The Goddess of the Land stood in front of her temple with her arms raised to the night sky. She was wearing a white ceremonial robe that she and Elaine had designed. It was open in the front exposing her unscarred belly to reveal that the gods had healed her wounds.
Various passers-by, noticing an obviously religious rite being performed by their goddess, stopped to see what was happening. Word spread quickly and a large crowd gathered around her in a very short time.
The goddess was chanting a simple prayer in ancient Sumarian, a dead language no one around her knew. It was the chanting that was important, not the understanding. The understanding would come later. Where she stood was important to the understanding. Before her was the blackened lamppost where the Lady Sarah had been executed.
‘Are you ready, Chief?’ Princess Béla asked in the mind of the Bridge Officer in the ship high above her.
‘Almost, Princess,’ the Chief replied. ‘The carrier is less than ten… what you call kilometers from your position. It carries the project you requested. You realize the carrier won’t have enough power to get back…’
‘Park it in my back yard…’ Béla replied. ‘We will be happy to care for your pilot until the northern sun returns.’
Béla patiently chanted her Sumarian prayer several more times. Appropriately, it was a simple prayer for a good harvest. She finally heard the carrier’s noisy propellers as the craft approached. She and Elaine were mind-linked together. Elaine was standing in her position opposite Béla, one of them on each side of the lamppost.
‘Ready, Darling?’ Béla sent to her sister.
The two of them had spent several exciting hours designing this little ritual. They also had been practicing for several days on objects close to the size of the project they needed to teleport.
Elaine, excited that she was helping create a real, live miracle, glowed her anticipation and readiness. This was the first time she’d ever been on the ‘inside’ of one of Béla little miracles. This was also the single most important thing she had ever done. They were attempting to change a world.
‘You may fire when ready, Chief,’ Béla informed the Bridge Officer.
She began to chant louder.
Firing in five seconds! Four! Three! Two!
‘Are you ready, Darling?’ Béla asked her sister again, unnecessarily.
Elaine was ready and had never felt this special sharpness in her mind before. They both concentrated on the project in the carrier as it set down behind the manor.
The goddess made a final plea to the heavens and was answered by her father, the Storm God. A brilliant flash of lightning blasted out of the clear night sky and blew a perfectly round hole three feet in diameter right in front of her, vaporizing the fire-blackened lamppost. When the onlookers could see again, there was a marble slab four feet high and three feet thick where the Lady Sarah had been executed for attempting to assassinate a goddess.
Béla and Elaine looked across the slab at each other, trying not to shriek with their glee. The ceremony had gone off without a hitch. There would be no more killing in the name of justice.
It was Elaine’s turn, now. Béla dropped to her knees before the marble slab, feigning exhaustion from her religious trance. Elaine helped her sister goddess to her feet and helped support her as they retired to the manor.
This act made their escape from the surrounding crowd easy. They wouldn’t have to answer questions. The slab was self-explanatory; the same message etched on both sides. The Great Bard Geoffrey could take it from here.
As the goddesses slowly departed, they could hear the Great Bard beginning to speak as he read the inion:
TO ONE WHO WOULD TAKE THE LIFE OF ANOTHER,
THE FOLLOWING JUSTICE WILL BE ADMINISTERED:
1. You and all your possessions are to be made available for restitution
to the family of the deceased. Your possessions and property rights
are to be distributed between your family and the family of the deceased
as determined by the Justice.
2. You are indentured to the family of the deceased for a period to be
determined by the Justice. This period may not exceed the expected
life span of the deceased, had he or she lived, as determined by the Justice.
3. You are denied participation in any familial functions; either of the family
you are indentured to or your own, for the time you are indentured, other
than as one who serves.
4. You are denied personal relationships for the time you are indentured,
other than as one who serves.
5. The indentured may not be prohibited from visiting the Temple of the
Goddess in his or her district to implore the goddess for intercedence
if he so desires.
6. Penalties for wanton cruelty to the indentured by the family of the
deceased will be determined by the Justice.
7. Once every year, the indentured may petition the Justice for parole.
Perpetual night had fallen over New Eden. There would be no sunlight until the artificial moon that cradled them all in its womb passed from behind Jupiter still almost five months from now.
The goddesses from the neighboring districts departed once it was determined that their sister goddess had recovered and was able to perform her duties. Martial Law was immediately lifted, allowing the populace to return to reaping the summer’s harvest and getting it into storage before everything froze solid.
Having received all the images Jolene had ripped from the Lady Sarah’s mind before Sara was executed, Béla was surprised that Sarah had so successfully hidden her intentions from her.
During Béla’s last absence, Sarah had ingratiated herself into Bard Geoffrey’s employ as a gift to the goddess upon her return as the goddess’ own special handmaiden. Having returned to the manor, she immediately resumed her old tricks. She drugged the staff who knew her and hypnotized them to forget. That same trick had fooled Béla twice, now.
The Lady Sarah’s plan to revenge the murder of her consort and the ruination of her own campaign to take over both the manor and the district was coldly calculated and completely diabolical. There was no way that Béla could fault Jolene for having Sarah executed, nor for the manner in which it was carried out. The good Lady Sarah had murdered several of her rivals with that dress or others like it. It was a ghastly way for anyone to die.
“That should make the populace feel safer,” Béla said, collapsing down on her bed.
She was referring to the slab that she and Elaine had just erected in front of her temple. Elaine bounced down next to her, causing them both to moan. They both had slab-size headaches from teleporting the thing from the carrier in their back yard.
“Do you know how to get rid of a headache?” Elaine asked hopefully.
Béla shook her head and immediately regretted it.
“That thing was at least twice as big as anything we practiced on,” Elaine whined. “I almost couldn’t manage it.”
“I’m glad there were two of us…” Béla groaned.
She immediately brightened up as her eyes fell on the leather-upholstered cabinet across the room.
“Alcohol!” she exclaimed, and stood up to cross the room to her private bar.
“Ahhhgh!” she cried, holding her head. “This is getting worse.”
She stumbled her way to the bar and picked up the closest bottle to her. She upended it and took a deep swallow. Then she stood, leaning on the bar, gasping for air through a scorched and burning mouth.
“Did it help?” Elaine asked, plaintively.
Béla, open-mouthed and breathing rapidly, nodded delicately. Picking up another bottle, she stumbled back to the bed carrying both bottles.
After consuming about half of the second bottle, Elaine, frustrated and drunk, threw herself onto her older sister, pinning her to the bed.
“I love you!” she proclaimed, lying on top of Béla and holding her down. “I’m so happy you’re all right!”
She chomped down on her sister’s throat and greedily swallowed her blood as it pulsed into her mouth. As she sucked Béla’s life-blood away, her headache receded. So did her drunken condition.
“Oh, shit!” Elaine said as Béla passed out from lack of blood to her brain.
Elaine was recovered. Béla, however, was still suffering from the effects of the teleportation, as well as alcohol poisoning. And now, Elaine had just depleted her of at least a quart of blood that she probably needed desperately.
“Come on, Honey,” Elaine told her, holding her sister’s limp and unconscious head to her shoulder. “Time for me to return the favor. Again…”
She had to open Béla’s slack mouth and press her neck against Béla’s teeth in order to get a response. This was the second time in a week she’d had to revive her sister in this fashion.
‘At least,’ Elaine thought as she helped Béla close her mouth and bite into her neck, ‘the first time wasn’t my fault… We should’ve just gone Sappho when we came in, regardless of how we felt. Our blood can cure anything.’
Béla slowly recovered, suckling on Elaine’s neck.
‘Why didn’t our blood just cure our own headaches?’ Elaine wondered. ‘Why do we have to drink each other’s blood to do it? We’re both suffering from the same condition and we have the same blood. It shouldn’t make any difference.’
After a moment, Elaine, already lightheaded from Béla’s feeding, passed out on the bed, Béla still sucking on her neck.
There was an insistent knocking at the door. Béla awoke. Her headache was gone. Elaine was lying on top of her, sleeping soundly.
“Get off me!” Béla grunted insistently, roughly poking her sister in the side with her fingers. “God, when did you get so heavy?”
Elaine stirred and groaned, her slender body reacting to the unpleasant poking. The door was being opened from the outside. It was Jeff.
“Come on in,” Béla called out to him, “we’re naked.”
She was determined to tease Jeff about her personal preferences in dress code until he got used to them.
“Goddess,” he informed her, “I thought I would come up and personally congratulate you on quelling the unease of your subjects.”
He was referring to the unrest that the recent execution had caused.
“You’re the one who did the ‘quelling’,” she said, wryly.
She noticed that Jeff had seen the bottles on the bed and he was sniffing the air in the room. There was booze spilt all over the bed and, of course, the whole room stank of it.
“Have you been drinking?” Jeff asked, surprised.
His goddess didn’t usually imbibe, although there was a bar in her bedroom. The bar was there before she moved in.
“You caught me,” Béla admitted. “I finally found the booze.” She faked a hiccup.
“Can you get this bad influence off me?” Béla asked, referring to her sister, sprawled naked on top of and pinning her down.
Jeff came over to the bed and put his arms around Elaine’s bare waist. He was intimately familiar with her, too, as he had attended several of her orgies (he refused to call them worship services). As he rolled her over onto her back and off of her sister, Elaine opened her eyes.
“Wheee!” she squealed. “Hi, Geoffrey, Great Bard of New Eden.”
‘Am I drunk again?’ she wondered. ‘I feel really dizzy and the room is spinning.’
She reached up and grabbed one of Jeff’s arms, pulling him down on top of her. She grunted as he landed with an elbow in her soft, sexy stomach, then fell into giggles as Jeff tried valiantly to not stare at her naked breasts, only inches away from his face.
“You are my breakfast, my love, my just desserts, and my… Well, your just mine,” Elaine proclaimed. Noticing her sister next to her, she added, “and hers.”
She radiated lust at the poor bard. He didn’t stand a chance of escaping two horny, drunk goddesses.
‘Oh, well, what better way to pass the winter?’ he decided.
He allowed himself to be rolled onto his back and the sisters began unbuttoning his clothes. There were dried flecks of blood on each of their necks.
“Have you two been biting each other again?” he asked, rhetorically.
He was getting used to the goddess and the strange sister who had returned with her from her journey to heaven. They seemed inseparable. They loved each other beyond reason. They would tear each other apart for no reason.
But his goddess’ wild, golden-haired sister was much more carnally inclined than he believed his own goddess could ever be. The Bard Geoffrey was certain that the goddess Elaine was a bad influence on his goddess, sent here to test her in some way.
Béla watched her consort’s strange logic as he put together yet another of his fanciful myths. She wondered how long it would be before this tale was written down in his ever-lengthening tome that detailed her fanciful life here.
She noticed that he had already completed the ‘Edict of the Storm God in Answer to the Supplication of His Daughter, the Goddess of the Land and Her Distress Regarding the Harshness of the Justice Penalties’.
She waded through his mind, perusing through the ten pages of handwritten rhetoric, trying to ignore the lustful images and sounds coming from him and her sister as they rutted away right next to her on the bed.
Unable to resist any longer, Béla embraced them both as they fucked, needing the sensation of both their bodies rubbing along the length of hers. With both sisters radiating their desire through his body, Jeff lasted only a few seconds longer, then sprayed Elaine’s insides with his regenerative juices.
As he lay collapsed on top of Elaine, recovering from his sexual joust, he remembered his errand, forgotten when he had entered the room and viewed the erotic sight of his goddess and her naked sister entwined together on the bed.
“Goddess,” he told her, reluctantly climbing off her gorgeous blond sister, “there are supplicants queuing at the temple, awaiting your presence. It has been some span of time since you last held audience there.”
Béla thought for a moment, torn between duty and the delightfully lusty smell of Elaine’s juicy, freshly fucked cunt. She could feel her consort’s disapproval of his goddess’ hesitation to perform her duties, as he believed that the two immortal, immoral sisters had spent the last dozen hours in carnal revelry.
Elaine, the subject of their silent dispute, took matters into her own hands.
“Give her an hour,” Elaine told Geoffrey. “She has some cleaning up to do.” She looked at her lustful sister and said, “Don’t you, Darling?”
The Bard Geoffrey, having retrieved his clothing, exited his goddess’ bedchamber as his goddess dove down between her sister’s legs. He closed the door behind him, muting their love noises and giggles. As he walked away, a louder shriek echoed through the closed door and down the hallway.
‘They’re biting each other, again,’ he realized, feeling oddly frustrated.
It would be more than just one hour before his goddess returned to her duties. He sighed and changed his direction toward the kitchens. Those two were going to need some food, later. They had both appeared thin and underfed.
‘Some meat, warmed, but not cooked,’ he decided, remembering his goddess’ disgraceful culinary preferences. ‘It’s more likely that she’ll eat if presented with something she likes. And some fruit for her fruity sister…’
He would give them two hours to tear each other up again before he sent the food. And a change of bedding.
‘I wonder if the goddess realizes how impossible it is to get blood out of bedclothes,’ Jeff asked himself.
Despite her demonstrably vast wisdom in addressing the affairs of her supplicants during her public audiences, she still behaved like a spoiled child much of the time in private, indulging herself in her carnal… ‘sports,’ was the only word he could think of. The word fit. To his goddess, and many of her sisters, sex seemed to be a sporting event.
‘Forever wise, forever a child, she is a child of the gods, old beyond measure, but forever young,’ Jeff thought, smiling.
That was good. He would have to write that down.
The weeks passed slowly. The omnipresent darkness depressed Béla. This was her first winter in New Eden. She knew, from her studies, that once the coming apocalypse had passed, New Eden’s orbit would be changed so that the periods of day and night would occur on a regular basis. But that was still hundreds of years in the future, assuming that the New Eden project even survived the coming nova. She hoped it would. The thought of all life ending everywhere in the solar system chilled her to the bone.
‘I still have much to do,’ Béla realized.
It wasn’t just the weather that made her feel cold. She felt like she had already lived an eternity, but still had an eternity’s worth of problems to work out.
Even though her father had supervised the construction of this entire planetary ecosystem, she understood it to such an extent that it could have been her own concepts and ideas set into motion before she was even born.
Somehow, it was now her responsibility to ensure its survival. She wished she knew how she had been handed that mantel. She surely didn’t want it, but she knew that her ‘Carte Blanche’ status had something to do with her having to bear it.
As she pranced downstairs to ‘breakfast’, she wondered briefly what had happened to her blue sarong. It was too cold outside for her to wear it, but it would be nice to know where is was… The smell of fresh sausage guided her senses to more immediate interests. She wasn’t worried. The garment would turn up eventually, somewhere. That was the least of her concerns.
Elaine was in the dining hall with several of her parishioners. This had been her ‘night’ for her weekly ‘service’.
“You’re always welcome to join us,” Elaine said, inviting her sister to sit down to breakfast with them.
“Thanks,” Béla said, and did so.
For once she was the one that was slightly uncomfortable. She was the only one dressed, as she had to go outside later.
‘So this is what Jeff is always complaining about,’ she thought as she looked around the table at all the naked nipples. She laughed to herself. ‘I can actually see his point… all of his points!’
Biting into a juicy piece of sausage, she remembered why she didn’t like to eat while dressed as hot sausage grease dribbled down onto her fresh, clean sarong.
“Crap!” Béla said disgustedly.
She stood up and pulled the garment off. She wiped the grease off her fingers and face with it, then threw it across the room.
“Way to go, Girl,” Elaine told her, biting into her own juicy sausage.
They were all pretty much covered with meat grease and another orgy was about to begin right here in the dining room. This time Béla decided to join them. It had been entirely too long since her last gang bang; seven or eight weeks, at least.
Béla ate two more sausages, getting her body properly greased up in preparation for the main event. By the time she was finished eating, her sister was already on top of one of her worshipers, pinning him to the table as she skewered herself on him. Another greased-up body was working his way into her from behind.
Béla snagged the next parishioner before he got out of his chair and sat down on his lap.
“Ever had a lap dance?” she asked him cheerfully, then proceeded to demonstrate.
In less than a minute, she was impaled on his shaft and rocking back and forth in ecstasy. In ten minutes, the orgy was over, Elaine and Béla having exhausted Elaine’s worshipers once again.
“I think you used them up before you brought them down here to eat,” Béla complained, licking cum off Elaine’s belly.
“Well, that’s why we’re not all still up there humping away,” Elaine said, stating the obvious. “Do you think I would quit while any of them were still worth anything?”
Eventually, Béla left them in the dining hall. She could feel the Great Bard’s annoyance at her dalliance from three blocks away. Still naked underneath and now smelling of raw sex and sausage grease, she put on a heavy coat and stepped out into the cold.
For the next four hours, the Great Bard was going to suffer as he sat next to her, smelling her sex and unable to do anything while they listened to petitions for justice. Afterward, she was certain to be raped by him before she would be able to make her escape – as if she’d want to…
Béla knew that when the great ship left to return to Deimos, the summer after next, she would be traveling with it and Elaine would be the one sitting next to the bard. She wondered how he would handle her and her sexual excesses. By then, the University project would be operational, though incomplete, with its own praetor as teacher and guide, giving Geoffrey more of a sense of purpose as university headmaster.
Despite the fact that the bard was completely devoted to his goddess, Jeff was his own creature. It was his inventive mind that had dreamed up the role of the goddesses. Elaine would become the temple goddess for the Lorraine District and Jeff would be guiding the university. Because of his inventive mind, Béla didn’t think Jeff would have much trouble adjusting to those changes.
Speaking of changes, Béla wondered what cultural changes she would find upon her return when the great ship made its final voyage to the moons of Jupiter with herself and Jake and however many others from Earth in tow. It would only be a handful salvaged out of billions, but humanity itself would go on.
The cases they heard were complete in less than two hours, with all parties satisfied or compensated for wrongs done to them. No sooner were the last litigants out the door and the attendants dismissed than Bard Geoffrey was dragging his goddess back toward her ceremonial chambers.
“How could you come in here smelling like that?” he demanded. “Everyone who was here today thinks you’re a slut!”
He swung his goddess around and pinned her against the wall. He radiated lust through her and she grinned wickedly as she reflected it back at him. What she felt was so intense she couldn’t wait for him to be inside her.
“So what are you going to do with your slut goddess?” she asked, wrapping her arms around his head. Her coat fell open. Her scent inside the coat was overpowering. Jeff ground his lips against hers, forcing his tongue into her mouth. It surprised her, as he didn’t usually kiss her, especially not that way. She always thought her mouth was for sucking on something else…
'This is something Jolene taught him…' she realized as she gently questioned his mind. 'He’s trying it out on me to see if it works on other goddesses…'
She opened her mouth, allowing his invading tongue to probe inside. It felt incredibly erotic, like it was opening up her entire body for his use. She radiated that to him, and received it back doubled in intensity. She pressed her tongue against his, forcing herself into his mouth. She actually orgasmed; just from kissing him that way. They both stopped to catch their breath and let their bodies quiet down for a moment.
Béla gazed at Jeff in wonder at what just occurred, then attacked his face again with her lips and tongue. Grinding herself against him as she assaulted his mouth with her tongue, she came again. Then she was helping Jeff get out of his ceremonial garb and guiding his shaft into her favorite spot. She came again as he entered her, then was riding one long continuous orgasm for the next minute or so until he came, making her insides slick with his offering.
“My goddess, my slut,” Jeff smiled down at her, “you are magnificent. You are erotica incarnate.”
Béla smiled up at him, her body still tingling and not yet quieted.
“You have no idea…” the goddess replied and pulled him back down to her.
He had mistakenly believed he was finished. His goddess showed him otherwise.
It had been dark for four months. It was freezing cold outside. Even the ceiling lights were getting dim. At least it seemed that way to Béla, although she knew from her studies that New Eden could survive for several years in Jupiter’s shadow, feeding from only the intense radiation from the gas giant below them before running out of energy to heat and light its occupants.
She wanted to see sunlight so badly. She tried to keep from radiating her distress to all her sisters. She was sure they were all fighting the same battle and didn’t need her upsetting whatever delicate mental balance they were able to maintain.
Elaine was having a fucking contest upstairs in her audience chambers. It was her way of dealing with the perpetual darkness; fuck ’til it gets light. She still had a month to go. There was no lack of worshipers. By word of mouth, Elaine had become the most popular goddess in New Eden. Besides, it was too cold to do anything else, and the food was free.
Béla drifted off, dreaming of sunshine.
The sunlight hurt her head. She was in the desert. Although the landscape had changed, she recognized where she was. The rock wall had collapsed and the old mining shack had been completely blown away. She changed her location and went to Jake’s apartment in New Mexico. He wasn’t there. There was some old guy (not Jake) and his wife living there, now. They were awake and couldn’t see her.
She cast her mind around for Jake. She couldn’t sense him at all. It had been almost a year since she’d come to him in his dreams, but she should at least be able to find where he was. There was too much noise; radio stations, high power lines, neon lights everywhere, even in the daytime. She would have to wait for night and try again.
Something made a loud thump.
Something made a loud thump, waking her up. The ceiling had darkened while she slept. As she sat up in the bed, it increased in brightness. A loud thump sounded against the glass door leading to the balcony overlooking the rear courtyard. Darkish gray matter slid down the window, leaving dirty wet streaks.
Béla opened the glass door to see what it was. The next slush ball got her right in the face. She heard Elaine’s gleeful laughter coming from beyond the edge of the balcony.
“It snowed!” Elaine cried from somewhere down below.
Another snowball sailed over the end of the balcony. Béla saw it coming and, although she caught it, it still splashed its freezing guck all over her warm breasts and belly. She threw it back down at her silly sister, missing her by several feet.
Forming her wings, she dived over the edge of the balcony into the freezing air outside. Elaine threw one more snowball at her dive-bombing sister and turned to flee, laughing and screaming as they crashed together and rolled naked in the wet, freezing snow.
Their frolic turned into the biting and chewing contest it always became as they wrestled in the snow, tearing up the yard and each other, turning the snow pink and red in their excessive play. Béla ended up pinning her sister back against the personnel carrier that had brought the marble slab down from Southern during the first week of darkness. Elaine grinned at her sister; her teeth gritted as she braced herself against the icy metal frame.
“Okay, you win,” she said, shivering.
Béla released her grip and was immediately tossed into the snow. Elaine landed on top of her, tearing another hole in her side with her teeth. She sucked on her sister’s wound until Béla knocked her arm against her sister’s head, causing her to lose her grip. They flipped over, Béla on top this time. She bit into her sister’s breast, drawing blood. Elaine squealed and clawed at her sister’s face. They broke away from each other again, laughing and panting from exertion.
“Fun, huh?” Elaine asked, panting.
She dived at Béla again, but missed as Béla formed her wings and flew up out of her path.
“Hey! No fair!” Elaine cried.
Béla laughed. “Come and get me!”
Elaine formed her wings and flew straight up, colliding with her sister. They both crashed down twenty feet to the snow-covered ground, screaming in mock terror. Elaine was gasping and holding her arm.
“Fuck!” she cried. “I broke my wing.”
Béla waited. It would take a few minutes for the bone to knit back together. The break in the frantic activity made them realize they were freezing and stark raving naked in the snow.
“Let’s go find a nice, warm fireplace!” Béla suggested.
As they turned toward the well-lighted manor, they realized their playful antics had drawn the attention of most of the household staff, included a new group of Elaine’s parishioners, watching from her third story balcony.
“Let’s go up there!” Elaine said, quickly recovering her excitement for living. “There’s lots of food and fresh warm bodies to rub against! Well, maybe not so fresh… but they’re warm!”
Béla glowed her agreement. After all the rough foreplay, she was ready for some serious sex.
Elaine formed her wings, tested the freshly knitted cartilage, then launched herself eagerly into the air, aiming for her balcony. Béla followed her horny younger sister into the warmth of their manor.
Hours later, Béla lay stretched out on the floor on her stomach. Her body was sore from having been sodomized by Elaine’s devote worshipers. They had done their best to make both goddesses happy. She was near enough to Elaine to twist her body sideways and lick some sticky cum off Elaine’s belly.
“Don’t!” Elaine said, her voice muffled by her arm covering her face. “Do you want to start all over again?”
Béla pinched Elaine’s stomach with her teeth, breaking the skin. Elaine snarled and grabbed her sister’s arm, flipping her over onto her back. She sank her teeth into Béla’s breast, causing her to cry out.
She sucked blood through her sister’s torn nipple for a moment, then pulled herself up to glare into her sister’s eyes, inches away from her own.
“Eat, first!” she declared.
Béla smiled to herself. Her baby sister was learning some responsibility. By the time she was ready to leave, Elaine would be ready to replace her.
‘Replace you?’ Elaine thought to her sister, suddenly alarmed. ‘You’re leaving? Where are you going? I’m going with you! You can’t leave without me!’
‘Peace!’ Béla radiated to her sister. “I’ll be here for at least another year. Stop fretting!”
“You’re planning to leave me,” Elaine said, sadly. “When were you planning on telling me?”
“You knew I never intended to stay here,” Béla explained, feeling sorry that her sister was hurting. “I’ve always intended to go back to Earth. My lifemate is on Earth.”
“I would be your lifemate,” Elaine stated, flatly. “I love you more than anyone else possibly could.”
Béla smiled and embraced her sister. She glowed love and was glad when Elaine radiated it back to her.
“Can your lifemate do that?” Elaine asked, defiantly. Her eyes were filling with tears. “Damn! I hate feeling jealous! It’s makes me feel mean and small and insecure!”
Béla smiled again. Her sister was growing up.
‘I don’t want to grow up!’ Elaine declared in her mind. ‘Not if it means losing you!’
‘No, but you will,’ Béla thought back, gently. ‘And I won’t be gone forever. I’ll be coming back. But I have to go to Earth. There are resources there; human resources that we need here.’
‘I set events in motion hundreds of years ago that need to be completed. At the time, I didn’t even realize those events were connected to New Eden. There is a purpose, still unknown to me, for everything I’ve done. It all culminates here. I’ll be coming back. I promise.’
“But, I need to be on the great ship in two summers, when it leaves to return to the inner planets,” Béla continued out loud, “and you need to stay here and help guide New Eden into a golden age of prosperity and love.”
“Does your going back have to do with the blond girl in the bed?” Elaine asked. She projected an image to her.
“Tanya?” Béla asked, totally surprised. “When did you meet Tanya?”
“You took me to Earth, dream-walking,” Elaine explained. “You left me. I found the blond girl’s bedroom. I woke her up and she found you for me. You were wrapped around some guy the blond girl called ‘Jake’. It’s him, isn’t it? Your lifemate?”
Béla nodded. “Yes, and Tanya, too. She is a blood-sister. I’ll be bringing them all back with me.”
“I want you to be happy,” Elaine said. “If going back to Earth will make you happy, then go. I’ll miss you, and I’ll be sad that you’re gone. But I promise not to be upset or angry with you for leaving. I know it’s important to you… to us… that you do this. But I always thought I would be going with you.”
Elaine finished what she had to say and waited for the world to end. It would end when Béla left, never to return. Tears ran down her cheeks. Elaine was furious with herself for behaving like a selfish child, but she couldn’t stop the tears. Something would happen. She knew with certainty that her sister would never come back from Earth. Her sister would die with her world if she didn’t go with her. The things she knew inside always came true. Her curse was that no one ever believed her.
The two sisters held each other, Béla not knowing what to do or say to deny the things Elaine saw in her mind. It was entirely possible that Elaine was right and she would somehow be trapped on Earth, unable to return to safety behind Jupiter’s mass when the time came to flee an angry sun.
The table of food forgotten, the two sisters fell asleep in each other’s arms on Elaine’s couch.
‘Why didn’t I listen to you?’ she cried.
Her first officer had warned her about the potential problem long before it occurred. But, they had had to keep running, fleeing the heavily armed Arcadian ship that hunted them, hiding in the asteroid belt, playing hide and seek around the gas giants in this strange solar system with the little yellow sun.
It had ended with the Arcadian ship destroyed and their own vessel crippled beyond repair and no longer capable of interstellar flight. Trapped in this solar system, they would have to make their lives here. It didn’t really matter where they settled. Their world was destroyed. Their great civilization reduced to a few ships scattered and fleeing across the stars.
‘There’s something wrong with this star, Captain,’ her Number One said. ‘I wouldn’t recommend getting any nearer. It hurts me, inside.’
The image faded.
‘I didn’t listen to you and ignored your inner knowledge,’ she said to the blistered orange and red body lying on the bed table before her, its skin erupted and burned so that her first officer wasn’t even recognizable.
Alana was one of the few left that hadn’t succumbed to the radiation sickness that had taken most of the female crewmembers of her ship, leaving less than thirty to service a crew of hundreds of males. Not that it mattered anymore – the males were all impotent because of the same radiation that had killed and was killing their females. Now, it was her First Officer’s turn to follow the others into death.
‘And now you’re dying because of me and my foolishness,’ she continued. ‘Deimos was a bad idea. You told me so, and I did it anyway, and doomed us all.’
‘Sibilius is working on a body for you,’ she continued, desperately. ‘The Praetor can protect your life force until it’s ready, if you agree. I promise it will be able to live on that blue planet and not be affected by the sun’s poison! You will have the powers you have now and more, besides!’
She tried to project her desperate excitement about the new Hybrid Project to her beloved first officer, to give her hope and enough strength to hold on a little longer.
‘We can provide bodies for those of us who are left. We can save them,’ she said.
She didn’t mention that her memories of the ship and all that had happened before would be erased, forgotten in their new existence on a bright, young world. Wiping her beloved First’s mind would be necessary so that she could accept living in such a primitive, savage society.
A movement distracted her as her lifemate entered the medical bay.
‘We’re ready, my love,’ Sibilius said to her. ‘Has she agreed?’
Alana nodded her head. They set the table legs so that it would roll and wheeled the dying first officer into Sibilius’ laboratory. In moments, the transfer was complete. Her first officer lay dead and her new body was stirring with life. It looked short and pink. Just like a full-grown human female.
‘When we get to Earth, I’ll be taking her down to the surface,’ Sibilius explained. ‘Our agents have made agreements with the royal family in Sheba. They will adopt her. She’ll be a princess and a queen in her own time. I’ll be setting up a permanent laboratory in Egypt to handle the introduction of the remaining female crewmembers into Earth’s society.'
Sibilius gazed into the emerald green eyes of his lifemate and captain. They both knew he would be performing this procedure on her when her time was up and the radiation sickness came to claim her.
‘None of this would have happened if I had listened to her,’ she said solumnly. ‘I knew she was a Seeker and I ignored her advice. In my arrogance, I thought I knew better. If we had built Deimos around one of the gas giants this wouldn’t have happened. My entire crew would still be alive.’
‘It’s not your fault, my love,’ Sibilius said, holding her face and gazing into her sad, green eyes.
He knew she would only live a few more years. She was already exhibiting early signs of the poison in her system caused by the deadly little yellow sun. He would make sure a body would be ready for her, and for each of her remaining sister crewmembers.
‘I’ve made plans for a new base to be constructed around the fifth planet of this system,’ she told him. ‘I will bring them to you. We need to start as soon as possible because it will take thousands of years and my First told me this little sun might not last that long. We must make sure the new base will be protected when the end comes!’
She left, rushing to her quarters to get the plans that could possibly save the civilizations of two worlds.
While he waited for her to return, Sibilius mind-linked to his Praetor.
‘When my Captain and my love is gone, she won’t remember me. When she is gone, make me forget; that I may get on with the project she is bringing to me and not die from my grief and loneliness.’
‘It is your command,’ the Praetor acknowledged. It had already received a similar request from the Carte Blanche, but it didn’t seem necessary to inform Sibilius of that.
Alanna returned shortly with the plans. They spent hours and days going over them, working out many details for their new project.
When they reached Earth, Sibilius took his first daughter to the cargo bay. Through the large bay doors, they could see fields of grain a few hundred feet below them.
Alana stood next to her lifemate and his new daughter, holding the girl’s hand.
‘Goodbye, my child,’ she said, tears in her eyes. ‘Have a good life in your new home.’
‘Goodbye, Captain Alana,’ the girl said politely, ‘It was nice to meet you.’
Sibilius hugged his lifemate goodbye and guided her first officer into the passenger carrier that would take them down to the surface. It was his first of many similar journeys. His last would be with her.
In her sleep, Béla found Elaine’s hand and held her tightly, reunited in their dreams. When she woke, she couldn’t remember what she had dreamed about.
‘Why didn’t I listen to you, my darling?’ she thought, and wondered where the thought had come from.
She could only remember one thing from her odd dream. She would have to wait for spring and the arrival of the Praetor at the university before she could find out what a ‘Seeker’ was. It seemed important to know.