Hitchhikers of GorbyHaroldx©
This story is a parody of John Norman's Gor novels. If you've read them, no more need be said. If you haven't, the following should help to understand what's going on.
The planet Gor lies in the same orbit around the sun as Earth. It is always 180 degrees behind and thus always directly behind the sun, rendering it undetectable from Earth. The planet Gor is watched over by the priest kingsla--large, reclusive, insect-like beings which inhabit caverns beneath the Sardar mountain range of Gor.
The human population of Gor is aware of the priest kings, but has almost no contact with them. Gorean civilization is primitive. The priest kings enforce a ban on modern weaponry. Persons who violate this ban are prone to suffer the mysterious 'flame death', a sort of spontaneous combustion.
Ar (not a typo) is the largest city on Gor. It bears a resemblance to imperial Rome. A large number of the citizens live in 'insulae' (the multi-storied apartment blocks which proliferated in Rome). The use of the Roman short sword, public games, and a Latinesque vocabulary also link it to Rome.
Slavery is legal, common, and popular on Gor. There are male slaves, but they are relatively few. The big attraction is female slavery. Although the majority of women on Gor are free women, they are considered by the Gorean men as women who have yet to be enslaved (as a popular Gorean saying puts it: there are only two kinds of women--slaves and slaves). Gorean males are 'real men' who feel that the proper place for a woman is on her knees. They are not like the wimps on Earth who don't have enough sense or manhood to beat their women into submission and lock them in the chains they all secretly desire. The Gorean men who know of Earth men hold them in contempt because of this failure to subjugate their women.
The Kurii are a race of space traveling savage beasts. They have come to our solar system from parts unknown and live in their steel ships out beyond the orbit of Jupiter. They desire the planet Gor (and Earth as well) but are held at bay by the superior technology of the priest kings. Nonetheless, their ships sneak in and land on Gor, plotting its conquest. To raise funds (apparently their own currency is not accepted on Gor), they abduct women from Earth to sell in the slave markets of Gor. They employ both Earth men and Gorean men to carry out these forays and maintain a network of agents on both planets. The priest kings likewise maintain a network of agents to counter the efforts of the Kurii.
Some Earth men know of Gor and some Goreans know of Earth, but both are a minority. The average female abductee is at first horrified to discover she has been enslaved, but eventually warms to the idea and embraces her bondage in the realization that it has always been her secret desire to be enslaved and forced to serve men. Few Earth men find their way to Gor. Those that do are invariably wimps who let women walk all over them. They are simultaneously appalled and turned on by the institution of female slavery but eventually discover their manhood on this barbaric world and start treating women as they deserve (and desire).
I began wondering what would happen if a different sort of Earth man found his way to Gor--a man whose wife or girlfriend sported the occasional black eye or split lip--a man who was attracted to Gor by the institution of female slavery but who hadn't quite thought the whole thing all the way through.
I had read all of the Gor books. More than once. Over time, and for a variety of reasons (not the least of which was wishful thinking), I became convinced that Gor actually existed. Having arrived at this conclusion, I desperately wanted to go there. It was just the place for a guy like me.
After considering a number of ideas, I conceived a plan that would accomplish my goals. All good plans were simple, and by that standard, this was a pretty good plan. I was going to stow away. All I had to do was find a girl they were going to snatch and sneak aboard their ship while they were engaged in her acquisition.
There were several things I knew from reading the books. They often took women from New York. These women were usually employed in menial positions, unattached, extremely beautiful (but not without room for improvement through proper diet and exercise), and always snotty. They loved snotty women. Gorean men being what they were, there was probably a shortage of snotty women on Gor, making it necessary to import them.
Snotty women drove me nuts. That's why I wanted to go to Gor. An appropriate reaction to some snotty bitch on earth could land you in jail.
I started hanging out on the downtown streets during morning rush hour. I was looking for beautiful women on their way to work. When I spotted one, I would walk up beside her and make a casual comment. If her reply was sufficiently nasty, I would follow her from a distance to see where she worked, then add her to my list. I would make the rounds every day, checking up on the girls on the list and adding new ones.
One morning I visited the cosmetics counter of a large department store. There was a new girl there.
"Where's the regular girl?"
"I don't know. She didn't show up this morning and she doesn't answer her phone. It's not like her.”
"Was she here yesterday?"
"Yesterday was her day off."
Maybe her employer didn't know where she was, but I did. This was another thing that fit their pattern. They always took a girl on her day off so that it would be a day longer before she was missed. I knew they'd take more than one woman. I only hoped this one was among the first and that they were still in town. I rushed off to check the others on my list.
She was walking by as I stepped out the door. Tall, blond, gorgeous, she radiated hauteur. She wore a long dress which tended to conceal the lineaments of her figure, but I'd seen all I'd needed to. I caught up with her at the corner.
"Pardon me, miss."
She turned her gaze icily toward me, but did not deign to speak.
"Tickle your ass with a feather?" I inquired.
"Particularly nasty weather," I clarified.
"Get lost, creep."
The Gorean slavers were still in New York. There was no way they would leave this bitch wandering around loose. I followed her.
She was carrying a small bag of groceries. It occurred to me that she was out shopping on a weekday morning. Either she didn't work, or this was her day off.
I followed her onto the subway. When she got off, she walked about a block and went into an apartment building. I noticed a moving van parked out front. I hung around outside, keeping an eye on the van.
While I waited, I checked the contents of my backpack. It contained items I thought would be necessary and useful should an opportunity for departure present itself. I rummaged through it hoping I hadn't forgotten anything.
After about 45 minutes, two men came out carrying a box about 3 feet on a side. They opened the back of the truck, put the box in and prepared to leave. There was already an identical box in the truck, which was otherwise empty.
As the van pulled away, I dashed up behind it and clung to the rear. The truck headed out of town. We were going north. About noon, the truck stopped at a small roadside café. I waited until the two men were inside, then followed them.
The men were seated at the counter. They didn't look up when I came in. I sat at a booth where I could watch them, but there wasn't much to see, just the backs of two guys in moving company uniforms. One was rather burly, the other slight. I could hear them as they ordered. They spoke English without discernible accent.
I ordered the largest meal they had, since I didn't know when I'd get a chance to eat again. I ate hurriedly and when the waitress brought pie to the guys at the counter, I got a doggie bag, paid, and went outside. I climbed up on top of the van. This was not only more comfortable than clinging to the rear, but left me less visible to other motorists.
The van continued north for another hour, then turned off on a side road. We started driving around a maze of back roads in the woods until we came to a clearing. The truck stopped at the edge of the clearing. I remained on top of the truck.
About dusk, a large black disk descended silently from the sky. A small section of the outer rim slid open and a man stepped out. He was wearing coveralls and boots. He looked to be more an earth man than a Gorean, but he spoke to the men in the truck with a rather odd accent. As they conversed, I slipped down on the far side of the van and stole quietly through the woods until I reached a point of concealment nearest the disk. When the three men opened the rear of the truck and climbed inside, I crept into the saucer.
The interior wall of the ship was lined with large transparent cylinders. All but two were occupied by naked slumbering girls. It looked as though I had made it just in time. The boxes in the truck contained the last two women. There was a gap in the bank of tubes opposite the entrance. What appeared to be a control console sat in the gap. I squeezed into a spot between the end of the console and the adjacent cylinder, which contained a short dark haired girl.
It was amazing that my simple minded plan had actually worked, but here I was. I was here mostly by sheer luck, but I felt I deserved some credit for recognizing the opportunity for what it was when it presented itself.
The three men entered the ship carrying an unconscious naked girl and installed her in one of the remaining cylinders. It was the girl from the cosmetics counter. The men left and returned moments later with the blond bitch, placing her in the final cylinder. The moving men turned to go.
"I wish you well, Octavius," said the larger mover.
"I wish you well, Robert."
One thing about many Gorean males was that they exhibited a level of pomposity in their everyday speech that was both humorous and annoying. They sounded like they were in an old swashbuckler movie, or worse, the Renaissance Festival. ("Well struck! He will not soon forget the might of that blow, I'll wage<,/I>." Stuff like that.) This was casual banter, you understand. God help you if one of them should get on his high horse and really get pompous. I've chosen to mark such utterances in italics, not so much to highlight them for the reader (it's painfully obvious as it is), but because it amuses me to do so.
The movers tromped out and the hatch closed behind them.
"You can come out now," announced Octavius. "They're gone."
I stepped out from behind the console, my .45 leveled.
"Do you know what this is?"
"It's a larger bore than a 9mm. I'd say it's a .45."
"Quite right," I said. "So we aren't going to try any funny business, are we."
"I fly space ships. I'm not a moron."
"Fair enough," I said. "How did you know I was here?"
"Ever hear of a motion detector? Did you really think you could walk around in this ship without my being aware of it?"
"I didn't hear any alarms or anything."
"As I said, I'm not an idiot. Did you think I'd let you know I knew you were here until I was ready? You're not the first guy to come up with this idea. Most trips I have a stowaway or two. When two show up, it's often quite amusing when they first encounter each other."
This was an unexpected turn of events. I just stood there with my mouth hanging open.
"Would you mind putting the safety on that cannon? You're not paying sufficient attention to it."
I put the gun back in my pack. This guy was way ahead of me. I would need my wits more than the gun. It would also be counter productive if I absentmindedly shot him.
"I hope you're not planning on toting that thing around on Gor."
"Hold on," I said. "You're going to land a spaceship on Gor and you're worried about my .45?"
"I'm not going to be there very long. You are."
"I was hoping not to have to use it. I just thought it might help keep me alive while I learned the ropes."
"That's a fairly sensible idea. Gor is always dangerous, and it can be deadly if you're not acclimated. How many rounds in your pack?"
"That's conservative compared to most. I've had guys come aboard with a thousand and more. There was so much lead in their sack they could hardly walk. I'll let you keep 50. If you have to use even half of that, you'll never make it there."
"Let's back up a minute. I'm not sure I understand all this. You're actually offering me transport to Gor?"
"Yes, I do it all the time. It's a six week trip and I enjoy the company."
"Six weeks? I thought you flew at the speed of light or something."
"Gor is about 17 light minutes away. We go way slower than that, and not in a straight line. We just barely graze the orbit of Venus."
"But six weeks? How much food have you got?"
"I've got more than enough for both of us."
"But you've got all these women. Why would you need my company?"
"We can decant a couple of women when we get horny, but you'll want to keep them gagged. They tend to spend all their time weeping and wailing. They're not very good company."
"You do this all the time? I still don't get it. Why?"
"Like I said, I enjoy the company."
"So why don't you bring a helper. You'd have company coming and going."
"Well, there is one other reason. The introduction of strangers to Gor helps promote a certain amount of instability. The priest kings will eventually note your presence and have to expend effort and resource monitoring your activities. You won't want to use that .45 after they become aware of you."
"So I'm to become an agent of the Kurii?", I asked.
"Not an agent, a decoy. They'll watch you to see what you're up to. You won't be up to anything. Therefore, they won't be able to figure out how your random activities fit into the grand scheme of things. You'll help to disguise and confuse their perceptions of the activities of our real agents. That's also why you get to keep the gun. It exaggerates their idea of your importance."
"So why are you telling me all this? What if I tell them."
"I'm telling you because it doesn't make any difference if you know. They'll watch you, but they won't make contact. If you try to contact them, they'll withdraw. Even if you made contact, would they believe you when you claimed not to be an enemy agent?"
"So now what?"
"So now we get to work. You've got 6 weeks to learn Gorean. You're going to need to know it."
The six weeks passed very quickly. Octavius worked with me every day until finally I could speak passable Gorean. The last week we spoke only Gorean. I still had an outrageous accent, but I could at least communicate.
Every few days during the voyage, we would uncork a couple of women. They would all need to be revived, fed, exercised, etc. to keep them healthy during the long trip. I didn't gag the first one I brought out. Octavius didn't say anything; he knew I would have to find out for myself. Fifteen minutes later, she was gagged. After that, all the women were kept gagged the entire time they were conscious except when they were being fed. We kept them bound during use. I particularly enjoyed the blond bitch.
At last, we landed on Gor. Octavius gave me final instructions.
"Once you disembark, you'll be on your own. We're about 15 miles from Ar. You should be able to walk there by sundown. This is a one way trip. You will not be able to return to earth, nor will you ever see me again. Open this parcel after my departure. It contains Gorean clothing, a small sum of gold to sustain you until you can make a livelihood, and a few other oddments you might find useful."
"One final bit of advice," he continued, "don't let anyone know you are from earth. Those Goreans who know of Earth have little respect for its inhabitants. They have a name for earthmen: phallus minimus. A loose translation might be 'earth weenie'. Ar is to the west. Keep the morning sun to your back. By the time it's overhead, it will be obvious where Ar is."
"Thank you, Octavius. You've been most kind. Farewell."
"Live long and prosper," he replied.
I gave him a quizzical stare.
"Now that you know that Gor exists," he called, "I leave it to you whether or not Vulcan does."
After the ship departed, I opened the parcel Octavius had left and donned the Gorean clothing I found therein. I didn't put on the sandals. If I was going to hike for fifteen miles, I'd rather do it in the hiking boots I had on, which were already well broken in. I'd change to the Gorean footwear just before entering the city.
I began my trek. The terrain was rolling grasslands. I saw neither cultivated fields, nor roads, nor any other works of man. I trudged along. It was early morning, so I had no problem heading west. I simply kept my shadow directly in front of me.
After a couple of hours, I saw a grove of trees off to my right. It sat on the grassland like a large oasis. I altered course slightly so I could walk through the trees and be in the shade. They appeared to be conifers and there was little undergrowth. Birds twittered among the branches. I was actually making better time among the trees than I had been in the tall grass. I passed what appeared to be the remains of a campfire, the first sign of human activity I had encountered.
As I kicked among the ashes, I noticed a large animal about 100 yards ahead. It seemed to be somewhere between the size of a leopard and a lion, although longer and skinnier than either. It had more than four legs, black fur, a long tail, and a long narrow head. It stood motionless, regarding me as I watched it. I eased the .45 from my pouch. My movement seemed to trigger it.
The beast emitted a shrieking hiss like a rabid tea kettle and charged. It was fast! It was only about 30 feet away by the time I got a bead on it. The slug hit the animal in the forehead so that the front end of it stopped. The rear end kept coming until it was scrunched up like an accordion and then the thing flopped over on its side, dead. That was one of the reasons I'd brought a large caliber weapon. They do have stopping power.
The gun had made a hell of a noise, so I hid among the trees for a while to see if anyone came to investigate. Once I decided all was clear, I went over to the creature. I decided it must be a sleen, although I had thought they were nocturnal. (I later learned that this had probably been an immature sleen. Adult sleen were both larger and wilier.) It was a good thing I had a firearm. I would not have wanted to tackle this thing with a bow or spear.
I thought it would be better if I removed the bullet from the sleen. I didn't want anyone to come along later and find a lead slug in it. I got out my knife. (I had brought my hunting knife with me. It was a good quality blade and I was fond of it. I had read of the wine tempered blades of Gor, but the carbon content of my steel was more important to me than its alcohol level. It was shaped as a tool, not a weapon, nor was it balanced for throwing. I didn't know how to fight with a knife, anyway.) A few miles beyond the woods, I cast the slug off into the grass.
I continued my journey. It was now about noon and my shadow was a puddle at my feet. Fortunately, Octavius' prediction had been correct. It was obvious which way led to Ar. Unfortunately, the reason I knew in which direction Ar lay was because I could smell it. It was said of Paris in the 17th century that it could be smelt 20 miles downwind. Ar was obviously victim to a similar flatulence. As I trudged along, the stench grew in strength, waxing and waning with the breeze. So much for the clean pure air of Gor. This would take some getting used to. I briefly considered altering my destination but after the incident with the sleen, I decided that spending a night in the open was not a good idea.