tagHumor & SatireF5: Empires of the Stars

F5: Empires of the Stars

byPennLady©

F5: Empires of the Stars

(Author's note: This story is an entry into FAWC (Friendly Anonymous Writing Challenge), a collaborative competition among Lit authors. FAWC is not an official contest sponsored by Literotica, and there are no prizes given to the winner. Every story for this FAWC begins with the exact same line. Where it goes from there is up to the author.)

* * * *

Upon the table lay three items: a handkerchief, a book, and a knife.

"Symbols of a new beginning," observed Nitram, Head Clob of the House of Esesrocs.

"Indeed." Mota, Head Cloba of the House of Nayoge, nodded in agreement. "But some will be offended."

"How so?" asked Nitram, his blue and white robes rustling as he turned to her.

Mota raised one eyebrow. "There are more than three houses in the galaxies, Nitram. These items represent a tiny fraction of them."

"But they are the Three Roots," he protested. "All of the houses come from them. We can all, Clobs and Clobas, trace our ancestry and leadership back to the Three Roots."

"I do not disagree," Mota said. "However, you know as well as I do that many houses think they have risen to a status equal to the Three Roots. They will want a symbol of their own house on the table." She pushed a lock of blue-black hair out of the way.

"Ridiculous." Nitram looked appalled. "None of us are so presumptuous."

"Nitram, you need to get out more."

Mota stared at the book, her favorite of the items. In there was the history of the beginning of the world, the galaxies; some said even the universe.

Whatever it contained, Clobs and Clobas from all over were due to come to this summit, and Mota expected a protocol nightmare. Aside from the hubris of many of the individual houses, one had to account for the various feuds, real and imagined, between the houses.

She knew, for example, that House Nenod, with its idiotic Clob, Yelnats, had a long-running dispute with House Yllek and their own idiotic Clob, Eneg. Out in their arm of the galaxy, one could hardly take a step without being accused of allegiance to one side or the other, even if wrapped in a neutrality pod.

House Elbag, which dominated the transdrive industry, was constantly in dispute with House Sivad, although no one could say why. House Sivad had once been active in the quark business, but had fallen off in the last few generations. Mota had heard that Sivad's Head Cloba had made disparaging remarks on Elbag's Head Clob's physical attributes and abilities, but there was no way to prove that. And just as well.

Not content to feud with House Elbag, House Sivad also had a quarrel going with House Drofwarc. The latter house also had a Head Cloba, and the two women had never gotten along, casting aspersions on everything from each other's parentage to business ability. The fray had allowed another House, Retxab, to sneak in and snare not only Sivad's quark business, but a fair bit of Drofwarc's clothing manufacturing as well.

Then there was House N'nylf, which had its own feud with House Sivad, whose Cloba never met someone she couldn't insult, and

* * * *

What the hell am I doing? This is ridiculous. I'm deleting it.

Science fiction is good, but I'm on a deadline. At the rate I'm going, I'll have more Houses in this than Melville had whaling definitions in Moby Dick.

And what was I thinking with "Clob" and "Cloba?" Those words are utterly ridiculous. Clob, clod, clot . . . Jesus.

Okay, let's back up. I don't have time to research, but I like the idea of something . . . not this world. Fantasy—that might be the way. I can make that up, pretty much. Spot research wouldn't be so bad.

* * * *

"Waking the Dragons"

Upon the table lay three items: a handkerchief, a book, and a knife.

Ilana studied the items but did not touch. She was not yet ready and might not ever be. It mattered not.

"Art thou prepared for the ceremony?"

Ilana turned to see her teacher and mentor, Elgar the Wise. His long white beard hung to his chest, and wizened eyes twinkled in his wrinkled face. His appearance elicited a smile from her.

"I can do no more. I am ready, or I am not."

He nodded. "Thou hast ever been my most able pupil," the old man said. "Now, thou must have faith, as I do."

Ilana lowered her eyes. "I can but hope. But I must inquire . . . "

"Yes, child?" Elgar lowered his wizened body down onto a stone bench. "What is it?"

"Is this wise?" she asked. At his surprised look, she continued, "No one has woken the dragons in centuries. Perhaps they should remain asleep. That presumes they are even still there, and no one knows—"

"I know," Elgar interrupted, but not unkindly.

"I know thou dost believe," Ilana said, "and I think—thought—I did, too. But now, studying these most blessed items, I find my faith weakens."

"Tell me of the history of the blessed items," Elgar said. "Humor me, if thou wilst, and you may regain your faith."

Ilana took a breath and sat opposite. Nervous fingers tangled with the ends of her dark hair, a token of her elven ancestry, as she ordered her thoughts.

"The cloth is a piece of the cloak from Ediale, original Keeper of the Dragons," Ilana began. "Ediale wore the cloak when she rode Kel, the first of the Fire Dragons, over the plains of Fornolk, against the army led by Marok, wizard of the Iron Fire.

"Ediale and Kel fought for long days against Marok and his minions. When all seemed lost, Ediale cast her cloak over Kel, and the gods made it grow and grow until it covered the land, smothering the fire of Marok and making his iron grow cold and soft.

"Her people found Ediale and Kel and brought them back, but it was too late. They gave them a great burial, covering them both with the cloak and saving that one piece for posterity, so that we would not forget the battle and how Ediale and Kel saved the world."

"Well done," Elgar said. "Now, the book."

Ilana nodded. "That is The Lives of the Gods, written by Ediale's apprentice, Cando, after her death. He chronicles the fourteen gods, and all their children and grandchildren, and how they formed the world and created us, and the dragons, and everything else.

"We need the book so that we never forget where we came from, nor forget the gods, who created us and can destroy us and—" Ilana frowned. "Why would they do that?"

Elgar looked at her, startled. "What?"

"The gods," Ilana said. "Why would they create us just to remind us they can destroy us? It is . . . unworthy, really. Childish. We can't—"

"Hush, now," Elgar said. His eyes darted around. "We can discuss that later. Now, the knife."

Ilana shrugged. "The Dagger of Marok was also recovered after the battle, forged when Marok tried to defeat Kel with an iron blade. Kel roared fire and the blade melted. Marok dropped it with a scream of rage and it reformed into a dagger on the ground.

"Ediale picked it up and thrust it into Marok's chest. It killed him, but not before he used one last burst of magic to kill Ediale. His body burnt away and Ediale was found with the dagger in her hand."

Ilana stopped and looked at her teacher, who smiled at her with both pride and relief.

"Well done, Ilana, well done."

"Elgar?"

"Yes?"

"Why didn't the gods save Ediale? Or Kel?"

"What?"

"Marok was evil. Why did they even create him?"

Elgar goggled at her. "I don't understand."

"It's like a mean game on the part of the gods. Ediale was doing good works, but she died. But she wouldn't have had to die if the gods hadn't created Marok in the first place, or at least hadn't made him evil, and

* * * *

Jesus. What the hell is this? I start out like the King James Bible and end up like she's debating in a bad philosophy class. No no no.

Okay, okay. Plenty more ideas out there. Relax.

I need tea. Earl Grey. Hot. And cookies. I wonder if I have any of the little animal crackers with pink icing. I love those. Stop! This is distracting. I can't eat and type at the same time. Hmmm. Maybe I should look into one of those voice-to-text programs.

Stop it! Focus. Back to basics. They say "write what you know." I know contemporary, so let's do that. Then I don’t have to research customs or history or anything.

Contemporary, yes. And let's make it a mystery. I've watched enough "Law & Order" that I should be able to fake my way through that. It's not like that show's so accurate anyway, and no one complains. Yeah, a mystery. With a little romance, maybe.

* * * *

"Murder in the Motel"

Upon the table lay three items: a handkerchief, a book, and a knife.

Melinda Morales stared at the items on the vanity, wondering what to do. She had a bad feeling, then shook herself. People left stuff behind all the time and this was hardly the worst thing she'd found in a hotel room.

A book, a handkerchief and a knife were nothing compared to the handcuffs, whips and chains she and Li Kim had found six months ago. It might not have been so bad had the guests not still been using them past check out time.

The shades were drawn, making the light she'd turned on fight a losing battle against the dark. "You're being ridiculous, Melinda," she told herself. She marched across the room to open the shades, letting in the afternoon sunlight. Turning, she spared a glance at the vanity. The items remained, but less imposing than they had been.

Melinda took a breath and stepped over to her cart to retrieve the cleaning supplies for the bathroom. Best to get that done quickly, she'd found.

Armed with some cloths and a bottle of Comet, she stepped into the bathroom.

And screamed at the body she found lying on the floor, bleeding onto the cream-colored tiles.

----

Detective Jett Rock sauntered into the hotel lobby and found his partner, Detective Crystal Champagne—no jokes, thank you, and the last name was pronounced "cham-PAHN-ya"—waiting for him. She was like Grace Jones, but more intimidating. Rock liked to think he balanced her out, like Christopher Walken in that Bond flick.

"Hey, Crys," Rock said. "What do we have?"

"Giants over the Jets; spread's fourteen."

He raised one wry eyebrow. "Clever. You spent time planning that."

She shrugged her shoulders under her soft leather coat. "You ask the same damn question every time, I have to say something."

He followed her to the elevator and whistled at the fixtures in the lobby and corridor as they walked. "Ritzy."

"It's not a Holiday Inn," Crys allowed. "Anyway, what we have is one dead fucking body in a ritzy bathroom. Fifth floor."

"What do we have so far?"

"The dead body, as I mentioned, a lot of blood, and one freaked out witness."

"Great."

"And possibly the murder weapon."

Rock stared at her as the elevator doors opened. "You know how to bury the lead, Crys."

Once in the room, Rock took stock of the situation. He was impatient, but knew he had to let the crime scene techs do their job. They hadn't ID'd the body yet, and were working on the items on the tables. Rock hoped for fingerprints, but wasn't holding his breath.

"Okay, let's talk to the witness."

"You'll want to do more than talk, if I know you." Crys grinned at him. "Just keep it professional, bro."

Rock rolled his eyes as he went to find the witness. When he saw her, he had to suck in a breath. Damn, but Crystal was right. This woman was gorgeous.

She looked at him with dark eyes. Thick, wavy black hair fell halfway down her back. Her skin was pale but looked smooth as silk, and her mouth, slightly parted, was calling to him. Kiss me, kiss me, it said.

"I'm Detective Rock," he said as he walked over to her. "I'm sorry you had to see that."

"I'm Melinda Morales. I'm sorry too, but at least I'm alive to say so." Her voice was sultry, like hot summer nights.

"Fair point. How about we discuss this over dinner? Might be easier to talk away from here."

"I¬ don't know, I—"

"Look, Melinda, you're the most gorgeous woman I've met in

* * * *

Jesus H. Christ on a pink pogo stick! What is this shit? Even I know cops don't act like that!

Let's change this up. The women have been kind of passive so far, aside from Crystal. I'll put a woman front and center. Keep with the police work, though. Yeah, she can be the tough broad type, but more tough than broad. Let her take the lead.

Yeah, damn straight. We can keep the romance, but she can be in charge, in and out of the bedroom. Maybe more than romance, maybe add in a little sex. Maybe. It's a possibility.

* * * *

"Death in the City"

Upon the table lay three items: a handkerchief, a book, and a knife.

"A handkerchief, a book, and a knife, oh my," murmured Detective Melinda Morales.

"Funny, Morales," said Jett Rock, better known as Rocky and head of the crime scene investigation team.

"If we can't laugh, we cry, Rocky. Crying messes up my makeup." Morales reached out a latex-covered hand and took the handkerchief by the corner. "It has initials. You think we have a killer with monogrammed handkerchiefs?"

"The Kerchief Killer," Rocky said, brushing sandy blond hair back from his face. "Not sure it has the right ring to it."

"Be an original choice of weapon, though." Morales put the cloth down and turned to the book. "Oh, for God's sake, The Necronomicon? What's next? A D&D rulebook?"

Rocky snorted out a laugh. "It's a classic, Morales. Should be required reading."

"You going to tell me H.P. Lovecraft inspired this fucking creep to kill people?"

"No." Rocky sobered up. "But there's a whole Cthulhu cult. Could be one of the fringe members went further out on the fringe."

"I don't need this," Morales muttered, and glared at the knife. "It's Thanksgiving in three days. I just wanted some quiet time with a pumpkin pie."

"I'll help," Rocky said. He winked at her. "I know all kinds of uses for whipped cream."

Morales gave him a coy smile. "Do you, now?"

"Oh, yeah. I showed you on your birthday, remember?"

She walked over and rubbed up against him. The silk blouse she wore didn’t hide her hardened nipples, nor did his jeans hide his hard-on.

"My memory is bad sometimes," she purred. "You may have to remind me."

"Christ, Morales," Rocky groaned as she swiveled her hips ever so slightly. "This is not exactly professional."

"Crime team's gone." She leaned forward and licked his neck. "My partner's at the precinct, running some leads." She grazed his chin with her teeth. "Body's at the morgue. It's just us, Rocky. Just you and me and this king-sized bed in this empty

* * * *

Mary, Mother of the Unnamable! What am I doing? If a cop arrested me for writing this, they'd be totally justified!

This is not working. Crap, I picked the wrong week to stop drinking. Alcohol would help. Lowers inhibitions and all. Screws up my typing, though. Is sparkling cider a compromise?

Okay, let's leave the cops, but keep it contemporary. Murder's not working anyway. How about werewolves or vampires? They're popular, right? No sparkles. That's just insulting to vampires. Plenty of room for sex, there, though.

* * * *

"Lusting to Join the Pack"

Upon the table lay three items: a handkerchief, a book, and a knife.

"Are you ready?" Gabriel Mordechai came up behind his future mate, Kelsey St. George, and wrapped his arms around her waist.

"I guess." Kelsey turned in his arms, ready and waiting for his kiss.

His eyes gleamed, giving her a glimpse of the wolf behind them as he bent to kiss her. His lips fused with hers and she sank against him, letting him ravage her mouth. No man had ever made her feel like this, but then Gabriel Mordechai was no mere man.

She remembered the first time she'd seen him.

Kelsey had been out with her friends, Melinda and Crystal, celebrating her promotion. They'd gone to Sinners, the hottest club in town. Leaving their inhibitions behind, they'd all donned high heels, low necklines and dresses that barely covered their asses. Kelsey had felt a little giddy with it all, since she never did that—not responsible, sensible Kelsey—and had been excited to go.

They'd had some drinks and gone to the dance floor, inhibitions fading with passing moment. Through the strobing lights, she'd seen him walking towards her.

Her heart had leapt in her chest, her breathing had gone ragged. Gabriel Mordechai approached her.

He was tall, well over six feet, with longish black hair flowing freely around his shoulders. Ice blue eyes fixed on her and roamed her body. She let hers do the same, admiring the tight fit of his suit, the flow of his muscles as he sauntered over.

"Dance with me," he'd ordered more than said and she'd given no thought to declining.

He pulled her to him so she could feel his erection through the flimsy material of her dress. His hand landed brazenly on her ample breast and squeezed. His body was hard and fit and she had no doubt that he'd be taking her body with his before morning. He could take her right then, she thought, she was so wet.

Bodies were packed so tightly no one would notice if he lifted her skirt and shoved

* * * *

Christ on a paddleboat with a poodle! I'm going to cry. I can't believe this. I have the sentence to start the story; how hard can it be? This is crazy. I picked a bad week to stop huffing spray paint.

Skip the werewolves. Maybe vampires. But no sparkles. Vampires and cops, maybe?

I need to rethink the drinking. There's brandy for cooking in the kitchen cabinet.

* * * *

"Night of the Hunter"

Shit, that title's taken, isn't it? Never mind. Worry later. Just a working title.

Upon the table lay three items: a handkerchief, a book, and a knife.

Melinda St. George ran a porcelain finger over the knife.

"Don't touch that," said Lieutenant Mordechai Gabriel. "It's evidence."

"Oh, Mordechai." She turned to him and pursed her ruby red lips. Pale eyes glinted under perfectly-arched brows. "You know I would never interfere with your investigation."

"Not unless it suited your purposes," he agreed in a dry tone.

"Well, yes, unless that." Melinda shook her raven-black hair back behind her shoulders. "But not this time, Mordechai, my love."

"Can you tell me anything about them?" he asked.

"The book is a grimoire, but not one I've seen. I can ask about it. The handkerchief has a scent to it, a familiar one. I can trace it. And the knife, pretty and sharp though it is, is not your murder weapon."

"It's not? Why not?" he demanded.

She chuckled, a light sound that never failed to amaze him. "I'm sure I've no idea, my sweet. At least not until you let me see the body."

Mordechai clenched his strong, square jaw. "I can't do that, not right away. You shouldn't even be here at the crime scene. They have to notify the family first, anyway. I'll try to sneak you in later."

"At night," she reminded him. "I love you to bits, Mordechai, but I will not risk sunlight for you."

"I wouldn't ask you to."

"Fair enough. I will ask the others, the Elders about the killings. They won't be pleased to work with a human, but well, sometimes we all have to do what we would rather not."

He sent her a heated look. "If we're done here, let's go."

She flashed her fangs in a wicked smile. "Oh, yes, let's."

They barely made it into her luxurious penthouse bedroom before she pounced on him. Mordechai didn't resist as she tore off his clothes, baring his broad shoulders and sculpted abs to her greedy view. He winced as she tore the denim of his jeans, but she only laughed in her sultry way as she saw his tumescent

* * * *

No! No no no! I will not write the word "tumescent." It's ridiculous and laughable and what the fuck! No self-respecting vampire would bite me after reading that, even if it sparkled.

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