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Galactic Slut

Janet Wilson


Published by Janet Wilson

Copyright 2009 Janet Wilson



Photo copyright Calvin Smith


https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode


Four images are public domain


Copyright notes


This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.






Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Death of a Slave

Chapter 2: Abolitionists and Relics

Chapter 3: The Map of the Heavens

Chapter 4: The Roger Young

Chapter 5: Arrest and Hydromel

Chapter 6: Cultural Divide

Chapter 7: A Question of Sentience

Chapter 8: The Fog of War

Chapter 9: Hellfire’s Captive

Chapter 10: Quantum Shift

Epilogue

About Janet Wilson/Contact me

Preview of Galactic Whore


Chapter one

Death of a Slave


The tongue licking at my pussy was well skilled. The mild rasping sensation on my outer cunt lips was sending shivers of pleasure through my body. I encouraged him with scratches behind his ears, deep in the tufts of fur that surrounded them. That made things all the more wonderful as his purring vibrated against my clit, causing micro-explosions of ecstasy that jerked my hips into his face.

Having been clued in already, I had kept my fingernails long enough to be able to dig them into the skin on his head. When he growled in response, I lost control and climaxed. Crystal increased the production of my natural lubrication so that plenty trickled down into my ass crack. I thought the concept of a species whose males would not screw their females until after they had already had a climax was one of nature’s best ideas. As I started to come down from my high, he pulled himself up, bringing his two cocks to bear on my crotch. Normally used to fucking the paired pussies of his own race’s women, they were destined to give me double penetration with only one guy.

I was in heaven. Cocks pressed against both my openings and I was still incredibly sensitive. Again, being briefed on what to expect, I relaxed as much as possible as he thrust. He had no intention of being gentle. As near as I could guess in my aroused state, he had been doubly hard for almost an hour. As the initial blast of pain in my ass hit, I sunk my teeth into his neck. While a mouthful of fur is not the most erotic thing that one could experience in the middle of a fuck, it was better than the alternative.

Ralinti sex always has a dominant partner and the dominance is shown by who bites whom. While their fur is ample protection against their own teeth, let alone my puny human incisors, his three centimeter fangs would have come close to ripping my throat out. Unlike a Gravelian, his saliva wouldn’t heal his bites. With my teeth knocking at his jugular, he thrust with vigor, driving himself (and me) to an orgasm.

Again, I had to marvel at nature’s bounty. Ralinti females were unable to conceive unless they have two orgasms, one in each pussy. The first enabled them to fuck in the first place and the second stimulated egg travel from their ovaries. Fertilization rates were low enough that no one would ever consider not trying to produce offspring with every mating. Hence, I was “doomed” to have at least one more orgasm before he allowed himself to cum.

That second orgasm was well on its way. His fur was rubbing against my sensitive clit, sending waves of pre-orgasmic pleasure through my body. I could hear, in my head, the hum of joy from Crystal as it reveled in these new sensations. I wanted a big one, so I thought at Crystal.

[Hold it back. Make me wait.]

[TAKING CONTROL OF ORGASM]

Its diction had improved much in the last year. Now I was on for an extreme ride. We’ve agreed that once I ask him to take control of my orgasm, I can’t ask for it back. I’ll hover on the edge until It is ready for us to cum. It didn’t take long before I was whimpering and shaking my head in frustration. My arousal levels were through the roof, far higher than I could hold out against on my own. My clit felt like it was on fire and my cunt quivered in delight with pre-orgasmic spasms that seemed to never end.

I have no idea how long Crystal made me wait on the edge of cumming. I just felt the constant thrusting of cocks in my ass and pussy. His cocks weren’t exceptionally large, but they were angled so that the one in my cunt rubbed against my inner wall, stimulating my second most sensitive spot (after my clit). I ground my teeth into his neck, whipping my head back and forth. He mewed and panted, the submissive feline reveling in my domination. His thrusts became more impassioned as he began to experience frustration as well. He couldn’t cum until I did, needing the contractions around his cocks to get off (Ralinti never had sex without intercourse).

Crystal let loose inside and I exploded. It felt like I should be shocked to not find small bits of me scattered about the walls of the room. With my teeth still embedded in his neck, my head jerked back as my pussy and anal muscles clenched against the cocks embedded in them. His cum shot into both my openings, hot against my inner flesh. With a normal temperature ten degrees higher than a human’s, the feel of his cum in me was almost unpleasant. In the throes of my climax, it didn’t matter. I was in heaven and would have accepted anything to stay there.

As I returned to earth, so to speak, Frishi was licking at my face and purring. I licked at his fur as well, engaging in the necessary post-orgasmic rituals of Ralinti sex. Crystal kept my urge to gag under control for the several minutes it took to finish cleaning his facial fur of my pussy juice (swallowing hair normally makes me want to puke). Frishi’s penises had withdrawn into their coverings and he now looked no different from any other male member of his species.

“Susan, that was incredible. I had no idea that sex with someone from another species could be so satisfying.”

“You still have no idea. Compared to some of what’s available, a human such as me will seem tame in comparison. I’m certain that Federation scientists will find a fertility increase for your race soon after your planet applies for protectorate status.”

That’s what this entire tryst was about. Ralint was one of the innumerable planets on the fringes of the Galactic federation. There are forces within the Federation that don’t want to see planets such as Ralint brought into it. Chief among those groups was the Hellfire group. If power could be exercised through something, Hellfire wanted it under their control. They had been fighting the people my husband worked for ever since the founding of the Federation by the five prime races.

Why the struggle over Ralint, a backwater world with little going for it? Slavery! Ralint was a world that still had legalized slavery. You’d think that the Hellfire group would want to bring slave planets into the Federation, given how federation laws forced every planet to recognize the slavery laws of every slave world. Instead, they opposed its membership. That was because membership in the Federation led to the elimination of slavery from a planet within 100 years. It seems that the exposure to a free and open society influenced the anti-slavery forces on each slave world, leading to abolition.

And that’s why I was here, in Frishi’s bed, enjoying sex with another alien. I’d been doing this for over a year now, ever since Brusjin bought me in a Branchet slave shop. If it seems strange to you that an anti-slavery crusader would buy a slave, you’re not alone. He had been desperate, needing a woman to use as a sexual favor to seal deals on primitive worlds such as Frishi, and an expert economist. I filled both bills. It was only after we fell in love with each other (a story all its own) that he realized his hypocrisy and arranged for me to be freed by stepping foot on my home planet. I stayed with him as his wife, fulfilling all the same functions I had as a slave. For a while, I even kept calling him Master.

Frishi was dragging a claw lightly across my breast, a strangely peasant sensation. “Well, I can promise you, Susan, that my report will be very favorable. Between the sexual possibilities and the medical data you demonstrated with your hologram computer, I’d say that we’ll have an application for protectorate status ready by the end of the week.”

Frishi still couldn’t call my virtual room by its proper name. To him, a room had real walls, a floor, and a roof. I raked my nails down his chest, provoking a pleasant growl. “Tell me, Frishi; are you capable of sex multiple times?”

There was a throb from his penile coverings as my fingers reached them. He leaned forward and licked at my nipples. The rasp-like tongue caused me to groan. The intense, nearly painful sensations had my nipples erect and me panting in short order.

“In the past, males had harems and had to breed with ten to twenty females at a time.”

“Oh my! Your world will be very popular with the ladies.”

My hand gripped his sheath and squeezed. I could feel his cocks growing, straining against the opening. Like a Ralinti woman, I raked my nails against the sealed crack, encouraging it to split and release the cocks I wanted to experience again. They were all too happy to oblige me.

*****

Two hours later, Brusjin was waiting for me in the reception area of the hotel. The open air entrance allowed the acrid smell of burnt hydrocarbon compounds to waft in. Ralint was in the oil-use era of its history. Burning the results of millions of years of geological activity was the primary source of energy, much like the 17th century pre-dolman on old Earth. Outside, tracked vehicles went about the streets, spewing clouds of white and black smoke, noxious vapors of carbon monoxide, and other poisonous gasses. Like every world that went through this stage of technological development, they had the strange idea that there would be no long term effects of millions of internal combustion engines venting exhaust into the air.

“Susan, how did it go?”

“I had a great time, Brusjin. Frishi was very pleased and he expects to have an application ready by the end of the week.”

“So we should be able to leave in four days?”

“I expect so. Has your research been successful?”

He coughed as a cloud of smoke passed over us. The historin treatment kept the poisons in the air from harming us, but the stench could not be overcome, at least not for Brusjin. Crystal, exercising his control over my body’s reactions, did a far better job than modern medicine did.

“I think so. I need you to analyze some data, but if my suspicions are correct, Ralint does indeed have something to offer the Federation.”

“My virtual room is back in the hotel. Ralint data systems are very well organized; I should be able to find what you need quickly.”

I was aware of the stench of the city as we walked back to our hotel. Crystal kept me from experiencing the unpleasant effects of the things hanging about in the atmosphere, but insisted on being able to experience them. That’s what he was, an explorer. Voratex Crystals are believed to be the most horrible things in the galaxy. When the smaller crystal was implanted into an unwilling host, the possessor of the larger crystal, also implanted, could control the host like a mindless puppet, a crystal slave.

In reality, the crystals were sentient beings, peaceful and immobile, with a voracious appetite for information. The smaller crystals were explorers. They were intended to implant into willing subjects. In return for many beneficial biological effects, they shared experiences with their hosts, sending the information back to their bases, the larger crystals. The Hellfire group apparently knew where the crystal home world was and was exploiting these peaceful creatures to make crystal slaves.

I had been so enslaved until a chance set of circumstances led to the death of my controller, allowing Crystal and I to enjoy a normal joining. Since then, I have enjoyed perfect health. Crystal does not allow me to get sick and small injuries heal in a matter of minutes. He’s also a savant at decoding data, even encrypted data. Apparently, being a crystal means that It can sense lattice structures with the ease that I sense the visible spectrum, a very useful skill.

At the hotel, our room slave was waiting to serve us. She had been disappointed when we did not take her with us on the outing, but both Brusjin and I were leery of allowing ourselves to become used to service from slaves. When she bowed at our feet, we saw the stripes. She had been whipped.

“Salinti,” all slave names begin with S on Ralint. “Who whipped you?” Brusjin asked. The stripes of missing fur could take weeks to grow back properly.

“Master, the manager did. I was obviously not pleasing to you in some way to be left behind, so I was punished.”

“Damn!” Brusjin was mad, as was I. We both knew that there was nothing that complaining would be likely to accomplish. She was owned by the hotel and, as such, was property, not people. This is not the first time this has happened on a slave world. It was just so damn hard to predict when a slave we had been given (refusing one would be seen as insulting and harm the mission) would be punished on our behalf.

I bent down and scratched her ears. Like most slave worlds, the vast majority of slaves were female. “Salinti, you didn’t displease us and we’re upset that you’ve been punished. Is this going to happen every time we leave you behind?”

“Yes, Mistress. Why wouldn’t you take me with you if I was pleasing?”

“I’m sorry this happened. We didn’t know.”

“Please, Mistress, it’s unseemly to apologize to a slave. How may I serve you?”

I looked up at my husband. His pain matched my own. We both hated slavery, but found ourselves constantly exposed to it as we fought to bring slave worlds into the Federation. As I watched, Brusjin’s expression steeled.

“Salinti, I want you to have dinner ready for us in an hour. Pick something we’ve not had before. Susan will be working, so don’t interrupt her.” As she left, he turned to me. “I’m going to make sure the hotel knows how upset we are at having Salinti punished while we were out. If they think we’re upset at not getting to choose the punishment ourselves, maybe they won’t take such liberties again.”

“I feel protective about her, too. Are you sure it’s wise to make an issue of it? I don’t want to give them any reason to punish her more after we leave.”

“I can’t stand by and watch without doing something.”

I hugged him close. “I know, I struggle, too. Remember what you’ve told me repeatedly.”

“The mission comes first. I’ve wondered about that recently. That’s how I convinced myself to buy you on Branchet.”

“I’m glad you did, now. We do what we have to do, Brusjin. If we don’t, slavery will continue.”

He left and I pulled my virtual room from my bags. Inserting the data crystal Brusjin had given me; I turned it on and downloaded the data. I programmed the room to sort the information with a triple sort. As I watched, data flashed around the holographic projections, coded links appearing as the sort algorithm found relationships between the items.

The data was a fairly comprehensive list of everything this planet produced. It was one thing to convince a planet to seek protectorate status, but quite another to convince the Federation to grant it. Normally the Federation made new worlds colonies, a term that has long since changed its meaning. Centuries ago, a colony was a world settled by people from another world. The five founder races had established prodigious numbers of colonies prior to the formation of the Federation.

All five home worlds considered their colonies to be subservient political entities and the Federation charter reflected this. Colonies did not receive an independent seat on the council. New colonies, when they were settled, were limited to that same lesser status. For the first century and a half, no new worlds entered the Federation as equals to the Founders. In 153 PF (post founding), two events happened that changed everything.

The first event was the discovery of the sixth race. It’s all in the history books. Captain Grashit of the Theros’ Destiny discovered a new planet that was home to a space faring species. The Grolshint exploration vessel was totally outclassed by the Novarmian home fleet and Grashit made friendly contact. Over the next decade, Novarm negotiated to join the Federation. A key sticking point was its status. The Novarmians refused to accept colony status while the founders refused to give it founder status. The compromise was the establishment of full member status and the founder’s veto. New full members would have the same vote as founders, but a majority of founders could veto a majority of members.

The second event was the colonization of Haruda by both humans and felpur. In a blatant act of deception, the two sets of colonists formed a joint government that refused to recognize the right of either home world to rule them. The short colony war ended with the adoption of Protectorates. Protectorates are essentially colonies that can eventually upgrade to full members. No world since has been colonized by only one species.

Today, colonies are worlds that have been discovered by the Federation, but have no usefulness to the full members. Colony status is the political equivalent to slavery. Once your world is a colony, it’s forever a colony. The kicker is that while no one ever applies to be a colony, those worlds applying for Protectorate status can be admitted as colonies whether they like it or not, unless they can demonstrate that they have something tangible that will benefit the Federation.

Hence, my search. The financial penalties for not being in the Federation are so egregious that no world rejecting membership on some level survives economically. Thus, it’s critical to find something that a planet can offer the Federation. The good news is that useful has a pretty broad definition in the law. The bad news is that the vast majority of worlds, like Ralint, were technologically inferior to the Federation, eliminating anything manufactured as being too obsolete.

The sort finished and I let the expert deal with analyzing the results.

[Crystal, take over. Is there anything there?]

[EXAMINING LATTICE.]

I’m still not used to watching myself do things while I’m just along for the ride. Crystal manipulated the data at a speed I was unable to follow. Like a holovid on fast scan, images blinked on just long enough to be noticed and were then replaced by new ones. Crystal could follow this progression as easily as I could follow Brusjin’s facial expressions. Thirty minutes later, he found it.

[USEFULLNESS FOUND. THERE ARE THREE SOURCES]

[Good, three things should seal their membership. What have we got?]

[A FUR BEARING ANIMAL. ITS FUR REFLECTS INTO THE UNTRAVIOLET. 27 SPECIES WILL FIND THE FUR UNIQUELY ATTRACTIVE]

[Ah, a luxury good. That’s always worth having. What else?]

[23% OF THE LAND SURFACE IS UNLIVABLE BY NATIVE SPECIES FOR ENVIRONMENTAL REASONS. THERE IS POTENTIAL FOR ALIEN SETTLEMENTS]

[Let’s not mention that one if we don’t have to. High tech settlers could dominate the locals and leave them essentially a colony in spite of protectorate status.]

[PLANET HAS PROGENITOR ARTIFACTS]

[Are you sure?]

[DATA INDICATES THAT FIVE MUSEUMS HAVE THEM ON DISPLAY. LOCAL BELIEF IS THAT THEY WERE ONCE MORE ADVANCED]

Oh my God! In the nearly 600 member worlds of the Federation, every one shows evidence of visitation by the progenitors. This race was believed by some to have been responsible for sentience developing as widely as it did. The cult of the Progenitors believed that this race was the Gods of the universe, that they created every sentient species. Regardless, they were the earliest space faring race, traveling the depths of the galaxy almost a million years ago. They seemed to disappear 50,000 years ago. There are no clues to what happened or where they went.

Their artifacts seemed to have not survived either. In those same 600 worlds, there have been 4 artifacts believed to be of Progenitor origin. To this day, their function has defied Federation science. No scanner can penetrate their surfaces. They are made of a metal that cannot be cut by any known means. They can be destroyed by an anti-matter blast (there used to be 5), but nothing remains. If Crystal was right, this one planet had more artifacts than the rest of the Federation combined.

[Crystal, we have to investigate this. Where are the museums?]

[THE CITIES OF YELTI, GOSTIN, WELOSH, QIOLIT, DRUSUS]

Damn! All over this world and none of them where we are right now. It looked like we would not be leaving in four days after all. Brusjin walked in right then.

“Honey, we have good news, good shocking news.”

“Shocking?”

“Crystal believes that Ralint has five Progenitor artifacts.”

“You’re kidding!”

“No, Brusjin, they’re in museums scattered about the planet.” Salinti walked in, pushing a cart with our dinner. “We have to check these out. Ralint could use those to negotiate a bypass of protectorate to full membership.”

“You’re right. We’ll have to schedule air transport to the cities in question. If they’re legitimate, the word that this planet has five Progenitor artifacts will rock the Federation. They’ll need protectorate status, at least, to keep the vultures from descending.” He sniffed the air and turned towards Salinti. “That smells wonderful Sal…”

Brusjin stopped and I turned. It took only a second to see what he had seen. Salinti was bent over the cart, making preparations to the food, her unmarked back to us. The evidence of her punishment was gone, totally healed.

[Crystal! Is that…]

[SPONTANIOUS TISSURE REGENERATION. FEMALE IS JOINED. WARNING, THIS IS A SLAVE JOINING. UNABLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH BUD]

Crystal called those like himself buds. He could communicate with any bud nearby that was joined as nature intended them to, with bases not joined. Salinti was a crystal slave. Brusjin grabbed her by the arms to prevent her from doing anything else. Her voice sounded eerily calm.

“Valenshenko, this world will not join the Federation. Hellfire will destroy it before such a rich source of power is protected from exploitation. The lives of the 200 million Ralinti are in your hands.”

With that, Salinti collapsed, her eyes rolling back into her head. Brusjin shook his head, letting her down to the ground. Her controller had ordered her to die and she simply did. There was no slavery that was as horrifying as crystal slavery. We’d just watched three people die; Salinti, the crystal bud and the crystal base. Even worse was that Salinti had heard us talking about the artifacts. Now Hellfire knew of their existence.

Chapter 2

Abolitionists and Relics


“Can they do that? Can they destroy an entire world?”

“Possibly. I don’t think they can do it right away. They didn’t know about the artifacts until just now. They shouldn’t have any assets in place.”

“Are you sure? Why did they have a crystal slave here?” I looked down at Salinti’s body. I had a fleeting thought about just how they had ordered her to die. “I can’t imagine that they’d seed slaves just anywhere.”

“That would mean they’ve known about Ralint and the artifacts for some time now. If they had, they would’ve already stolen them. No, I think they’re trying to keep tabs on us. You’re the first person to ever escape crystal slavery alive and intact. It may be that they’ve never had the controller die while the slave lived.”

Brusjin may well be right. The only way known to free a crystal slave, prior to my method, was to surgically extract the crystal. The process always left some damage to the victim, at the very least, mentally. Even those were rare, as the controllers usually terminated the victims before rescue could be affected, just as they had done with Salinti.

Neither of us was very hungry after watching her die. We called the management and reported her death from unknown causes. The casualness of their response raised my hackles. Slavery always seemed to devalue sentient life. Salinti’s loss was treated as an unfortunate monetary loss. We decided to check out rather than be given another slave. By nightfall, we were on one of the Ralinti air vehicles bound for Yelti, a sea port on the only major ocean on the planet.

Ralinti never seemed to develop the concept of winged flight, possibly because evolution produced floating as the dominant form of natural flight. The vast majority of flying animals and plants in the Ralint ecosystem generated internal bladders of hydrogen to produce lift. Their wings, such as they were, were only used to produce forward and backward motion. Couple that with an excess, compared to other worlds, of naturally occurring helium, and you have a society that uses zeppelins as the only form of powered flight.

The upshot for us was that the relatively short journey of 1500 kilometers would take almost two days to make. The airship, the Grolit Farsh, was luxurious. Anyone on Ralint who traveled by air, did so in high style. It was reminiscent of traveling on some of the great space liners; the Majestic, The Hyperion Queen, or the Yungeril. Impeccably dressed staff waited on our every need in lavishly elegant surroundings. There were no slaves on the airship, at least not that were owned by the liner. The company wanted to let its passengers know that the people serving them did so out of a desire to serve, not because they had to. It was on the ship that we met them for the first time.

We’d been flying for most of the day when one of the staff approached us.

“Excuse me, sir,” the waiter asked Brusjin. “The lady and gentleman in the corner would like to know if they could join you for dinner.”

I glanced over and saw an elderly Ralinti couple inclining their ears towards us. Both had groomed their age induced balding patches of fur to show off their advanced years, something that was unusual for this world.

Brusjin nodded their way and answered, “We’d be honored to share the meal with them.”

The waiter replied with a, “Very good, sir,” and left to escort the couple to our table. We stood at their approach.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome you. I’m Brusjin Valenshenko and this is my wife, Susan.”

The man introduced himself and his companion. “Coldrin Hashil and Breli Theron.” Ralinti females didn’t take their mate’s surnames when marrying. “If I may ask,” he continued, “what species are the two of you?”

“Questions are always welcome. We’re both human. I take it you haven’t met our kind before?”

“Actually, we have. Given the differences from what we’ve encountered in the past, I wasn’t sure. Perhaps you merely looked human.”

Brusjin frowned. “What differences are you referring to?”

“Forgive me, I don’t intend to be rude, but where are your slaves?”

“Susan and I don’t own any slaves. Are you telling us that you’ve never seen humans without slaves before?”

“That’s true. My mate and I are well traveled on Ralint and have encountered aliens from several different species. You’re the first aliens that weren’t slaves or slave owners. Every human we’ve met has owned personal slaves.”

The shock we felt must have been visible on our faces. The two looked at each other and I would swear the look was one of pleasant surprise. I knew that Ralint saw limited visitations from the Federation, but to think that only slavers were visiting the planet was appalling.

The female, Breli, spoke. “Is that so surprising? I mean, isn’t slavery legal in the Federation?”

“Yes, it is,” I answered, “at least it can be. Federation law doesn’t make slavery legal, per se, but legitimizes the slavery laws of the member worlds that have the institution. Most worlds don’t have legal slavery.”

“I see. I wonder why we’ve seen so little of the freedom you speak of.”

“I believe it’s because of the distance to your world, and if I may, the relatively primitive level of technology. Most people value their comforts, many of which are missing on Ralint.”

With a gentle chuckle, the elderly male asked, “Why are the two of you braving the hideously primitive conditions here to grace us with a visit?”

“We came to assist your world in applying for Protectorate status in the Federation.” Brusjin noted that Coldrin seemed unhappy with that idea. “Does such an action upset you?”

“I’m afraid so. Entry into the Federation would simply give slavery here another level of official approval, making our mission that much more difficult.”

Brusjin and I smiled. We knew they had to exist, but hadn’t expected to meet them. “May I ask what your mission is?”

“Merely the end of the institution of slavery on Ralint.”

“In that case,” I said with a smile, “We’re on the same page. As a former slave myself, I’d like to see nothing better than the end of slavery everywhere.”

“If you wish to abolish slavery, why bring another slave world into your Federation?”

“Because membership in the Federation will bring an end to slavery on your world. It’s done so for every other such world. Exposure to the freedoms granted by the Federation charter and to the numerous worlds where slavery is absent and opposed on will give your abolitionist forces a powerful boost. Within a century, your world will have done away with the institution as well.”

Now it was their turn to be shocked. As they looked between themselves and us, I saw something appear that I hadn’t been aware of missing before; hope. It saddened me to think that these elderly abolitionists had reached a point where they had no real hope for the success of their cause. It was heartening, however, to know that they persevered in spite of that lack.

“Is there any chance of this protectorate status?”

“Yes, every hope. In fact, we’re traveling to verify the existence of something that’ll assure your world’s entrance into the Federation under the most beneficial of terms.”

“What would that be?”

“I believe you call it the Map of Heaven.”

“There’s that much interest in our religion?”

“Not, I’m afraid, in the religion itself, though there will be scholars with such interests. It’s the artifact itself. Forgive me if this is insulting, but we believe it’s a relic of an ancient star faring species we call the Progenitors. If it is, the Federation will move entire star systems to grant protectorate status before unscrupulous individuals try to steal the artifacts.”

“Artifacts? As in more than one?”

“Yes, there seems to be five such artifacts on your world, which is more than have been found on all the worlds of the Federation.”

Coldrin turned to Breli. “They must be speaking of the Five Hands.” He turned back to us. “Do you know the history of the Five Hands?” When we both shook our heads, he continued. “According to our holy texts, messengers from God visited Ralint many thousands of years ago. The only records of those visitations were long oral traditions, until the prophet Velontin, acting on the instructions of God, penned the Holy Scrolls. The stories were then written down and began to spread across the world.

“You see, there had been five oral traditions, one that told of each of the visitations. Tradition has it that all five visitations occurred at the same time among the primitive peoples that lived then. Velontin brought the stories together as a unified whole for the first time. Did you know that there’s never been more than one language on Ralint?”

I looked at him in surprise. “That’s impossible! Diverse groups will always create diverse languages.”

“Not on Ralint. The first contacts between the nations of the past were largely peaceful because they were always able to understand each other. There were dialect differences, but the language itself was always the same. Furthermore, each of the five nations believed that they spoke the language of God. Their religious beliefs spoke of messengers who taught the founders of the nations to speak in a civilized tongue.”

“That’s amazing. If true, it would mean that an alien species contacted the five centers of civilization on your world and taught them all the same language. Phonetic drift would account for the different dialects. Where do the Five Hands come into the story?”

“Each of the messengers left an artifact, a gift of God. We were told to keep them safe for the times of the ending when they would bring the will of God to pass. The five hands, called that because each of the messengers was named Haond, are the Map of Heaven, the Tear of the Prophet, the Sword of Ralint, the Eye of Harmony, and the Jewel of Peace.”

“Is there any meaning to the names?”

“I don’t know. The Map is a flat piece of metal, resistant to damage from any source. It’s certainly not a map of any sort, at least not a type of map I’m used to seeing. The Jewel is just that, a gem of unknown type that seems to pulse with an inner light.”

Something in that description sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place it.

[Crystal, can you check my memories, see if I’ve seen or heard of such a thing?]

[YES. WILL INFORM YOU IF ANYTHING FOUND]

Coldrin was continuing. “The Tear is called that because it’s a silvery metal object that’s shaped like a drop of water. The stories claim that it’s an actual tear shed by the God. The Eye of Harmony is a crystal sphere, perfect as far as our scientists can tell, with three circular bands of color, much like your eyes.”

Brusjin interrupted him again. “But, your eyes have vertical slits for pupils, not circles. Why would you call something so different an eye?”

“It may be because several animals have eyes such as your human eyes. I’ve thought it strange that a revered holy artifact has the features of a dumb animal. No offence.” Our smiles let him know that none was taken. “Now, the Sword of Ralint has confused many scholars, at least until your Federation made contact with our world. You see, it looks nothing like a sword. It was only after we met your kind that we realized that it was shaped much like your hand weapons.”

This reminded me of another oddity in Ralinti development. They never developed any weapon remotely pistol-like in shape. They had rifles and had developed weapons such as longbows in their past, but pistols never made an appearance. Not even a crossbow style weapon had been thought of. If their hands were unable to manipulate such weapons, I would understand why such things never came to be, but they handled Federation hand weapons just fine (there is a thriving market in older technologies to sell to protectorate and colony worlds).

Brusjin was excited and worried. I could understand why. This Sword of Ralinti may very well be a Progenitor weapon. That the Ralinti would call something they had no reason to think of as a weapon, a sword, indicated that the weapon was still functional.

“Do you have any idea why your ancient ancestors called it a sword? Did they believe it was a weapon?”

“I don't know. The reason for the name has been lost in antiquity. That's unusual in and of itself. The tiniest detail of the Hands has been passed down from generation to generation, and then recorded with a dedication to accuracy that would astound you.” I’d have to tell him about the extremes that Jewish scholars went to in millennia past kept their Torah accurate sometime. Coldrin continued. “There’s one more thing you should know. There is a prophecy about the Hands.”

I nodded, expecting such a thing. Almost all ancient religions had prophecies embedded in them. That such artifacts would have a prophecy was no surprise. At Brusjin's request, Breli closed her eyes and recited the prophecy from memory, after explaining that the five stanzas were actually separate prophecies about each of the Hands.

“Take the Map of Heaven and keep it safe,

Until what will be days of yore have passed.

To guide the slave no more, alone, yet befriended

In her task to bring the heavens truth.”


“Take the Tear of the Prophet and keep it safe

Until one of 583 shares the burden.

When his sadness comes to all he sees,

The owned will be no longer.”


“Take the Sword of Ralint and keep it safe,

Until the bringer of order arrives.

The weapon of chaos will fall to the order,

To deprive them of that they treasure.”


“Take the Eye of Harmony and keep it safe,

Until the end of evil is greatly desired.

Look upon the visions of the Gods,

To free the non-slaves from their bondage.”


“Take the Jewel of Peace and keep it safe,

Until its brother find it anew.

Lost, then found, the home shall be,

When revolt comes to the immobile.”

I asked, “Are those exact?”

“Of course. Only a heathen would paraphrase the words of a God.”

“Amazing,” Brusjin replied. “That each stanza, in spite of having been given to a different tribe, should have the same format in their initial line, speaks to their being given by one person, or at least by people who knew one another. Do your scholars have any idea what the prophecies mean?”

“Oh yes,” Breli exclaimed with much sarcasm, “they know exactly what they mean. Each scholar has the true interpretation. Of course, you have to decide which truth you want to know first. People have been trying to fit the prophecies to current events ever since they were given. Most people don’t take them seriously these days.”

“What about yourselves? Are you believers?”

“Yes, though we’re not fundamentalists,” Coldrin replied. “I don’t believe that the prophecies were intended to be taken literally. I believe they were intended to give guidance in living worthy lives. For example, the stanza concerning the Sword, speaks of the evil that order represents. Ordered societies are stagnant, the lives of their people meaningless. A little chaos goes a long way. Every ordered society will resort to the lure of the individual, specifically, the individual who sets himself up as the leader of all. Yet, that very idea of individuality will bring down such a society as the people under the leader embrace their own individual lives, hopes and dreams.”

“I want to thank you for sharing with us. It’s a pleasure to meet fellow abolitionists.” Brusjin raised a glass. “To the end of slavery on Ralint.” The couple shared our toast. One of the oddities of the universe is that the concept of the toast is universal. Even a species as alien to humanity as the amoeboid Rax understood the concept of sharing a consumable in honor of someone or something (though their consumables had little appeal for me!).

Breli and Coldrin returned to their table and the rest of the evening passed uneventfully. My sleep was interrupted, however. One of the things I still needed to get used to was the fact that Crystal didn’t need to sleep, and in fact, didn’t sleep at all. His method of resting the mind was, if you can believe it, working math problems in his head. He says he’s aware of our surrounding while I sleep, though not visually, since I sleep with my eyes closed. This feature means that he can wake me when he thinks there is a need. Apparently, there was a need tonight.

[YOU MUST AWAKEN. IMPORTANT DATA FOUND]

[Crystal? What is it?]

[MEMORY SEARCH COMPLETE. DATA HAS BEEN FOUND]

My thoughts were still trying to organize. Being woken by Crystal wasn’t the same as waking under the effects of a slave collar.

[Memory search? What are you…oh, the Jewel of Peace. Have I seen it before?]

[NO, NOT THE JEWEL ITSELF. SOMETHING SIMILAR HAS BEEN SEEN]

[I’ve seen something like it before? I recall now, I thought the description sounded familiar. What did I see?]

[THIS ENTITY PRIOR TO IMPLANTATION]

It keyed something in my mind and I remembered.

I saw the dual crystal brought in on an antigrav cart. A technician wearing thick gloves cut the crystal along the joint, separating the smaller from the larger. He carried the smaller piece over to me and set it on my chest. There was a shooting pain as it sank into my body. I could feel it squeezing between my ribs, migrating up my neck and down to the back of my skull. There was a dull throb and then my body went crazy.

I remember now! Crystal was glowing with an internal light. It seemed natural at the time, as I knew that the Voratex crystals were actually alive. Was it possible?

[Crystal, is the Jewel of Peace a Voratex Crystal?]

[UNKNOWN. POSSIBILITY EXISTS. COMMUNICATION WITH UNJOINED CRYSTALS ONLY POSSIBLE IN LINE OF SIGHT.]

[So, we won’t know until we see it.]

I had a thought, a very depressing thought.

[Crystal, how long can a bud (that’s what they referred to separated crystals as) remain alive without joining?]

[VARIABLE OUTCOME. DEPENDING ON ENERGY SOURCES AVAILABLE]

That made sense. Crystal didn’t eat like I did. He took a small portion of my body’s energy to keep itself going. From what he’s told me in the past, bases draw nutrients directly from the soil they’re sitting on and convert it to energy. Buds are fed from the bases until they join. In theory, a high energy field could keep a bud alive for an indefinite period of time. I had the impression that old age was something the Crystals were unacquainted with.

[Crystal, what do you want to do? What if the Jewel is a bud?]

[BUDS MUST JOIN. THAT IS THE LATTICE. UNJOINED BUDS HAVE FLAWED LATTICE STRUCTURE]

Oh my! I’m not sure stealing a race’s religious artifact was such a great idea, even if the artifact is actually a sentient being. To not free it, however, would be to condemn it to a life of loneliness and lack of fulfillment. This bud, if that was what the Jewel was, was essentially a slave to the religious system of an entire planet. Too bad this planet viewed slavery as an acceptable way of life.

Chapter 3

The Map of the Heavens


There was no way I could keep this from Brusjin. You don’t start an interplanetary conflict without at least telling your husband that that’s what you’re going to do first. It would, however, wait until morning. One of us deserved a full night’s rest.

The next morning, he and I were enjoying one of our favorite pastimes, trying out alien foods. We’d eaten something different for every meal in the three weeks we’d been on planet. This morning was, yet again, something new. The menu referred to it as Falini over toast. Falini is some sort of animal, as the primary ingredient to the thick red sauce that smothered the Ralinti traditional round bread was some sort of meat. The reoccurring theme in Ralinti breakfasts was waking up the taste buds. They believed in strong spices for their first meal, saving the mild, tantalizing flavors for the last meal of the day. We’d been making a list of foods to stock up on for our return trip.

“Brusjin, we have a problem.”

“Is this the same problem we usually have, or have you found something new?”

“New, I’m afraid. Remember when Coldrin described the Jewel of Peace?” He nodded and I continued. “I thought the description sounded familiar and asked Crystal to search my memory.”

“He found something?”

“Yes, the inner, pulsing glow; I saw something very much like it in Crystal just before It was implanted.”

My husband put his fork down. I could see his mind working. “We can’t free it, you know that.”

“Brusjin, it’s a slave to another world’s religion.”

“If, and it’s a big if, it really is a Voratex Crystal, stealing it to free it would end our mission, condemn this world to colony status, and probably get us killed. Is that what you want?”

Sometimes I get so mad at Brusjin. He can be so logical and uncaring. He’s never been a slave, I have. I know what it feels like to be at the mercy of any number of people; to have one’s own destiny out of one’s own hands.

“How can we just ignore what’s happening?”

“Susan! Our mission is not to free every slave one by one. Our mission is to create the conditions that will end slavery as an institution on every world. The only way to free it would be to have it implanted in someone. What if its base has already been joined with someone?”

I sat back, defeated. If the base had been joined, we’d be condemning some poor creature to life as a crystal slave. This too, had been my fate once. I couldn’t do that to anyone, not and live with myself.

[Crystal?]

[YOUR MATE IS CORRECT. UNTIL STATUS OF BUD IS KNOWN, ANY ACTION COULD WORSEN LATTICE STRUCTURE. CRACKED LATTICE IS SUPERIOR TO BROKEN LATTICE.]

[How could it be unjoined? I thought bud separation was always for the purpose of joining.]

[UNKNOWN. POSSIBILITIES TOO NUMEROUS. BUD MUST BE QUESTIONED.]

“Are we at least going to determine if it’s a bud or not?”

“That I have no problem with. In all likelihood, we wouldn’t be able to free it anyway. A religious artifact like this will, no doubt, be under heavy security. We don’t have the means to steal it.”

“I understand. I don’t like it, but I do understand.”

The remaining air trip passed uneventfully. We arrived at Yelti at mid-afternoon, local time, and booked a spot at a local hotel. Like any hotel where we would feel safe, they had house slaves, one of which we were provided with. Contrary to our personal experience, the hotels on the planet didn’t provide slaves for every guest, just the ones who didn’t own their own slaves, or who hadn’t brought the slaves they did own with them.

Slavery on Ralint was pervasive. It was incredibly easy to become a slave, but very hard to earn your freedom. The laws were stacked against females as well. The major reason Ralinti found themselves slaves was debt. In Earth’s past, there were institutions known as debtor’s prisons. People could be jailed for being unable to pay a debt. On Ralint, there were no debtor’s prisons; debtors who were unable to make their payments became slaves of those they owed money to.

What was especially insidious for females were the laws limiting female education. It was illegal for a male to teach a female to read (and vice versa). Apparently, most males could read as literacy was seen as a male prerogative in their distant past. That meant that unless there was a woman somewhere who learned to read on her own, or a male who flaunted the law, a woman wasn’t going to be able to read.

However, they could sign contracts and incur debt. That meant that women were frequently put in the position of signing a document they couldn’t read. The law held them responsible for what the contract actually said, not what they’d been told it said. Now, you’d think that no sane female would sign any contract unless a trusted male read it for them. This is where the irony comes in. There’s also a budding female liberation movement on the planet. The movement is pushing for the repeal of laws limiting a female’s rights. Its partial success is the reason for the rapid increase in female slaves in the last decade.

While literacy for females remains effectively illegal, their rights to participate in the marketplace have been greatly expanded. Two key laws have had this perverse effect. First, females can enter into contracts without a male cosigning the contract. This would seem to be a great boon, and it would be but for the second law. To keep females from being controlled by males with no stake in the contract, a male is forbidden to be part of the negotiations unless he’s a cosigner. The result is females able to sign documents alone while being unable to have a male on their side.

Fortunately, based on Brusjin’s data, this type of enslavement is fading rapidly. A key import on the black market is literacy lessons. They aren’t even illegal, technically, because the tapes (old style magnetic recordings) are neither male nor female. No one imports them openly, but someone has been spreading them about the planet. Soon there would be, I hoped, enough literate females to teach females in general how to read. Once that happened, only crime and sale by one’s family could land one in slavery on Ralint.

Our slave was Savin, a pretty young female Ralinti who seemed awed by our appearance. Brusjin made sure that the management of the hotel knew that we insisted in giving all discipline for our slave ourselves. It was too late to visit the museum where the Map was displayed, so we visited the other attraction Yelti had, the Submerged Garden.

At the bottom of Yeltin Bay there’s a labyrinth of glass tunnels. These tunnels wind through an undersea garden of incredible beauty. It’s somewhat incredible that they’re able to maintain such a system of enclosed passages with their tech level. The water is deep enough that very little light reaches the garden itself. It’s the plants in the garden that provide the lighting. The multicolored phosphorescent glow from the native plants is stunningly beautiful.

[TUBE LATTICE STRUCTURE FAILS TO FAIL AS IT SHOULD]

[What do you mean, “fails to fail?”]

[LATTICE SHOULD COLLAPSE UNDER THE WEIGHT OF WATER OVERHEAD. IT DOES NOT.]

[Ah, you’re wondering why the glass doesn’t shatter under the weight of an entire bay of water. That’s a good question.]

“Brusjin, why hasn’t the water crushed the glass? This is glass, isn’t it?”

“That’s what I was told. You’re right, ordinary glass would have shattered under this much weight. I see no signs of support structures either. We should look into this further.”

“You know, there are an awful lot of oddities about this planet. What’s going on?”

“I don’t know, but it’s as if someone chose Ralint for some special purpose. That’s ridiculous, of course.”

I wasn’t so certain. There were five Progenitor artifacts on this world; more than the entire Federation has found. The theory was that the Progenitors had evolved to become a space bound species, leaving the confines of a home planet. That would explain why so few of their relics were found on planets. Not only did Ralint have five of them, but they were, according to local religious tradition, left here on purpose. If that’s not being chosen, I don’t know what is.

We took dinner at the hotel, served by Savin. We wanted to retire a little early, both of us feeling quite randy. Savin, however, followed us.

“That’s all for now, Savin.”

“Have I displeased you in some way? Should I fetch a whip?”

While I fumed, Brusjin tried to mollify the girl. “No, Savin, you haven’t displeased us. We simply wish to enjoy some time alone.”

“Won’t you need your companion prepared?”

“No, I don’t think so. What do you mean, prepared?”

“I think I know, dear. Savin, are you offering to give me my first orgasm?” Recall that Ralinti females can’t be penetrated for sex until they’ve cum at least once.

“Yes, Mistress. It’s one of the duties of a slave, to prepare the Mistress for the Master’s use.”

“Humans are different, Savin; we don’t need to be prepared to that extent. In fact, I’m pretty well prepared already.” I smiled at Brusjin, hinting at my well aroused state.

“How can that be, he’s hardly touched you?”

“Just the thought of what he’s going to do has me swimming in sexual need.” I could see the confused look on her face. “Have you been a slave long?”

“No, Mistress, just five days. My family sold me to pay a debt.”

“Do you want to please me?”

“Yes, Mistress! If I don’t, I’ll be punished.”

“Then understand this. I’ll be pleased, and so will Brusjin, if you act as if you were still free while you’re with us.”

“Mistress?” The confusion in her voice was plain to hear.

“Do you remember being able to do what you wanted, to go where you wanted, to be able to express your opinion?”

“Yes, Mistress,” she whispered. I could see her eyes clouding over, the Ralinti equivalent to tears. They never cried, their tears being recycled back into their bodies.

“That’s how I want you to act while you’re assigned to us. I know you can’t really go where you want, but while you’re with us, you’re to act like you would if you were with your family.”

“Yes, Mistress.”

“Would you call a member of your family, Mistress?”

“No, Mistress…I mean, no ma’am.”

“Much better,” I praised her with a smile. “Brusjin and I are going to spend some time alone. Why don’t you make yourself comfortable in the main room?”

“Yes, ma’am. May I order something to eat?”

“Of course, dear. Just tell them you’re ordering for us.”

“Thank you, ma’am.”

She left the bedroom and I turned back to Brusjin. “Now, where were we? Ah, I remember, I was doing this.”

I leaned up and kissed my husband again. As our tongues danced, we slowly stripped each other’s clothes off. I hadn’t lied to Savin, I was already aroused. It had been three days since I’d had sex with anyone, and seven days since Brusjin had taken me. Yes, I was more than ready. One thing my brief experience with slavery had taught me was that I loved being ravished by my lovers. If the sex was hard and energetic, and I was mildly helpless in his arms, I was in bliss. Once we were naked, he took both my hands and held them together behind my back. His other hand started to run lightly over my body. I could feel my nipples hardening, their sensitivity increasing with my arousal. My cunt was beginning to create a small lake of juice, readying itself for his cock.


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