tagSci-Fi & FantasyFading Stars Ch. 02

Fading Stars Ch. 02


Author's Notes: For maximum enjoyment, please read the preceding chapter.

As usual, thanks go out to my lady love for inspiration and useful input and to bikoukumori, my faithful editor, for thoroughly whipping my ass this time.

All participants in sexual activities are the equivalent of adults


02: Enslaved

In the Centuria system, the Nor flagship Pride of Norwan was orbiting the fourth planet. It was one of the busiest industrial worlds in this sector, with almost the entire industry focused on supporting the orbital shipyards. The Nor Navy had a strong presence at all times but by now the amount of ships gathering was breathtaking. Like a flock of white, geometric shapes, the capital ships were visible against the green, blue and grey of the industrial planet's surface below.

Admiral Chrysia stepped back from the screen showing her a simulated porthole view. She was a long-limbed, stern Nor woman with flaming orange locks. Sharp lines around her mouth and amber eyes showed an abundance of worries and an acute lack of sleep. Only a day ago, she had been assigned the easy task of assembling a task force and stopping whatever was going on in the Waystation-52 system but suddenly she was looking at an invasion by unknown forces and an outright battle way too close to the Homeworld. Two hours ago, the training ship Novitar had engaged an alien spacecraft and had been destroyed by it. Only now the first scattered reports of that battle's outcome were reaching her. She hated to rely on emergency comm systems. They worked much slower than the usual transdimensional systems all capital ships employed.

The Novitar's encounter wasn't the only one. In several other systems, similar alien ships had been sighted and shots had been fired. They seemed to pop up everywhere and she didn't have the faintest idea which of the dozen hot spots she needed to address first.

"Like stopping a dark tide with a spoon," she muttered.

Sighing in annoyance, Chrysia slid back into the chair behind her desk. Attack groups needed to be formed and dispatched. With a flick of the hand she woke her holo-screen. A large-scale view of the surrounding systems and a list of her available forces hovered over the tabletop. She picked up the input pen and pointed at the ships she wanted to have grouped together then swiped them across to the star chart. Her intercom beeped. Chrysia took the call.


"Admiral Chrysia, the reports from Vex-III are coming in," her comms officer said.

"Thank you. How bad is it?"

"Twenty-four escape craft made it, from marine dropships to minuscule life rafts. Thirteen of the Novitar's twenty space fighters survived the battle with the alien ammonite as well. A little over half the crew made it off the doomed ship; the rest either couldn't escape in time or was shredded to bits by the alien invaders which had boarded the ship in their crystalline projectiles."

"What about the Celerus?"

"No idea, ma'am. The Novitar's science officer theorizes the Celerus may have dropped out of the TransNet even earlier than the Novitar. Or the ship may have been torn to shreds by the destruction of the portal ring."

"How are the rescue efforts coming along?"

"Still no word from the Vex-III mining outpost. I have sent the Thorn of Light to pick up the survivors and bring them here. To avoid another TransNet mishap, the Thorn is using standard faster-than-light. ETA is about thirteen hours."

"I hope the smaller craft have enough life support. Isn't there anything closer?"

"We can hear the survivors' emergency broadcasts even out here. So should every civilian and military vessel in a four day radius around Vex-III. Besides, even the single-person life rafts should have enough food, air and water for at least forty-eight hours."

"All right then. Carry on and keep me posted if anything changes."

"Yes, ma'am."

Chrysia returned her attention to the star charts on her screen. Two more systems reported unknown ships appearing. Like stopping a dark tide with a spoon.

* * * *

Tabby woke with a start. It took her a few moments to sort herself. She was horny, of course. It didn't help she had had the most amazing wet dream before; the long, azure phallus of her cabin mate Deeva driving deep into her pussy, blue hands caressing her auburn fur and that amazing mouth on her lips. Without conscious effort, her fingers crawled over her stomach and lower, caressing herself through her uniform. Another sharp beep.

Mewling softly to herself, she opened her eyes. Reality crashed back with the same harshness it always had. She wasn't in her cabin on the Novitar, being plowed by the sexy blue Silician. No. She was uncomfortably curled up in the pilot's seat of a small escape shuttle and the sensor systems were pinging a new contact in scanning range.

Inhale. Count to five. Think about having to clean the waste disposal system of the Toy Box, her old freighter. Exhale.

She fiddled with the display until the new contact came into focus. It wasn't a Nor ship. Nor didn't build round, saucer-shaped craft.

"Hey," Tabby said. She nudged Deeva, who was sitting straight-up in the co-pilot's seat. The Silician's eyes flickered to life.

"Good morning," Deeva said. Her modulated voice was as clear and lively as always, not showing the slightest hint of discomfort or worry. "Oh. We have been found."

Behind them, the remaining occupants of the shuttle came awake. Thexus, the broad-shouldered, seven-foot Gravon security officer, was the first to stand despite the grievous injuries he had suffered during the evacuation. His uniform was a ghastly, torn mess soaked with blood and other, purple, fluids but only faint red lines showed where he had been cut and bitten. So the stories of the Gravons' amazing healing factor were true. She wondered if the stories of their inhuman endurance were as well. She felt herself getting wet again. Not now, meow! Tabby scolded herself. There are more important things than alien schlong!

"Who is it? The Nor fleet?" Thexus asked, his low voice rumbling in her stomach.

"No. It's just a single ping," Deeva said. One of her hands was splayed over the sensor console, her fingers dissolved into bundles of filaments snaking into cracks and seams. She was directly interfacing with the shuttle's systems. "A Grey vessel, at least battleship-sized."

"A Grey ship, this far into the Republic?" Vecora yawned. She was a cute Nor with a pink ponytail. A little too stiff for Tabby's taste and a bit too clingy. She seemed to have a thing for Deeva. And something against Felinoids. Tabby had no idea why. She's always been a well-behaved kitty.

"There are such things as Grey traders," Zamos said. The white-haired Zuthrian had been in charge of the Novitar's weapons systems and Tabby had to stop herself from drooling at his toned, black-skinned frame. She wondered what kinds of tattoos he hid under that uniform. Or what else...

The last occupant of the shuttle just groaned. Gaia. Her face was covered by a pain-dulling half-mask and she was pumped full of sedatives. Her console had blown up in her face during the attack. Thanks to the efforts of the Novitar's Mentalist Olchos, she had survived. Tabby didn't like Nor that much but she had to respect that one's toughness.

"Attention Grey vessel. This is escape shuttle N-03 on behalf of the survivors of the Nor ship Novitar. We need assistance. Please respond," Deeva said. She locked eyes with Tabby. "Odd. They aren't responding to my hails."

"What in the Pits are they doing?" Thexus asked, squinting at the main display between Tabby and Deeva. The saucer flew in a long, shallow arc around the cluster of Nor vessels.

"If I didn't know better, I'd guess they are scanning our ships." Tabby adjusted some sensors. "Yup. Scan beams. Hm. They're coming around."

On the main screen, the Grey vessel came into view. It was a silvery disc, at least two thousand feet in diameter, with intricate circuit-like details on the hull. It flew edge-first through space and while Tabby watched, she saw motes of light zip along the circuitry. One such mote shot at the shuttle they were in.

Much too late Tabby yanked at the control stick, trying to evade the glowing orb aimed at them. The shuttle went dark. A moment later, there was the sensation of her body becoming weightless and then the feeling of involuntary movement.

* * * *

She landed on something cold and unyielding. What had happened? Oh yeah. The glowing ball must have been an EMP blast. Her fingers patted the ground. Glass? And why was it so drafty? Tabby looked down, along her prone body. She was butt naked. A quick glance around showed she wasn't alone. The rest of the shuttle's inhabitants were with her, on a platter-like structure surrounded by a humming force field. A transporter platform? They were inside a room, with thin strips of illuminating piping between the ceiling and walls. An oval bulkhead was the only exit. Like herself, everyone else was naked.

Thexus grunted in pain. Tabby looked at his phenomenally muscled backside. The Gravon was stumbling away from the force field, thin plumes of smoke rising from his palms.

"You'd better stay away from the force field," a raspy voice came from a hidden speaker. "You will be collected momentarily."

"Collected?" Thexus roared. "Show yourself, coward!"

"Why are we naked? Where are our belongings?" Vecora clamored. She hugged herself, trying in vain to hide her privates.

"Oh come on. Do I really need to spell it out?" the disembodied voice sneered. "Naked people have no pockets. No pockets mean no nasty surprises. Now shush."

The oval door hissed open and two black-armored Silicians entered. Tabby's eyes widened. The similarities to her friend Deeva were there, like the blue skin of their hands and the sexy curves, but that was it. These Silicians were encased in matte black armor plating with what looked like quickly splashed-on white marks on their shoulder pads. They had folded-up wings on their backs and two extra arms ending in weapon pods. Their faces were obscured by featureless masks, only two dim spots behind the polarized material indicated where their eyes were.

"So much for Grey traders," Tabby muttered. She sat on the cold glass floor, knees pulled up to her chin. "Looks more like a slaver to me."

"Sisters!" Deeva called. She furrowed her brow. Tabby saw circuitry-like pathways light up along Deeva's temples. Whatever she was doing didn't have any effect. Her blue-skinned friend shook her head sadly. "They're ignoring me," she muttered.

"Don't try to network, little Silician," the voice from the speaker said. "My Furies only listen to me. Now, here's how it will work. See that ring on the floor?"

Near the edge of the force field, a bright green circle flared to life.

"I will call out who goes into the ring. You go into the ring, my Furies will guide you to your new lodgings. No one gets hurt."

"And what if we don't comply?" Deeva asked.

"Then I will flood the whole chamber with sleeping gas and you'll end up where I want anyway. Don't try anything stupid. I don't want to hurt the merchandise after all. The cat first."

"Fuck you," Tabby hissed. Feeling everyone's eyes on her, she walked into the circle. The humming of the force field changed pitch and she felt warm air rush around her body. The Furies closed in on her. Tabby wondered if she should run. But it was only little naked her versus two fully armored and heavily armed Silician battle bitches. She didn't like the odds.

"Get over here," one of them said, curling a claw-tipped finger. She had a single white mark on her shoulder. Tabby hopped off the ring. The floor was cold and metallic under her naked feet. When she was close enough, Fury #1 grabbed her upper arm. Not brutally tight but tight enough to let Tabby know that her arm would break even before she could try anything stupid. Sighing, she went along. Through the bulkhead, into a short corridor with an oval cross-section and from there into a sparsely furnished room. A large, vertical tube made from a transparent material dominated the room's center while the walls had handholds molded into them at varying heights. A console with only a few glowing buttons stood next to the tube.

"Into the tube," the Fury ordered, releasing her arm. One of her weapon pods lowered onto her shoulder, the blunt muzzle glowing an ominous blue. The smell of ozone was strong.

"No need to zap me. I'm a good kitty," Tabby said, raising her hands. With a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach, she padded into the tube which hissed shut behind her.

"You might want to close your eyes and mouth for a moment," the other Fury, with two marks on her shoulder, said.

"Huh? Why?"

She heard a faint hiss above her head. Tabby reflexively closed her mouth and eyes. Warm liquid poured down onto her. It had a chemical stench to it and tickled where it landed on her skin. Tabby understood. They were dousing her in a decontamination spray. With quick, efficient motions the Felinoid scrubbed herself down.

"You know, you could have told me I should clean myself," she complained.

Warm air blew into the tube, drying her off.

"Almost done," Fury #2 snarled. "Close your eyes."

There was a loud thrum. Even from behind her closed eyelids, she noticed a sliver of sharp brightness cutting through her field of vision.

"Leave the tube and go to the wall," Fury #1 ordered.

Tabby exited from the tube. Disobedience would only get her hurt so she decided to play along for the moment. As she passed the console, she saw several holographic versions of herself hovering over it. The scanner had peeled her down one layer at a time, showing her circulatory system, her skeleton, her internal organs and even the few pieces of cybernetics she had.

"Face the wall, hold on to the grips and spread your legs," Fury #2 snapped.

"Hey, if you want to fuck me, you only need to ask," Tabby quipped. She grabbed two handles and shook her furry behind, her tail swishing through the air. The Furies didn't react. At least not in the way she had hoped. Fury #1 pulled a pistol-like injector from the base of the console and stepped behind Tabby. The Felinoid realized that these...things were as different from Deeva as a toaster from a sofa. Where Deeva was emotional and...human, these Silicians were cold, distant killing machines.

The Fury groped her butt cheek and, once satisfied with her examination, pressed the barrel of the injector against Tabby's flesh.

"Hey, what are you-"

The sharp and drawn-out pain quickly overwhelmed her senses, as if someone tried to drive a pencil into her bum.

"Ow," Tabby complained, rubbing her violated buttock. "What's the big idea?"

"We have inserted a tracking beacon into your backside," Fury #1 explained. "Now move."

A door opposite to the one they entered the room from opened. Weapon pods humming, the Furies herded Tabby into another corridor. This one was much larger in diameter and it curved away from them. The wall to her right held cells warded off by humming force fields. Many of them were occupied. Nor, Zuthrians, Gravons and other species besides. They stopped in front of one cell.

The Fury behind her took her by the arm again and hoisted her towards the force field. The other one, Fury #2, had her hand on a control panel. Before she knew it, Tabby received a hard push and stumbled forward. But instead of colliding with the force field, she stumbled into the cell. Behind her, the ominous humming resumed. Tabby looked around.

The cell she was in was rather spacious, nearly twenty feet to a side. Like every room on that ship she had seen so far, illumination was provided by thin strips of glowing material between the ceiling and walls. Two bunks were the only pieces of furniture. The back wall had a toilet, a sink and a large shower stall, without partitions of course. And one of the bunks was occupied. The sleeper had her back to Tabby, curled up into a fetal position. She was a Zuthrian, black-skinned, white-haired and tattooed with images of swirling golden sand and bone-white dragon wings on her shapely back and butt. Her hair was braided in dozens of long dreads. She wore a polished metal collar around her neck with a similar circuit pattern to that on the Grey ship's hull.

Tabby flopped down onto the vacant bunk. "Hey," she sighed. "You awake?"

"Of course," the Zuthrian said. "Sleep is hard to come by in this place." Her voice was deep and smoky. With a groan, the Zuthrian woman rolled around and uncurled. Marked Zuthrian, Tabby corrected herself. She had a sizable phallus growing from her pubic mound.

"Huh, today must be my lucky day," the Felinoid giggled, quoting the superstition that Marked Zuthrians were bringers of good fortune.

"Sorry to disappoint you, kitty," the Marked Zuthrian said. "This-," she grasped her schlong, "isn't a sign of good luck, it's a simple gene defect. Thank my ancestors and their stupid nuclear warfare for that. Now that that's out of the way, I'm Lavasi. Usually I'd say 'pleasure to meet you' but..." She gestured at their surroundings.

"Yeah, not the best of places to make new friends," Tabby said. "I'm Tabitha. Or Tabby. Or 'that cat,'" she growled. "How do we get out of here?"

Lavasi laughed. "There are only two ways off the ship. You're either dead, or sold. Whatever comes first."

"Lovely. What is a Grey slaver doing in a war zone?"

Before Lavasi could answer, there was a scuffle outside. Thexus, gloriously naked, struggled against both Furies. He managed to shrug free, the enhanced Silicians unable to hold on to his mighty arms. He lashed out, fist connecting with a face mask. Plastic shattered, the force of the blow knocking the Fury into the force field of the cell Tabby and Lavasi were in. Electricity arced and the Fury wailed in pain. She crumpled to the floor in a smoking heap. Her companion activated both weapon arms and blasted Thexus with twin rays of shocking force. The first blast stopped him dead in his tracks, the second forced him to his knees. He roared in defiance and tried to get back to his feet. Another blast hit him, right in his face. He sunk back to his haunches but didn't topple. Hissing in rage, the Fury ran at him, flooring the huge man with a jet-powered drop kick. She kicked him in the ribs once more before checking on her companion. Thexus' blow had shattered her featureless face mask, driving sharp shards of plastic into her cheek. Clear liquid ran down her jaw like viscous tears and one of her eyes flickered irregularly.

The Furies exchanged strings of garbled noises Tabby couldn't understand then they grabbed the unconscious man by the ankles and dragged him out of sight.

"Friend of yours?" Lavasi asked. Her hand went to her crotch, caressing her schlong. "He looks tasty, even laid out like that."

"Crew mate. We worked on the same ship. He handled security, I worked comms, more or less. Meow. What's a tribal beauty doing in a joint like this?"

Lavasi sighed. "I ended up here through simple bad luck. I am a Wise Woman. My apprentice and I were deep in the desert of our home planet. On a vision quest. Loaded up on fermented scorpion poison, cave fungi and special herbs. When we woke up, the slaver, Xeltec, had snatched us and put us in here."

"Where's your 'prentice now?"

"Sold. To a Gravon warlord with a thing for young virgins." Lavasi gnashed her teeth. "I couldn't do anything to help her." She pulled at the collar in disgust.

"Shall I take that off you? Seems to be rather uncomfortable," Tabby said.

"I appreciate the offer but this thing won't come off unless Xeltec unlocks it. He can't afford a live psionic on his ship so he put a nullifier on me."

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