Pilot 05: Obscured by Cloudsbypast_perfect©
Obscured by Clouds
By past_perfect ©
Author's note: Not all of you would want to read the whole series. For those who don't, here a short summary of what has happened so far:
Jon was an English RAF pilot during WWII. In 1943 a race called Scnrgsis recruited him for the forces of the galactic community, which was facing an extra-galactic enemy called the Pret. Sixty-six years later Jon crashed on Earth following a battle with the Pret, having aged just about seven years due to a medical implant of the Scnrgsis. He hijacked a space shuttle to get to a station of the Scnrgsis on the dark side of the moon. Whilst waiting for his "Mother"-ship Snay together with Emma's "hand", the last remaining android from his destroyed ship Emma, he recounted his training on Talagon. The Pret were contained by a barrier the most advanced race in our galaxy – the Salarmorn – had erected. What went on behind this barrier was virtually unknown, until the first missions of the Snay. On Soreil not everything went as planned, but the mission provided a clearer picture of the enemy. A picture that needed to be sharper still ...
Chapter one – Dawnmaker
"Jon, do you remember the first time we were alone together in the Pret domain?"
"Of course I do, sweetie. Why are you asking me this?"
"You seem to think about the past a lot lately. I was wondering if you were thinking a little about me too, Jon."
"Yes Emma, I do. And more than just a little."
I stroked her beautiful red hair. Yes, that incident was certainly amongst those I would never forget.
They had fitted Emma and the kids with the new cloaking device. We were spreading out around Mother over almost two parsecs, as we were approaching a system the Pret had appropriated and were apparently using to manufacture ships. The system known as Daria had already been an industrial world before the Pret came. The Darians were gifted engineers who had designed or improved a lot of the technology we were currently using. We thought that this was probably one of the reasons the Pret adapted to our technology so quickly and lethally.
The system was heavily guarded by Pret patrol ships and several domed planetary defence systems on some of the twenty-four moons of Daria. Around the planet and several of the moons were space docks, where ships received their final assembly. We had devised a strategy to briefly scan small parts of the complexes and then change position quickly. Mother itself did not scan in the conventional way, thirty-two telepaths were trying to get contact to the Darians and listen in on the Pret.
"Grid four seven four seven. Scan in twenty seconds. This does not look like a ship to me, what they are assembling?"
I nodded in agreement. Maybe it was part of a space station or something else. It appeared to be only part of a larger structure. Shneet had told me the Pret were constructing something the Scnrgsis suspected to be a gateway. We had not seen that yet, only heard reports from refugees.
"Scan complete. Changing position to grid seven two one."
"So we have some of the surface of that moon there too."
"Yes. It is called the Dawnmaker in Darian folklore. Apparently this is the moon last showing on the morning sky on the biggest continent, at the point the sun first rises."
"Looks like it has an atmosphere."
"Yes, the Darians have terra-formed this moon. There is a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere on there, in concentrations you would feel comfortable with. You can't see any of the surface from here, because of the dense shrouding clouds. We don't know much about it either; it was a moon the Darians did not allow outsiders on."
"Fascinating. There is a Pret vessel approaching right behind us."
"Do you want me to delay the scan?"
"No, go on sweetie. I don't think this is a patrol vessel. It looks much smaller than those. Hmm ... they appear to land on the moon."
"Scan complete. Changing position to grid seven eight six."
"No sweetie, hang on. Show me the results of the last scan."
"Acknowledged Jon. Do you want me to tell Mother why we are digressing from our schedule?"
"Yes, tell them we might have found something interesting and will investigate."
"You mean all those unusual bio-readings?"
"Yes. Tell Mother we will land to have a look and the kids can compensate for us."
"The strategic team of the Snay says that is not a good idea."
"Tell them I can feel it in my gut – this moon is important."
The reason I was not talking to them myself was that we were using an extraordinarily complicated method of communication to avoid detection involving minuscule pulses of encrypted data that would appear like normal background radiation.
"They say that the telepaths think so too, but you shouldn't go down there alone."
"Tell them I won't be alone, as I have you by my side."
"That is kind of you to say Jon. I will do my best to keep you safe."
"Get both your hands ready and find us a good place to land."
"Oh. You would want me to dress again, don't you?"
"Yeah, sweetie, please put some clothes on your hands. You are just too pretty, it might be distracting."
"Jon , you do know that my hands are fully functional in every detail?"
"What do you mean?"
"You could do with them whatever you wanted, Jon."
I actually blushed.
"Emma, are you hitting on me?"
"I am just telling you your options Jon. I want to be there for you in every way I can."
Well, of course I was responsible for the amount of detail her hands had been manufactured with, but up to this point I had never considered what she was suggesting to me. It had been more like a minor indulgence, some extra eye-candy for me on top of her great personality. However, Emma was much more than I had programmed her to be. Her biological component gave her the status of a living being with a very succinct personality. I had noticed that she was placing a lot of sexual innuendo into our conversations lately, very subtle, and very innocent, really quite extraordinary.
"Sweetie, there is a time for everything, but this is not it. We need to focus on the matter at hand."
"Of course Jon. Do you want the hands to be distinguishable to you?"
"Yes. Red uniform for Emma Alpha, black uniform for Emma Beta. I will refer to them as Alpha and Beta and treat them as individuals, although I know they are both you."
"I could wear my hair differently too."
"The colours will suffice sweetie."
I wondered what was going on in her mind. But I really needed to focus here. I selected a variety of weapons for the androids and myself, while Emma was landing herself on Dawnmaker on the spot she had chosen, which was reasonably far from the high concentration of bio-readings we had taken. Despite my instructions, Alpha was wearing her hair differently from Beta, who had tied it to a ponytail, while Alpha was wearing it open. The matter sluice opened and seconds later we stood in the gloomy grey-yellowish light of Dawnmaker.
The moon was astonishingly hot and humid. The landing place we had chosen was in the midst of a dense jungle.
"I am not detecting any energy signatures in a radius of two miles, Jon. The place we had on our scans earlier is twelve miles in a south-easterly direction."
"And bio signs?"
"It's a jungle with many creatures, Jon. I cannot distinguish between animals and higher life-forms. Should we use the deflectors?"
Beta suddenly bent over and snapped a snake that had been about to attack me. She looked at it with a fascinated expression on her face before throwing it back into the jungle.
"The wildlife appears to be hostile."
"It's a snake, Beta. That is what snakes do. And no, I don't think we should switch on the deflectors. On Soreil they had automated defence systems. The Darians built the deflectors. I think it is safe to assume that they might be scanning for their characteristic energy signatures."
I erected a low level shield though, as the insects were equally aggressive and I definitely didn't fancy some exotic bacteria in my system, although the medical implant from the Scnrgsis would have taken care of most, if not all of them. The plant-life was making our progress difficult enough as it was. None of the trees here seemed to get larger than nine or ten feet, but they were very close together and strangely intertwined. More than once the two androids had to rip a few of them out to clear the way. When Alpha ripped out yet another one, all of a sudden a green fur bundle landed in front of our feet.
The animal played dead for a moment. Beta picked it up, watching it with curious eyes. Hers were met by the ones of the little creature soon enough. Beta opened her grip and allowed the monkey-like animal to explore her body.
"This one is not aggressive."
The little monkey had an elongated head and two very large eyes. Its hands had three very long digits, its feet only two that were a little shorter. It made smacking sounds so diverse and intricate that for a minute I suspected it to be some sort of language. However, if it were something that structured, my translator implant would have made sense of it. The monkey had climbed all over Beta and now it wrapped itself around her neck, snuggled up to her face and then attached itself to her ponytail, emitting something that sounded almost like a purr. It seemed cosy there and stopped moving.
"Looks like you have a new friend there Beta. It seems to like you."
"What should I do, Jon? I don't think it is posing a threat."
"I leave that up to you. If you want to keep it, keep it."
"Thank you Jon. Perhaps I have destroyed its home when I took down those trees and it can find something new on the way. I noticed that it fell from a type of tree we have not encountered often yet."
Stunningly colourful birds with four wings and really long beaks excitedly followed our progress too. Another pert snake tried to take a bite, but my shield instantly dissolved its fangs and resolve to attack me. We got to a small river, with red-brownish water, where a swarm of insects almost as big as a fist seemed to dive for small fish. Alpha stopped.
"Jon, look at this."
It took me a second to realise that she hadn't meant this exotic spectacle, but was referring to something else. Tied to a shrub on the river bank was a boat of sorts. I said boat because it didn't look particularly primitive, more like something that had been constructed with natural materials, but with an awful lot of craftsmanship and knowledge. There were no paddles, just four very long, finely carved sticks. Alpha scanned the area but whoever the owner of this boat was, was either not using technology or was simply not around. Maybe it was meant as a ferry to cross this river.
Beta got down to it first and analysed the markings on the sticks.
"It looks similar to Darian writing, but it isn't. Sorry Jon, I can't translate it."
I searched my memory for engrams about the Darians. They were amongst the oldest civilisations in our galaxy, humanoid as in having two arms and legs, but heads that looked more reptilian than anything else, a big mouth with a long tongue and four blowholes above it. Their eyes were supposedly sharp enough to see at the molecular level, which was part of their engineering success story. They had the reputation of being technocrats though. Even this jungle environment they had created didn't seem to fit to the information I found about them. Daria itself was one big industrial complex with massive cities and hardly any nature left to speak of.
We untied the boat and used it to cross the river. Our little hitchhiker wasn't overly happy about the idea of crossing the river, but after climbing up and down on Beta making a lot of smacking noises, it seemed to decide that Beta was the place to be, no matter what crazy stunts she was pulling and returned to its former resting position. The part of the jungle we had left behind had been noisy and full of life. The part on the other bank was eerily quiet in comparison. I couldn't shed the feeling that we were being watched. If it were the Pret, we would probably have come under attack by now. I whispered my suspicion into Alpha's ear. She nodded quietly.
Something else was different. Although it didn't look like one, we appeared to be following a path, as no more intertwined trees were blocking our way. While we had hardly covered more than a few miles in the first three hours, now we were making headway much faster.
"Jon, it is going to be dark in a few minutes."
We weren't about to enter Daria's shade yet, it was Dawnmaker's own rotation that brought nightfall upon us. Emma had told me that it would last only six hours. Of course we could use lights or scan our way through the jungle, but that might have alerted the Pret. We decided to wait until daybreak. Emma's hands were constructing a makeshift camp. Beta was playing with her new pet and standing guard, while I cuddled with Alpha. I wasn't tired at all.
"Are you still in contact with the ship?"
"Yes, Jon, but we are at the outer limits now."
"Anything new there?"
"No, Mother has not broken the communication silence and the kids are completing the scans. I have adapted their schedule to take over our part."
"Okay. So maybe it is time we had a little talk now."
"About what, Jon?"
Boy, this was awkward.
"You made ... how can I put this ... rather strange remarks lately."
"I am not certain I know what you are referring to, Jon."
"Like ... you would like to have sex with me, to put it bluntly."
"Oh yes, Jon. I would like that very much. I observed you having sex with a variety of females in the past months. You seem to enjoy that a lot. My hands have been constructed to mimic all functions of a biological entity, and my nervous system is receiving impulses in my biological component too. In essence, I would feel just like an Earth woman does."
"Well, I know that. That is not the question though. You are my ship. Where I come from, one doesn't usually fuck one's ship."
"So, you don't find me attractive? Am I not an exact replica of your girl Emma?"
"Physically, almost, they didn't get all the details right, but that isn't the point. Yes, I do find you attractive, but it would be weird, you know."
"Because I am artificial too?"
"No, it is not even that."
"You don't love me."
"Sweetie, don't say that. Nothing could be further from the truth. I love you very much. It is just ... it would be like ... using you ..."
"Why? I want to experience this with you. I studied all available information on your species' mating rituals and techniques. I am certain I could make this a very pleasurable experience for you."
Alpha's hands went up and down my body.
"Emma, I am not discounting the possibility that you want it too, but ... oh ..."
She had arrived at my cock, which apparently didn't share in my philosophical dilemma. Alpha seemed pretty chuffed about that fact too.
"It is swelling. May I take it out?"
"Well ... okay."
She opened the organic connectors and seconds later my dick relished Dawnmaker's sultry air. She placed her fingertips on its top and slowly retracted the prepuce. Apparently her research had been quite thorough, as it was stiffening quickly from her following light and cautious movements.
"Oh. Now it is getting really hard. Do you like what I am doing?"
"Yes ... that is really nice."
Her hand homed in on my shaft, very carefully probing for the exact right pressure to apply, while her left played with my balls in my tightening sack. She pulled the prepuce back completely and dabbed my helmet with her tongue, circling around it then titillating my frenum with the its tip. I wondered what her research materials had been; in any case, it was mind-blowing.
When she started sucking on my knob, I knew that my relationship with my ship would take an irreversible turn for the extraordinary. I groaned loudly as she deep-throated me with perfect ease and, not being hampered by any gag reflexes or suchlike, at a speed that was making me dig my hands into the jungle earth, grunting and moaning like an animal. From the corner of my eye I saw the curious looks of Beta and her little pet, who had stopped playing and watched us attentively instead. Damn, Alpha really got the hang of it. Without my enhanced mental discipline I would have come in no time. She suddenly stopped and beamed at me.
"My sensors are telling me that you are enjoying this a lot. However, I have observed that penetration is even more pleasurable for you. Would you like me to take off my clothes and fuck you, Jon?"
"Oh ... yeah, go for it. Your oral skills are mind-blowing though. And you got all that just from research?"
She took off her uniform and planted herself on my stiff member without further ado.
"Yes Jon. And observation. But of course I am also adapting to your responses. Would you like me to ride you slowly or fast as the Daugalan twins did?"
"Uh ... man ... fuck ... I leave that up to you ... this is ... oh my ... amazing. You feel like ... ah ... a real woman ... oh my God ... what am I saying ... better even."
"Do you want me to talk dirty too, Jon? Or express the pleasure I am feeling?"
"I don't ... fuck ... do what you want ... oh yes ... damn this is fast ..."
I doubt I could have matched her speed even with my own hand. She desisted from talking, but moaned and groaned herself. I knew enough about her blueprints to know that she wasn't putting on an act for me. She was perfectly capable of feeling something. Mental discipline or not, when she suddenly increased the speed even more, I came like a train. I had closed my eyes and heard her voice from the distant summit I had just been on.
"Jon. We have to stop now. We've got company."
She didn't sound alarmed, that was the strange thing about it. I slowly withdrew and turned around. Six dark figures stood right next to Beta and her little monkey. They seemed to have waited for us to finish. Whoever they were, at least they were polite.
Chapter two – Guardians of Life
They were leading us deeper and deeper into the jungle, farther and farther away from the location of the readings that really interested me. They had neither threatened us nor explained anything. They simply asked us to follow them. So those were Darians, at least they were a match to what I found in my engrams. The engrams contained images of ornately dressed Darians sitting on antigrav platforms rather than using their feet. These here moved like predators. And they were very much in the buff.
Their camp was arranged in a very orderly geometric form, two circles of tents enclosing a large slab of stone with embossed markings very similar to the ones we had seen on the sticks. Each of them was carrying such a stick. We had arrived at daybreak. I gathered that the old man awaiting us there was their leader. I opened my hands and stretched them forward palms up, a gesture the Darians used to say hello and show respect.
"You brought technology to this sacred place, stranger. Had it not been for the Serao identifying it as harmless and having the status of a life-form, you could have been killed because of that."
He nodded at Beta's little friend. The little monkey gave her hair a last friendly tug and then made its way down her body to run to the old Darian and sat down on his shoulder.
"The Serao are very good judges of character. You are here because of the threat?"
"Yes. We call them the Pret. I am a member of the forces of the galactic community, on a covert mission to gather intelligence about them. These two androids are part of my ship, which is partially biological."