tagSci-Fi & FantasyUpon a Savage Shore Ch. 01

Upon a Savage Shore Ch. 01


Author's Note: This will probably be a novella length story. The sex is included as part of the overall story, not as its focus. If you're looking for a quick fix, I suggest looking elsewhere. If you like plot and character development with sex scenes as a bonus, this story might be to your liking.

Additionally, you could categorize this as a furry story, though I did not think of it that way when I started writing it. This is humans and aliens getting it on, not humans and animals.

Hope you enjoy the tale.

"So, we were all sitting at this table," George said, telling the same story he'd told three days ago, and nobody really cared. "This girl comes walking up and she taps Johnny on the shoulder and whispers something in his ear. Johnny grins like a monkey! We all knew what was going on. You know?"

The other marines sitting around the table all nodded and laughed, though, without enthusiasm. Since George had told them this story already, they actually did know.

"So Johnny, he gets up and takes the girl onto the dance floor," George went on after a sip of his beer. "And he's out there dancing and having a good time. Just being a young guy, right?"

Everyone nodded and exchanged grins. They were prepared to roll with the story. Hell, it was better than sitting around doing nothing. This far out there wasn't even a good channel with music for them to listen to.

"A few minutes later Benny comes back with the chick he'd been dancing with and she's giggling!" laughed George. "She speaks, like, a dozen words of English. I don't know for sure. But anyway, she says something to Benny and points at Johnny and the girl he's dancing with."

Everyone rolled their eyes and chuckled.

"I ask Benny what she said and he tells her to tell me," George laughed, hardly able to continue his tale. "She leans down and says, 'No girl.' I look at her and then out at Johnny and shake my head. I don't know what she means. 'No girl,' she says again, like that is gonna explain everything. I shake my head and she shoves her hand down the front of her skirt and say, 'No girl.' Then pokes her finger out under her skirt! Man, I about fell out of my chair!"

All the marines laughed damn near hysterically.

"Did you tell him?" Bob asked when he'd caught his breath, even though everyone knew the answer.

"Hell no!" George barked. "We took pictures! I mean EVERY one of us! The whole rest of the tour we were plastering those pictures of Johnny kissing and dancing with that no-girl all over the ship. They still pop up on some screens if you get into the old files. He never lived it down!"

"Yeah," agreed Todd. "Johnny was a good guy about it, though. He took the ribbing."

"He ever get you back?" Marty wanted to know.

His question was never answered, though. The red battle light flashed on and the small transport cutter was plunged into the green-tinted emergency lighting of a combat situation. The marines shot glances about, listening for the update.

"All hands. All hands," squawked the intercom. "This is not a drill. Battle stations. All hands to battle stations. This is not a drill!"

As per their standing orders, the marines scrambled for the ready room. All their gear was stowed there and it was there they would wait for instructions. Sergeant Liam Carter was last through the door, though he had been the second marine to reach the ready room. His job was to make sure all the troops were accounted for and report any absent to the sergeant major. Consequently, he was the last to don his armor and draw his weapon. He would also be the first NCO to lead his team out if there was a need for marines to support the ship's crew in any capacity.

A few minutes after the troopers settled into their shock frames Lieutenant Ripley entered looking professional but worried.

"Listen up," Ripley said in his loud, commanding voice. The men's chatter stopped. "Transport is under attack. We've got jZav'Etch fighters all over us. Our fighters are giving them hell, but there are a shitload of bogeys. The cats already took out the lead transport. We're not sure how, but they got the drop on us and launched one of those damned Exeter missiles right into her bridge. We're making a run for cover. Looks like we might be going planet-side. I want you to get survival kit, rations and ammo. Remember, marines, it's our job to keep the spacies safe while we're on the ground."

"Hoorah!" the marines shouted their affirmation.

"Devil dogs!" shouted Ripley.

"Never quit!" the marines shouted back.

Ripley left the sergeants to equip the troopers and an instant later a rumbling sounded through the ship. They'd taken a serious hit somewhere. In his ear set, Carter heard the call for his team to report to companionway Baker. He grabbed his three man team and out the door they went, sealing their armored environment suits as they did.

"Is it a breach, Sergeant?" asked Truman, the youngest in the team.

"Probably," Carter responded. "We'll know when we get there."

Companionway Baker was filled with smoke when the lift door opened, so there was no chance it was a hull breach. Artificial gravity seemed in flux when they stepped out so everyone activated their boot clamps. Down the narrow corridor they found several dead bodies and a pair of damage control techs trying to put out a fire. The marines got to work with foam sprayers, but it was only a minute or so before there was another loud rumble.

"What the fuck was that?" one of the troopers asked in a scared voice.

"Oh shit," murmured one of the techs.

"That was an engine," said the other tech.

"Keep your head in the game!" Carter snapped. "We have work to do! Get this fire out. Let the engineers worry about that."

A little reluctantly the damage control techs and the marines fought the fire, putting out the burning control conduit and circuit panels. They were just tearing the old panels out when the general alarm sounded.

"All hands! All hands!" came the voice over the intercom and suit channel. "We are going down. Repeat. We are going down. Prepare to abandon ship. All hands to life pods. All hands to..."

The intercom went silent. For a long heartbeat no one did anything. Then all eyes turned to Sergeant Carter.

"You heard the man!" Carter said firmly. "Life pods! Now!"

The men dropped their foam sprayers and tools and all charged up companionway Backer toward the life pod station. Carter was bringing up the rear, making sure no man was left behind when the next explosion occurred. The local gravity failed completely as he was in the middle of a stride and the next thing Carter knew he was waking up floating near the ceiling. The main lights had gone out, leaving only red battle lamps to see by.

"Alpha team, this is six. Report," Carter said weakly. He could taste blood in his mouth and his tongue hurt. He must have bitten it when the gravity failed and the ship bucked him into the ceiling. He got no response on the main team channel. Switching to the alternate frequency he said again, "Alpha team, report."

Farther along the smoke-filled companionway he could make out a few bodies floating. Carter pushed off the ceiling and locked his boot clamps to the deck. Making his way to the nearest body he discovered one of the techs. The man was clearly dead. The next body was a marine, as were the next two. His team was dead. Carter switched to the command frequency, listening. No sound. The channel was live, but there was no one there to talk on it.

"This is Alpha six to anyone, over," he said into the dead air. "Any unit, respond. This is Alpha six, over."

No reply came back.

It would be fair, at this point, to say Sergeant Liam Carter was more than a little worried. The command frequency was never left active without chatter. There was always someone to give orders and pass on information. Always.

"Not if they're all dead," he murmured to himself. He tried all the other channels getting no one except the ship's computer and it wasn't making any sense. "Probably damaged in the attack."

Gritting his teeth and swallowing his fear along with the blood in his mouth, Carter made for the nearest life pod station, fifty meters ahead. Only one pod remained and it appeared to have a hole in it. He went to the station's panel and checked the status of all pods aboard ship. The only one remaining was the damaged one.

"Motherfucker," he swore softly.

Checking the ship's general status revealed that most of the decks were exposed to vacuum. Lucky for him, Companionway Backer was in a section still sealed.

"It never rains unless it pours," Carter grumbled and took stock of his situation.

He knew there was near zero chance for him if he stayed with the transport. If he tried to use the escape pod the odds were even smaller. The pod had a transponder, but with the damage, he would have only his internal life support to rely on. Of course, the air in the ship was probably contaminated with fumes after the fires and her filtration system was offline, so again his internal life support was all he would have aboard her as well. Or was it?

It took him about twenty minutes to go over his three dead marines and the damage control tech. He knew he had limited time and forced himself to do it in cold blood. If there was time later he would raise a glass to their memory. Carter collected their atmosphere cylinders, sidearms, spare ammunition, med kits and food packs. It wasn't all that much, but he now had three or four times as much as he had carried alone. All his finds went into a musette bag clipped to his harness.

Just as he was adjusting the bag there came a long, ominous rumble from somewhere deep in the ship. Quickly he returned to the computer console and began flogging its damaged circuits to bring up readouts on the vessel's condition. The news was not good. Apparently the battle damage was severe enough for the ship to continue breaking up.

No choices left, Carter climbed into the damaged pod. Amazingly, in spite of the fist-sized hole punched straight through one side and out the other, the little pod still had power and full functionality, except for its atmosphere. These things were built tough. He'd heard of one that had survived a crash into a gas giant. The poor bastards in it had been crushed by the planet's enormous gravity, but the pod had been recovered intact and still operational.

"Alright," he said to himself, settling in front of the small nav computer on the bulkhead. "Let's see what we can see."

He punched up the local beacon frequency, but got very little. The ruptured drives of the transport were spilling out enough radiation to obscure or distort the signal. He found the last known location of the transport and scanned it for anything useful. He crosschecked the data with last known heading and velocity. A glimmer of hope flickered to life in his mind. Depending on how long he had been out, the ship might now be close enough for him to reach a class M world in a nearby system. Indications from the Conglomerated Planets survey were that the world was habitable, though no sentient life was apparent. Even better, the planet was not a "super earth" with the usual crushing gravity. It had a two percent larger diameter than Earth, which doesn't sound like much, but it meant literally billions of tons more rock, soil and water. The planet's gravity was, however, slightly less than Earth's, due to a dearth of heavy minerals present. All in all, the planet would be a much better place to wait for rescue than either the damaged transport or the holed life pod.

As the transport shook from another explosion somewhere in the engine compartment, Carter powered up the life pod and launched. He was clear of immediate calamity and had at least some hope of rescue. He was also aware there was at least as great a possibility of being captured by the enemy. Still, that might be preferable to being marooned on a backwater planet at the edge of a war zone.

Carter looked through one of the portholes in the side of his life pod to see how bad the damage to the transport was. He frowned, his spirits sinking. Though he had expected the ship to be in bad shape he had not expected to see the large debris field around her. Chunks of hull floated free like small fish around a whale in some deep ocean of ancient Earth. As he looked he noted that not all of the debris had come from the transport. Using the scope built into his helmet he picked out the remains of a number of fighter craft, both from the CP and the jZav'Etch. By his reckoning, there were no less than thirty enemy fighters mixed with the shattered remains of his own people's ships. He was no expert, but to him it looked as if the cats had taken almost as bad a beating as the CP forces had.

Static crackled in his headset, drawing his attention to the communications screen on the bulkhead. The pod was drifting clear of the debris and radiation making it possible for a signal to get through to him. He flicked a switch on the screen, extending the pod's antenna.

"Life po... *crackle* ...80, do *static* ...ead?" came a garbled voice through his headset.

Carter tweaked the gain on his antenna and feathered the receiver to a tighter beam, homing in on the broadcast point.

"Li *static* od 280, *crackle* you read?" came the voice again.

Carter refined his settings.

"Life pod 280, do you read?" this time the voice came through much clearer.

"This is life pod 280," Carter said a little breathlessly. "I read you. Signal is weak and intermittent. Over."

"Carter?" the voice asked, sounding surprised. "Is that you?"

"This is Carter," he confirmed. "Who's this?"

"Carter!" shouted the voice, clearly pleased to hear Liam was alive. "Holy shit! Man, we thought you'd bought it back there."

"I made it out," Liam said, grinning. "Who's this?"

"It's George, man," came the voice again, the signal growing weaker. "We just picked up your signal when your pod cleared the debris."

"George!" Liam shouted into his mic. "Listen to me. Your signal is getting weaker. Record this. My pod is damaged. I have no atmosphere. Stellar telemetry indicates there's an M class planet close enough for me to reach it. I'm going there. Got that?"

No reply.

"George?" Liam shouted into his mic. "George? Anyone? Respond! Oh holy shit! Respond! Please respond!"

He listened for minutes, but there was no reply. The pod had drifted too far from his friends for its little transceiver to pick up anything. Sergeant Liam Carter was alone again. He sat back, his energy flagging, and shook his head. After a short time he came to grips with his situation. He had been trained to survive and Carter was naturally tough-minded. His friends had heard him and the course of the ship was known. It might take some time, but eventually a rescue ship would come for him. It might be a month or it might be several years, but the CP would send a ship to pick him up. He just had to stay alive long enough.

A day after he launched the damaged life pod, Carter came into orbit around a blue, green and white globe. The pod's sensors would survey the surface for a few orbits and select the area most likely to support human life. It would then descend through the atmosphere and glide to the spot it picked out. A parachute would deploy and the pod would land. After that, it was all up to Carter.

Liam watched as the little pod went through its first orbit. He used his helmet scope to examine the planet, intending to gather as much information as he could. The pod circled in closer on the second pass and even closer on the third. The world looked so similar to Earth it was amazing. The continents were very different and the seas seemed to churn more violently, but the forests and planes looked home-like. Liam's mind was eased.

A warning light came on to tell him it was time to get into his acceleration couch. He pressed himself back into the padded frame on the bulkhead and drew the restraints over his bulky armor. The pod registered its only occupant was as secure as possible and began its descent.

Liam had chosen the couch across from one of the portholes so he might get a better idea of what to expect when he landed. The pod's flight over the sea showed him only open skies flecked with clouds, but when the parachute deployed and everything slowed down, Liam got a pretty good look at a very large island. It was covered in forest with a mountainous region on its eastern coast and what might be planes or marshes along a large river valley. It reminded him somewhat of England where he had been stationed the last time he had rotated to Earth. He remembered cool days and rainy nights and fields where sheep and cattle grazed. It had been a beautiful country. Perhaps this would not be so bad after all.

His pleasant musings were interrupted by the sight of a swathe of shattered trees that ran across a large portion of a forest. It looked as though something had crashed there. Something larger than a life pod.

"Fuck!" Liam barked. "Goddamnittohell! Fucking pod picked this place to land me? Shit!"

It was possible that the crashed vessel was one of the fighters that had defended the transports. Liam mentally crossed his fingers, hoping such was the case. Murphy's Law indicated, though, that this was absolutely, positively a jZav'Etch ship. And if Murphy, the eternal optimist, had any sway in the matter, the pilots would have survived.

As best he could, Liam marked the location on the pod's nav computer. It would account for drift and wind currents and give him a pretty good idea where the fighter was. Among Liam's first tasks would be finding the fighter and determining if there were hostiles around. If he were very lucky, the ship would prove to be a CP fighter and the pilot would not only be alive but a tall busty blonde or a leggy redhead. If he were very unlucky the jZav'Etch pilots would not only be alive but angry and starving. The cats did not play nice with humans.

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