Friday, November 19, 2010

Jason to Jessica

For those of you who follow me on StoriesOnLine.Net, you may have notice that one of the stories is missing.

Jason to Jessica has been pulled down for two reasons, first, it needed some clean up and revision. It's one of the nice things about electronic publishing, you can keep revising and tweaking until you get it just the way you want. The second reason, along with tweaking and revising, I'm getting it ready to submit to a commercial publisher.

I might get shot down; or nuked badly, or maybe, they'll like it and think they can make money from it.

Wish me luck and we'll see what happens.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Primal 2 - Katie's Return

As you probably have seen, the new chapter of Katie's Return has been posted on SOL. From the stats, this one is going better because half of you are reading both chapters.

One of the nice things about publishing online is that you get to do some editing and then republish the story. You find typos after it's posted, or worst, your READERS find typo's after you publish. Or that key phrase doesn't sound just right so you get to tweak it so that it read better, or whatever.

You may find, dear reader, that stories that have been up on the site will change from time to time. Please check back and re-read some of the older posts.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A New Work In Progress - Transformations

Chapter one of my latest work in progress. Let me know what you think.

Thanks to Faith for her editing skills, suggestions and encouragement.  :-)  YOU ROCK!

======== Start of the Story============

A chill wind gust ruffled the men’s jackets as they exited the vehicle stopped at the curb. That same wind carried sounds from the spaceport many miles from where one man stood and the other slid into a wood-slatted pushchair.



Low rumbling drew the push-chair bound man’s attention away from the driver helping him to the clear sky to the north. A silver rocket rose into the sky in a long arc to the east. He had read enough of the news regarding the large colony ships currently in orbit around the planet to know the destination of the rising rocket. One thousand three hundred souls would be departing in each of five ships, headed for a solar system called Terra Nova. Brave souls willing to hurl themselves into the Great Unknown like the colonist out of history.


For the hundredth time, he wished he would be joining the expedition, but his body, broken and crippled, guaranteed his only expedition would be from his house to the park across the street on clear days to watch children play.


He passed the driver his fare card and watched the younger man swipe it and hand it back.


“Assist to the door, sir?” the driver asked.


“No, thanks, I’ve got it,” he replied, his voice sounding older than it should be. Older, but not bitter. Not yet anyway.


“Very good, sir,” the driver replied, tipping his hat. “Blessed be.”


“Blessed be,” the man in the pushchair replied automatically. He rolled himself across the rough pavement to the outdoor. Once at the entrance, he rang the bell and waited for someone to open the door. A woman opened the door and wheeled him inside, down the hall to the laboratory.


She helped him shed his coat and pullover shirt then prepped his arm. With practiced ease, she slid a fine needle into a vein to draw blood. She’d just set the first tube to fill when the doctor walked through the door.


“Doc, are you sure of this?” the man in the chair asked as the large lab assistant swapped the full glass vacutainer for an empty.


The woman looked the patient in the eyes as she waited for the tube to fill. The doctor’s voice faded into background noise as the man became lost in her silvery gray eyes. Her gaze and the hint of a smile on her lips promised much. He looked away, not letting himself even consider she might be interested in a broken man such as him. Bitterness well up, threatening to overwhelm his carefully built emotional defenses, but he clamped down on it. The doctor promised he would try and fix his crippled body. He wouldn’t give in to hopelessness and despair. Not yet.


He looked back at the woman’s eyes and saw the strength there. He drew on that strength to beat down the negativity that rose like an acid within him. He almost missed seeing the small nod of her head.


She pulled the needle from his arm and stuck a bandage on the venipuncture. When she straightened, her short lab coat fell open revealing the swells of her unencumbered breasts hidden beneath a tight pullover. They were large with tall bumps that showed the size and state of her nipples. He couldn’t help but stare at her breasts then her shapely slacks covered bottom. Her hips swayed provocatively as she disappeared up the hallway with the small tray of tubes. He turned away, clamping down on his rising lust.


He turned his chair towards the doctor, who was looking at him.


“Yeah, Doc, I know, I’m pathetic. But you try being a thirty-year-old eunuch.” The self-contempt in his voice was obvious.


“I sympathize completely, Charles,” the doctor said quietly. “In her case, I’m in the boat with you. I can look and that’s all.”


It didn’t take long before the woman came back with a single sheet of paper. She handed it to the doctor and gave the man in the chair a wink while the Doctor read the report.


Whatever was on the paper seemed to please the older man. He smiled and set the paper aside.


“Well, Charles, my lad, it seems everything is a go. All the tests came back within standards. Are you sure you want to do this?”


“I’ve been ready to do this since you told me about this project a year ago.”


“Just so you know, once the process is started, there’s no going back, no stopping. And even should you survive the process, there’s no guarantee of the results.”


“Doc, I’ve been in this damn chair since I was eight. If I get five minutes as a whole man, I’ll consider it a success.” Charles looked into the doctor’s eyes and snapped, “You get me?” with the same voice his father had used when training recruits for the Service.


“I get you,” he said, chuckling and motioning towards a metal door that had a palm reader and eye scanner hung on the wall.


~ * * * * ~


Doctor Pennington looked into the scanner while setting his palm on the reader. After a moment lock bolts clattered, a motor hummed and the door slid slowly sideways into the wall.


The room beyond the door was one that I had not been in previously. It wasn’t that special except for the massively over built hospital bed in its center. A cluster of portable monitoring equipment stood to one side, and a pair of steel cabinets resided along another wall.


The doctor’s assistant followed us in. She ran the bed down to the stops, but it wasn’t low enough for me to maneuver myself onto the mattress. The woman quickly rolled my chair around so that it was next to the bed and had me lock the wheels. She shed the long-sleeved lab coat before kicking the foot rests out of the way.


She wasn’t in any hurry, and it gave me time to get a very long look at the woman. The woman was busty, curvaceous, and toned, well-muscled arms. In my teens I had discovered the world of fitness and muscle women. I became fascinated with their beauty, power and grace. She caught me staring and gave me a smile that promised sensual delights beyond one’s wildest imaginings. Well, in my mind, anyway.


Bending down, she slid her strong arms around me while I hooked mine around her neck. I had done this numerous times before with other medical assistants, but they were usually male and not dressed in low-cut tops. She easily lifted me, and my nose went right where it wanted to be—buried in the woman’s deep cleavage.


I felt more than heard her chuckle as she turned us both so my well-padded ass landed on the mattress. She held me longer than was strictly necessary, which I didn’t mind at all, then stepped back. She wore an amused expression on her face that told me she knew I was being naughty. The feeling that I had been caught with my hand in the cookie jar was unmistakable, but the twinkle in her eye told me that she wouldn’t hold it against me. I couldn’t help but notice when she pulled away that the bumps under her top were bigger than before.


For a moment I actually entertained the notion that she might be interested in me, but quashed that fantasy hard. She was probably just trying to make a crippled bugger feel better and would have a good laugh about the pathetic man’s attentions over drinks with her friends at the pub. I pounded down the self-pity. She didn’t strike me as being that cruel.


“Off with the clothes,” she said, her voice bringing me back to reality.


I shed my clothes down to my underwear. I tried to retain a small measure of modesty, but the woman was having none of it. She motioned for me to lie back on the bed, which I did. She then took hold of my baggies and the ‘adult incontinence garment’ I wore and pulled. The muscles in her arms tensed, and both garments shredded like used tissue paper. By all the gods! What I wouldn’t have given to have been a whole man right then. Soon, hopefully, I wouldn’t have to look away from such sensual power to keep my sanity.


“You won’t need those anymore,” she said, balling up the diaper and plastic underwear and tossing them into the rubbish bin.


The woman continued preparing me for what was to come. My legs were clamped into hard restraints as was one arm. I watched the muscles of her arms flex and slide under her skin as she prepped a catheter. With a gentleness that belied her strength, she slid it into position and connected it to a collection bag. She started an IV drip into my arm then stepped back as the doctor approached.


“Ready, I see,” he said, double-checking the restraints on my legs.


“Trussed up like the Christmas goose is more like it,” I replied with a nervous chuckle. “Let’s get this thing going, Doc. I’ve spent too much time as a cripple.”


The doctor nodded then motioned to the woman standing next to the bed. She unlocked one of the steel cabinets, pulled out a large IV bag and injected it with a blue-gray colored solution from a very large syringe. That would be the nanites in solution. Those were the little buggers that would be fixing the mechanical problems in my back, the crushed vertebra and the damaged nerves in my spinal cord. The lab assistant opened a little cooler in the cabinet and brought out another syringe just as large, containing a yellowish solution. That was my reprocessed DNA.


When the doctor first pitched his method for fixing my paralysis, he explained that it would require a large extraction of my DNA. I had several holes in my hip to remind me of just how much DNA it required. Once the samples were prepared, he’d run it through some of his whizz-bang machinery to get rid of the bad genetic material, markers for heart disease, cancer and the like. Once that was done, the clean DNA would be run through a second process to re-sequence the double helix chain, ‘optimization’, the doctor called it. He didn’t say much about it other than I would be closer to my genetic potential.


The last step was to allow the cleaned and optimized material to grow in a nutrient solution. The goal was that there would be such a massive amount of processed DNA it would replace the original when it was re-introduced into my body.


At least that was his pitch. And me, being the pathetic crip looking for any solution to my situation, swallowed it all. At least he hadn’t asked for money up front.


Stretching over my head, the nurse hung the bag on a pole next to the bed and routed the clear line through an infusion pump and into the needle in my arm.


“All set,” she reported and smiled down at me. Her hand played with my chest, and I was more than embarrassed by the size of my man-tit. Her hand covered it completely, and she gave it a cup and a rub. It was an odd feeling, pleasurable only because she was doing it.


“Good night, Charles. You will awaken into a whole new world when this is all over,” the doctor said before walking out of the room.


“My name is Anna,” the woman said, bending over me. Her breast landed in my hand as she reached across the bed to set the infusion pump to working. She remained that way for a long moment, giving me every opportunity to cop a feel, which I didn’t let pass. I gave it a squeeze, and she looked at me as if to say ‘you can do better’. I squeezed harder. The flesh barely yielded to my grip. She put her hand on top of mine and squeezed both together.


“I’ll be here when you wake up.” She stood. Keeping hold of my hand, she moved it into the wrist restraint. As she buckled the padded cuff, I felt myself drifting off. As my vision dimmed, the last thing I saw was Anna’s smile.


~ * * * * ~


My dreams were odd, disjointed. There were voices that I heard but didn't understand. My whole body buzzed at times, as if I had a million bees crawling around on it, or inside it. The worst was the pain, the sensations of burning. I tried to scream but couldn’t, or it came out as grunts.


There were pleasures, too, sensations that I hadn’t felt since I fell off Ellie going over that little one-rail jump. There were tickles along my legs and feet and a strange pleasurable feeling that wasn’t just nice, but electrifying in its intensity.


Strange images invaded my dreams as well. Creatures that seemed somewhat familiar flashed in and out of my mind’s eye along with strange noises and other sounds. They repeated several times and each time it repeated it felt like I could almost understand what the creature was saying. I just accepted it as ‘normal’ since it felt that way to me.


For a long time I drifted. It felt a lot like when Dad and I floated in the heated exercise tank at rehab, warm and safe.


Everything faded. Voices and sensations all went away. I felt time passing, but I couldn’t be sure how much or how fast.


“Hi, Chuck,” a voice whispered. “It’s okay. You can open your eyes now.” A hand slid into my right one, and instinctively I grabbed it. “Ohh…,” the voice said. “Ease up there.”


I relaxed my grip.


“Better. Come on, open your pretty eyes, Charles.”


I did like I was told. I could barely make out Anna’s face hovering over me.


“There you are.” Anna smiled. “I knew you’d make it.”


“Hi,” I croaked.


“Don’t try talking, Charles. Don’t try doing anything. Just lay there. You’ve been out quite a while,” she said gently.


“I can barely see you.” My voice sounded strange, different somehow.


“That’s because the lights are barely on,” Anna said. “We’re going to keep things at a very low level until the remainders of the drugs are flushed out of your system.


“Bump the lights up. I want to see you,” I told her.


She started to argue when I asked to have her bump up the lights. I felt something ‘push’, I guess you could call it. Anna straightened up with a surprised expression on her face.


“Computer, raise ambient lighting by five percent,” she said, looking at the ceiling.


Something wasn’t right about that, but my fuzzy brain couldn’t put a finger on what it might be.


The lights came up a bit, and I was able to see Anna better. I could also see more of the room. It definitely wasn’t the same as when I'd fallen asleep. I lay in a hospital bed, but that was all that was the same. The walls were polished wood, not stainless steel and tile.


“Come here,” I said. This time I didn’t feel a ‘push’, but I didn’t need it.


Anna bent close, her face filling my vision.


“Let me loose?” I asked, smiling.


“Only if you don’t try to get out of bed,” she admonished.


I nodded and the woman walked around the bed unfastening my shackles. I reached for the remote and found the button that made the back tip up. Big mistake. My bladder clinched, trying to hold back a flood.


Anna grabbed a catch bottle from under the bed and positioned it between my legs.


“Let go, Charles.” Anna said.


Automatically I reached down to steady things and realized there had been changes. Big changes!


I couldn’t miss the smile on Anna’s face as I relieved myself into the container.


“At least we know that works,” she quipped as things died to a dribble and then quit altogether. She handed me a wipe which I used and dropped into the waste pail next to the bed.


I watched Anna walk off with the urine filled bottle and started a self-examination. There had been changes. Lots of changes. Lots of big changes!


I flipped back the covers and flexed my feet. They worked. THEY WORKED! Up and down, curl and flex. I couldn’t believe it! I moved other parts that had been dead for so long and little by little I realized I was whole again. I couldn’t help it, I shouted my glee!


Anna had come back and was standing off to one side, watching with a grin on her face. I turned and held out my arms to her. She smiled and approached, bending over it as I hugged her.


“Ease up, Chuck,” she said, gasping for air.


I released my hug and she straightened. She took my hand, brought it to her lips and kissed it.


“I told you you’d make it,” Anna said, looking into my eyes.


She gave me a thorough examination. Starting at my head, she poked, prodded, peeked into and squeezed places on me, going all the way down to my toes. Her hands felt wonderful. When she moved her hands below my navel, I was ecstatic. Sensations that were dusty memories flooded back. I shivered as her hands stroked my thighs and laughed as my leg jerked in reaction to her tapping my knee. I took the little rubber hammer and did it again just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. The Doctor had done it.


Leaning forward, I captured the woman’s hands as she pressed on the nail of my large toe and pulled her to the head of the bed. Looking up at Anna, I lifted her hands to my lips. As carefully as I could, I kissed each hand then pulled her closer. She didn’t resist, bending over the bed, her face hovering over mine. Reaching up, I caught the back of her head and drew her down into a long, sensuous kiss. I felt myself twitch lower down. The first sensation that I'd had down there in twenty plus years! My free hand found her breast and closed around the firm globe.


The woman made pleasurable noises and kissed me harder. I pulled at her top and felt the cloth shred. I closed my hand on bare flesh and gave it a hard squeeze. Anna broke our kiss and groaned loudly, her body trembling. She grabbed the side of the bed to keep from falling. When her fit subsided she literally tore the remainder of her clothes off. Without preliminaries, or even a ‘by your leave’, she swung her leg over my lap and climbed on top.


I didn’t question, didn’t think. Anna took control. She leaned forward, and I tasted bare feminine flesh for the first time. The woman gasped as I sucked and nipped at her lips, her neck, her breasts. Her moans were loud, and at first I thought I was hurting her and drew back. She made it crystal clear that what I was doing was pleasurable and urged—no, demanded—that I continue. I didn’t argue.


When I was ready she mounted me with a loud victory cry and rode my changed body for all it was worth. The sensations were so new, so intense, so blindingly pleasurable, I didn’t last long. It didn’t matter to Anna. I stayed hard, and she posted on me like an equestrian. Her intimate muscles clamped down on me, and my second ride to the peak was a rocket sled. The explosion at zenith, if visual, would have made New Year’s in Sydney pale in comparison.


Anna fell forward on my chest. I wrapped my much larger arms around her. She cried into my neck, but they weren’t tears of sadness or pain, but of happiness.


“It’s been so long, Charles, so long since I could do this with someone,” Anna said into my shoulder.


I wasn’t sure what to say to that, so I said nothing.


Anna raised herself, looking every bit the regal lady astride her mount. She leaned down from her seat on my half-wilted cock and we kissed, hard. Our third time was much slower. She took my hands and guided them over her flat, hard abs and upward to her breasts. I gripped them in my hands and squeezed like I had earlier.


“Harder,” Anna demanded.


Who was I to argue with the woman?


I gripped harder, digging my fingers into the firm flesh, and Anna cried out. I felt a gush of hot liquid where we were joined as she arched, her mouth open in a soundless cry. She all but collapsed on my chest. Wrapping my arms around her, I held her tightly. We panted in each other’s ear and enjoyed the afterglow.


Turning to one side, we snuggled together. It was a tight fit on the bed, but I welcomed the intimacy. I held her close, afraid that she would suddenly disappear like the other women in my life. But I knew she wouldn’t. Something deep down inside me was positive that Anna would remain with me.


When I woke, Anna was snuggled against my side with her head on my shoulder. I'd never felt better before in my life, not even before the accident. I looked down at Anna and my heart swelled in my chest.


I slid out from under Anna’s arm, looking for some place to relieve the building pressure down below. I stood next to the bed and gingerly took a step. I needn’t have worried as my legs worked just fine.


I looked around the room, but there wasn’t anything that resembled a commode. There was, however, a pocket door. Pressing the wall switch next to it rewarded me with the door disappearing sideways. Inside was a shower, sink and the facility that I needed most at the moment. When I was done, I wiped, flushed and washed. When I turned to open the door, I saw my reflection in the full-length mirror attached to the inside of the door.


Who in blue blazes was that?


I couldn’t begin to describe what I saw, but I could tell you what it wasn’t. It wasn’t Chubby Charlie. It wasn’t the sack of soft mash that sat in a push chair doing make work for charity pay. After studying my reflection for a bit, a few words did came to mind; male, dominant and magnetic, in bold, capital letters.


I stared at the man in the mirror. Feeling my body as I had in the bed was one thing, actually seeing the changes was something else entirely. I ran my hands over the muscles in my arms and chest. ‘Large’ and ‘defined’ would describe my body now, but not ‘freakish’. I had seen pictures of freakishly large male bodybuilders.


What hung between my legs was large as well. Long, thick and covered in veins. My parents had me circumcised when I was young so having a foreskin was something new. The best thing was that it worked the way nature had intended, not like before when the only time it got stiff was when a shot’s length of tubing had been stuffed into it.


I left the water closet and went back to the bed. Anna was stretched out on top of the covers. She was more beautiful now than at the doctor’s office. Her body had changed, was subtly more muscular. Even asleep she was a powerful woman that any sane man would kill for to have her on his arm. I traced a finger over her muscled arm. It gave me the shivers and one feeling grew in me.


“Mine,” the single word came out almost as a growl. Primitive, primal feelings welled up, flooding my mind. She was mine and I would do anything, everything I had to, in order to protect her.


I laid the flat of my palm on her hard abs and floated it up to her breast. I cupped the firm mound, felt her nipple harden and listened to her quiet moan. I bent down to kiss her awake when the locks on the door clacked. As it slid open, I grabbed the sheet from the foot of the bed and threw it over Anna then spun around so that I stood between her and whatever was coming through the door. Going into a boxer’s crouch and balling my fists, I waited to face the approaching threat. They would have to go through me to get to my mate!


When the doctor stepped through the door, I relaxed, but only slightly. He looked older than before, worn down.


“Charles!” the Doctor exclaimed, a smile coming to his face. “I didn’t think you would be on your feet so quickly. Computer, increase lighting to fifty percent.”


The lights brightened quickly. It was almost too bright for me. The man stood a few feet away and gave me an appraising look from nose to toes and back again.


“Turn around, Charles,” he ordered, and I did. “How do you feel? Any dizziness, weakness, nausea?”


“I feel great, Doc. Better than great, really.”


He stepped towards me and I moved backwards, keeping a bit of distance between us and me between the doctor and Anna.


“I’m no threat to you or Anna, Charles,” the man said easily. “I doubt seriously that I could even survive coupling with her now, even if she would have me. However, I am glad to see your protective instincts are intact. You will need them.”


Anna brushed herself against my back, letting me know she was there.


“I want out of this place, Doc.” I said, taking hold of Anna’s hand.


“You can’t leave just yet, Charles. There are tests that have to be performed, and even with as liberal a state as we are in now, I doubt that the constabulary would allow you to wander very far in what you have on.”


Anna and I both were nude, and it didn’t bother me a whit.






~ * * * * ~


Anna and I spent our days all but confined to the suite that surrounded the room where I woke up. The techs had free run of the place to hunt us down for one of their interminable tests or measurements.


They did all the usual things, height, weight and the like, but they also measured everything else they could think of on both of us. Wingspread, as in fingertip to fingertip across my chest, foot size, inseam length and even how large I was now in both flaccid and erect states. Anna enjoyed getting me up for that measurement and collecting the fluid sample at the end. I think she enjoyed it even more that we had an audience. To tell the truth, I didn’t mind too much either, not after the first ten seconds.


We were brought our meals which we ate in our rooms. The food was okay, comparable to some common level restaurants. It was filling, but not really satisfying.


After three days, the confinement was starting to wear. When either of us tried to leave on our own, the doors failed to open. When we tried to walk out with a staffer, the doors failed to open. Anna worked her magic on me and kept me calm when my emotions and frustrations threatened to boil over during the daytime. At night, after all the techs had gone, Anna and I would explore each other. I was a randy teenager in a body that worked exceedingly well with a woman who enjoyed—no, not enjoyed, demanded—active intimacy, and craved it as much as I did.


When our active intimacy turned passive, Anna and I talked. We told each other about ourselves, our families and our lives before our changes.


Anna was a registered nurse who had always been a fitness nut. Married once upon a time, but it fell apart when, after trying to start a family for a year, they went to the doctor and found out that the husband was functionally sterile. He blamed Anna since she had been cooking ‘healthy’, refusing to keep junk food and snacks in the house. Anna spent more and more time at the gym and amateur fitness competitions and less time at home. After the doctor’s pronouncement, bedroom playtime devolved quickly from fun and play to smackdown wrestling matches. The final straw was when he came home from the local pub intending to use her for a punching bag. Taking great exception to her husband’s actions, Anna slowly and methodically incapacitated him, breaking more than a few bones and dislocating a number of joints. She stepped over his unconscious form while making her way out the front door only to be met by the gawking stares of neighbors who had heard the commotion. He didn’t call the police, and Anna didn’t contest the divorce proceedings.


It had been ten years before she had welcomed the next man, me, between her powerful thighs.


I skimmed over my story for Anna. I told her about the accident that fractured my spine and put me into the pushchair. I was learning to ride at Mom’s insistence and had been unseated when my horse had hopped over a low, single rail jump. I would have been fine except the horse spooked and used my back as a starting block for its sprint back to the stables.


The doctors tried to patch me up, but there was nothing to be done for the nerve damage. Everything below my navel just stopped working.


“Not to be complaining, Anna,” I said, pausing, “but why me?”


Anna turned to face me, propping her head on her hand while the other explored my much-improved body. Her gold-flecked eyes never moved from mine, and a teasing smile played across her face.


“Chuck, you had every reason to be bitter with all that’s happened to you, but you weren’t,” she said quietly. “You listened to Doc Pennington’s pitch, which by any sane measure is beyond out there, and you said ‘let’s do it’ without batting an eye. Even after he told you that there were no guarantees, that there was a big chance you’d be no better off than you were, or dead. That’s courage.”


Anna gave me a light kiss.


“Then there’s the fact that you are in complete and total lust with me.”


She smiled, and I laughed then hugged her tight. She was right. Of course, I was in total lust with her body, her smile and the way she made me feel when she looked at me, and when we made love.


We wore little, if any covering, while we were confined to our apartment. Both of us preferred to walk around our permitted space wearing nothing more than the emperor’s new clothes, but usually wore something around our hips to cut down on the embarrassed looks from the medics. It amused us to see their reactions when they strolled in while Anna and I were otherwise ‘engaged.’ Most reversed course and hurried out. Some stayed. One mousy woman stayed and watched in wide-eyed wonder as Anna rode me backwards. Her eyes never left Anna’s breasts as they bounced and swayed under the impact of our activities. Another was a young, long-haired man who came to collect a sample.


“You already did that,” I said, looking down at him. Anna and I were taller than all of the staff. Sometimes it felt like we were surrounded by toddlers.


“We need to confirm the tests,” he looked around nervously, trying hard not to look at Anna’s partially clad body. She was being an outrageous tease.


“Very well,” I said, somewhat dismissively. “Come get your sample.” I unfastened the wrap at my waist and leaned naked against the side of the bed. I glanced at Anna and she nodded, she seemed to know what I was up to.


The lab tech gave me a look of astonishment, but he didn’t run away. He looked intrigued by the semi-hard member dangling between my thighs.


“Come along,” I said gently to the young, effeminate man. “I don’t bite, usually.”


That got a giggle out of Anna and a look of surprise out of the man. But he kept coming forward. I smiled easily as he stopped in front of me and I caught a whiff of his body odor. Very fem.


“What’s your name, hon?” I asked quietly, reaching a hand out to touch his hair, like you would touch a woman’s.


“Pat, Patrick… sir,” the man said quietly, looking down submissively.


“Get your sample, Pat,” I kept my voice gentle, my cock had become hard and was bobbing up and down in time with my pulse.


“Y-y-you’re supposed to do it… sir,” Patrick almost whispered. He wouldn’t look up to meet my gaze.


“You do it,” I ordered gently. When he balked, I urged him gently, “go ahead Pat.”


I placed my heavy shaft in his palm. He looked up at me with an unreadable expression in his eyes and slowly moved his hand.


“That right, Pat.”


The man knelt in front of me, and I heard the clink of the specimen glass being set on the tile floor just before a warm mouth wrapped around my cock.


I groaned, loudly.


The man sped his efforts and was rewarded with my cock swelling and getting even longer. I don’t know how long he kept me on the edge, but I growled a warning just as my balls lurched and the first shot of cum erupted. The first two shots he took in his mouth, he seemed to gather his wits and grabbed the specimen jar to catch the remaining. When all was left were twitches, Pat looked up at me and slid my still hard cock into his mouth where he sucked and licked the tip until there wasn’t a drop of my spending left on it.


I stroked the man’s hair. He whimpered and pressed his head into my hand. Curling my fingers around the back of his neck, I urged the man to take me again. It didn’t take much encouragement. With the pressure of getting a sample removed, Pat turned his full attention to my cock. That he had done this before was obvious. That he took great pleasure in servicing me was also obvious. Anna knelt beside him whispering quietly into his ear. I couldn’t tell what she was saying, and truth be told, didn’t care. I was lost in my own world of pleasure. Taking the man’s head in my hands, I began fucking his mouth, forcing him to take more and more of me. With a thrust, I felt the head of my cock go so deep it had to have gone into his throat. Pat struggled a moment, then pressed his face all the way to my crotch. I couldn’t take any more and exploded in his mouth, pumping rope after rope of cum down his throat.


I held him tightly to me until the last twitch of my cock then let him go. Pat pulled back collapsing to the floor, gasping for air. It took minutes for both of us to recover, Pat a little longer than myself. When he was able to stand, he bent to get the sample jar and almost dropped it when Anna ran her hand between his legs and up over his ass. As he started to walk away, I stopped him with a touch on his arm.


“Master?” he said, a question in his eyes.


I kissed him on the forehead.


“Thank you, Pet.” I said, smiling at him.


His face lit up with a smile, and he nodded then hurried off to deliver his sample.


We watched him go through the door, and Anna turned to me and laid a hand on my chest.


“That was well done,” she said. “Have you trained pets before?”


“Pets?” I repeated, “I had a goldfish once but it never did anything like that. That was…was… intense.”


“Power over another is a heady thing,” she said quietly, sounding as if it wasn’t a new experience for her. “Patrick is a born slave. You must cultivate those feelings in him. It should be easy to train and bond him to you.”


“Slave?” I ask confused. My mind was still trying to process what I had done with the man. I had never even considered sex with another male before. And now, not only had I instigated it, I'd enjoyed it greatly and was looking forward to doing it again.


“Yes, slave, or servant, if you like. The results are the same,” Anna said looking at me. “You don’t approve?”


“Anna,” I began, “it's not that I approve or not, it's that I’ve never thought about slaves or servants. I’m not someone that needs those types of things.”


“You’ve had assistants after your accident. What were they?”


“Employees. They were hired by the health service to come to the house and help.”


“They were servants,” Anna countered. “They were to 'serve' your needs. They wanted to be there, they wanted to serve you or they wouldn’t have accepted the position. Patrick wants to do the same thing. He wants to serve you, take care of your needs. But like you, he is conflicted. His upbringing tells him that service should bring monetary rewards. It tells him that service to another man in the name of love is abhorrent, especially serving a man while on his knees.”


I thought about it a moment and realized Anna was right. Slavery was wrong and if you believed the upbringing of the majority of the country, two men in a physical relationship was wrong as well. But Pet’s mouth around my cock didn’t feel wrong, and his reaction to my kiss and words didn’t feel wrong either.


My renewed life had changed more than my old, useless body.


~ * * * * ~


Anna and I took a shower after Patrick’s display of fealty. When we emerged, a little mousey woman was waiting with clothing for the two of us. She set it on the bed and started to turn away when Anna snapped her fingers. She stopped, turned quickly and faced my mate with downcast eyes.


“Mistress?” the woman asked in a tiny voice.


Anna motioned for her to approach.


The woman, I never heard Anna call her anything but Mouse, helped Anna dress in the clothes that she had brought. The small woman brushed out Anna’s hair and the helped with the other grooming a woman needs before being seen in public.


I was left to my own devices. The clothes that were left to me were a pair of leather pants that fit very snuggly, a white silk shirt with only three buttons that left a wide swath of chest open and a pair of leather boots. The only things I needed to look more like The Crimson Pirate was a cutlass and feathered hat.


Mouse led us through the main suite door and down an empty hallway that I didn’t remember having been through before.


Mouse turned to the left at the first intersection. After a couple of steps in the new direction, I stopped.


“This is wrong,” I said, not knowing how I knew that we were going in the wrong direction.


“This was the way I was told to bring you, Sir,” Mouse said, her voice tiny and her head bowed.


“That may be, but it’s not the right way,” I replied. Not waiting for the others, I turned around and walked in the opposite direction. I turned twice more before stopping in front of a large metal door set across the hallway. Anna and Mouse had just caught up when I pressed the annunciator button next to the door.


The door slid quietly aside and the three of us entered into a conference room. I immediately recognized Doctor Pennington dressed in his ever-present white lab coat. The other person, a woman, looked familiar but different somehow. It took a moment for me to place a name with the much younger face.


“Widow Rosencrantz?” I asked questioningly.


The woman gave me the smile that I remembered from so long ago. She had lived in the same block and would stay with me when my parents needed a night out alone.


“Well, technically I wasn’t a widow, Chuck. I’ve never been married,” she said, coming around to give me a strong two-armed hug that left me wheezing.


The woman chuckled as she stepped back.


“Don’t get your hackles up, Anna. I’m not trying to steal your man, just saying hello. I keep forgetting how strong these new bodies are compared to the one I left behind.”


“Miss Rosencrantz, how did you get here?” I asked as Anna stepped up next to me and wrapped an arm around my waist, letting everyone in the room know whom I belonged to.


“Call me Helen, Charles. Another Miss Rosencrantz and I’ll start calling you Chubby. Her brilliant smile took the sting out of the name and the threat.


I laughed loudly. I had seen myself in a mirror. Chubby was dead and good riddance.


“As to how I got out here, I left Earth long before you did,” the woman said as she moved to the far side of the conference table and sat down. “I’ve been on TN4 for several years now, Earth time.”


I looked at her as if she had just told me the moon was made out of curry.


“He doesn’t know, does he?” Helen stated. “Mouse, hon, please serve tea and get something a bit stronger for Charles. Take a seat, young man, you need to hear this.”


~ * * * * ~


“So, what you’re telling me is that we are standing on Terra Nova Four,” I said, taking a sip of some fruit juice concoction that had a potent kick to it.


“Yes,” Helen said, sipping her own drink. “It’s the fourth planet in the Terra Nova system. The Terra Nova three, the third planet, is also inhabited.”


“By little green men,” I said a bit more derisively than I probably should have. They were the ones that drove the ships that got us out here and made my changes possible.


“By the Novians. We call them that since their name for themselves in their own language is almost unpronounceable by a human,” Helen said patiently.


“And everyone here is here for the duration,” I said flatly.


“Everyone here wants to be here, Charles. It's a totally new world out there, a different planet, a place where someone can make a life for themselves rather than living on handouts and pity,” Helen said, reminding me of things I had told her over the years. “The nano and DNA treatments have given you a healthy, strong body. Why would you want to go back to…being…that?”


“I don’t Helen,” I said, “I just wish someone would have asked before putting a stamp on my forehead and posting me to the far side of the galaxy.”


“We could mark you ‘return to sender’,” Helen said, her smile fading.


“Don’t you dare!” I snapped. “There’s nothing back there for me except a pushchair that I want to smash into kindling for a Christmas fire.” Anna came up and put her soothing hand on the back of my neck.


Anna and I left the conference room with Helen, who led us on a tour of what she called the orientation center. Anna had been through most of the classes already. Since my changes were more involved than the normal colonist's, it had taken longer than the average four-month transit time for me to be ‘cooked’.


“You’ll start classes in two days. The course runs two weeks and you can stay in couples' housing until you find a place to live in town.”


“That means no lab techs breezing in and out at all hours?” I asked.


“There’s even a lock on the bedroom door,” Helen replied.


We continue around on the tour with Helen telling us some of the history of the colony and other tidbits we would need before the start of classes. We came out of a stairwell directly into an observation platform that overlooked the largest city of the colony.


“That’s New Hope,” Helen said as I gaped at the expanse of the city. “Small by Earth’s standards, but it is our largest city. It supports transportation to the other cities and services the spaceport. The central science facility is there as well. Forty thousand souls live there with more arriving every month, by ship and birth. About ten percent of the planet has been surveyed, less than five percent has actually had a pair of eyeballs gaze at it other than through a monitor or photographs.”


“We’re sending survey teams into the wild areas all the time. Ten to twenty people to a team, each team on a month or longer trek into the wild.”


“You want me on one of those teams,” I said evenly.


“I want Anna on one of those teams. She’s a trained emergency medicine nurse. That is about as close to a doctor as anyone gets on a survey team when out in the field,” Helen said.


“And you want me to go with her,” I asked. Helen was looking between Anna and me.


“You could stay here, assigned to one of the farming units, while Anna was out, alone and unprotected from the men on the survey team,” Helen said quietly.


I knew what she was doing, playing on my protective and possessive instincts about Anna. That I knew what she was doing didn’t stop my primal reactions from surfacing. My arm went around Anna’s waist and I pulled her close.


“If I go with her, will I have an actual job, or just carry a club to keep the others away from my wife?” I asked, smiling.


~ * * * * ~


The orientation classes were interesting. It wasn’t the slow death by lecture and slide presentation that I thought they would be. TN4 had three other cities on it besides New Hope, all in what could be considered the Northern Hemisphere. It was almost Earth-like, with gravity being a bit stronger, with a lot more oxygen and a lot less pollution in the atmosphere.


After Anna completed her orientation, she started another series of classes to learn about medicine specific to Terra Nova. While she was off learning about parasitic plants and treatments for tangling with them, I was learning a lot more about Patrick. He came to the apartment after his own work hours to clean and cooking for me. I couldn’t rate how well he did as a cook, but I didn’t have any complaints about what was served.


I also didn’t have any complaints about the way he served me afterwards. We would shower together and after scrubbing and rinsing my body, he would almost insist on bringing me off. It was pleasurable in the extreme, I mean my eyes would roll back each time I gave in to Pet’s ministrations and it made me happy to see the man as sated as I was at the end of our sessions.


It was after one of our almost nightly sessions of sex, when I lifted his chin from my chest and looked Pet in his eyes.


“I want you to be truthful with me, Patrick,” the use of his full given name seemed to surprise the man in bed with me, “are you doing this because you believe you have to, or because you want to?”


“I want to, Master,” Pet said, his eyes moist. “I know that you are concerned Master. You aren’t making me do anything I haven’t done in the past. Or want to do now.”


I nodded; satisfied for the moment that Pet was with me on his own, and not because of something that I had forced on him.


It took a few days to get the necessary things for what I wanted to do with Pet. After he cleared away dinner, we adjourned as usual to the bath where we showered. I took hold of his hand when he reached for me and positioned him against the shower wall. I cleaned and rinsed his body, then used the new shower attachment to give him a deep internal cleaning. The last one was a special mixture from an old-fashioned red rubber enema bag.


The moans that came from Pet’s prostrate form on the bed were music. I used one, then two fingers to stretch his ass, using generous amounts of lube. Straddling his thighs, I laid my cock into the valley between his butt cheeks and leaned forward.


“I’m going to mount you, Pet,” I whispered into his ear.


I took his silence for what it was and pressed myself forward. He was tight! It took time, but I went slowly, sliding in and out of his bottom until I felt his bum press against my hips. I was buried to the hilt in him. Conflicting emotions washed through me as I eased my way back, then slowly pushed into Pet’s ass again. I remembered comments from my parents when we saw two men kissing or two women walking past who were obviously a couple. They didn’t understand the bliss one could feel, even if the partner was the same sex. They didn’t understand that people of the same sex could feel the same love, the same lust just as deeply as members of the opposite sex.


Pressed flat against the bed, Pet couldn’t move, but he was far from passive. His moans urged me onward, the flexing of his ass fired my lust hotter and his cries mixed with mine as I flooded him with seed.


He took my weight without complaint until I rolled us to our sides still joined.


Pet took my arm and drew it around him, guiding my palm to his chest. We snuggled together until I was limp enough for Pet’s body to expel my cock. He started to get up, but I held him close until he stopped resisting.


“Stay, Pet,” I whispered while sliding off the bed and going to the bathroom to retrieve a warm, wet cloth.


“Master,” Pet protested quietly while I gently cleaned his bottom.


“Hush, Pet,” I admonished gently while inspecting him to insure that he wasn’t severely damaged. When he rolled to his back, his cock stood up. With a bare hand, I gently stroked the long shaft, listening to the pleasurable sounds he made.


I stooped and took his uncut cock into my mouth. Pet tried to protest, but the words died unspoken. His hands grabbed my hair while I made love to him with my mouth. Patrick cried out his cock swelling in my mouth before jumping and spewing his seed. With one hand fondling his balls, I stroked him with the other, milking every drop I could from him. Swallowing, I felt no disgust, no revulsion.


Pet collapsed on the bed, breathing hard. I covered his body with mine, hovering over him on my hands and knees. I shifted slightly when my cock dragged across his. My slave’s eyes opened, and he looked up at me. His eyes shone, and his face showed the conflicting emotions that filled him.


“Mas–"


I cut him off with a hard, tongue-thrusting kiss.


“None of that, Pet,” I said quietly when I pulled back. “It’s the master’s duty to ensure that his slave’s needs are met.” I lowered my mouth and kissed him gently. “I am beyond awed that you chose to serve me, Patrick. Never think that I am ungrateful,” I whispered.


“Never,” he looked in my eyes deliberately, “Master.”


~ * * * * ~


The orientation classes, while informative, never touched on one of the questions that had been bothering me for a while. Why was I, Anna, and a number of others, so different from the majority of the population of the planet?


I sent a message to Helen, inviting her to dinner. Pet made a wonderful baked dish that had the local equivalents of a chicken, rice, mushrooms and vegetables. He'd also found a bottle of what the locals called wine. I had a small taste of it before Pet set it out to breathe and chill. It tasted wonderful and wasn’t nearly as sharp as whatever fruit drink they'd served when I met Helen the first time.


Helen arrived on time and we had a wonderful dinner. I noticed that Helen was dismissive of Pet while he served dinner. Her whole attitude towards him was one of almost disdain.


“Is there something wrong, Helen?” I asked, not understanding her attitude. “Has Patrick done something to offend you?”


“No, nothing, Charles. It’s hard not to miss the looks he gives you,” Helen said, sipping her wine. “It’s my rather intolerant upbringing coming back to haunt me, I’m afraid.”


“It was a shock for me as well,” I said, looking between the two. “I never would have considered the possibility before. We seem to have hit it off rather well together.”


“Does Anna know?”


I smiled.


“She knows.” I peered over the top of my wine glass at the woman. “One thing that has intrigued me that hasn’t been covered in the classes is that it seems there are two classes of humans here. There is the group that you, me and Annie belong to and there seems to be a separate group that encompasses most everyone else. It also seems that the people in the first group are somehow superior to the second and the second defers to the first.”


“You’ve noticed that, have you?” Helen said casually. “As to the why and how, that’s the Novians' doing. None of us can explain it any further than that. When a colony ship arrives, a number of the transplants will come out of the tubes as Protectors, like you and I. The rest will be normal citizens, not much changed from when they entered the tubes. The number of Protectors varies from one ship to the next. Sometimes a ship will have no new Protectors. The Novians have refused to discuss it.”


“Are you sure?” I asked and added my push to the question. I saw her blink in surprise.


“CHARLES!” she yelled, shooting out of the chair, knocking it backwards, fire blazing in her eyes.


I sat in my chair, staring at the woman across the table, her body trembling as if fighting against herself. After several minutes she seemed to regain her control and slowly sat down again.


Her expression was hard when she looked across the table at me.


“Don’t do that again, Chubby,” using that tone of voice that promised dire consequences if pressed further.


“Yes, Widow Rosencrantz,” I replied automatically then smiled to lighten the suddenly dark mood.


The woman took a deep breath, and it was plain she was trying to dissipate the anger my push had caused. She took a drink of her wine and finally seemed to calm herself.


“That is another of the Novian’s mysteries,” Helen said, finding her voice. “As few colonists who are chosen to be Protectors, fewer still develop that ability. It creates a compulsion in the receiver to do whatever the sender wants. There are limits of course. The sender can’t command the person to kill themselves or the like because the recipient’s instinct for self-preservation over-rides it. Protectors can fight it. Citizens like Patrick may struggle with it, but in the end, they will do what you push at them.”


“By the Gods,” I whispered, “if that isn’t an open invitation for abuse.”


“We’ve been lucky that it hasn’t happened too often,” Helen said.


“That’s a relief. I hate to think of the havoc a race of psionic bullies could raise.”


We sat in silence while Patrick cleared the dishes and then served desert. It was a simple iced sorbet made of local fruit. It was very tart and quite good.


“I need to talk to you about something, Charles, but I'm concerned about how you are going to take the news.”


“Just tell me,” I said. “You always told me to take my medicine straight away, that hemming and hawing just prolonged the discomfort.”


“More of my history coming back,” Helen chuckled. “Alright, to the point; I had to send Anna out with a survey team this morning. She’s replacing the original med tech that had been injured. They are already in the field and should be back in a month.”


I stared at the woman and clamped down on my immediate reaction, which was to physically beat Helen. How dare she send Anna out without me! A wild thought surged through me, I would go after my woman. I fought that down as well, enough anyway that my rational brain could take over again. I wasn’t trained to be on a team. I barely knew my way around the orientation center. Going out on a team would be folly at best and suicidal at worse! Eventually my emotions settled. They weren’t resolved, but they were contained for now.


Helen seemed surprised and said so.


“I’ll be okay, Helen. I’ll deal with the emotions later. Going out now would mean Anna would be hunting another husband. I’d end up in the belly of a beastie or worse.”


“I’m glad to see that your protective instincts towards Anna haven’t overwhelmed your common sense. It happens too often here.”


“I’m not stupid, Helen. It’s no different here than elsewhere. Stupid doesn’t survive.”


~ * * * * ~


The next few weeks were more of the same and different as well. The same meant classes. But these weren’t regular colonist orientation classes. These were classes about surviving in the wilds of Terra Nova 4. I was learning how to identify dangerous and benign plants, woodcraft skills, first aid and even outdoor cooking skills. There was also physical conditioning, firearms training and even basic hand-to-hand combat.


A Protector never knew what skills would be needed in the wild areas.


The firearms instructor was a Protector who had been rotated off a team to help newcomers like myself and Anna. She had to have been a military drill instructor on Earth because she sounded like one. Looked like one too. Tall, broad and muscled, but not as much as Anna. I hadn’t seen anyone here even close to Anna’s physique.


She bellowed orders and demanded nothing less than instant obedience from her charges. She also took the time necessary to work with someone who was having a problem.


When we started shooting live ammunition, I was surprised at how well I did. I was consistently punching holes in the center of targets all the way out to three hundred meters.


“You’ve done this before,” she said, peering downrange at my target.


“My father was in the Service on Earth. I’ve shot a few times, but nothing like this.”


“Good work anyway. We get too many people on teams that ‘spray and pray’. They have zip for arms discipline and end up getting themselves and others killed.” She smiled and patted my shoulder before moving on to the next person on the firing line.


We finished our live fire then learned how to break down our weapons to give them a thorough cleaning. I wasn’t the speediest of the group to get their rifle back together to the satisfaction of the instructor, but that didn’t stop me from proudly presenting it for inspection.


She gave it a thorough check and told me to stand it in a rack with the others.


“Good job, Charles,” she said, smiling.


“Thank you,” I said proudly, puffing out my chest.


She chuckled.


“What?” I asked.


“You’re smiling like your girlfriend just said yes to going to the prom.”


“Like I said, I’ve shot before but never learned all the other things we’ve done today, Ma’am. Back on Earth… before I changed… I was a crip, stuck in a pushchair. It was an exciting day when I got mail that wasn’t addressed to ‘occupant’ or a bill. Here,” I waved my hand around us, “I’ll be earning my keep instead of being a charity case, especially when I get out there.” I pointed towards the wood line on the outskirts of town.


“Don’t be in too big of a hurry to get ‘out there’, Charles. When you do, keep your head about you or you may end up losing it.” The woman got up and pulled a pistol and holster from a locker. Strapping it on, she looked at me. “Have you been to town yet?”


“No. I haven’t been anyplace other than quarters and classes.”


“Then it’s about time you learned more about our little world.”


“Yes, Ma’am,” I was sure I was grinning like a schoolboy.


The woman laughed.


“It’s Kyla, hon. I’m ‘ma’am’ in class or if you get assigned to my team, but off duty, I’m Kyla.”


“Kyla. Yes ma’am,” I said to her back as she was getting something else out of the locker.


She turned to hand me something and caught my smile. Her laugh was hearty and genuine.


“You’re going to do okay, Charles,” she said, slapping my shoulder.


She had to help me into the military gunslinger-styled holster. She knelt in front of me to snap the straps around my thigh. Without thinking, I brushed my hand over her short, tightly curled hair and felt my pants get snug.


“You may want to learn a bit more about me before you start something like that,” she said evenly, from her position on one knee. Her expression was carefully neutral, but there was a look in her eyes I had seen before. Loneliness.


“How about we start as friends and go from there,” I said evenly, reaching my hand out to help her to her feet.


When she stood, we were eye level with one another. I returned her gaze evenly.


“Friends,” she said after a moment.


Kyla helped me finish adjusting the holster. Once adjusted, she stepped to an arms safe and punched a series of keys. The safe popped open, and Kyla swung the door open the rest of the way. Inside were pistols, ammunition and magazines. Picking up four magazines, she handed them to me and motioned for me to put them in the pouches on my belt.


She pulled a box from a stack and three additional magazines. Holding them in one hand, she pulled a wicked looking knife from the safe and had me slip it into the sheath that dangled from the belt.


Kyla led us back outside to the pistol range.


“You’ll go over this again tomorrow in class so this is going to be enough to get you through tonight,” Kyla said. She opened the box and showed me the pistol it held.


“Baracheck semi-automatic pistol. It carries fourteen thirteen-millimeter cartridges in a double stacked magazine, plus one additional in the chamber. Magazine release is ambidextrous, next to the trigger guard.” She picked it up and handed it to me. “Same safety rules apply. It’s always loaded until you check it yourself, don’t point it at anything you don’t want to kill and don’t put your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to kill whatever you’re aiming at.”


She had me practice a few minutes loading and changing the magazines.


I slid a loaded magazine into place and she stopped me.


“Now, like with the rifle, pull the slide back and let it go home on its own.”


I did.


She pointed at the target hanging twenty meters away.


“He’s charging you at a run, stop him!” Kyla pushed a button on the wall and the target started moving towards us.


I aimed reflexively and pulled the trigger three times.


“He’s still coming!” Kayla yelled. The target started moving faster.


I aimed carefully and felt the gun buck three more times.


“He’s going to knife you if you don’t stop him!”


I aimed at the center of the target and kept pulling the trigger until the slide locked back. Hitting the magazine release, I let the empty drop away and slammed a new one in place. Thumbing the slide release, I took aim again. I was half way through the new magazine when Kayla called, “Cease fire!”


“Clear your weapon,” Kayla commanded as she flipped the switch to stop the target sled.


I removed the magazine and set it on the firing line, then cleared the chamber. Swapping the now cleared pistol for the magazine, I inserted the loose cartridge into the magazine and put it on the bench next to the pistol.


Mentally I reviewed how many shots I had taken, fourteen in the first magazine, plus half of the second. Twenty-one shots downrange.


“How well do you think you did?” Kayla asked, trying to hide her grin.


“I think I did okay, considering it’s the first time I’ve shot a pistol.”


She turned the target so I could see the shot pattern. There were two groups. One in the heart, and the other higher up in the head.


“Twenty-one fatal hits,” Kayla said. “You keep that up and I’ll be happy to have you on my team.”


Kayla handed me a full magazine to replace the one in my belt. She gave me the second to load my pistol with, I did and holstered it.


“Those are yours,” Kayla said, motioning to the knife and pistol. “Keep them on you or secured at all times. Tomorrow you learn how to tear it down and clean it.”


“Oh joy!” I exclaimed sarcastically then smiled at Kayla.


The woman laughed and led me into unknown territory, the city of New Hope.