
Flock rushed to follow Jette, conflicting emotions spilling across her face as the pair dashed to the weapons locker beside the main hatch.
Riesga was entering the ship just as they arrived. She looked at Jette and realized, immediately, something was wrong. “Captain?! What’s happened?”
Jette tore open the locker and pulled out her personal rayvolver. “K’wari’s emergency beacon was activated. Lieutenant, there’s a miner in the cafeteria. Escort her off the ship and make sure she gets to somewhere safe. Then get your sidearm and catch up with us.”
“Yes, sir!” Riesga was already moving towards the aft of the ship.
Jette pulled Flock’s photon rifle from the locker and passed it to the younger woman. “Get suited up, Cadet. We need to be ready for anything.”
Flock held the weapon in her hands, a strange expression coming over her. Something about this situation … her rifle, Jette’s back turned to her … Flock felt the oddest tickling sensation at the base of her neck as her eyes went out of focus and her finger found itself on the trigger.
Kola cradled two steaming cups, one in either hand, as she looked over the servitor’s menu screen. “What about Tuvian coffee? Can you make that?” The servitor chirped happily and began synthesizing a third cup when Reisga came racing through the hatch. “Hi! I’m Kola. Gods, your ship makes amazing coffee.”
Riesga gawked at her, bewildered. “First time for everything, I guess,” she muttered. “We have an emergency, I need to escort you off the ship!”
Kola’s eyes went wide as she started looking for somewhere to set down her coffee. “Oh! Uh, where do I?”
“On the table. Just set them down and follow me!”
Kola winced as the steaming brown liquid splashed onto her hands. She set the coffee down and followed Riesga back through the hatch. “What’s happened?”
“One of my crew mates is in trouble. Is there somewhere you can go? Somewhere safe?”
Kola thought it over. “Sure! Yeah I know a place.”
“Good. I need you to go there and—“ Kanivia stopped short. She was suddenly disoriented. Uncertain. She put a hand to the wall to steady herself.
Kola looked at her with concern. “Are you alright?”
Riesa shook her head, trying to shake the strange feeling. “Um… yeah. I’m fine. Just get to your safe place and we’ll contact you later on hand comp.”
Kola nodded and made her way through the main hatch.
Riesga clutched her head. It was as if a seductive voice was whispering in her ear – familiar and strange at once. Blocking out her other thoughts. Come to me …
She tried to continue on, but her feet stumbled sideways until she leaned against the bulkhead. This way …
The door to her cabin swished open.
The glushang was spread wide on her bed. Kanivia blinked hard. There was something she needed to do, but her mind felt clouded. Why am I here? Come to me …
She staggered forward, every step making the odd, genderless voice louder, more insistent. But it was also soothing on her senses. The glushang rippled and she put her hand out – not knowing why — running along its oily smoothness.
Come to me …
Kanivia crawled onto the bed, pulling off her clothes quickly, yet absent of thought. Her only desire was to be enveloped by the shimmering black pool before her. As it touched her bare skin, the fog in her brain lifted. She was horny. She knew what it wanted.
She flattened out upon the creature, its sides rising and flowing across her back in a dark embrace. She pressed her breasts into the puddle which began to harden and caress her. She began to buck as more and more of her body came in contact with the semi-solid oil. She heard herself squeak with delight and excitement knowing the creature was becoming stimulated by the contact as well.
Her arms were slowly pulled wide apart – the glushang taking on different shapes and textures and consistencies depending on where it touched her. Tendrils wrapped around her wrists to hold them tightly in place, but Kanivia didn’t struggle. She welcomed the feeling. She spread her legs willingly and blankly, as she had done every night since that first night. The glushang now appearing more like a black octopus than a shapeless blob.
Another thick strand of blackness caressed her ass, causing it to rise up, exposing herself lewdly. She began to whimper. She couldn’t see it, but she felt the thickness darting downward between her legs … then plunging deeply inside her wet, swollen sex.
The tendril pistoned in and out rapidly making her buck faster, her face pressed against the soothing oil. The glushang continued to grow in size, now larger than she was as it enveloped and sexually devoured her. Kanivaia felt herself cumming, hoping for some relief, but the glushang continued its assault, the oily surface rushing across her body from head to toe in waves.
The glushang was getting off.
Another orgasm made her shudder, and for a brief instant she was aware. She pushed up with her arms and rolled. She tumbled off the bed, catching the glushang by surprise. It pulled off her like a coil had snapped back into place and lay in large puddle on the floor beside her.
Panting, Kanivia began to crawl toward the door. “No! Stop it!”
But in a flash the glushang was upon her again, wrapping itself around her legs and yanking her back. She struggled with her arms, rising up to crawl away, but that left her ass in the air … and vulnerable again.
A large thick tentacle sprang out and returned to her wide-spread opening. She collapsed from the force of the glushang resuming its sexual attack.
It wanted more.
A second tentacle emerged, almost kissing at the rosebud of her ass before plunging inside. The action of the glushang threw her forward again and onto her stomach. Then the two black tentacles synched, rhythmically and selfishly fucking the air out of her lungs. She could barely suck in a breath before the orgasms came. She could feel the glushang growing inside both of her holes – bigger and bigger, faster and faster. She thought she was going to pass out. She couldn’t think. But the pleasure … the horrible, wonderful pleasure …
The glushang feasted on her body until it was sated. It had quadrupled in size, completely coving the floor. It pulled out of her slowly, raking her insides with stimulation … until she finally lay unconscious.
K’wari’s vision was clearing. The darkness she’d been swimming in faded to a bright blur and eventually resolved into the ceiling above her. She was in a room she didn’t recognize. She was laying on some sort of table beneath a bright light. She could see pieces of equipment off in the darkness at the edges of her vision.
She turned her head slightly one way, then the other. Her neck felt stiff. She was alone. She cautiously tried moving her arms. To her surprise, she wasn’t cuffed to the table. She moved her legs and found they too were mercifully free. She breathed a sigh of relief. Whatever the surgeon bot was, it hadn’t had time to do whatever it’d been threatening to do. She needed to get out of here. Now.
K’wari pushed herself to her feet, eyes scanning the ceiling corners for camera sensors. Finding none, she set her sights on a polished chrome door in one corner. She stepped towards it—
And moaned as the tongues of a thousand courtesans licked her neck, her ears, her nipples and her greedy, aching holes. K’wari gasped, her hand involuntary slipping between her smooth, firm thighs and stroking the unyielding flesh of her throbbing sex.
She took another step and felt every limb struggle deliciously as if in the grip of tentacles on Takaria.
Her body was an inferno of lust. Every movement, every breath, every thought stoked the flames. She felt as if she’d been dominated by one of the sex fighters of Marishi IV. They defeated their opponents in ritual combat —not through striking and grappling— but through torturous, madness-inducing sex play.
K’wari took another step and almost collapsed at the near-orgasm that thundered through her body. She grunted in a language she didn’t remember learning. The gas she’d breathed in earlier had been one of the most intense sensations she’d ever felt. That was a torch. What she felt now was a super nova.
K’wari picked a spot on the ceiling and focused on it, trying to imagine how she’d ever be able to walk back to the ship without losing her mind to lust. She slowly moved her leg forward. It felt like playing with her own body for hours on end without ever letting herself climax. Gods it was perfect. “NO! Dammit” she hissed trying to master the overwhelming sensations.
Focus K’wari! Whatever is going on here, the others will need you!
She set her foot down and began to chant softly. Reciting mantras for focus, for strength and for calm. It helped. Just a bit. But it helped. She took another step. Arousal electrified her spine but she ignored it and took another step. Then another.
You are a Vicar of Yasu. You’ve trained your body as well as your mind. You can do this. You WILL do this!
K’wari nodded her head, urging herself on. She looked ahead and caught her reflection in the polished chrome door.
The impossibly perfect figure of a chrome gynoid stared back at her. K’wari looked down at her chrome hands. Her gleaming, silver legs. Her mirrored breasts.
I…I’m… one of THEM. They turned me into a—
She never finished the thought. She screamed Flock’s name in a synthetic voice as an orgasm no living thing had ever experienced unraveled the very fabric of her being.
To be continued …