Written by Ruthless
I had been lying on the
floor for five hours. We all had. I was cramped now and all my bones seemed to
be digging into the hard surface. I didn't know what had happened to the crew
of the space launch, but presumably they were still piloting the craft, because
I could feel the faint drone of the space drive below the floor, still making
an almost subliminal vibration. The passengers littered the floor.
Sometimes I raised my head
to look around. I could see two women ahead of me; they kept their heads down
and their shoulders hunched. Nobody moved and nobody spoke. Beyond the two
strange women, lay co-workers of mine almost blocked from my sight. Tillisa and
Morwen had boarded the space launch with me at Kithera. We had presumed it
would be a regular nine-hour hop. But it had become a situation of deadly peril
I heard the hijacker's
footsteps before he came through the door. I kept my head down, the floor
pressing into my cheekbone. I tried to look peripherally. He walked slowly
among us. I could see him. All I could see were a pair of laced black boots.
The boots came closer, unhurried. They stopped just inches from my head. The
toes of his boots were pointed towards me.
"You. Yes, you. The man."
His voice was husky, a touch of T'nerstian drawl and quite calm. "Get up, Get
on your knees." His voice dropped, almost to a whisper. "Nobody else move."
I drew my self up slowly,
stiff with tension. He had said there was a mini-nuke attached to the launch.
He had the detonator to set it off, to instantly vaporize himself and us in an
instant of terrorist immolation. I wasn't afraid anything I could do would make
him set it off. I was afraid of the menace of the small arms that he carried.
More than that I was afraid of the calmness in his voice. To me, it was the
voice of a man who could do anything.
I got up on my knees,
facing him, my chest rising and falling in deep breaths.
He was a black-haired man
with eyes as dark as obsidian. He wore fatigues of some sort. I didn't
recognize the uniform; there are so many in the Interstellar Empire. His
uniform consisted of trousers with many pockets and a short-cropped jacket. I
was facing his lower chest. He slipped the gun down from his shoulder and
turned it until the muzzle was leveled with my head.
"Do you want to die?" He
"No." My own voice was
level. It almost matched his voice for steadiness. Despite the fear that was
singing through me, there was a part of me completely in control. It was this
voice that answered him.
"You are going to obey the
orders that I give you. You are going to move slowly. You are not going to try
anything which might annoy me. And if you do exactly what I say and don't annoy
me, then I might allow you to live."
I tilted my face. I looked
up at his frightening face. "Yes." I said. "I am going to do anything you tell
"Put your hands on top of
your head." He said.
I raised my hands and placed them exactly as he ordered. My gaze dropped
again. I could not hold my eyes and face him.
On his belly, below the button fly of the combat pants there was a bulge. I
had seen it before. An animal instinct had made me check it out, when this
frightening, gun-wielding man had been crowding the terrified passengers back
into the cabin, ordering us to lie down on the floor. He had searched us for
valuables, patting down over our clothing quickly and efficiently. His hard
palm had worked roughly down over my body, my chest, front pockets, back
pockets, slap, slap, slap, my crotch. The quick tap had stung. Almost before I
had registered it, he had gone on to search a tall blonde Kitherian woman, and
I had seen the bulge in profile then. The hijacker had an erection.
It turns him on to point
guns at people. Out of the eleven passengers on the launch, by some quirk of
statistical probability, I was the only man. The other ten were women. He had
his gun pointed at a cabin full of frightened women and it was giving him a
hard on. I knew that it could simply be aggression that gave the black-haired
man the erection that filled out the front of his trousers, but I thought,
"Some of the women are probably going to be raped."
"Now stand." He said. I
He had singled me, the lone
male out. Why? Because I was a man, and therefore logically the most dangerous
to him, the most expendable. The first thought I grabbed at was that perhaps he
wanted to fix his hostages more securely starting with me. He was no longer
contented to watch them lying on the cabin floor from the monitor on the bridge
that gave the crew visual access to the passengers. That could be it. He could
be taking me somewhere else, where he would tie me, before he did the same to
the other passengers.
Or perhaps he did not want me to be a witness, if he was planning a quick
sexual assault on some of his hostages. But that did not make sense. If he had
wanted privacy to do a rape, it would have been simpler to force the woman of
his choice to go into the back with him.
My mind was running quickly
over these thoughts, discarding them as impossible as quickly as I thought of
them. We left the cabin where the passengers were scattered like playing cards
on the floor. In moments we had gone into the narrow white corridors in the
rear of the ship.
What does he want here? I
was tautly aware of the gun that was pointing at my back. It was only a few
inches from my shoulder blades. A slight squeeze and the shots would rip out.
Why here? Why?
Then I saw the sign for the
lifeboat, and I thought I understood. He had reached a stage in his
negotiations with the Transtellar Corporation where it was time to make a
statement. Either he was going to release a hostage or kill one. I was the
hostage that he least wanted to keep.
But in the lock beside the
lifeboat entrance there was great big egg shaped object. It was about five feet
high, and covered in tough cloth, with ropes. It was unlabeled, despite the
handling ropes that made it ready for transportation. It was only by chance
that I recognized what it was, because I had once seen marines loading for
battle at the spaceport in Chneisra a few years before. The great egg shaped
object was a field hospital, an autodoc for a battalion, capable of doing
surgery of all varieties, the most complete kind of autodoc that they made.
I stopped and stared at the
"Open the lifeboat." His
voice came from behind me.
Without looking back I went
to the controls that sealed the lifeboat hatch. The door slid open
mechanically, revealing a small cabin, which was lined with seats. When it was
open I glanced back. My gaze jumped away from the man as swiftly as it
flickered onto him. I just could not bring myself to look at him steadily. I
was afraid to keep looking at him, afraid that he would find my eyes offensive.
"Take that end." He said.
"We're going to put this thing in that cabin."
The hijacker waited until I
had gotten a grip on the ropes of the autodoc, until it was between him and me
before he slung his gun onto his shoulder. He started to shove the thing from
behind, while I dragged it from the front. It was heavy. I could just get it
moving, but I could not have gotten it into the lifeboat alone. It weighed at
least three -quarters of a ton. But the shape of the autodoc was designed so
that it could be manhandled by rocking it forward and so we got it moving.
Getting it into the cabin
was harder. I had to back into the cabin. I was not dressed for labor. I was
wearing my formal clothes, for traveling and for reading a paper in front of
the historical society. My jacket bunched up under my arms as I struggled with
the big object. The sides of the autodoc compressed slightly to get it through
the narrow entrance. The hijacker appeared to glare at me over the thing as it
blocked the entrance, but it was exertion on his face, not anger, as he thrust
all his strength against it to force it inside.
Our work was not over once
we had got the thickest part of the autodoc into the cabin. The seats were in
the way. We had to get it all the way inside and that meant lifting it, getting
it on top of the seats. My body was damp with sweat and I was gasping with
exertion. I put everything I had into helping the hijacker move the massive
I had sweat on my face and
I was done by the time we had the autodoc in the place the hijacker wanted. My
arms were trembling with the effort they had put out. It was perched up on the
seat backs at the back of the cabin.
"Sit there." The hijacker
gestured at one of the seats in the front row.
I went and sat in it. This
meant I had my back to him.
"Put your hands on top of
I placed them again the way
that he ordered, and I rested. I heard him moving behind me. He was securing
the autodoc in place, so that it would not roll forward.
He chose me to help him
because it was hard work, I thought. And we got it inside the lifeboat, so
he'll be pleased. He won't be angry. I understood why he wanted the autodoc in
the lifeboat. The object was worth millions. It had not been on board the
launch when we left Kithera. It was the ransom that he had demanded and got
from the Transtellar Corporation for their ship and for the hostages. He had
put it in the lifeboat and now he was going to make his getaway.
My chest ached, not with
exertion, but with fear. Still I was able to be dispassionate. Was he going to
detonate the mini-nuke when he got away from the launch? Maybe. Maybe not.
There was no way to tell.
He didn't hurt anyone. He
didn't rape any of the women yet after all. So, if he didn't do that, then he's
not so cruel. He won't blow us all up. In my uncertainty, I was trying to find
evidence that would tell me what was going to happen. I was guessing. I knew
that I was guessing, going from meagre evidence, but I wanted to think I knew
what was going to happen, so I guessed any way.
I heard the faint sound of
his steps. He walked around in front of me. He still had some of the tie ropes
in his hands that he had been using to fix the autodoc in place.
Now he takes me back to the
passenger cabin in the launch again, I thought.
"What's your name?"
"Iver Trymsen." I said.
"Close your eyes." He said.
Jesus, I thought. I closed
I thought I might hear the
faint sound of him bringing his gun around again, but instead I felt a firm
touch where I never expected it. It was on my ankles. It was narrow. It was
rope. He was tying my ankles to the seat I was in.
I sat quite still, hands on
the top of my head. I felt the ropes climb. They passed swiftly about me and
tightened. They passed around my waist. I felt his knuckles turn as he knotted
the rope, almost in my groin. The rope tightened. It looped up over my
shoulder. I squinted my eyes more tightly shut against the reflex to open them.
I felt the man moving, circling me, pulling the ropes.
"Now put your arms behind
I took them down and in a
moment they too were bound with the tie ropes. I was fixed securely. One last
tug, tightening the strand that forced my wrist back against the seat and he
was done. I heard him move away.
His relaxed voice seemed to
hold amusement. "You can open your eyes now."
My eyes shot open. Now I
did stare at him. There was a faint smile on his lips as he looked down at me.
"That's right." He said. "You're coming with me. I need at least one hostage in
the lifeboat so that they don't fire at me as I get away."
I could not help the
widening of my eyes. No question now. My fate was sealed. In the vast gulf of
outer space's darkness, I was going to die. Even if he did not choose to murder
me cold-bloodedly, I could never get back to the space launch, to the
Interstellar Empire. I would need a ship to get back and the lifeboat was far
too valuable. He would never let me go with the lifeboat just so that I could
He sealed the lifeboat door
and he got into the seat at the very front of the cabin, the pilot's seat. I
barely took in his actions. I was going to die. Once he got away from the ship
I would be no use to him. He might shoot me, or he might space me. I was going
Don't let your breathing
go, I commanded myself. Hang onto it. I made it steady. I hung onto my
self-control and I stared at the dark-haired hijacker who was seated ahead of
me. A faint whine indicated that the lifeboat was preparing for release from
the mother ship. The white bulk of the launch, visible from the screen in front
of the pilot's seat, appeared to drop away. The hijacker kept it in his view
screen as he made the distance widen. He had sensors that would tell him what
was behind, or around the little lifeboat. I didn't look at the apace launch. I
looked at the back of that dark head. I was looking at the man who would murder
In only a few minutes, the
space launch had receded until it was a thin white bar against the blackness of
infinity. That was when the hijacker opened the communicator.
"These are my orders." He
was talking to the pilot of the space launch. "The switch on your right. -The
counter says three minutes. Set it to seven minutes and eight seconds... That's
His words meant nothing to
me. I was looking at the distant white ship now. Gone. I was being carried
farther and farther from what the ship meant to me. Life, freedom, safety. My
The hijacker went on
talking to the pilot. There were only a few more words. I didn't follow them.
Then I heard the hijacker say. "You can throw the switch. It's disconnected."
There was a pause, several
seconds. The pilot must have hesitated before she threw the switch. White
incandescence flared where the ship had been, a pin prick that silently expanded
until the lifeboat screen filled completely with light, until the lifeboat
seemed to be facing into a star.
There was no sound. There
was no sensation. The lifeboat's stabilizers compensated for the shock wave
perfectly. There was only the bitter blinding light. My eyes snapped tight,
squeezed shut, but in the yellow after image of the mini-nuke explosion, I
heard the hijacker's swiftly in drawn breath. It was the only sound in the
cabin. I was too shocked to cry out and all the sound he made was the sucked in
air. It had a final sound to it. It could have been amazement at how bright the
light was, but to me the hiss of his sharp inhalation sounded like
The End of Part 1a
Written by Juxian Tang
I sat stone still. The last movement I made was to switch the view screen
off and it was minutes ago. Dark flickering stains were floating in front of my
eyes. I felt the darkness inside me, too. It was flooding like magma, thick and
boiling, ready to splash out.
I made a long controlled exhalation and lolled back in the seat. The only my
lucid thought was that I had to think it over. Yuck! I never was farther from
wish to think!
I felt the urge to take a dose instead. It was so intense that had some
dizzying quality. I knew I wouldn't do it here. Not with this entire long way
before me. And still the sensation of a tiny phial with white crystals lying
neatly in my chest pocket bewitched me. It could make my journey blissed out.
A little sound behind me broke the spells. I didn't turn around. My hostage
- who else could it be! He was pretty quiet until then - and I didn't know why
he chose this moment to make a noise. It was like he had something stuck in his
throat and tried to cough it out. Well, if I blow his brains out right now, I
thought, it will be an appropriate final trait to all the picture. To avoid
doing it I slid down a bit in the seat and put my boots on the control panel.
Ooh! How stupid! I hated myself. To suck like this... And I guessed myself
smart. Fuckin' SSC! A big mistake. An extremely big mistake it was to trust
Again I felt like smashing the screen in front of me with my bare hand. I
would like to shatter everything, to howl and shout and kick the seats out of
their places. Only I knew once I started doing it I probably wouldn't be able
Very carefully I re-adjusted the setters of the screen to show our front way
- and switched it on again. There was no reason why I couldn't watch where we
were going. The darkness in front of me was clean and quiet. There was no
chase. I guessed they got shocked with the explosion and overlooked the boat -
and when they recollected I was too far away to get my trace.
It didn't contradict with the sudden start of the communicator. The sound
was so strident that I winced. Scattered signal. They wanted to contact me. I
I let it work, I didn't care. On the panel I found separate device for
SuperVision. I didn't need the screen to watch blank space any more - and I set
the sensors to let me know if something bigger then stardust was approaching
I pressed the button and 3-D image appeared in front of me. A sleek girl
with her face both solemn and fascinated was speaking swiftly:
"The operation on hostage release captured on Transtellar Company space
launch "Yvonne" going from Kithera to Tangor failed. Despite the confirmations
of TSC management that consensus was reached with the terrorist and he obtained
the ransom, the ship with eleven passengers and four crew members exploded
today at 11:20 of Interstellar Empire Time."
"After the terrorist started from "Yvonne" on the life-boat, the launch
disappeared in white flame of mini-nuke explosion," I switched to another
station. "We don't have information if the terrorist took any hostages with
him. The list of passengers and crew..."
The next station had the modeling of explosion itself. Good work, guys! It
was far not so blinding as in reality - but impressive nevertheless. It almost
looked like a beautiful flower blooming in the darkness.
They set me up...
I hit the switch abruptly. It was everything all the same, on every station.
Well, it was my instigation - didn't I demand the broadest interpretation of
the capture? I briefly recalled the thin-hair guy from SSC who contacted me.
"It is our indispensable condition. The capture is to prove that to fly with
TSC is not safe - it is our goal."
"Your goal," I grinned. "My goal is three thousand credit units."
I had to get it after the affair was done.
It was my own face looking at me from the picture at the next station. Ten
years younger - the way I was on Thalassa - a bright kid with a startled
"Darren Grey, a.k.a. Sojourner, declaring himself anarchist-individualist,
who accepted the responsibility for the explosion of power station on Aria-7 in
2098, the hijack of the ship with the members of UTI board in 2100, the
demolition of the gravitation arch in 2101..."
They enumerated my credits. Not all of them were mine - some of them I
merely adopted. But it was what I was paid for - my name.
My name - and what did they do to it now?!
I didn't pay attention to time. It stunned me when I understood that I
switched from station to station for almost three hours! I was fed up with
everything I heard; it almost made me sick. The explosion didn't seem anything
to me any more - just a fact of beauty, a masterpiece painted by an artist in
the outer space. My own name sounded like chanting in my ears.
The communicator stopped signaling - but when it happened I couldn't say. We
were already too far from the usual ways of space ships coursing in the Empire
- and as we were going further the stations of SV started fading, too. Well,
the set of the life-boat was not the strongest one. For some time more I could
watch CNN and DagmaTime - and then they were also dead.
I felt inconvenient being in silence. It was not for long - seconds, maybe,
until I started thinking about a dose again. I forgot about it watching - but
the itch didn't pass. I almost reached for my pocket. It was wrong, of course, I
knew I couldn't afford doing it...
I jumped out of the seat abruptly, hitting the floor with my boots. The gun
lay on the control panel in front of me, I grasped it sharply and walked to the
back of the salon. If nothing else - I still had my hostage.
The guy sat still, deep in the seat, as if trying to hide himself in it -
but surely it was only the way I tied him. His face was tilted away from me -
it looked like he never saw anything more interesting than clear white panel on
He even didn't turn to me when I approached him!
I pointed the gun.
"Iver Trysmen. Look at me."
It seemed he was too tired to move. These hours since we stepped to the boat
changed him drastically. His face looked haggard, with big dark shadows under
his eyes. And his eyes were rimmed with red.
He looked at me without expression - almost unwillingly, I thought. Then his
eyes blinked and stuck to the black hole of my gun's point. He appeared to
struggle with taking them off from it - but he managed and gazed at me again.
His lids were fluttering.
"Yes, right," I said. "At me. I just wanted to ask if you feel like thanking
me for saving your life."
It seemed his eyes lost focus. His mouth gaped a little open - and he drew a
breath through it - sharp as a gasp. I pointed the gun to his face. It took
several seconds before he said:
His voice was flat. He didn't say anything else, just pressed his mouth
tightly. His lips were parched; but no wonder, he had to do without water for -
let me see - almost nine hours. Well, he was a man, right? And I didn't have
any water here, anyway. And even if I had, I thought, I was not sure I would
care about him. Not with this his accusing stare!
Actually, I was not ready to swear that his stare was accusing. His eyes did
have a little wild look - so dark and with such expanded pupils that they
seemed black. But what else could it be? Only pain, and fear, and disgust.
"Was there your girl-friend on the launch?" I asked.
He kept silence for long enough to make me feel like punching him. When he
shook his head no it was almost as if he didn't know what to answer. I
"Your sister?" I went on. "Your close friend?"
"You killed them all," he whispered swiftly.
Maybe, when he said it he wanted to take his words back. I imagined how the
butt-stock of my gun could hit his face. I restrained the wish.
"Yeah," I giggled. "Sure! Blooey! I like to kill people,' I added coyly.
There was suffering in his eyes. From time to time his lids sank down - but
stayed like this only for a moment - and he opened them with a kind of effort.
I moved the gun in front of his face.
"It's even better if I can see their eyes, you know," I hissed almost
His blond hair was matted on his temples - like of a little child. He lost
control over the sound of his breathing - it went out in short noisy gasps.
Well, I thought - he disgusted me but I could frighten him.
I set the muzzle against his cheek. A long shiver went through his body -
and I saw again the flap of his long curved lashes. It was weird that he had
such dark lashes and dark eyes being so fair himself, I thought.
It seemed he tried to withdrew even deeper into the seat from me. Ask me, I
thought, plead me! He didn't say a word. His stare was frozen, fixed on me, too
black to read it. Cry, I made him in my mind, show me how scared you are!
Here he didn't lose control. Was he too proud, I wondered. Or he simply
loathed me too much to give in with pleading? I passed the muzzle, pressing it
deep to his skin - and saw a pink wale it had left on his cheek-bone.
He didn't stand. He closed his eyes - as if locked his face from me. His
breath got somehow wet quality, like sobs, absolutely out of order. I ran the
cold metallic muzzle over his emotionless face, pressed it to his lips, pressed
it between them. It stopped against his teeth.
"Open it," I said. For a moment he didn't give a sign that he heard me. I
knocked on his teeth slightly. "Open it or I'll beat them out."
The muzzle slid into his mouth and I moved it further, until it stuck to the
back of his palate. His eyes were screwed up now - almost like he was going to
cry. His face became pink because he tried to hold his breath.
I made some slow rocking motions pulling the muzzle out and pushing it in.
My head was swooning. I felt hot pleasure spreading inside me - almost like as
if I did take my dose.
When the communicator in the front started squealing suddenly the abruptness
of it almost made me squeeze the trigger. I stopped my finger half-way and
sighed out. If the guy heard it he didn't display; he seemed to be submerged in
his own torment - of what I was doing to him. I yanked the gun out of his mouth
- what a lucky dear - he didn't know how close to death he was!
I walked to the control panel swiftly. It was a diffused signal. And in this
part of the space it could mean only one thing.
I opened the com and entered my coordinates. The rustle and the noise became
deafening - and finally the screen in front of me lightened. I saw Neaf.
His toothless mouth foramen worked when he looked back at me - in the
grimace that was adequate to a smile for darloxians.
"What, brother?' he squeaked. "They didn't pay?"
Behind me I heard a short moan - as if Iver Trysmen at last gave way to his
emotions. I didn't look back - I knew his eyes were locked on the screen.
"They paid all right," I answered quickly. Probably they couldn't see the
autodoc in the salon - as I could see only vague octopus-like shadows of others
He didn't ask me what happened. He trusted my choice - and, by the way, do
you think fourteen or fifteen humans meant anything for him? I knew I was the
only human he cared about.
"Have a problem," I still was unsure how to verbalize it - but it hung over
"A tail?" he asked.
"No!" he should knew me better.
"Then don't worry. We'll speak aboard."
The screen trailed off. I checked the sensors - I didn't know where from
they would come. For long minutes the screen stayed black and dead - and then
in one of the squares displaying the space around me I saw a light point
approaching fast. I switched again - the point was in the center now, growing
and becoming brighter - until the angular disc filled the space all over.
I directed the boat to its bottom and saw the door sliding open. It sucked
Now I could be easy.
The End of Part 1b
Written by Ruthless
The sight of the creatures
on the hijacker's communicator screen was a shock like a wave of thunder in my
head. Darloxians. Well, to whom else should a man who had declared war on his
own species go to for comfort and counsel? The Darloxians are not at war with
the human race. They are a strange ugly, species, in some areas technologically
backward, which keep to themselves and observe the treaties that bind our races
to peace. But the trade missions are few, there was certainly no extradition
agreement, nor could it be said that they are friends to our species. I knew
very little more about Darloxians than that.
It may be that I am
xenophobic, that of all the trades in the vibrant, diverse culture of the
Interstellar Empire, I chose to study human history. I have a gift for
languages, but I turned it to the dead languages of my own race, shunning the
fricatives and sibilances of alien mouths. My eyes retained the after image of
the Darloxian I had seen on the screen. I find it hard to appreciate the aesthetics
of other intelligent species. The sight of the Darloxian repulsed me in a way
that clenched me down to my viscera. They were so ugly!
My captor had slung his gun
again. He took out a knife. He smiled. His narrow lips curved. Again I faced
him. I felt the knifepoint against my shoulder. It moved, a thin lick of pain
tracing through my jacket as it sawed. He was cutting the rope that tied me to
the seat. I stayed sitting still. The knife moved deliberately, behind me
nicking into the places where the rope was taut, circling me. When he stepped
back the rope was still tight about my wrists, but slackly looped about my
"Get up, Iver."
I stood. I was clumsy,
off-balance and hobbled by the ropes that trailed loosely about my boots. He
motioned me to step forward towards him. He held the curved knife in his hand
so that he was gesturing me wordlessly to approach it. I took one clumsy step,
almost a hop towards the knife.
His free hand lunged out.
The dancer's grace had an athlete's speed behind it. He took me by the hair,
fist clenching above my forehead where I keep it long. He pulled my head down
and forward. He wrenched so hard that he was tugging at my scalp. I could
almost feel the skin lifting. He started to back up and with his grip on me, I
had to follow him, however awkwardly.
The rope slithered after me
like a child's trailing toy. I could not take real steps. Somehow I scuffed
after him. The pull on my hair had brought spontaneous tears of pain into my
eyes. I could not use my arms for balance because they were held together
behind my back. I stumbled into the airlock with him. He pushed me up against
the wall. Now we were face to face and he was laughing down at me. Soundlessly,
with his face screwed up, he laughed. He didn't let go of my hair and he didn't
put away the knife.
When the lock opened he
dragged me shuffling small step after shuffling step into a slippery wide
square passage. It was humid. I felt at once an oppressive weight. He did not
seem to feel it. I knew now why the terrorist was so strong and moved so
lightly. The gravity on the Darloxian ship was greater than earth normal. He
was accustomed to it. The Terran normal gravity on the space launch had felt
light for him. But I was not accustomed to Darloxian gravity, and although it
was only perhaps thirty percent more than Terran normal, I felt suddenly like
weights had been placed on my shoulders and hung from my arms.
The white floor was like glass. The inevitable happened. I lost my balance
and went down. But I went down only to one knee because I tried to catch myself
and because he kept his grip on my hair. I felt it rip from the roots. His
knuckles were digging into my head. My breath was leaving me in explosive gasps
from the difficulty of trying to walk like that, but my fall made things
easier. When I went down I kicked and the rope around my ankles gave way. It
was in a wide loop when I got back to my feet again. By the time we reached the
door at the end of the passage, I had stepped out of it.
Darren, -I knew the hijacker's
name by now from the Super Vision broadcast that he had watched so avidly-
flung me up against a wall again. This time he turned his attention to the
Darloxians. There were four great wide-jawed aliens in the room and they turned
their round bulging eyes on me.
"How do you like that!"
Darren exclaimed to them. "We've got another passenger, a human hostage. Look
at the little fucker!"
The Darloxians made me so
frightened that my breath stuck. Even in that moment confronted with the
xenophobic shock of the sight of their bulky tall figures so close to me, I
wondered why the man was speaking English instead of the alien language. I had
never seen Darloxians in the flesh before, only in pictures when I studied the
chapter devoted to them in my High School stellography book, and the rare image
that had flashed on my super vision screen.
They were massive. Each one
was a couple of heads taller than humans are. They were sand-coloured with
wrinkly fitting skin that bagged around them like outsized clothing. They were
naked. All that they wore were several half-empty equipment bags, which dangled
around their big abdomens. Their limbs and tentacles seemed loosely jointed so
that they hung slackly below the slopping shoulders. I even saw their big floppy
penises and scrotal sacs. Every thing seemed pendulous about the bullet heads
and great round abdomens. Only the wide webbed feet seemed firmly braced.
The Darloxian answered him
in the same language, sounding surprised. Its voice was shrill and sharp. "You
want to keep this human one alive?"
The easy smile twisted
Darren's lips. "Hell, I don't want him alive! I just brought him along for the
ride. If you want to eat him, you just go right ahead."
For a moment the bulging
eyes all turned to the terrorist. "Never have we eaten human flesh before. It
is an experiment to consider." Then the eyes turned again to me. I stared back
appalled. They made no move to close in. I was like a puzzle that intrigued
them. They were in no hurry to begin solving it as they considered me.
"We better get the goods
out of the life boat, Neaf." Said the terrorist. "The sooner we can get them
both under wraps the better."
"We shall attend to it
immediately." The Darloxian who had thus far spoken said. He spoke an order, in
English still to two of the other Darloxians. They left the chamber, their huge
feet slapping on the floor.
"No telling if they've got
a trace on the lifeboat, or even tampered with the autodoc." Darren said
tensely. "I made a check but it was a quick one."
"It can be taken care of."
The Darloxian assured him.
"Yeah? We can't really tell
if the autodoc has been tampered with until we use it. All it would take is a
few settings in the programming being changed and that thing will kill instead
of doing its work. I wouldn't be able to tell by inspecting it. It would take a
"Then we will find a human
in need of surgery to test it on." Neaf, the Darloxian concluded.
For a moment the man locked eyes with the larger alien. They seemed to
exchange a thought. Darren inhaled sharply. He didn't speak of what they were
thinking. His hand came up and he tapped the front of his chest, in a nervous
gesture that was unusual so it caught my attention. It was like he was
reassuring himself, perhaps checking to see if he had a heart still inside his
chest. He looked all around himself. There was even a muscle in his face
jumping. The marks of fatigue were visible on his face.
"You look after the lifeboat for now." Said the hijacker. "We'll deal with
the autodoc later, okay?"
"Whatever you prefer, Darren." The alien replied.
"I've gotta go take a rest." Darren looked about, his darting gaze taking me
in as it once more traveled about the cabin in the Darloxian ship. "Where can I
put this little fuck, store him until we've got a chance to get rid of him? Got
any pressurized storage holds he can be locked up in?"
"Any hold will suffice." The Darloxian stirred as if he was about to raise his
tentacles and I realized that the gesture was a shrug, the imitation of a human
mannerism coming out in an unnatural motion that made the wrinkles below the
creatures chinless head pronounced. "What about the hold beside the one that we
fixed up as a cabin for you?"
Darren nodded. "Good. Put him there. That's alright."
He moved swiftly. He was in a hurry to leave. Even so as he darted out of
the room his look paused on me again and he frowned. I was defenseless against
his anger and scorn and hatred. It made me want to shrink away.
When the man was gone, the Darloxians moved closer to me. I pressed myself
flat against the wall. It was not Neaf but the other Darloxian that came
closest. Its mouth was a gash and the mouth opened. The hijacker had told them
they could eat me. He had also told them to put me into a storage hold, but I
remember how he had casually offered to let them consume me and I looked
horrified up at the wide lipless maw.
The Darloxian spoke. The husky scraping noise that was its speech was brief
and utterly incomprehensible to me.
"In English, Hurluck." The Darloxian named Neaf corrected him.
"You don't like Darloxians,
Human?" The alien's voice came out rough when it spoke in my language.
"You're... big." I had
almost no voice.
"You're small!" It
One of the tentacles came
forward. It was reaching down in front of my heaving chest. I felt a light
contact through my shirt but the tentacle went lower. To my horror the tentacle
stopped at the level of my crotch. It had to be a coincidence, I thought,
because that was about as far down as the thick muscular probe could extend
"Chthri-Darren says he
wants another man to be with." The Darloxian told me. "He needs other men to
talk, to touch, to have."
The pressure of the blunt
tentacle on my crotch made me gasp out loud with pain. It was pushing
relentlessly inward and my testicles were being crushed by the jabbing end. My
mouth opened wide. I could not back any farther. I could not move to either
side. Instead, I rose up on tiptoe to avoid the push. I almost howled. I evade
the pushing tentacle but the end of it slid below my balls, scraping them,
pushing between my legs. The relief was brief. The Darloxian began to push
"UnnnhhHH!" This time I did
vocalize my pain. The creature was strong. My back slithered up the wall as it
levered me up into the air. My feet left the ground. It held me uncomfortably
astride the end of its tentacle with my balls being mashed back against me.
"Chthri-Darren says that he
wants a man to make pleasure from." The Darloxian was speaking right into my
face. We were almost eye to eye it had lifted me so far from the ground. "He
wants this. It is a very interesting idea."
Then the Darloxian released
me. One instant its tentacle was there. The next instant it had pulled it away
and there was nothing holding me in midair. I dropped.
I fell heavily to the
floor, rolling to my face, the breath knocked out of me. Pain was shooting
through me from my crushed balls. Groaning, I brought my knees up under me. I
was almost lying on the Darloxian's big webbed foot. If my wrists had not been
tied behind my back, I would have brought them forward to cup around myself.
I had barely gotten the
groan under control before the Darloxian grabbed me again. This time it grabbed
me by the foot. It stooped. The longest tentacle wrapped around my ankle. I was
dragged. The smooth white floor slid under me.
It was the Darloxian Neaf
who intervened. I don't know what that Darloxian would have done. It was only
dragging me across the floor. Perhaps it would have simply dragged me down the
corridor of the space ship. But Neaf stopped him, lifted me with two tentacles
about my ribcage, and although I flinched and heaved away in fear, Neaf stood
me on my feet again.
"Darren has not said you
must die yet." Neaf said. His voice was surprisingly human. He modulated it
more skillfully than the other Darloxians that I had heard speaking English.
'So you will be kept, as Darren wishes."
I went where the huge Darloxian
made me walk. It was not far. There was a small room with no internal control
panel. A light glow in one wall, otherwise apart from the door the room was
featureless and unfurnished. He made me go in here. It was the storeroom. And
when I was inside, the door was sealed and the aliens left me alone to my fear
and my desperation.
The End of Part 2a
Written by Juxian Tang
The darloxians were having their meal when I walked in to the crew quarters.
The after-effects of the dose were still perceptible - the state of bitter
agitation that made me wander around the ship for almost an hour until I came
here - uneasy in every place, entering a room to leave it only some moments
later - as well as the numbness of skin spreading down from my face.
The lid of the phial was made in the form of a pipette, only designed for
collecting the powder. The stuff was to be inhaled. I knew that the Alazanians
- the race that was producing the thing - have their nasopharynxes rotten after
several years of application. Well, I couldn't say I used it for years - and
mind you, I didn't use it every day.
The joint had been a weird one. It was not that it didn't bring me the
feeling I expected - that was why I chose just this stuff - it always worked.
But usually I saw other things when blissed out. It was - probably - that the
mini-nuke explosion occurred to close in time - and what I had been watching
looked like the breathtaking interlacing of exploding flowers, giving birth to
new explosions, blossoming in inflorescence of swirling blaze balls - like
enormous incandescent mimosas.
The amazing thing was that I thought I didn't pay attention to the faces of
the passengers I had taken hostages. It turned out I clearly remembered quite
many of them.
After my visions faded I brought myself in order - took the shower and
changed my clothes. I never wear fatigues aboard, you know.
The Darloxians were eating their usual protein jelly - raptly consuming huge
amounts of it. They sat around the stocky table in the center of the room, on
the low, excessively wide sofas designed for the shapes of their bodies.
"Sorry," Neaf said looking at me when I walked to the nutrition apparatus in
the corner. "We didn't reset it."
"No harm done, brother," I shrugged. I was neither hungry, nor thirsty. It
was only that I knew I had to eat something.
I started pushing the buttons trying to extract from the damned machine
something more appetizing than Darloxians' dainties. At last it fizzed and I
saw whitish liquid filling the glass. Soluble milk. I giggled.
The Darloxians behind me were talking quietly in their own language. I could
understand them - well, shouldn't I, almost nine years together, after all. But
now there was nothing more than a discussion about the game - a kind of darts
the Darloxians were quite fond of.
The apparatus expelled two more tubes of food without labels. I took them
and went to Neaf.
"Is it yours or mine?"
His tentacles reached tentatively, taking the tubes and opening both
simultaneously, then squeezing little peas from either one into his mouth.
"Yours. And not bad."
I retrieved the tubes and settled back on the sofa. Neaf moved to give me
some place. His tentacle stayed on the back of the seat around my shoulder.
"Have to talk," I said in sotto voce. "It is regarding the explosion."
"Now?" he shifted demonstrating his readiness to stand up. I mused and decided
"In the morning. It can wait."
And really - why couldn't it? They all were dead. Except one.
When the thought of Iver crossed my mind I realized that Neaf was thinking
about him, too. Well, it was not unusual for us - to be in synch.
"I put him to that storage hold," he said. "You didn't see him, did you?"
I didn't. I was in many places when having my promenade - but all of them
were far from my cabin.
"Nah," I shook my head. I was not intended to say anything else.
"Do you speak about the human you have brought with you, Chthri?" Hurluck
needed a little time to re-adjust his vocal organs to English. Both Neaf and I
looked at him.
"Yeah," I replied a little faintly and decided to look after my voice.
"May I ask if you have any plans in respect of the human?"
The thing was that, you see, I did have some plans when I took Iver to the
life-boat with me. But the way it turned out with SSC the thing was no more
"if I see this little piece of shit becomes a nuisance, I'll space him," I said
calmly. "Right now he doesn't bother me. And you?"
Hurluck delayed with the answer. For some moments I saw how his maw worked
and then Neaf outstripped him.
"For keeping the human alive we have to attend his vital needs."
"Oh, but sure," I settled in the sofa more comfortably.
"Who do you want to take care of him, Darren?" Neaf said.
I grinned. When I smiled I felt more than usual how numb were my lips. It
was like stretching the rubber.
"Whoever," I span my hand. "It doesn't matter. He won't need much and won't
need it for long. Hurluck? Do you mind? Bring the human here, okay, sweetie?"
For a moment his protruding eyes studied me. then he stood up heavily.
I was tossing the food tube up. Slap - it landed in my palm. Slap - again.
Finally Neaf reached and grasped it in the midair.
"Want to take it away?" he teased me. "Should we give it to the human for
"Yeah, it's good," I mumbled rather absent-mindedly.
"And something to drink?"
"Push the button," the way we sat only Wagr could do it without standing up.
the machine sputtered again. I didn't like the sound. It drowns everything I
could hear from the corridor.
"Hurluck is slow," Wagr noticed.
"He is eating the human," Soyii supposed tonelessly. The one with the sense
"Hurluck had his dinner," Wagr said.
They appeared. At first Hurluck's dragging steps, almost silencing Iver's
careful walk. His expensive boots had to be absolutely unsuitable for this
And then I saw them. He was stooping. Strange, I didn't notice it before.
Was it because he was exhausted? He kept his hands behind his back - and I
understood they were still tied. Of course. I didn't say to the darloxians to
release him - they must have thought I wanted him this way. For how many hours?
Well, I didn't tighten the rope savagely. At least I hoped so.
But when I passed my eyes over his face I understood that there was
something more wrong with him than just his hands. He was pale as paper. His
skin was very fair all the time but now he seemed closer to a dead man than to
an alive one. His eyes looked like tinted glass - the introspective gaze of
somebody who saw the hell - and still was seeing it, despite of what really
happened in front of him. His lips were white.
"Untie him," I said to Hurluck.
A tentacle stretched groping for a knife. Iver didn't seem to register how
it moved behind his back. He shivered, however, when the steel blade touched
his skin. The bits of the rope fell on the floor beyond him.
"Move," the Darloxian pushed him to his back.
He made one more uncertain step. His hands dropped on his sides like sand
bags. If there were any traces on his wrists I couldn't see them under the
sleeves of his dark-blue crumpled jacket.
I watched Iver's face closely when he raised his hands a little in front of
him with a bit of effort and span them. He didn't make any sound but there was
something like involuntary tears in his eyes.
"Sit, human," Hurluck said.
Very submissively he took the low seat, the one with no Darloxians sitting.
I watched him continually - but he didn't look back at me. his tired eyes
wandered without stopping anywhere. It seemed everything was the same for him -
no difference if he saw me, or a Darloxian, or simply furniture.
And really - I thought - why should it be otherwise?
I pushed a plastic glass to him. His lips moved - he had to be terribly
thirsty by then. I saw his hand reaching for the glass and then he almost
dropped it. He couldn't hold it - his fingers were deadened! I gazed at him
He made a gasp. We all watched him how he took the glass with both his
hands. He drank swiftly.
I looked at him - and at Hurluck still standing behind the sofa. His
tentacles were floating in the air above Iver's head - but he couldn't possibly
see what happened. His smallness seemed almost startling against the background
of the Darloxian's bulk. He sat uneasily on the brink of the seat, with his
hands curled on his lap. And he still didn't look at me. The empty glass was
more interesting for him!
"What do you want to say, Hurluck?" I shifted my eyes to the Darloxian
abruptly. I saw him trying to verbalize his thoughts.
"The humans think we are loathsome," he said slowly, in his squealing sharp
I smiled. I lolled back to put my head on Neaf's saggy shoulder and
"but that's all right. We don't have to like them back."
"I don't like humans," Hurluck declared. "they are wretched."
It made Wagr said to him something about me. I laughed. I didn't mind.
"But they are not too small. They can be made pleasure from," said Hurluck.
I stopped tapping my fingers on Neaf's primary tentacle. And started again.
Swirling florescence of my last joint appeared before my eyes for a moment.
"Yeah?" my own voice sounded remote but level. I looked at Hurluck
"It has to be inspected," he said.
Only for a moment I glanced at Iver. Was he realizing we were speaking about
him? He didn't stir, didn't change his pose. There was this agonizing
expression on his face. Look at me, I cursed, why don't you?! He didn't.
"Well," now my voice was more frisky. "I've told you. You are welcome."
"It's all right with Chthri-Darren," I heard Hurluck saying to Soyii.
Sometimes even I was stunned with the speed they could move. Soyii stood up.
It seemed there was the swish when their lowest tentacles stretched and wound
round Iver's wrists. They yanked him from the sofa, raised him in the air for a
moment and stood again, in the vacant space behind the seat. Iver kicked
instinctively when they plucked him - he lost his boot.
"no... Please..." some messy words he did say - probably well aware himself
how useless they were.
They bent him over the back of the sofa quickly, pressing him to it. There
was some fuss with his clothes. I stood up abruptly and stepped to them.
Iver's face was pink and distorted - the most vulnerable face I've ever
seen. He tilted it up - now he let me look in his eyes - too late. His tender
mouth was half-opened - as if he was going to scream. But he didn't. He didn't
exhale, too. It was just his rounded lips on the level of my crotch. I felt
hotness spreading in the bottom of my belly.
"the human can be opened wide enough," Soyii made his verdict. they didn't
went in, I thought, I saw it on Iver's face. He was jerking - not great
movements - he was restrained in his motions.
"hey, human," I said. "Do you want to make pleasure for Hurluck?"
His eyes were slowly focusing on me - with the utter misery that made me
think about a suffering animal - how it looks because people can't understand
But, of course, Iver could speak.
"No," he whispered.
"But you'll have to," I said. "Keep him up."
Hurluck and Soyii stretched him.
Upright, with his arms spread as wide as possible he was in a kind of
crucified position now, struggling to stay on his feet. His face was a grimace
of pain. I knew they probably stretched him to the point of discomfort - but
they didn't squeeze his wrists too tightly to injure them.
I didn't care how roughly they held him. And why should I? The human. That
was word perfect. He was a human. And I was no more.
I stepped over the back of the seat and looked at him.
He had his pants off, down around his ankles. His shirt was long enough to
cover him - but I saw they didn't take his jockeys off - just pulled them down
of his bum. He looked like a little boy going to make caca.
"you are a passenger here, Iver," I said looking at his face. "Don't you
know the passengers should pay for their journey? It seems our hosts do not
mind to take the payment in services."
"No," Soyii made a sound that was laughter. "Not at all."
Hurluck was horny by then. His penis, which I usually saw limp and pendulous
under his wrinkled belly, was extended. The skin on it became darker and
glistened slightly. I knew Iver didn't see it.
Iver was trembling. It was as if they stretched him too much - like a string
under tension. there was a tiny clear sound in the silence - and after a while
I understood it was his teeth chattering.
"Darren..." for the first time he said my name - like a shock wave going
through me. "I'll do whatever else..."
"And whatever else - too."
I didn't want to listen to him any more. I put my forefinger to his dry
tender lips to shush him.
Other darloxians - Neaf and Wagr - shifted behind me, moving closer. I could
see their reflections in Iver's ink-dark eyes, widely opened. He was so pale as
if he was passing out. But, maybe, he was, I thought.
I didn't want it.
"Cheer up, you prick," I pawed his face in both my hands, hypnotized with
the sensation of his smooth skin. "come on, you are not going to spoil the
His cheeks under my thumbs were wet. I reached my hand and he gasped. I
don't know what he thought - I wanted only to take off his neck-tie. A bright yellow-blue
thing - ridiculous color now, when his face was so deadly. I yanked the knot
until in loosened off. His throat was moving constantly - as if he didn't stop
swallowing, never easy for a moment.
I started dealing with the tiny buttons of his shirt. My peripheral sight
registered the Darloxians. Now not only Hurluck but Soyii, too, had erection.
It was whom I saw. I wondered about Wagr. Perhaps. No one of them displayed
Iver's thin silky shirt was wet of sweat so much that it stuck to his body.
I had to pull it aside to bare his chest. I didn't take it off - and how I
could, let me ask, with his wrists in the pliers of my Darloxians' tentacles?
But they would take care about it further, I was sure.
His chest was unblemished. I thought about my own tattoos - it was so
strange to look at a man's chest without these "decors". I found the thought
that I didn't see a naked body (excluding my own) for quite a while. A bit of
my mind tried to recall when I had been at a brothel last time and I discarded
the thought as unnecessary. My cock was painfully hard.
Iver almost didn't have hair on his chest - like a young boy. His nipples
were tiny and flat, just pale pink rounds. I rubbed them with both my palms
roughly trying to make them erect.
"What's with you, fuck," I murmured. "Show us what a beauty you are."
I didn't feel like laughing - but I made a chuckle.
"For God's sake..." he said it. He made several shaky sobs and stopped it.
It was not that he tried to reason me. He couldn't. It was just his misery
His white jockeys were still covering his genitals somehow, exposing a
little of his curly pubic hair, so fair. I passed the back of my hand over them
and he flinched - but it was probably only reflex.
"Looks like you don't like to be touched," I mumbled. Nobody answered me.
The wish to press my own furious hard-on to his soft overwhelming was
overwhelming. I bit my lip without feeling it. I looked to his face but he was
looking down, to what my hands were doing there.
"Look at Chthri-Darren," Soyii stretched another his tentacle occasionally
and raised Iver's chin. Now his suffering eyes were looking at me - in such
pain that it was a kind of vertigo to look in them. I regretted that I looked
in them. He made me think about a dying animal once more.
But, of course, he was not going to die of what I was doing to him.
I shifted my gaze back abruptly, to much more pleasing sight of his flat
belly sucking shallow gasps.
I put my palms on his narrow bare thighs, feeling the slightest down on them,
so fair that it was almost imperceptible. My fingers played with it
absent-mindedly as I felt my teeth tearing my own numb lip until I drew blood.
His thighs were narrow - boyish. He was more narrow than me, all in all, a
frail slender being. So fair. Every time this paleness of his startled me,
making me ache inside. I put my palms around him.
He was tensed. He tried to escape me - well, I expected it. But it was not
much possible for him to escape. His small bum was tensed, drawn-in. I was
drowning in the sensation, with my fingers kneading his unyielding flesh,
digging as deep as they went.
His mouth gaped open slightly. He was sobbing shamelessly.
Something cold and slightly clammy touched my hand. Familiar sensation. A
tentacle, I didn't even knew whose. It was slithering down his cleft. He moved
forward - so, that he almost touched me. He didn't have much choice. Every
choice was bad for him.
I stepped back.
"You shit," my hand raised and slapped him on his face. "Have a good time!"
I went to the door.
The End of Part 2b
Go to Parts 3-4