tagSci-Fi & FantasyThree Square Meals Ch. 077

Three Square Meals Ch. 077


"What do you mean?" Tashana asked, her face lighting up with hope. "Do you know some way of recreating Valada's lost data?"

Shaking her head Alyssa smiled as she replied, "No, your sister's the software expert, I'm a telepath." She approached the confused Maliri girl and reaching out to her with her hand, she gently brushed her temple. "Now just relax and open your mind to me. I might be able to recover the memory of what you've seen."

Closing her eyes, Alyssa reached out towards Tashana's mind as the Maliri girl obediently lowered her defences, making no effort to try and resist her matriarch's mental intrusion. The psychic blonde had already delved into Tashana's subconscious before, so she knew the way around her map of memories. It didn't take her long to find the one she was looking for, and nodding in satisfaction, she withdrew her spirit-form and returned to her body.

"I'll need you too, beautiful," she said, beckoning towards Irillith who was hovering protectively near her sister.

"Is this going to leave me with a ringing headache?" Irillith asked, arching an eyebrow as she glanced warily at the blonde.

Alyssa shook her head and replied, "Trust me, you'll be fine." Reaching out towards the second twin, her fingers caressed Irillith's temple and she purred, "Just relax; this won't hurt a bit."

Following those simple instructions, the tension left Irillith's shoulders and her face smoothed out as she relaxed. Alyssa concentrated as she channelled the memory through to Irillith, whose violet eyes flew open, filled with an inner purple radiance. A moment later, light blazed outwards, forming a projection in much the same way as she'd done so with the Progenitor schematics that had been locked in Dana's mind.

This image wasn't a blueprint though and Valada's familiar face filled the image, her expression cast in a violet glow. She was seated in a high-backed throne and wearing long, layered ceremonial robes, which were not too dissimilar from the style Edraele favoured. When Valada began to speak, it was clear that this once bright and cheerful girl was no longer the same effervescent young woman they'd seen before.

"My name is Valada, and I was once Matriarch to Mael'nerak," she began in a sombre tone, staring bleakly at the camera. "I'm recording this message to warn future generations of the threat the Progenitors pose and my dearest hope is to save the Maliri from future enslavement."

Her expression turned furious, her eyes flashing with anger as she continued, "Mael'nerak is gone and it's been six months since we last saw him. He abandoned me when forced to confront one of his fellow Progenitors and I can only assume both were slain in the battle, ending the pointless and brutal war. Billions slain, whole planets obliterated... the Maliri must never be abused in such a way again!"

Valada's eyes narrowed as she said ominously, "Their nature is to enslave, conquer, and destroy, in an endless cycle of carnage that's been repeated for countless millennia. Mael'nerak told me that before he established what is now the Maliri Regency, there was a thriving civilisation that existed here. They were a peaceful people called the Achonin and while their mastery of technology was impressive, they were not a warlike species. Mael'nerak smashed the ill-prepared Achonin fleets, then proceeded to commit genocide on a vast scale, destroying entire worlds and slaying billions in the process. Their entire civilisation was exterminated, the last remnants facing a lingering death on scattered outposts."

Her expression was haunted with grief as she murmured, "Then it was our turn to witness that level of savagery and I can only pray that the Maliri are never again subjected to such terrible loss." She looked despondent as she continued, "Mael'nerak and his ship have disappeared, taking his technological secrets with him. None of the Thrall vessels that accompanied him have returned, so I've ordered a vast shipbuilding program at Genthalas to replace our losses and ensure the Maliri are not left defenceless."

After a lengthy pause for quiet reflection, she slumped back in her chair, her robes gaping slightly and revealing her heavily rounded abdomen. Valada let out a long sigh, running her hands over her pregnant belly as she said, "I've recalled the outlying colonies, consolidating our people so that we might begin our recovery. Despite everything that the Progenitors have done to us, the Maliri will remain strong and resilient."

With that the memory ended and Irillith blinked rapidly to let her eyes recover.

"Are you alright?" Alyssa asked, rubbing her back comfortingly.

Irillith looked relieved and she replied, "I'm fine, there wasn't any pain."

Tashana gave her sister a brief hug, then turned to look at John and said, "I'm sure you can see how I drew the conclusions that I did. Valada was angry at Mael'nerak but only because he left her and not for the more obvious reasons."

Calara nodded in agreement. "The poor girl was grieving for him - she obviously loved him very much. Having the bond broken like that must have been horrendous for her." She looked sad as she continued, "Having to bring up his child alone must have been heartbreaking."

Looking thoughtful, Rachel said, "Actually, considering her size at the end of her second trimester, Valada must have been carrying twins."

There was quiet in the room as everyone tried to process what they'd just seen and heard, until inevitably their eyes were drawn to Irillith and Tashana.

"So we really are related to Mael'nerak," Irillith said, sharing a searching look with Tashana.

Her sister smiled at her and replied, "At least we know he redeemed himself in the end; that he truly loved Valada and sacrificed himself to keep her safe."

Irillith nodded, returning Tashana's smile as she drew comfort from her words.

"Oh! There was another recording!" Tashana blurted out, turning to glance at her blonde Matriarch.

Alyssa smiled at her and said, "I know, I just wanted to check Irillith was okay. Are you both ready to do the same thing for the next one?"

They both nodded and Alyssa reached out her delicate hands for them again, brushing her fingers through their hair as they waited patiently. The two Maliri girls relaxed at her soothing touch and Irillith's violet eyes were filled with light once more.

When Valada reappeared it became obvious that this recording had been taken many decades later. She looked considerably older now, but despite the worry lines around her eyes, she was still a striking woman. Although she was no longer so tense and angry, it was clear that something else weighed heavily on her as she gazed at the camera.

Clearing her throat, she began in a confident and measured tone, "My name is Valada, leader of House Valaden." She paused for a moment and looked slightly embarrassed as she added, "Just for the record, it wasn't my choice to name this House or our homeworld after myself, but everybody insisted."

Looking away for a moment, Valada frowned and said, "Now, where was I? Oh, yes! I wanted to add to my previous message; the warning I left for future generations." Staring into the camera, she continued, "There has been no sign of a Progenitor in well over a century, giving the Maliri time to rebuild and recover. Our borders are strong and well protected, our fleets mighty and unchallenged in this quadrant of our galaxy."

"I've taken steps to keep the nature of our people secret, ordering that the Maliri conceal their appearance from all other species. We've largely withdrawn from interactions with the Trankarans and Ashanath, so I can only hope that they forget about our history as the years pass," she said thoughtfully, tapping her finger against her pursed lips.

Valada frowned in irritation then as she growled, "Unfortunately my fellow House leaders have annoyingly short memories. It's almost as though they've forgotten about the threat the Progenitors pose and have taken to playing politics, vying with each other for status." She narrowed her eyes as she continued, "They've even started referring to themselves as 'Matriarchs' and seem to be intent on trying my patience at every opportunity."

She gestured off-screen and a tall glass of some dark coloured wine floated over to her outstretched hand. She took a quick drink, then winced, her other hand reaching for her temple.

"Are you alright, great grandmother?" a young girl's voice said to her from off-camera.

Valada frowned at her and said, "Stop fussing, I'm fine."

"Would you like me to get you some medication, revered Matriarch?" another young woman asked, her tone polite and respectful.

The older Maliri woman groaned and replied tetchily, "Don't you start all that 'revered Matriarch' nonsense with me, young lady!" She paused, then smiled affectionately at her granddaughters, before turning to stare at the camera. Her expression was intent as she continued in a stern voice, "Stay vigilant and be ever watchful for signs of a Progenitor's encroachment. I've gathered all the information I can in this repository, in an effort to help prepare the Maliri if they should ever return. I sincerely hope that is never the case, but if one does, you must avoid interacting with him at all costs. Our people are terribly vulnerable to a Progenitor's presence, rendered practically helpless at the mere sight of him."

With a final smile, she finished by saying, "Good luck to whoever views this recording. I wish you a long and pleasant life, unburdened by the dark shadow of the Progenitors."

Her smiling face faded away and Irillith closed her eyes for a moment, rubbing them with her hands as Alyssa checked she was alright.

Rachel had been fascinated by the images and she noted, "She moved that wine glass using telekinesis! It looked like Valada was quite accomplished with her psychic abilities! They must have manifested long before this video was taken." She glanced at the twins and added clinically, "From the way she reacted, it seems very likely that she was afflicted by the same kind of tumour as both of you and your mother."

"I wonder how that started?" Jade asked, looking at the tawny-haired brunette. "And why does everyone in her family line get these tumours?"

Shaking her head, Rachel replied, "The women in Valada's lineage have triple-helix DNA which is unique amongst the Maliri. This genetic abnormality was definitely triggered by Mael'nerak's influence."

"Perhaps it was to do with being abruptly cut off from the bond?" Calara asked, glancing at Alyssa. She gave her a sympathetic smile as she added, "I remember feeling how much that hurt you."

Alyssa considered it for a moment then replied, "Maybe. Perhaps Mael'nerak did a rush-job upgrade just before he left her, and fucked up somehow." She looked pointedly at John and added, "Any thoughts, handsome? You're awfully quiet."

He gave her a half-hearted smile, knowing that she'd heard everything he'd been thinking and was just trying to get him to talk about it. He looked around at the girls and said apologetically, "Sorry, I was thinking about something else entirely. I've no idea what could have caused Valada's tumour."

"What's wrong?" Sakura asked, slipping her arm around his waist and looking up at him with concern.

Calara wrapped her arm around him too and asked perceptively, "You're worrying about who Jessica Blake found on Arcadia, aren't you?"

He turned to meet her dark brown eyes. "It looks like my father is either Mael'nerak, who slaughtered billions of Achonin, or he was this mystery Progenitor who was responsible for the deaths of billions of Maliri."

Both girls hugged him sympathetically and he put his arms around them, grateful for their support.

"You aren't anything like either of those Progenitors though," Rachel said firmly. "I know Mael'nerak had a Damascene conversion after spending millennia with Valada, but you've always tried to do the right thing."

Edraele's soft voice filtered through his mind. *She's absolutely correct. I find it astonishing that either of those Progenitors could be your father when you continuously hold yourself to such rigorous standards. If that is true, you've elevated yourself far beyond either of them.*

Alyssa had been closely monitoring his bleak thoughts and nodded as she said, "The girl has a point. It doesn't matter who your parents were, you're a good guy."

The other girls all echoed similar sentiments, gathering around him to give him a kiss or just to brush their hands along his arms. Faye murmured similar supportive words, trailing her holographic fingers across his shoulder with a wistful look on her face.

John caught a flicker of amusement in Dana's eyes as she desperately tried to suppress a grin. Surprised by her reaction, he asked, "What's so funny?"

She glanced at the Maliri twins, and replied with a giggle, "If your Dad really is Mael'nerak, it means Irillith and Tashana are like your half great grandnieces, or something."

Rachel rolled her eyes at her lover and interjected, "Yes, with about another hundred 'greats' added to that title! That's if you assume an average age of one-hundred for the conception of each new generation."

Alyssa couldn't help smirking as she said to John enthusiastically, "That's great news! It means you're just ever-so-slightly related enough to make fucking them extra naughty, but when you knock them up, your kids won't have four heads!"

John tried to keep a straight face but he couldn't help laughing. "You and Sparks are as bad as each other!"

Rachel put her arms around Irillith and Tashana, then said reassuringly, "Don't pay attention to Dana. If you followed my family tree back over a hundred generations, you'd probably find I'm just as distantly related to John and to every Terran girl here for that matter!"

Irillith smiled at Tashana and said, "You get used to their outrageous banter eventually, they don't mean anything by it."

Tashana grinned at Dana as she said, "It's quite alright, I know they're just being playful." She glanced at John and blushed before she added, "Alyssa raised an interesting point. When do you plan on 'fucking' me, John? Your potential half great grandniece finds the idea intriguing."

John had been relieved to see that Tashana had taken the Karron girl's salacious teasing in her stride, but he coughed when she put him on the spot like that. He saw the fiery look she gave him, accompanied by a feisty grin and he couldn't help laughing as Dana and Alyssa cheered on her bawdy response.

He raised an eyebrow as he smiled at Tashana. "That sounds like a fascinating conversation for later."

She returned his smile and said, "I look forward to it."

Feeling much better already, he looked around at the gathering of beautiful women and said, "Thanks for your support everyone. I can't tell you how reassuring it is, knowing you have my back." Looking at Irillith, he added, "Someone told me I should learn to lean on you girls if I'm feeling down. It turns out she knew what she was talking about."

Irillith looked delighted that her advice had been helpful and she stepped forward to give him a tender kiss.

John returned it, then pulled Tashana into his arms and kissed her as well. Looking at each of the identical azure beauties in turn, he said, "Thanks for the presentation, both of you. You've answered a lot of very important questions and raised some new ones too."

"It was my pleasure! I loved working with Tashana," Irillith said, smiling fondly at her twin.

"Me too!" Tashana exclaimed, looking overjoyed as she grinned at her sister. Turning to smile at John, she added, "It was incredibly exciting to finally find out the truth about Mael'nerak, as well as truly understanding what happened to Valada. I'm so glad I decided to join you!"

"I'm very glad too," he agreed, squeezing her gently with his right arm wrapped around her.

He was suddenly very conscious that he held both sisters in his arms, and with the way he was pulling them to him, their impressive blue cleavage was squashed against his chest. They both sensed his sudden change in demeanour, but rather than be offended, they glanced at each other and shared a secret twin smile before kissing him softly on opposing cheeks.

Irillith leaned forward to whisper in his ear, "Soon... After you've been with Tashana."

John glanced at her twin in surprise and she met his curious gaze with a burning look of desire. Tashana glanced at her sister, then her violet eyes fixed on his again as she slowly nodded, making it quite clear her viewpoint on the matter.

Alyssa slipped her arms around both girls. "Although I'm loving the sexual tension between you three, it's time for lunch." Running her hand around Tashana and feeling her flat, toned belly, she added, "This little one needs you to give her a big round tummy full of your spunk."

Nodding as he saw that hungry gleam in Tashana's eyes, John glanced at Irillith and asked, "Do you want to join us in bed? You might as well be nice and comfortable when she makes you cum."

Irillith looked at him in shock for a moment, misunderstanding what he was saying. She suddenly remembered the strange empathic link she shared with her twin and blushed a dark shade of blue, nodding in reply, but not trusting herself to speak for fear of embarrassing herself.

"Have fun!" Alyssa announced cheerfully, playfully swatting both twins on the bottom, and grinning when they both gasped in surprise. Turning and sashaying towards the door, she said to John, "We'll bring you some lunch after Tashana's sucked you dry. Then I thought we could do a bit more psychic training?"

He nodded and turning to Sakura, he asked, "Would you mind showing Tashana the basics in the firing range after lunch?"

"I'd love to!" Sakura immediately agreed.


Tashana and Irillith lay curled up in bed together as John leaned over to kiss each of the twins goodbye, lingering a moment to gently caress Tashana's curved abdomen. Tashana saw the look of satisfaction on his handsome face, and her heart fluttered as she remembered something Dana had told her during their flight down to Valaden, when they'd retrieved the Progenitor data crystals. The redhead had leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially, "If John strokes your tummy, it means he's thinking about stuffing you full of cum. If he does it after you're loaded up, he's thinking about what it'll be like when you're pregnant!"

With that advice in mind, she was overwhelmed by the thought of a beautiful blue baby in her arms, the vision intensely powerful and crystal clear in its clarity. She let out a contented sigh as she gazed up at him in a daze, yearning for that moment with all her heart.

"Good luck in the firing range, this afternoon," he said kindly, his touch electrifying as his fingers brushed over her skin. He smiled at her and added, "Sakura's a lovely girl; she'll take good care of you."

Tashana nodded slowly, still reeling from her vision, but she had the presence of mind to smile back at him and return his wave as he left the room. When he'd left, she turned to look at Irillith who was watching her in amusement.

"What's making you smile?" Tashana asked curiously, reaching up and gently tracing her sister's full lips with her fingers.

Irillith kissed her fingertips and replied, "You've fallen for him already, haven't you?"

Hesitating for a moment, Tashana replied honestly, "Yes, I think he's quite wonderful." Pausing to study her twin, she continued, "Does that make me a terrible sister? Falling in love with the same man as you?"

Her sister's answering laughter was free and unrestrained and Irillith replied, "Normally, I'm fairly sure that would be a recipe for absolute disaster, but our circumstances are special."

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