Kismet Ch. 12byTE999©
Sayyid al-Rahaman looked up from his Qur'an as two women walked into his shop. One was pale skinned, the other a Nubian. They were unveiled and wore Shervani's robes not burquas. They walked with heads held high and a confident gait, quite unlike the women of the village.
"You are Sayyid the Garment Maker?" The Nubian said haughtily.
"I am he. What do you wish this fine morning?"
"We wish to examine your wares," the pale woman replied. "We are in need of clothing. Our traveling companions are distressed by our preference for nudity."
"Look Afsoon," Farisa said, holding up a red silk vest, "This would go well with your complexion."
"And this one with yours," she replied, lifting a similar garment brocaded in gold and silver threads.
They lay the items on the counter and roamed around the shop, picking a pair of pantaloons here, a leather belt there, laughing and chattering happily. Finally settling on two pair of low cut boots each, they put them on top of the pile of clothing and the Nubian said, "How much for the lot?"
"Would your husband's not be displeased if you did not ask them if you may purchase these ..." Sayyid began, when Afsoon interrupted him.
"We have no husbands. We are free women and pay our own way." She reached inside her robe and dropped a heavy purse before the startled merchant. "Now, as my companion said, how much for the lot."
Hearing the clink of coin, Sayyid's manner changed abruptly from undisguised disapproval at their demeanor to an obsequious "A thousand pardons, madam. I shall determine the cost immediately."
"Shall we try some of these on?" Farisa said, patting the pile of clothing.
"Let's," Afsoon replied. "We shall change over here, Sayyid."
"As you wish ..." He began and gasped in horror. The women had shed their robes and were naked except for wide belts at their waists that held wickedly shining scimitars. Laying the weapons on the floor they began trying on outfits, laughing and talking among themselves.
Sayyid frowned, this was most unseemly and against the Prophet's teachings that women should display themselves in such a wanton manner, but they had coins with which to pay and their voluptuous figures were a joy to behold. He began tallying the costs, humming happily.
Suitably dressed, the women joined Hamad al-Assad at the stables where he and his men were preparing to continue their patrol. He greeted them warmly "Such finery, ladies, most regal indeed. Where are you bound from here?"
"That is what we wish to discuss with you," Afsoon said. "When your patrol is over you are returning to the Sultan's palace are you not?"
"Yes, we are a six day ride from there. Why?"
"We wish to accompany you," Farisa said. "We are capable of defending ourselves as you know and we will not interfere with your regular duties."
"I am not sure it is allowed," Hamad replied, "The Black Legion rides alone." He thought for a moment, and then said "However we are in your debt for helping us defeat those bandits. I suppose it will be permissible under the circumstances."
Afsoon and Farisa smiled and began saddling their horses.
"Look," the Legionnaire known as Da'wud shouted, "Vultures circling, such a great number means many dead things. Should we investigate, Captain?"
"It would be wise," was the reply. "Bandits may have waylaid another caravan." They galloped off in the direction of the spiraling black birds and topping a dune a strange sight greeted their eyes.
A peculiar looking contrivance stood in the lee of the dunes, a thin veil of smoke rising from it. Several corpses were lying around the thing and, as the Legionnaires and the women rode closer, vultures indignantly flapped away from their feast. The corpses had been stripped and mutilated; all were male, fair skinned with brown or red hair. Various packs, water skins, clothing and other items were scattered about on the sand which still bore the imprint of many horse's hooves.
"They must have been riding in that metal carriage," Afsoon said. "They dismounted for some reason and were surprised by bandits. I imagine they had no time to defend themselves."
"If they did have weapons, the bandits took them," Hamad added. "Haasim, Ehan, Basharr, Ghalib, bury these men; the rest of you keep watch, I intend to examine this carriage in which they were riding." Afsoon and Farisa, equally curious, dismounted and went with him.
The machine squatted upon eight wide wheels rimmed with a heavily grooved black substance six inches thick. It's metal body was rectangular with sharp corners; various apertures studded it's surface with a set of doors in the rear and partially shuttered windows in the front.
A round tower sat atop the car; protruding from it was what appeared to be a weapon consisting of several rifle barrels arranged in a circle bound with iron bands; an open hatch on the top allowed access within. It was all very intriguing.
Hamad vaulted nimbly onto one wheel, then reached the top of the gun turret and disappeared inside. Farisa had opened the unlocked doors in the rear of the vehicle and called "Afsoon, here is the things beating heart."
The women saw a compact steam engine idling with a soft 'Tuftuftuftuf' surrounded by piping, cooling vanes and two large tanks containing volatile mixtures of coal gas and alcohol under pressure producing superheated steam that drove the motors pistons; the cooled vapors then being returned to the mixing chamber for reuse.
Afsoon reached out tentatively to touch the motor, only to withdraw her hand quickly as a pressure valve released excess steam with a loud hiss. "It does not like being touched," Farisa said with a chuckle when a raucous 'Pockpockpockpockpock' split the air and they both jumped away from the steam car.
"It is a quick firing gun powered by steam," Hamad cried excitedly, emerging from the turret. "The barrels fire and rotate loading and ejecting rifle cartridges from a drum mounted on top. This minaret turns easily so the gun may be brought to bear in any direction." He climbed down then jumped to the sand saying "We must bring this carriage to the Sultan."
"How shall we do that, Captain?" said a trooper named Taj. "Our horses cannot pull that sort of load, even if it is on wheels."
"It can move itself," Afsoon replied. "If the men who rode in it can do it, then I shall."
"This is no job for a woman ..." Hamad began, and then stopped when the women glared at him, "Very well, see what you can do, Afsoon."
She walked around the vehicle until she found an entry hatch, opened it and crawled inside. It was hot and stuffy and the reek of heated metal and fuel assailed her nostrils. Farisa appeared at the hatch saying "Pfaugh! What smells so foul? The stench of a dead camel is that of a desert lily compared to this."
"It is the smell of machinery," Afsoon replied. "When I was a girl, I witnessed the passage of a road locomotive built by a man named Trevithick down Highgate Street in London. It was noisier than this conveyance, but there was a similar odor. It frightened the horses. I am going to see how this thing is controlled."
She crouched down and made her way to the front, Farisa following, unnerved by the stuffy interior and the odors, but staying with Afsoon; where one went, so went the other.
Light shone dimly between the windscreen louvers and viewing slits as the women seated themselves in thickly padded chairs, each facing an array of knobs, levers, and cranks and, on the floor, wide, flat pedals. Afsoon gingerly advanced a floor mounted lever to her left and the engine noise became louder, pulling back on it made the engine quiet again. Farisa tried the lever on her right with the same effect.
Afsoon then moved a lever protruding from a rectangular iron box on the floor and the steam car hissed, lurched and rolled forward. She pulled the lever back and the car halted. Hamid had regained his perch in the gun turret and shouted "It can move on it's own. Can you control it Afsoon?"
"Farisa and I will try," was the response. After many jerky starts with the engine hissing in annoyance, the women were able to advance the car smoothly, determining the floor pedals controlled the direction of travel by turning the forward sets of wheels to the left or right. A compass mounted on the control panel showed them true north and Hamid decided traveling to the east would take them to the sultan's palace.
The car rumbled and lurched, gaining speed over over the uneven terrain, it's massive wheels grinding in the sand. Hamid's troopers followed along behind, muttering among themselves. Hamid waved from the turret giving shouts of encouragement and their apprehension was soon replaced by curiosity as to what the monster was capable of in a battle.
They would soon find out.
Sent ahead to scout for possible ambushes, Trooper Basharr came over a dune at the gallop, reined in by the steam car and shouted "Captain! A large band of riders in Shervani's robes and carrying rifles are headed this way. Their robes bear no colors or markings so I cannot identify the tribe."
"Alert the others to prepare for combat," Hamid shouted back. "This may be the band that killed the former owners of this steam car returning to claim their spoils. If they bear no clan markings, they may very well be more of that pig Risay's rabble out for plunder; either way we will fight," he patted the Gatling Gun, "And this may even the odds."
When the first wave of the mysterious riders surged over a dune they saw the steam car sitting immobile, seemingly abandoned. They rode carefully toward it, then raised their rifles and fired; the volley of lead ricocheting from the steel plating. When there was no return fire, a rider wheeled, galloped back over the dune and in a few moments the rest of the raiding party joined them.
"Let them get closer," Hamid said to the women. "I will try to kill as many as I can with the gun, then the men will begin shooting from their hiding places. This rabble may turn and run or if they decide to fight, we'll charge them in the car and force them to scatter so the men can pick them off."
With a triumphant roar, the bandits charged toward the steam car and into a hail of leaden death as Hamid opened fire. Their shouts turned to screams as men, horses and camels jerked and fell pierced by the lethal projectiles. The first ranks were speedily decimated by bursts from the Gatling Gun as Hamid's troopers began firing; picking off individual riders sowing further confusion in the attackers. Attempting to rally those remaining, their leaders shouted and cursed at them to charge the enemy when the steam car lunged forward, wheels churning, motor hissing like a gigantic snake.
Some of the riders and their mounts were instantly crushed under the massive wheels, while the others fired wildly at the monster in their midst, the bullets rattling on the steel plate as hail on a metal roof. Hamid continued firing the gun until he was struck in the shoulder and fell into the car.
Farisa jumped from her seat to help him while Afsoon continued their assault, grimly driving over whoever stood in her way, the hail of bullets a constant din in her ears. "I think my arm is broken," Hamid groaned, "See if you can fire the gun Farisa or we shall be overwhelmed."
Quick as a striking cobra, she was at the gun, found the trigger and sent a burst of slugs at a group of men firing at the car sending them sprawling. Then the gun's firing mechanism clicked uselessly; out of ammunition.
Farisa yanked the empty drum from atop the gun as she saw a man jump from his horse onto the steam car, scimitar in hand. She threw the empty drum at him striking him in the face. He lost his balance and fell screaming under the wheels.
Afsoon swerved again and again, the car lurching from side to side, breaking up the clusters of men still firing at them, crushing those slow to react and putting the others to flight. Hamid's men kept up a withering fire from their concealment as the dwindling ranks of the raiders began to lose their nerve and retreat.
Farisa pulled another drum of cartridges from it's fastenings on the turrets side, fitted it to the gun and began firing again, killing the remaining bandits still fighting, and then sent a burst after the fleeing survivors. The battle was over.
Farisa and two legionnaires lifted Hamid from the turret to examine his wound as Afsoon arose stiffly from the driver's seat. Begrimed with soot and grease, her hands blistered from the control levers, she climbed down from the steam car and surveyed the carnage she and the others had wrought. It still made her sick at heart to see the ripped and bleeding corpses of the men and their mounts, but she was strangely calm unlike the last time when she thought she would faint.
An arm fell across her shoulders and Farisa was beside her, sweat gleaming on her ebony skin, her face solemn. "So much death, my love," Afsoon said sadly, "Why is there always so much death?"
"It is the way of things, my flower," Farisa replied. "In this world there are goats and there are lions. Some remain goats and hope they will not be eaten, others become lions; some to protect the goats and others to prey upon them. We were once goats in that evil man's harem, now the fates have made us lions."
Afsoon hugged her and they kissed, thankful for their lives and that they were together and in love.
Two days of traveling brought them to a village of some size situated at an oasis. Afsoon and Farisa plunged happily into the bathing pool, swam about then washed each other with perfumed soaps purchased at the village market. They changed into clean garments from their bulging packs and strolled about the town amid the bustle of its inhabitants.
Hamid met them in the town square, his arm in a sling. Fortunately, the slug had only grazed his right humerus so it was a clean wound and would heal with no trouble. The three had coffee and pastries at a street side café, and then returned to their camp where the steam car was being guarded by the Legionnaires.
While Hamid talked with his men, Afsoon drew Farisa aside and said "What would you say to our giving our handsome commander a special thank you for all he has done for us?"
Farisa's eyes twinkled and she grinned "We are truly blood sisters as I have been thinking the same thing. We could pleasure each other as well."
"It would be exciting to bed a man because we chose to instead of being forced," Afsoon replied. "We shall approach him at night fall and take him down by the bathing pool. No one will be there at that hour and we can enjoy ourselves."
"I am already anticipating it," Farisa said, licking her lips.
Hamid was intrigued when Afsoon and Farisa asked him to accompany them to the bathing pool. They spread rugs on the sand, shed their robes standing naked before him, and then began removing his clothing. They eased him back on the blankets and began to kiss and caress him, sucking on his engorging cock until he was half crazed with lust.
Afsoon lowered herself slowly onto his rigid manhood, sighing as he filled her tight cunt. Farisa knelt over his face, lowering her juicy pussy to his wiggling tongue, moaning happily. They leaned toward each other and began rubbing their partner's clit.
Hamid was sure he had died and was in paradise as the women drove him to heights of passion he had never before experienced until he finally exploded ropes of sticky cum deep in Afsoon's gripping pussy as she wailed in exquisite release. Farisa came on his face with a scream of joy, flooding his mouth with her warm, feminine juices that he swallowed eagerly.
They rested, then Hamid took Farisa from behind while she devoured Afsoon's gooey cunt. His cock thrust to the hilt into her tight pussy as she trembled with pleasure, greedily licking Afsoon's soaked labia as she writhed and moaned, gripping her lover's hair and smashing her crotch against her busy mouth. After they had cum and rested again, they reversed positions and Afsoon ate Farisa out while Hamid fucked her.
Too tired to participate any longer, Hamid watched as the women pleasured each other in a languorous 69, squealing as they ejaculated in the others mouth. They washed the sweat and cum from their bodies in the cool water, and then returned to the camp for some much needed sleep. They had many miles to travel in the morning.
High in the clouds, the HRMAS 'Indefatigable' was tracking the progress of Afsoon and the others as they made their way across the desert. Their interest being the steam car and where was it going.
Air Commodore Heywood Barnes-Wallis paced angrily around the dirigibles control room, puffing angrily on a Meerschaum pipe. "I warned that damfool Braxton he shouldn't test that contraption of his so close to the Sultan's territory, but would he listen to me? No! 'Just let us down here, we'll be fine', he said. Bollocks! That's a contingent of Al-Barbakh's Black Watch Squadron escorting that War Car. They must have overpowered Braxton and his men somehow. We'll never even find their bodies under that confounded sand to give them a decent Christian burial."
"Why don't we bomb them?" said Flight Lieutenant MacNulty from his station at the navigation table.
"I thought of that, but then the engineering boffins at HQ would be screaming bloody murder because I smashed their toy. That's the only model you know and only Braxton knew all of its in's and out's. Since he's probably dead, they'll need it to disassemble it so they can determine how to build more." He picked up a speaking tube and said "How much fuel remaining, Jepson?"
Flight Engineer Jepson scanned the gauges on the bulkhead that separated the steam engines from the crew in the aft gondola and replied "Enough for three more days of flight, sir. Four if we go to half power, then feather the propellers and glide periodically, but it's going to be shaving it pretty thin, especially if we run into heavy weather."
"Very well, carry on," Barnes-Wallis said, placing the speaking tube on a hook, "We'll shadow the car for as long as we can and in the meantime we'll send for a relief craft. We must keep track of it until it reaches its destination. Let HQ decide what to do then."
Afsoon, Farisa, Hamid and the legionnaires rolled unconcernedly on through the desert toward the Sultans palace, unaware they were being watched through powerful spyglasses from on high.