A MAIDEN ON BARSOOM
Where does one start a story? Especially when the people for whom
you are writing may never read the manuscript and those who may, have no
frame of understanding?
Perhaps a bit about myself first will help. My name is Ayiesha
Maria Ruth Mahmoud Villmer bint Penaut, of Clan Penaut, though for simplicity
I go by Ayiesha Penaut. My mother was a Bedouin Arab, my father a
German-French expatriate… or rather, all were expatriates for my grandparents
had been taken from Terra, which they called Dirt or Earth, while still
young and placed on Gaea, the world I call home. They were told that
their children or grandchildren would no longer be human but faced with
existence, or rather their expected misery on Terra as compared to a good
life on a world so far away that it couldn’t be seen with a telescope,
they chose to immigrate. Not that they had much of a choice.
One grandparent was a German Jew who was on the way to a Concentration
Camp during one of Terra’s many wars. Another an African slave girl
owned by an abusive Arab master, still another a homeless Parisian dying
of cancer… these are the people Colonial sought. People with potential
but with no hope in an uncaring world, and so willing to cross the galaxy
to fulfill the needs of the Barony and the Commonwealth if it meant health
and home and regular meals and safety for them and their children.
I, myself am but a bare 20 Years of age, having recently celebrated
that birthday in the caverns of Sothis during a firefight with the Shitai.
Not yet am I a fully mature adult woman, for we Weir are slow to mature,
I having another five years before I am fully an adult at 25. Despite
this I have served Star Fleet these last two years in direct opposition
to the will of my grandparents who felt that a virgin girl’s duty was to
marry well and young and serve her husband, not her nation. My mother allowed
my service for, I believe, she resented her own life of marriage and failed
dreams and her own mother, by my age, had been married to a man she neither
knew or loved and had born 3 kids with another on the way. My mother
was luckier. She married a man she loved but gave up her own dreams
of being a dancer for a family, giving birth to me at 21, my older brothers
at 17 and 19 and almost dieing with my birth and nursing for human women
aren’t designed to bear so many Weir children. And as for me, while
my friends were practicing with make-up and clothes, preparing for parties
and choosing the best-looking boys to date, I was on a warship chasing
pirates across the frontier. I traded the dull but safe life of a
peasant farm-girl for the harsh realities of an adult and the dreams of
rising to Warrior Class. And thus I grew up too fast leaving my school-friends
behind and never experiencing the joys of my forgotten adolescence though
they never watched friends blown apart on a far-away planet as did I.
Obviously, they were more fortunate for their dreams are of love and friendship
wheras mine are often of the horrors I have seen and endured.
How I arrived here I know not. I recall only going to bed in my
parent’s house while I recovered from the war injuries I had sustained
I fell asleep under the physical warmth of a down comforter and the
emotional warmth of my parents in the next room, still arguing over my
choice of profession and wishing that I could escape somewhere, anywhere.
Yet knowing that my own emotional stresses of being a good daughter on
a world that treasures family respect and my need for space travel was
causing my damaged heart to flutter and ache as if a rundi were sitting
on my chest. Then my next recollections were the knowledge that I
was freezing cold and that there was a rock pressing into my left breast
as I lay face down upon the sward.
Star Fleet taught me that when you don’t know what is happening, do
nothing until you evaluate your situation. So… while pretending to
be unconscious I took note that my back was freezing but that I was laying
upon something soft… except for that rock… and I had a strong desire to
There were no sounds at all to indicate jailers or danger so I opened
my eyes and saw that I was staring into reddish moss. I sneezed and
decided that if anyone was around, they now knew that I was awake so I
rolled over and looked around. Obviously I had been teleported somewhere.
The sky was pinkish, the ground covered with moss, the sun barely over
the hills and I was still freezing my tail off. I also was sitting
in a depression that was kilometers wide and ringed with low hills.
OK, I was obviously NOT on Gaea or any other planet I had visited or read
about. So how did I get here? Wherever here was. And,
most importantly, how do I get home before my parents realize that I was
gone? They may have finally accepted my joining the Fleet at 18 but
learning that their baby girl had been wounded in combat a dozen parsecs
from home wasn’t what they imagined and loosing her again when she was
so close would be unbearable to them.
I stood up carefully just in case I was drugged or injured and took
inventory. Races that abduct people and drop them on strange worlds
have an unsettling tendency to do strange things to their victims like
stick their brains into a robot body or anal probe them like those bald-runty
Alphas always like to do to the humans they borrow on Terra. Breathing
hard in the thin air so I switched to belly breathing which normally would
get me stoned on oxygen but now just barely kept my lungs full. But
the pain in my chest was gone and touching my wound revealed that it was
healed. I would have the scars forever but I seemed to have my lung
and ribs back so whatever brought me here, healed the worst of my wounds.
How long would that have taken? Had I been kept in a bio-tank for
the days or weeks it would take to regenerate my lost ribs and organs or
was my healing a side-effect of the transportation process I suffered?
I was, of course, naked. When you sleep under a down comforter,
you wear naught but a light cotton nightgown. But somehow, that gown
was gone. As was my comforter, bed, parents house and farm.
I was just a naked girl standing on some reddish moss in the middle of
OK, anatomy first:
2 hands, each with 3 fingers and two thumbs. Though looking at
my palms I wondered if this explains that break in my life-line?
When our smallest finger was changed into a second thumb, it wreaked havoc
on Palmistry, a situation the Fortune Tellers are still trying to understand.
Feet- 3 toes and a tarsal thumb.
Skin- very light brownish from a month on the frontier without adequate
sunlight followed by a week under a northern winter sky.
Hair- long and blue and even my pubes had their normally thick and
bluish curls. Unlike some of my human girl-friends, I never shaved
down there and we Weir don’t grow hair on our legs, armpits or anyplace
but our heads and pubes.
Breasts- feeling strange. Lighter than normal. I jiggled a bit
and they felt smaller, firmer like when I was 17 and still a c-cup.
I grasped them and they felt normal-sized, only … tighter and the weight
on my chest and back was much less than I was used to.
I curled my tail around and saw that it also looked normal even to
the ‘finger’ print on the distal phalange.
I still had that plasma burn scar on my left arm and side from the
Shitai so whatever happened to me, didn’t seem to have changed me… I hoped.
I’d need a mirror to see my face though and finish my inventory though
my ears still felt pointed and I could tell my antennae remained.
Looking around again I saw that the sun was much smaller than was Lucifer
and a solo star instead of our own Binary. Less than a degree of
angle so whether this star was smaller than mine or this world was further
out than Gaea I couldn’t decide. It did have a pinkish sky, then
I sneezed again. Wiping, I saw that my snot was red! Blood?
No, dust. The ground was red dirt so that coloured the sky pink.
I hoped that the dust would settle in the calm atmosphere. I also
saw much more ultra-violet in the sky which indicated potential problems.
Stretching my arms wide I wasn’t able to feel any magnetic field, which
meant that either the planetary core had cooled or there wasn’t a ferrous
core at all. Without a molten ferrous core, no magnetic field could
be generated and thus no Van Allen Belt to stop the UV. And THAT
means sunburn until my Arab genes could produce enough melanin to darken
my skin and protect me. “Couldn’t you, at least have left me some
clothes and a lipstick?” I yelled at the sky but received no answer.
I looked around and saw what I thought might be an artificial feature
on the ‘horizon’ some 50 klicks away so I chose that as my destination.
Unfortunately, my first step lifted me off the ground and flat on my face.
Low gravity! The Demons had engineered my race for space travel,
giving us tarsal feet and prehensile tail for climbing around a starship
in zero-g so walking in low grav shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish.
I was wrong.
After a dozen failed paces I tried to crawl as a baby but made no real
progress so I stood and resorted to a martial arts stride. Keeping
my knees bent so I could glide across the moss, I made progress for about
kilometer until I realized that my hips and tail were swaying and that
was making me wet. “Damn!” Whatever that meant. Father used
profanity he had learned from his father but none of us really knew what
the words meant. Walking like this was fooling my body into thinking
that I’m hunting a man. I knew I should have gone to that party last
night, I had been celebate too long and the Lanai with whom I serve in
the Fleet see sex as a waste of time. So I returned to a normal
stride which caused my breasts to jiggle (my father would NOT approve)
but eventually I learned to walk in the low gravity of this world and made
Unfortunately, by the time I knew that my destination was a city, I
was pink from sunburn. My lips and nipples were burned, dried and
cracking (I again wished I had a lipstick to cover and moisturize both)
and I could feel my skin burning. I now understood why my Arab grandparents
wore those long robes in the Saudi desert. At least my long hair
was covering the back of my neck to keep the sun from boiling my blood
and thence my brain and my bangs protected my antennae. Small consolation
when compared to the sunstroke and dehydration I felt coming on.
While walking I recalled my last conversation with my family.
As often these last two years, we fought for I was still a child by Weir
biology and my human parents resented their baby girl, the last child mother
would ever bear, going off to fight and possibly die on some alien world
a dozen light-years from home. Each time I took leave after a war
or battle, the arguments would begin with both parents and grandparents
insisting that I give up being a Warrior and settle down, get married and
bear children before I died. Before Sothis, I could argue that I
was perfectly safe contained in body armour, shields and surrounded by
Lanai Warriors who had been bred to fight. But this time was different.
Trapped underground on Sothis, drinking my own urine mixed with whatever
water we could find, eating bugs, fighting with rocks as our beamers ran
out of power and vastly outnumbered by Shitai, I was wounded, badly.
A Shitai laser bored it’s way through arm, ribs and lung before damaging
my heart. Had my armour not de-polorized and reflected most of the
beam, I’d be dead now. And so I was home, regrowing my lost parts
and listening to my mother cry over her injured daughter all the while
my grandparents and parents and all my relatives argued with me to resign
and return to the farm.
Sitting in the kitchen with my mother as a dutiful daughter while my
father and brothers conversed in the family room, I tried to help with
dinner but it hurt to breathe and my left arm was still almost useless
until I could regrow the lost muscle.
“Ayiesha,” mother was crying. She cried a lot since the war and
I wish the Historians had never time-scanned the caverns to show everyone
what we did. “You were always my baby. After you I could never
have another child and your fighting like this is killing me. Can’t
you resign from the Fleet for just a few decades until your father and
I are gone? Let me hold your baby just once. I’m so terrified
that you’ll be killed even before you can have children.”
“Momma, what I do is important. I am an adult and I made my decision.
I’m sorry I am hurting you like this but the Clan supports me and I am
“Careful!” She added screaming to her tears. The men stopped talking
so they could hear but they’d not embarrass themselves by interfering with
a woman’s argument. “Look at you! You were almost killed! You
lost a lung, three ribs and part of your arm and heart. You’ll be
scarred for life and what damage did that plasma-laser do to your breast?
Will you be able to nurse children? What if it had been a centi-watt
stronger? You’d be dead now! Ayiesha…”
She ran from the room and my brother Eric entered. Eric took after
our father, inheriting daddy’s light skin and sandy hair while I had the
darker brown of my mother. Eric was mainly Jew out of respect for
father so he didn’t feel embarrassed entering the kitchen like this as
would father or our brother Fransua who probably had no idea of where the
“Ayiesha,” he started as he poured me some Rundi Milk, added a raw egg
and the medicines I was taking. As I drank, he undid my blouse to
check my wound and see if I needed any more synthetics added to aid the
regeneration. For such a large man, Eric was notoriously gentle.
“I know you feel you must do this and I am trying to understand.”
My breasts were bare for the wound prevented me from wearing a bra, something
else that father disliked for he never accepted me growing breasts and
mine were larger than even mother’s at their best. But Eric had seen
me naked so many times as I grew up that he probably never noticed they
“But Eric, you have a life! In a few decades father will turn
the farm over to you and you’ll be Family Head with a dozen women seeking
for your hand in marriage. Then what of us? Fransua will either
serf-work for you for the next five-hundred years, and what decent woman
will marry him that way, or he’ll move to the frontier to homestead another
farm light years away. But me! I’m a girl! And an Islam-Jew
at that! Pagan women are equal to men but with us if I stay, I have
to wait for grandfather to marry me off to someone with a couple other
wives and I’ll be like grandmother, married to a man I never met or run
away like mother did! Eric, I hear the stars call to me! The
Demons created us to travel between the stars. Don’t you feel the
He sat next to me, holding me like he did when I was a baby and he still
my big brother though my military training now made me his superior in
combat, a fact I carefully hid to avoid embarrassing the man. “Ayiesha,
not all of us are like that. When we feel the Call, the Demons take
us away. I’m fortunate that I don’t hear what you hear because that
means I can stay here, marry, farm and raise children. And with a
Weir wife, I can have dozens of children, not the two or three humans like
mother can safely bear.” He sighed then continued, “Little sister, sometimes,
when I hold you like this, I hear the song of the stars and understand
a little. But still, you ARE my baby sister. I used to change your
diapers and keep you from under the rundi hooves and beat up the boys who
teased you. Mom and Dad don’t understand that you are growing up
under Gaean culture, not as an Arab or Jew. But you don’t understand
that you are still a child. You won’t be a real adult for another
five years. So to me, you are still my baby sister and to mom and dad you
are still their baby child.”
Later, dinner was eaten in silence but I loved meals at home.
Lanai don’t care much for dining and eat only to survive. But mother
was an excellent cook and being a farmer’s wife, we always had lots of
fresh food though I used my tail to help eat, something my human and tailless
parents normally forbade. Finally, father spoke up, “Muffin, you are still
my little girl and I’m terrified to death that you may not survive the
“Daddy, that’s the second time you called me ‘muffin’ since I started
puberty. I wish I were your little girl still but I’m a woman now, well,
almost, and what I do is important. The Shitai are pushing more and
more. We stopped them this time but in ten years when the next invasion
happens, it’ll be worse and we may loose a couple frontier worlds unless
we are very careful. I HAVE to stop them. I want babies too
and I want to play with my nieces and nephews and to do that, I must remain
with the Fleet to protect us all.”
We argued more but both momma and daddy were raised to believe that
men fought, women cooked. Lanai were all female but not real women
being vat-born and not having parents or womb so they didn’t count.
And Drakonis was Pagan, not Jew or Islam or Christian so equality between
races and sexes here was absolute so I could enlist if I wished by Law
and Custom despite Clan and Family desires. Even my best friend Caroline,
human as she was, didn’t understand how I could be so submissive to a man,
but she was raised Pagan and Merchant and saw my enlistment only as a means
to Caste-jump for higher status. Even she didn’t understand me.
Goddess! I wanted to escape so badly! Anyplace would be better
than watching the pain I caused my family and knowing that I had to return
to the Fleet for Caroline was right, the Barony needed to be defended and
despite the horror of war, the pain of my wounds and the emotions of my
family, the Demons had engineered me for the stars and the stars called
to me. I could no more return to being a farm-girl than I could return
to being a virgin.
So with my chest hurting from the pressure and my left arm number than
before, I let mother take me to bed. She helped me undress and covered
me with the down comforter and tucked me in just like when I was small.
Then she kissed me and the last words I heard, were her whispering in my
ear, “I will always love you my dearest baby child.”
Getting closer I saw that I was approaching what could only be described
as a wharf. Or rather the ruins of a wharf. I rested in the
shade and nibbled some of the moss then immediately spat it out as too
acrid. I needed food and water and I needed them fast. I must
have sweated out at least 2 liters during that hike and needed it replaced.
Between the thin air, heat and dryness and the march I had just accomplished,
I was totally on the edge of collapse. The only thing that didn’t
hurt were my feet for years aboard a starship in soft boots stole my callouses
and only the soft and thick moss saved me frem blisters.
Catching my breath I moved uphill, trying to keep to the shadows but
saw nothing but ruins. An abandoned city. But who built it
and when? Why it was abandoned was obvious. A ruined boat dock
that crept down the hillside indicated that the depression was actually
the bottom of a dried lake or dead sea. The inhabitants followed
the receding shoreline until they finally gave up and left.
I saw a statue of some animal that I couldn’t identify but it did have
eight legs, a head and a broken off tail. I could make out two eyes,
a mouth and nostrils but the statue was so worn that I couldn’t tell if
it was an 8-legged lion or a dog. “How many centuries or millennia
of dust erosion would wear you down that much?” I asked. But the
stone refused to answer.
As I got closer to the main city I saw more vegetation of variety and
then I smelled water. There were reeds, grasses and bamboos, or rather
plants that resembled these in the same way that that statue resembled
a ravine or rundi. I saw another larger statue ahead, on a much taller
pedestal with ornate carvings so taking advantage of the lower gravity,
I jumped some 6 meters up and grabbed the carvings near the top of the
pedestal. I then crawled under the statue and lay in the shade letting
the cool stone soothe my burned skin as I observed the fountain below.
All that vegetation needed something to eat it and whatever ate the
grass must be eaten by another animal which would be eaten by another predator.
The secret was to figure out the food chain and make certain that you weren’t
I suffered more and more, with water just below, and was about to climb
down and take my chances when I saw a six-legged rat-thing run out to the
water. Its jaws were exposed bone and I wondered if it was diseased
or injured until I realized that like a vulture or other scavenger, it
was bald to prevent blood from caking its fur or feathers.
The rat began to drink and I was wondering how to kill it and if I could
eat it when it vanished! One second it was there then it was gone.
I reran the memory and thought I saw it streak to some nearby rocks faster
than I could see.
Nothing there. Then as I gazed away I thought I saw some heat
waves radiating off the rocks. I gazed away again and let my peripheral
vision seek out patterns and there it was! Well disguised but there.
A closer look revealed an animal simply resting there in the sun watching
the pool of water. As far as I could see it had about two meters
of body, plus a head and tail and maybe eight or ten legs and it was the
colour and pattern of the rocks upon which it rested.
“OK,” I thought. “A three meter chameleon. Big enough to
consider me as food so how do I get to the water and fill my stomach without
entering its stomach?”
The water being so close was maddening and I needed that cool liquid
to soothe my burns but the chameleon was too dangerous to ignore.
Finally I decided that a couple of spears from the bamboo may be enough
to kill it so I crawled back down and found a suitably sharp rock which
I used to cut a couple poles. Star Fleet has a belief that someday
you will run out of ammunition or your batteries will die or your computer
will crash so learn how to survive and fight with low-tech materials.
Trapped underground against the Shitai, we had run out of power and ammo
the second day and had to fight for another five days with what we could
make and steal from the dead. Building a spear, a trap and a fire
here would be easy compared to that battle.
Climbing back to my perch with my spears I located the chameleon again.
Like most ambush hunters this one simply lay there and waited because ambush
hunters, like web spiders and pit snakes, are very good at not moving.
I tossed a rock at the creature and yelled at it. Then another
rock as I jumped and waved like a naked lunatic. My mother would
have locked me in my room had she seen this sight but it worked.
The chameleon moved towards me slowly seeking a better strike zone.
All I had to do was to try to judge the tongue length, maybe 4 meters,
and kill it before it got that close.
It reached the base of my fortress, stopped and began to stare at me.
Still almost invisible but its position and lack of movement indicated
that I was now close enough for it to kill me. So I wrapped my tail
around one of the statues legs for support, grasped a projection with my
feet and drove a spear with all my might down into the beast.
Weir are stronger than humans, we’re engineered to be, and with two
older brothers with whom I constantly fought and Star Fleet training, my
muscles were honed to their best, thus on this world of lighter gravity,
my simple shaft penetrated completely through the animal to shatter on
the rocks beneath. I tossed another one then it screamed and climbed
the pedestal with amazing speed. I drove another into its throat
as its tongue shot out and wrapped around my leg and it fell down almost
dragging me with it. Only the grasp of my tail and feet kept me safe.
Had I been a human with walking feet and no tail, I’d be inside the thing.
It finally lay there on the ground, its tongue stuck to my body and stretching
to a disgusting length, then it rolled over onto its back and without thought,
I grabbed my final spear and holding it with feet and hands and tail, I
jumped down and used the weight of my body to drive it into the thing’s
body, pinning it to the ground beneath.
I jumped clear and picked up a large rock which I quickly used to bash
its skull to jelly. Then I frantically pulled the tongue off my leg
and sat down and thought about absolutely nothing for I was drained of
energy and thought.
Growing up on a farm I was used to death and fighting pirates and the
Shitai made me able to kill anything without thought or worry but I was
exhausted, dehydrated, sunburned, hungry, lonely and scared.
Eventually I got up and approached the fountain. The opening was
larger than the water needed, evidence of centuries of erosion. There
were plants, fish and crustaceans in the pond and I wasn’t willing to drink
from that pool and risk some alien dysentery. But the water from
the spout seemed clear.
I took a handful and looked at it carefully. Nothing that I could
see. So I let it run free and waited a minute to see if I felt anything
on my skin. Again nothing so another handful of water and I tasted
it then spat. After a moment of no ill affects save a taste of minerals
I decided that the worst I would suffer were kidney stones so I drank from
the spout until I was full. I then splashed my body with the cool
water and taking two handfuls of water, I bent over and dipped my burned
nipples into my hands allowing the cold water to soothe their aches.
Now for the chameleon. Dead it had ten legs and was a dusty red-brown
colour. I tasted the blood with my tongue then spat again and waited.
Again no ill effects so I cupped a handful of its salty blood and drank
then set out to build a fire as I waited to be poisoned by the alien proteins.
The problem with Class-M worlds is that half of them use right-hand
molecules which are useless to our left-hand anatomy. And when you
find the proper orientation, the proteins are often wrong and you either
are poisoned or get no nutrition. But it wasn’t as if I had any choice.
The Demons engineered us with a lifespan of centuries and the ability to
survive on many worlds but that doesn’t do much good when opposed by simple
The carcass wasn’t tasty but it was filling and might keep me alive
until I could do better. So I cut most of it into strips and smoke-dried
it to jerky as I ate my fill. I tried to eat the grass and bamboo
to avoid protean poisoning for like my human ancestors Weir can only tolerate
20-25% meat in our diet, but I couldn’t find anything worth eating
so with a stomach full of alien protean and no vegetables or starch, I
dissected the reptile. I found lungs and a four-chambered heart and
something that might have been a liver but the stomach was what I wanted.
After cleaning the dead rat from the inside, I washed and scrubbed the
stomach until I had a good bladder. The rat I tossed aside as too
rancid even for my hunger to tolerate. I then rinsed the stomach
as I ate and then tied off the intestine end with a figure-eight knot and
forced into the other opening a hollow tube of thick bamboo tied with a
grass cord. I then made a grass rope, a wood plug and filled my newly-made
canteen with water and carrying my newest spear, went exploring as my jerky
I imagine I looked a sight and almost wished my boy-friend were here
for I’d love to have him sketch me like this. I was naked, my too-pale
skin sun-burned and contrasting with my blue hair. Breasts large and firm
with a bladder-canteen over one shoulder and a bamboo spear in hand.
I just needed a breeze to ruffle my hair as some of the art the Pagans
do of the Maiden Goddess. I repressed the thought of him alone, on
Gaea worrying about me and started to explore my now home.
The city was small with no building larger than two stories. The
doors could have easily been made for a human or Weir but there wasn’t
anything in any building other than sand and moss. The city had been
stripped centuries ago. I was hoping for something I could use for
clothing, a robe or hat, a bra, even a cape, but the place was empty.
Then I heard voices!
I leapt to the roof of a nearby house and crawled forward until I could
see what was talking and Lo! I saw three humans talking in the street.
They were almost naked save for a harness designed to hold their weapons
and a g-pouch for their family jewels. “Nice asses” I thought as
I observed their naked cheeks and wished that I could see the rest of them
as easily. Before you judge me, remember that even on a strange planet,
I was still a woman and the thoughts of young girls often turn to boys.
Besides, promiscuity was common on my world and we see nothing wrong with
servicing a friend in need or casual sex and it had been a long time since
my last encounter.
Each person had a coppery-red skin, black hair and held the reigns of
an eight-legged horse. At least the thing resembled a horse more
than a rabbuck. They also carried a long sword, a short-sword and
a heavy revolver. They were also arguing and pointing down the sea-bed
or across the desert or into the buildings. Although I couldn’t understand
their words, I could read much of their meanings from their thoughts.
These people appeared to have some telepathic abilities and I could hear
their words and estann their general meanings as they spoke.
I kept getting images of some kind of damaged aircraft with two people,
a man and a woman, that these three were chasing. I also got images
of chains and brutality. Well, so much for my thoughts of a really
fun groupie this evening. These people seemed to be slavers or worse
and I didn’t do pirates or slavers.
They eventually led their horses into a building which they blocked
off and then they began to explore the town. I watched them for awhile
until the pain in my back indicated that I was just making my sunburn worse
so I moved to the shade and drank some water as I thought of my next move.
Obviously, there were humans here but native or planted? And were
they potential friends or enemies? I had no idea if their prey were
escaped fugitives or victims. For all I knew, these three could be
a police force seeking a kidnapper and victim. I was still musing
this over when I heard shouting. One of them had discovered my camp
and had called the others over.
I jumped from roof to roof for the Fleet taught me that humans evolved
from a forest ape to a veldt existence and as we evolved from primate to
human, danger and safety and food switched from trees to grasslands.
Danger came from the grass, safety was hiding in the grass so humans are
genetically disposed to search down. Thus if you are being tracked,
get above eye level and they probably won’t look up to see you. I
hoped these Red Men were the same.
When I reached the fountain, the trio was eating my dinner and arguing
again. “How impolite,” I thought. “At least they could ask
first.” My desire for a meeting was rapidly fading. All three
then pulled swords and began to search around my camp. Definitely
aggressive and potentially dangerous to me. Were I to reveal myself,
I could run the risk of gang-rape and slavery. I who only a
short time before had been entertaining fantasies of three at once or sequentially
was now worried about being forced to do that which I wanted to do willingly.
I followed them as they searched the city, building by building.
Their tactics spoke of professionalism for one would remain hidden as two
approached the building. Then they would flank the doorway and one
would enter and move aside to leave the opening clear. A moment later
he’d call out and his companion would enter as the first approached and
stood outside the doorway. And so, they continued building
by building as I watched from above. Once I returned to the fountain
and collected as much meat as I could and refilled my stomach and canteen
then returned to observe my potential companions. The sun finally
began to set and the three ended their search and returned to their horses
where they covered themselves with thick furs and blankets and two slept
while the third stood watch.
With the setting of the sun, the lights went out immediately.
There was not enough atmosphere to reflect light into twilight and with
the darkness, came the cold for the thin air retained no heat. The
UV from the distant sun would warm the ground and induce Infra-Red heat
which warmed the planet during the day but the ground quickly lost its
stored heat at night. I could see in the dark easily as my
pupils opened but the cold was another matter. Being hairless and
naked was a disadvantage here so I sought a building with a small closet,
and pulling up moss, I tried to make myself as comfortable and warm as
The trio, I noticed, carried themselves like Warriors. They kept
their weapons close but didn’t fondle them as would someone less secure
or fearful of attack. These men knew that they were warriors and
could handle themselves so why worry. I was the one who was in danger.
Naked, unarmed, hungry and freezing and with no idea of where I was or
how to get home, my options were limited to starving to death, trying to
survive an unknown world or surrendering to these men and hoping for the
best. With these unpleasant thoughts, I shivered myself to sleep.
The next morning I awoke, frozen and starving and moved to a corner
where I squatted to empty my bladder. It was in such an embarrassing
position, spraying urine onto the moss when one of the men found me.
“OK, what now?” I thought and decided to finish my ablutions.
Nudity didn’t bother me for we Weir tend to take these things in stride.
Especially when you are aboard a small military starship with limited privacy.
So I finished, wiped with some moss (please let me NOT be allergic) and
smiled at the man holding the sword as he walked towards me.
“#Hello,” I said hoping for friendship.
The Red Man kept his sword pointed at me and looked me over carefully.
He spent time staring at my breasts and tail and feet but his sword-point
never wavered. Then he barked something I didn’t understand but I
got an image of being tied up. Now like many women I had fantasized
at BD/SM games but those were games and this was serious. But he
was armed and I wasn’t. He drew his short sword, then sheathed his
long sword and pulled some leather straps and came at me. He grabbed
me by the shoulder and spun me around and I got images of brutal bondage
so true to my training, I continued to spin until I knocked his wrist aside
with one hand and back-fisted him on his temple with the other. It
was a classic Martial Arts move but effective.
The man dropped like a rock and then I realized that I had killed him.
A body adapted to a low gravity world wasn’t capable of surviving a full
blow by my Weir strength backed by muscles adapted for a greater gravity.
And using full force as the Dojo taught me pulped his skull like a melon.
I knelt there wondering what to do next for I had probably eliminated
any chance for peaceful co-existence when the remaining two entered.
I was about to either jump them or try to leap out the window when they
pulled their handguns and leveled them at me. As good as I probably
was, I couldn’t stop a bullet so I stood slowly with my hands up and tried
to explain myself.
One of them turned me around and kicked my knees to force me down.
Then with a pistol at my head, he tied my hands behind me and then my feet
together. My tail gave him some trouble and he pulled a knife intending
to simply remove it when the other snapped something at him. I got
images of me being more valuable intact so he tied some leather to my tail
end, pulled it between my legs and tied my tail to my neck so if I pulled,
I’d choke myself. Then he kicked me to my side and they examined
their dead companion.
One, the smaller, touched the dead mans skull, whistled and pointed
at my fist, still bloody as he talked to his companion. They obviously
now had some respect for my unarmed fighting skills and strength and that
made them nervous. Unfortunately nervous people tend to simplify
their lives by killing whatever complicates matters and right now, I tried
to be as uncomplicated as I could possibly be. Shit! I’d give
them whatever they wanted if it meant staying alive.
Then we heard a growl and one went down under something that looked
like a huge lion with ten legs. He was dead in an instant but the
remaining man backed away and proceeded to shoot the animal repeatedly.
What I took for a primitive revolver (for why carry a sword when you have
an effective firearm) was, in fact, a lethal engine of destruction comparable
to our beamers. He must have fired a dozen explosive rounds into
the lion, each round destroying a part of the lion the size of a decent
Hurling ball and still the lion came on. Two of its legs were gone,
blown away as was its face and much of one side. I could see fountains
of blood spurt from large holes with every beat of its massive heart and
still it came on. Injuries that would have felled a Gaean dragon
were as pinpricks to this lion and then it was over. The lion crushed
the last man with its jaws then shuddered and died.
Frantically, I managed to move to the man I had killed and sought his
sword to free myself. I was able to grab it with my feet and turned
it to cut my hands free for my tarsials could easily act as hands and thumb,
clumsy as they were. Then my tail and ankles and as soon as I was
free, I grabbed a revolver and leapt to the ceiling beam for fear another
beast would enter. I was so scared that the only thing that stopped
me from peeing down my legs was that I had already one that.
You may ask why I, a decorated war hero who had survived two wars and
numerous battles was scared. If the truth be told, It’s easy to be
brave when wearing a cloaking device, armour and force-shield and carrying
a beamer while inside a battle cruiser surrounded by a hundred Lanai, each
of whom had been bred into a super-soldier. But here, I was just
a lonely girl, years away from full adulthood, lost, naked and unarmed
and despite my military experience and training, I really wanted my mother
to be here to hold me and to tell me that my daddy would make things better.
Or failing that, have a squad of armed Lanai to back me up for nothing
makes a Draconan feel safer than knowing that there are Lanai of the Warrior
Caste nearby to handle danger.
When nothing else came into the room, I decided that the lion was a
solitary predator so I dropped to the ground and stripped the bodies as
quickly as I could and grabbed my own canteen and meat. I then left
and ran for the horses where I took stock of my new-found gear while keeping
watch for another lion or worse.
Three each of pistols, long swords, short swords, knives and gear bags.
One of the swords was curved like a saber, the other two straight.
My grandfather told me that in Arabia he used a curved scimitar because
it slashed better on horseback but ground fighters used straight bladed
for stabbing and striking. I opened the gear bags and found
food and a first aid kit. Inside one canister was an ointment that
I smeared on a patch of sunburned skin and almost immediately the pain
vanished and the skin softened up. A healing balm, so I smeared some
on my bleeding lips and nipples and as these began to heal, I used the
rest on my burned skin. Then I found the food to be some starchy
material similar to a tuber so I ate that to prevent protein poisoning
from an exclusive meat diet. I also found a small chess set but with
a hundred squares instead of our sixty-four. Like all Weir, I enjoyed
the game and hoped to find someone who could teach me the local version.
I also found the usual trinkets that find their way into a man’s pocket
or a woman’s purse.
The saddles contained silks and furs and cloth blankets plus short rifles
of a larger caliber than the revolvers. The horses, however weren’t
happy with my alien scent and snapped at me with sharp teeth. I never
liked horses anyway, even these eight-legged ones, as rabbucks gave a smoother
ride but I did know how to tame one. I returned to the pool and found
some grass that looked appetizing and bundled it under my arm-pits.
By the time I got back to the make-shift stable, my sweat had permeated
the grass and as I fed it to them, all the while broadcasting thoughts
of peace and calmness, I hoped that they would associate my scent with
I also took some of the silk bedding and cut it into strips, fashioning
a bra and loincloth/skirt. These were more for protection than support
for Weir remain firm almost forever. My Human mother, after nursing
three Weir children had breasts that looked like sand in stretched out
wrinkled socks and was always jealous of our Weir neighbor who at 50 with
6 kids had a DD chest that was firmer than most human teens of a much smaller
Then I adjusted the men’s harness to fit my smaller size and differing
curves and once dressed, such as it were, felt immensely better.
Clothed and armed, now I felt more confident and picked up their g-pouches.
They were soft leather and plain and totally unsuited for my anatomy but
they did smell of man-musk. Curious as to how an alien could smell
as nice as a Weir or human, I lost myself in the sensations and thoughts
that their sweat produced.
“Damn! Now I’m horny again.” Well, we Weir have a saying,
“A woman with a tail can survive easier than a woman without one.”
This perpetual sexuality we endure was one of the side-effects the Demons
didn’t understand when they changed us. They enhanced all of our
senses and strengths and also, without meaning to, our hormones as well.
I tossed the g-pouches away to remove temptation and prepared to leave
the city before any more danger arrived.
I ate some more of their rations and saddled the horses then led them
to the fountain where they filled their bellies from the pond. I
didn’t know if they were immune to the creatures living there or not but
they were natives so I trusted their instincts to survive. I also
wove some grass into a conical hat for protection, then filling all the
water bladders I could, I mounted one of the horses and leading the others,
started out in the direction where the two pursued had been pointed out.
I figured that although these three were not good men, perhaps those they
sought were. At least I may be able to count on the woman’s generosity
and nurturing nature… I hoped. As an afterthought, I returned
to the stable and picked up the pouches. It was going to be cold
and lonely on the desert.
I made good time that first day. My horses seemed tireless and
like a camel, able to live without much water. I ate and drank in
the saddle and used the silk as a cape to keep the sun off me. The
healing balm I took from the bodies was doing its job and my skin was rapidly
darkening. In another couple days my skin should be as brown as my
mother’s and almost impervious to the UV that sought to cook this world.
As the sun approached the western horizon (I assumed that it was west)
I began to look for a safe place to sleep, something away from the lions
and chameleons and whatever else lived in this bareness. I saw some
plants in the distance and made for them hoping to find more water.
I didn’t, but the rocks around which they grew would retain the day’s heat
and protect me from predators. So I hobbled the horses, made
a small fire and fell asleep exhausted.
I was woken by a bright light and grabbed for my nearby revolver but
relaxed when I saw that it was simply one of the two moons crossing the
sky. She, as I named the larger and slower of the moons was beautiful
in her own way for we Draconans see in the moon the Goddess and I saw no
reason to change that belief just because it was a different moon.
He, the smaller and faster would orbit about three times a day wheras She
orbited so slowly that she seemed to cross from West to East or reverse
the normal direction.
I made genuflection and spoke to Her, “Greetings Lady of the Moon.
I appreciate Thy light on this cold evening and would ask that Thou tell
thy Sisters of my plight that my family may be comforted by my presence
once again.” I heard that on Terra, atheists deny the existence of any
god, lunar, solar or other, but frankly, I needed the comfort of my faith.
I had been named after holy persons of three of the religions of my grandparents
as an offering of peace but after listening to my grandparents argue with
each other that their own faith was the truth and the others were wrong,
I ignored them all and followed the State Religion of Drakonis despite
my being legally a Jew and Moslem. So I settled down among the furs
and watched Her dance across the sky. A part of me noticed that she
traveled in a more northerly orbit than should be normal but then, astronomers
are always being proven wrong about every one of their cherished theories.
I lay there in the silks and furs and absolute silence and became aware
that the furs smelt of sweat. Man sweat. Well, it had been
a very long time so I reached for the g-pouches and reveled in the fantasy
of what might have been had things been different. Then with fingers
and tail I self-pleasured until I was, again, sleepy. But this time
I smiled as I rolled over and dreamed the dreams of the satisfied.
When I awoke, I found the horses huddled together in a crevasse for
warmth. I understood how a desert could be so hot during the day
and so cold at night but that knowledge didn’t make me feel any better.
So I dug a hole for my bodily wastes, had breakfast and was about to saddle
my mounts when I estanned life nearby. I crouched down, checked to
see that the horses were still concealed and swept the desert with my gaze.
What I saw was unnerving. A half dozen horses similar to mine
but giants. Were my mounts were the size of a Mustang, these could
have put a Clydesdale to shame. Even a rundi would come off poorly
by comparison and rundis were giants to us. But it was they who rode
that shocked me. Green Pirates! They lived a thousand c-years
from Drakonis on one small planet and spent their time raiding their neighbors.
They were tolerated only because they never conquered, only raided so we
killed those who raided hoping to eventually remove those genes from their
race. But these were different. Five meters tall, green
skin with two arms, two legs and an intermediate set of limbs that could
be either, they were a formidable enemy. Plus they had tusks growing
from their lower jaws and their eyes were set on the sides of their heads
and able to rotate and see in any direction. These were thinner in
nature, adapted to a low gravity and carrying lances a dozen meters long
with swords at their sides that were longer than I was tall. Green
Pirates would never carry such primitive weapons so either these had been
abducted and dumped here as was I or the pirates I knew originated here
and had been abducted and drooped in our sector. And that meant that
this planet was probably visited as frequently as was Terra, which implied
a chance for a ride home.
Regardless, of this, the cruelty of the Green Pirates was infamous and
the one encounter I had with them during the Pirate Wars caused me to loose
my dinner after looking into their hold. Even the Lanai were upset at the
remains of their prisoners. With this in mind, I carefully pulled
my revolver and pretended to be a rock as I shivered in terror.
Luck was with me as they continued in their silent travels until they
were over the nearby horizon. Even then I remained calm and unmoving
for a half-hour just in case. If I was scared of the lion in the
dead city, these terrified me to immobility. Once again I wished
for a decent cloak and shield and perhaps a mobile pulse-phaser.
Eventually I felt safe enough to raise and saddle my mounts and continue
on. But now I kept all senses open and sharp for this world was far
more dangerous than my own and the thought of suffering at the hands or
claws of the locals made me sick to my stomach.
Around noon I came across a glint in the distance. As I approached
closer I saw that it was a boat. But how did a boat appear in this
desert where the nearest water was a fountain 200 kilometers behind me?
Then I saw the prop, a propeller that was made for air, not water.
A closer examination revealed that the air-craft had taken repeated arms
fire and that the hull had been pierced in a half dozen places by explosive
rounds. I took a torch from my pack, courtesy of my erstwhile fantasy-mates
(Goddess! At this rate in a few days I’ll convince myself that we
four were happily married) and looked inside the holes.
I could find no residue of water or fuel nor evidence of the same.
But each hole had penetrated a different tank. I couldn’t see evidence
of repulsors or gravity-panels so whatever caused this thing to fly was
a technology I couldn’t yet understand. Whomever did this damage
knew exactly how to bring this craft down and was an excellent shot.
The interior of the craft was a very small cabin and pilot chairs, all
stripped of weapons, food or water. Whomever flew this craft had
survived the crash, taken anything useful and left to attempt to cross
the desert on foot. The mental images of the trio in the dead city
centered around a man and woman in an aircraft so perhaps this was their
conveyance? One thing that brightened my day was the fact that
despite the dead city and the primitive swords used by the locals, they
did have advanced aircraft and technology so even if I couldn’t build a
sub-space transceiver, perhaps they could for me?
I searched around the craft but the moss carpet would retain no prints,
but after some searching I was able to find some moss that had been kicked
from its roots and that gave me a direction to travel. So remounting,
I raced across the desert hoping to find the duo before either the Green
Pirates or any more slavers could find the trail.
Evening was a repeat of the one before. I found another grove
of plants and evidence that it had been used the night before. So
after hobbling my mounts who still seemed to need no water, I ate some
more of my trail rations, drank from my rapidly dwindling water, curled
up into my furs between the rocks and this time, took my time pleasuring
myself. Why not? The nights were long, I only needed four hours
of sleep and couldn’t read or do anything else in the dark so this was
a pleasant way to spend a few hours. I only wished I had someone
to help me out.
It was shortly after noon when I saw a reflection in the distance.
Perhaps the sun shining off a rock or the metal of a man’s harness, but
it was in essentially the direction I was traveling so I adjusted my course
and raced onward.
It took less than a half hour to catch them, a man and woman, both almost
naked. His harness was essentially the same as that of the trio from
the dead city, at least to my untrained eye they seemed the same.
Her harness was slightly different but with softer leather that exposed
her small breasts. At first I thought that she was a child.
Although some human women are as small-chested as was she, most humans
that small were only beginning to develop. Weir, being late developers,
don’t begin to grow breasts or pubic hair until we reach 15 or later.
So what I at first thought was the body of a young girl, a child, possibly
with her father, changed as I looked at her face more closely. She
was definitely a woman there. I raised my hand to cover her body
and see only her head and face and her beauty was breath-taking.
I wished that I looked that good and I am not considered to be unattractive.
But when I covered her head and looked at her body, I saw the rounded curves
of hip and waist of a woman with a chest of a girl.
The man was handsome and decently built. Muscled as would be a
fencer but I could see that he was no walker as both were tired and the
distance that they had covered was short by infantry standards. Perhaps
they had spent too much time flying and not enough walking.
“#Hello” I said, first in Spanglic, then Arabic, German and French for
we Drakonans value the multi-linguistic. On the off chance that they
had contact with the Five-Races, I also tried Demon but no luck.
“Koar!” said the man, smiling as he raised his right hand.
I smiled and replied “Koar.” Then dismounted as a sign of friendship.
He then started to talk but I had to stop them, “#I don’t understand
your language#.” Which caused them to speak to each other until the man
pointed to my horse and said something that sounded like “##### ###
### thoat ####?” and when he said the word ‘thoat’ I got a mental
image of the beast I was riding. So the word for these creatures
was ‘thoat’. I’d remember that and so my language lessons began.
I saw that they only had one canteen so I offered them one of mine and
some trail rations, both of which they consumed eagerly. As they
did so, I pointed to myself and said “Ayiesha Penaut!” then I looked
at them and waited. The woman smiled, pointed to herself and said
“Taria Kolos” then to the man and said “Tor Tal” and so we made informal
introductions. As we rested, I would point to a rock or sword or
body part and they would tell me their word in Barsoomian, which was the
language of this world of Barsoom. Somehow knowing the name of this
planet made it seem less strange.
Then they mounted the extra thoats and we all rode across the desert
seeking someplace chosen by Tor Tal. As we rode I continued to learn
and by the time we stopped for the night, I had a vocabulary of several
hundred words, most of which I was able to remember. They also showed
me plants that we could eat and one, the mantalia, was my salvation.
It was a plant that grew almost everywhere and would give up to nine liters
of a milky liquid a day. I had passed these plants a dozen times
and could have slaked my thirst at any time had I known. Plus the
sap from the younger leaves was a healing balm for my sun burned skin,
another fact I wish I had known earlier.
It was when we stripped for the night’s sleep that I got a good look
at my companions and they at me. Considering the sparsity of their
harness, about all that was hidden were their genitals and the casualness
with which they stripped naked indicated that clothing among the Barsoomian
was practical and had nothing to do with modesty.
Taria, naked, was as beautiful as she was clothed save her pubic hair
was vary sparse. Not shaved sparse but simply a lack of growth unlike
mine which was a forest. Tor, on the other hand, dropped his g-pouch
and the sight took my breath away. Maybe it was the last month of
celibacy because I’ve seen better but there was something about him that
just made my mind and body want that man. He was like Weir in that
he had no foreskin but I couldn’t tell if it was because, like my grandfathers’
it had been removed at birth or age 13 or, if like Weir, he was born without
one. I just knew that he was well formed and that I wanted him.
Had they been Weir, I’d just ask and Taria’d loan him to me or even
join in but humans are funny about fidelity and sex. I recall
my grandfather telling me how in Mecca they would toss a woman to her death
as an adulterer simply for being alone with a man who wasn’t her husband
even if nothing sexual happened. Also I had no ideas as to their
views on lesbianism for though most Weir are bi-sexual, my Arab grandparents
encouraged my brothers homosexual experiments while condemning my own lesbian
desires though, strangely enough, my Jewish grandparents were the opposite,
pretending that my affairs with women didn’t happen but soundly berating
my brothers when they were caught with another boy. And since I didn’t
know what the Barsoomian customs were (or if they were married, lovers,
friends, or brother and sister), I thought that I’d better wait and suffer.
What they thought of my body and attitudes, I didn’t learn until later.
The next morning we awoke, had breakfast and continued on our journey
for to me any place was as good as any. We continued with our lessons,
a task made easy by the Barsoomian telepathic ability that caused a flash
of image with almost every word and by evening that day I could converse
with them in simple sentences.
As was usual, we stripped naked for sleep to allow our harness to air
dry and the two would stare at my body and whisper together. This time
I was rubbing my limbs and breasts trying to warm up when I noticed them
staring. “Have you ever seen a person like myself?” I asked hoping
that the Fleet had a Stargate or spaceport here. Of course, our conversation
wasn’t that complex but more like me pointing and saying, “You see me me
me here there?” but I’m fleshing it out for easier understanding.
It would be days before I could actually speak their language fluently
and that only because the language was so simple and because both Weir
and Barsoomian had some telepathic ability, especially when we touched.
“No, Ayiesha Penaut,” responded Tor Tal, for it was their way to use
all names. I was glad I didn’t tell them my entire legal name or
we’d never manage to find time to talk.
“Upon the face of Barsoom, we have a number of races but none like yours.
Your skin is brown but all the races on Barsoom are black, white or yellow
and we Red Men which are a mixture of all three. Your hair is blue
but all red, yellow and black men have black hair. Only the white
Orovars and Therns have yellow or auburn hair. But no race has a
tail or feet or hands like yours, nor do we know of any race with pointed
ears, eyes with slits and those antennae which grow upon your forehead.
Also, I wonder, and please forgive me if I offend, but your breasts are
so huge and you cover them so, are you ill or such?”
“Huge? Ill? I don’t understand? I always thought that
I was average size but I don’t think that this low gravity makes them look
much bigger.” I tried to stare down at my chest but without a mirror
I couldn’t see anything other than the tops and my eternally cold-erect
“Are all the people of your race like you?” asked Tor Tal.
“Pretty much,” I replied. “Some taller but few shorter.
We do range from white to brown to black skin with all shades between.
And our hair can be blonde, red, brown, black, green and blue though the
darker the skin, the darker the hair usually.
Taria jumped in and said, “But Ayiesha Penaut, the way you keep rubbing
your breasts and you keep them covered and hidden and their size makes
me wonder if there is something wrong like a tumor or disease. We
have excellent doctors in Ptarth….”
I could tell that she was worried about something but couldn’t understand
what. “I’m completely lost here,” I said. “The only thing wrong with
my breasts is that they’re cold and my nipples ache. I come from
a warmer climate and my people wear clothes to keep warmer. Don’t
some of your people have larger chests?”
“Uh, no,” she said, embarrassed. “Why would anyone need them larger?”
“To #nurse your #babies?” I hazarded…. “#Babies? #Young?
#Infants? They come from your #womb?” I tried to pantomime
holding a baby and a pregnant belly and nursing as I had to use Spanglic
words. But all I got were blank looks.
OK, I thought, Humans are live bearers but Demons are egg bearers, Lanai
clone and Shitai hive so just because these Barsoomians appear to be human,
doesn’t mean that they are the same in all areas. I tried again,
“Then, if I’m not being too personal, how does your race reproduce?
Tavia responded, “Like all forms of life on Barsoom, we lay an egg which
is placed in an incubator and after five years of growth, the egg hatches
to release an almost adult person. Is there any other way?”
I couldn’t help but laugh at this. Despite their external similarity
to humans, internally, Barsoomians were different. They lay eggs
which hatch into adolescents. Of course they wouldn’t nurse so breasts
are little more than gender dimorphism. I wondered if they derived
any physical pleasure from them. The thought of experimenting with
Tor Tal made my own breasts flush with warmth.
“My people are different.” I said. “We retain our #young within
our #wombs for 4 months as it grows. Then when we give birth, the
#baby is tiny and totally helpless for three years and must be protected,
fed and cared for. The only food the #baby receives is milk that
is produced by these.” I held my breasts for them to see. “The #baby
suckles #milk from the breasts for three years until they grow teeth and
are #weaned to solid food. Then they begin to grow rapidly and learn
and we help to teach them to be good people. This is why we Weir
need larger breasts than humans or you Barsoomians, our #babies are so
helpless they need to #nurse almost constantly.”
Their blank looks turned to shock, “like #animals!” she cried.
I got an image of something similar to a small rat that lives on garbage
in the sewers of the cities. This was not going well so I tried to
make it a joke to diffuse the tension, “At least it’s better than my grandmother.
She was #pregnant for almost ten months and it took almost 3 days for her
to birth my mother who had a head the size of a #melon, and she nursed
her last child for five years, even with teeth.”
From the looks on their faces, I guess that they didn’t get the humor.
Well, I now knew that no other human or Weir had visited this planet.
I was effectively marooned unless I could find the technology to build
a sub-space transceiver or a star-ship. And I wasn’t an engineer
but a peasant farm girl turned soldier. From their reactions, I didn’t
think I should discuss sex so I bade them good night and crawled into my
furs and thought about where I was until sleep overtook me.
The next morning we ate in silence, neither of them looking at me.
I then realized that they were never really alone together. They
slept on opposite sides of the fire, never held hands and although the
looks they gave were intimate and I could feel their attraction for each
other, neither showed it outwardly.
I hazarded a statement that I knew would cause trouble but I had to
know. “Pardon me for asking but are you.. uh, what is your relationship?”
Tor Tal replied “I am her protector.” And dropped the matter.
I knew that there was more to that statement but decided that he was hands-off
and I shouldn’t push the matter. If they were potential lovers in
that sensitive stage, any outside interference could ruin their future.
It was while on the trail that Taria asked me her first really personal
question. “Do you have … lovers back on your world?” I had
earlier talked about my home planet and how I found myself here so they
knew that I was an alien though it turned out that her word ‘lover’ had
a different meaning than mine. Regardless, I enjoyed the conversation
and even the long explanations for certain words helped me to learn their
“Oh, some I suppose.” I replied. “Not as many as most girls
my age but that’s because I am in the military so the last two years while
my friends are experimenting with sex, I was aboard a warship fighting
pirates and fending off invasions. I’m still only twenty and only
became sexually active a few years ago so there’s still time.”
She looked shocked again. I guess I was getting used to this.
But better I inadvertently cause trouble here than in a city.
“And #children? Have you many with all these lovers?” She
was even more embarrassed now.
I laughed at this. “I’m far too young to become pregnant.
My people may become sexually active at 15 but we cannot become fertile
until twenty-five. And then we need to be almost exclusive with one person
to be fertile for our promiscuity hinders fertility.” Her look caused
me to try to explain how we were the products of Demon engineering.
“A thousand years ago the Demons abducted a bunch of humans from Terra.
At first they only cured and healed them and allowed them to run free.
Then the Kentaurans found that they couldn’t live on a desert world with
no iron so the Demons changed them to green copper-based blood, dark skin
and a few other adaptations that allowed them to survive their new home.
“Then the Kris wars started 500 years ago. Both Demons and humans
were almost exterminated so the Demons changed themselves from small plant-eating
pacifists into large, meat-eating warriors. Then they changed the
humans into the Mon, giant three-meter tall soldiers and between the two,
they pushed the Kris back and won the war by simply exterminating the Kris
religion and race.
“By the time they started to collect my people, the war was almost over
so with no more need for soldiers they changed us into starship crew.
Our feet and tail are to grasp projections on a ship in zero-gravity and
to act as extra hands. Our ears and eyes were enhanced with greater
perception. We were made with small enough bodies to crawl through
access tubes. They did make one big mistake though. Demons
don’t understand human needs or emotions so they also accidently enhanced
our sexuality and passions. Whatever we do, we do with our entire
“But the Baron didn’t want Mon soldiers defending the Barony so he created
the Lanai to protect us. And occasionally, some of us, human or Weir,
enlist and become soldiers ourselves. That’s what I did. My
mother’s people are Peasant Caste and believe that a girl should marry
and be a good wife. I saw my mother follow that way and I decided
that I’d be different. So I enlisted at 18 and became a Warrior to
rule my own life and raise myself to Warrior Caste.
“But I was wounded during the Shitai invasion, lost a lung, some ribs
and part of my arm and heart,” I showed her my plasma scars and continued,
“and while recovering at my parent’s home I went to sleep and woke up here.
Naked, alone and lost. What I’m trying to do is to find out where
I am and try to go home.”
She was very sympathetic to me though she understood little of what
I said. The ideas of a woman being sexually active and a soldier
was stranger to her than the idea of being pregnant and nursing a baby.
Then something occurred to me.
“Who were those three men who were following you?”
Tor Tal pulled his Thoat to a halt and turned to me, “What men?”
I explained about the dead city and the trio that had been chasing them
then explained they had died. When I was finished he was silent
Tor Tal explained, “Taria Kolos and I met when I was a padwar in her
father’s guards. We fell in love but my station wasn’t high enough
for her father and he decreed that we never see each other again.
But our love was stronger than he realized and I took a post with another
noble hoping to better myself and become rich enough to impress even Kol
Fias. But it was while I was guarding my employers’ son that I was
called away and while gone, a gorthan entered and killed my charge.
I was disgraced and condemned to death but Kol Fias arraigned for my escape
and said to me that I could leave in a small flyer and know that I’d never
be allowed to return to Ptarth nor see his daughter and that would be an
“But he didn’t count on the love of his daughter and when I entered
the flyer and left Ptarth under cover of darkness, I discovered Taria Kolos
hidden away within. She had chosen a life of exile with me over a
life of ease in Ptarth such was her love.
“The Flyer that we used couldn’t be controlled and was taking us to
an unknown destination but aparantly Kol Fias hired those three panthans
to hunt me down and such was his wealth that he also managed to somehow
hire six Green Men as well. It was while flying across the dead sea
bottom that the Green Men struck, their radium bullets destroyed my buoyancy
tanks causing my flyer to crash. But I managed to change course
and nurse the flyer so that it came down in a direction other than expected
and we two then ran for the hills until you found us.”
That was so romantic, like a novel or tri-d and I could only hug Taria.
These were my only friends upon Barsoom and I loved them for their sacrifices.
I knew that somehow I’d help them live the life they deserved.
I thought for a while, told them about the Green Men I saw and then said,
“I want you to teach me to fight with a sword.”
He was shocked so I had to explain that I wasn’t like a Barsoomian woman.
Although still only a teen even by my own people’s standards, our ways
“I come from peasant stock. My mother’s people are Bedouin Arabs
who search the desert herding #sheep and occasionally robbing #pilgrims
until they were driven into the Rub al Kali, the emptiest desert in Arabia.
Dying, the Draconan Colonial Service found them and offered them life on
Gaea, an offer that they took. But Arabs believe that a woman is
little more than chattel, to be sold for alliance and even then only #virgins
were valuable. They believed thusly even on Gaea but my mother loved
another, a man of another race and religion but with no wealth other than
a small farm he inherited from his father. She was forbidden to see
him but they ran away together and married and eventually I was born.
It was years before my grandparents would talk to her again, such was the
anger they felt.
“My father’s family were German Jews who were being killed by their
own countrymen for being different when they were rescued by Colonial and
came to Gaea. With them were some Parisian homeless and together
was my father born. I don’t think that my father’s parents were married
but they loved each other anyway. For he was a Jew and she a Catholic
and such could not marry by the laws of either religion. But the
laws of Drakonis said that anyone may marry and that women were free to
live their own lives and what could my grandparents do but eventually accept
“Then was my brother born. It was one thing to be told that your
children or grandchildren would be Weir and another to birth a child that
wasn’t human. But a mother’s love was stronger than her disgust and
even my father grew to accept and love his Weir son. By the time
I was born, Weir births were normal but my Arabian grandparents saw in
me a chance to marry me to another family to increase their own position.
“The problem with my grandfather’s plan was that I must be a #bloody-sheet
virgin and Weir have no #maidenheads to give. Nor do we wait until
marriage to sample the joys of sex.
“I see you don’t understand. Humans have a flap of skin over their
genitals. In men it’s a #foreskin that covers the head of the penis
and in women it is a #maidenhead that covers the opening to the vagina.
When a man first enters a woman, that #maidenhead tears apart and she bleeds
to prove that she knew no other man. So important was this that a
woman could be killed on Terra if this #maidenhead was missing. So
important was this that Arab men have their #foreskin removed at 13 years
to share in the woman’s deflowerment. My mother told me that on her
wedding night it ‘hurt like hell and she bled like a pig’. But we
Weir have neither #foreskin nor #maidenhead and when I was 16 and my breasts
and pubes began to grow, I decided to be different. So a number of
my friends, human and Weir gathered our money and hired a couple of #whores,
a man and woman to show and teach us about sex.
“At first it was embarrassing but we quickly learned and by the end
of the evening none of us were virgins in any manner. When my father
found out he was so angry! I think that his anger at that was the
one thing that made my mother’s family befriend him but my mother took
me aside and asked only if I enjoyed the experience. When I said
that I did very much, she simply said ‘I’m glad’ and never mentioned it
“I saw my mother tied to her house by Arab culture and bearing Weir
children and one day when I was 18 she told me to follow my own dreams.
So I went to the Baron and enlisted in the military to see something that
was forbidden me by class and ancestry. For although we Draconans
grant equality for all, men and women, human, Weir and Lanai, we are a
class people and peasants like my family were lower than all. So
I saw this as a chance to become Warrior Caste and raise my status and
pride for my family.
“For two years I fought for my Barony. I gathered honours and
awards and even the Baron himself told my family that they should be proud
of me. Then came the battle at Sothis. The Shitai had invaded
our lands again and so we drove them away again. We chased the Shitai
into the caverns of Sothis and 20 of us were trapped with the Baron underground.
We ran out of power and ammunition the second day and had to fight over
a hundred Shitai with what weapons we could make and steal. For a
week we were trapped underground but the Baron kept us alive and fighting
until rescue arrived.
“After the battle, I returned home to recover, to re-grow my lung and
repair my arm and heart. This scar on my arm is the external marking
of that battle. But my parents cried that I was too young to die
for I am too young to even give them grandchildren and if I died, it would
be my brothers who would carry the family name.
“So one night I fell asleep in my bed in my parent’s home and woke up
here. Perhaps I died in bed and this is Allah or Jehovah’s joke of
a Paradise or punishment. The rest you know. I have no idea
of how I got here or why, but my main goal is to return home for I see
that my lifestyle isn’t suitable for your world and I miss my family and
“But if the Green men are chasing you and if your father hires more
panthans to hunt you, two swords are better than one and I am already a
soldier by my nation’s laws and my own history. So, again, I ask
you to teach me to fight with a sword. There may come a time when
you will need me with that skill.”
Tor Tal tried to argue because women on Barsoom don’t fight but eventually
I won him over and in addition to language lessons, came fencing.
I was an apt learner as the sword isn’t unknown on Drakonis and many are
the soldiers who come to us from Terra with blade-experience such as Marcus,
our greatest hero, who had been a Roman Legionary before Colonizing.
Martial Arts training included the sword but we don’t use swords in war,
we reserve them for ceremony and duels but peasants like myself rarely
even own a blade larger than a carving knife.
It was a couple of days later that we found a small oasis. This
had real water for bathing, trees and was a paradise in the desert.
I could well believe the joys my grandparents felt when they found the
one in the Rub al Kali that led them to Gaea and I gave my thanks to all
the Goddesses of Islam, Judiasm and Drakonis.
And so for three days we bathed, and rested and enjoyed our respite.
Even my companions began to hold hands before me for they realized that
I wouldn’t be shocked at this display. I suspect that their mutual
attraction never went further than a brief kiss or her laying in his arms
as they talked though I didn’t understand why he didn’t just throw her
to the ground and enjoy each other but Barsoomian custom was their law.
“Goddess! I HAVE to find a way home where I can get a decent hot shower,
a hot meal and even hotter man.”
As I lay there, cranky and irritable from some unimportant thing that
made me angry, I tried to calm down by watching the motionless trees and
the blue sky for the dust had settled and the sky changed colour, we heard
the squeal of thoats.
I grabbed my weapons and met Tor Tal who said, “visitors” and pointed
to the east. Taria brought the thoats and we prepared to run or fight
as the situation warranted when four men rode into our oasis. At
first we just stared at each other when one demanded, “What do you with
the Oasis of Ted Halor, Jed?”
Tor Tal explained that we were lost and trying to return home when they
interrupted. “All who enter our lands do so as slaves or corpses,
which are you?” and they laughed at his wit. Tor Tal was about
to jump them when one of the men said, “Dwar, these people aren’t enemies,
just wanderers. Perhaps we should show them courtesy as a guest and
help them on their way.”
This was seen as weakness by his fellows who then demanded our surrender.
“We are four and you but one warrior and a deformed animal who thinks she
is a man.” He said as he looked at my weapons and tail.
Although we Draconans are a polite race (you must be when an insult
could result in a duel to the death), I tried to remain calm even though
I wanted to rip his tongue out. He was right, we were outnumbered
and peaceful talks are always the first step. But Tor Tal laughed
and said, “If you want us, take us!” and he drew his long sword.
The four charged him so I said, “Damn!” drew my own sword and rushed
to his aid.
The one who asked for mercy held back a moment then joined his fellows.
I think it was more loyalty than anything else that did this but Tor Tal
quickly killed his first opponent and faced the remaining three when I
entered the fray. I killed one immediately, more by accident than
by design and then we each faced a single opponent. Tor Tal dispatched
his after a fight that left him bleeding from a half-dozen cuts.
But I tried a different tact. I couldn’t hope to match his skill
so I simply used my superior strength to beat his blade down then punched
him with my free fist. He went down unconscious but still alive.
As Taria rushed to care for her lover, I bound the unconscious man and
stripped the rest of their possessions then dragged the bodies away from
the oasis and into a crevasse where the scavengers would find them or we
could bury them, according to the wishes of my companions. I wasn’t
certain about our prisoner as we Draconans generally don’t take prisoners
during war. When we do, we prefer to run their brains through a blender
to extract information and toss the rest into the garbage. But I
didn’t know enough about Barsoomian chivalry to know if they would kill
or enslave or release our prisoner.
Tor Tal's injuries were slight and in a matter of moments he was up
and walking. He stared at our prisoner then shook his head and drew
his dagger. “I’m sorry, but you understand,” he told the bound man.
“At least do it quickly and with little pain,” the man replied.
As I said, I saw nothing wrong with such a casual murder of a helpless
man but suddenly I had an idea. “Hold, Tor Tal! A word if you please.”
He took this request graciously as no one enjoys murdering the helpless,
necessary as it must be and we walked away with Taria. “Let me have
him, please,” I asked.
“What for?” Taria asked. “He’s an enemy and tried to kill us for
no crime other than trespassing. Free him and he’ll bring his fellows
to kill or enslave us. His death, though unpleasant, is necessary.”
I tried to explain, “If he is to die, will you not grant him a last
joy?” They wore blank looks so I tried again. “Among my Terran
ancestors, a condemned man is given a last meal and sometimes a woman.
They felt that if a man must die, he should die happy. Can we not
do the same?”
Again, blank looks. “Our food and water is too limited to waste
on a man who will be dead soon enough.”
“OK then, I need him!” I cried. “Surely you’ve noticed how angry
I become lately over stupid things. I’m cranky, I cannot sleep, I
sneak away to self-pleasure a dozen times a day, I NEED a man or I’ll die!
If not him, I need you to service me.” I was crying now.
They were horrified of course as what I was advocating was that they
assist me in raping then killing that man. Murder they could do,
but rape was as alien to them as unmarried consensual sex. But I
pleaded and finally promised that I wouldn’t force him and if he still
refused me, I’d accept it and suffer. I also promised that I would
be the one to kill him saving Tor Tal the stigma of murder.
They finally and grudgingly agreed and strode away so they wouldn’t
have to see the deed done. I didn’t blame them as Draconan law was
cruel and swift to rapists. With prostitution legal and respected
and sexual freedom the norm, we had no word for forced sex so what I was
planning was illegal and immoral by even my own nations law and custom.
But I was desperate. And I hated myself.
I knelt before him and saw that he was awake. I suppose I was
learning to pull my punches. I smiled, moistened some of my silks
with water and wiped the blood from his face. “You know what we have
to do.” It was a statement, not a question and so he was silent.
What do you say to a person that you are about to violate then murder?
“You can see I’m not from this world.” He registered no surprise
as did Tor Tal and Taria which was curious. “My ways are not yours.
And among the people of my homeworld, we grant the condemned a last request.
Usually it’s a meal but other things have been given.”
“Why,” he sneered, “to try to eliminate the guilt you feel?”
“Probably,” I smiled again. “But in your case, I am willing to
offer you something special as your last memory, … me.”
His look showed that he had no idea of what I was saying. “Sex!”
I tried again. “I understand that your people are often virgins but among
my people sex is normal. I’m offering myself to you so you can die smiling.”
I started to remove the silk covering my breasts but realized that this
wouldn’t be the sexual signal we used so stopped.
He was to say the least, unconvinced. I suppose that no one had
ever made this offer to him.
“Are all you aliens that way?’ he asked with resignation.
“All? You mean that there are others here?”
“Of course, John Carter and Vad Varo and others from Jasoom. I
hear that occasionally someone from other worlds visits. What of it!”
I almost lost sight of my goal with this new information and wanted
to shake Tor Tal’s teeth out for withholding this information. I
now knew that I had to save this man and had an idea of how.
“Listen to me carefully. I have an offer and if you agree, I will
not only #fuck your brains out, but I’ll release you alive when we leave.”
Of course he didn’t know the words but the images I sent of us rolling
in a couple were very graphic.
He was shocked and filled with disbelief so I explained carefully.
“My people have a great need for sex. I’ve been celibate for almost
two months now and I am in misery for the want of a man. If I don’t
get sex soon, I’ll die a horrible death. You can solve that immediate
problem by #fucking me. I ask nothing other than your body and can
promise that you will enjoy the act as much as I do. In addition,
you have information that I need about these other alien visitors that
may help me return to my home. Plus, I and my companions will swear
by whatever oath you choose that we are not here to harm your Jed or nation
and we will leave your nation in peace by any route that you say.
I offer you this because I need you but mostly because from your actions
in trying to stop your people and leave us in peace, I can see that you
are an honourable man. What say you?”
“And why should I believe you?”
“Because you have no choice. If you agree, instead of killing
you, I will see that you are released unharmed. Think of it, your
life to continue serve your Jed, our promise to leave your nation and peace
He thought about it for awhile and then agreed, “Release me and I will
agree to your terms.”
There is no need to describe what we did then other than to say that
he was a willing pupil in the arts of lust and an hour later I felt much
better and he couldn’t have lifted a sword against us if he wanted to.
I lay there next to him playing with a leaf I had found thinking of…. Well,
I really wasn’t thinking at all. I just felt really relaxed and lay
under the light of both moons as they crossed orbits.
Later when I saw Taria Kolos and Tor Tal with Tulan in tow (he had eventually
told me his name), Tor Tal drew his sword again. “Hold!” I cried,
“We have a deal to make.”
Taria didn’t look at me at all. I guess thoughts of rutting animals
were flowing through her mind so I talked to Tor Tal who I hoped would
be easier to convince. “I found a way to avoid murder and make everyone
happy. We swear that we are not here to harm either his Jed or nation
and promise to leave as soon as possible. In return, Tulan here will
escort us to the nearest friendly nation and we let him live. Everyone
I could see that they were wavering for no sane man loves murder and
this would save all lives. Finally with little more argument, we
all drew our blades, Taria sharing Tor Tal's, and swore to the terms of
the deal, adding that we would not harm each other and would protect each
other until we reached another friendly city. That done, all relaxed
for the Barsoomian takes such an oath with great severity and dignity.
Taria was even willing to pretend to ignore my escapades so happy was she
with the agreement we made. We then returned to Tulan the possessions
of his companions and we four buried the dead according to the customs
of their nation.
Tulan and Tor Tal drew a map of the area in the dirt and discussed their
goals. It was unfortunate that the rifles of the Green Men had driven
his flyer off course and forced him to unintentionally cross this nation.
But Tulan showed us a nearby city where he felt that we would be received
in friendship and even hire a flyer to take us to Tor Tal’s original goal.
Taria and I kept out of these discussions. She because it is in the
nature of Red Women to allow their men to guide and protect them, I because
I had no goal other than to leave this world. And thus, we allowed
the men to rule our lives.
We, or rather they, made plans to gather water and food and use the
extra thoats as pack animals so we could leave on the morrow and he showed
us which oasis plants were edible so we managed to collect enough food
to last a month if need be.
As we prepared for sleep that last night, I approached Tulan and asked
him to share my furs for I was most anxious to repeat this afternoon’s
joys. He was taken aback by my suggestion but agreed with some embarrassment,
for what man would reject such pleasure after partaking of a woman’s honey,
and such was how I spent my last night in that pleasant place.
The next morning, neither Tor Tal nor Taria would look at either of
us and I figured it was because I tend to be noisy and thus reminded them
of my rutting ways. But then, when I saw them smile at each other
I knew that finally they had taken my example and broken that last barrier.
A Weir would have rushed over and asked for details but I knew she was
embarrassed enough and so gave her time though I was dying to tell her
about Tulan’s growing skills and to learn about Tor Tal’s ability.
I also wanted to find out about the other visitors to this world.
John Carter was a Terran name but Vad Varo was not so my initial thought
that Jasoom may be Terra seemed to be wrong. There was time to find
During our first lunch break I approached Tor Tal and asked “Tell me
about John Carter!”
He looked up and said easily, “John Carter is the Prince of Helium.
He came to Barsoom some decades ago from Jasoom and married the Princess
of Helium. His fame spread across the world for among his feats
was the uniting of a number of nations into one whole, making peace with
the Tharken Hoard and the overthrow of the false Goddess Issus. Vad
Varo was another from Jasoom who traveled the void to Barsoom. Why
do you ask?”
“Why didn’t you tell me about them when I asked you if there were others
like me here?” I demanded.
Taria chimed in, “Because there are none like you on Barsoom.
Neither John Carter nor Vad Varo resemble you, nor have I heard of anyone
from your planet Gaea upon the face of Barsoom.”
“But I told you that my grandparents came from #Terra,” I was almost
yelling at this time.
“Yes, Terra, John Carter doesn’t come from Terra, he comes from Jasoom.”
Said Tor Tal with infinite calmness.
The situation was so pitiful that it was funny and I fell to the moss
laughing my fool head off. All this time I had been using the Spanglic
word for ‘Earth’ which was ‘Terra’ and they were using the Barsoomian word
which was ‘Jasoom’ and it never occurred to me to confirm or translate
the names. And when I mentioned my parents, I never described them
as resembling more the Barsoomian than the Weir.
“I’m sorry,” I said because they were looking at me as if I were insane.
“All this time I described my parents and grandparents as #human but didn’t
tell you what a #human looked like or what #Terra meant. It’s all
my fault and could have been fixed if only I had thought a bit.
“Where do these people reside? I need to talk to them and find
out how to get to Jasoom. I’m certain that Star Fleet has a Stargate
on #Terra ... Jasoom, maybe a dozen which I can use to get home to Gaea.”
They told me that John Carter lives in Helium and Vad Varo in Amhor
and that we could send a message to both easily once we settled down safely.
Now I had even more reason to help my friends and a solution to my own
problem was right there in front of my face. All we had to do was
survive the desert, predatory carnivours, Green Men, gorthans, panthans,
starvation, thirst and hostile nations. All that couldn’t be harder
than telling my family that I had enlisted and was going to war but it
would be much easier than explaining to my father that I was no longer
Fortunately, with two men present, my fencing lessons improved dramatically.
Each had a different style and I learned that one had an offense that would
penetrate the other’s defense and both outdid themselves to compete in
The next two days were fairly repetitious. We would travel by
day, rest and eat at noon where I would continue with my fencing and language
lessons. After which we would travel some more then just before dark,
locate a place to sleep, eat our meal, fence more, then Tulan and I would
find a place where we would be alone and a few hours later to fall asleep
It was after one of our nicer sessions that I lay there under the furs,
for I still found the Barsoomian nights to be unbearably cold, that Tulan
began to stroke my breasts. Although my body reacted pleasurably
to his attention, I couldn’t help but wonder why? He always had to
force himself to touch my breasts for in his mind they were ‘deformities’.
“My lover,” I asked avoiding religiously the word ‘chieftain’ which
to the Red Men was an indication of eternal love or an engagement while
in reality, Tulan was just something to do at night, “What are you doing?”
“Playing. Don’t you like it?”
“Hmmmm, very much. But you’ve never liked them before no matter
how much I begged. Why now?”
“Because you are stronger and faster than me. I’m still a better
fencer but for no other reason than I have centuries of experience.
In a year or less you’ll be better than me at that too. So, this
is the only area where I can control you or be better than you. So,…”
again his stroke caused me to loose focus, “remember that here, at least,
I am in control.”
I don’t remember anything else that he may have said as he quickly demonstrated
a skill that I didn’t know he had. Unfortunately, as I said before,
I am quite noisy when .. enjoying myself and there were more people out
there listening than Taria Kolos and Tor Tal.
I was THAT close when Tulan was pulled off me. My immediate reaction
was to scream, “Not now, oh Goddess I need you now!!” But what happened
was the peal of guttural laughter struck my ears. I looked up and
saw Tulan being held in the grip of two Green Men and both Taria and Tor
Tal swearing as another couple Green Men held them prisoner.
I started to jump up to fight when I felt the barrel of a radium rifle
press against my head.
We were quickly bound with absolutely no gentleness as would be expected
of the Green Race, be they Green Men on Barsoom or Green Pirate in space.
Tulan made some demand and the nearest Green Man struck him a blow that
laid him on the ground then peal of laughter broke the night.
That night was a nightmare. We four were bound naked and left in the
open to freeze or not. As we huddled there together seeking the warmth
of our combined bodies though the Red Man seemed to tolerate the cold easier
than did I, the Green Men went through our belongings, tossing some, keeping
others. Eventually they fell asleep leaving a guard that regularly
checked our bonds thus making escape impossible.
After a sleepless night that left me feeling sick from the cold, we
were dragged up and tossed onto our thoats sans breakfast. Then the Green
Men hurried us across the desert at a breakneck speed that slowed only
when one of our thoats stumbled and fell, breaking one of his eight legs.
The Green Men stopped and took that time to torture the poor animal near
to death then remounted and left the suffering beast to die in agony.
The Green Men forced us to watch their cruelty and I had a flashback to
the time we captured that Green Pirate ship and saw what was in the hold.
The thought that they’d do that to us terrified me so much I felt pee running
down my legs. By the time night fell, we were back at the original
dead city and I was coughing up green slime. The cold, lack of food
or drink and exhaustion had given me pneumonia.
The Green Men simply laughed at me, then tossed us all into a deep pit
and left us in the darkness to await whatever fate they chose.
How long I lay there I don’t remember. I was feverous and couldn’t
breathe and coughed constantly. Finally I was able to tell my friends
how to pound on my back to free the phlegm, a task that they did almost
constantly as they took turns.
I know that I lost weight as when they finally dragged us from that
pit, I could barely stand and needed help to do even that. We were
all filthy and our only grace was that we hadn’t been tortured, only starved.
But now, we thought that the torture would come, but we were wrong.
We were dragged before a man who Taria recognized as her father, Kol
Fias. These then, must be the Green Men that he had somehow hired.
“Well, well, well,” gloated Kol Fias. “Daughter, I would have
given you everything but instead you ran away with this… thing that doesn’t
deserve a second name. And what is this .. creature?” he said pointing
Another coughing session ensued with me spewing more green slime down
my face and chest.
Kol Fias stepped back in disgust saying, “Take it away and do with it
as you wish. I thought I could sell it but the thing dies and is
useless to me.” And so I was dragged away leaving my friends to the not
so tender mercies of a madman.
The Green Men shoved a tube down my throat and forced some liquid into
my lungs and stomach, an action that caused me to nearly die from drowning.
Then they threw me into an empty room and left me alone. When the
sun rose, I was feeling much better, the liquid had cured my infection
but I was weak, hungry and thirsty but otherwise healthy.
I hoped that they did that out of mercy but when two of them returned
after sunrise, they said “Are you well? Good! Your agonies
will be more pleasing if you are healthy enough to last more than a zode.”
Then one grabbed my arm and started to drag me from the room. I am
a couple hand-spans under two meters tall and the Green Man was three meters
taller than I, but his crotch was at my head height and exposed so I collapsed
and before he could see what I was doing, I stood up quickly with fists
balled and drove my clenched fists into his testicles with all the strength
I could muster.
I didn’t kill him, weakened as I was, but I did cripple him for life
and as he dropped screaming in agony (all men are sensitive there), I pulled
his revolver from its holster and shot the second Green Man repeatedly
until he collapsed. The Fleet would have sent me cleaning the bilges
for wasting ammunition for we believe “one enemy, one bullet” and I used
maybe a half-dozen just then but I didn’t care.
I grabbed his canteen and leapt, or rather climbed and leapt for the
roof beams and hid as their companions entered. On a world of no
trees, the Green Men acted as a human would have and never looked up.
It wouldn’t have been difficult as the beams were only a few centimeters
above their heads and they could easily have found me had they tilted their
eyes a bit. But they looked around the floor then making comments
about my escaping the building, one ran to report to Kol Fias while the
other one searched the outside of the building.
I rested there for a bit drinking the water until I felt well enough
to move. Funny, a couple weeks ago I was naked, starving and hiding
from three Red men and today, I am naked, starving and hiding from four
Green Men in the same city. Does this not prove that the Horned God
has a really perverse sense of humor? I almost laughed but my chest hurt
too much to do more than breathe.
The Green Men killed their injured companion and left the bodies where
they were but both had been stripped so all I had was a half-empty canteen
of mantilia milk and a revolver with an unknown number of rounds.
Grasping a projection with tail and feet, I swung upside down and looked
out the barred window. The effort made me dizzy but I saw that the
area was deserted so I dropped to the mossy floor and peeked out the door
then windows. Satisfied that I was alone, I crept from the room and
sought the safety of the roofs. At least this time my skin was brown
and I no longer feared sunburn.
I couldn’t remember where Kol Fias was staying but I figured that if
this city had anything resembling a palace, he would be there. So
assuming that any government would be near the center of the city for safety
and efficiency, I headed in that direction via the rooftops. Eventually
I found the largest building there and once upon a nearby roof, I saw two
of the Green Men standing guard. I tossed a pebble and as one came
to investigate, I dropped onto his shoulders and with all my remaining
strength, twisted his head until the neck snapped. His companion
saw what happened and ran to stop me but I was holding the radium pistol
in my tail and, switching it to my hand, shot him dead.
Now I had killed four Green Men with two left to hunt.
I quickly, took a part of their harness and made a belt from which I
hung a holster and short sword and dagger. At least the Green Man
Short sword was the length of a long sword and the dagger a short sword.
Fortunately for me, unlike the Green Pirates, these were so emaciatedly
thin that their handles matched my hands easily. Perhaps the Green Men
had adapted to the low gravity so well that they had no need for large
musculature as did the Green Pirates who lived on a larger planet and so
must be larger and stronger to survive.
Regardless, I took whatever rations I could find and ran off before
my gunfire could bring assistance and hid upon another roof.
Resting there, I ate my fill of dried cheese and mantalia milk and planned
my next move. With two more Green Men to hunt, the numbers were approaching
my favour but these remaining would be on alert so killing them would be
much harder. Plus, I had an unknown number of Red Men in the employ
of Kol Fias with which to deal.
That was when I saw a large flyer lift off and fly away. Knowing
that my friends were aboard, I opened fire with my pistol and emptied the
chambers towards the aircraft hoping to damage it enough to force it down.
Unfortunately, the two remaining Green Men had located me and returned
fire. Fortunately for me, the roof edge protected me and their fire destroyed
the artwork near my head but missed me by millimeters and my only injury
were minor cuts from rock shrapnel. I ducked and crawled for safety
before they could reach a level that would reveal me to their rifles.
Now I had an empty pistol and was being pursued by two of the cruelest
race in the galaxy and I had no place to hide. I considered making
a bolas with my blades but using that would expose me to their fire.
So I jumped to the ground and ran for cover to the edge of the city.
I was lucky that the Green Man never walked when he could ride and so
their chase was slower than would be a Red Mans’. I easily outdistanced
them with my stronger muscles and even leapt across open spaces that were
some four meters wide. Eventually I was far enough ahead to change
my course. If the Green Men followed me, they would still be chasing
me to the edge of the city when I was really circling around and returning
to the center.
It wasn’t too long before I was able to locate the palace again but
a quick search revealed naught. I didn’t think that I would find
my friends but I was hoping for some useful gear. Almost by chance
I stumbled across the pit in which we had been imprisoned and on impulse
I tapped on the cover. Almost immediately I heard voices so I dragged
the lid off and found both Tor Tal and Tulan within.
Reaching down I was able to pull them to safety and warned them of the
Green Men. Tor Tal took my long sword and Tulan my short Sword leaving
me unarmed again but I didn’t mind for I was exhausted. Then we hunted.
Tulan’s plan was for me to lead the Green Men down a narrow alley where
he could be ambushed by the Red men. Tor Tal didn’t like this as
it exposed me to danger but I saw the wisdom of him plan for the Green
Men thought me alone and the Red men being hidden would be to our advantage.
Hopefully I could lead them one at a time.
So I crept out to seek the Green Men and when I saw one, I pretended
to stumble and ran away. He, of course followed and I was able to
lead him to my friends who immediately hamstrung their opponent then stabbed
him to death before he could recover.
Now we had another revolver and more swords so we spread out and shortly,
the last Green Man lay dead in the street.
We then returned to the palace and searched it until we found our harness
and gear and my companions filled me in with what had happened while I
Kol Fias had become angry with me and ordered me taken away and given
to the pleasures of the Green Men. Tulan had tried to attack them
but they beat him down and tossed him back into the pit while Kol Fias
gloated over Tor Tal.
“You fool,” he cried. “Think that such as you could oppose me!
It as I who set you free and it was I who tracked you down. Had it
not been for that deformed she-animal, I would have recaptured you earlier
but no matter, you are here and I will have my revenge.”
At that time Taria broke free from his guards and embraced her lover
declaring that no matter what, she would love only him. When Kol
Fias had her dragged back, she told him that she had loved Tor Tal in the
ways of a wife and that caused Kol Fias to again loose his temper.
He struck her and when she fell, he kicked her repeatedly. Tor Tal
tried to break free but he ordered him to be tossed into the pit as well
to be a plaything of the Green Men.
Long did Kol Fias rant and scream until exhaustion took him. Then
in the morning he had the pit uncovered and he gloated again. “Know
that you will suffer agonies under the tender mercies of the Green Men
that would give even me nightmares were I to remain to watch. But
I have business elsewhere and Taria and I leave you with the knowledge
that she will quickly forget your miserable existence. Farewell!”
And with those words, he had the pit resealed and that is all they knew
until I found them.
I told them of my attempts to damage his flyer and we all swore to travel
to the ends of the world to find and save Taria from her father. A vow
that none of us would break.
So together, we cleaned ourselves, replaced our harness and clothing
and after eating a simple meal, prepared to race in the direction of the
flyer knowing not if we would find the flyer crashed in the desert or have
to chase it back to his home.
While the men prepared for the trip, gathering food and water and as
much gear and weapons as they could find on the Green Man bodies, I took
a few of the mirrors from their pouches and set them in a wall. I
then stripped and didn’t like what I saw. Weir are not Human.
We don’t get very fat nor do we menstruate so the only sign of pregnancy
is usually when we eat constantly and put on hip fat. And that never
occurs before full maturity at 25. What little fat I did have had
quickly been toned down by the Fleet and that week on Sothis eating only
survival rations and what we could catch in the caves had used up the remainder.
My mother tried to over-feed me when I returned home to recuperate but
most of what she forced me to eat went to regenerating my ribs and lung
with little left over to make fat. Now the weeks of travel and hunger
on Barsoom, plus the improper proteins I was eating were taking their toll.
My cheeks were shallow, I could see my ribs and hips. Even my
feminine curves were now solid muscles with none of the softening that
is common in women.
Even my breasts were shrinking and sagging, a sure sign of starvation
for unlike human women whose milk glands are attached to their blood system,
Weir milk glands are tied to our breast fat which is different, more intensive
and nutritious, from body fat. This is why our breasts are so large
and firm as compared to humans. They have to be for it takes more
than five years to manufacture enough breast fat to support the milk glands
that feed a Weir baby. The fact that my body was desperate enough
to cannibalize fat reserved for nursing showed how badly I was suffering.
My ovaries and womb had probably shut down from starvation too and would
take years to recover. “Damn! If this doesn’t change soon,
I’ll be a teen until I’m 30.” My mother won’t like my reproductive
maturity stopping, “Why me?” she’ll whine. “It’s bad enough you Weir
can’t have babies until 25, now because of that stupid soldiering you insisted
on, you can’t give me grandchildren before 30! I’ll never live long
enough to play with my own grandchildren…” My mother can be a pain
in the tail-joint sometimes.
If this continued, I’d be dead of malnutrition within another month.
Well, that would save me listening to mother complain. The men had
to know what was happening to me even if it affected our plans to rescue
Again dressed in silks and harness, though now I wore them to hide the
ravages of my body, I found Tor Tal and Tulan already packed and ready
to go. Although they tried to rush me to mount the thoat, I took
a moment to investigate the supplies that they had packed.
“Hurry Ayiesha Penaut,” encouraged Tor Tal. “We have to catch
up with Kol Fias and Taria Kolos!” Even his thoat was picking up
his impatience and that made the beast nervous .
“No!” I said. “Not yet. We need more supplies.”
Tulan interrupted, “We travel light to travel fast.”
I just stared at them. How could I tell these, my friends and
lover on this world that I would die if we left now? How could I
place that burden on people who had abandoned their homes and lives for
Taria? How could I ask them to choose between us?
“I’m not Barsoomian. The Demons created my race for space travel,
not deserts such as this. I need twice your food and thrice your
water just to survive. The cold nights are freezing to me and the
only reason I can continue is the low gravity which is weakening my bones.
“Yes! We need to rescue Taria but she is safe for now. Despite
his anger, her father won’t allow her to die. So she is either on
the way home where she will be safe and can be rescued at our leisure or
she is on the sea bed surrounded by his personal guard. Either way,
she’s safer than we are and he won’t harm her or allow her to be harmed!
A father’s love for his daughter is one of the strongest forces in the
universe. I know because my own father has that love despite his
anger at me for the choices I made and that love would make him die for
me and my happiness. Despite Kol Fias’ anger, I saw that same father’s
love in his eyes. He will punish her, imprison her, insult her but
HE WILL NOT HARM HER nor will he allow her to come to harm!
“If we are to take her from his clutches, we need to arrive strong and
healthy and rushing across the desert eating and sleeping in the saddle
will weaken us to the point where we will be captured again.
“I suggest that we overload on food and drink and take our time so that
when we take her back, we do so with full strength. Tulan, where
is the nearest city where we can get a flyer? That should be our
They were taken aback for it isn’t the custom for a Red Woman to disagree
with her protectors and despite my strength and martial skill, their nature
was still to protect me because of my gender. They argued of course,
but finally saw the wisdom of my words and grudgingly, they repacked more
food and water while I stuffed myself with all that I could find to eat.
I even found a nest of Darseen eggs, that chameleon reptile I had earlier
killed, and using one of the Green Man’s mirrors as a pan, fried and ate
them all. By the time the men were ready to leave, I was stuffed
and asleep and they argued a moment about if they should wake me or let
me sleep. I guess that the wait faction must have won and as I rested
they searched the city for anything else that could be useful, reloaded
the revolvers and rifles, slaughtered one of the Green Men’s thoat and
dried and smoked the meat for the trip.
I must have been more exhausted than I thought for it was dark when
Tor Tal said to me, “It’s too late to leave now so we will go at first
light.. IF her majesty feels so inclined.” His sarcasm wasn’t lost
I smiled and told him, “I’m sorry that you are angry with me but please
do not think that I care not for Taria. In my own way I love her
as much as you do. Here, she is my sister and I am more than willing
to die to help her. But I am not as bound by passion as are you so can
think easier as to the best way to accomplish our goals.”
He softened at my words and allowed me to hug him but his gender wouldn’t
allow him to cry so I cried over Taria for him. And that is how Tulan
found us, me in his arms crying. Without a word, Tulan turned and
stalked off unnoticed by either of us.
I ate my fill again then sought my furs for more sleep but Tulan wasn’t
there. I assumed that he was on watch but my condition was such that
I was glad for a night of solitary sleep.
The next morning, we ate as the sun rose and left for Dusar which was,
they felt the closest safe city, a four day ride by thoat. There,
Tor Tal felt that we could somehow buy a small flyer, return to the dead
city and follow the course of Kol Fias’ flyer in case my pistol fire had
forced it to land before it reached Ptarth. If we couldn’t find the
flyer, we’d continue to Ptarth and plan the rescue/abduction of Taria Kolos
there. As Tor Tal had been a padwar in the service of Kol Fias, he
was intimate with the buildings and grounds and had friends within who
he was certain would help us. It wasn’t the desired plan of Tor Tal
but considering the situation, it seemed to be the safest and one with
the best chance for success.
Nothing was said on the ride the first day, we each being lost in our
own thoughts. But during the lunch stop, I insisted that my fencing
lessons continue which was unfortunate as in demonstrating a move, Tulan
drew blood from Tor Tal which caused him considerable glee for some reason.
We continued and that night as I prepared my bedding between some rocks
to bask in their daytime warmth, Tulan sat and asked,” Tell me about your
world, Ayiesha Penaut. You are so different from us, both in physical
design but also mentally. No woman of Barsoom would follow your actions.
None would be as .. sexual (here was he embarrassed) as you are nor would
they choose to be warriors.”
I smiled at this for I could see he was very uncomfortable. So
as I stripped and crawled into my furs, I explained. “Drakonis is
a Barony on the frontier of the Commonwealth. We protect them from
the Shitai but are not yet a member of the Commonwealth. We are large
by many standards for the Barony covers slightly more than four dozen star
systems and it takes light more than a century to cross our borders.
But we are under populated for the frontier was uninhabited before the
Baron forged our nation from the void. So the Colonial Service was
formed by the Devil who rules the political arm of our government as the
Baron rules the military and the Speaker rules the legal arm.
“Colonial haunts Jasoom seeking people who will fit in with our society,
people who can survive hardships and people who are willing to leave Jasoom
for a new life. So they haunt the byways of the various nations seeking
colonists. My grandfather was rescued from a death camp where he
was condemned for praying to a different god and not being “Arian” enough
for his nation. Another grandmother was rescued from slavers who
were about to sell her and so on. Each is given a description of
the Barony and offered a chance to immigrate. Those who say ‘nay’
are left to their own fate. Those who agree are taken to a Ram-ship
that is cloaked and orbiting the moon of Jasoom. There they spend
a year in transit learning our language, culture, religion and are prepared
for their new life.
“Once there, they are encouraged to inter-mix and inter-breed, which
is hard for some as they must now live next to people who were their enemies
or slaves on Jasoom but it works. While the mixing of your races
produced the Red Man, the mixing of ours is producing the Brown (I held
up my now darkly tanned arm to show this). Also, the first to Drakonis
had been abducted and engineered by the Demon Race to work in their star
ships and this was continued with us. A human colonist may bear human
children but those Gaean-born children will bear Weir like myself.
Thus at any time about one third of our population is Jasoomian-born humans
who moved to Drakonis, one third are humans born on Gaea or another of
the Draconan worlds and one third are Weir. Plus we have constant
visitors who are Mon, Kentauran, Demon, Dragon and a dozen other races.
So with all these races intermingling, equality by law must be enforced.
“My father is German-French and on Jasoom would have been forbidden
to marry my mother who was Arabian with African ancestry and so is not
‘white’. Upon Drakonis this marriage was accepted as the best way
and so was I born. But this equality also crosses not only race but
gender as well so women are expected to achieve the same as men.
Although the Baron and First Speaker are Male and Weir, the Devil is a
woman of Jasoom for such is our way to allow women to achieve their dreams.
And so although my mother’s family expected to marry me off young and virginal
to ally themselves with another family, I chose another path.
“But my options were limited. I could remain Peasant Class, marry
another peasant and spend the next few hundred years working on a farm
or ranch popping out a baby every five years. Or I could try for
Merchant Class and have headaches seeking more wealth. Or the Priesthood
and pray most of the time or the Warrior Class. You know the choice
I made. I, a peasant girl, can walk down any street in my Star Fleet
jacket with my combat stripes and people bow to me! Even the Devil
herself once gave me her seat in a restaurant and thanked me for defending
her nation. As a Warrior, I am respected and admired and honoured.
True, my life is harder and shorter than expected. As a peasant I
could easily live 500 years, a dozen times longer than my human parents
could imagine but as a Warrior, I’ll be lucky to live past a century.
But what a Century!”
“And lovers, Ayiesha, you take many of them?” he asked quietly.
Strange, although we had been lovers since we met, this was the first
time he used only my first name. “When the Demons engineered my race,
they enhanced all of our skills and senses. But Demons are reptiles and
never understood human passions. So these were enhanced as well condemning
the Weir to a life of sexual need. Humans can ignore their
sex drive though they enjoy the act as much as we do. But Weir cannot.
We NEED sex or we suffer. When a Weir looses their desire to seek
physical passion, we know we are dangerously ill. But neither do
we see any reason to deny our charms and bodies to one person for life.
Some do but most of us take our lovers as we wish. And marriage among
us can be complicated by many husbands and wives and lovers for we enjoy
the passions of both men and women. Although we enjoy the passions
of many partners, we do reserve our children to our husbands alone.
It’s a complicated situation that I’ll explain another day.
“Does it bother you overly much that you were not my first lover nor
will you be my last?” I asked. I knew that humans are possessive
towards women who they consider to be property but here, our physical relations
were a simple business deal and no romance existed between us.
Tulan made no comment other then he bade me a good night and left for
his own furs. I found this strange as he had shared mine since that
first night but was too tired to pursue the subject. And so I passed
the night alone and in deep sleep until they awoke me at sunrise.
It was late the next day while I was riding next to Tor Tal that Tulan
told us he was leaving. When we asked why, he replied, ”My home lies
that way. Taria is in no danger so you don’t need me.” Then he looked
at me and spat out, “Our ‘business deal’ is done!” and turned away.
I caught up with him, grabbed his reigns with my tail and demanded to
know what was wrong! He pulled away, so I tackled him and pulled
him form his thoat. “Tell me what’s wrong? It isn’t right for
you to leave us like this.” Our thoats had taken off and I saw from the
corner of my eye Tor Tal rushing off the catch them.
Again Tulan pulled away, “Taria is gone, you have Tor Tal, you don’t
need me obviously!”
“What the hell are you talking about?” I actually had to trip
him and toss myself onto his body, holding his arms with my hands and grasping
his legs with my tarsal feet to stop his struggles. Even though I
was much stronger than he, he continued to fight, “I know you love Tor
Tal! I saw you together in the city!”
I almost laughed at this revelation but forced myself to stop.
Men are sensitive creatures at times, sometimes more sensitive than are
“Of course I love Tor Tal. He’s my brother and Taria is my sister.
How could I not love my brother? Think you there is anything more
there? Tor Tal loves Taria so much he cannot see me as a woman.”
He stopped struggling then and asked, “truth?”
“Of course it is my lover.” I started to caress his cheek with
my tail. He always found this gesture uncomfortable but with us it
was a gesture of compassion and caring. “They are my brother and
sister. We have fought together, traveled together, suffered together.
Can any bonds of blood be closer than this?”
I couldn’t help it and began to cry then, “My mother almost died birthing
and nursing three Weir children. She’ll never give me a sister.
My true brothers are 10,000 light years away from here and gone forever.
Your planet is killing me with the cold and malnutrition! I’ll die
here soon and never see my family again. All I have is you and them,
my lover and my brother and sister. I can’t loose you too.”
He then wrapped his arms around me and comforted me as best he could.
I guess that then he realized that what he had seen in the city was no
different from this. Eventually I stopped crying and sat up, wiping
my eyes with my silks. “Don’t look at me, I’m all puffy and red and
must look a fright. Good thing I’m not wearing mascara or I’d look
like a #raccoon.” He kissed me then, not at all like a lover but
just the kind of kiss my father and brothers used to give me.
A sound caused us to look up and Tor Tal sat there on his thoat holding
the others. “Have you been there long?” asked Tulan.
“Long enough. We can take time to rest if you wish.” Tor
Tal then dismounted.
Tulan stood and embraced Tor Tal. “I’ve wronged you and Taria
and Ayiesha so much these past few days. My actions are unforgivable and
all I can say is that I was wrong. Please forgive my actions and
know that my life is yours and Tarias’ and I will serve you two even above
my own Jed if need be.” And with those words, he unbuckled his sword
and cast it to the feet of Tor Tal, an action that I understand was the
greatest honour a man of Barsoom can give.
Tor Tal returned the sword buckling it to Tulan’s harness saying, “I
know not to which you are alluding but on behalf of Taria Kolos and myself,
I accept your sword and swear to use it only for good.” That said
they embraced again for the Red Men of Barsoom are not bound by the constraints
of Terran Human males.
From then on our relationship changed. Tulan was more attentive
to me and my needs and Tor Tal treated me with much deference and never
ceased to make my life easier. I noticed that they always gave me
the best of our food and were always refilling my canteen whenever they
judged it empty which was often. Was this love? I believe so.
Tor Tal understood that I saw in him a brother I needed but no longer had
and responded in kind, loving me as his sister who needed his protection.
Tulan, … I couldn’t figure him out. I knew that marriage was out
of the question. I was Weir and he Barsoomian so the odds were that
we could never have children and I understood that on this dying planet,
men need children for whom to fight their enemies, the greatest of which
was the death of their world. With no one to pass their name and
land to, why should they strive so? I understood this for my
older brother knew that he would inherit the farm and family Clan position.
Father worked even harder than need be to give Eric a better life and farm
than he had inherited from his father. Men cannot birth babies so
they compensate by giving a better life to their children. But without
children, what could I give to Tulan that would satisfy this need?
Passion? Someday I’d find another man who raised those feelings and
would have to choose between my needs and desires and hurting Tulan.
No, he couldn’t love me as my father loves my mother. There was something
else and I needed to know what that was. In the meantime, I had no
problems with his physical attentiveness for he was becoming a very accomplished
and caring lover.
The ride to Dusar was generally uneventful. We saw a herd of wild
thoats cross our path, silent with their padded feet on the mossy desert.
Another time a banth moaned in the distance and we spent a couple hours
with rifles at the ready but we never saw the beast.
Evenings and meals were spent with my brother and lover increasing my
sword skills and I, in turn, teaching them what I could of the unarmed
martial arts of Jasoom and Drakonis for they were impressed at how easily
a smaller opponent could use a larger man’s leverage against them to throw
or disarm them. Although not a Black Belt, I did have much dojo time
for the Fleet requires constant unarmed combat skills for all as exercise
and a final fight when weapons are exhausted.
And of course, the nights were spent in the arms of Tulan who often
would hold me until I fell asleep. I often wondered at this attention
but enjoyed it too much to risk with questions.
On the fourth day we saw Dusar in the distance. A walled city
with aircraft here and there it was still hours away and I was anxious
to see a real living city after the ruins of my former imprisonment.
Halfway there we saw a man grazing a herd of thoats and the sight reminded
me so much of my uncle Mohammad grazing his rundis that I almost cried
with loneliness. Despite their opinions on a woman’s place, my grandparents
and uncles and aunts did love me and many were the hours when I’d sit with
my cousins watching the sheep and rundis in the fields or the dragonets
playing about the skies.
Tulan saw my tears and approached to hold my hand. So tender was
his gesture that I kissed his palm, folded his fingers together and pressed
his hand against my cheek. The herder stopped and watched our approach.
I could see that his revolver was loosened in its holster but otherwise
he was relaxed for Red Men do not take their women to war.
“Koar!” called out Tor Tal. “We are travelers seeking to
sell our thoats and buy passage to Ptarth. Can you help us?”
The herder stared at me for a moment (I was almost getting used to this)
then noted how Tulan and I were holding hands and turned his attention
to our thoats. He rode around them and inspected each casually, both
the ones we rode and the ones carrying our supplies then commented, ”Rode
long, needs fattening and rest. No, I’m not interested but perhaps
Darthis on the Avenue of the Red Moon may be interested. You won’t
get much for them though. Not in this condition. Take the main
gate, third right and follow your nose.” And with another look at
me, he turned and returned to his herd.
Some kilometers before we reached the city, a squad of armed guards
approached us, demanding our business and origins. After explaining
that we were travelers and giving our names and cities (the guards eyes
never seemed to leave me) we were escorted into the city and taken to the
Dwar in charge who bade us leave our weapons on a table and sit.
Offering us drink he questioned us for what seemed like hours as to our
names, cities, destination, reasons for being in Dusar and such.
When he asked these questions of me and I told him that I was a visitor
from another world and how I arrived on Barsoom, he simply commented, “Another
one. If this keeps up there will be more aliens on Barsoom than Red
He then asked where we were staying and when Tor Tal said that we had
no idea and asked for an inexpensive hostel, the Dwar recommended one nearby
and informed us that if we moved, we needed to inform him so he could update
his records. Then, satisfied that we weren’t an army seeking to conquer
his city, he bade us take our weapons and leave.
I wasn’t happy with this treatment as on Gaea no police would treat
a guest in that manner but Tulan and Tor Tal said that this was normal
for all cities on Barsoom. Spies and warfare being common, the military
took no chances. Understanding, but still not happy I grudgingly
accepted their explanation though no Draconan would be suffered as was
we. At home I’d demand he be fired or piked for ‘wearing his badge
on his dick’ as we say of overly exuberant civil servants. But, I
wasn’t on Gaea and my first experience with Barsoomian civilization wasn’t
as I hoped.
The city, however, was fascinating and unlike anything I had seen before.
Draconan cities tend to be small to ease crowding and sanitation.
In fact, Caer Cyprian, the Capital of the Barony and largest city in the
Barony was less than 5000 people and half of those tourists or business
transients. Caer Bridget, the city near my father’s farm was only
500 people with another thousand supporting farmers and ranchers surrounding
it. But Dusar… This city was amazingly huge. There must have
been over a million people here, buildings that rose a hundred stories
high, air craft zipping between the buildings and ground cars and thoats
all over the place. And all crowded between walls that were made
for defense against Green Men on thoat-back or foreign aircraft.
No Draconan city is walled nor do we have soldiers on duty walking the
streets as they do here for it is my job in the Fleet to keep any enemies
as many light years as is possible from the Barony. I’m afraid that
I was so fascinated by the city and it’s sights that I never noticed that
I was a sight myself. I think I must have said “I’m sorry please
excuse me,” to a hundred people that day for accidentally bumping them
as I looked at some sight or another.
Eventually Tulan managed to locate a store that bought used weapons
and such and we sold most of our gear and the weapons we took from the
bodies of the Green Men. Kol Fias had taken what money we possessed
and whatever pay he gave the Green Men in his employ wasn’t cash so the
only money (the Barsoomians called it pi which were oval coins) we had
was from the sale of our gear which wasn’t much. Then we found Darthis
by literally following our noses for the Street of the Red Moon was in
a poorer section of the city and sanitation wasn’t up to normal Barsoomian
or Gaean standards.
Tor Tal argued with Darthis about the thoats and their value while I
looked over his stock. Being a farm girl, I wanted to be able to
tell my father about this and besides, you can take the girl from the farm
but you can’t take the farm out of the girl. I had no idea of how
to judge thoats for we raised rabbucks and rundis and sheep and my only
experience with horses was an uncle who raised Arabians and camels so thoats
were an unknown matter. Tulan helped me out by pointing out what
to look for, which thoats were better than others and how the colouring
could indicate dietary problems. He also pointed out that although
thoats were primarily grazers who lived off the moss that covered the planet,
they did occasionally need meat and were capable of catching and eating
small animals. “You can see that these are not the best quality thoats
so we won’t get much for ours. Darthus must cater to the poorer classes
who cannot afford a decent mount so he can’t afford to give us what ours
are worth.” Explained Tulan.
Eventually Tal Tor approached in an angry mood and took us away.
“The man is a thief!” he complained which was a strong insult because theft
is almost unknown on Barsoom. “If we had time, I’d bury him in a
pile of thoat dung and seek a better dealer.”
By then it was getting late and carrying what gear we didn’t sell, we
proceeded to the recommended hostel which, it seemed, catered mainly to
foreign visitors. I suppose that the army wanted all potential trouble-makers
in one place. Tor Tal was settled in a dormitory with a dozen other
beds and guarded by an armed guard to prevent assassination or fights.
He simply tossed his personal belongings onto the bed and walked out with
no fear of theft. But as they thought Tulan and I were married (I
convinced him to allow them to believe what they would) we were given a
small private room on another floor with another armed guard in the hall.
This fear the Barsoomians had for assassins concerned me and I resolved
to sleep with a revolver under my pillow and very lightly. Then we
sought the cafeteria on the main floor and had my first real meal since
I arrived on this planet.
The meal was roasted thoat basted in some sauce that I found acrid and
almost uneatable but by scraping most of it from the meat, I was able to
eat the steak. There were also some vegetables in cheese sauce that
I found tasty and a dark bread that was covered with fruit jam that I loved.
We also had a bottle of sweet wine and water with a pastry for dessert.
I ate until I couldn’t move and Tulan laughed “Another meal like that will
break us financially.”
Then I was shown the baths which were segregated by gender but common
for women and I bathed in hot water for the first time in what seemed like
years. While relaxing in the hot water, I was surrounded by the other
women who stared at my naked body and talked quietly among themselves.
Finally, opening my eyes, I observed they who observed me. All were
like Taria in that they were copper-skinned with long wavy black hair.
All were very attractive but none had breasts larger than a small b-cup
and most were smaller. All appeared to be around my age but that
was because Barsoomians mature at 40 but look much younger and cease to
age until almost 900 years old when the time they deferred catches up and
they age rapidly. Thus I could not tell if my observers were 20 or
200 or 900 years old. Come to think of it, didn’t Tulan once mention
that he was 500 years old? Hmmm, quite spry for such an old guy.
I relaxed again wishing that he were here to share my bath with some chocolate
Eventually I called a greeting to my other bath-mates and said, ”I understand
your curiosity so come over and ask what you will and let us be friends.”
They gathered around and began to toss questions and comments faster
than I could answer: “Such beautiful blue hair, is it natural or
do you colour it? Your breasts are so huge, is that normal or are
you diseased? Where are you from? Are you married? Is
your husband like you? I’ve never seen such a skin colour.
You have eyes like a sorak, can you see in the dark? How did you
get that burn scar on your arm and ribcage? You are a soldier?
How can that be? Can you use your feet as hands? Does your
tail drag on the ground? Why do you have antenna? You were
a farmer’s daughter, do you miss your family? Why did you come to
Barsoom? Why are you in Dusar? You are only 12 (Barsoomian)
years old and are a soldier and married? Does your husband worry
for your safety?” and so on. Eventually someone brought in
a number of wine bottles and dinner so the night wasn’t a total loss.
But finally I was shrinking like a prune and was stuffed again and half
drunk and begged off, saying that I’d return in the morning for another
bath (I really didn’t want to leave the hot water) but my husband was waiting
for me. And so I dressed in freshly cleaned silks and harness and
returned to my room to find Tulan almost asleep. “I had the most
wonderful bath just now and could have died happily in that tub. So how
are you this fine evening?” I asked as I crawled under the furs and snuggled
next to my lover.
He replied that Tor Tal had an idea on how to get to Ptarth on our limited
budget and was making plans to rescue Taria, plans he’d tell us in the
morning and then he kissed me gently.
Laying next to Tulan thus, I decided to try something new. After
all, this was our very first time in a bed. I took his hand
in mine and showed him the pads of the distal phalanges. “See these?
All of these little whorls on your finger-tips are to allow extra nerves
to make your fingers extra sensitive. That’s how you can touch a
wall and find a crack invisible to the eye. But they have other uses too.”
I softly licked his finger pad with the tip of my tongue and he shuddered.
“Their sensitivity makes them very sensual too,” then I slowly slid my
lips around his finger and gently sucked his finger into my mouth, all
the time keeping eye contact for the eyes are the window to the soul and
speak volumes. As I slowly slid my lips up and down his finger, I
continued to tease the pad with my tongue. When I was done and he
was weak from the pleasure, I moved to the next finger and repeated my
soft, slow ministrations.
I never made it to the third for he moaned, threw me down and raped
me. It was fast and violent and didn’t last more than a couple minutes
but it left me exhausted and oh so satisfied.
We lay there with him on top of me, still within me and I stroked his
back with my hands and his cheek with my tail as lovers will sometimes
do. This relationship was getting far too serious and needed to be
stopped before I hurt him. I still planned on leaving Barsoom for
home and he was feeling for me that which he should reserve for his future
wife. But he smiled at me and took my tail in his hand and did to
my tail what I had done to his fingers. I moaned a bit and he smiled
some more. Human het-boys rarely were comfortable doing that.
Something about a tail resembling a penis… but Tulan seemed to not mind.
He licked my tail tip softly… gently… then he softly kissed the tip with
wet lips… licking the… Shit! This time I raped him. It
lasted a bit longer with me on top but it was just as fantastic as before.
Laying there, next to my lover, gently caressing his stomach muscles,
I wondered if this would be as wonderful in the future as it was now and
if we did have a future. Somehow the thought of leaving scared me
so I held him tight, wrapped his arms around me and fell asleep listening
to his heart beating.
The next morning Tor Tal woke us and told us that he had sent a message
to some friends in Ptarth for money. With all we could sell, we were
still far too short of funds to rent transport to Ptarth so unless one
of us had an idea… I thought of all the ways a ways a woman could
make a lot of money fast and rejected them all. I really didn’t want
to be chased from Dusar by a police flyer so we went to breakfast.
I noticed that I wasn’t gaining weight but neither was I loosing any more.
During our meal, Tor Tal gave us his plan and in the absence of anything
better, we bowed to his superior knowledge of Ptarth and the grounds of
Kol Fias. I did see one big problem with the plan though. If any
of us killed Kol Fias, Taria would hate us forever for murdering her father
regardless of the reason. Yet, if we left him alive, he would chase
us down forever. There didn’t seem to be any answer.
I insisted that I wanted another bath saying, “I could die here in a
hot bath, a full stomach and my love next to me and be happy.” They
didn’t want to wait but frankly, never get between a woman and a hot bath
so they decided to refine their plans, check on the status of their money
and transportation and left me to my devices.
When I was again immersed in hot water, I was surrounded by more women
asking more questions. They were fascinated by a world where oceans
of water covered one half the surface, trees were as tall as their highest
buildings, cities without walls, a nation that had spread to the stars
and women who had the same power as men. I spent a pleasant hour
bathing and talking girl-talk when I noticed one woman applying cosmetics.
“I’d kill for a decent lipstick! Two years in a battle cruiser chasing
pirates and fighting Shitai makes a girl forget that she’s a woman.” I
said which immediately caused the production of cases of make-up of all
kinds. From then on I was in paradise. We tried various combinations
until I found one I liked, simple, subtle and discrete. The Barsoomian
women who go practically naked don’t cover their entire faces as do Terran
people for if they did, they’d have to apply make-up to their entire body.
Thus Barsoomian cosmetics are to cover blemishes and accent the important
parts like their eyes, lips, nails and surprisingly enough, nipples.
They also thrust upon me jewelry for my ears, neck, arms, wrists, ankles
and harness. Although Weir cannot pierce our bodies or tattoo (we
heal too fast) we do enjoy glued or clipped jewelry and decorate our hair
with glitter, flowers and sometimes living flutterbys, though the latter
are usually party enhancements. What they could not do is decorate
my tail for anything they hung upon it would simply fall off.
Also one of the women called for two slaves with needle and thread and
almost before I knew it, my worn silks had been replaced by a very comfortable
and incredibly attractive bra and skirt. By the time they were done,
I felt like a real woman for the first time in years.
I walked out of the baths to find Tor Tal and Tulan waiting for me.
Of course, their jaws dropped and my new image so I turned about, curtseyed
and said with a demure smile, “You like?”
Tulan gasped and said, “You are the most beautiful woman in the universe!”
Well, I knew that it wasn’t true but I appreciated the thought anyway.
Since we had to wait for the funds to arrive from Ptarth, we went sight-seeing
and eventually Tor Tal turned into a building he had been seeking.
“Here, Ayiesha, may be your salvation.”
Salvation? A Stargate? Or someone from Terra or Gaea who
knew how to get me home? But it was neither. What we found
was a doctor’s office. “What’s this?” I asked of my brother.
“You said that you were dying and your appearance shows the truth of
your words, yet you were willing to spend your last months of life not
seeking rescue or life but assisting me to rescue Taria. What love
could be stronger of more noble. So I thought about your problem
and spent last night searching for an answer. Perhaps this doctor
can help. He is the best in the city and agreed to take your case
for the knowledge it would bring.”
What could I do but to hug and kiss him for his efforts. He was
desperate to find his lover and reunite with her yet he was willing to
take time to try to help me out. If it were possible, I loved him
all the more at this minute.
The doctor, like all Red Men looked 30 but could have been 800.
He bade me enter his office and strip then sit down upon the table.
As I did so, his attention was drawn to my breasts, which had sunk far
from their earlier glory. Despite my tail, feet and antennae, all
Red Men and Women were fascinated by my chest. I think that it is
because in a world of flat-chested women, anything more than a mouthful
was considered overly excessive. I tried to put myself in their place.
What if my father had suddenly possessed cloven hoofs, antlers, spines
along his back and purple skin. I would be curious but these were
just additions to a body. BUT, expand his eyes to the size of a platter.
Would I even notice the rest of his body or would my attention be drawn
to those obscenely huge eyeballs? Once again I wondered how Tulan
could bear to touch me.
The doctor had me explain to him my anatomy, biology and evolutionary
history as he did what doctors do best. He poked and prodded, took
samples of my blood and lymph fluids. Had me pee in one cup and spit
in another. He measured my heart beat, temperature and brain waves.
He spent time investigating my tail and feet, its muscles and joints and
having me pick up small objects and testing its grip. He was also
endlessly fascinated by my eyes, shining a flashlight into them and watching
the vertical slits open and close according to the light he projected.
He cut some hair from my head and scraped some skin from my arm and tongue
then told me to return in a few hours so he could look over the results.
All in all, the only places he didn’t poke were my vagina and anus, for
which I was profoundly grateful.
When I exited the office, I found Tulan and Tor Tal pacing in nervousness.
I’d seen fathers awaiting the birth of a first child more relaxed.
“How are you feeling?” “What did he do?” “Are you going to be well?”
were the questions fired at me. I tried to answer but what could
I say? Time will tell so we returned to our room to make certain
that we had our plans well rehearsed.
It was after dinner that I returned to the doctor and this time he brought
all three of us in to talk. “Fascinating case. Even Ras Thavas
will be jealous of me when he reads my monograph on you. You have
an incredible body and you say it was created by another alien people from
Jasoomian race? Fascinating!”
“As I can see you only have two problems. First you are suffering
from malnutrition because your body needs certain nutrients that don’t
exist in our food. Second you are being poisoned by enzymes in our
food that your body cannot tolerate. For the first, I will give you
#vitamins to take and a list of special foods to eat to replace those missing
nutrients. For the second, I want to flush your liver of the toxins
and restrict your diet to prevent toxic food shock. Even then, you’ll need
your liver flushed every month or so. After this, you should be fine
and even gain back some of that lost weight.”
I was weak with relief. This morning I was going to die in a month,
now I would live! All that would make this day perfect would be seeing
Taria on the street. I was so happy I grabbed the doctor and kissed
him full on the mouth. He was startled but understood that the reaction
of a person who had been given a new life.
VI: ON TO PTARTH
We all were so happy, now that my problem was solved, we could focus
all our attention on rescuing Taria. But when we visited the Merchant’s
Guild for Tor Tals’ money we were told that Kol Fias had managed to freeze
his account and no money could be rendered until the problem was fixed.
Tor Tal was crushed. So close and yet so far. And we all knew
that Kol Fias would be sending gorthans to assassinate us immediately.
For all we knew they were already in Dusar. We then decided to do
the unthinkable. We would gather our few possessions and proceed
to the rooftop where we planned to steal a flyer and to hell with the Dusar
We were crossing the lobby when Tor Tal whispered to Tulan, “See him?”
Tulan whispered back, “The one in black harness by the door! Kol
Fias hasn’t been idle. We take him in the hall upstairs.”
I knew that if we killed his assassin, Kol Fias would simply send another
so as we reached the elevator with the gorthan in tow, I screamed, fell
to the floor and grabbed my ankle. Immediately we were surrounded
by guests and employees who showed great concern for my ‘twisted’ ankle.
“Slaves, carry her to her room!” ordered the manager and we moved upstairs
under a blanket of numbers. The gorthan, of course, faded away for
murder is an occupation best done alone in secrecy.
In our room, I whispered to Tor Tal and Tulan, “I’m ok, but if we kill
this one, we could be injured and Kol Fias would simply send another.
But if we appear helpless and remain here, the gorthan will wait around
for us and that will buy is time. Tor Tal, return to your room and
take only what you need, leave the rest to appear as if we are remaining
in this place. Tulan, you do the same with our gear then both pretend
to take me to the doctor but instead we will rush to the hanger and leave
Dusar in a stolen flyer.”
“You little #minx,” whispered Tulan, “Are all Weir as devious as you?”
“Only the women, my love, hurry!”
“Then the universe is doomed,” he smiled, then to Tor Tal he said loudly,
“Go to your room and fetch bandages. We’ll carry her to the doctor
upon your return.”
I and Tulan carefully collected our important gear and waited for Tor
Tal. When he did, he wrapped my ankle and we had two of the employees
help carry me from the building and to the doctor. Tulan whispered
“Is he following?” to which Tor Tal replied, “No, he is sitting in the
lobby watching the door. I think we are safe for now.”
When we reached the doctor, Tor Tal released the helpers telling them
that they two would carry me inside. Once we were alone, we quickly
ran around the building and down the alley seeking a building with a hanger
on top. We took the elevator to the roof and Tor Tal and Tulan began
to look over the flyers commenting on the best size and design to achieve
our goal. Finally they chose one near the dock and were preparing
to attack the man cleaning the flyer and steal the craft when I stepped
forward and called out, “Excuse me, noble sir? Is this your flyer?”
He looked me over before he responded, “Yes, why do you ask?”
I glanced to see Tor Tal and Tulan shocked and speechless and lost as
to my actions. “As you can see, I’m not a native of this world.
But I’ve heard that both John Carter of Helium and Vad Varo of Toonol are
from Jasoom which is where my grandparents are from. So I thought
that if I could talk to either of them, they could help me get back home.
And I was wondering if you would be willing to sell this flyer to me?
That is,” I smiled again, “If it will reach either place?”
He was indignant. “This is the best flyer in Dusar. Do you
have any idea of how well I’ve maintained this craft?” He then went
into a very technical description of the flyer and what it could do, a
description that I found to be completely unintelligible. But ask
a man about his work, his vehicle or his sex life and he’ll talk your ears
off. So I smiled at him, pretended to understand and followed him
around and when he ran out of words, I asked him how much?
He gave me a number that I couldn’t tell was high or low but when I
glanced at Tor Tal past him, I saw him shake his head ‘no’.
“I’m sorry, but that seems a bit high. Of course she is a beautiful
craft and you’ve taken excellent care of her but can’t you drop the price
a bit?” Had he been human, I would have leaned over and given him a detailed
glance of my breasts but instead I removed the comb from my hair and shook
loose my tresses. His eyes popped and he made another offer, to which
Tor Tal nodded ‘yes’.
“That sounds fair but there is one problem… I have no money.”
Before he could respond I rushed on, “But I am willing to trade if you
are willing?” I removed the heavy gold arm band that covered my plasma
scar, a gift of one of the ladies in the bath. Then seeing Tor Tal
motion for more, I added the comb and a bracelet.
The man looked at them both, examined them closely and said, “Lady,
I am sympathetic to your needs but my flyer is worth a bit more than these.”
I sighed and asked, “I miss my family so very much, what do I have that
I can offer in trade?” I could see Tulan becoming angry and fingering
his short sword. I needed to finish this now before someone got killed.
He looked, me over with a greedy look and staring at my chest, pointed
and said, “Those three jeweled broaches on your harness will do.”
I didn’t even look at Tor Tal but smiled, removed the jewelry and handed
them to him. As beautiful as they were, their value to me was minor so
I gladly sacrificed them. I then took him by the arm and led him
to the roof edge and asked, “So, can you tell me which way to Helium and
Toonol and which is closer.” I hoped that Tor Tal and Tulan would
have enough sense to climb aboard the flyer and hide as I distracted the
After getting directions, I asked him to tow the flyer to the edge of
the roof and then climbed aboard and sat in the pilots chair and pretended
to look over the controls as Tor Tal, who was laying on the deck out of
sight, actually started the engine and prepared it for flight. Then
as the slaves released the tow-bar, Tor Tal lifted the flyer and once we
were high enough, took over the controls.
“Aim for Toonol and when we are out of sight of Dusar and are certain
that we aren’t being followed, turn for Ptarth.” I smiled then kissed
him on the cheek. Then I sat next to Tulan, took his hand in mine
and observed the ground rushing below.
While thus pleasantly passing time, Tulan asked, “Why did you do that?”
I looked at him and replied, “Because, my lover, had you stolen this
flyer, you would have had to kill or injure that man. If the former,
the navy would be chasing anything in the air. If the latter, he
would describe this flyer and the Dusar navy would be after us along with
that assassin. My way, if anyone finds out, they will assume that
we split apart with me going to Toonol and you two still in Dusar.
Now we have a flyer, no one is hurt and we have a head start on the gorthan.
Did I do wrong?”
Tor Tal laughed and said, “Perhaps we should let Ayiesha plan our abduction
of Taria Kolos. So far her plans have worked better than ours.”
A few hours later Tor Tal slowed the flyer and prepared to land.
“What’s happening?” asked Tulan?
“There is a caravan having lunch below. Perhaps we could purchase
some replacement gear from them, not to mention lunch… IF, my lady would
care to donate some more of her jewels to the cause?” Tor Tal smiled
as he said this and this time I wasn’t able to detect any hint of sarcasm
in his voice, only respect.
“All that I have has but one goal, the rescue of my sister, your love.
Take them all with my blessings.” And I began to remove the jewels
from my harness, then my necklace which I looked at fondly, then my rings
and bracelets and ear rings until I had a pile of gold and jewels for the
men. Tor Tal took the collection, kissed me on my cheek and landing,
asked me to remain in the flyer while they made their deals. After
they left, I loosened my revolver and long sword in their sheaths and,
leaning against the rail of the flyer, lay my chin upon my folded arms
and watched this caravan. It was mostly composed of multiple large
wagons being pulled by elephantine zitidars. There was also a troop
of panthan cavalry keeping watch. What wonders existed on this world
of contradictions. Aircraft and explosive firearms mix with swords
and thoats. High medical technology and slavery. An entire
world at war with itself and with nature and no one making an effort to
unite the nations in peace to save the planet. Had they turned their
science to space travel, they could move ice from the outer planets into
low orbit which would create rain and fill the seas once again. Instead
they wasted valuable resources and men on wars for reasons I could not
After awhile the men returned and Tor Tal lifted off to continue our
journey to the woman he loved. Tulan handed me a basket within which
was a bottle of wine and “Lunch! You are so wonderful!” I cried,
but that was nothing compared to what he did next. He opened his
purse and removed some jewelry. “My favorite pieces!” I cried.
And there were my necklace, earrings and favorite ring and bracelets.
I stared, “You were supposed to use these to buy our gear for the
rescue of Tavia!”
Tulan replied smiling, “We bought everything we needed and more and
still were able to save these for you. Your friends in the bath were
overly generous. We appreciate your willingness to give what you
have even though it will leave you penniless on a strange world.
So we did what we could to save you, at least, something that you like
and something that is more beautiful and valuable for having touched your
I think I would have married him right there had he asked. Damn!
Leaving him is going to kill me. But as much as I loved him, as much
as I believed that Tulan loved me, I was scared for our future for I could
not give him children and eventually he would expect me to remain a housewife
as he went to war which was unbearable, so I just went into his arms and
let him hold me.
I was asleep in the small cabin when the flyer once again came to a
stop. I could hear the men being hailed and from the responses of
Tor Tal and Tulan to the questions I assumed that we had been stopped by
the Navy of Ptarth. Leaving my weapons, jewelry, bra and skirt behind,
I crawled out into the open wearing nothing but the harness of a Barsoomian
woman. There was a line attached to our ship and I could see that
were the Navy Cruiser to simply move ahead, they could roll our flyer and
toss us to the ground below. One of the Ptarthan officers who was
about to board our flyer stopped and stared at me. Then he completed
his boarding and questioned me, “And you, lady, your story?”
I lowered my eyes to his feet, clasped my hands before my belly and
replied, “Noble Captain, I am a visitor to your world, lost and alone save
for my protectors here. I am seeking knowledge from those others
who have come to your world and may help me return to mine. Your
great city is a stop upon that journey.”
“What of your papers? None of you have anything to support your
story.” He demanded.
“Great sir,” I tried to be as helpless as I could. “I am but a maiden
of… (I did some quick mental conversions) 11 Barsoomian years who arrived
upon your cruel world but weeks ago, naked and alone. Days of hardship
and hunger later I was saved by my protectors here (I smiled in their direction)
who have ever striven to keep me safe and return me to my mothers’ loving
arms and my fathers’ protection. During that time, we have been attacked
by darseen and banth, captured by bandits and assassins, tortured by Green
Men so any papers my protectors had were probably destroyed long ago by
those who sought our lives. All that I possess (I spread my hands
helplessly) has been given to me but yesterday by the generosity of your
Barsoomian women who took pity on a helpless child. I apologize for
my condition and hope that your noble self will take pity on a lost maiden
and allow her protectors to continue to return her to her mother’s bosom.”
The Captain smiled at that speech for it is the nature of the Red Men
to ever protect a woman regardless of her race. And the plight of
one so young and helpless (in his eyes) brought out the best of the Red
“Wait here a moment,” and the Captain then called for paper and pen
and wrote something on a tablet. Removing the papers. He handed some
to each of us saying, ”Here are temporary passes and identity papers for
you. They will get you into the city but I will expect you to have
this problem fixed at the earliest opportunity and before you leave Ptarth.”
And with that he kissed my hand and prepared to leave. I curtseyed
to him with thanks and he unbuckled our flyer from his, returned to his
craft and flew off.
Tulan grabbed and kissed me and cried, “By whatever gods there are,
you could charm a Green Man into giving up his sword. Mayhaps we
should just send you alone to ask Kol Fias for his daughter’s hand.
I am beginning to think that you could.”
I turned to them both and replied, “My lover and my brother, Star Fleet
teaches that it is easy to go from talking to violence but with the first
punch, violence escalates and it is hard to return to peace, so we try
to use our brain and tongue first and our swords as a last resort. But
come, Taria is close and I cannot bear to be separated from my sister any
And with that, Tor Tal kissed me upon the cheek and turned our flyer
Tulan took me aside and said to me, holding my hands, “Ayiesha, I fear
that I have wronged you. You are but a child and I have taken advantage
of your age and...”
I burst our laughing at this. “You! Took advantage of me?
Do you forget that it was I who was about to rape you at sword point at
the oasis. No my love, it is I who took advantage of you. Why
would you think anything else?”
“Your age,” he said. “You told me that you were 20 years old which
is young but old enough for the Red Race hatches almost adult but matures
at 40. Now I find that you are but a child of 11 which is far too
young for what I have done to you.”
He was genuinely concerned and apologetic. That was so sweet I
couldn’t help but to love him more for his fears. “My dearest lover,
our calendars are different. Your day feels longer than mine, your
year is longer than mine. When I told you that I was 20, I meant
20 Gaean Years of 370 days each, by your calendar I am 11 years of 670
days. It’s all relative to the world on which you live so the Commonwealth
created Standard Days and Standard Years to make interplanetary talks easier.”
“As for my young age, fear not. My grandmother from Jasoom matured
at 12 and was married at 13 with her first child at 14 and this was the
usual for her race and world. By your reckoning, it means that she
was married and pregnant at around 7 of your years. We Weir become
sexually mature later at 15 or 8 years your time, then we are legal adults
at 18 which is 10 of your years and we reach full maturity and can have
babies at 25 which is 14 of your years. Although I am years away
from full maturity, I am, by the laws of my world, a legal adult with all
rights and obligations and so am free to do as I please and allowed to
take lovers as early as 16 of our years.”
“So, my dearest and most caring love, rest your fears. I may not
yet be a fully mature adult but I am far from the child you think me to
He as still concerned, so I said, “My lover, try to think of me as a
Weir, not as a Barsoomian. We are different with different life stages.
You are not molesting a child of Barsoom, you are making a Woman of the
Weir (and at this I lightly stroked his genitals with my tail-tip) very
happy and satisfied and healthy.” I then kissed him and wished that
we all were Weir for there was no privacy in the flyer for what I wanted
and although my kind have no concerns for public sex, Barsoomians are embarrassed
at the word so I could do nothing.
“Ayiesha,” called Tor Tal, “Ptarth approaches and I would have you see
my home.” And so, reluctantly, I took Tulan’s hand and we went forward
to see Ptarth. How can I describe the grandeur of that walled city.
It was to Dusar as a rundi is to a rabbuck. Wheras Dusar had a few
million people, Ptarth had tens of millions and was one of the most powerful
nations on the planet. There were towers that must have stretched
near a kilometer high. And everywhere the inhabitants had decorated
their city to make it a jewel in the desert. We had nothing like
this in Drakonis and even Tulan was awestruck at the sight.
“We will rest our flyer in a hanger owned by a close and trusted friend
of mine. From there we can collect information and adjust our plans
accordingly.” And the flyer seemed to go on forever seeking its’
nest among the complexity of the city. I wondered how Tor Tal avoided
getting lost but trusted his abilities.
We eventually landed at a public hanger in the building where Tor Tal’s
friend lived. Being a farm girl from a large house surrounded by
leagues of open land and pasture, I found the Barsoomian ideas of packing
people into such large buildings so close together to be claustrophobic.
I thought being aboard a starship was confining but this was almost unbearable.
So many people in so little space. How did they survive? Humans
on Terra who were packed this close usually resorted to crime, murder,
rape and other anti-social actions until the population exploded into an
orgy of violence. How different were the Red Men to thrive
I began to dress but Tor Tal asked me to not. “Ayiesha, we are
in a major city and you will attract enough attention as you are, wearing
those extra harness and the weapons of a man will simply attract more.
It is best if we remain as inconspicuous as we can.”
I wasn’t too happy with this but saw the wisdom of his words so wrapped
my bra and skirt into a bundle with my swords and revolver and after replacing
my jewelry and touching up my make-up, we left the flyer and took the elevator
to the floor where Tor Tal’s friend lived. Fortunately, there was so much
brick and rock in the city that they absorbed the sunlight and radiated
heat so I wasn’t as cold as usual and could wear a simple cloak about my
We exited the elevator and stopped at a door where Tor Tal knocked until
a Red Man answered. He was, as usual, attractive, young looking and
armed with a short sword for the Red Men hang their long swords and revolvers
on the wall but carry their shorter weapons at all times in case of attempted
assassination. The man’s eyes went wide at the sight of Tor Tal,
then wider still with my presence, dressed as a Red Woman but obviously
not one. As always, his eyes were drawn to my naked breasts (I wished I
could eat enough to return them to normal, not these sagging bags) then
to my eyes. Tulan barely received a glance.
“Greetings, Tithan,” said Tor Tal as he placed his right hand on our
hosts shoulder in the manner of Barsoomian Greetings.
Tithan repeated the gesture and greeting then asked us to enter.
After closing the door, Tor Tal continued, “May I present my charge, Ayiesha
Penaut of Gaea, an unwilling guest upon Barsoom,” I curtsied to him
and said, “I am pleased to meet the friend of my brother.” To which he
stared at Tor Tal. “And, “ continued Tor Tal, “Tulan, our closest
friend and companion. You may trust them both as you do me.”
Tithan bade us sit and refresh ourselves and both Tor Tal and Tulan
removed their weapons, save their short swords, and placed them on the
rack near the door reserved for the harness of a guest. Tulan then
took my cloak and hung it as well, revealing to our host my full body at
which he tried not to stare so I could only stand, embrace our host and
say, “I know that my appearance is strange to you so please, look and ask
as you will that we may be friends.” For despite our public words,
a woman enjoys the admiration and attention of a man, else why spend all
that time and effort to be more beautiful?
He asked me how I came to this world and I gave him a shortened version
of my story, omitting much of the danger, “I am a soldier upon my own world
and while recovering from wounds received in battle, I fell asleep and
woke up on your world, naked and alone. I managed to eventually find
Tor Tal and later Tulan and they have protected and cared for me since.
One of our goals is to find a way for me to return to my family. But please,
our travels have tired me and I’d like for Tor Tal to continue in my place.”
And with that, I sat back (Tulan was conspicuous in NOT touching me) and
listened for I had no idea of how much Tor Tal had told or would tell Tithan.
I had to force my tail around my ankle for I was twitching the tip in nervousness.
Tor Tal explained, “When Kol Fias discharged me for loving his daughter,
Taria Kolos, I took service with another hoping to win fame and fortune
enough to be allowed to court Taria Kolos. But Kol Fias had other
plans for he arraigned for me to be called away on some pretext and while
I was gone, a gorthan entered and assassinated my charge. Disgraced,
I was imprisoned pending investigation but someone approached and unlocked
my cell escorting me to safety. I was told only that a ‘friend’ had
made these arrangements and that I must leave the city immediately.
I was given a small flyer and told that I’d be contacted when it was safe
but I must hurry for a gorthan was seeking my life.
“I flew away but not before asking that a message be given to Taria
Kolos from me and so I left Ptarth under cover of darkness.
“I was some hundreds of Haads (their linear measurement, about 1/8 th
of a league or almost 650 meters) away when Taria Kolas emerged from under
the tarp holding my supplies. She had heard her father planning my
disgrace and rushed to warn me but was too late. She then returned
to her home hoping to gather enough wealth to bribe the guards when she
discovered her father talking to the gorthan who had disgraced me.
The gorthan was not to kill me but to rescue me and give me a certain flyer
which I would use to ‘escape’ but would fly into the jaws of more danger.
Then he laughed and Taria Kolos took what she could carry and hurried to
the designated flyer where she hid.
“When I arrived and flew away, she revealed herself and the plans she
had heard and we decided to fly to Helium where we could marry and start
a new life. Unfortunately, the flyer refused to change course, Kol
Fias had adjusted it to a certain and unknown destination. It was
while I was attempting to dismantle his device when we passed over some
Green Men who opened fire and damaged the flyer. I managed to change
its’ descent course so that when we crashed, it would be at an angle and
hopefully, the Green Men wouldn’t find us.
“We survived the crash and on the second day, Ayiesha Penaut found us.
She had food and water but no knowledge of Barsoom or it’s language so
she accompanied us until we found an oasis where we rested.
“It was there when we were found by Tulan here who eventually (he smiled
at this) agreed to help us find safety. But on the trail, we were
captured by six Green Men, the same who had damaged our flyer and who were
somehow in the employ of Kol Fias. They took us to a dead city to
meet with Kol Fias who tortured and imprisoned us until Ayiesha Penaut
escaped, killing four of the Green Men herself. She then released
us from our cell and between we three, killed the remaining Green Men but
by that time Kol Fias had left.
“We have been chasing him since. Know you what has been happening
with Kol Fias and Taria Kolos? I mean to rescue her and marry her
at the earliest opportunity.”
Tithan thought for a moment then said, “My friend, this will not be
as easy as you think. Kol Fias has much power in Ptarth. But
his power comes from his wealth, not his position or personal honour.
Unfortunately there are those who will sell their honour for a purse of
pi and it is these we must deal with. Remain here and I will ask
around for I have not forgotten when you carried me 10 haads to safety
upon your back when I was wounded by those Green Men while on patrol.
My life, my honour and my sword I swore to you then and this is something
I shall never forget.”
And with these words, he showed us to our rooms, Tor Tal and Tulan in
one, myself in another and bade us refresh ourselves while he searched
for information. So, Tor Tal was a hero himself. Typical of
him to not mention this selfless act of courage but it surprised me not.
What I wondered was how the new information Tithan would bring would affect
our plans, where the bath and kitchen were and how much time I would have
alone with Tulan before Tithan returned. It was obvious that our
ruse of being ‘married’ would not work here and Tithan, being a proper
Barsoomian, would not stand for a maiden under his roof to be ravished
by a man not her husband. Damn, I need to take Tulan home to Gaea.
Father will grant him guest right and quarters and will lavish all the
gratitude he had on the man who saved my life, but father won’t allow me
to sleep with him in his house. Fortunately, I have many friends
who would gladly loan me their bedrooms for our pleasure and there were
the fields and woods with the birds singing and scent of the flowers that
we Gaeans love so upon and around our beds.
After settling into my room, I kissed Tulan and Tor Tal (funny how I
still use both his names even now) adieu as I sought the baths. Tithan
wasn’t wealthy enough to own a private bath so I sought the woman’s bath
upon the next floor. While relaxing in the hot water, I was, again
surrounded by the Red Women and repeated my answers to their many questions.
Again, was repeated a meal and again they impressed upon me jewelry and
cosmetics and silks so that when I returned to Tithan’s apartment, I had
the appearance of a wealthy woman of Ptarth.
All three men stood as I entered and Tulan said, “If this continues,
you shall be the cleanest and wealthiest woman on Barsoom.” He then
joked, “Perhaps we should just hire an army and storm the palace of Kol
I replied to this with, “Your Barsoomian women are overly generous.
But all that I have I owe to you two my loves.” This last was unfortunate
as Tulan immediately became embarrassed forcing to drop my eyes and interject,
“I apologize, noble host but I am still new upon your world and your customs
are strange and unknown to me. Upon my world, a woman speaks her
mind and wears her heart upon her harness for all to see. So I feel
no fear in declaring my love for Tor Tal, my brother and Taria Kolos, my
sister. Nor am I reserved in my love of Tulan who has been nothing
but caring and loving, he has placed my own safety and comfort above his
own so how could I not love him. I am sorry that my words and actions
have caused offence for I meant none.”
Tithan approached at these words and embracing me said, “If you are
the sister of Tor Tal, then doubly so are you welcome into my home and
I swear that I shall aid and protect you as would he. Think nothing
of your words for sometimes I wish that we Red Men of Barsoom could be
as open in our heart’s words. Live here as you would in the home
of your own father.”
I thanked him kindly, curtseying and shedding a tear for even upon the
world of my grandparents, would I receive as much love and respect?
Tulan saw my tears and mistook them for sorrow and held me and sought to
kiss them away. “My dearest love, fear not for these are tears of
joy and happiness. Who could have dreamed that I, a maiden lost upon
a cruel world, would find so much happiness among strangers who have opened
their hearts to me. Were only Taria present would my joy be complete.”
Damn! Damn! Damn! Leaving these people was going to be hard. Their
unselfish caring and assistance to a stranger, their bringing me into their
family, their willingness to sacrifice everything for the happiness and
safety of another would be the source of epic poetry on Drakonis.
And someday I’d have to leave them, leave Tulan. Could I actually
leave? Could I live here? I had to put that aside and focus
on the rescue of Taria.
Settling down once again, Tithan explained that he had visited people
who knew of Kol Fias and had learned that Taria was safe but imprisoned
in her father’s home. They had arrived days ago in a damaged flyer
but otherwise safe. She was guarded by men loyal to Kol Fias whenever
she left her own apartments and by trusted slaves when she was in her bed
or bath. She was never alone. “Further, Kol Fias has been spending
much time attempting to assassinate your reputation, Tor Tal. Fortunately,
those of us who know you have been countering his slander but no one can
answer why you left the city instead of responding to the problem of your
charge’s assassination. Your flight works against you and I fear
that were you to reveal yourself now, you would be killed or arrested before
you could have your say. And were you to rescue Taria Kolos, all
would think that you had kidnapped her again and seek your destruction.”
It was getting late so after a light meal (I was glad that the women
in the bath had fed me) all retired for the night. Tulan escorted
me to my room but did not enter. “My love, as much as I want to, I cannot,
for under the roof of Tithan, it would be an insult.”
“I understand, my dearest lover,” I replied. “Were we at my father’s
house, the same rules would apply. Though he would know of our escapades,
he would pretend ignorance for there are some things a man and father wish
to not know. Can we then, at least, visit the roof and be together
Tulan agreed and arming himself and wrapping my cloak about me for warmth,
we left for the elevator. I did have some few moments to kiss him
while we were alone in the lift and I could feel his desire for me, a desire
to which I eagerly responded. But before I could ask if this device
had a ‘stop’ button, we arrived and the door opened to people who needed
Thus, for some time did we sit on the rooftop, watching the flyers arrive
and depart, holding hands and making small talk as do lovers. I sneezed
again and as Tulan wiped my nose and I looked up to the beauty of the two
moons crossing the sky, Thuria racing to his destination and Cluros majestically
looking down for I believed that the moon, being a Goddess, would look
favorably upon we two lovers. Both moons were red and I took that
as a bad omen until I sneezed again and realized that those few stars I
could see in the sky were also red. The winds had raised more dust
into the atmosphere. The Red Men didn’t notice but my nostrils were
more sensitive to the Barsoomian dust than were theirs.
I didn’t want to leave so I crawled under my cloak and allowed Tulan
to hold me as I suffered my occasional sneezing fit. “Your feet are
so cold, Ayiesha is something wrong?” he asked as I pressed my feet against
“My feet are always cold, my love. As are my ears, breasts and
hands. Your world is so much colder than is mine. This summer
day is like my winter and at home, I would be bundled in layers of clothing
and fur. But being next to you warms my heart and that is all that
He never made any reply for suddenly he went limp and before I could
react, a leather bag was thrown over me and I was helpless.
VIII: KOL FIAS
I kicked! I screamed! I thrashed about but all for naught.
The leather bag was too thick and muffled both my sounds and actions and
as I was unarmed in deference to Tor Tal’s wishes, I couldn’t cut my way
free. As I began to pass out from lack of air (breathing was always
a struggle for me on this world) and I resolved to always, in the future,
carry a small knife on my person just in case. Then the blackness
of the bag over my head was followed by the blackness of unconsciousness.
Eventually I awoke.
I was chained by hand and feet and even one ingenuous manacle held my
tail to my ankles. I still wore my harness and jewels but nothing
I had could free me. I tried to take account of my situation
but a voice said, “She’s awake, but she pretends otherwise.” So I
tried to sit up… ouch, and dizzy and headachy from carbon dioxide poisoning
I almost fell again.
“Let the animal lay there. I must admit that had I known she would
clean up so well, I wouldn’t have given her to the Green Men.”
Kol Fias! I was beginning to regret arguing against his death.
I looked around and was alone. “Where is Tulan?” I asked. Only
a fool threatens while chained and helpless.
“Your ‘lover’” he spat the word in disgust, “is well treated in my private
prison. He currently is chained to a wall awaiting my pleasure.”
I almost made a comment about his pleasure being buggering a helpless
man but I didn’t want to give him any ideas. “And me?” I asked.
Rape is unknown on Drakonis but my grandmother described the act to me
so I understood that I may be thrown to his men or worse. These weeks
of love-making with Tulan had spoiled me in favour of the more gentler
acts. I managed to sit, still dizzy, then snapped my manacles
apart. No luck and no one even moved. A Lanai couldn’t have
broken these so I gave up, seeking another way.
“I haven’t decided yet.” Kol Fias walked to me and, placing his
hand under my chin, raised my face to see me better. “You are so
exotic with your eyes and ears and antennae and blue hair. I wonder
if I could trust you or even be safe with you. How did you escape
my Green Men?”
“They were clumsy and incompetent. You should pay more to buy
better servants. How did you find us?” It occurred to me that
as a merchant, Kol Fias paid the absolute minimum he could to hire manpower.
That means that somewhere in this building someone could be bribed.
“It’s not difficult to learn what you wish to know. Information
is wealth and so I made certain that I was informed if Tor Tal or someone
like you had arrived in Ptarth. I must say that you managed to distract
that other man, Tulan, well enough for us to capture you. Now to
send a message to Tor Tal.” He took his dagger and lightly running
the tip from my belly, around my breasts and then to my face, he cut a
lock of my hair and handed it to a servant, “Take this to the home
of Tithan and give it to Tor Tal with these words. “Meet me within
the zode at my palace, unarmed and alone, or I send the tail of the alien
girl with my next demand.”
As the runner left, it occurred to me that Kol Fias had only seen me
twice, once when I was naked and dying of pneumonia, and now, chained and
helpless. He had no idea of my strength or abilities. If information
were wealth, I was richer than he for this.
Kol Fias sat in what appeared to be a very comfortable chair and observed
me closely. I looked around to find but two armed guards, both standing
casually by the door. Too far to punch and all I had to throw was some
jewelry. This room was a splendour of wealth and was designed to
impress and I was very impressed. Peasants like myself couldn’t dream
of a hundredth of the wealth he displayed.
“Sit!” he snapped.
“I am,” I replied. But he motioned and a guard came forward behind me
to lift me and forced me to my knees so that I knelt with my buttocks on
my ankles. He then pulled my hair so my back was straight and my
breasts pushing forward then he forced my head down so I could no longer
see anything but the floor. I decided that I was being trained as
a slave. Hopefully a pleasure one for their lives would be easier
than that of a sewage cleaner. I allowed this as the more complacent
I appeared, the better for me as they relaxed their guard.
His feet appeared to my sight and he laughed, “You learn fast.
Perhaps I will keep you as you are.” I was tempted to punch him in
the crotch but with my wrist manacles chained to my ankles and those behind
me, I could barely reach my own breasts and he was well out of my range.
I almost hoped that he’d demand I service him with my mouth so I could
bite it off. Though if so, I doubt that I’d live long enough to see
There was a commotion and someone burst in screaming, “Father, what
are you doing to her?” I looked up to see Taria rushing to me.
She never made it as her two guards managed to grab her before she could
“Hello sister,” I said. “As you can see, Tulan and I have come
to rescue you and reunite you with Tor Tal.”
Kol Fias raised his hand and would have struck me senseless for my words
but stopped and laughed. “You! Rescue my daughter? You
are but a plaything, chained before us all. What I command, you obey!”
Then turning to Taria he demanded, “What do you here! I didn’t send
for you! Return to your apartments immediately.”
Taria shook her captors off and screamed, “Ayiesha is my sister as is
Tor Tal my lover! How dare you treat her this way. Release
her immediately or suffer the consequences!”
Kol Fias just laughed and motioned to his men who grabbed her again
and forced her to a chair next to his own. “See you, daughter, how
complacent is your ‘sister’. Like any sorak, she does as I wish.
And this is what you would choose over me? Take her away!”
and he motioned to me at that.
Anything else that passed between them was lost to me as I was lifted
to my feet and taken away. I couldn’t walk as my ankle manacles were
too short so I had to shuffle between them as we left. I wasn’t afraid
for Taria or for me but for Tulan in his clutches and Tor Tal who soon
Fortunately, I wasn’t taken to a cell or pit this time but to a room
covered with silks and furs. There were a number of women present,
all naked save for a collar and manacles similar to my own, all of which
were golden which I assumed was gilded steel for gold would be too soft
to hold anyone. Slave quarters. I guess I was to be trained
some more. The guards unlocked the chains and left me with bracelets
and anklets but no collar yet as the slaves surrounded me.
I must have looked a sight, wearing the bejeweled harness of a Barsoomian
woman and the manacles of a slave. They poked and prodded me and
stared at my tail and breasts and antenna and asked the same questions
I had been asked before. Not wishing to anger these women who may
be useful to me, I cheerfully answered their questions and walked to the
window which was barred and easily 50 meters above the ground. I
considered the possibility of jumping if I could force the bars but then
saw some animals the size of ponies and possessing ten legs rush to the
wall. Guard dogs! They looked fast so could I outrun or out
I managed to ask the slaves about Kol Fias and what I heard wasn’t good.
As a master of slaves, he was neither better nor worse than most.
He was obsessed about money and making more. He had sought marriage
into noble houses to gain a title but was turned down always which made
him bitter. He loved his daughter but was very stern with her, more
so since her rescue from her kidnapper, Tor Tal.
I smiled and explained first that my own lover, Tulan, was a prisoner
in this place and I dearly wished him safe. Then when they were impressed
with my love and the trials we had suffered, I brought up the subject of
Taria and Tor Tal. By the time I was finished, they were willing
to help me as they could so I sent a message to Tor Tal by one kitchen
slave that he should expect rescue soon and to not give up hope.
Another promised to say the same to Taria and so I relaxed and planned
my next move. “Is there any chance I can get a bath and a good meal
while I am here? That bag they held me in stank.”
I was washed and perfumed and made up and even my harness and jewels
were returned to me though if this was because as an ‘exotic’, Kol Fias
wanted me as I was or if Barsoomians don’t steal even from slaves, I could
not guess. One of the girls informed me that eventually, I would
be given to Kol Fias for his pleasure and my continued health demanded
that he ‘be’ pleasured. I wasn’t worried about this at all since
I was so much stronger than any man on this world. Any Weir woman
could easily break any human man and the Barsoomian was weaker still so
any attempt to force me was asking for trouble.
I did ask one of the friendlier slave girls about Kol Fias’ guards and
who could be bribed to look away in the event of someone climbing over
the walls and how much it would cost me. When I received a
few names, I removed some of my jewels and giving one to the slave for
her own personal use, I directed that the rest be passed to the guards
who were for sale and given instructions that if they saw us leaving or
another entering by a certain way, to please be conveniently elsewhere.
Then I relaxed and talked to the slave girls to learn as much as I could
from them about Barsoomian slavery for Draconis never tolerated the practice
and those slaves who were recruited by Colonial were freed immediately
upon crossing our borders. Thus, other than my grandmother who had
been a slave to an Arabian prince, I had no way to understand the practice.
I had just settled in when I was summoned. My wrist chains were
replaced and as the guards were convenient and armed with rifles, I submitted.
Then I was taken back to Kol Fias where I saw Tulan waiting, also chained.
I ran to him crying out for his safety but aside from a bruise on his head,
he was otherwise unharmed. Taria was also there with her armed escort,
sullen and quiet. I hoped that my message had gotten to her.
I noted that as I was only manacled at the wrists and they before my body
but Tulan was manacled at wrist and ankles and the former behind his back,
I knew who they considered to be dangerous.
“I am still here, my love,” said Tulan. Then Kol Fias interrupted
sneering, “Such is the quality of those who would cast me to ruin.
A nameless panthan, a mere girl from another world and a disgraced warrior
who even now is being escorted to me in chains. Daughter, see thy
who would be your ‘friends’ and note how easily my power and wealth crushes
them as it will all who stand in the way of my plans.”
“And what are your plans? To conquer and be Jeddak?” Tulan asked
with as much sarcasm as he could.
Kol Fias almost kicked him but stopped. “Jeddak? Why be a target
for gorthans when I can be the power behind the throne. Wealth is
power and by marrying Taria to the right family, my wealth and power will
“But now, it’s necessary to teach her a lesson. A lesson on power
and impotency for I am the former and you the latter. Listen well
Taria, and remember what true power is, then forget these.”
Tulan was about to snap a retort but I stopped him with a kiss.
“Steady my love, it is not yet time to act.” I didn’t want him injured.
Immediately, the guards opened the door and brought in another prisoner
wearing a hood and with hands bound by leather. Kol Fias glanced
and said, “Now the group is complete. My daughter, the disgraced
panthan, the alien and her #####.” I didn’t know the word but the
image he sent implied bestiality. I fantasized a moment about tying
him back-side up in the path of a breeding Skree. Maybe a few eggs
glued to his back would teach him some manners.
The guards brought their prisoner forward. They forced him to
kneel and forced his head to the floor before they removed his hood.
I couldn’t see his face but I knew who it was.
“Kol Fias,” I asked, “Why did you order the charge of Tor Tal killed.
Surely you could have removed him another way?”
“Because he dared to love above his station. Because I needed
to make an example of him. Because I wished to destroy him as his
dreams of marriage would have destroyed my daughters’ life.”
“And the Green Men you hired to torture and kill us in the dead city,
could you have just left us alone, me and Tulan. Tor Tal would have
come after you alone.”
“Alone!” he yelled, “A Red Man is never alone. Somehow he bought
your friendship and so you suffer with him. I only regret that I had to
leave. Had I remained to watch your miserable deaths, you WOULD be
dead now. But that is of no consequence. Here you are and here
you will die.”
“I have heard enough,” said the bound man, rising.
Kol Fias stared at the man and screamed, “Who is this!” to which one
guard replied, “It’s Tor Tal, he who you told us would be at the door.”
The man, standing said with a strong voice, “I am Ras Tho, magistrate
for this district. I’m surprised you don’t recognize me, Kol Fias
or perhaps I am of too ‘low a class’ for you to notice?” He was enjoying
this very well. “Kol Fias, you are under arrest as are all who side
with you. Release me!” and he held his hands out.
One of the guards cut his bonds before Kol Fias could respond but he
then ordered, “No matter, I will keep you here until I am done. Guards,
take him!” and such was the power of his wealth and voice that they obeyed
“Hold, Kol Fias!” cried Tor Tal as he burst into the room accompanied
by Tithan, both with drawn swords. I guessed that I had bribed the
Kol Fias was struck dumb for a moment then recovered, “Surrender of
die! Guards, a thousand Pi to each one who cuts down a prisoner!”
And with that he drew his own sword and stepped back to watch.
Taria tripped one of her own guards who rushed to become wealthy and
as he fell before us, I kicked him in the head and took his sword.
“Now my love,” I cried and swung with all my might. Had I touched
Tulan, I would have clove him in two instantly but my blade passed mere
millimeters from his back and, passing through his chains, broke on the
stone floor. But despite this, the fine Barsoomian steel had severed
his bonds and Tulan was free. His immediate action was to take the
short sword from the dead man at his feet and engage a guard.
Tor Tal tossed his own short sword to the magistrate who also engaged
a guard. Although hampered by the short length of his weapon, his
position did discourage his attacker a bit. And as for me, I charged
a Red man who was unwilling to stab a women but fortunately I had no such
scruples. I rolled then came to my feet next to him and before he
could step back or shorten his grip, I punched his chest with both fists,
crushing his rib cage instantly. I then grabbed his sword and engaged
another guard who I beat down then drove my blade completely through his
By then it was over. The remaining guards threw their blades to
the floor and surrendered for killing two or three unnamed panthans was
easy, facing a magistrate, three armed warriors and an alien who was stronger
and faster then they another matter entirely. I looked around and
saw that Tulan had killed two and Tor Tal had killed the three who stood
between him and Taria. The only armed man left was Kol Fias.
The magistrate calmly walked to him, removed his blade from his hands
and said, “Kol Fias, once again I arrest you for murder and conspiracy.
Come calmly and face justice.” Beaten, Kol Fias turned to Taria and
said, “Daughter, all that I did was for your own good. If you believe
nothing else, believe that.” Then he went calmly. Tithan helped bind
the guards who hadn’t fled and assisted the magistrate leaving we four
Tolan found the keys to his manacles and removed them as I ran to and
hugged Taria. Life was so happy now, my sister and brother and lover
all together and none of us had to kill Kol Fias. “Please remain
in my home for as long as you will.” She begged. “I’ll need help
to replace those loyal to my father and to ensure that his darker business
deals end.” What could I do but to agree happily.
Tulan interrupted and said, “May I talk to you alone, Ayiesha?”
I looked at him then clicked my manacles together a few times, “Aren’t
you forgetting something?”
He looked at me, smiled and took hold of the chain saying, “No, I think
not.” And pulled me after him. I glanced to Tor Tal and Taria but
they were busy with each other so I turned my attention back to Tulan.
“Hmmm,” I thought, “Slave girl and Pasha. I’ve never played that
game before. Could be fun.” And I eagerly followed him saying,
It was in the afternoon when he finally released me. I wasn’t
certain that I wanted that but I had to eat something…. Lunch that is.
So we dressed and sought our hosts who we found sharing a tub. “Hmm,”
I smiled, room for two more?”
Tor Tal got embarrassed and left instantly as did Tulan so I simply
dropped into the vacated space and said, “Well, tell me all about it,”
as I hugged her warmly. She got embarrassed but smiled and said that
her experience was wonderful, “And you must stay for our wedding next week!”
“Wedding? As in married?” I admit that I kissed her then and not
at all as a sister. “Of course I’ll stay, I am so happy for you.
What can I do? Do Barsoomian women have bridal showers?” A thousand
questions raced through my head and I was so happy for her and wanted everything
to be perfect but I didn’t know how. “We have to start now! So much
to do and so little time.” I was panicking now.
“Ayiesha, calm down. Everything will be fine. We’ll discuss
it later after lunch but for now..” She motioned and a slave came forward
and began to massage my shoulders. “Oh Goddess that feels good.”
And I melted right there. Later she moved to my feet while another
slave washed my hair. Maybe there was something to this merchant
Later, Taria asked me about the magistrate and I told her the plan,
“We originally planned to find a sympathetic magistrate and bribe some
guards to allow us over the wall to the building. Then we would hide
the magistrate and when ‘cornered’ by your father, goad him into confessing
his crimes. Although that plan seemed ruined when Tulan and I were
kidnapped, Tor Tal simply had the magistrate pretend to be him and walk
into the building while he and Tithan followed the original plan to climb
the walls. All I had to do was to bribe the guards and make certain
that Tor Tal knew it was safe to enter.”
We remained there all that week and it was a wonderful vacation between
the excellent food, rest, hot baths and fantastic sex with Tulan.
And when the wedding day arrived, Tulan and I stood there in the Temple
of Righteousness and watched them place the golden manacles upon the wrists
of Tor Tal and Taria to bind them together. I was so happy for them
I cried throughout the entire ceremony.
The wedding was marred only by the trial of Kol Fias. Barsoom,
like Gaea, has no lawyers to hinder the process of justice so the witnesses
were brought before the magistrate to give testimony (unlike Gaeans, Barsoomians
are honest enough to not require the truth drugs we give our witnesses)
and then Tor Tal was exonerated of all his charges and Kol Fias was sentenced.
I admit that I didn’t understand his sentence at all and could not describe
it here but suffice to say, he was allowed to live though much of his property
was confiscated and given to the victims of his crimes, chief among them
were Tulian, Tor Tal and myself.
Well, what can I say, we stayed a month and during that time I fleshed
out and even my breasts started to recover. One day I was standing
naked before a mirror checking myself out. Not bad! Wavy hair
that shone in the light, subtle but attractive cosmetics, firm chest, flat
belly and tight ass. I arched my lower back and checked my belly.
Hmmm, needs improvement so I tied some silk around myself and looked again.
Then I stuffed a pillow underneath the silk and fluffed my breasts to make
them look larger and arched my back more. And that is how Taria found
me. Embarrassed I tossed the silk and pillow aside and asked what
I don’t understand why I was embarrassed at all but Taria was kind enough
to ignore this and told me that they had heard back from Helium and that
John Carter was anxious to meet with us. The idea that his former
world was being used to colonize other worlds was something he was curious
about. He also said that perhaps he could help me return to Jasoom,
a statement that somehow made me unaccountably depressed.
The next day we prepared to leave for Helium. Our flyer was stocked
and I kissed Tor Tal and Taria goodbye wishing them well and crying at
my loss, then Tulan and I lifted off and set course for the twin cities.
I know that I should have been happy but for some reason I wanted to take
my revolver and empty it into the controls of the flyer. Finally
I asked him to land the craft.
“Why Ayiesha? We are so close to you returning to your home..”
I struck him then, not hard but filled with frustration. “Do you
hate me so that you’d send me away so easily? What have I done to
make you not want me anymore? I know I cannot give you children but…”
I broke down crying and couldn’t stop so he just held me trying to sooth
my feelings without much success.”
“Please make love to me again?” I begged him. I don’t know why
but I wanted him to hold me closer. I didn’t enjoy the act overly
much but I needed him so much I never wanted it to end. But all things
What can I say. We eventually reached Helium and I tried to hold
a conversation with John Carter but really, I am not from Terra and neither
am I human so what do we have in common? Conversation ended politely
and he was able to help me return to my home. How I don’t know.
I simply woke up in my bed wearing my nightgown and under my comforter.
I went downstairs to see my parents and they cried to see me, demanding
to know where I was these last months, why I left and how I returned home.
I tried to explain about Barsoom but when I mentioned Tulan, I burst
out crying and couldn’t stop. Mother held me until I ran out of tears
and could continue but for some reason I kept breaking down and crying
every time I mentioned his name. I don’t know why because I knew
that there could be nothing between us and all we had was sex and friendship
but I missed him so much I wanted to die.
Well, I was healed and aside from a minor case of malnutrition and the
residual pneumonia that was easily cured, I returned to the Fleet and threw
myself into my work. But what could a soldier do but train? And train
some more for the Shitai were holding back and there were no wars to fight.
I tried to take other lovers but nothing was helping. Finally I went
to my Ship Captain and cried in her ready room. She sat there unmoving
as Lanai do not love and she didn’t understand my feelings. Lanai
don’t even understand sex but they do understand loyalty and friendship
and war-buddies and they held these things dear so she made a suggestion
that was completely out of character for someone whose entire life and
race was dedicated to war.
Tulan was on patrol again. He was lucky to be here at all after
all that time missing from duty but he really didn’t care much. She
was alien and would never fit into his life but he still loved her and
not a day went by that he didn’t miss that woman.
Then he saw the craft land at the oasis. It was huge, the size of a
block in a city and far larger than any battleship but designed differently.
It was roundish and had two wings that curved down and was completely silent
and it had no propellers at all so he rode to the oasis loosening his weapons
in their sheaths just in case, not knowing what to expect but it wasn’t
what he could have dreamed.
She stood there, wearing fabrics that covered her entire body and behind
her were three other women dressed and designed the same, but taller.
All were armed with a tube hanging at their sides that he somehow knew
were weapons but it was the first one that attracted his attention.
She smiled at him and he was off his thoat and struck her to the ground
almost without thought.
Ayiesha lay on the moss under Tulan and asked, “I assume that this means
that you are happy to see me?”
“How did you find me? What… who,,,” Tulan couldn’t find
the words so he kissed her long and hard.
Eventually, when they could breathe again, she told him, “I couldn’t
eat or sleep or work so my Ship Captain had me describe Barsoom in detail
and they found the planet in their records. She then brought me here
to get you. Want to see my world now?”
Tulan looked up to see the Battle Cruiser floating there silent and
dangerous. The three Lanai still stood there watching but unconcerned
with him, her or the fate of the universe. They were simply there.
He somehow knew that if they wanted, these three could probably conquer
his entire city and this ship his world.
“By the way,” she said, “we can cloak the ship so it cannot be seen
and I was thinking of a visit to Ptarth to see if Tor Tal and Taria would
like a vacation from their merchant duties. I’d love to show you
all my world but,” and she looked at him sternly, “hands off my girlfriends.
I know it’s wrong but I feel very possessive towards you for some reason.
Also the Devil sent a representative to talk to John Carter about opening
relations between your world and Gaea what with the Morgors invading Drakonis
a few years ago. He was originally from John Carter’s home so they
should get along well. I’m ordered to help get them together.” She
kept rattling off like that, changing subject from topic to topic but he
was content to simply hold her and to hear her voice.
As the Lanai led his thoat into the ship she said one final thing,
“By the way, we tossed an ice asteroid towards Barsoom and mounted an inductor
on it so by the time it reaches your atmosphere, it’ll melt and you should
have a really heavy rain for a few days. Not enough to fill the sea
beds but enough to water the desert and fill the reservoirs. You
should even have a few lakes when the rains stop. Did I tell you
that I love you?” and she kissed him again.
Barsoom logo art by Jeff Doten