| Kathy On The Beach, Reprise and Epilogue
Journal Entry 120 / 00413
Erwer, Lothess 23, 00413
There is a strong preference on this ship for the forward lounge, and I
suppose that's normal, being an exploration vessel. Most people prefer
to look ahead, to where they're going, to watch the stars approach and
But me? At the moment, I'd rather sit in the aft lounge. It's emptier,
the bartender less busy, and the music a little more subdued. Besides,
we're two days out of Pendor, and Ian is taking it a little more slowly
than usual. He's cautious, but more than that he knows that in two
days all this that has been built on his ship will end. 1107 people
crammed into a microscopic society, much of us very dependent upon the
decisions Ian, Wendy, and the Engineering crew make. We depend on Wendy
to make sure nobody does anything stupid, like double-cycle an airlock,
or overcharge the carbon releases into the s-space fusion drives. We
hope Ian negotiates properly, and that the navigator won't aim us right
through the heart of a star or something. To quote, "That'd end your
trip real quick, wouldn't it?"
But more than that, we've come to rely on each other to maintain the
semblance of sanity we call "ship's role." With only 1107 people to choose
from, and nowhere to go to get away from everybody else, there's a lot
of need for understanding, compassion, and tolerance. Especially since
there are ten-plus different races on board, everything from Ian to the
delphin s-space pilots. 648 days may seem like a long time, but it can
seem longer if you're not just getting along. And if you're like me,
trying to manage or juggle your relationships takes effort, practice,
and a really quick tongue.
So I like the aft lounge. It lets me see where we've been, when our
forward-looking attitude becomes almost a parody of what we are. And in
two days, all these relationships come to an end. We'll be home. And some
won't reapply for another trip out, and new people will be on board,
and when we land we'll be surrounded by people we knew when we left,
people who, like us, have gone through over two years of change. Ian
knows all this, and gave us two more days to talk it out, peacefully,
under real calm Corrane-I drive that requires virtually no engineering
crew and literally no bridge crew. This is a time for us to be together,
before every relationship on board comes crashing down.
Like mine. And Kathy's. As I watch the stars recede, I waited for her.
I don't remember how long I was waiting before I heard her voice. It
wasn't that long. "Hi."
I looked up at her and pretty face. Only eighteen years now,
I wondered what she was going to do when we got home. Kathy's a spacer,
there's all there is to her, and I know when she gets home she's going
to walk right into Ian's office and say, "please?"
"Hi yourself, beautiful. Sit down?" I motioned to the chair opposite
my own. In the subdued lighting she looked magnificent, her long tresses glinting merrily.
She smiled. "Sure." She sat and ordered herself a tall mug of Orc Tea.
"How can you drink that stuff?"
"What? Iced Mate'? It's good."
"It's boiled tree bark."
"Oh, yeah, and this is coming from a human who drinks kfi."
"Hey, I like kfi. But I suppose our eternal argument about what is and
is not good food isn't really why you asked me to meet you here after
She smiled again. "No, it isn't."
She paused, staring off at the far wall for a few seconds, then she sighed
and said, "In less than two days, we're going to be in orbit around Pin.
We're already inside Pendor Controlled Space. We passed the Oort cloud
about an hour ago, it's on the PBBS."
"I suppose this is the discussion that's going all over the ship. What
are we gonna do when we get home, right?"
"Well...Yes. And no." I raised my eyebrows. "I know almost exactly what
we're going to do when we get home. You're going to go back to P'nyssa
and M'Ress and Paul and your home and settle down for another century
or so, until you get bored again. And we both know that I'm going back
out into space as soon as possible, although I'd love to go with Ian
if I can. He likes me, and I like him, and all personal feeling aside,
he's a great captain. Wait, please, I can see you're dying to interrupt
me. I love you, Ken. You know that, and I know that, and I love you,
too. The times we've had aboard the Eldarfaroth are unforgettable,
and in my case, pretty indelible."
I smiled. The rings I'd pierced through her labia were constant reminders,
to both of us, just how far we'd explored her need to give, and my
strength to control. I wore the keys to her heart, almost literally,
around my neck.
She continued. "So don't tell me what you feel, and that it'll be all
right, and give me all of the Shardik bullshit you're so good at, and
you know it." I kept smiling, and nodded.
But she didn't say anything further, so I said "So?"
"So." She smiled. She rested her elbows on the table and leaned over to
me, and in a soft voice she said, "I want one more thing from you..." and
she whispered the last word, "master."
I raised my eyebrow again, and said, equally softly, "And what would
that be, my slave?"
"I want a brand."
I paused. I wasn't sure I'd heard that right, so I played her words over
again in my mind. I'd heard it right.
"You want a... brand?"
She nodded. "Mm Hmm."
"Like in a burn mark?" My voice was a little closer to stage whisper now.
"Yeah." And when she said that, her eyes lit up, like they had when
she'd asked for the piercing.
I thought about it for all of three seconds. I could see in those eyes
that there was no way I was going to talk her out of this one, like I
hadn't been able to talk her out of the last one, the piercings. Okay,
then. I said, "What kind?"
"Eldar, four stars." She smiled back.
"My personal symbol." My brows knitted. I thought about it. It made sense,
but I didn't like it. Every lover she'd ever have would know that at one
point somebody had burned Shardik's personal symbol onto her, probably
Shardik myself. In any event, they'd be sure to ask about it. Not many
people walk around with brands, to be sure. I've never heard of one. More
painful than tattoos, I imagine. I wouldn't know, I've never had either.
"Yeah." Was all she said, and her eyes again lit up.
All I could do was nod. My slave had more control over our relationship
than I did.
It was a different beach, on a different planet, in a different part of
the universe. The sand was crystal white this time, and the ocean really
was blue, and the trees were your standard palms. This is Pandora,
a green world of my desire, made because Pendor lacks some things,
things which we can live without, but I'd rather not. Pandora adds to
the system that is Pendor, allows for a special kind of variation that
is absolutely necessary. Without Pandora's gravity, Pendor would never
have tides and her beaches would be stagnant and unwashed. Pandora also
has something unique... sunrises and sunsets. Pandora is deliberately
geologically unstable, kicking overlarge amounts of volcanic dust into the
atmosphere, so depending on where you stand, the sunsets are spectacular
blue-greens or red-yellows.
And tonight's sunset was magnificent. A spectacular blue sinking into
the horizon, the momentary green flash as it refracted in the atmosphere
and finally disappeared out of sight. I paused to watch it, and then sat
and waited. This time there was no shimmer of transport. We were within
Pin's rays, and everything was accessible by stepping disk. Kathy merely
appeared to my left, on the beach. Naked, she fell to her knees.
I rose from the sand and approached my thrall. She kept her head down,
her hands in her lap, waiting for the pain she had requested I inflict. I
walked around her, admiring her beauty, not for the first time, and as I
walked behind her, I slid my fingers under her hair and grabbed a handful.
She gasped, a delicious shudder running through her. "Slave, crawl."
She lifted a knee and slid forward. On her knees, I directed her over
to the unlit bonfire that I had erected on the sand. "Stop." She did,
and I said "See that? Tonight, in there, is your request. A mark,
a sear to remember me by as you travel back out to the stars. Is that
what you want?"
I barely heard her over the surf. "Yes."
"Then watch." I gestured, and a small charge in the center of the bonfire
lit, flicking about, light the rest of the fire. We sat, waiting, as the
flame grew. I spread a blanket on the ground near the flame, and directed
her to it. A large foam wedge supported her head and back, and I spread
her legs. With a small watercolor pen, I marked a small dot on her thigh,
about two inched below her cunt, right where I was going to put the tiny
brand I'd had fashioned. A Ssphynx I trust, who makes his own leaded
typesets, made the design for me, and another smith, this one a Uncia,
made the brand for me from Maccus' design. I had built the fire in a tepee
design, so that inside lay the small alloy form, less than an inch high,
of the Eldar, my symbol, heating until it was glowing white.
As the fire blazed, I slowly stripped off my clothing. I don't need all
that absurd costumery most purveyors of D&S seem to feel I do; she was
my slave, she had been for almost two years now, and that was that. I
glanced over at her, leaning against the pillow, her legs carefully and
deliberately splayed open. I had long ago removed her pubic hair as an
impediment, and her excitement was hotly evident in her swollen inner
lips and the firelight glistening of her juices.
I reached back behind my neck and undid the clasp of the chain. The tiny
key on it slid down into my hand. I crouched down between those lovely
legs and with one hand lifted the lock closing her labia while with
the other I slid the key into place. She sighed silently as I slid the
lock out of its place of honor. I stroked her between her lips with one
finger, parting those inner lips, passing over her vagina, but I didn't
penetrate her, not yet. That was for later.
I reached back into the bag with which I'd brought all of tonight's
paraphernalia, and brought out the black sash. She looked up at me, and I
allowed it, as I slowly tied it around her eyes and secured at the back
of her head, threading it partially through her hair. The last I saw of
her eyes before I put the cloth on, they were bright and wet and afraid,
but they also trusted me. She began to sob quietly, a small tear slowly
leaving a trail down her cheek as it dropped from behind the blindfold. I
leaned over and lightly kissed her cheek, and she turned her head to
meet my lips, but I was already on my way down her neck, and her back
arched towards me, encouraging me to lick her nipple, but just before
I reached one I pulled away. She sobbed anew in frustration. I smiled.
I rarely blindfolded Kathy. There was something in my nature that said
she should always be allowed to see what was going to happen to her, but
tonight that sort of personal made violation all the more delicious.
I was pulling out all the stops tonight. It was our last, most intense
night in a long list of intense nights and I wanted her to feel the fear,
love, pain and pleasure we always shared, more than ever.
I reached into the bag again and took out the extension tongs and the
small wooden block I had brought to hold the brand. Deep inside the fire,
it was glowing and ready.
"Yes Master?" she replied, the fear in her voice thick. She'd asked for
this, but even she knew that she didn't really know what she'd asked for.
"Are you ready?"
"I...I think so."
"Not gonna back out on me, are you?"
"No, master. I will not."
"Good." I took the tongs and reached into the fire. I turned the hot
metal over so that the insert was face up, picked it up in the tongs
and brought it towards me. I held the block of wood in my left hand and
pressed the insert tab into the hold in the block and turned, securing
it onto place. I turned and shifted the searing cast to my right hand,
and I leaned over and aimed at the mark I'd made earlier with the pen.
And I pressed.
She screamed, a pure, pealing thing of pain and terror, even as I watched
with fascination at her flesh vaporizing away in wisps. I removed the
brand, tossed it carelessly into the ocean. I'd never need it ever again,
didn't want it ever again.
With a bottle of alcohol, I cooled and cleaned the small mark. As
the alcohol evaporated, I examined my work. It was small, clean, and
clear...a perfect Eldar, four small dots around that may as well have
been stars. My sign. Burned into her flesh. I cursed a little wryly
at my erection, betraying the fact that somewhere deep inside, I had
enjoyed the pain I'd inflicted.
I reached up, and tears were streaming down her cheeks when I reached
for the blindfold. I slowly untied it and took it off. I reached out
for her and she rushed into my arms, crying. She sobbed for a long time,
and I slowly leaned her back against the cushion. On top of her, I parted
her legs and slid my erection into her.
She sighed, her eyes closing in pleasure, her arms wrapped around my neck.
I held there, my cock nestled up gently against her cervix. She opened
her eyes and looked into mine. "So good," was all she whispered.
"I'm glad." I replied, slowly stroking myself into and out of her, her
satinlike sex holding onto me. She wrapped her legs around me as I began
to fuck her, watching her face glow with pleasure, the heat of our
bodies starting to outwarm the fire.
I supported my weight on my hands and pushed up to look at her, lowering
my head to lick and tease her nipples, and small groans of pleasure
"I love you, Kathy," I said, my tempo increasing, my need to come growing.
"I love you too," her voice rising in pitch, in need. Her hips began
thrusting against mine, and the sensations running along my cock were
growing, becoming stronger, and I could feel the tightening in my chest.
Faster, harder, fucking my slave, my thrall, my beloved. She became my
universe, my attention focused on her, her open mouth, breathing hard
as we pushed against each other. I could feel it more, now than ever.
I began to pound. I felt I was going to her, and as I passed the
point of no return I stopped and stared into her eyes, my cock positioned
to thrust one last time. I felt like I as on the edge of a great cliff.
I pushed. I fell. I screamed, releasing into her, coming. She sighed as
I collapsed on top of her, my last desperate thrusts pushing my orgasm on
and on. I felt I was dissolving. I was losing consciousness. I was going.
Deep in the back of my mind, the circuits kicked in, saying "I will
not pass out" over and over, and I shook my head to clear it. I smiled,
and looked down at her. She smiled back, and we laughed and wrapped our
arms around each other, holding and laughing until tears streamed from
our eyes. I slowly raised myself back until I was kneeling on my knees
and looked down at her, lying against the cushion. She pushed herself up
into a sitting position and looked down at her right thigh. She trailed
a finger slowly over the blackened burn. "What do you think?" I asked.
She hummed a little, a sigh maybe, and said, "Oh Gods, Ken, I think
it's incredible. I don't think I can ever come close to telling you how
wonderful it is."
"I'm glad you like it."
"Like? I love it! And I love you. Thank you."
"No, Kath, thank you. You've been wonderful to me."
"And you to me."
EPILOGUE 171 / 0413
I stood out on the balcony of my domicile. I'd been home for almost two
months now, but Kathy and I hadn't seen each other because she'd been
busy taking her academy exams. She'd shown up last night in her active
duty uniform, with Ian's personal signet on her chest, to tell me that
Ian had accepted her as an engineering research trainee, and that she
was shipping out tomorrow. That is to say, today. In fact, according to
my watch, the Eldarfaroth transits to hyperdrive in four minutes.
P'Nyssa came up behind me and I heard her put two glasses of something
down on the table. She wrapped her tens around me and leaned up against
me. I leaned back, still looking up the night sky. I know, it's illogical
to look up since there was no real way to know what direction the ship was
going, and the ring points in but Ian's headed out, but still I looked
up at the stars showing beyond the rim of the ring. Stars I might have
been to. Stars Kathy might be headed to.
Nyss rested her head on my shoulder and sighed quietly. I echoed her
sigh, and said quietly, "It is impossible to love your without
loving all women somewhat."
"Uncle Robert. Yeah."
"You're going to miss her, aren't you?"
"A little. No, that's not true. I'm gonna miss her a lot. Our affair may
have been a bit... strange, but I did love her, and I know she loved
me, too. I don't think anybody could have done for her what I did,
and vice versa."
"I don't think so either."
"I know we haven't talked much about it, but does it bother you what
"No, I don't think so." She smiled a little. "I know you well enough
to know how you express yourself. You're too smart for that kind of
"You know what, Nyss? It's been a few hundred years since you moved in,
and I've never been happier to see you than today."
She smiled again, pulled back, and handed me my glass.
"I know," was all she said.
The Journal Entries of Kennet R'yal Shardik, et. al., and Related Tales
are Copyright (c) 1989-2000 Elf Mathieu Sternberg. Distribution limited
to electronic media not-for-profit use only. All other rights are reserved
to the author.