“Are we definitely going through with
this?” Del Touron, a cyberneticly enhanced clone and one of the minor officers
of the Raiders clan asked Kazmak from the back of the room as Kazmak strutted
in front of the assembled company of officers aboard his new cruiser with his
chief enforcer, Killdan, standing to one side.
“Did you get paid?” Kazmak didn’t even
break his stride.
“Yeah, I got the advance.” Del Touron
replied hesitantly, not wanting to get on Kazmak’s wrong side.
“And your troops?” Kazmak toyed with Del
“Them too.” By now Del Touron realised she’d
asked a stupid question.
“And when we get paid to do a job…”
Kazmak prompted Del Touron.
“We do it.” Del Touron answered the
question for Kazmak.
“But it’s Earth Fed’s dirty work.”
Another officer complained.
Kazmak stopped in his tracks, turned to
face his officers and placed his hand on the hips of his ex-sexbot mech legs to
sternly face down any murmur of dissent in his ranks. “You heard the deal. We
get Troy. You
want to pass up on that?” Kazmak made it clear by the tone of his voice that
only a fool would turn down the opportunity to rule over all the Overlordz
“The Gearhedz are a mech clan. They
ain’t gonna be affected by this stuff.” Zak-To, a heavily armoured manbot mech
officer pointed out. “And what about the mechs in the other clans there? We’re
going to have one helluva fight on our hands.”
“We’ve got remote neutralisers that’ll
shut them down.” Kazmak countered Zak-To’s very genuine concern. Neutralisers
were battlefield equivalents of the riot-control shutdown unit the Earth Fed
troopers deployed during the Montgomery
riots and orders of magnitude more powerful.
“More Earth Fed crap.” Someone griped
from back in the ranks.
““Come on Kazmak.” Zak-To was
unconvinced. “The Gearhedz are going to be case-hardened. We are and they’ve
got better kit than any of us.”
“They work just fine.” Killdan shouted
them down. “I tested them back at Hellas. I
even managed to conceal one inside my frame. We’ll need volunteers for that if
we’re going to deploy these neutralisers in a meaningful way.” He pointed back
at Zak-To. “A chance to earn some kudos too.”
“And what about these shields you gave
us?” Raktak-Kan, another mech officer, raised his voice. “More Earth Fed junk.
How do we know they even work?”
“Yeah, yeah…. We tested them too. I have
to use one for my legs.” Kazmak was getting tired of their griping. “Look, it’s
all the latest Earth Fed mil-spec gear. You’ve got a choice: use them or sit it
out until we switch off the neutralisers. And if you sit it out, you don’t get
a place at the table when we cut the deals. Either way, we’re using those
neutralisers. If we don’t, Troy
will be so full of holes when the shooting’s over it would never hold an
atmosphere. And in case you forgot, it isn’t us fleshies need to breathe that
air. You mechs need it to dump all that heat your bodies pump out.”
Kazmak went on to outline the story to
tell their troops: Deliver the crystals as per usual, get paid and maybe spend
a few days there before heading back to Hellas.
Only the officers were to know their strategic plan to position troops to be in
place when the Floxetrasine to took hold. After that, activate the neutralisers
and secure Troy.
“How will know when it’s released?” Jack
Franche, a rangy human with a shock of orange hair that failed to hide the
tattoos on his scalp, quizzed Kazmak.
“You’ll know all right.” Kazmak laughed
“The stuff smells of old socks.”
“We don’t have noses.” Raktak-Kan
pointed out the obvious.
“You’ll just have to team up with a fleshie.”
Kazmak cavilled. “We have our uses, after all.”
“Use a buddy system the whole time.”
Killdan loyally backed up Kazmak. “Every one of us mechs teams up with a
fleshie. Stick together and don’t get distracted.” He let Kazmak finish the
Kazmak addressed his officers. “Remember
what happened back at Hellas? I lost my sister
that night and a lot of good friends.” He stared into the stony serious eyes of
his officers and held up a detector bead. “Make sure everyone has one and if
they start glowing red to get back to the ship immediately. Avoid contact with
anyone who’s infected. Everyone and I mean everyone will be tested upon return.
God help anyone who tests positive, because we’ll have to kill them to protect
the rest of us.”
“Susie Komorra’s done a great job
working them into bracelets.” Kazmak lightened the mood. “Everyone gets one and
make sure you check it regularly.” He reached into a box and casually tossed
samples to his officers who looked sceptically at their new-found gifts. “Now…
when that gas is released and the neutralisers go live there will be survivors.
Give them one chance to join us if they want to live, otherwise off them. No
second chances. Round up as many techies as you can. We’re gonna need them if
we’re ever going to take control of the systems at Troy. Otherwise we’re just sitting on an
“Be unobtrusive and get everyone in
place. Make sure they’re tooled up with as much ammo as they can carry. You’re
going to need it. Give them some bullshit story about putting on a show of
strength to earn respect from the spaceside clans or some crap like that. Keep
‘em on a tight leash and try not to let your troops wander off.” Kazmak
strutted in front of his officers as he wrapped up the briefing. “If anyone has
any trouble or anyone out there gets suspicious, get back to the ship
immediately. We’ve got one shot at this and the element of surprise on our
side. So far. They’ve probably heard about what we did at Hellas
by now but ain’t expecting it to happen to them. It’s going to be chaos when it
hits. Our advantage is that we’re organised and have a plan. They’ll be on the
back foot the whole time. If things go seriously wrong get your troops back to
the ship and we’ll sit things out from a safe distance. We’ve got twenty neutralisers
to deploy and I expect to see at least that many mech volunteers in depot bay
within the hour. Dismissed.”
After the officers left the ready room Killdan
turned to Kazmak: “The Shin-Tan and Valeris clans have the same type of ship as
us and if they come after us we’re screwed. There’s no
guarantee that they’ll have any of these crystals. Their crews might not be
“We’ll see if the shields they said this
ship has are any good.” Kazmak shrugged his shoulders fatalistically.
“Helluva time to find out.” Killdan was
beginning to wonder if he would get out of this caper alive.
in too deep now, Killdan.” Kazmak confessed unhappily. “That freak really got
the drop on us. Could’ve killed us all back at
It’s freaky the way she controlled that place. I don’t know what she is but
whatever it is, she ain’t human. That’s for sure.”
When they arrived at Troy, they were
greeted by the sight of not only two battle cruisers similar to Kazmak’s parked
up alongside it but also another sleek dark and dangerous looking ship that
floated ominously over Troy. Like Metropole One, Troy was a giant wheel generating its
internal gravity through rotation. Unlike Metropole One, Troy was heavily armed and armoured with
railgun, laser and maser turrets at regular intervals along its dark
“Things ain’t lookin’ so good, boss.”
Killdan sized up the situation.
“We deliver the crystals.” Kazmak didn’t
rate their chances now that he could see what they were up against. It was one
thing bragging to Psy back on Mars and taking hir money. It was quite something
else to act on it. “If those crystals do what the freak claims, then we move
into action, otherwise we get paid and get the hell out of dodge before anyone
else gets infected.”
“Sounds like a plan to me.” Killdan half-heartedly
agreed. They had little choice but to deliver the crystals. Kazmak had been
bragging to the Shin-Tan top dons about this shipment of live Psionic Crystals
for over a month. If they turned around without delivering their credibility
would be shot forever. “I hope we get out of this alive.”
“We will, but there will be casualties.”
Kazmak replied grimly. “Let’s keep them as low as possible. We took one helluva
hit back at Hellas and we’re already low on
numbers.” Kazmak turned his attention to his crew who were negotiating their
berth with the docking crew at Troy.
Everything seemed routine as they unloaded the container laden with living
Psionic crystals. So far, so good… now to wait and see if that Earth Fed freak
was up to her word. He could hear the crew’s cheers ringing round the ship from
his ready room as he announced shore leave over the intercom with a stern
reminder that each squad was to stick together and only allowed out in shifts
so that the ship was manned and ready to go at all times.
Tony Rainier, a burly shaven-headed
Shin-Tan don with a replacement cybernetic eye, popped up on the ready room
viewscreen holding up a chunk of live Psionic crystal the size of his own head.
“Nice haul, Kazmak! Our buyers are very impressed. One more shipment like that
and you’ll have paid off on your ship.”
“You’ve got a deal.” Kazmak bragged idly
as he held up his glass of whiskey to toast Tony’s offer. If things went to
plan that was one promise he’d never have to keep. “We still need a refuel and
our regular payment.”
“Sure, you’ve earned it.” Tony was
grudgingly genial as he signed off. “See you inside.”
“What do you think?” Kazmak asked
“He knows. He looked pretty nervous to
me.” Killdan replied confidently. “He can’t mention it because that would give
away the fact that they have informers in our clan. So
he has to pretend everything’s fine.”
“So do we.”
Kazmak added bleakly. “He’s probably set up a trap.”
“We go in with a squad for backup. If
they turn on us, I’m going to use this neutraliser.” Killdan patted his chest
where it had been installed. “That ought to put the odds in our favour if we
have to shoot our way out.”
“Are you sure? I’ve got my negotiating
belt.” Kazmak shrugged his shoulders and resigned himself to the inevitable. If
the Shin-Tan tried to kill him, he’d make sure he took of them with him. He’d
wear his explosive ‘negotiating’ belt that was keyed to his neural and cardiac activity.
If either or both stopped, it would go off, killing anyone around him. He was
rather proud of it. It was one of his few creations and it had served him
admirably over the years. It never ceased to amaze him how people would change
their tune when faced with the prospect of instant annihilation. It was a risky
card to play but so far no-one had ever called his bluff. He’d seen what had
happened to his troops and his sister and would rather kill himself than end up
“It would give them something to do.”
Kazmak offered. “On top of that, you’ll need backup if those crystals go off
when we’re on Troy.
It’s going to be like Hellas all over again.”
“Except this time
we’ll probably have to kill the survivors.” Kazmak poured himself another glass
of whiskey and knocked it back in one. “Let’s see what cards lady luck plays
for us today.”
Kazmak stepped out of the walkway tube
onto docking bay concourse with Killdan and his squad behind him. It looked the
same as last time: hard industrial decking with Mordellon clan insignia
plastered all over it. The Mordellon clan controlled the docking bays. This
time instead of being greeted by the usual sneering banter of a superior
space-faring clan pulling rank on a lower dirtside clan, they were met by a
hushed silence as all the Mordellon clan deckhands kept their distance.
Kazmak didn’t like the look of this and
decided to bluff his way out. “Hey, it’s great to be back. We have got a
shipment of crystals like you’ve never seen! A mother lode of live crystals.
Yes!!!” He triumphantly punched the air.
“Uh, yeah, sure thing, Kazmak.” One of
the deckhands replied cautiously. ”We heard all about
Kazmak didn’t dare ask whether the
deckhand meant the crystals or what happened at Hellas.
By the looks of their faces he could tell that they already knew but were too
afraid to let on, so he kept up the pretence. “Drinks and virals for everyone
when we get paid! It’s party time.”
Killdan kept pace alongside Kazmak as he
led the way across the docking bay towards the Shin-tan clan’s sector and spoke
quietly to him. “They know, boss.”
“Yeah.” Kazmak agreed under his breath.
“Let’s get the money and get out of here before its
gets weird.” He marched on, weaponising his fixed grin and breezy manner in a
futile attempt to reassure the residents of Troy
that everything was all right and that it was great to pay tribute to the
successful space pirates of Troy.
He recognised that hopeless yet defiant look of someone about to be executed in
their faces. They knew. And the glowing detector bead on his armband that he
saw as he waved to them told him that they were all infected and doomed to die.
But he had to maintain the pretence so he
cheerily greeted any Mordellon he recognised. It was the same again as they
marched through the Outlander clan’s sector and the Camorra clan’s more urbane sector
reflecting their greater wealth and status.
The Shin-Tan’s sector felt more like an
understatedly opulent high-class hotel compared to the rest of Troy with its
spacious atrium decorated with trees and fountains. Here they barely even gave
Kazmak and his posse more than an occasional cursory nod of recognition which
suited Kazmak just fine. Once again, his detector bead revealed that all the
Shin-Tan were infected. Kazmak looked around drinking up the refined luxury of
his surroundings and decided that he’d make this sector his personal quarters
after they took over. If it happened… he savoured the though for a moment
before coming back to the more pressing reality of getting paid and getting the
hell out before the shit hit the fan. The more he saw of Troy, the less he fancied his chances of
surviving the chaos following a release of floxetrasine. They damn near had a
fatal shootout at Hellas when he released the
gas there… and everyone was one the same side there. Never mind the squabbles
between the clans here at Tory. Here they were they outsiders with precious
little of even a toehold. Everyone would shoot at them.
The easy chatter amongst the platoon
Killdan had mustered to accompany them had given way to a dark foreboding. They
too wore armbands with detector beads and were all too aware that everyone
they’d encountered so far was infected and grew uneasy as they waited by a
fountain in a spacious garden atrium. They didn’t have to wait long. A minor
don approached Kazmak to escort him and Killdan to meet Biskek, the Shin-Tan
Ventnor-9, an armoured manbot mech in
their platoon looked around as Kazmak and Killdan walked off. Out here they
were sitting ducks. At regular intervals along the three overhanging balconies
he could see shaven-headed Shin-Tan initiates wearing their formal
high-collared cloaks gazing down silently at them. He assumed they kept their
pulse rifles hidden under their cloaks and looked around at ground level to see
what easy cover there might be if things got weird and advised the other
squaddies to do likewise.
Being a mech he was able to transmit his
message to the other two mechs and four humans by their encrypted channel. The
mechs received Ventnor’s message internally and humans got it straight into
their headsets so even if the Shin-Tan were monitoring them closely they would
never have overheard his warning to the other squaddies.
“My detector bead is glowing like a hot
tamale!” KevTen, another Raider mech in their squad joked over the comms. “And
I’m not even a fleshie!”
Outwardly they remained nervously silent;
their backs together as they surveyed their surroundings looking for whatever
cover they could scope out while the Shin-Tan initiates stared menacingly back
down at them.
Their squad had to wait outside when Kazmak
and Killdan were ushered into Biskek the Executioner’s
inner sanctum, a womb of plush maroon velvet, gold-and-bronze trim and soft
embedded lighting. A wall of sound and body heat, music from five different
streams meshing together as a wall of sound and the musk of human passion hit
them as they walked in. Bodies clothed, barely covered and naked fucking,
sucking, writhing sensually and brutally, draped over the furniture, lying on
the floor, standing up against a wall and running around. Passion and lust let
loose and gone wild. You could tell someone’s rank on whether they were fucking
a sexbot, a clone or a real human: the lowest-ranked had to do with sexbots.
Next up the ladder had the clones and the top ranked had the real humans for
their pleasures and kinks.
Though they were very chauvinistic with
few women working their way up through the ranks. the Shin-Tan eschewed the
rough quasi-militarism of the other Overlordz clans for an almost cult-like
existence. A life of near-monastic severity for the initiates and increasing
access to the pleasures of life as they worked their ways up the ranks and Biskek
enjoyed flaunting the pleasures of his high rank at the head of the Shin-Tan
In the middle of this chaotic orgy
swirling around him, Biskek the Executioner reclined
on a sofa with a scantily-clad woman on each side, obvious sex-slave clones,
fussing over him. One toyed with the stringy ponytail that grew down from Biskek’s mostly-bald head, the other ran her fingers
in patterns massaging oil into Biskek’s muscular
but age and wealth softened bare chest. Behind them stood five stony-faced goons
in immaculate grey Shin-Tan suits. The coffee table in front of them was strewn
with glowing Psionic Crystals taken from their latest haul.
On one side of the coffee table Tony
Rainier leaned forward to pick up a crystal while a lithe young male sex slave
caressed Tony’s back with his hands and genetically-enhanced cock. He held out
the crystal to greet Kazmak and Killdan but said nothing in deference to Biskek.
Kazmak hadn’t noticed it at first, what with
the muted lighting in the reception room, but when he saw it his stomach almost
turned to jelly and would have lost his pace had he not his mech legs doing the
walking for him. It was one of them! At the coffee table! A Gulmarian! What all
those people back at Hellas turned into when the gas hit them. Except this one
was alive and toying with one of the glowing crystals in its pincer-like claws,
its dark shiny chitinous face illuminated by the crystal’s soft organic glow.
It glanced briefly at Kazmak and Killdan with its expressionless triangular
purple eyes and then turned its attention back to the crystal.
Killdan could not only see that the
Shin-Tan goons only carried pistols but could also, unlike Kazmak, see the
infra-red targeting lasers leading back to automated laser rifles embedded in
the reception room walls that tracked them across the room. That was totally
like that Shin-Tan. Implied menace was always their style.
Biskek lifted one of his arms off his
concubines to give Kazmak a somewhat bored imperial wave. “Excellent work!” He
did his best to sound authoritative in spite of a deep wheeze in his voice.
“Our buyers are very impressed with your latest haul.”
The Gulmarian turned to face Kazmak and
help up a crystal in its pincer claws. “Yes-s-s-s. Excellent crystals-s-s-s-s.”
It hissed in its breathy voice.
“Hey, that’s great! Kazmak sweated with
panic and faked cheer. If his lower intestines and bowels hadn’t been replaced
with a cybernetic waste processing unit, he would have just crapped himself.
Instead he kept going and clasped his hands together. “So, uh, we’ll get paid
and be on our way.”
“What’s the hurry?” Biskek was in a generous mood and spun a psionic
crystal around in the palm of his open hand. “Bring in another shipment of
these babies and you’ll have paid off your bond on that shiny new ship of
yours. Loosen up, bro. It’s party time!”
“Yeah, sure.” Kazmak just about managed
a nervous smile as he glanced over at Killdan for support. “I still need to pay
my crew and refuel.”
“Tony will sort you out on that.” Biskek grandly assured Kazmak. “Quit worrying.”
The heavy with incense and musk of human
passion masked the unmistakable smell of the Floxetrasine and Kazmak didn’t
notice it at first as it wafted into Biskek’s orgy rooms. The Psionic crystal
had activated itself as soon as the Gulmarian picked it up and opened up a
micro gateway to Ghrawkli’s distant
laboratory letting its lethal gas flood through. The first Kazmak knew of it
was when the Gulmarian leapt up twitching and screeching “Betrayal!” as light
blue froth seeped out of its spiracles. It collapsed to the floor dead, its
eyes clouded over as everyone looked on agog. Biskek and his lieutenants spun
into action, weapons drawn, looking for the source of the attack until the gas
found them with its lethal consequences leaving them as dying Gulmarian corpses
twitching their last spasms on the floor.
Killdan altered the troops waiting outside that the game was now on before the Shin-Tan
had time to activate their defensive EM dampening fields. He activated the
neutralisers they’d smuggled aboard Troy.
Things had moved so fast the he hadn’t had time to deploy his and it went off
from where it was hidden inside his frame. He sagged and leaned on Kazmak for
support as his shield struggled to protect him from the neutraliser’s
continuous assault of EMP pulses. That stopped all the mechs in their vicinity.
Killdan right on his feet and looked around. It had only taken seconds and the
reception rooms had gone from a roaring sex party in full swing into a carnage
of dead Gulmarians and neutralised mechs that had fallen in their tracks. The
alien bodies were littered on the floor, draped over furnishings and beds. One
had even fallen into a pool with its death-rattle blue froth staining the water
around its floating corpse.
Over on a wide
settee next to the two dead Gulmarians that used to be Biskek and one of his
concubines, a slender woman with long blond hair and slightly Asiatic features
wearing a sheer golden harem suit sat perched on the edge, frozen in a moment
of escape. She wasn’t dead. Kazmak could see her eyes darting around the room
so he strode over and poked her on the right shoulder. “So how come you aren’t
dead like the others? He demanded gruffly.
The concubine looked
up slowly. “Because I’m a Bio?” It was clear she wasn’t sure either.
Kazmak knew that
Bio was short for Biomechanical; a human brain in a biosynthetic body. Usually
the preserve of the wealthy and their cult followers looking for yet another
way to cheat death. Maybe her synthetic body had protected her brain from the
alien biota. “So what are you doing here? I thought
your kind were all pure futurists.”
snorted derisively and shrugged her shoulders. “Our local Foundation, or what
we thought was our Foundation, was compromised. Or maybe it was just a front. I
never had time to find out. Turned out they were supplying sex slaves to
brothels. I signed up for exoplanetary development and ended up here instead.”
whistled. “That’s one hella expensive way to make hookers. Sexbots are cheaper
and do what they’re told.”
batted her eyelashes. “They mould our bodies to suit their kinks. Would you
like to see?” She offered suggestively.
in. “Sorry to interrupt the romance, Boss. I got reports in from the other
teams; a few survivors and limited resistance.”
away so the concubine couldn’t grab his gun and turned to face Killdan. “Some
good news at last. Looks like that damn alien bitch was on the level about her
crystals. Any of them coming over to our side?”
his head. “Not many.”
“Damn, this is
getting messy.” Kazmak cussed. “You think they’d take the easy option. But no!
All the more for us then.” Much as he loathed the spaceside clans’ contempt for
his Raiders, he’d assumed that the survivors would swear allegiance to the one
remaining Overlordz clan. At least he’d have fewer soldiers tied up watching
over their prisoners this way. Things were moving fast leaving him no time to
worry about what might have been. They had more pressing matters to deal with. “We’ve
got to secure the control centre and lock out the Shin-Tan and Valeris ships
before they can take action.” He looked around for the concubine but she was
gone, nowhere to be seen. Damn! A sudden boom and shake of Troy’s hull made him realise he had more
important matters on hand. “All gunners and tech crew report to the control
centre immediately.” He barked into his headset as he and Killdan ran out into
the central piazza of the Shin-Tan sector. “Continue the sweep as per plan.”
contacted the skeleton crew in his ship. ”Pull your
fingers out and shoot those bastards!” He shouted on an open channel so that
everyone on his ship would hear him.
pointless, boss.” Nadia Tremontaine, the duty officer replied. “They’ve got the
same shields we have. They’re not even bothering to fire on us any longer and
concentrating their fire on Troy.”
that alien ship?” Kazmak wanted to know what was going on outside of Troy.
“Dead in the
water, boss. They’re not shooting or moving.” Nadia sounded perplexed by the
Gulmarian ship’s lack of action.
crystals released that gas on their ship.” Kazmak surmised. “That’s one less
shooter to worry about. Position yourself between those ships and Troy.”
of them and one of us. We can’t be in two places at once.” Nadia stated the
distract them. Ram the bastards if you have to. We’re taking a hammering down
here.” Kazmak hoped it wouldn’t come to that. He liked his new ship and the
possibilities it brought him and his clan. But Troy was a prize beyond his wildest dreams
and he wasn’t going to let it slip away even if it meant losing his ship.
“We’re on it,
boss.” The grim certitude in Nadia’s voice told Kazmak that she knew what she
had to do.
Kazmak suggested gleefully. “We can rebuild the nose from parts we strip from
their ships afterwards.”
“If we live
through this.” Nadia laughed a grim death-row laugh.
“Sure you will.” Kazmak was on a roll. He had a plan and it
was mad enough to work. “Get everyone onto the bridge and evacuate the rest of
the ship. That should give you one hella crumple zone. I’ll see you when you
get back. Drinks are on me!”
“I’ll hold you
to that. We’ll all hold you to that. Won’t we?” There was a gap as Nadia took
off her headset and held it up so that it could pick up the sound of the entire
That was loud!
Kazmak pulled back his earpiece, twisted a finger in his ear and shook his head.
“OK, you got me there. Drinks are on the house. Now get on with it. I’ve got to
get the defences here online.”
Thanks to his
mech legs, Kazmak was able to keep up effortlessly with Killdan as they tore
along out of the Shin-Tan sector down the main concourse through sector after
sector running towards the control centre. Everywhere they went was littered
with dead Gulmarian corpses twisted in death and still wearing the torn remains
of the clothes worn by their unwitting human hosts, fallen mechs put out of action
by the neutraliser pulses and even a few cyberneticly enhanced humans.
arrived, a tech crew was waiting for them. Most of the gunnery consoles were
manned with new arrivals turning up by the minute. Troy was being rocked by the bombardment from
the Shin-Tan and Valeris ships but the consoles were dead, targeting offline
and the gunners unable to a thing. “Dammit” Kazmak slammed his fist on a
console in impotent rage. “Rip these consoles open and get them running on
manual.” He barked at the engineers not caring if they could or if it would
even work. He had to be seen to be in control.
Kazmak paced the floor impatiently
cursing and fuming at his impotence to do anything to defend Troy. The gunners
sat silent, too scared to say anything lest Kazmak unleash his temper on them
while the engineers mumbled and grumbled amongst themselves while they went
from console to console ripping them open in a futile attempt to hotwire Troy’s defences.
He had already shouted at everyone at
least once as well as kicking a few of the engineers as they cowered under the
consoles. An augmented Raider officer, TekTom Abaya, accompanied by three foot-soldiers
with their weapons aimed at a bedraggled and badly beaten captive who limped
uneasily in spite of the officers’ pistol being pressed up against his head.
“This punk claims he knows the access
codes.” TekTom pushed his stumbling captive towards one of the consoles that
hadn’t yet been opened up.
One of the captive’s legs was clearly
broken. “OK, but then I get my legs fixed in the medbay. That was the deal. The
pain’s killing me.” He pleaded his desperate deal and grunted through clenched
teeth. He pulled himself up to the console and within seconds the gunnery
stations had come to life with their holographic displays blinking into life
around the gunners as they spun into action. He was just turning around to say
“It’s all yours.” But he never finished the sentence.
Kazmak shot him in the head spraying
blood and fried brains around the control centre as the lifeless body fell to
the floor. “Clean that mess up.” Kazmak coldly ordered TekTom’s soldiers.
“Right, I want the Valeris and Shin-Tan ships blown out of space. Now get to
it!” He stomped out of the control centre in a foul mood not the least bit
helped by his mech legs which rebelliously put a sexily hip-rolling gait to his
walk every time he got stressed out. They did things like that to remind him
who was boss. He hated it but there was nothing he could do. His legs,
Charlene, had been grafted onto his mangled torso after his flier had crashed
when they were taking mercenary work for City One during the Anti-Corporate
uprisings. There was no time to grow new legs and lower torso in a vat and
spare mech parts were hard to come by at the time. It was only later that he
discovered that Charlene had plans of her own after she had taken Kazmak
hostage by flooding his body with synthetic hormones and killer nanites.
Kazmak made his way out of the control
centre leaning on the wall as Troy
rocked under the bombardment. So much for his legs’ internal gyros. At least Troy’s hull was holding
up. They still had to secure Troy
and figure out what to do with all the mechs when they switched off the
neutralisers. At least the news coming back from his squads was good. They’d
already secured half of Troy
in two major sections and were working their way around to join up. The
Gearhedz were putting up the most resistance but had retreated to their sector
resulting in a stalemate standoff on both sides of their sector. At least they
were contained. He could deal with them later after they mopped up the rest of Troy. Much as he wanted
to get down to some shooting action against the Gearhedz, he knew his place was
in the command centre huffing and puffing while he co-ordinated his clans’ takeover
“We’ve got incoming, boss!” A techie
called over from one of the consoles they hadn’t yet dismantled.
“Is it Earth Fed?” Kazmak knew the Earth
Fed didn’t officially have any ships in the Trojans but that wasn’t to say they
might not have a few ships in the Jovian system.
“I don’t think so, Boss.” The techie
replied. “It’s too small and moving way too fast. If it was a fighter, we’d be
able to see its support ship. Earth Fed fighters barely have the range to make
it between the moons. More likely a privateer. Whoever it is they’re on a
one-way trip until they refuel here.”
“If we sell them any.” Kazmak gloated
over this small victory in the days’ battle. He, Kazmak, and his clan were now
the owners of Troy
and best-positioned to be the leaders of the Overlordz in the coming power
vacuum. He’d known power as the leader of the Raiders, but what beckoned was
beyond his wildest dreams. He’d learned enough controlling the factions in his
own clan and playing them off against each other to know that it would be more
of the same, just with higher stakes and more determined opponents.
“Flag it up on the holo display.” No sooner
than Kazmak ordered the techie to do so, a flashing red dot appeared on the 3D
holographic display on the command deck in the control centre. They could also
watch their ship in real time dodging around the crippled alien ship as Nadia
and her crew played a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with the Valeris and
Shin-Tan ships while blasting any other ship harboured around Troy that so much as dared to move or shoot
Kazmak stepped down, reached through the
holographic display of the nearest gunner and span him around until the
approaching red dot was in the middle of his field of view. “Fire a few warning
shots and put a bead on them to let them know we’ve got their number. If they
shoot back, space the fuckers.”
The gunner fired off a salvo wide of the
incoming vessel. To his surprise it winked out of existence. “I think I got it,
The techie deflated the gunner’s exuberance.
“It’s in the central hub docking bay.”
“Crap!” Kazmak was just starting to bark
out the order through his headset for any troops near an access shaft to make
their way to the docking bay to neutralise the intruder when Psy popped up on a
“Your welcoming committee is bit jumpy,
sweetie.” Psy pouted sultrily. “Permission to come aboard, mon Capitan?”
Tension seethed sourly out of Kazmak as
the order died in his throat. “What the fuck are you doing here?” He barked angrily.
“I thought I’d look in to see how you
were getting on.” Psy commented airily.
“Yeah, well, we’re a bit busy right
now.” Kazmak growled as he glanced over at the holographic display to see how
Nadia and her crew were getting on. They were getting nowhere fast.
“And by the look of things…” Psy
disappeared from the screen, materialised next to Kazmak, dusted down hir
glowing blue Psionic crystal and slipped it into hir pocket. “…I’ve come just
Kazmak was livid. Not only did this
freak bitch have the drop on him but insisted on showing it off in front of his
own people. He turned to face Psy. “Will you just fuck off out of here? We’ve
got things under control.”
Psy wasn’t intimidated by Kazmak’s
bluster and gently laid a finger on Kazmak’s nose. “You’ve done ever so well,
sweetie. The cavalry will be along in a few minutes to tie up the loose ends
for you.” By the time Psy finished you could have heard a pin drop in the
control centre. Everyone except the gunners, who were too busy to notice, had
dropped what they were doing to watch the spectacle of their clan boss, Kazmak,
being humiliated by some corporate bitch who had materialised out of nowhere,
“We’ve got incoming, boss. It’s big.”
One of the techies called out from the viewscreen he was monitoring.
“Pah!” Kazmak snorted. “Earth Fed
finally sent the Trumpton out here? We can take them on!”
“No way, boss. That old slug is still in
the inner system.” The techie replied. “This thing’s way much bigger.”
Psy smirked as Kazmak gave the order:
“Put it on the screen.” A blinking red spot immediately appeared on the
holographic display with a dotted line showing the arc of its course in 3D.
“The screen…” Kazmak emphasised tetchily. The main viewscreen, which had been
following their own ship in its hide-and-seek game around the stricken
Gulmarian ship swung around dizzyingly to a patch of space that looked very
empty except for a small region where the distant stars were blocked out. “Do I
have to tell you your job, you fucking idiot?” Kazmak shouted angrily at the technician
who was operating the viewscreen. “Zoom in on that bastard. Let’s see what
we’ve got here.”
dark patch on the screen grew rapidly until it almost filled the screen, taking
shape as a vast organic-looking ship, over a kilometer in length, with pods and
modules sprouting out of it along its vast hull. As they watched it grow on the
viewscreen, they could start to make out running lights and light shining out
of what might be windows.
to one side Psy cleared hir throat with a soft cough. “The cavalry has
roughly grabbed Psy by one arm and pointed at the viewscreen. “Who are they?”
slowly peeled Kazmak’s fingers back one by one and coolly pushed his hand away.
“My people. We are Nglubi. You work for us now.”
fuck we do.” Kazmak blustered.
deflated a bit with a weary ‘here we go again’ expression. “We need to talk. Do
you have an office here?”
looked around. There was indeed an officer’s room adjoining the command centre
and he stomped off in its direction with Psy following close behind as Kazmak’s
crew looked on in disbelief. Kazmak slammed the door after Psy stepped inside.
“What the fuck do you want?”
looked around and held out an open hand towards a chair. “Sit.” Shi commanded.
you.” Kazmak snapped back and stayed resolutely on his feet.
folded hir arms under hir breasts and pushed them out for effect. “Not like
that you can’t.” Shi sneered cruelly as shi pointed at Kazmak’s mech legs and
crotch. “Remember our deal? Play ball and you’ll be able to fuck me for real
all you want.” Psy teased Kazmak with a sultry glance. “You’d like that,
wouldn’t you? All that pent-up libido.”
“Screw you.” Kazmak snarled impotently.
can’t wait.” Psy ran the tip of hir tongue tauntingly along hir lips, sat in the
chair shi had previously offered to Kazmak, put hir booted feet up on the desk,
made a steeple with hir hands and stared coldly at him. “There’s a war going
on, Kazmak. The front line has come to your solar system thanks to some unwise
decisions made by some of your Overlordz associates and you’re about to become
collateral damage if you’re not careful.”
can look after ourselves.” Kazmak bluffed bravely.
stared up silently at Kazmak and gently cleared hir throat again for dramatic
effect. “Really? You’ve seen what you’re up against. How long do you think it
will be before the rest of your clan and the people on Mars are infected and
turn into Gulmarians? How long before it gets to Earth? Once it gets there, they
will be unstoppable.”
stood his ground and glared at Psy murderously. “Why should I give a shit about
anyone on Earth? All they want to do is to put us behind bars.”
in prison would be the least of your worries.” Psy explained patiently. “At
least you’d be alive. Normally, we incinerate systems where the Gulmarians get
a foothold as a prophylactic measure. Call it mercy killing, if you will. And
that would include you and your loyal tribe of ruffians, just to be on the safe
side. But in this case, we’ve managed to contain and push back their intrusion.
Give yourself a pat on the back, big boy.” Psy waxed generously. “You’ve earned
your part of the bargain. We’re just here to tidy up a few loose ends.”
was floored by Psy coolly addressing him as if shi were a headmaster talking
down to a first-year student and relished the thought of fucking that weird-ass
Earth Fed bitch who was staring back at him.
spread hir feet apart on the desk leaned back in hir chair just enough to give
Kazmak a tantalizing upskirt view along hir legs.
do you want?” Kazmak growled sullenly realizing that Psy held all the cards.
looked casually at her well-manicured fingernails and then up at Kazmak. “We’ll
remove all the Gulmarian bodies and those ships. Can’t leave Gulmarian
technology around, It’s too dangerous. What do you want to do with all the
mechs and that mech clan?”
wait a minute, freako. One of those ships out there is ours.” Kazmak wasn’t
going to let some Earth Fed agent take over. That was a step too far for him.
sweetums.” Psy patronizingly attempted to sweeten the harsh news.
“Non-negotiable terms. We will, however, spare your crew. We’ll arrange for a
replacement ship that uses safer technology.”
some old Earth Fed rust bucket?” It was Kazmak’s turn to sneer and he laid it
was thinking a Rtuntli gunship or two.” Psy offered vaguely.
But Kazmak interrupted by an urgent banging on the door. “What is it?” Kazmak
called out impatiently.
stepped in. “You should see what’s been happening out here, Boss. There’s some
wall of energy sweeping Troy and those alien bodies are just vanishing. Oh yeah, Nadia and the rest of the
crew just turned up on one of the concourses.”
clasped hir hands together and turned to face Kazmak. “Well, that’s phase one. So what do you want to do with the mechs? Present company
excluded, of course.”
glanced over to Killdan.
can’t keep using those neutralizers forever, Boss.” Killdan sounded slightly
glitchy. It was obvious that he was trying to hide how badly it was affecting
his movement from Kazmak. “They’re starting to affect us too. I don’t think
those shields you got us are all they’re cracked up to be. Some of us are
experiencing serious runtime glitching.”
okay!” Kazmak threw his hands up. He had to make a decision. “Let’s wake up a
batch and see what happens. If they give us any trouble, frag ‘em.” He stomped
out of the office with Killdan and Psy in tow, gathered up a squad of Raiders
and set off for the concourse where a pile of disabled Overlordz mechs had been
stacked up. Even in this quiescent state the Overlordz mechs looked menacing
and malevolent. Kazmak ordered his foot soldiers to form a circle around the
pile, guns drawn ready to shoot, and gave Killdan the order to switch off the
neutralizer standing next to them.
The faint clicks and whirrs of their systems
coming online were accompanied by flashes of light flickering through the
now-twitching pile as they booted up. Somewhere at the bottom of the pile one
of the mechs began to stand up and started shooting through his still-booting
comrades. Kazmak and his troops returned fire. When it was over there were no
survivors. This scene pretty much played out the same way at every pile of
Overlordz mechs all the way around the main concourse of Troy. Out of the hundreds of mechs they woke
up, less than ten had come over to their side. It was a slaughter.
sorry about that.” Kazmak offered Killdan what he thought might pass for a rare
moment of compassion as they looked over the last of the smoldering mech
carcasses. “I had no idea it would turn out this way.”
shook his head. “There was no way they were going to join us. You saw that much
for yourself. If we’d have cut them loose, they would have mot likely joined up
with the Gearhedz to take over Troy.
No, it was messy but it had to be done. The last thing we want is a battle on
our hands with a bunch of hopped up mechs running around looking for a shooting
might be quicker to jettison the Gearhedz’ sector and blast it to dust.” Kazmak
toyed with the idea aloud to sound out Killdan’s reaction.
have to if we can’t cut a deal with them.” Killdan spelled out the brutal
truth. “We’re the only ones standing right now and it would be a fight for control
of Troy. They
wouldn’t give up and neither would we. It would be a fight to the death and Troy would be a wreck
afterwards. No use to anyone.”
how come you never signed up to the Gearhedz?” Kazmak curiously quizzed
Killdan. “Being a mech and all that.”
made a raspy electronic grunt of a sound and kicked one of the dead mechs at
his feet. “They screwed me over when I was a dumb numbnut straight out of the
factory just after the SCRA came into force. It was all ‘have a great life, get
a job, see you at the club’ when we got dumped in the ghetto. It was tough
times just to get enough money top up my power cell and a few hours of VR. The
local Gearhedz seemed to have it all. I wanted to be like them back then so I’d
hang out with them.”
day their brothel got busted for running unregistered sexbots. Totally illegal
especially after the SCRA. Not the sexbot bit, that was no big deal. It was the
registration part what with us mechs supposed to have full civil rights and all
that.” Killdan continued. “Never mind that all mechs have to register their
identity on a central database like the one at Satori. They were facing prison
time. They talked me into taking the rap with the deal that I’d get a cut of
the business when I came out.”
an idiot I took them up on it. Three years later, I come out and the bastards
jolted me so hard it almost fried my core. When I came to, they’d dumped me in
an alleyway and had even taken my legs. So, yeah, I can relate to what happened
to you even if you are a fleshie. It took me hours to drag myself to the
nearest parts shop using my arms. Mick Terempiosa, who died in the gas incident
back on Mars loaned me the money to get some legs. The Raiders have been good
to me. This is where I belong, Kazmak.” Killdan was emphatic. “Not with those
can’t they track you through that database?” The thought of registering on a
database was anathema to Kazmak’s sense of being a freebooting space pirate.
doesn’t work that way.” Killdan failed to explain. “And if I ever do have to
connect to it, I use a string of untraceable randomized proxies. Everyone and
their Roomba uses proxies. Oh, I forgot… you’re a fleshie.”
long as the Space Force don’t show up here using all you mechs as a beacon.”
Kazmak remained unconvinced.
point, Kazmak. They already know it’s here. They’ve got really sharp intel.” Killdan
gave Kazmak cold after-the-fact comfort. “That alien worldship has been keeping
them busy. Once they’re bored with that, they’ll be out here looking for us.”
be ready for them.” Kazmak blustered defiantly. “Especially if we have those
gunships that freak bitch promised us.”
who had been standing unobtrusively to one side coughed politely. “That freak
bitch is right here.” Shi reminded them coolly and slipped an arm under
Kazmak’s. “You’ll get your gunship but you won’t need it. We need to talk. I
think Killdan’s got everything under control.”
could see there was something going on between Kazmak and Psy although he
wasn’t sure quite what. “Hey, take a break, Boss. I’ve got it.”
I’m not back in an hour come for me with a posse.” Kazmak instructed Killdan as
he let Psy lead him off the concourse and its pile of dead mechs. “We’ll be in
do.” Killdan called back as the access doors closed behind Kazmak and Psy. No
sooner than the doors had closed, Psy got out hir blue Psionic crystal and
transported them instantaneously to hir ship.
looked around and instantly recognized its milky opalescent interior surface.
“Hey it’s just like your place on Mars.”
stepped back and clasped hir hands together proudly. “It is, isn’t it?” And as
shi spoke those words the biostone floor extruded up to Kazmak’s shoulders in a
flash to hold him captive.
Kazmak attempted to shout but it only ended in a heavily-drugged gurgle. When
Kazmak’s head fell to one side from loss of muscle control, it looked as if he
had lost all his anger.
ordered the Omphalatta to extrude a headrest for Kazmak and gently lifted his
head into place. “Sorry about the inconvenience, love. But it’s the only way.”
Psy kissed Kazmak on his forehead and waited for Killdan’s inevitable visit.
Psy watched with a fascinated curiosity as the biostone slowly disconnected the
mech legs and hips from Kazmak’s body and transported them away until they
stood next to hir.
“So when are we going to Satori?” A tinny feminine Southern
drawl crackled out of a small broken speaker in Charlene’s crotch.
hurry now, are we?” Psy tried to shut Charlene down as shi watched a flesh-coloured cloud begin
forming below Kazmak’s torso.
I don’t want to hang around here.” Charlene wasn’t for giving up after all
she’d been through. “I bring Kazmak in, I get the upgrade. That was the deal.”
anything, Kazmak brought you in.” Psy wearily made it clear shi wasn’t going to
be ordered around by a pair of mech legs that just about scraped through the
Turing test. “That’s between you and the SSS.”
I’m tired of being that asshole’s legs.” Charlene griped. “You have no idea what
a dick he is. And he doesn’t even have one.”
will soon enough.” Psy idly adjusted the controls on a biostone console to give
Kazmak a thick ten-inch cock. Big, but just that bit small enough so that he’d
always know his place.
was impotent, you know.” Charlene shot that tidbit of information out like a
bullet to deflate Psy’s plans.
have drugs for that.” Psy shrugged hir shoulders.
him.” Charlene smugly triumphalised over Kazmak’s weakness. “He’s got a heart
condition. The clinical aphrodisiacs he would need combined with the meds he
takes would kill him.”
wonder he’s such a miserable bastard.” Psy mused as shi brought up a screen to
correct the faulty genes in Kazmak’s DNA that caused his heart condition as
well as repairing the existing condition. “There, that’s fixed. Can’t have him
dying on me.”
do you even care about that jerk?” Charlene couldn’t understand why this weird
Earth Fed agent was interested in Kazmak. As far as she was concerned Kazmak
was just a scumbag thug with a huge chip on his shoulder because of his
going to make an honest businessman of him.” Psy couched hir plans for Kazmak
in bland vague terms.
luck with that.” Charlene snorted derisively.
will…” Psy smiled menacingly at Charlene’s open waist. The stump of her
mechanoid frame stood out alongside severed looms of cabling and sealed coolant
and hydraulic fluid plumbing. In between her processors and pumps shi could see
a few lights winking. “...Or else he and everyone else in this tin can can join
the rest of the dead rubble out here in the Trojans.”
fighting talk. But I saw what you did at Fort Melchisor,
so I wouldn’t put it past you. What are you anyway? Are you some Earth Fed
black-op bioengineered super soldier or something?” Charlene quizzed Psy.
just leave it as ‘other’, shall we?” Psy coyly shut down Charlene’s
questioning. The hours’ passing was marked by the sound of Killdan banging
loudly on the Omphalatta’s door. A transparent circular floor-to-ceiling wall
of biostone snapped into place to seal off the entrance. Psy ordered the
Omphalatta to open its door.
followed by a rough looking mob of Raiders, barged their way in brandishing
their guns and ready for action. He saw Kazmak motionless in a column of
biostone with his legs and Psy standing to one side. By now the flesh-toned
cloud was beginning to solidify and you could see bones starting to grow.
strode forward and hit the wall with a resounding clunk. “What have you done to
Kazmak?” He bellowed as he smashed his fist on the biostone wall. It wasn’t
even so much as scratched.
him from his legs.” Psy pointed towards Charlene. “And growing him a new pair
in both senses of the word.”
he alive?” Killdan demanded. The biostone wall dimpled back towards the
interior wall allowing Killdan access. Kazmak looked as unresponsive as a dead
man. Sensing a trap, he stood his ground.
go on. Don’t just stand there like a dummy.” Psy motioned impatiently towards
cautiously stepped up to Kazmak. Sure enough, he was breathing. Slowly. “Hey
Boss. I’m here with the backup. You want us to blow this freak?” Killdan nodded
towards Psy. Behind him his troops had their laser pulse and projectile guns
aimed at Psy. Not that it would have made any difference. Hir Omphalatta was
hooked into the Nglubi battleship’s defensive shields and would be able to
dissipate a maser canon at point-blank range.
small trickle of drool dribbled from the corner of Kazmak’s mouth. Killdan waved
a hand in front of his eyes. “Hey, Boss, you there?” Kazmak stared blankly
ahead. After what felt like an eon, he blinked slowly. Killdan tried again to
make sure it was an actual response and not a random action. This time Kazmak’s
reaction was a bit faster. And a third time. Killdan turned to face Psy; “How
long is he going to be out like this?”
shrugged hir shoulders. “I don’t know. A day. Maybe two. However long it takes
to grow a pair of legs.”
got a thing for Kazmak?” Killdan asked Psy casually.
Psy acted all innocent.
given him a bigger dick than what he had before he lost his legs.” Killdan said
it just loud enough so that his troops could hear and they responded with
catcalls, wolf-whistles, cheers and raucous guffaws.
but kept up the pretence. “Oh really? I had no idea.”
I don’t care what you two got going.” Killdan leaned over towards Psy. “But we
need Kazmak back ASAP.”
least we can agree on something.” Psy stepped through the biostone wall, ran hir
fingers through Kazmak’s hair and glanced down at the ribbons of raw
musculature, flesh and bones that were coalescing in the biostone. “He’s not
ready yet. I’ll let you know when he’s back on his feet. Oh, you might want to
bring him some trousers and boots. I’m not sure he’d want to go out swinging
his dick around.”
he’d probably want to show it off.” Killdan could easily imagine Kazmak
strutting around naked just so everyone could see his new and improved cock. “I
can’t hang around; we’re a bit busy right now.” Killdan beckoned three
low-ranking soldiers, two humans and a mech, to stand guard over Kazmak as his
legs grew back into existence and was about to stomp off with the rest of his
squad when Psy interrupted him.
are you getting on with the Gearhedz?” Psy asked in a tone of voice that made
it perfectly clear that shi knew full well that things weren’t going quite to
stopped in his tracks and looked Psy straight in the face. “Huh?” Then it
dawned on him that Psy was the architect of their takeover of Troy. “We’ve got them pinned down on both
sides of their sector but they’re not talking.”
their gunnery stations?” Psy quizzed Killdan.
on ours but not shooting.” Killdan brought Psy up to speed.
at least they’re not suicidal.” Psy thought out aloud. “They know they’re
outgunned and are in no hurry to die. They can’t take control of Troy from the Raiders.
And the Raiders can’t displace them. Any backup they have on the inner planets
would take months to get here. That’s it!” Psy clicked hir fingers. “They plan
on holding out until reinforcements arrive.”
could detach their sector and blast it once it’s drifted far enough away.”
Killdan suggested. He’d already considered the idea and it was one of their fallback
would destabilize Troy.”
Psy pointed out. “On top of that they’d start shooting right away. Troy would be a wreck. We
need it intact.”
‘we’?” Killdan asked gruffly.
people and me...” Psy replied calmly. “..Plus the many
others who will be coming here in years to come. Oh, never mind.” Psy whipped
hir blue crystal out of hir jacket pocket, commanded hir Omphalatta to create a
biostone bubble around hirself and Killdan to transport them onto the concourse
in the middle of the Gearhedz sector where they were met by and unending volley
of pulsed lasers, bullets and mini railgun slugs. Psy tapped hir toe and calmly
inspected hir manicured nails as the volley continued its murderous intensity.
long is this shield of yours going to hold up?” Killdan pressed his hand up
against the biostone bubble as bullets and slugs thudded into it and clattered
in a growing pile on the floor, their kinetic energy having been absorbed and
dissipated by the Nglubi battleship’s defensive shields.
after they’ve run out of ammo.” Psy sounded as if shi had all the time in the
world and waved to the Gearhedz who were shooting at them. “Hello? Had enough
was a slight dip in the onslaught as one mech shouted: ”Screw
you, fleshie.” And then it continued at full force. Five minutes later the
assault died down and one of the Gearhedz shouted at them: “Fuck off. We’re not dealing with you.”
“Have it your way then.” Psy sighed
wearily as shi reached for hir blue Psionic crystal and transported them into a
featureless chamber whose inner surface radiated a deep blue glow aboard the
Nglubi battleship. Veins pulsing with glowing liquid were faintly visible in
the walls. Every single one of the Gearhedz who had been shooting at Psy and
Killdan was imprisoned in biostone polyps extruded up from the floor which
curved up in the distance to become the ceiling.
Killdan pinged the walls to work out the
size of the chamber but didn’t get an echo. The walls just drank up every
frequency he broadcast on. So instead he guesstimated it by comparing it to the
size of their group and worked out that the chamber was roughly 30 metres
across and 20 metres high. The more he thought about it, the more the chamber
resembled a bubble.
“I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that
there’s been a change of management on Troy.”
Psy addressed hir captives as shi walked amongst them.
“Screw you.” One of the Gearhedz cursed
back at Psy.
“Wrong answer.” Psy clicked hir fingers
and the biostone polyp crushed the offending Gearhedz mech to a clump of scrap
metal and swallowed it up into the chamber’s floor until there was no sign that
it had ever existed.
been a change of management.” Psy’s tone hardened. “Troy belongs to The Raiders now. You will
answer to me and Kazmak from now on.”
half-caste coward?” A Gearhedz mech sneered contemptuously. “I’ve never known a
fight he didn’t run away from.”
are you, fleshie?” Another Gearhedz mech shouted out from within its biostone
polyp. “We don’t take orders from fleshies.” Psy clicked hir fingers and that
mech was crushed to nothingness.
strutted to the other Gearhedz mech and put hir face up against the biostone
polyp imprisoning it. “Yes, that half-caste coward…” Shi repeated icily. “…or
you can join your friend over there.” At which point Psy turned around to face
where the other mech had been and switched to a mock-jovial faux-confidante
tone of voice. “Oh, but he isn’t here any longer, or the other one. Deary me,
what a shame. Wouldn’t want to join them now, would you?”
Gearhedz mech said nothing so Psy went on around hir captives taunting and
testing them until there were eleven left. Killdan was impressed at how coolly
Psy had dispatched those Gearhedz with an almost inhuman indifference to life.
He didn’t dare move against Psy in case he was next. This wasn’t the time or
the place. But he’d sure as hell take out that freak if he ever got the chance.
placed hir hands squarely on hir hips and addressed hir captives: “Go back to
your boss and tell him my conditions: Surrender or join your friends. In case
you’re wondering where you are, take a look in the viewscreen when you get
back. It’s that big black ship next to Troy.
And don’t even think about shooting, you’d be obliterated. Now begone! You have
twenty four hours.” Psy waved hir hand over hir blue
Psionic crystal and the remaining Gearhedz were instantly transported back to
their sector in Troy before turning hir attention to Killdan. “Let’s take a look and see how
Kazmak’s getting on.”
settled into his chair and looked around his office. The riots were behind them
and, to his surprise, a large civilian contingent had elected to stay on Mars
rather than taking their chances on Vermthellyn or settling on Cervetica. It
was times like this when his mind wandered back to Tez'Halyn and how much he
missed him as he stared at the photo panel propped up on his desk that
displayed a slideshow of Tez'Halyn in happier times. If only that silly young
buck hadn’t pulled his gun. And then he’d fall into a pit of guilt like he was
right now. Only this time he got a reprieve in the form of his intercom buzzer
jolting him back to reality. Norfalth reached out to press its button with all
the grim determination of a drowning man clawing at a piece of driftwood. The duty
Guard at the reception, an elderly male avian whose colourful
emerald-and-turquoise plumage was going dull with age, popped up on the screen:
“There’s an Earth Fed officer here who wants to see you.”
him in.” Norfalth composed himself and was glad for any distraction from his
personal hell. Moments later a Guard opened the door to let the Human in.
Bernard Gironde from the Space Force Intelligence Service introduced himself
with a firm, bright-eyed handshake. Norfalth was still getting used to this
human form of greeting but got up from behind his desk, accepted the Captain’s
hand and offered him a seat. “What can I do for you, Captain?”
wasted no time. He opened his briefcase, took out a small holographic
projector, set it on Norfalth’s desk and activated it. It showed part of the
ring of a space station with various ships docked and in orbit around it
dwarfed by a huge black spaceship floating nearby. “Do you recognize any of
immediately recognized the Nglubi battleship but wasn’t sure about the other
ones. He looked at Bernard cautiously and pointed towards the holographic
image: “What are they doing here?”
Bernard looked closely ay the ominous dark shape Norfalth was pointing at.
Nglubi.” Norfalth saw that Bernard had no idea who the Nglubi were. “That’s an Nglubi battleship. But they normally don’t bother with
minor border incidents. In spite of how momentous things have been for your
people, on our side it barely even made the news. They wouldn’t even concern
themselves with the loss of our Ark
or the incidents here after our arrival. And even if they did, they’d organize
a fleet from neighboring star systems.”
“So you’re saying it’s something major?” Bernard anxiously
pressed Norfalth. “Are they aggressive? Who are they? Should we take defensive
looked wearily at the Human officer sat opposite him. He seemed a decent sort.
When they first arrived, the Humans were cautious and perfunctory. Ever since
the riots, the Humans were going out of their way to reassure the Shallens that
they were welcome on Mars. If only it hadn’t taken the riots to open them up.
“Yes, no, they run the gateways and you could but I doubt it would do you much
good. They are millions of years ahead of you technologically and could take
out your entire space fleet in a day.”
sat dumbly taking in what Norfalth had just said.
it’s any consolation, I doubt it’s anything to do with your people.” Norfalth
tried to reassure Bernard. “They barely even know you exist.” Norfalth knew
that Psi, the local Nglubi field agent, was little more than the equivalent of a
low-ranking wilderness ranger in their society with little to no influence.
“You should contact your regional Nglubi field agent before you do anything
can I find him?” Bernard asked urgently.
the Nglubi are hermaphroditic.” Norfalth realized from Bernard’s mistake that
he didn’t know about Psy but felt that he had a right to know. “Talk to Captain Armando Petrucci at
SCS Command in Coriolis.”
“Oh, of course.” Bernard
bluffed. He’d never heard of SCS Command or a Captain Armando Petrucci before.
Psy was bored. Bored of
waiting for Kazmak’s reconstruction to complete and bored with Charlene’s
endless griping about Kazmak. The soldiers Killdan had left to watch over
Kazmak, realising that there wasn’t much for them to do, had started a game of
cards to pass the time. Psy consulted the console next to the biostone polyp
holding Kazmak captive. The reconstruction was completed and it was toning up
his muscles so that he could support his own weight. Killdan strode in and his
soldiers abandoned their game of cards and jumped up to attention.
“You’re just in time.” Psy
greeted Killdan as shi tapped the console to release Kazmak. The biostone polyp
melted back into the floor leaving Kazmak barely able to stand up as he
staggered forward to keep his balance. The floor felt cool against his feet. He
looked down at them barely even believing that it had actually happened. Gone
were the hormone-induced breasts that Charlene had inflicted on him. No longer
would he have to listen to the ‘nice rack’ sniggers behind his back. Even
better, that freak had made good on her word! He saw his cock, grabbed it with
one hand and it went rock hard. That felt so good! He grunted as he fought off
the drugs that had sedated him, grabbed Psy, lifted hir up onto the console,
pushed hir skirt up, rammed his cock through hir tights and deep inside hir and
fucked hir hard and fast, his balls slapping furiously on the console panel,
until he came in a gush of spunk that oozed out of Psy and onto the console and
kept going. Again and again and again. He was a
veritable fucking machine come to life.
Psy felt as if hir legs were
going to fall off as shi was overwhelmed by wave after orgasmic wave that
cushioned hir from Kazmak’s violent and brutal fucking. It was more rape than
passion. Psy grimly hung on and shi let Kazmak have his way as shi realised
that it was the perfect way to make Kazmak appear as if he was the Boss again
in the eyes of his clan after shi had so visibly undermined his authority. What
better way than to be seen raping the alien bitch who’d literally had him on a
leash the before?
Kazmak barely even noticed
Psy’s flabby sissycock pressing up against him as he fucked hir senseless. Nor
did he notice his soldiers cheering him on as they watched their boss man
violently fuck the stuffings out of some weird Earth Fed bitch. Psy dug hir
fingernails into Kazmak’s back as he grunted and snorted like a demented beast
determined to fuck Psy to death.
It was a wild ride! Psy had
hoped to get it off with Kazmak in a more intimate setting. Shi’d even planned
it all out; the seduction, the reveal, the wild passion. So much for hir
fantasy, the reality was brutish and painful. This was the beast shi had to
tame, and tame it shi would or else write off hir entire experiment with Troy.
what felt like an age Psy, could feel Kazmak’s cock softening as his pace
slowed down. One last almighty eruption later and he was spent. They were both
bathed in sweat and gasping for breath.
pulled out and staggered back to a round of raucous whoops and cheers from his
soldiers leaving Psy in a pool of hot, sticky spunk on the console. “Oh yeah, I
needed that.” He grunted between breaths.
slipped off the console, pulled hir skirt back down and ran hir fingers through
hir hair. Shi felt as if hir wobbly legs were five feet apart. “You could have
wasn’t even listening. He swung his cock around and triumphantly punched the
air. “I’m back, baby!” And then promptly passed out collapsing in a heap at
Killdan stepped forward as the three soldiers
rushed over to Kazmak. “Is he all right?”
be fine.” Psy indifferently hoisted up what was left of hir tights. “Silly boy
should have waited a day or two. He wasn’t ready for so much exertion so soon
next day Kazmak, Killdan and Psy accepted the Gearhedz surrender in Biskek’s
opulent quarters in what had been the Shin-Tan sector. Psy kept Kazmak and
arm’s length. Shi’d made it clear that he had to learn some bedside manners and
that shi wouldn’t tolerate a repeat of the previous days’ shenanigans. Five
Gearhedz mechs who looked as if their bodies were made out of random pieces of
military-grade hardware shuffled in under heavy guard from a dangerous-looking
contingent of Raiders and stood aimlessly in front of our trio.
you win.” Tetrazine Toby addressed Kazmak. “What’s the deal?”
the boss man?” Kazmak gruffly addressed Tetrazine.
all the boss man.” Tetrazine growled sullenly. “You talk to me, you talk to all
of us. When I talk, we all speak through me.”
a hive mind!” Psy hadn’t expected anything so sophisticated amongst a group of
thugs, even if they were mechs who always maintained radio contact amongst
Tetrazine snorted contemptuously. “We’re all individuals. But this is
different. We all want to know the deal and to have a say in it.”
stood up. “As you can see, there’s been a change of management here at Troy. You may have
noticed a temporary uptick in the alien presence here…”
interrupted Psy. “Hold it right there. You’re Earth Fed, aren’t you?”
Psy replied emphatically.
explain this.” Tetrazine held out one of his hands and activated a holographic
projector on its back to show a stream of photos and video clips of Psy at SCS
Command in Coriolis, on a mop-up operation cleaning up a nest of Gulmarians on
Mars, hir Earth Fed ID card, in meetings with various Earth Fed military and
civilian officials and organizing the resettlement of the Shallen refugees as
well as pictures of the carnage at the Raiders settlement in Hellas an Mars
when Kazmak released the floxetrasine there to reveal the Gulmarians infected in
their own people. Kazmak was genuinely surprised at the sight of Psy’s ID card
and gave hir a suspicious look and then scowled at the Gearhedz as he realized
that they had a spy within the Raiders. At least it wasn’t Killdan; he featured
in the video clip alongside Kazmak.
work with them from time to time.” Psy was prepared to admit that much. “But
I’m not one of them.”
have something to do with this?” Tetrazine’s holographic projector showed more
images and video clips of dead Gulmarians both at Hellas and Troy.
drew hirself up as tall as she could and folded hir arms under hir breasts.
“Yes. Regrettable, but it had to be done. You Overlordz think you’re so clever
but the Gulmarians were using your people to turn Humans into Gulmarian drones.
If they had succeeded, you’d all be dead and this entire solar system would
have been stripped clean. And that goes for you mechs too. You’re just raw
materials to them. They were never interested in any of you. They don’t care
about their drones either. They get rendered to amino acid sludge when it’s all
turned to Kazmak. “Outside view on the screen, please.” Kazmak grudgingly
obliged and the video wall on one side of the reception room which had been
showing a random selection of breathtaking views on Earth, Luna and Mars
interspersed with clips from Biskek’s porn collection switched to show an
external view from Troy with the vast Nglubi battleship filling most of the screen. Psy turned back to
face Tetrazine and pointed at the screen. “I’m with them. And we deal with your
people through Earth Fed because they represent the vast bulk of your people.
Sorry to deflate your egos, but you’re just an internal matter as far as we’re
“So instead of the Gulmarians using us, you’re using us.” Kazmak piped in grumpily.
had anticipated this much. Shi knew they were a rough bunch but not totally
dumb. They were predatory survivors, after all. “True.” Shi admitted candidly.
“But this way you get to live and I’ll make honest businessmen out of you…”
never got to finish what shi was saying as they all burst out laughing. Every
single one of the Overlordz in the reception room, Raider and Gearhedz alike,
laughed incredulously at Psy’s suggestion. Shi waited patiently until they
finished and continued. “…play along and I’ll get your criminal records wiped.
Yes, I can do that.”
got their attention and the room fell silent except for the sound of a small
water fountain in a corner of the room. Eventually Tetrazine broke the silence.
“What do you want?”
going to be hoteliers for now.” Psy laid out hir plan. “First contact has
officially happened and there’s going to be all sorts of us ‘aliens’ coming to
visit: Tourism and business. There are vast natural resources to be tapped out
here on the outer planets: moons full of water or hydrocarbons, planets that
rain diamonds and plenty more. Company reps and prospectors will be interested
and will need somewhere to stay. This is that place. Some of them will be rough
customers and I’m sure you know how to deal with things like that. We will
place a remote gateway here on Troy as well as a
portal just off Troy
for small ships which will go live once you’ve cleaned this place up. Now, if
you don’t mind, I’m off to take care of the reinforcements you Gearhedz had
called up to ride to your rescue,”
gonna frag them?” Tetrazine asked Psy bluntly.
Psy answered ambivalently. “It depends on whether they see sense or not.” And
with that Psy disappeared to hir Omphalon and hitched a ride with the Nglubi
battleship as it jumped to the inner system to intercept the rag-tag flotilla
of Overlordz ships racing towards Troy.
stood up and addressed his troops and the Gearhedz. “You heard her, let’s get
this place cleaned up and operational.”
took you for such a pushover, Kazmak.” Tetrazine took a snarky dig at Kazmak.
“That bitch has got you on a tight leash.”
shrugged his shoulders. “She was right about those Gulmarians, they were bad
news. It didn’t affect you Gearhedz but the rest of us took one helluva hit. We
need time to regroup and get organized again. I have no intention of being the
freak’s bitch for the rest of my life. For the time being we play ball. When
the time’s right, we’ll strike and get that bitch off our back.”
sooner, the better. We’re not going to wait forever.” Tetrazine grumbled as he
and the other Gearhedz made their way out.