In the forth month of their journey, the great ship entered the asteroid belt. The two princesses took turns on Bridge watch, manning the heavy lasers they used to clear their orbit of asteroidal debris.
‘I wish I could straddle my legs around this great gun and fire it up my insides,’ Beth thought erotically into her sister’s mind.
She’d just finished carving up several large, threatening rocks into little pieces of gravel. Striking an asteroid with the superheated laser quite often shattered the target into thousands of smaller pieces.
‘Sometimes I feel like I want to be out there when one of those rocks explode, perforating my body with hundreds of sharp little shards,’ Beth thought, knowing all these continuous erotic thoughts were making Béla so horny she could hardly stand there and watch the monitors. She knew that Béla’s sweet pussy was quivering with desire.
‘There’s nothing stopping you from going out there…’ Béla replied, surprising her sister.
‘We can’t live in a vacuum, can we?’ Beth asked, suddenly hopeful of a brand new erotic experience.
‘Humans can’t,’ Béla responded. ‘I’ve never tried.’
The princesses left the conversation at that while they continued their watch. Béla was happy, though. She had finally succeeded in getting Beth’s sexually obsessed mind off her constant erotic teasing.
It occurred to Béla that Beth was the more dominant of the pair. Béla liked being dominant, too, but she usually seceded to Beth’s wishes, allowing her to control their sexcapades most of the time, especially the ‘what’ and ‘how often’ parts.
‘We’re both dominant,’ Béla decided, ‘but with different people.’
After their watch, they went to the communal bathes. Béla looked at her sister quizzically. “Well, are you going to try it?” she asked, casually baiting her sister.
Beth was still thinking seriously about it. It was a big chance she was taking, but she was obsessed with experiencing any kind of new sensation. It was possible that she just might explode in a vacuum like a big balloon. That thought actually made her pretty excited.
‘Well, okay,’ Beth thought bravely into her sister’s mind. ‘Here goes!’
She vanished. Béla closed her eyes, dream-walked outside the great ship and looked for her. She wasn’t too worried about Beth. Nothing short of actual vaporization could kill either one of them at this stage of their abilities.
Béla located her sister and dream-walked over beside her. Beth’s hair was standing straight out from her head. When she’d teleported from the communal baths, her hair had been wet. Now, it was frozen. The water had instantly evaporated from her hair, leaving it looking like porcupine quills.
‘You look funny!’ Béla thought, sending an image of her laughing at her along with an image of what Beth’s hair looked like.
‘I feel funny!’ Beth thought back 'This isn't very sexy...'.
She turned her head to look where Béla was dreamwalking. There were ice crystals around her eyes and nose where moisture had vaporized into the vacuum. Beth was holding her mouth tightly shut to keep her tongue from hanging out. She couldn’t blink, as her eyelids had frozen.
There were ice crystals forming on her nipples and her skin was rapidly turning gray as her flesh froze. As Beth moved again, her skin cracked where it had frozen and blood sprayed out of the crack, instantly crystallizing and evaporating into nothing as the infinity of space sucked it away.
‘It’s really, really, really cold out here!’ Beth thought, beginning to panic. ‘I’m going back in!’
Béla woke up. Beth was sitting waist-deep in the water next to her. The water was boiling around her as hydrogen molecules froze and separated themselves from the oxygen molecules in the water. After a moment, as her skin temperature got closer to normal, Beth began to shiver violently.
“I suppose that’s a natural reaction to being dumped into a vacuum,” Béla suggested. “How do you feel?”
“I feel fucking frozen!” Beth exclaimed, still shivering. “The first thing that happened was that the air was just sucked right out of my lungs – through my mouth, my eyes, my ears… My eardrums burst! That hurt more than everything else did! And my tongue was hanging almost a foot out of my mouth! I even had air coming out of my butt! And then I started to freeze! My eyes froze open! My skin was frozen and started to crack! I even had an icicle growing between my legs as moisture was sucked out and froze down there.”
Béla laughed, imagining an icicle hard-on between her sister’s legs. She projected the image to Beth.
Still shivering, Beth laughed too. ‘That’s not what it felt like!’
Over the next few days, most of Beth’s hair fell out, distressing her greatly. The medical officer, upon learning of her spatial experiment, determined that her hair had simply gotten too cold.
“It’ll grow back, Princess,” he told her. “The hair follicles on your head are still alive. With a microscope, you can even see your hair growing. In a few months, maybe even weeks, it’ll look normal and you’ll forget all about it.”
Beth returned to their shared quarters in a funk. Béla understood. She’d lost her hair in a fire a few hundred years after she’d left Babylon.
“Don’t worry about his lack of understanding,” Béla consoled her sister. “He just doesn’t get how much of a girl’s identity depends on her hair.”
“I’m ugly!” Beth whined. “What am I going to do?”
“You’re beautiful to me,” Béla suggested.
That got her a really mean look from Beth. “I’m going to go blow myself up!”
“Wait!” Béla cried and teleported down to the arborium, looking for her.
‘Where are you?’ Béla shouted in her mind. She wasn’t there! ‘Where’d you go?’
She teleported back to her quarters. ‘Praetor, where is Princess Beth?’
‘Princess Beth is not aboard the ship,’ the Praetor responded.
‘Where in the hell did she go?’ Béla wondered.
She closed her eyes and created an image of Beth, just before she disappeared.
‘Where are you?’ she asked the image.
'What the hell does that mean? Oh, God...'
‘She never rematerialized!’ Béla suddenly realized. ‘Oh, great gods! She’s in between spaces!’
Béla had no idea how she was going to work this. She was going to teleport, pulling herself out of normal space, and not push herself back in! She formed an image explaining what had happened to her sister and what she was about to do and sent the image to the Praetor for historical reference, just in case…
‘Do you have any data on this phenomenon?’ she asked upon receiving confirmation that it had received and understood her thoughts.
The Praetor responded negatively, then it actually wished her success on her journey and, 'please, if possible, bring back more information on the subject.'
Béla teleported, pulling herself out of normal space. She stopped, not allowing herself to rematerialize, and expanded her awareness, trying to determine ‘where’ she was.
‘Beth! Where are you?’ Béla cried out in her mind.
The nothing surrounding her sucked her thoughts away. She pushed against nothing, trying to expand her awareness.
‘Beth, Darling, please don’t be lost in here!’ Béla pleaded, desperate for any kind of contact with her beloved sister.
When she tried, she could move, after a fashion. Béla had no clue as to what direction, if any, she went. She simply felt movement of some sort. It seemed that hours went by as she searched, but she wasn’t about to return to the physical universe without her sister.
‘Beth! Where are you?’ Béla cried out in her mind, probably for the thousandth time.
She ‘moved’ again, and cried out again. She was starting to get hungry but still she refused to give up.
‘I’m probably travelling in circles,’ Béla thought, considering the horrible possibility that her sister might be forever lost in here. ‘I’m not even sure if our minds use the same ***whatever this is*** to teleport through. She might be trapped in what her own mind created, separated from the rest of the universe, forever!’
‘Beth! Please!’ Béla cried again, becoming more desperate as her imagination began running wild.
She moved again. She touched something or something delicately touched her, then it was gone.
‘There’s something alive in here!’ Béla realized, suddenly terrified.
Unusual life forms in unusual spaces was not something she could comfortably think about, especially after her experience with that ‘living’ gown that had tried to eat her. As she remembered the garment, it seemed familiar, somehow -–like she should have known what it was when she saw it.
Something brushed her arm!
‘Shit! There’s really something in here!’
‘There’s really something in here…’ Béla heard echo in her mind.
‘Hello! Beth?’ Béla called out in her mind.
Whatever it was, it was gone, now. She moved again, trying to follow. She was starting to feel weak from hunger. Soon, she would have to return to the ship and reality, or starve in here forever.
‘Is this what happened to Beth?’ she wondered.
‘Beth!’ Béla called out, the nothing absorbing her thought energy into itself even as it was created.
‘Beth…’ Béla heard. Was that an echo? How could anything echo in here?
‘Who are you?’ Béla demanded. She couldn’t feel anything! This nothing was so absolute!
‘Who are you?’ Béla felt her thought echoed, again.
‘Where are you?’ Béla cried, getting desperate, again.
She was probably talking to herself in this strange place and imagined she was in a vast maze, listening to where she'd been and calling out to where she would be.
‘Here!’ the echo replied. ‘Nowhere… Lost…’
There was really someone else in here! Béla was suddenly excited. Maybe they knew where her sister was!
‘Where is my sister?’ Béla called out to it, frantic now.
‘Sister?’ it echoed. ‘Where? Not here! No sister… just… nothing…’
‘My sister is Beth!’ Béla insisted. ‘I am Béla! Please! Help me find her! Help me find my sister!’
‘Find my sister!’ the echo cried out. ‘Help me find my sister! Béla! Help me find… Béla!’
‘That was different!’ Béla realized, as hope sprang into her mind. ‘Someone is searching for me! It can only be Beth!’
‘Beth! It’s Béla! I’m here! Come to me! Help me find you!’ Béla cried out.
This was truly frustrating. She was totally blind, trapped in a universe of nothing, going nowhere.
‘Help me find…’ it echoed.
‘You!’ Beth’s mind flooded into hers as they touched. Béla could barely understand the concepts flooding into her mind from her sister’s.
‘Thousands of years of loneliness! Lost forever! No life, no death, only nothing, forever...’
Béla embraced her sister and reached out with her mind, searching for normal space. She had traveled a long ways and it took awhile to relocate the great ship. But she found it and located her quarters, then pulled Beth and herself back into normal space.
Béla was suddenly surrounded with bright, blinding light. With a deafening sound, She and her sister collapsed in a heap on the floor. She curled up into a ball on the floor, moaning, half-starved and feeling incredibly weak and sicker than she'd ever felt before.
After a moment, Béla raised her arm, sensing something was seriously wrong. She looked at her hand. Each of her fingernails were long and curled. Her arm was thin and bony. She looked over at Beth, curled up in a ball next to her, whimpering, her mind sealed from everything. Claws extended from Beth’s fingers and curled around to touch the palms of her wrinkled, shriveled hands.
‘Oh my God! She’s… old!’ Béla realized with a deep sense of horror.
Something horrible had happened to them both, but it was far worse for Beth. A movement in the room attracted her attention. There was someone sitting up in her bed, staring at the strange-looking intruders with disbelief.
‘Praetor, report!’ Béla called out. ‘What’s happened since I contacted you the other day?’
‘Princess Béla!’ the Praetor replied.
If possible, it actually sounded startled. There was a moment of silence.
‘Your father wishes a personal conference with you,’ the Praetor finally continued.
‘Have him come here!’ Béla insisted. ‘Beth can’t be moved. Bring a medic!’
She turned her attention to her sister. “Beth, it’s alright, Darling,” Béla crooned to her, “It’s me. You’ll be all right, now.”
Béla didn’t see how anything would ever be all right. Beth was an old woman, shriveled and dried up, her youth lost. She’d evidently spent an entire lifetime, probably thousands of years, trapped between…
Béla burst into tears, embracing her sister, gently. She could feel the energy in Beth’s mind growing weaker and knew her sister was dying. She couldn’t imagine the loneliness, nothing to see, nothing to do, nothing to…
Béla suddenly knew what was wrong with her sister!
‘Come on, Darling!’ Béla called into her sister’s mind, ‘It’s feeding time…’
She helped her sister straighten out. Beth whimpered weakly in protest. It was painful for her to even move her wretched, dried-up joints. Béla managed to curl up on the floor, her sister’s head cradled between her own shoulder and head. She pressed her neck against Beth’s rotten teeth.
‘Now bite down, Darling! Feed! You’ll feel better in a little while, I promise!’
Béla kept coaxing her sister in her mind. After a moment, she felt Beth’s teeth on her neck. She was too weak to even bite down at break the skin. Béla turned her attention to the other occupant in the room.
‘Bring me an eating utensil, a knife or something, will you please?’ Béla asked.
Spurred into motion, the man, a crewmember of her father’s race, moved across the room and brought her a common fork. Béla took it, ignoring how her own wrinkled hand looked, and stabbed herself in the throat with it. Then she leaned down, letting her sister taste the blood on her neck. As more blood passed her sister’s pallid lips, Beth became eager for more, sucking weakly on the puncture wounds in Béla's neck as they healed.
As the blood supply dried up, Béla felt her sister searching for a new source, then Beth’s teeth bit into her neck; stronger, this time. Her sister greedily sucked in the fresh flow of blood.
Her father and the Medic rushed into the room.
‘Father! Please wait until she’s fed,’ Béla thought anxiously into his mind.
The medic heard her, too, and waited. Béla put together a set of images of the time she was in the ‘between spaces’ area and broadcast it to her father and the Praetor. She included the present physical conditions of both her and her sister. Beth’s mind was still closed down. They would have to wait to find out what had happened to her.
Béla was beginning to feel light-headed, most likely from the lack of blood to her brain, so she gently pulled away from Beth, who protested weakly and passed out, already looking better.
Béla looked over at her bed table. It was unoccupied, now. Béla, too weak to physically move her sister, simply teleported her limp form onto the bed. The secret was out. But she suspected her father already knew she could teleport.
‘Yes, I did,’ Sibilius confirmed as he waited patiently for Béla to finish ministering to her sister.
Béla staggered to her feet. Her father rushed forward to help up rise.
‘I feel… creaky!’ Béla thought to him. ‘That place sucks everything out of you!’
She looked at her father. He was looking at her strangely. She looked into his mind to see what was wrong. It was her image.
‘My God! I’m old, too!’ Béla suddenly realized. ‘Time evidently passes at a different rate when space doesn’t get in the way…’
“She’s regenerating, Sir,” the medic said from across the room. He was examining Beth, now that Béla had teleported her onto the bed table. “I don’t know how much of her youth she’ll regain, if any, but there is improvement on a cellular level.”
“Now, Princess, let’s look at you,” the medic said. “Hmm. You’re severely dehydrated, like your sister. I would recommend lots of liquids, perhaps some raspberry lemonade…”
As if on queue, an orderly showed up with a tray. The pitcher on it contained her favorite beverage. The crewmember that Béla had surprised in her quarters the (day?) before, when she had teleported in from the arborium, followed him. He had a basket of food to resupply her cooler, now that the princesses had returned.
“Why is everyone acting like I’ve been gone awhile? Béla asked. “Why is someone sleeping in my quarters?”
“I apologize, Princess,” the guilty culprit said, “I decided to quarter here in case you returned. After several weeks, I simply moved in. It was easier than constantly checking the room to see if you had returned to us.” He bowed respectfully and stepped back.
“Weeks?” she asked. Béla looked at her father, her eyebrows raised. ‘Well?’
“Daughter, you’ve been missing for over four months, now,” her father announced.
Béla’s eyes widened. Her mouth fell open in shock.
The medic had been prodding and poking around Béla’s bare body for several minutes while all this had transpired. “Sir, I don’t think the princess has actually aged, despite her appearance. I believe, when she fully regenerates, that she will have regained her youthful vigor. After examining Princess Béla, I believe It’s possible that Princess Beth may fully recover as well.”
“Very well,” Sibilius said, dismissing the medic. Then he spoke to the man who had been living in Béla’s quarters.
“You may return to your own quarters, lieutenant. Thank you for your vigilance.”
The man who had been living in Béla’s quarters bowed, then turned away to begin bagging his belongings.
That left only her father, and, of course, Beth.
“I need to rest, Father,” Béla begged off.
She realized she really was exhausted. Time had a way of catching up, after all. It had evidently been over four months since either she or her sister had eaten or drunk anything. She looked down at her bony body. Her skin hung loosely on her. She was beginning to feel nauseous.
‘Wow! I look awful! I never thought I’d have to worry about my tits sagging…’
Béla staggered, having lost her balance for a second. Sibilius grabbed her and helped her over to the bed table where Beth rested. Béla felt she was getting weaker by the second.
‘Help me, Father,’ she cried out. ‘What’s happening to me?’
She lay down on the bed, suddenly too weak to even raise her head.
‘You’ve simply reached your limits, Daughter,’ Sibilius said gently in her mind. ‘You’ve accomplished your goal and rescued your sister. You’ve returned to us over an incredible distance and time. Once again, you’ve survived where it was impossible to survive. You won, like you always do. And now, the energy you always somehow magically create to sustain you is gone, no longer needed. Now, you need to rest and recharge. All will be well.’
‘Peace, Child,’ Sibilius radiated into her mind.
She felt the Praetor, several decks away, putting her to sleep. This time, she didn’t resist.