Katherine stood at the edge of the temporary landing zone and looked out over the wide savannah stretching before her. The roar of her transport craft taking off jostled her short mane of red hair about her face and she brushed it back with one of her long thin fingers. One thought was uppermost in her mind.
God, what a shithole of a planet!
“Director O’Sullivan?” a man behind her said. “I am Surveyor Miguel Alejandro Diego Asis, but you may call me Don.”
She turned to face him, and had to look up. Nothing new there. At five-seven she was tall, but not taller than almost everyone else. Don was tall, ripped (even through his heavy work clothes his muscles were clear), and had dashing good looks. She immediately thought of some of those ancient swashbuckling films from the twentieth century she saw back in college in the History of Cinema class.
Yeah, he definitely looks like he should be digging up booty and carrying off some virginal wench. “How do you get Don out of that name?”
“I’m from the New Espana colony. I was given the honor of the title Don after the Battle of Wolf Three.”
“You don’t look old enough to have served during the war.”
“Thank you. I could say the same of you.”
Her back stiffened and she frowned. Mentioning her youth was one way of getting on her bad side. “Let’s get going! Is the team assembled?”
“Just loading the last of the supplies onto the scout. This way,” he said, gesturing with his massive arm.
He started walking, leading her toward the small ship, and she quickly moved around him to take the lead. Other than a mild grunt of disapproval, he remained silent.
Good, he’s already learning his place!
Perfunctory introductions followed, she barely took note of the names, and then they piled into the scout. Katherine didn’t bother to call shotgun, she just took the seat next to the pilot (Ivanka or some such silly name). She didn’t have to turn around to know she was getting dirty looks from Don and the three others in their party. So it was with a measure of surprise to see him casually puffing on a pipe, sitting in a corner with his feet up, and humming a little tune. After all, as head of the planetary survey, the honor of the seat fell to him.
“So, director, must be something megabyte important to set up a temp landing site just to get you out here. Care to share?”
“All in good time,” she replied.
“Of course, now that I think of it, there is another possible reason for such secrecy. Why avoid using our brand new landing facility unless you didn’t want this mission in the official records?”
Katherine reached down to the pocket on the right shin of her pants. She’d learned that Sativa was a wild and untamed world, and she’d dressed accordingly: heavy rugged pants with lots of pockets, long-sleeved durable shirt that was also form-fitting, and a big floppy hat. Despite how much the shirt covered, she rather liked it as it showed off her figure. She was justly proud of her curves.
Pulling the small wooden staff topped with an eagle from the pocket, she turned to face him. She had a baton of command, and she’d lorded it over everyone from the start of the mission as a reminder that she was the big dog.
“You see this? This is what gives me the authority to do whatever the hell I want! So, you shut up, and do as you’re told.”
Don’s reaction surprised her again. He yawned and stretched, cleaned his pipe, and gave her an ‘Is that all you got’ look. “Yes, yes, all the power and authority of the Senate. Just remember, missy, you’re out in the provinces now, a long way from the Senate. Without the muscle to back you up that ain’t nothing but a limp stick.”
“Do you speak from experience, sir?” Katherine shot back.
“Oh, ha-ha, so very funny,” he said with a grin. “Folks, we got ourselves a real comedienne here. Ivanka, step on it, we simply must get to the campsite as quickly as possible so the little lady can regale us with more of her routine.”
The others giggled, but Katherine chewed her lip in concern.
“What do you mean, camp?” she squeaked.
“What do you mean? This is an expedition to a primitive world. How can you be in the position you are and never have gone into the field?”
“Shut up! Never mind how, just get us to the site, and set up… whatever it is we have to live in so I can get some rest.”
It took the better part of an hour, which meant they were going way out into the wilderness, but they finally arrived at a small clearing near the base of a tall cliff.
Katherine grinned. It’s perfect, far from the prying eyes of what little Confederation authority exists on this miserable rock, and close to an outcropping of bedrock.
Don, Ivanka, and the others were fast and efficient; they set up the tents, established food and water, and secured the perimeter. Soon Katherine was luxuriating in a cool bath in the main room of her three-room tent. It even had heat and air conditioning. Sitting in the portable tub, her firm and ample breasts barely covered by a few bubbles, she reviewed the geological reports on her comp-pad.
“Knock-knock,” Don said, his voice coming from outside.
She could make out his figure as a silhouette standing at the entrance. “Enter,” she called out, trying to sound imposing.
He did and for the first time, he showed actual surprise at her lack of modesty. It made her chuckle quietly to herself, as she was actually quite a reserved lady. Even her doctor seeing her naked was embarrassing (which was why she had changed to a female doctor and had only ever used a female gynecologist), but the chance to torment a man with her body was reason enough for her to overcome her reluctance.
His thick eyebrows shot up into the long blackbird’s nest he called hair. “Well, well, my dear, I see you like to stay fit. You wanted to see me. I trust you don’t want to see as much of me as I’m seeing of you.”
“Don’t flatter yourself,” she said, yet rubbed her thighs together. “I want to know as much about the LIP as possible. What can you tell me? This report is rather… thin.”
“Local Indigenous People.”
“Oh,” he said, then shrugged. “Well, I can’t really tell you much. We only completed the prelim planetary survey a week ago and transmitted it in. Two days later I’m ordered to halt all activities and await further orders, and then you appeared to brighten my day.”
The sarcasm in his voice was clear, but she elected to overlook it. This time.
“Well, what can you tell me?”
“They’re humanoid, they appear to have some sort of caste system, and they align themselves into what can best be described as extended family groups. We’ve had no direct contact with them, only observed, but they’re fast, strong, and intelligent.”
“No formal government?”
“Not that we’ve been able to determine. They seem to be at development level E-3. We’ve seen no evidence of any industry, metalworking, or mining operations.”
Her eyebrows went up. “No mining? Excellent. You may go,” she said in a haughty tone as she waved her hand at him.
Rolling his eyes, Don turned to leave, but then stopped and faced her. “Ma’am, why are you here?”
“What are you talking about? You know full well—”
“Yes, yes, I know the official reason: assessing the natives to determine if they can be civilized without damaging their culture, but why you, and why here? We’re three hundred parsecs past Zeta Minor, which is hell and gone beyond any part of the Confederation. What’s so important about a little backwater world like this? As for you, I did some checking, which isn’t easy this far out, but I found a few things. At twenty-five you’re the youngest chief director at the Science Directorate. Now, I may only be a regional director for the Deep Space Corps, but I’m not an idiot. You’re up to something. So, I ask again, why you, and why here?”
“It’s none of your business,” she snapped. “You just get me out to map reference forty-two by Two-B first thing tomorrow!”
He looked confused. “The center of this region? Why?”
She grinned. “All will be revealed in good time.”
With a grunt, he spun on his heels and marched out. Katherine’s grin went from ear to ear. Once again she’d put a man in his place, and she loved it. Now, lying back in the cool water, she explored her body with her hands. This was what she relished above all things: pleasure her way. In a way though, she was filled with regret as she touched herself, as no man had ever been able to please her, but she’d still convinced herself that was for the best. No man could have dominion over her. Her left hand cupped and caressed her milky mounds, tickled her right nipple, and her right brushed across her bush. She liked to tease herself, not rush things. Lightly her fingers moved between her legs, then softly rubbed her clit, and then slowly entered her body. Her thigh and butt muscles clenched, her back arched, and she moaned as her nipples grew firm.
“Oh yeah, ohhh yeah, almost… there,” she gasped.
Her long fingers were so very good. As they thrust and jabbed at her g-spot, each touch made her mouth open wider, her voice go higher in pitch, and her pussy become more inflamed. She shook, her body trembled hard enough to make more bubbles, and then she went over the edge. A squeal erupted from her lungs as she climaxed. The gyrations of her body were enough to create waves in her tub, sending a substantial amount of water over the edges.
Her breathing stayed hard and ragged for a couple minutes, and then she came down and was able to sit up without difficulty. Splashing water on her face, she cleared her head, then climbed out and got dressed in fresh clothes. She loved old-fashioned jeans, and hers were skin-tight and nicely faded. After putting on her signature red and white checkerboard shirt, she took her scanner and made her way to the base of the cliff.
There she found only disappointment. The scanner revealed nothing. Yet, she was not prepared to give up after only one try. The planetary report had been quite detailed on one point: the presence of canamo, the rarest mineral in all the galaxy. She wasn’t here to civilize anyone. Money and power were her concerns, and a mine of canamo would bring her both. Moving along the face of the stone, she walked through a cluster of bright red roses, and continued scanning. Soon she reached a narrow opening that separated the cliff she’d walked along from another one. She could see that the gap widened out into a small valley, and her scanner began to chime.
Katherine smiled. Bingo, I’m close to the prize!
Moving between the cliffs, she raced through the valley, keeping close to the granite wall as the scanner grew louder, and just as quickly she came to a stop. Her smile went ear to ear. A huge outcropping of the mineral rippled and arched across the tall stone face before her. Plucking one of the roses at her feet, she twirled it in her fingers and inhaled its heady aroma as she did a quick calculation in her head. If the vein ran back even just a few feet, this one deposit was worth several million credits. And it was only the first she’d found.
A few more like this and I’ll be the richest woman in the Confederation. Life will finally be good. After a childhood of poverty and a youth of hardship, now finally I can achieve what I’ve always wanted: happiness. Nothing buys pure bliss better than credits.
Still sporting a broad grin, she casually gathered a bouquet of flowers for herself, and then strolled on back to camp in time for lunch. The food was simple, yet tasty standard processed food. Helen, the girl assigned to cook, served a fine table, and once their bellies were full, the questions started.
“Ma’am, Don says that you want to travel to the central section of this region,” Ivanka said. “Ah, are you aware that there are certain areas that the locals do not like outsiders venturing into?
“How do you know that?” she wondered.
“They have warning symbols posted,” Don explained. “You don’t have to be a linguistic expert to understand their meaning. Ivanka here knows this entire continent better than anyone. When I gave her the grid coordinates you want to go to tomorrow, she was… less than enthusiastic about the trip.”
“No, to put it plainly, I was scared shitless! Ma’am, if you want to ingratiate yourself with the locals, trespassing on their sacred lands is not the way to do it.”
“Do not lecture me, my good woman; I know what I’m doing. I plan to make an appearance at a village in that area, put on a fancy laser light show, and convince the poor saps that I am queen of the sky demons.”
“What sky demons?” Helen chimed in.
“Our survey ships of course. I mean, come on, the locals must have seen you fly over a couple of times. So, what do you think they think we are? My chief field of study is anthropology and history; both Earth and countless other worlds are full of such instances. Primitive tribes, when confronted by advanced races, always believe them to be gods or demons.”
Don gagged for a moment and then slowly rose to his feet. “Wait a minute, you’re going to convince these people you’re a god? Are you insane? That is a violation of all we hold sacred. If the Senate or anyone finds out, no baton is going to save your ass—and ours—from the consequences.”
Katherine rolled her eyes. “Oh, don’t be so overdramatic. You, all of you will be well taken care of. Now, I know you may have heard such things before, either in real life or in some silly holo-film, but trust me, you can believe me on this point. I grew up in the slums of New Smyrna. I don’t imagine I have to tell any of you how horrid those places are, you’ve probably seen the news reports or documentaries. I learned early in life that money was the only thing that was important. If you had it, you were set; you wouldn’t go hungry, you wouldn’t have to beg, and happiness was as easy as point and click.”
“Wow,” Don said slowly. “Katherine, I had no idea. That little tidbit wasn’t in the data I reviewed on you.”
“For good reason, I’ve done everything in my power to put that terrible episode of my life behind me.”
“I’d say you’ve succeeded, to an extent. However, while your speech was very nice, it’s also what every leader of every scheme for untold centuries has told his, or her, minions. People, recall your history, when those antics came to light, who got the dirty end of the stick? You all prepared to face life in a penal colony for violation of the False God Statute?”
Katherine cast her eyes about the table, which was sitting out in the open at the center of camp. What she saw did not give her cause for encouragement. The others were clearly siding with him. It was equally clear that she was going to have to go straight to the bribes. Wiping her mouth with her napkin, she slowly rose to her feet, yet said not a word. She figured a moment of dramatic silence would get their attention better than a shout. They all turned to her, and then everyone jumped in surprise when a loud bang sounded off in the distance. Don leapt to his feet, looked above and behind her, and his eyes grew wide.
“Raiding party! The ship, get to the—”
Boom! A blinding flash engulfed the scout and then the shockwave struck them. The table flew into the air, everything on it was scattered this way and that, and he and the others found themselves sprawled across the soft grass.
“Now what do we do?” Helen squealed. “We’re cut off.”
Katherine rose and shook her head, her ears ringing, and she spun about. “That way,” she cried, pointing to the passage into the valley. “There’s a narrow opening that leads to a pass that will take us safely out of here.”
“Really?” Don said. “We’ll have a solid lead. Come on, people, on me!”
Don led the way, Helen and the others following, and Katherine made a point of trailing far behind. The closer they got to the opening, the further back she got, and as they moved into the valley, she made her move. She came about and ran the other way. Her hope was that the savages would go after the larger group and allow her to slip away. Her comp-pad and personal comm-unit were all she needed. So, she dashed to her tent to collect them. Emerging from her temporary home, she scanned the area and grinned. She could see people moving along the ridge in the direction Don and the others were headed. Now was her chance to escape, and she took it. As she darted along the perimeter of the clearing, the lingering flames of the ship made her shadow huge, and she headed toward the savannah. Once out there and concealed in the tall grass, she’d wait for nightfall and then call in a rescue ship.
Whirl, whirl-whirrrl! The hum of some strange thing seemed to come out of nowhere. Katherine looked around as she ran, but saw nothing. Then a whooshing sound roared up behind her like a lion leaping to attack, and in an instant a snake-like grip had closed about her knees. She hit the ground hard, rolled over several times, and managed to end up in a sitting position. Looking down, her brow wrinkled at what she saw: three strands of well-worn leather with some sort of balls tied to the ends were wrapped around her legs. She reached for them, even as she heard the sound again. Her back stiffened. She didn’t need to be a genius to know another one of those things was coming at her.
Wham! Katherine gasped, the air shooting from her lungs as another of the fiendish devices encircled her chest. Her arms were pinned to her sides.
She was trapped.
The grass rustled behind her. Worming about, she managed to turn, and she gasped again as her jaw dropped. Never had she seen such a man. It wasn’t that he was extremely tall, as he looked to be close to seven feet. It was his build. He had to be twice the width of an average guy and had massive arms and legs rippling with muscles. His hands looked big enough that one of them could envelop her entire head. She almost laughed at him as his clothes were so simple: shorts and a t-shirt made of heavy animal skins and leather sandals on his feet. As he strode toward her, she also saw a thick belt at his waist and some sort of pack swaying on his back.
“Oh, you are a true beauty, you are,” he said with a smile. “A fine prize and you shall be mine.”
“What? Prize? I belong to no one, to no man,” she snapped. “Release me at once or you’ll be sorry.”
He knelt down next to her and took a clump of her hair in his hand. “Yes, truly, truly beautiful.”
She shivered. Now that he was close to her, she could smell him and see his features. For a primitive savage, he had the aroma of flowers and sweet fruit; his features were firm and chiseled, his long auburn hair flowing down to his shoulders. Blinking, she recovered her senses, pulled away from him, and bit his huge index finger.
“Ow,” he grunted, pulling away from her. “Well, well, the little butterfly thinks she’s a bee.”
“Yes, and you best beware my sting!”
“Ah, but you see, a bee only stings once, and then dies.”
“Perhaps I’m a wasp then.”
“If that’s the case, I’ll have to pluck that stinger out, and I know just how to do it. Come along, little wasp, by right of the hunt, I claim you.”
Wrapping his giant hands about her with ease, he hoisted her up and over his left shoulder. Again she gasped. Given the dimensions of his body, she easily perched there, and her face came to rest against the rock-hard muscles of his back. As if she was a mere butterfly on his shoulder, he stood without effort, turned, and marched off.
“Put me down! Release me! You have no idea who you’re fucking with, and you’ll regret ever even touching me!”
He ignored her and spoke not a word, just kept plodding on through the tall grass back toward her now-deserted camp. Had his friends caught the others? If so, who would rescue her? After all, officially this mission didn’t exist, so no one would come looking for her. These and other concerns rushed within her mind as she heard voices approach them.