tagSci-Fi & FantasyThree Square Meals Ch. 025

Three Square Meals Ch. 025


John and the girls settled into their places on the bridge and a few minutes later the Invictus dropped out of Hyper warp in the Ashana system, the centre of power in the Ashanath Collective. There were in the presence of a single star and it bathed the holographic system map in a warm yellow glow. Ashana was a small reddish orange planet out on the sixth orbital path around the star and when Calara brought up the tactical map, dozens upon dozens of orbital factories and refineries could be seen dotted around the system.

A button on the console flashed, indicating an incoming hail and Alyssa pressed the button to accept the call. Leader Linnaeus' bulbous grey head filled the viewscreen, his huge unblinking eyes studying them unemotionally.

"Hello JohnBlake. We have towed you to this system, as your female requested. You have been granted permission to dock at the planetary shipyard on Ashana." Linnaeus said in his strange whispery voice.

"Thanks for the tow Leader Linnaeus and you also have my gratitude for coming to our aid against the Drakkar cruiser. I'm curious though, what are the Drakkar doing so deep in Ashanath territory?" John asked the Grey alien.

The Grey leader paused for a moment. "My apologies JohnBlake, but that information is classified." Linnaeus said, his unemotional voice making him sound anything but sorry.

"Is it indeed." John said archly. "Well thanks again Linnaeus, I wish you safe travels." John said pleasantly.

The Ashanath Leader turned and pressed a button ending the call abruptly, leaving John to look at the girls with a raised eyebrow.

"Yeah you were right." Calara said looking up at him from her position in the tactical station. "They are pretty strange!" she said with a smile.

"Alyssa, can you set a course to Ashana please." he asked the beautiful blonde girl sitting in the executive officer's station at his right hand side.

"Sure John, course is already laid in." she said with a smile.

Alyssa pressed a button on her console and the massive engines on the Invictus fired up, sending them on their way towards the Ashanath homeworld. It was a short flight to the planet with a surprising amount of Grey ships flying too and from the world, passing them as they approached. All the Ashanath craft followed the same disc shape configuration, in a wide variety of sizes and styles.

Dana glanced at the damage control hologram and couldn't take her eyes off the bored out hole on the hull, where the Drakkar dropship was still attached.

"The sooner we get them off my ship the better!" Dana said with annoyance.

"Your ship?" John said with a smile.

"You know what I mean." Dana said, looking up at him with a grin.

"By the way, you'll probably want to sell the dropship that's attached to the airlock. I think the other is going to be a bit waterlogged for a while." she said, smirking.

"I'll bear that in mind." John said with a chuckle.

Alyssa brought the Invictus closer to the planet, following the guide path that would lead them to the planetary shipyard. The planet Ashana loomed large in front of them as they drew closer, the reddish orange world looking dry and arid as they got closer to the surface. Eventually they were close enough to see that the planet's surface was pockmarked with silvery grey settlements. Graceful towers and domes dominated the Ashanath architectural style and the girls were astonished to see that many of the buildings were constructed on floating chunks of orange coloured rock, tethered to the ground by glowing white beams of energy.

"I thought you might find it interesting." John said with a satisfied smile as he saw the amazed expressions on the girls' faces.

"This planet is fascinating!" Dana exclaimed. "How are they doing that?" she asked intrigued.

"Ashana has very low gravity, so it takes minimal effort to levitate huge chunks of rock like that." John explained. "The Greys have built sophisticated artificial gravity into most of their settlements though, so it's easy to get around their floating cities."

They approached a huge levitating plateau that was festooned with a bewildering array of spires and domes.

"How are we going to land on that?" Alyssa asked curiously, seeing that the guide path was taking them directly towards it.

"We won't be landing 'on' it." John said with a grin.

The Invictus drew ever closer to their destination and the guide path abruptly dipped into a huge canyon that led directly underneath the enormous shipyard. Many disc shaped vessels were flying in and out of that enormous ravine on clearly designated flight paths, that were marked by rows of bright navigation lights. Their assault cruiser dwarfed most of the much smaller ships and the saucer shaped vessels gave them a wide berth as Alyssa guided them skilfully into the canyon.

The colossal shipyard loomed overhead, casting them in shadow as it completely blocked the yellow glow from the sun. After a minute of careful flying, there was a warning chime to alert everyone on the bridge that they had nearly reached their destination. Alyssa brought the Invictus upwards, closer to the underbelly of the rocky surface underneath the vast shipyard and they could see row after row of docking bays dotting the rock face above them. Eventually they reached the bay that had been allocated to the Invictus and Alyssa used the retro thrusters to lift them up into the huge rectangular hangar.

Massive robotic arms ending in magnetic clamps swung out from the sides of the docking bay and moved inwards to the fore and aft of the ship, locking them into position. Once they were securely fastened, the robotic arms rotated the ship 180 degrees around their horizontal axis, turning them upside down.

"Nicely done XO." John said, feeling in a playful mood.

Alyssa tipped an imaginary hat to him, earning herself an amused grin from John in return.

"Let's go visit Ashana!" John said as he rose from his chair and the four young women on the bridge rose to join him excitedly.

They took the elevator down to deck 2 and the girls fanned out to their own quarters, so they could get dressed into something reasonably practical and not too scandalous for their trip to the shipyard. John put on his charcoal suit, intending to look the part of successful trader, but still strapped on a chest holster for his heavy pistol. Alyssa had accompanied him into their walk-in-wardrobe and following his lead was wearing a close fitting black trouser suit. Although it was ostensibly smart business wear, her smoking hot figure still made her look ravishingly sexy.

John nodded appreciatively as he checked out her outfit, moving over to stand next to her and run his hand freely over her curves as she posed for him coquettishly.

"You look good enough to eat." he said suggestively, as his roaming hand took liberties with her young body.

Alyssa purred contentedly and arched her back, thrusting out her chest and ass to make herself look even more enticing.

"I think we might need to roleplay you being my enthusiastic secretary when we have some time." he told her authoritatively.

"Well you are the boss..." Alyssa said in a throaty seductive voice. "And I'm always ready to take dicktation... sir."

John shook his head in wondrous appreciation. He offered his hand to the beautiful blonde, so that he could lead her out of his quarters before he significantly delayed their departure. Alyssa darted back to the weapons rack to grab a shoulder holster and handgun, nestling the firearm under her impressive bust as she gave him a mischievous wink. Laughing, John led her out to the corridor to meet with the rest of his crew.

Calara, Dana and Jade were waiting for John and Alyssa and the three young women were all wearing similar outfits. They had on form fitting jumpsuits with high heeled boots and tightly tailored jackets. They posed for John with beaming smiles, enjoying his attention as he admired their spectacular figures. He walked behind them, letting his left hand gently drift from one pert asscheek to another as he did a circuit around them.

"Damn ladies! I thought you wanted to go visit Ashana?" John said with a horny grin on his face.

The girls laughed, loving the blatant lust they had aroused in their man.

"Just think of it as advertising for the main event tonight." Alyssa said with a grin.

They headed over to the elevator, the girls sashaying impressively in their 4" heels. The doors were already open, the elevator still there from when they travelled down from the bridge, so they all walked inside and John hit the button for deck 9. The elevator took a few seconds to drop the seven floors and the elevator chimed softly when they reached their destination. The doors swished open, revealing the Drakkar bloodbath from earlier that morning.

"Let's take the cargo bay door." John suggested, grimacing at the evidence of his brutal handiwork.

"The Ashanath better have some excellent cleaning crews." Alyssa smirked, as she stepped gracefully over several dismembered lime green limbs.

They went into the cargo bay and John shut the double doors behind them, sealing off the slaughterhouse within. He pulled a remote out of his jacket pocket and the cargo bay doors rose slowly, opening a huge entrance into the hull.

"When we clear up that mess in the corridor, we'll need to test the DNA reader on the airlock again." John said, looking troubled.

"I took fresh samples from Calara, Dana and Jade." Alyssa reassured him. "We tested it the other day on the loading lift and the DNA reader worked fine."

"Perhaps the old samples were corrupted in a memory glitch?" Dana suggested dubiously. "I think it's far more likely that our DNA has changed though." she said sounding convinced. "We've all gone through some dramatic changes recently and nothing would surprise me at this point!"

"Unfortunately I don't think any of us has the skillset to verify it for certain." John said, looking at each of the girls. "Unless one of you has hidden talents you haven't told me about?" he said with a raised eyebrow.

The girls shook their heads, confirming that it would have to remain a mystery for the moment.

"Not to worry, we have plenty of other more important things to think about for the moment." John said with a grin, as he led the girls outside. "Like not looking up!" he said suddenly.

Predictably all four girls looked upwards and then there were shocked shrieks as they crouched to the floor as though trying to hang on to the ground. They were now standing upside down on the "ceiling" of the docking bay and were looking upwards at the planetary surface of Ashana, the artificial gravity giving them quite a surprise.

"You dick!" Alyssa said with a grin.

"Sorry I couldn't resist." John said with an apologetic smile. "The first time I experienced this, it freaked me out too!"

The girls rose warily to their feet and then followed after John, as he closed the door to the cargo bay with the remote and then walked around the bulky Drakkar dropship that was still attached to the side of the Invictus. Dana paused for a moment to study the alien vessel, intrigued by the potential for new technology locked away inside, but Calara held her hand and pulled her away playfully.

"We have an entire world full of aliens to have a look at! You can have fun pulling that ugly thing apart later!" the brunette joked.

Dana laughed along with the rest of them and only glanced back at the Drakkar dropship once as they walked away.

They headed to a set of doors that led into a strange looking airlock and the crew spread out to look at the graphical depictions on the walls. There was an arrow showing which way was up towards the top levels of the shipyard and another showing which way was down, via a mural of the planet's surface. Interspersed along the walls were metal rungs spaced evenly around the room. The girls looked around in confusion, as there was no obvious door on any of the walls in front of them or to their sides.

"Ready?" John said with a smile as he walked over to a button on the wall.

The girls looked at him excitedly and nodded their readiness. He pressed the button and the door shut behind them, enclosing them in the room. There was a soft humming sound and then they began to lift off the floor as they became weightless. The girls squealed with excitement, laughing happily as they pushed off the floor and began to float around the room.

John grinned at them, their youthful exuberance and excitement as they experienced this for the first time, let him enjoy it all over again too. The floor they had previously been standing on slid open, revealing an anti-gravity tunnel that led up through several stories. There was glass panelling in the side of the tunnel, revealing an open area that contained multiple tunnels leading up to the shipyard from other docking bays.

"Grab hold of the rungs." John instructed them. "You can use them to help propel you up the tunnel."

The girls reached out to grab the nearby rungs and used them to rotate themselves the right way up and then launch upwards towards the upper deck of the shipyard. They all drifted up smoothly, finding the journey strangely peaceful.

They finally reached the top and found that there was an open archway there, that led out onto the shipyard top deck. John stepped out on to the silvery grey surface and then walked forward a few paces before turning around. The girls noticed that the floor was covered in a light layer of reddish-orange dust and John left faint footprints as he walked.

"Just step out of the anti-grav field and on to this road. You'll be able to move normally again." he instructed them clearly.

Using the rungs, the girls manoeuvred themselves over to the alcove and then stepped out gracefully to stand beside John.

They were in for another shock to the system as they walked out into bright daylight. The crew of the Invictus were operating on Terran standard hours and for them it was early evening. Ashana worked on an entirely different day and night cycle and in local time, it was late morning.

"Expertly done ladies." John said proudly. "Now if I remember correctly, there's a trader's emporium around here somewhere." he said confidently.

He strolled over to a passing Grey, who was wearing a close fitting silver jumpsuit that hugged its slender body tightly. The Ashanath citizen was only about 5 feet tall, but it's bulbous head was much larger than a human's and it's huge unblinking black eyes focused on John as he approached.

"Excuse me." John interrupted the Grey politely. "I'm looking for the trader's emporium. Please could you give me directions?"

The Grey looked at him for a moment. "Follow this thoroughfare for two hundred metres to the West. Then head North for three hundred and seventeen metres." a whispery voice said, seeming to come from a computer wrapped around the Ashanath citizen's arm.

"Thank you!" John said appreciatively.

The Grey just turned and continued on its way, not bothering to respond.

*So deliciously round!* a voice echoed clearly in Alyssa's head.

The beautiful blonde turned around, wondering who or what had spoken. The departing Grey was the only person nearby and she eyed it suspiciously as it walked away.

John turned in the opposite direction, pointing west and ushered the girls along with him as they followed the directions they had been given. They walked along the quiet street before it opened out into a much busier road, that was carrying foot and hover car traffic around the shipyard's surface. The girls looked around wide eyed as they took in the distinctive Ashanath architecture, that was full of spires and domes, and enjoying the quiet stillness of the street.

All that is except one of them. For Alyssa, she was suddenly confronted by a wall of noise.

*Oh my, what perfect spheres!* a salacious voice said clearly in her mind.

*They wobble magnificently!* another voice said approvingly.

*Look at those orbs jiggle!* a third voice leered excitedly.

She whirled around looking for who was speaking so clearly in her mind, but everywhere she looked Ashanath citizens walked by with blank, expressionless faces.

John noticed that Alyssa seemed unsettled and he walked over to her and placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

"Are you ok honey? Feeling a bit disorientated from the anti-grav?" he asked with concern.

"No I'm fine, it's nothing." Alyssa said distractedly.

"Are you sure?" John said doubtfully.

Alyssa nodded and waved him onward, smiling at him reassuringly. John glanced at her to make sure she was ok and then they continued on, following the Ashanath citizen's directions.

"I knew it was nearby!" John said triumphantly, spotting the familiar Trader's mezzanine that he had visited on his last trip to Ashana.

The girls followed in his wake as he led them up an anti grav tunnel and then into the big merchant outlet, with stalls set up for trading in a huge variety of commodities. The trader's emporium was open air, offering impressive views in all directions as it towered above the nearby structures. John spotted an illuminated map near the entrance, that showed the location of the various different booths and confirmed where he could find the FTL drive dealer.

"This way!" John said with an enthusiastic grin.

Alyssa was finding all the voices increasingly distracting as more and more of them filtered into her thoughts.

*Such splendid curves!* a new voice said admiringly, echoing in her mind.

*Those globes would look perfect wrapped around my phallus!* a particularly lewd voice observed.

*I should build my new dwelling to resemble those spheroids!* a creative voice said, feeling inspired.

The girls followed along in John's wake and he led them to a booth on the edge of an enormous wide open space, filled with Ashanath citizens going about their business. When he stopped to talk to a blank faced Ashanath trader, Alyssa wavered unsteadily, the sheer volume of so much telepathic communication beginning to weigh heavily on her mind.

After a few minutes John walked over to the girls with a frown on his face.

"I knew their FTL drives were expensive but that's ridiculous!" he exclaimed. "He wants 200 million credits for the drive!" he said indignantly.

"How much faster is it?" Dana asked curiously.

"Double the rating of the last one." John said wistfully. "I don't think I've got much choice if I want to get the best upgrades for the Invictus." he said grudgingly.

The numerous telepathic voices were getting louder in Alyssa's mind. She was picking up so many voices that they were all starting to blur in her head. She tottered on her feet and Jade and Calara rushed to her side to steady her.

"Alyssa!" they called to her, but their voices seemed so very far away.

Alyssa reeled, wavering in their arms, before collapsing into a crouch on the floor with an anguished cry. The deluge of telepathic voices was building to a deafening crescendo.

*Round*, *Sphere*, *Jiggle*, *Orb*, *Pert*, *Curve*, *Spheroid*, *Oscillation*, *Globe*, *Quiver*, *Ovoid*, *Wobble*, *Globule*, *Shake*, *Taut*, *Arc*, *Tremble*, *Convex*...

*Get out of my head!* she cried out in her mind, but to no avail.

*GET OUT!!* she shrieked, the telepathic scream reverberating with a deeper bass that throbbed with power.

A psychic shockwave thundered outwards, causing the reddish orange dust to ripple out in waves centred around Alyssa.

Every Ashanath in the building froze and turned to look at John and the girls with stunned shock on their faces. There was a deathly silence as all motion and activity ceased in 1000 metres in every direction.

John and the girls looked at each other with wide eyes. He knelt down beside Alyssa, holding her in his arms, but she was unresponsive.

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