Published on September 12, 2023

Captain Jette Jones, Star Ranger

Issue #18 – Fate of the Stars

By Callidus and connie k

All rights reserved. “Captain Jette Jones, Star Ranger” © 2021 All characters and stories are not to be reproduced in any form without the expressed written permission of the authors.

Captain Jette Jones and her allies clash with Suzerain Supreme Zeta and the powerful and mysterious Goddess of Darkness over the destiny of the galaxy.

Part one

“To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.”

– Isaac Newton, Earth, 647002 G.T. (Galactic Time)

“Using force always provokes counter-force.”

– Yasu, Indora, date unknown

Ryaki lounged in her palatial quarters.

She had what she always dreamed – power. The ruler of Serpens Soma. It mattered little that she was merely a puppet of the Suzerain Supreme. Her lifelong ambition had been fulfilled.

She kept the shades drawn, unable to look out at the barren remains of the once-beautiful Sitron Valley out her window. It was a small price to pay.

She preferred to look at her mindless lover, Kalokairi, laying on the bed. She had left the former queen of Soma listening to the seductive sounds from the hypnotic music box for 12 straight hours.  Her right hand was red with blood, having rubbed her pussy continuously the whole time.

Ryaki wasn’t sure if it was a sight that would have turned her on so much a year ago. But that was before Zeta. The vidscreen in front of her winked on. And there was Zeta, the Suzerain Supreme.

“Report, Ryaki? Is Soma well?”

“Yes, my queen. All conflict has nearly ceased. Your army controls the streets. But there are always troublemakers.”

“That’s to be expected … for now. But I expect complete capitulation. Do not disappoint me, Ryaki.”

Ryaki hadn’t raised her bowed head before Zeta ended the transmission.

Glamora’s face bobbed forward and back on the viewscreen. She managed to breathlessly sputter out, “Hello, my … Suzerain,” before Zeta roared with laughter. She realized Glamora was being taken from behind by her brainwashed and supplicant nephew, Ander Til.

“Glamora, you are such a slut.”

Glamora forced a happy smile. “Thank you, my Suzerain.”

“Now, tell me, what news do you have for me.”

Glamora stopped rocking and cast a quick glance over her shoulder. “Your new military commander reports that your Kaudan fleet rules the skies above Kauda and Soma, my Suzerain.”

“Excellent. You have both done well.”

“There is something else.  Kauda shall have an heir to the throne, Suzerain. I am with child. A daughter.”

Zeta nodded with approval. “And Caput too, Glamora. I shall see to it. Congratulations, slave.  I will look forward to her conditioning.”

Queen Ana of Serpentarius was luxuriating in a bathtub filled with snakes when the viewer snapped on. Zeta’s sneering face filled the screen.

“Sister! Get out from that tub.  I want you compliant not comatose.”

“Ye-yes, Suzerain.” Ana hopped out of the tub and staggered forward, catching herself from falling as she leaned heavily on the back of a chair. A half-dozen small trails of blood dotted her naked body. “Forgive me. It has been two days. My duties have kept me busy.”

“We’re all busy, Ana. But I will allow you this moment of weakness. You have served me well. And as a reward, I have someone special there to see you.”

The door behind her opened and immediately the dozens of snakes began thrashing wildly in the tub.

A strangely shaped female figure emerged from the candle-lit shadows of the bathing chamber and slithered forward. It had no legs. Ana turned just as the flickering light caught the ashen face. She gasped.


“Yessss,” she whispered, “my long lost Ana.”

Ana wasn’t sure if it was a venom-induced hallucination. Her closest friend since childhood was nearly unrecognizable. There were broad, grayish ridges starting just above her jawline that encircled her face. Her eyes were stark yellow but for two thin, black slits. And her three-inch fangs were so wide they forced her mouth permanently open into a sickeningly perverse smile.

Ana’s stomach heaved.

Her friend’s arms were half their normal length, sticking out awkwardly around a body that looked more like an elongated beehive than that of a woman. It tapered toward the ground where it ended in a green coiled mass of tail. A thick, gold rattle on the tip curved upward and swayed slowly.

“What’s wrong, sister?” Zeta teased. “Have you nothing to say to your dear friend? In all these years, you never once asked me what happened to her. [See Issue #4 – C&C] Now you know. She controls your snakes, not you.  She always has and always will.”

Ana collapsed to the floor in despair.  She buried her face in her hands. Asther Neer was alive, yes. But she was also transformed.

“Pity she didn’t know about Shade Bloom, dear sister. But I believe she is much happier this way. Aren’t you, my Snake Queen?”

“Yessssss,” she hissed. “Sssssssssuzerainnnn.”

“Ana? Ana, dear?” Zeta relished the moment. “It is time to begin your transformation, sister.”

Ana’s body shook and she cursed herself. The poisonous venom from her many bites was taking hold — her total horror smothered by growing shameless arousal.  She felt her heart race, her nipples stiffen.

The Snake Queen bobbed above her as Ana looked up. She stared deeply into the lifeless eyes and spread her knees.

“Shhhhhhhhhhhhh …”

The tail slowly began wrapping around her waist. Her feelings of a love lost so long ago only quickened her submission. Ana’s face opened. It was as if the Snake Queen’s eyes were right on top of her. She was mesmerized. Her mouth fell open.

She could hear the rattle-ratttttttle. The heartless yellow eyes pushed her onto her back, her feet splayed under her legs. She felt the vibration on her clit first. Then the rattle began worming its way inside.

“Take meeeee,” the Snake Queen urged. “And become meeee.”

It pushed deeper and Ana was jolted by a sudden climax. The humming inside her matched the buzzing in her brain. Her skin was alive with sensations. The snakes had slithered out of the tub and climbed over her body. Her tongue lapping at scaley flesh. But those eyes …

The Snake Queen hovered and the mouth opened wider.  The fangs gleamed. She plunged downward, ripping into Ana’s skin.

A fountain gushed forth from between her legs.

Zeta turned off the vidscreen and leaned back with nearly complete satisfaction. Soma, Kauda and Serpentarius had been tamed. She longed to return to her home world. But Caput still hadn’t fallen.

There was much on her mind. She had almost forgotten Diamanti licking enthusiastically between her legs.

“Diamanti enjoys making me cum,” Zeta said, hardly looking down. “Diamanti doesn’t need to be controlled.  She knows what is at stake. Don’t you? For every command she disobeys, a thousand Caputians will be put to death. Isn’t that right, Diamanti?”

The queen of Caput raised her head, cum and saliva dripping off her chin. “Yes, my Suzerain.”

“Yes. But I’m afraid more drastic steps will need to be taken.  If Caput doesn’t surrender soon, I will have you made an example of. Executed. Right outside your own palace.”

Diamanti licked and sucked with increased fervor. Zeta’s hips bucked. After four months, Diamanti knew exactly how to steer Zeta’s attention.

“Excuse me, Suzerain, but you asked to see me?”

Zeta let out a long exhale as the orgasmic wave passed across her hips. She pushed Diamanti’s head away roughly, and the imprisoned queen crawled to her usual spot beside the throne she once occupied.  The chains connected to her collar clinking sharply.

“Ah, yes, Araneae!”

The leader of the Black Widdom’s four spidery legs fanned out like wings as she bowed. Zeta had enlisted her army to quell the rebellion on Caput, yet their true allegiance was to the Goddess of Darkness. Although they had not succeeded in crushing the rebels (neither had Zeta’s Diamond Warriors) the war for Caput had at least been brought to a stalemate.

“I am expecting reinforcements for you and your army. The moment to crush the rebels once and for all is close at hand.”

Araneae held her tongue, but her face could not conceal her displeasure. The Black Widdom hated Diamond Warriors.  Zeta noticed. She also knew to keep in check the lust she had for Araneae. She dared not displease the Goddess of Darkness over a weakness of the flesh.

The Black Widdom followed no call but their own in service to the Goddess of Darkness. Every member was nearly identical – blonde hair, six-foot frames, the hard, black shells of their bodies as strong as any armor and … their ability to fly.

The spider venom which shot from their bulbous, short-stemmed tails was instantly deadly. They had two humanoid legs and arms, but their other four segmented, winglike appendages could topple buildings.

They were the perfect killing machines.

“In appreciation of your great service, Araneae, I have a rather delicious gift for you. I know of your fondness of yellow hair like your own.”

Zeta drew her hand toward the far wall of her throne room.  There, standing stiffly and blank, was Flock.

“I’ve made my use of her.  And her effectiveness in battle has been … lacking.  Perhaps you will gain some satisfaction?”

Araneae stalked toward Flock — still dressed in her battlesuit. Even mind-controlled, she eyed the spider woman warily but remained at attention.

“Thank you, Queen Zeta. Her scent is appealing.”

She bowed toward Zeta, then dozens of hairlike strings shot out from her mouth. The silklike projectiles attached themselves to different parts of Flock’s body. Abruptly, Flock’s body was pulled into Araneae. Flock was turned horizontally and the leader of the Black Widdom tucked the defenseless Star Ranger cadet under two of her segmented legs and strode away.

Meanwhile, on planet Earth, plans to do battle with Zeta are being made …

“I’d say your body is back to 100 percent.”

Elexa Dyne climbed off her like she was dismounting a horse, the toy bobbing between her legs. She flowed forward onto her side and half-smiled as she watched the breasts rise and fall.

“So. What is it that you want, Captain?” Jette Jones was still breathing heavily as her gaze drifted off the ceiling. “And don’t give me those big, brown eyes. You wouldn’t have come down here – as fun as it has been – without more of a reason.”

Jette sat up slowly on the bed, effortlessly now that the burden of the body cast had been removed. Elexa ran a finger along the thin stripe of scarring that remained on Jette’s back.

“You’re the one who’s all business, remember?  And this isn’t my hotel room on Plutonia.” Jette reached out and caressed Elexa’s cheek, then rolled the pearl earring between her fingers. “Although, I must confess, I wish we were back there right now.”

“Me too, babe.” Elexa softly kissed her opened hand, then looked her in the eye. “What do you need from me?”

The doorbell to her apartment chimed. Sewena Carpenter was surprised to have someone come calling this late. Her red hair stuck up in all directions.

The door swished open. Lt. Kanivia Riesga tried to smile a hello.

“Carpenter. Hi. Look. I know we’ve kinda gotten off on the wrong foot but … I have a favor to ask you.  It’s for Captain Jones.”

As soon as she heard “Jones,” Carpenter backed up and waved Riesga inside.

Jette stealthily peeked around the corner, waiting for a pair of workers in cyan-colored jumpsuits to disappear at the far end of the hallway. The radio telescope complex on Moonbase One was sparsely populated this time of the lunar day. The handful of technicians Jette had passed earlier mostly ignored her. She was just another VIP on her way to the observatory, no doubt.

Jette bee-lined for a nearby door and used her hand comp to open the lock. One of the advantages of becoming the new vice commander of the SRC. She slipped into the auxiliary control room for the satellite array that earth used to monitor deep space in all directions.

She sat down at the console and began reading from the notes she’d made on her hand comp. She wouldn’t need to take command of the entire array, just one of the satellite telescopes pointed in the direction of Elliptical Grid BR-6.

Epsilon’s old neighborhood.

Jette finished inputing the command override and adjusted the frequency of the satellite’s instruments so it could receive, as well as send, a signal better suited for carrying the human voice. Then she linked her hand comp into the console and opened the channel.

“Epsilon? This is Captain Jones. Do you read me?”

Jette sat back and waited while her message was delivered to the empty space where the enormous asteroid field had vanished. Having shared consciousness with Epsilon, Jette knew the door in space and time that had been opened four months ago wasn’t gone. Merely closed.

She set her message to loop. It was time to give that door a knock.

Epsilon’s eyes opened in her cradle. Her matrix pulsed as she leaned forward and the translucent cylinder split open. She stepped out and looked around the circular chamber. Only two of the room’s dozen cradles were currently occupied.

Gamma and Iota lay within the tubes seemingly asleep. Their minds however, were tasked elsewhere. Overseeing some function of the Caretakers’ compound or the conservatory above it on the planet’s surface.

Epsilon’s matrix pulsed in uncertainty. She had been tasked with monitoring solar radiation from the nearest stellar body, but she wasn’t doing that now. She could not explain why.

She left the cradles and walked to the observatory. Six of the twelve Caretakers stood around the ring of instruments observing the planet above.

Theta turned as Epsilon approached. “You are no longer monitoring radiation?”

“How are they?”

“They are hunting.”

The 3D holo display showed a deep valley filled with cascading waterfalls and lush green flora. Along the banks of a great river a herd of six-legged creatures drank from the stream. There was cloud cover today and they did not see the faint, enormous circling shadows on the ground around them. There was a burst of movement and three dark shapes dove from the sky. The herd scattered but not quickly enough. Five were taken and lifted from the riverbank.

The holo display flickered and shifted to a vast cave entrance overlooking the same valley. Dark shapes appeared out of the clouds and a moment later three dragons with shimmering iridescent wings entered their lair atop the mountain.

They ate their catch, making quick work of the lesser beasts. The largest of the three draics gulped down her meal. Then, slowly, her glowing eyes turned and looked directly at the two Caretakers.

“She knows we’re watching?” Epsilon’s matrix buzzed.

“We think so,” Theta nodded. “They’re all displaying signs of growing intelligence. They’ve seen our monitoring instruments and deduced what they’re for. They might even be developed enough to understand other languages.”

Epsilon’s matrix pulsed. Processing. “They’re already strong enough to leave the planet. We may not have much more time to observe them.”

“Why would they leave?” Theta asked.

Epsilon shrugged. “They’re bored. They know there’s more to the galaxy than this place and its tedious routine.”

Theta’s matrix shifted subtly. “Are you sure you’re talking about them? That is a human observation. We’ve all shared consciousness, Epsilon. We feel your growing impatience. And you were never the most patient of us.”

Before Epsilon could reply another Caretaker called out from a doorway. “Epsilon, would you join me? There is something you need to see.”

Her matrix blinked. “Gladly, Sigma.”

Sigma’s matrix crawled into the same uneven rhythm as Epsilon’s as they examined the holo display before them. Soft blue lines danced in time to the distorted voice from the audio playback. “Epsilon? This is Captain Jones. Do you read me?”

“Curious,” Sigma said. “Why is she trying to contact you?”

Epsilon’s jaw was tight. “She must deem it highly important. She was very hurt by my deception during our final meeting.” [See issue #14 -C&C]

“What would you like to do?”

Epsilon studied the frequency analysis on the holo display. Her matrix shifted into a different pattern, one she hadn’t displayed in quite some time. She commanded the communications equipment with a thought and opened a channel.

“Captain Jones. This is Epsilon. I read you.” She hesitated, the moving lines of her white matrix shuddering across the matte black surface of her exoskin. A faint smile crossed her face. “It is good to hear from you, Jette.”

Epsilon and Sigma stood silently as they replayed Jette’s message over the speakers.

“… army is large enough to control the civilian populations of four planets. And, with this mind reconditioning process she’s developed, every able-bodied person on those planets will soon become part of her army. We think there’s only a small window of time where her activity will be confined to the Te’ Sareez system. After that, I believe she’s bent on spreading her control over the entire galaxy. And she’s getting help. That rogue the Primons mentioned? Calls herself the Goddess of Darkness. She’s part of this too. She’s appeared to me. Several times.”

“The renegade?” Sigma asked quietly. Epsilon’s matrix answered in the affirmative as she continued listening.

“I know your makers want her back. I have a plan, but I need help. Epsilon, I need you to deliver a message.”

Riesga and Carpenter hurried up to the long, sleek ship hovering just above a large circular hatch set into the floor. Moonbase One’s Space Port C was always a hive of activity. The two women were just another pair of faces in a sea of ground technicians, passengers and crew going about their business amongst the hundreds of docked ships.

Elexa spotted them through the cockpit pane. “What’s this? Jette, we need to take off right away,” she huffed, climbing in behind the controls of the six-seater.

Jette nodded to Riesga gratefully as they marched up to the short ramp leading to the main hatch. “Thank you, both of you, for coming.”

“I figured you could use another pair of hands, Skipper,” Riesga said with a smile.

Jette looked Carpenter over. “Riesga and I are on leave. You’re still in officer’s training. I’m asking a lot.”

“It was my decision, Captain. I don’t know if I even want to be in the Star Rangers if they don’t support someone who has done as much for them as you have.”

Jette smiled, sadly. “Their hands are tied. The Galactic Systems League passed a binding resolution forbidding all ships from approaching Te’ Sareez. Believe me, we’re not the only Star Rangers who’ve thought of this.”

“Just the only ones crazy enough to actually do it.” Riesga chuckled.

Carpenter smirked. “Anyway, I still have my civilian commander’s license. Captain Edwards retired a hero. He can get me on with any travel company I want.”

“Alright.” Jette led them up the ramp and ducked her head into the small cockpit. “Let’s go, Elexa.”

Carpenter started to follow Jette toward the four rear seats, but Elexa pulled her arm and patted the seat next to her. “Park yourself right here. Riesga’s a little too perky at this hour.”

Riesga stuck her tongue out at Elexa as she came aboard and closed the hatch behind her.

“Where’s your little friend?”

“Cosmo? I had to find him a temporary home,” she said as she took the seat behind Carpenter. “I’m not taking him back to Te’ Sareez. Not with what we’re in for. I’d never forgive myself if something happened to him.”

Jette slid in beside Riesga, looking around the small interior. “You plan ahead,” she called to Elexa. “Or did you steal this too?”

“Me, Captain? I have one of just about everything that flies.”

“How many ships is that?” Riesga asked.

“Don’t ask,” Elexa replied, rapidly hitting a series of buttons and knobs.

“It’s four days to Te’ Sareez,” Riesga said, looking behind her and realizing the ship had only a single, shared, compartment. “Where are we supposed to sleep?”

“Back there. There’s one bed.” Elexa winked at Jette. “But there’s a cot that pulls out from the wall on the other side. I wasn’t expecting a slumber party. You and Red can share.”

Carpenter let out an irritated sigh.

“Straight on to Te’ Sareez, ladies. There shouldn’t be any traffic.”

Elexa flicked another switch and the hatch dropped open.  Her cruiser came to life, detached from its umbilical and slowly descended until it had cleared the port. The engines flared and they were on their way.

Meanwhile, on Serpens Caput, the planet’s rebels refuse to yield to Zeta’s brainwashed army, waiting for their moment to counterattack …

Zizuhala moved like a cat in the darkness, evading the ancient fortress’ guards with ease. The structure had been converted into a museum many years before, but the Suzerain Supreme had need of it now.  This is where Zeta kept her prisoners.

Crawling through windows and down winding stairs, Zizuhala had but one door to pass through. Her timing had been perfect. The single guard before it was being changed.  As the Diamond Warrior trudged down the hallway, she slipped through the door silently.

A dozen large, grated doors held hundreds of prisoners, but the suns’ rising was still hours away and there was scarcely any light. All was quiet, except for the sounds of snoring.  She moved quickly to the last door and peered inside. The silhouettes of two women stood waiting for her.

“Sovereign,” she whispered, “it is time.”

A pair of hands inside the cell began moving away the chipped stones around the hinged end of the door.  They grabbed sections of the grating and Zizuhala did the same on the outside. Then, all three of them pulled up hard.

The iron bar lifted out of the stone. With astounding strength, the women swung the door open from the opposite side of its lock. A muscled body slipped through the opening. “Tiani…” Zizuhala breathed.

The two warrior women kissed softly.

Queen Diamanti passed through the opening next. She was naked, as was Tiani. Zizuhala quickly passed them the robes she had brought in a small satchel.

After returning the prison door to its place, they moved to the outer door of the cell block. Zizuhala cracked it, noticing the new guard had taken his position, sitting across the hall. His attention was on a fistful of Mangara fruit.

Zizuhala turned to Diamanti as she stepped into the light. She gasped.  Her queen’s right eye had been savagely beaten.

The other woman moved to the door but Zizuhala held up a hand. “No, Tiani, there is another way.”

“You go,” she said, her eyes fixed straight ahead. “I will follow shortly.”

Zizuhala paused a moment before leading Diamanti to the side wall. One by one, she pulled out the stone bricks she had loosened three times before. She and Diamanti disappeared through the small opening.

Tiani’s eyes were on fire. She opened the door fully and marched up to the Diamond Warrior. He only had time to look up before she grabbed his head and twisted it around until she heard a dull snap.

She dragged the dead body to a dark corner, tossing his own blanket over it. She placed the chair in front of the large lump.

He would not be found for two days.

Diamanti and her two equerries were soon free of the fortress and hurried through the surrounding forest.

“We must hurry, Sovereign.  We only have two hours.” Zizuhala stopped abruptly in a clearing. “I believe we are at the appointed place.”

Suddenly, they were surrounded on two sides by a hundred armed women and men that emerged from the trees. As they reached the clearing, the rebels knelt in unison before their queen.

“Rise, my devoted subjects. My fighters. You have done well. You have kept Caput free.”

A stout, gray-haired woman stepped forward. “My queen. Forgive me. But our numbers are dwindling. Every night, the Black Widdom attack. Every day, the blue beasts hunt us down.  You promised us salvation. Yet it has been months. Where is this thing you said would help us. Where is it?”

Diamanti approached the woman and put her hand on her head. “Brave Uthea. The time is near.”

A noom horn blared. And a second, more distant replied. Marching through the dense trees two dozen women, dressed in their black leather straps, appeared. Tiani smiled at Zizuhala.

“The Warrior Women of Caput will lead you into battle,” Diamanti said. “But we shall not be alone.”

The tallest of the warriors strode to Diamanti, who nodded.  The warrior placed a circular disc on the ground and stepped back quickly. Blue-and-white light shot up from the ground. It began to sparkle as a humanoid shape took form.  The rebels closed in around it. It was a woman. A face many of them had seen before. The recorded image began to solidify.

It was the Vipera Berus, Jette Jones.

“People of Caput, all across Te’ Sareez and elsewhere in the galaxy a mighty battle is about to begin. As defenders of Te’ Sareez, I know that you are suffering. Darkness has engulfed your great star system. A darkness that will spread to the whole galaxy unless we stop it here and now.

“This enemy will not be easily defeated. I know things are difficult and may get even more difficult before this war is over. But if you will fight, I promise, you will not fight this darkness alone. I’m on my way. And I am not returning alone.”

As the image slowly dissolved, the Caputians felt their spirits renewed. Her words gave them strength.

Elexa fumbled with buttons in the cockpit.  “Dammit, one of these has to be it.”

“I thought this was your ship.”

Elexa turned her head and glared at Riesga. “No backseat drivers.”

“Picking something up.”

Elexa peered into the small viewscreen in front of her. “So much for no traffic.”

“Ship in our path, Captain,” Carpenter reported. “I mean, Ms. Dyne.”

“Could be an advanced guard from Caput,” Riesga said from behind her.

Elexa squinted. “She’s just … sitting there.”

Jette leaned over Elexa’s shoulder. She smiled at what she saw. “I know those markings. Bring us up alongside to dock.”

“Wait a minute …”

Jette had already unbuckled and moved toward the stern of the small ship where the docking hatch was located.

“It’ll take some maneuvering to dock these two ships,” Elexa said as she slowed the cruiser’s speed. “Not much room for error.”

Riesga poked her head between Carpenter and Elexa. “Mind if I give it a try? I’ve docked ships smaller than these.”

Elexa slid out of the seat and waved Riesga forward.

Riesga took the controls and checked the readout on the console in front of her. Her eyebrows creased as she began triggering short bursts of propellent, edging their ship closer to the other vessel. She stole a quick glance through the cockpit pane as the distance closed to two meters. Then one. There was the slightest tremor as the two ships made contact and their docking collars linked up.

Jette stood in front of the hatch waiting for the airlock sign to turn green.

“All clear, Skipper,” Riesga called back.

Jette hit the button and the hatch opened with a hiss of steam. A figure wearing crimson robes entered through the white cloud. Jette straightened with her hands behind her back, but her eyes twinkled.

“Took you long enough.”

K’wari’s eyebrows rose. “I was … detained.”

Riesga hurried up to her and gave her a hug. “I can’t believe you’re here!”

K’wari and Jette kept their eyes on each other. Then the Vicar of Yasu smiled affectionately at Riesga. “Permission to come aboard?”


K’wari’s smile slowly faded as she looked around.

“She’s not here,” Jette said, stepping closer. “She’s with Zeta.”

After a beat, K’wari nodded tightly, her eyes drifting downward. “I see.”

Riesga broke the sad silence. “So… what happened on Indora? With your trial and stuff?”

K’wari glanced at her, took a deep breath and closed her eyes.

Four months ago…

K’wari opened her eyes as she emerged from the green pod. Tholvan’s tendrils held her gingerly as they lifted her up and deposited her back on the polished wood floor. The circular chamber within Korella’s secret residence reeked of sex and plant juice.

Naked bodies were everywhere. Sha-shara was on all fours, barking and growling like an animal as she was penetrated. Baras and Sacylite were locked in a passionate sixty-nine. They were both being fucked by green tendrils as they devoured each other and breathed the potent pheromones.

Tholvan’s scent was utterly unique. And delicious. Even now, just the taste of it in her nose and mouth sent K’wari’s mind spinning back into the dark, warm pod. K’wari knew, and loved, sex. But communing with Tholvan had been so much … more. Intimacy on a level she’d never before experienced. Lovers had taken her body and K’wari had found bliss in their arms.

But Tholvan had taken her mind.

The great plant had explored her memories, her self, her fears and her dreams. As surely as any lover had explored the muscles of her inner thighs, the curve of her breasts or the lines of her neck. Tholvan had come to know K’wari like no being ever had. And then, Tholvan’s pheromones had changed, even as their tendrils re-doubled their efforts to fuck every last gram of pleasure out of K’wari’s body. The scent was laced with new toxins, produced by the sentient plant’s highly evolved biology.

The drugs went to work on K’wari’s brain while her body was in rapture.

They’d done their job well. Standing among her friends, she had such a clear vision of who she now was and what she must do. K’wari fully understood the word ‘revelation’.

Odell lay near K’wari’s feet, faced upturned and eyes glassy. Her groin was covered by a nest of green tendrils that were writhing and constricting, causing her lower body to tremble sensuously. Her brow furrowed as if she were trying to collect her thoughts. To focus on something. But K’wari knew all too well how futile that was. Tholvan was an apex life form. There was nothing any of them could do against such a being.

K’wari knelt and loomed over Odell. The younger vicar’s eyes lazily registered the movement and she eventually recognized her sister vicar. “K’wari? I thought you were… gone.”

“I was. I’m back.”

“You seem… different.”

“I am.” K’wari smiled.

Odell tried to sit up but she didn’t have the strength. The constant orgasms had drained her. “What happened to you?”

K’wari shook her head. “I could never begin to describe it with words. Maybe you should read my thoughts instead?” She winked. “I know you can speak in my mind. Can you listen as well?”

Odell’s eyes brightened. “The White Mother has been training me. She says she was twice my age before she could do half of what I can.”

K’wari stroked her hair. “That means you’re going to be one of the greatest vicars who ever lived. It also means …” K’wari tapped her temple “… you know why you don’t need to be afraid.”

They both looked up as Korella entered wearing nothing but a black harness with a synthetic cock jutting out proudly. Ranna followed a moment later with shaky legs. “There’s no sense being afraid of what you can’t fight. The only sensible thing is to accept … and give in. Isn’t that so, K’wari?”

“Yes, Superior Mother.” K’wari sat back on her feet, kneeling with her back straight, and purred as Korella strode over and stroked her face like a favorite pet.

The older woman leaned downed and inspected K’wari’s eyes. She smiled at what she found there. “You have Tholvan inside you now child, I can see it.”

“Yes, Superior Mother!”

“Then you know what you need to do.”

K’wari bowed her head, then reached over and pulled Odell to her feet. She walked the younger woman toward the hole in the floor. Tholvan’s maw was open and waiting.

Odell looked at her, eyes wide. “K’wari?”

K’wari pushed her over the side and Odell fell into Tholvan’s clutches. The maw closed around her.

Korella looked at Ranna. “Are the recorders active in here?”

The blonde nodded eagerly. “They never stopped, Superior Mother.”

“Good. I’m going to enjoy watching this over and over… with your face in my sex.”

Ranna shivered in delight.

Korella stood behind K’wari, smirking with approval. “Baras and Sacylite go in next. But not Sha-shara. This rapture isn’t for her.”

“Yes, Superior Mother.”

Korella leaned into K’wari’s ear and breathed. “Good slave.”

Odell pulled against the tendrils wrapped around her limbs but her waning strength was nothing against Tholvan. Then, there was a voice in the darkness. A voice inside her mind. It almost seemed familiar.


She couldn’t believe it. The plant was speaking to her. It had language.


More insistent this time. It was growing impatient. The tendrils had filled her mouth. She thought the words instead. “Yes? I can hear you. Is this … Tholvan?”

“No, it is K’wari!”

“How are you doing this?”

“I’m not. It’s mostly you. Concentrate. Listen to me.”

“K’wari? What’s going on?”

“Tholvan isn’t what Korella thinks it is. Although, I’ll warn you, you’re in for quite a ride.”

“What happened to you?”

“Later. We’ve got to act quickly before Tholvan starts drugging you.”


“Focus, Odell. I need to know something. How far away can a person hear you speaking in their mind?”

“I … I don’t know. I’ve never tried it beyond a person in the same room.”

“It’s time to stretch your limits, sister. I have an idea …”

The image of the Goddess of Darkness was bathed in flames which gave off no heat. She towered inside the ancient recess and dwarfed everything around her.

“The time is near.”

The human woman bowed her head before the ghostly specter and inhaled deeply. “Yes, great Teacher.”

“The galaxy will need a firm hand to guide it. Are you and your flock prepared to lead in the glorious new age I have prepared?”

“Yes, Teacher! I am ready. We are ready!”

“There are conflicts within these walls. Some shrouded in deception even from me. You would be wise to take these last steps carefully, Korella.”

The flames rose even higher and brighter before the Goddess of Darkness vanished without a sound.

The Superior Mother kept her head bowed as she left the chamber.

She walked directly to the Tribunal hall. The grand chamber was filled to capacity. In the week since K’wari’s trial nearly every member of the order had returned to Indora. Korella had called for this special assembly. She walked into the Tribunal flanked by her acolytes, Ranna and Kadish.

Many of the vicars had passed through months of endless toil, drugged food and constant indoctrination hidden away in the Thurk mountains. Their eyes burned brightly with the fervor of new members of The Crimson Circle society. Ranna’s dominant influence was now part of them. They would eagerly obey the Superior Mother and fulfill the glorious new mission she’d set for the Order.

Many others knew nothing of such subversion. They had been manipulated far more subtly by Kadish’s charisma, his ability to sense what another person was feeling and to speak the exact words they needed to hear. Through his lies, false promises and political seduction, Kadish had brought a substantial portion of the Order to endorse The Superior Mother’s bold, new directives.

The remainder of the Order would fall in line with those her two pupils had already brought to her side. They were a flock, after all. And the flock thrived when it had a dominant to follow.

Korella raised her hands and the hall went quiet.

“Vicars of Yasu! Welcome! This is a rare day. Nearly our entire order sits within these walls.” She paused a moment as those assembled took in the historic moment. “And so it should be. We begin a new chapter in our Order’s grand history. A future with a galaxy at peace. A just galaxy. A galaxy made safe from the influence of an ignorant majority and a corrupt minority. A galaxy that will flourish under our firm guidance.”

There were murmurs mixed with applause. Some vicars were clearly not convinced of this radical new direction. Some were hearing it for the first time. Some moaned quietly as they agreed with the Superior Mother and felt their loins throb pleasurably in reward.

Korella raised her hands again, nodding thoughtfully. “I know there are many among you who have reservations and I fully understand that. I would not respect each of you so much if you did not. But I only ask that you give me an open mind and allow me to make my case.”

There was a sea of nodding heads at this very reasonable proposal.

Korella motioned and the chamber doors opened once more. “As you know we stood here just a few days ago for the trial of one of our own. K’wari stood before you, alone, faced judgment and accepted the ruling with bravery and honor. Kadish was so moved by her obvious character that he invoked the old way and the Tribunal voted, nearly unanimously to punish her teacher instead.

“Ranna, who had the unenviable task of prosecuting the charges against K’wari, confided in me privately how conflicted she’d been, knowing that K’wari is an exceptional vicar who had been failed by her teacher. And so, today we will begin this new chapter by passing judgment on our former Superior Mother, Sha-shara.”

Guards wearing crimson robes with black sashes marched through the doors with Sha-shara between them. The old woman’s hands were clapped in manacles. She walked listlessly, her eyes far away as they finally brought her to a halt in the center of chamber for all to see.

“Her crimes are long and vile. I have spent this past week in deep mediation, joined by many of her former students.” She motioned again and a small procession of vicars moved into the room to join Korella.

“K’wari, Odell and Baras were Sha-shara’s finest and most loyal nemates, at one time. However, once they were given the freedom to speak without consequence and the assurance that they would be heard they confirmed our suspicions.” She motioned and K’wari stepped forward.

“K’wari will explain the White Mother’s crimes and why those offenses demand that the Vicars of Yasu must act. With or without the galaxy’s consent.”

The crowd was on the edge of their seats, straining to hear as K’wari stepped forward. “Thank you Korella. The Superior Mother is correct. These past days have been most enlightening. There is much you all need to know. Starting with this. Now, Zicash.”

In a control room high in the arena, the orange fin atop Zicash’s oblong head twitched nervously. She’d already locked and barricaded the door. Now, she reached out and inserted a memory chip into the console.

There was a hiss of static and then a gigantic green holo-projection filled the chamber. The immense scale allowed all in attendance to see with perfect clarity. They were looking at a darkened room with a strange circular hatch set into the floor. Tholvan’s lair.

Korella tensed beside Ranna and the younger woman’s hand instinctively went to the closed rayff staff on her belt. The onlooking vicars gasped as they realized K’wari, Odell, Sha-shara, Baras and Saclyite were chained to the floor.

Speakers from all over the Tribunal chamber came to life. The Superior Mother’s recorded voice echoed off every stone surface. “Using force always provokes counter-force. One of the few things Yasu said that I agree with, actually.”

There was a great mumbling from the seated vicars. “Sacrilege!” cried one vicar. The holo-record continued playing Korella’s monologue.

“While Ranna’s methods certainly work they take more time than we had to properly prepare Baras and Saclyite. Of course, the extract we fed to the Crimson Circle’s recruits was necessarily diluted. Dosing a person through food is a sloppy approach but it was the only way to convert so many vicars to our cause these last several months.”

“Tholvan?” Holo-K’wari balked. “You named it?”

“Oh no, Tholvan named themself.”

Many vicars in the arena were on their feet now. “Madness. Madness!” A woman’s voice shouted over the din.

On the recording, Holo-Korella was caressing herself as Tholvan mesmerized the captives. “I don’t want to hypnotize you, K’wari. I want you to commune with Tholvan as I have. I want you to hear the truth they have shared with me.”

“Turn it off!” Ranna screamed. “Turn off the holo-projectors!”

Kadish ran for the doors but they closed just as he reached them. He pounded on them, but the stone exit was sealed tightly. He turned just as recorder showed Korella feeding K’wari to the plant beast.

The recording paused and K’wari stepped forward, the vicars’ eyes locked on her. “Many of you have tasted this plant’s nectar. Ranna has been using a secret temple in the Thurk mountains for months to mentally dominate many of you. Feeding you food laced with a drug derived from this very plant. It has allowed her to manipulate you into her service.”

“This is impossible!” Korella roared. “Tholvan took you! I saw it! How did you resist?”

“I didn’t. You said it yourself, the plant uses its victims’ desires against them. The nectar is a neuro-advancement toxin. It clears pathways in the mind of everything except what the person desires most.”

Korella shook her head. “T-that can’t be!”

“Don’t you see, Korella? You secretly longed to rule the galaxy. Tholvan’s toxins made it your obsession. Ranna and Kadish? Their deepest desire is to serve you. They came out of Tholvan willing to do anything you commanded.”

“Lies!” Ranna cried out. “She’s LYING!”

The holo-recording changed again. This time Baras was led into a stone chamber lined with torches and pushed to his knees beside Saclyite. Holo-Ranna smiled as she conducted the mass indoctrination session.

There were gasps and shouts of indignation. The crowd stomped their feet and shook their fists in anger.

K’wari continued. “My deepest desire is to serve the Order of Yasu. As Sha-shara taught me. And Odell and Baras. And all those who came before us. That’s why Tholvan’s toxin only made us more resolute to defeating this uprising!”

The vicars in the arena were on their feet now. “Judgment!” came the call from the stands.

“Korella!” K’wari cried out over the rising voices. “You must surrender now!”

“Or what?” Korella bellowed. “I have more than enough loyal vicars here to subdue any who oppose me. What will you do about it, street scum?” Korella spat out the words.

“We will fight!” a woman’s voice called out. It was Sha-shara. She moved her bound hands in a deft flurry and the two guards attending her dropped unconscious to the floor.

K’wari picked up one of the fallen guard’s rayffs and clicked it open. All over the arena vicars did the same, drawing forth their ancient and sacred weapons.

“We will fight, now!” K’wari shouted.

All around her, the Vicars of Yasu did exactly that.

K’wari ducked as Ranna’s rayff staff cut through the air toward her head. Her feet glided over the stone floor and she lifted her left leg, knowing Ranna would follow up with a sweep.

“Hold still!” The younger Vicar roared as she twisted around and shifted her staff to other hand, keeping its momentum going as she lunged forward for another attack.

K’wari’s staff turned over in her hands and she snapped it up and deflected Ranna’s blow then kicked hard, sending the blonde woman stumbling wildly. “This is pointless, Ranna. Your plot is revealed. You cannot win this fight.”

Ranna raced toward her, spinning her rayff over her head. “I don’t need to win, I just need to break you in half!”

K’wari ducked and rolled as Ranna reached her. She pushed herself up and turned to counter. But Ranna had gotten the best of her this time. The feint had taken K’wari completely by surprise and once she was on her feet again she realized Ranna had leaped behind her! She tried to spin out of the way but it was too late. Ranna’s staff caught her in the shoulder and it exploded in pain.

Ranna spun her leg in a wide arc and her boot slammed into K’wari’s chest and sent her flying backward. She crashed to the stone floor.

K’wari coughed and tried to summon the breath back into her body. The world around her spun in slow motion.

Odell was armed, facing off against two of the guards with their black sashes. Baras and Saclyite had their hands full trying to contain Kadish. His purple skin glowed with heat as his rayff streaked from one to the other.

Korella had dispensed with her outer robes and fought in a simple tunic and short pants. Her rayff was a blur of movement as it buzzed through the air like a terrible insect. Sha-shara’s ornamental rayff moved almost not at all, save for a slight counter high or low as she patiently fended off Korella’s strikes, despite her manacled hands. Each time their rayffs clashed sparks flew from the incredible impact.

All around the arena seating, the Vicars of Yasu fought for the very soul of their Order.

Ranna descended upon K’wari again. She pulled her rayff up in time to catch Ranna’s staff before it cracked her skull. Ranna dove on top of her and pressed K’wari’s own staff into her throat.

“It’s not too late for you, Ranna.” K’wari pressed back, her muscles screaming as she fought against the other woman’s superior leverage. “Korella manipulated you. You can be forgiven for your crimes.”

Ranna’s eyebrows furrowed. “No! You’re lying about everything!”

K’wari took advantage of the momentary distraction and twisted her legs up and around Ranna’s neck. She heaved with all her might and pulled the other vicar off her and sent her flipping backwards into the floor. She got to her feet and moved into a counter-attack stance with her rayff before her.

Ranna screamed as she kicked her feet up and was running toward K’wari again. K’wari hissed as she deflected this new attack and drove her rayff into Ranna’s stomach, hard.

Their rayffs clashed again and again. K’wari’s staff was beginning to warm in her hands from the kinetic energy of each impact.

Ranna screamed and clumsily swung her rayff in a flurry of overhead strikes.

“Don’t you see, Ranna? Korella defeated herself through her own actions! You’ll do the same if you don’t surrender!”

“Never!” Ranna bellowed as she heaved with all her might. K’wari collapsed her staff just as Ranna swung and it threw the blonde vicar off balance. K’wari pressed her closed rayff to Ranna’s chest and pressed the recessed button, releasing all the energy her staff had stored up as a powerful stun blast.

There was a flash of blue-white light and a thunder crack and then Ranna was flying end over end away from K’wari. She was unconscious before she crashed to the floor.

Korella roared as she brought her rayff crashing against Sha-shara’s. The old woman seemed too feeble to withstand such an impact and yet the White Mother stood her ground.

The disgraced Superior Mother dashed back several paces and took a deep breath, her lungs burning for air. “You will never defeat me, crone. The young overcome the old. That is the way of the universe.”

Sha-shara looked down. The manacles magically opened and fell at her feet. “The needed supplants the un-needed. And the universe does not need your tyranny.”

Korella became even more resolute. “How long can your frail body withstand this White Mother?”

“Poor Korella. Do you really think I’ve been fighting you with my body?” Sha-shara closed her rayff and hung it on her belt.

The Superior Mother took immediate advantage and leaped high into the air swinging her rayff down directly onto the white hair of Sha-shara.

Suddenly Korella yelped like a wounded animal as her body jerked wildly and she flew awkwardly to one side, losing her rayff in the process. She got her feet underneath her just in time and looked at Sha-shara with fire dancing in her eyes. “So, the old legends are true?”

“They are,” Sha-shara said, drawing her body into a balanced stance.

“You’ve unlocked your psyche and accessed the mind-dimension. You kept it secret from your fellow vicars?”

“For your own good, Korella. This power would consume you.”

Korella laughed pitifully as she dropped her own rayff to the ground. “In that case, I have a secret to reveal as well!” She held a hand to her head as she focused her mind and a moment later a rock carving from the ceiling broke loose and came whizzing down on top of Sha-shara!

The White Mother gestured with her fingers and the great boulder stopped falling, hung in mid-air and then dropped to the ground beside her. “I underestimated you, Korella.”

“Finally, we agree.” Korella gestured to her rayff where it lay on the ground. The chrome tube began to vibrate erratically. Korella clenched her teeth in concentration as she pulled the stored energy held in her weapon forth as a yellow arc of lightning! The bolt jumped from the rayff to her outstretched hand, then flew forward striking the White Mother in her stomach!

Sha-shara was flung backwards and landed with the sickening crunch of the vertebrae in her back. She moved her arms but found that her legs no longer answered her thoughts.

“So,” she said softly, “it is this fate, then.”

Korella advanced on her, one hand still crackling with energy. “Not the death you’d hoped for, I take it?”

“For either of us,” Sha-shara said grimly. She shut her eyes tightly.

Korella pointed with her palm and the electrical energy surged again. The arc of lightning raced toward Sha-shara’s heart, but it never reached its target. The White Mother focused all her mental powers on bending the very force of nature that governed such energy.

The lightning bolt veered away, striking Sha-shara’s ancient rayff.

“Nooooo!” Korella’s eyes went wide as she saw what was happening. The power Sha-shara’s rayff had collected was instantly released, tracing back along the yellow arc of lightning. “Teacher!” The Superior Mother screamed as the energy slammed into her body and electrocuted every cell within it.  Her physical form ignited into a fireball then flashed out like a dying star.

Korella’s charred body fell to the stone floor. She was no more.

Many of the vicars in the arena saw what had happened. They lowered their rayffs.  Soon after, all fighting ceased. The outcome had been decided.

“Nooooo!” Odell screamed as she struck down three guards in quick succession. She raced toward the White Mother. Kadish suddenly leapt into her path, his muscular arms spinning his staff too fast for the eye to see.

“Your insurrection will fail, child. I will take up the glorious cause and restore justice to the entire—”

Odell’s hand few toward him as she lashed out with her thoughts and forced a single, irresistible command into Kadish’s mind: attack yourself!

Kadish’s eyes went wide as his hands suddenly twisted and the spinning rayff caught him in the middle of his forehead. The chrome bulb cracked like a power pistol and he slumped unconscious to the ground.

K’wari bolted to Sha-shara and knelt beside her. “Mother …”

The old woman’s eyes blinked lazily before finding her student. “K’wari. You must learn to use these new talents. For good.” Her breathing became labored. She smiled sadly at her nemate. “Now is not the time to grieve, my child. It is done. You must assemble the vicars for what lies ahead.  Baras … Baras is to replace Korella.”

Sha-shara’s eyes were clear as they met K’wari’s confused face.

“Odell is too young. And you … you have to continue on your Journey of Discovery.  What awaits you will not be pleasant. There is a great poison infecting the galaxy, K’wari. It spread even within these walls.”

Sha-shara weakly reached for her rayff. K’wari took it up and lay it on the dying woman’s breast. She clutched it tightly.

“Tradition dictates that this staff be given to my nemate … but there is someone else who has need of it.  Give this to your captain.”

“Jette?” K’wari whispered.

“I have seen only glimpses into the future, K’wari.  She will need this.  Only she can prevent the dark future.”

Odell fell to her knees on the other side of Sha-shara. “Mother!” Tears filled her eyes.

Sha-shara looked upon her with pride. “You have learned well, little one. Be sure to pass on what you know, but most importantly, who you are. All three of you.”

Baras knelt at her feet. Saclyite placed a hand on his shoulder. He reached forward and took hold of her rayff. K’wari and Odell did the same.

The four of them felt energy moving through the arcane metal.

“If there is a place beyond The Great Valley …” Sha-shara’s voice wavered. “I will await … you all.”

Her breathing failed and her chest rose and fell for the last time. The ancient Tribunal was silent. With tears streaking down her face, K’wari’s voice called out for all to hear.

“The Superior Mother has fallen. The Superior Father rises.”

Baras looked from K’wari to Odell. They both nodded back at him. Slowly, he rose. As he did, every vicar in the vast chamber knelt with heads bowed.

When he had recovered his voice, Baras raised his hands. “Rise, Vicars of Yasu! We have much work to do. The galaxy needs us on our feet!”

The sea of crimson robes stood as one.

Jette, Riesga and Carpenter huddled around K’wari as she finished her incredible story. They didn’t know what to say.

“Entering Te’ Sareez, Jette,” Elexa called from the cockpit.

“Alright, Elexa,” Jette answered as she stood up and looked at K’wari. “We don’t have much time. It seems I’ve thrown you into another fight, Vicar.”

K’wari stood to face her. “I am ready for what lies ahead … Captain.”

She unhooked a rayff and presented it to Jette. “This is for you. I don’t know why Sha-shara wanted you to have this, but I no longer question the power of the Order of Yasu.”

Jette put her hands over K’wari’s as she held the staff.

“Without justice there can be no peace.”

K’wari smiled hearing Jette recite from the Codex of Yasu.

“On this day, Captain Jette Jones, remember the rayff is the tool of the peacemaker. Those who bear one will have the strength of the Order behind them.”

Jette accepted the staff, taking a moment to admire its unique carvings, before attaching the closed rayff to her belt. She stepped to the cockpit and put a hand on Elexa’s shoulder. “Send a coded message to Serpens Caput.” Riesga, Carpenter and K’wari stepped up behind her, their eyes fixed on the star system ahead.

Jette’s jaw flexed. “Tell them it’s time.”

To be continued …

Director's Commentary

Getting this one finished was pure joy for me. Connie has been talking about some of the beats in this story arc for a long time. It’s been tremendous to finally be writing them!


  • avatar


    I did not see the twist coming that Tholvan is an emc uber-plant that makes you be the best version of yourself. It seems like somebody could make a fortune from selling places for Tholvan Seminars – come for the orgasms! stay for the personal professional development!

    Black Widdom seems like maybe inspired by Driders from DnD? Quite concerned about poor old Flock.

    Mild disappointment that Diamanti isn’t being emc’ed or on the way to being there, but that probably reflects my tastes more than a commentary on the plot choice.

  • avatar


    The way this episode started, with Zeta checking in on all of her (now) minions literally made my stomach turn, what with such sickening women-creatures; although I have to admit I did enjoy reading about how good Diamanti was at her appointed task, . . . So I was relieved when the story shifted back to Jette & Co. and K’wari et al. Now we’re really getting into the save-the-universe (ok, galaxy – Oh hum, 🙂 I also have to admit I hadn’t seen it coming that Jette would be at the center as the one and only to be able to lead the (I hope) defeat of the dark forces, but then I guess I’ve not understood and unappreciated what it means by her being the Vipera Berus. It will be interesting to find out who/what is this Goddess is Darkness and the clash yet to come.

    p.s., I’m genuinely worried about Flock, right? . . . (wink)

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