| Planetfall: Lindsay Summer
Journal Entry 167 / 01025
Anar, Cerim 20, 01025
The first signs came while I was sitting in my chair, reading. The first
sign was a flicker of the hand, a twitch. I probably didn't notice
the first one, but after a few seconds her movement caught my eye. I
put down the book and stood up, looking around; I was alone with her
in her private room. We were slightly over a day out of New Haven; it
would be another four days before we pulled into orbit around Battia. I
had returned to sickbay to look over the last of the Han who had been
ill. The others had taken the procedure after these four, and they were
all recovering to some degree. The blind could see again, the deaf hear,
the lame walk. It's work like that I find so satisfying. Four were the
brain-damage cases, and for them I was rooting the hardest.
The hand twitched again, spasmodically, then seemed to calm down. The
lovely figure under the blanket moved slowly, the back arcing off the
bed just a few centimeters, then falling back down to the mattress. A
small moan, soft and somewhat pained, came from her muzzle. The hand
that had moved now came up and touched her forehead, right between the
eyes. Then her eyelids themselves seemed to tremble. Then, she opened
her eyes. "H... Hello?"
Relief poured through my heart. I had been afraid this wouldn't work.
Everything jury-rigged at the last minute, a matter of time. "Hi,"
I managed to say, grinning like a schoolboy. "How do you feel?"
"I feel... fine, I guess." She blinked. "Hey, you're a human!"
"You're very observant." I laughed. "Gods, it's wonderful to hear your
"Who are you? Where's Callie? Where am I?" she asked, bewildered.
"Don't panic," I said, trying to calm her. "You're on the starship
Nyano Handele, under the command of David Elohim. You're recovering from
"PRAIOR..." her voice drifted off. "That's incurable... Everybody else
who had it, died."
"Incurable for your people, yes. Not for mine."
"Lindsay, my name is Ken. Ken Shardik. You've been in a coma for nearly
48 New Haven days. We rescued you. You're on a Pendorian Vessel."
She tried to sit up, but I stopped her, pushing her back down to her bed.
"Easy. You've had a rough four days. We put you back together. Tell me
how you feel. In detail."
"A Pendor... Shardik... " She looked around, almost as if she were about
to panic, but then eased back. I cursed the fact that it was so late
at night and debated waking Rachael and the others anyway, but decided
against it. "I feel... " She stopped. "I feel strong, but tired, too."
I nodded. "That's how the others felt as well. You've been ill for so long
that your bodies have almost forgotten what it's like to be well. As for
the tiredness, well, you've been living for nearly two months now without
a clue as to what time it is, and your biological clock is completely
out of sync with the real time. All of the Han are sleeping right now;
ship's time, it's the middle of the night. And, I don't know how your
relationship with Callie was, so brace yourself..."
"She's dead, isn't she?"
She sighed. "Nearly two months," Lindsay repeated. "Was it really
"I'm afraid so," I said. "It's been a long time for you since you last
saw the world." I smiled. "Much has changed."
She reached up, both arms coming out from under the bedsheets, and
scratched at her headfur vigorously. "You saved us. Why?"
"Why wouldn't we?" I asked.
"I mean, why would you want to save us? According to the I
"Lindsay, Rheinhardt and Greaves were no friends of mine because what
they wanted to do, I had already done. Looking back, I realize it may not
have been the wisest of choices to hold the Methuselah codes to myself and
my people, but that was my decision and there's nothing we can do now to
change the results of that. And, right now, I'm not upset, because such
loveliness as you is one of those results." I grinned. "That's beside
the point. Rheinhardt and Greaves disliked me, not I them. And certainly,
not I you. As far as I was concerned when we pulled into orbit and heard
Sarah's voice for the first time, you were 37 members of a dying species
on a nearly inhospitable ball of rock asking for help, and I saw no reason
to withhold it and every reason to give it." I took a deep breath. "Wow.
"So... What do I do now?"
"Well, Rachael is now in charge, if anyone is. She's agreed to deal with
the 'inhospitable' part by allowing us to take you off of New Haven
and head back to Battia with you. Tomorrow, you start your new lives,
first as our guests, and then as residents of Pendor."
"Battia? Pendor? It all seems so unbelievable."
"It is," I said. "That's what makes it all so wonderful."
Lindsay looked up at me. "You're the most unbelievable part. I mean,
I know we're thousands of light years from Pendor. Do your ships really
fly that fast these days?"
"Oh, no," I said. "They're faster than in your era, but this was still a
three-year jaunt for us. We were out here investigating a new, possibly
sentient life-form, and those always catch the Pendorian eye. You, the
Han, are simply the most wonderful thing that could have been thrown my
way in the meantime."
She smiled when I said that. Which I found reassuring. Of all the Han
I'd met so far, she was by far the prettiest. Perhaps that was just all
the work I'd put into saving her life shining through. I did feel that
way for her.
She started scratching herself again. "I'm itchy."
"So I see. You're probably still very weak, but if you want, I can
arrange a bath for you."
"A bath?" Her eyes lit up.
"Baths, you probably aren't aware, are one of my specialties. Baths,
food, all the pleasures of the flesh. You look like you could use a
few pleasures." I picked up her chart, imagining that I felt the white
doctor's coat and pockets full of sensing equipment in the pockets.
"According to this, you've lost nearly thirty kilograms, other than
air-drying you haven't been adequately washed since you became comatose,
"And?" she asked, curiously.
"And nothing," I added, smiling. Dammit, I'm letting my gonads get the
better of me. Again. "Just looking down the list here. I didn't find
anything else. So, about that bath?"
"It's been so long since I've had a bath. New Haven was so dry... I must
have been only a little when I last had a bath." Her eyes focused
back onto me, and for a few minutes she seemed to be searching for the
words to say. Finally she found the one word she had been looking for.
I felt bad. After such an effort, I had to take it away. "Ken."
"We've always been very informal. Nobody really calls me Vatare' anymore
except during moments of the utmost formality. And, to be honest,
Lindsay, I've come to know quite a bit about you. You may not realize
this, but some of your memory, well... it isn't really yours."
"What do you mean?"
"Lindsay, you had PRAIOR of the brain. Much of your memory was wiped out.
Of those Han who could still talk, we interviewed each one intensely about
you, and the other three who were here, the ones whose brains were all
torn up. We... we put back what we could, but we can't guarantee that
they're really what you were like when you were younger."
"So... I'm not really Lindsay Summer... Is that what you're saying? My
God, I'm some kind of... mental android, is that it? I'm not real, just
a machine, some kind of Frankenstein? That everything I know might be
the truth, but I can't be sure? IS THAT IT?"
"No!" she screamed. "No! No! No! Look at me! Look at me! I'm real,
I'm telling you! I remember being Lindsay Summer!"
She tried to rise out of bed, but I leapt upon the bed and grabbed her by
the wrists. Set, she was strong! It took all my strength to hold her down,
and then I remembered that she was still in a weakened state! "Lindsay!
Listen to me!"
"You're telling me I'm not real!"
"I'm telling you what we know! Stop fighting!"
"Ken..." she breathed. "Please."
"Lindsay, listen to me. Everything I know might be the truth, but I
can't be sure of that any more than you can. Look, here." I reached
over the edge of the bed, to the table by the side. "This is your diary,
from when you were eleven. Read it. It really is yours."
"It... might not be mine anymore."
"All the memories in there, we tried to put into there," I said, pointing
at the top of her head. "If you want to believe Lindsay Summer is dead,
then we'll hold a funeral for her. But whoever you are, and for my sake
you need a name and Lindsay Summer is a very beautiful name, you need
to go on."
Her eyes still wide and her chest heaving with fear, she stopped fighting
and stared up at me. "I... don't... know who I am."
"Yes, you do. You're you. You don't need a name to be a real person, you
don't need an ID, you don't need anyone's approval. All you need is the
breath in your lungs and the evidence of your senses. But if you want to
be sociable, please, take a name that we can agree on. I like Lindsay.
Your friends recognizes you as Lindsay."
"Okay," she agreed. "Lindsay, it is. For now."
That would have to do, I though. She didn't seem very convinced, but I
hoped she would come around soon. "Good. Now, about that bath?"
She thought for a moment. "Yes. I would like one."
"How about some food?"
"That would be good, too."
"I've already taken the liberty of preparing one for Miss Summer."
"Lance, is there anything I can ever do for you, just ask for it."
"I'll consider it," the AI replied.
"Who is that?" Lindsay asked.
"That's the ship's AI. Lance, meet Lindsay. Lindsay, meet Lance."
"A pleasure to meet you, Miss."
"I can't see you."
"I am the ship itself, Miss Lindsay. I am all about you. The walls, the
floor, even the bed you are lying on are parts of me. Some I can feel,
some I can move. You most certainly can see me."
"Oh." She turned to me. "It's all so bewildering."
"Good word, 'bewildering,'" I commented. "Says it like it is, right now.
Come, Lindsay, we have a bath and other luxuries for you to enjoy. Lance,
please inform Dao..."
"Done," the AI announced.
"A friend of mine. We had an arrangement for the evening. Very informal,
Lindsay. You're more important to me right now."
She nodded. "Now then," I said, easing myself off the bed, "We have to
get you down to the bathroom. Do you think you can stand?"
"I... I think so." She slowly lowered her legs to the floor, easing her
butt to the edge of the bed. "Do you have something I could cover myself
with?" She held the bedsheet to her collarbone, covering her body with it.
"I'm your doctor as well as the cultural contact expert, Lindsay. I
think I can handle the sight of you naked."
She sighed and dropped the sheet. "Then again..." I said, my eyes
I swallowed hard. "Oh, no. Nothing... nothing wrong."
I thought about what I as going to say very carefully. "I've seen many
of the Han naked in the past couple of days, but most of them were in
medically tenuous situations and I didn't have time to consider them in
terms of their beauty."
"Now you do," she smiled.
I nodded, turned around and pulled a robe out of the requisition SDisk.
"Here. Put this on."
She looked down at me and smiled as she pulled the robe on. She was
incredibly tall from my point of view, but according to her stats she
was, at 232 centimeters, short for a Han. They averaged around 260 and
the general maximum was around 300.
I stood away from her while she tried to stand on her own. "Ooh... ow,"
she groaned. "My legs hurt."
"Probably stiff," I agreed. "One of my talents is massage. Would you
like me to demonstrate?"
She shook her head, laughing. "You are just like your legend!"
"To a fault!" she exclaimed.
I grinned. "Would you like me to stop?"
"I haven't decided. I think your attention will keep me from going crazy.
I... I guess I'm the stranger in a strange land."
I nodded. "Come on. Bath's this way."
"Why is my bed so big?" she asked, turning around to look at it.
"It's a Centaur's bed, normally. But she's down on Battia, so I used the
gradio to ask her if she minded loaning it to you. She's an friend
of mine, Amanda. You might even like her."
Lindsay nodded unsurely, then followed me into the bathroom, limping
slowly. Inside, the huge Centaur bathtub dominated the center of the
room. I didn't tell her that she shared it with three of her kind,
since four centaurs shared this particular bathroom. "I didn't even hear
"It filled from the bottom. It's a feature we designed to keep it from
being noisy." I ran my hand through the water. "You try it. See if you
She knelt down, wincing from the pain, and ran her hand through the tub.
"It's nice." She untied the knot in the robe and slid into the water. As
she did so, I caught my first glimpse of her genitals. I nearly dropped
the bottle I had just picked up.
Lindsay, lovely, feminine Lindsay, was hung better than most stallion
centaurs. And believe me, I've known a few stallions.
She sighed as she slipped into the warm water, her eyes closed. "Stay
here," I said.
"I don't think I'm going to move from this spot for a month, Ken." She
gave me a grin. "All this water!"
"Good," I agreed. I wandered out into the bedroom, walking over to the
SDisk again. "Lance. That meal you preprared would be a good idea right
about now.. And a carafe of wine."
"That pink stuff P'nyssa likes."
There was a pause, a moment of sheer loathing for my coimelin's plebeian
tastes that came through loud and clear as he said "Zinfandel. Yes." I
laughed. A chuckle came from his speakers. "Done," he said as the request
appeared on the SDisk. A very common ploughman's lunch. Light cheese,
some fruit, some bread. Aaden's idea of lunch.
"Thank you, Lance," I said, picking up the tray. "Hey, never know. If
you ever go meat, you might even like zinfandel."
"Only in my most terrible nightmares," he assured me.
I smiled, shaking my head slightly, and headed back for the bathroom.
"Lindsay?" I asked.
"I brought you some food. Would you like some?"
She splashed water around a little as she leaned out of the inset tub. I
handed her a slice of apple and a piece of bread. "Oh, and there's
soup in that tall jug over there. It's a thermos to keep it warm. And
I brought some wine."
She glanced at me curiously. "Ken, if you're anything like your legend,
which from everything I've seen, you are, you're probably trying to
seduce me. I'm flattered, but... if you really got me into bed, would
you have any idea what to do with me?"
I looked at her evenly. "Are you always this forward?"
"Not always. But usually." She grinned.
"Okay, then." I put on my metaphorical Rhysh Castle hat. "In the short
term, I would have no idea what to do with you. But I would figure out
something fast. I've slept with people with fur before, I've slept with
people who outmassed me by a factor of three-to-one before, and while
I've never slept with someone with both sets of genitals, I've certainly
slept with both of the kinds of people who come equipped with one set or
the other. You're certainly one of the most beautiful people I've met in
a long time. And I put a lot of effort into putting you back together,
Lindsay. I've become attached to you." I tried to smile, managed only
about half a cocked grin in an embarrassed way. "Making love is my
favorite way of saying I like you. I don't want something from you,
I want to give you something I think you might like."
She stared at me for a moment, then managed to slowly, glancing
away. "I've never heard anyone ever word it that way."
"'I want to give you something you might like, because I like you.'" She
brushed a lock of that damned hair out of her face. "I'm... not exactly
the oldest Han, as you might know from the records."
I nodded. "Fourth from the youngest. Second among the survivors. Which
is why it's so weird that you got hit with PRAIOR so hard."
"Everyone I knew... I grew up when the disease was just starting, and all
the Han around me, the one's who weren't sick, either cared for me like
they were my mother, or wanted something from me. It was hard to believe
anyone really liked me. And a lot of people were like that." She sighed,
taking a bite from the dark, rich bread on the tray. "We were all so
desperate. I think you can understand that. Desperate to live, to prove
we were still alive." She sighed. "We didn't handle it very well, did we?"
I shrugged, curling up beside the tub. "You did the best you could. Which
isn't bad, considering you had no adult supervision." I ran my hand
through the water of the tub, thinking. "I think you people did okay."
She smiled softly, then continued eating. We ate in silence, eyeing one
another occasionally. Once, we locked eyes, stared at each other, then
broke away, both laughing nervously. "You never answered the question,"
"Do you want a massage?"
"Do I have to get out of the tub?"
"Nah, I can get in with you. I mean, if that's all right."
She thought for a moment, then nodded. "It would mean my taking off my
clothes," I pointed out.
"I know," she smiled. I slipped out of my clothes and joined her in the
tub. The warmth soaked into me quickly, and combined with the late hour,
I felt tired. But, determined to fill my promises, I reached down into
the water and took her foot in my hand.
This tub was built to hold Centaurs; in its present configuration it was
over a meter deep and ringed all around with a bench for humanoids to
lie upon. I found a convenient ledge to sit on and began feeling around
her foot, looking for tense spots. As my hands worked into the fleshy
part of her foot, she moaned softly. "That feels so good."
"Glad you like it," I said. "I'm not entirely sure about what Han like
but I'm learning fast." Her foot was proportionate to her body, and in
my hands it felt enormous. Her toes wiggled as I played with them and she
jerked her foot back when I threatened to tickle her. "Don't," she warned.
"Okay, I won't," I said, smiling. I rubbed her calves next, working my
way up the length of her legs to her knees. "How's that?"
"Incredible," she said. "It's been a long time since someone rubbed me
like this." She sighed, leaning back and spreading her arms across the
floor of the cabin, closing her eyes. Her prodigious floated
just above the surface of the water, creating little ripples that spread
slowly away from her body when she shivered in time with my caresses. My
hands explored the soft musculature, weakened from bedridden weeks,
feeling the subtle differences between her design and my own. Her
fur, difficult to judge under the water, waved slowly and caressed
the backs of my hands. As I reached moved upwards along her thighs,
my hand brushed against her cock, also drifting under the water. She
jerked suddenly. "Sorry," she said.
"That's okay," I lied. "I'm almost done." I let go and drifted away
"Thanks," she smiled. "That was really wonderful."
"Listen," I said. "I, um, want to apologize for what I said earlier. I
tend to be forward, too, but I didn't take into account a lot of the
things your culture gave you."
She nodded. "Me too. I'm still thinking about your offer. Will you give
"All the time you need." I reached back behind me and pulled up a bottle
of shampoo. "Wash?"
She nodded. I started again at her feet, raising first one leg above the
water, then the other, working the shampoo in to her fell and then letting
her rinse off. By the time I had reached her groin, bubbles covered the
surface of the water. "Lindsay, do you want me to wash your, uh..."
"I'll do it," she said. The way she said it caught my attention; it was
as if she were trying to prevent my embarrassment, not my involvement. I
didn't think she would have minded if I had touched her. But she washed
her own genitals. I watched in fascination as she peeled back her sheath
to wash inside the foreskin of her cock, then slipped a soapy hand down
underneath to where her lay. It was a fascinating display. "You
can do the rest."
"Deal," I said. I began washing her belly, then her chest, paying perhaps
a little more attention to her than I should have, but she didn't
seem to mind, then moving around to her back, neck, and head. She cooed
as I scrubbed my fingertips into her scalp. "Feels good."
"All done," I said.
"Now, how do I rinse off?"
"Like this," I said. I hit the drain button on the bathtub. It took less
than twenty seconds for the water to vanish completely. Then, the shower
button. Water fell from the ceiling in torrents, a temperature slightly
less than the tub had been. She closed her eyes and indulged her face
in the falling stream, stretching. That, of all the things I had seen
tonight, had to be the most enticing. Her muscles tensed and defined,
no matter how atrophied, under her beautiful golden fur, her head tilted
back into the falling water, her and her cock both jutting out
from her body magnificently. I began doing DNA sequences in my head to
make my impending erection go away.
I climbed out of the tub. It was deep enough that only her waist up was
above the line. "Now, you dry by turning those dials, there," I said,
pointing. She looked down. "Power," read one, and "Heat," read the other.
She turned the one labeled "Power" up a little bit, and a small whirlwind
erupted in the tub. Slowly, she turned "Heat" up as well until the
temperature suited her, then began cranking "Power" up faster and faster.
I grabbed a towel. Although I wasn't within the actual effective range of
the whirlwind, I could still feel the effect of the tornado she was using.
"Rub your fur to dry off!" I shouted over the din of whistling air. She
did as I said, and soon was turning the dial down.
"Whew!" she breathed, her eyes alight. "That was fun!"
"Like that, huh?" I said. "How do you feel now?"
She sighed. "Tired, again."
"That's not surprising. Your body is still undergoing a lot of healing.
Come on, I'll put you to bed. Lance will wake you on ship's time,
which will be about four hours from now, and you can meet the rest of
She nodded, her eyes seemingly growing heavy even as I watched. She
shuffled back into the bedroom and lay down in bed. I rejoined her
after putting up the towels. "Here's some clothing for you tomorrow;
I understand your people were used to clothes. So are mine, still." I
smiled. "Goodnight, Lindsay."
I turned for the door. "Wait," she said. I walked back towards her. She
reached a hand up. "This isn't a dream, but it feels like one. Do you
promise me it's not a nightmare?"
"I can't promise, Lindsay. Only you can decide if this is a good dream
or a bad dream." I took her hand.
She nodded. "It figures you would say something like that. Ken?"
I leaned over and kissed her cheek. "Thank you, Lindsay. Goodnight. See
you in a couple of hours."
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.