| Dormant Ghosts
Journal Entry 008 / 01029
Seren, Narrin 07, 01029
One of the small, tucked-away niceties of the Nayano Handele is the
kitchen. Most rooms have small kitchen facilities, but in every major
residential area there's a kitchen for making large meals or throwing
major parties and the like. What's really nice about them, when they're
not in use, is the convention ovens. The raddiv microwaves and little
hotpots we have in our cabins just don't do for baking bread.
I had finally managed to beat, mix, and raise a dense sourdough loaf
and carry it into the kitchen for baking when I was put off by someone
already using the oven. I sighed. He turned. "Oh, sorry, Vatare'. I just
put mine in."
"That'll do," I agreed. "Room for two in there?"
I showed him. "Roundloaf."
"Oh, I think I can find room for that." He took it from my hands
unceremoniously and found room in the oven for it. "How long?" he asked,
his hand over one of several timers on the countertop.
"Twenty-five minutes." He nodded. "That's about right for me, too. See
A little more than an hour later I had already cut myself a slice, tossed
it back into the oven with the broiler on until the top of the bread
was dried out, and had coated it in olive oil. My so far unintroduced
companion in baking, a big, bald human with the blackest skin I had seen
in years, watched me with some concern on his expression. "You shouldn't
eat that stuff. It will you, you know. I mean, it'll kill you if
you do too much of it. That stuff just ain't good for you." Then he
looked slightly abashed. "Sorry. V3L."
I looked at him puzzled. "V3L?" Then I remembered where I'd heard that
term before. "You're a robot?"
"Uh, yeah. It's not a big deal. Is it?"
"No, I was just... kinda curious. What kind?"
"Medical Emergency Environments Mark V."
"Really? I know a Mark III named Kami."
"Kami?" he said, stroking his chin with his hand in a slightly exaggerated
manner. Thinking about it, I realized that most of his mannerisms were
just slightly exaggerated. His face, though, was quite charming, with
an animated brow, especially with the way his eyes would open up when
he was talking to some point. "Don't think I know her."
"She works at Cutter's."
"Ah! Been to Cutters, but never met her."
"So, what are you doing on this mission?"
"Part of the White's Contingent! You need a White's Contingent on every
mission, and we're it."
"Not all human, I assume?"
"Nah, nah. There's two Uncia and a Mephit."
I nodded. "So, I guess that leaves me with two more questions. What are
you doing in the kitchen, and why did are you under Voluntary Three Laws?
In all the years we've had robots there's never been a case of assault
by a non-V3L."
He shrugged, "Ah, I don't know. It just seemed like the right thing for
me, you know? It's like, with the V3L installed I'll be extra cautious
in the operating room. I'll, like, see things and react to them even if
my mind isn't paying attention to them. That scan?"
I nodded. "Makes sense. I guess."
"It really makes sense if you're a robot," he said. "As for what I'm
doing in the kitchen, well, I've got lots of friends who like my bread,
and we don't have convection ovens in the rooms, so in here I can cook."
I nodded. "So how do you know if it's any good?"
"I've got tastebuds. I don't know if they match yours, but they work well
enough for my friends. I'm something of a good cook." He smiled. "Come
on, I'll introduce ya." He gestured. I motioned for him to lead on.
We returned to another lounge where four other people were gathered. "Look
who I found," my still unnamed friend said as he led me in. I suddenly
realized that, since we had brought the bread with us, that I was going
to have to dip back into my starter mix pretty soon if I was going
to have any for my onboard "family." "I guess I should start with the
introduction. Hey, I should start with myself, right? Oz."
"Oz?" I asked.
"Oz the Mighty!" he said with a deep, amplified roar and a laugh. "Sorry,
being a robot sometimes I can do that. Anyway, this is Makkir," he
said, indicating a Mephit. "She's one of the other robots on board." He
introduced me to Saleem, a Vulpin, Jobe, a Ssphynx, and to a Centaur named
Bari. She seemed oddly out-of-place with this crew but she and Jobe were
definitely making "an item" out of each other. They all were surprisingly
casual about my presence at what seemed a small circle of friends.
I still somehow can't believe that we ended up playing Monopoly all night
long. Lance interrupted us to inform me that P'nyssa wanted to make sure
I was well, and I assured her that I was. When she found out I was being
sociable, if with a somewhat odd crowd, she seemed genuinely pleased but
reminded me that I had promised to make dinner tomorrow for her and the
Lears. Lance also reminded me that there was a fourth hour conference
with the Alpha team onboard. I assured him I hadn't forgotten and that
he was to call me before the eleventh hour to make sure I was headed to
bed on time.
Two hours later I found myself painfully giving away Park Place to
pay off some debts I had accumulated landing on Indiana Ave, on which
Bari had built a hotel. I cursed softly that I should have seen this
coming; Oz had been holding Boardwalk for the entire evening anyway and
there seemed to be no way to pry it out of those meaty hands of his. I
considered my options with a sigh. "Okay, I think I'm out."
"Looks that way," Oz agreed. I sat back in my chair and tossed what
remained of my petty cash into the center pile. "Go on; I'll watch."
I have to admit to being fascinated with Oz. He was strikingly handsome,
with brilliant white teeth in that black face of his. He had thick, curly
eyebrows but they were barely visible against that dark skin. Whoever
had designed him had clearly not intended for him to be just another
face in the crowd. Once or twice he caught me admiring him; the second
time I think he flashed me a smile. Bari held her own against his now
impressive barrier of cash and eventually she got Saleem's money. Oz
had long ago knocked out Jobe and Makkir, but with Bari having my totals
she clearly ruled the board. Oz finally relented. "You take it, Bari. I
think you've got it now."
She smiled graciously as she scooped up the cash. Apparently, one of
their agreements was that the winner cleaned up the money and put it
away. Both Makkir and Oz had kept their money clean and in separate piles,
but Bari had not been so fastidious. Unfortunately for her, most of the
mess was of her making and most of the cleanup her responsibility. She
took it easily and in a few minutes the game was easily put away. Bari
and Jobe then made their goodnights, as did Saleem. This left me with Oz,
Makkir and a big yawn on my part. I was surprised at how tired I felt.
"I'm going to go take care of something in the bay, Oz," Makkir said
"See you in the morning then," Oz replied with that dazzling grin.
"Goodnight, Makkir." Makkir nodded and left the room quietly. The night
had long ago slipped into third shift, leaving me and Oz all alone in
this small gathering room. "So, Ken, you heading off to bed, too?"
I tilted my head to one side as a Felinzi would. "Are you actually
flirting with me, Oz?"
"No, Ken, of course not," he replied with a grin. "Well, maybe a little."
I was puzzled; why would a robot flirt? For that matter, why would
this one be flirting with me? The last time I'd gotten involved with a
robot it had been for professional reasons; she had been trying to cure
me. Then again, I reflected, Brieanna and I had slept together recently,
not for a cure but because she liked it when we did. I liked it too. And,
I admitted to myself, I had felt myself slipping into an almost celibate
state recently, a state I did not enjoy too much. Getting out of that
state would require some work on my part, however, and a willing robot
was as good a place to start as any. "So, Oz, wha'cha looking for?"
"Oh, I don't know," he said in that rapid-fire speech of his. "Maybe
just lookin' to give you a good time. What do you say?"
"I could be willing for that."
"Good," I said, lunging out of my chair to fall into his arms. He had
a deep, satisfying laugh that I quickly quelled with a kiss. His tongue
felt hot upon my lips and we slathered each other; my hands probed and
touched his body, feeling the power underneath his casual clothing.
"I have a room," he suggested.
"Then let's go there," I agreed.
He led the way, taking us into the corridor and down a short hallway. He
had a cabin immediately adjacent to sickbay. Inside, it looked like any
other room for any other crewmember, and then I realized that's probably
exactly what it was; a room for any other crewmember. While there are
special considerations taken for 'taurs, fins, and the overly large Han
(and some Uncia) most crewfen fit into the average of 1 to 2 meters in
height and most of us have standardized cabins. It doesn't matter that
every cabin is high enough for a 'taur or Han to stand in comfortably;
it's considerations like bathroom design that force us to make such
decisions. As it was, however, any bathroom and kitchen and even bedroom
could be refit to another species in a matter of an hour or less.
Still, it was something of a surprise to find that this robot had a
bathroom and a kitchen. He hadn't been kidding when he'd mentioned that
he was a cook; I didn't know what his skill was (that bread had been very
good, however) but his kitchen was decked out in all kinds of hardware
I had rarely had the need for. I think I saw three different sizes of
wok hanging on the wall. Only the lack of a real oven had sent him to
the common kitchen.
It was also widely decorated. From all the walls hung reed tapestries
with primitive geometrical designs. What looked like an African war mask
hung from one wall; others had spears, knives, costumes. "Can I ask you
a personal question?"
"You can, but I already know what it is," he said with a smile. "Yes,
I was designed with this frame. But since I had it, I started to look
into the kind of people who were like this, Black." He gestured with his
arms wide. "Since then I've found I have a kind of kinship with them. I
can't explain it. I mean, I don't have the kind of hard time the Africans
went through either in America or with the Europeans but there are things
in the culture that reassure me. Don't ask me to explain it."
I smiled. "I won't."
"Good," he said. "But if you want I can tell you about it someday."
"Someday," I said as I walked into his widespread arms. He closed
them around me. For the first time I appreciated that he was slightly
shorter than I was; I'm 185cm and I'd say he was around 180. I kissed
his mouth again and I felt his body stiffen against me. He felt warm and
surprisingly active, and I could feel him quivering slightly as his hands
roved up and down the sides of my torso. "Where's your bed?" I murmured.
"Over here," he said, leading me into his small bedroom. It, too, had
the decorations, including netting over the bed to keep out non-existent
mosquitoes. I took care to remove my boots before crawling in; he joined
me in the bed and we took a moment to tear each other out of our clothing.
"You're dressed so complicated, Ken," he complained as he fiddled with
my belt and the button-fly slacks I wore.
"Velcro's not my style," I said as I ripped his up the length
of the closure. The velcro gave way easily and soon I had that wide,
muscular chest revealed to my hungry eyes. He smiled as we finished
undressing; for the pants I took them off myself; it was easier than
having him pull while I tried to pretend that I wasn't helping him along.
Soon we were naked and rolling on the bed together. My hand groped for
his cock and found it; it was a short, fat arrangement that promised me
a good ride if I wanted it. His hand found my own already solid erection
and he started stroking it gently. "Got a handsome one there, Ken."
"I'm glad you think so," I responded. "Yours is feeling fine, too, Oz."
"Good thing. I think my designers got that one right, too."
I squeezed it and watched his face contort with a grimace. "I think they
did, too. Is it wired for reward?"
"That's standard nowadays."
"Good!" I said as I pushed back to give myself room and buried my face
between his thighs. He gasped, "Oh Fah!" as I surrounded his erection
with my mouth. It was short; barely long enough to notify my gag reflex
but enough to alarm my jaw. I enjoyed demonstrating my skill as
I touched along the silky underside of it, pressed my mouth along the
smooth head, and plunged downward until his dense, curly pubic hairs
were tickling and itching my nose and lips. His body would tense with
every deep stroke and I enjoyed the sense of control I had over him.
"Maybe," he gasped after a minute of this, "Maybe my reward system is
wired up too well."
"Mmm?" I said, glancing up the length of that magnificent body of his. I
backed off his cock, dropping down to his tight scrotum, tonguing and
nibbling at it, taking the entire sac into my mouth and rolling his
balls around with my tongue. I knew they weren't real in one sense,
but they were very real in another and it had stopped mattering to me
if he happened to be a robot. He was responding like a in lust and
that was good enough for me.
"Oh, Fah, Ken! Better stop it if you want more from me!" he gasped as
I backed off. His cock was a beautiful thing, a magnificent shaft of
the darkest brown, crowned with a head of purple. An artist had built
I looked up the length of him and said, "What more could I want from you?"
"Oh, I dunno," he said, his eyes brightening. "You could fuck me. I
could fuck you."
"I could fuck you," I agreed with a grin, stroking my hand long his
thighs. His balls hung heavy between his thighs but now that he'd
mentioned it the idea of fucking him really appealed to me. "On your
He chuckled and kissed my lips before turning over onto his knees and
presenting his butt to me. His buttocks were solid masses of black marble
as I ran my hand over them, admiring the quality. His back spread out
before me, a broad plain of musculature that awaited my hands just as
his ass awaited my cock. I stroked myself a few times to full hardness.
"Lube?" I asked.
"Bedstand," he responded, pointing. I grabbed it and slathered some on my
cock and some on his ass. My right hand was now slick anyway so I slid a
finger up into him. Felt like a normal asshole to me. I tried to slide
my cock in but he was tight; as I pushed, he tried to let me in but my
cock just bent in the middle and didn't get anywhere. With both hands I
pushed it down and inward. Suddenly it popped into him with a sensation so
strong I could swear I heard it. He groaned aloud as my cock plunged its
way along the length of his asshole. Which was longer than I expected;
his sphincter had a grip. My hips met his buttocks and I was all the
way in him; I could feel the heat of his searing the root of my cock.
"Wow," I gasped, complimenting him.
"Yeah," he growled, a deep and chromatic sigh of pleasure.
I began fucking him slowly, watching my cock slide in and out of his hole.
That incredible tightness was a sensation of contrasts; it gripped mostly
at the root of my cock rather than at the head; I could feel pleasure
coursing through my groin, but not a familiar pleasure. "Harder,"
I complied, giving him what he wanted. A low-pitched growl arose from him,
an sound I knew all too well. I fucked him harder, pushing myself
up off my knees to press my cock against his prostate. "Yeah," he moaned.
I scratched at his back, watching as my nails left trails of brown in
the surface of his black skin. He moaned as I fucked him harder, his
body a quivering bulk of pleasure as my own climax approached. I slowed
down to appreciate the sensation, letting the head of my cock appreciate
some of that grip. That was too much for me and I exploded inside him,
pumping come into his guts.
"Yeah," I sighed, leaning over and kissing his shoulders. He collapsed
to the bed and I fell out of his hole, collapsing on top of him.
"Yeah," he agreed. It seemed to be the word of the day. "I'm glad this
design came with that feature."
"Anal orgasms," he chuckled.
"Lucky you. I only get those once in a great while."
"Can I do it for you?" he asked.
"Later," I agreed. "Right now I could use a glass of water and bedtime."
"You're welcome to spend the night," he said with that dazzlingly
"Lance, tell Nyss I'll be elsewhere tonight," I said as Oz got out of bed.
A minute later he returned with a tall glass of water which I gulped
Oz climbed into bed next to me, then sat there looking at me curiously.
"What?" I asked him.
"I like you," he said.
"I like you too," I said. "But what do you mean?"
"Well," he said, his expressive face lighting up, "You're not like other
guys I've slept with. Usually someone expects something different out of
me. They hear the word 'robot' and they they expect something, you know?
It's not like I transform or anything. Maybe that's what they think. That
I can make it bigger, or go longer, or something. You're the first guy
I've gotten to fuck me in a long time."
I chuckled. "You don't look any different on the outside."
He laughed. It was a musical sound. "I don't feel no different, either. I
don't think I do. Oh, I don't know. But you were right about one thing. It
is time for bed."
I yawned. "Yep." I realized I was still sticky between the thighs. I
cuddled up close to him. "'Night."
An alarm woke me in the middle of the night. It was inside my head,
a personal alarm from Lance. I was awake in a heartbeat. "Huh, wha?" I
said, glancing around. My thrashing woke Oz.
"Sorry to disturb you, Ken, but a letter came for you marked Personal
Emergency. Would you like to see it now?"
"Huh? Yes. Right here."
A screen resolved before my eyes. A letter appeared; I recognized the
handwriting as Aaden's.
Find someone to be withe before you read this. P'nyssa should already
have a copy of this and the two of you will need each other very
soon. I don't know of any way to make this hit any softer or with any
less pain, so just know that we all love you here on Pendor and we'll
do everything we can to make this time easy for you.
Paul and Carroll are dead.
They took their lives last night in a quiet, private ceremony. Only
Dave knew what was planned and he invoked privacy just as anyone else
would, but he's as as we are to have to tell you this. He reported
the bodies to us this morning. They left a single note, which read,
"Tell Ken and Danielle we love them but a thousand years have gone
by. It is time for us to move on. Bless every one of you who have
stood with us through the years." He may have sent you something more
but Dave tells me it's unlikely.
You're going to be home in just under two weeks; we're going to have
a remembering ceremony then. Almost everything's being held until you
get back. Please, don't cry too much.
Love and worry,
I read the note and tears welled into my eyes. I looked over at Oz who
tried to smile. I watched it fade as he realized from my expression that
all was not good. "What..."
I closed my eyes and asked much of him as I fell into his arms. I started
crying like I hadn't cried in nearly nine hundred years. And some part
of me hasn't stopped hurting since.
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.