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SPECIES split second knew beyond any


Standard disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. It is for entertainment
purposes only and intended exclusively for adults. If you are not legally
of age according to the laws of your land, please go away.

Special disclaimer: Some people may find this story-- well, kind of
yucky. Please beware that it contains extreme body modification, acts of
non-consensual sex between men, and male pregnancy, all set in a galaxy
far, far away. If this is not your cup of tea, go back now. You've been

Warnings: sci fi, M/M, NC, tg, medical, extreme body modification,
castration, male pregnancy


The Surrogate Species by mother Kali

Kael Garon, the supreme overlord of the Krill Empire, stepped off the
transport and walked the short distance down the gangway. He hesitated a
moment at the air lock before entering the space station and leaving his
pride behind, a casualty of war. Inside, Garon scowled at the spare,
utilitarian decor. The air itself seemed to taste foul here, even though
he was equipped with an environater that adapted the atmosphere to his own
biological needs. To find oneself in such humbling circumstances could be
nothing but a bitter experience, especially for the leader of a race as
fierce as Garon's own.

Of course, it was his people's war-like nature that had ultimately led
to this moment of disgrace. Under his father, who had been Kael before
him, the Krill had set out to conquer as much of the galaxy as they could
lay their hands on, and they had been stunningly successful. World after
world fell to their superior technology and ferocious love of battle. They
had not been gentle conquerors, either. For thirty years, the Krill Empire
had drained the resources from vanquished worlds and turned other races
into veritable slaves. The Krill people began to believe they were

Perhaps this was the ultimate cause of every great empire's
destruction--blind arrogance. In the case of the Krill, their undoing had
come from the most unexpected source. It was humbling, really, to know
that a species so inferior in strength could prove such a formidable foe.

They were called the Vilasians. Their planet lay at the farthest
reaches of known space. The Krill's string of conquests had brought them
all the way to this distant outback. Little was known of the Viasians, but
victory was an addictive pleasure. Garon's father had insisted on
invading, despite the lack of intelligence on the species.

As it turned out, the Vilasians were poorly prepared for an attack.
They were winged, gossamer creatures, ethereal souls with a pacifist
nature, so very easy to crush. The sleek black columns of Krill soldiers,
tall and powerful, their body armor glinting in the pale pink light of the
Vilasian sun, marched on the capital. They made quick work of destroying
the government and brutally ending the sovereignty of the Vilasian people.

Perhaps, the Vilasians would not have exacted such a terrible revenge if
the occupation had been less bloody. Perhaps, if they had simply pillaged
and not raped, the outcome would have been different. But the Krill
warriors found the filmy softness of the Vilasians irresistible, and sex
was a spoil of war they had come to expect, even to demand.

The Krill pursued their pleasure with lusty abandon, but the delicate
Vilasians were not designed for the rigors of such physical passion. The
hapless victims who fell into their conqueror's clutches were quite
literally fucked to death. After little more than a month of domination,
the race was on the brink of extinction.

Apparently, they thought it only sporting to return the favor.

No one among the Krill realized these meek, fragile beings had such a
taste for vengeance until it was far too late. The Krill went on with the
usual business of conquest. They carried the riches of Vilasia back to
their own world and prepared the planet for colonization. When the last of
the Vilasians died out, the majority of the ground forces were sent back to
the Krill home world. The soldiers came home to their wives, eager for the
joys of the marriage bed. There was nothing that complemented a warrior's
glory in battle like siring a child upon his return.

It took months for their doctors to realize that all the desperate women
flooding their offices shared a common problem. The Vilasians had given
their rapists a going-away present, a genetically engineered virus that
somehow eluded medicals scans. It caused no symptoms in the men, but when
the women contracted it through intercourse, it shriveled their sexual
organs and left their wombs small, hard stones. No offspring would ever
grow inside them. To make things worse, the virus mutated into an air-born
pathogen. Soon, even women whose husbands had not been on Vilasia could no
longer conceive.

That was twenty years ago. Despite their scientists' best efforts, no
child had been born to his people in all that time. They were a dying

It was this desperate need that had forced them to turn to the Marak,
the only power in the system that rivaled their own. The Marak were an
artificial life form, created by some long forgotten race. They had been
designed as servants, but some twist of fate had freed them. There were
various stories about how that happened. Some versions held that the
master race was wiped out in some cataclysm, a plague or a natural
disaster. Others insisted that the Marak had risen up against them and
slaughtered those who had given them life.

Whatever their origins, they had evolved into an efficient, logical,
highly organized society of scientists. They functioned as the think tank
for the entire sector, solving problems for a price. This was the source
of their power. They had a truly miraculous gift for invention, and their
services did not come cheap.

Garon himself had promised them half the worlds in his empire to save
his race from extinction. And remarkably, they had proven successful. The
first infants had begun arriving on his world a few months ago. His
doctors had given the children thorough examinations to make sure this was
not some form of trickery. But they were exactly what they appeared to be,
healthy Krill offspring.

It was now time to settle the bill. Garon had come to sign over control
of the promised planets--but not before he saw for himself how the Marak
had accomplished in less than a year what the best minds among his own
people had not been able to do in two decades.

He looked around the receiving area where he had disembarked. Of
course, no one was there to greet him. The Marak did not much concern
themselves with the niceties of life. They deemed things like protocol and
good manners to be irrelevant. If they had grown occupied with some
experiment, they might leave him waiting for who knew how long.

Garon folded his arms across his chest and sighed. He would far prefer
to lead troops into battle than to be stranded here in this godforsaken
place. He despised its monochrome sterility, its efficient plainness. The
Krill were a vibrant people, passionate and proud. Their culture was
ancient and rich, full of color and beauty and liveliness. This space
station and everything else about the Marak affronted his sensibilities.
The Marak defied everything he stood for and believed in.

Garon waited for some time until finally the heavy metal doors opened,
and one of the Marak entered the receiving room. They were ovoid in shape,
and their movements gave the impression of rolling rather than walking. No
matter how much contact he had with them, they still managed to unnerve

It was not that they were artificial life forms that disturbed him so
much. He had traveled this part of the galaxy extensively. He had seen
other cybernetic races. But the Marak were a hybrid of biology and
technology. Their inner structure was mechanical. Their intelligence came
from circuits and chips. But their outer covering was living tissue,
silver and glistening with some sort of natural lubrication. Their faces
were smooth and expressionless, each one indistinguishable from the next.
He did not know if he had dealt with this particular one before. He had no
idea if it was male or female. In truth, he did not know if they even had
such a thing as gender.

He suppressed a shudder and gave a formal half bow, as demanded by the
customs of his people. "I bring you the greetings of the Krill Empire," he

"Kael Garon," the creature said. "I am Toorah, the director of research
on your project. I will be showing you our facilities and explaining our

"I appreciate your taking the time to meet with me," he said.

"It was reasonable to request a project review before making final
payment. We saw no reason not to comply." The Marak moved toward the door.
"Come this way."

Garon tamped down his irritation. On his world, it was an insult to
show a guest your back. Apparently, the Marak had no such compunction. He
strode forward and rejoined his host.

"Your case has proven most interesting," the Marak said. "At first
glance, it seemed to offer no challenge. We believed we would be able to
reverse the affects of the virus, but the bioengineers who designed it were
quite thorough. Still, your males produce the zygote within their own
bodies. That has not been affected by the pathogen. It is only the
females' ability to accept and nurture the zygote that has been disrupted.
So we needed only to find a suitable environment in which the microspawn
could grow to maturity. We thought we would be able to construct an
appropriate incubator."

"And that proved successful?" the Kael asked.

"It did not, I'm afraid, quite contrary to our hypotheses. So we began
searching for a compatible species that could act as a surrogate. This
also proved difficult. We experimented with many races without finding a
suitable match."

Garon was growing impatient. He was the client. He had no interest in
hearing how difficult the assignment had proven. "But you *did* eventually
find a viable surrogate, did you not?"

"Six months ago, we discovered a new species, previously uncatalogued.
They have proven a most efficient surrogate. To date, we have delivered
126 healthy, fully developed offspring to your world."

"What is this species? Where did they come from?"

"We refer to them as Species #4587. They are settlers from a distant
part of the galaxy. Their own planet has grown overcrowded, and they set
out on a long range mission to colonize a new world."

"So you attacked them and took them prisoner?"

The creature's expression remained blank. "They entered our space
without authorization. They are not covered by any covenant of
cooperation. According to the articles of stellar law, the ships and all
their contents rightfully belong to us."

Garon could not suppress a sneer. There was nothing he despised more
than a race that hid behind the law to do its dirty work.

"There was more than one ship?" he asked.

"We have recovered several, and more continue to arrive. The first
ships deployed beacons to guide the rest. We project an adequate supply of
surrogates to meet the demand."

"And these females are able to carry our offspring?"

"The females, no. Their biochemistry proved incompatible. The female
hormone disrupts the microspawn's development and results in severe birth
defects. We have found other uses for them. However, we have been able to
modify the males to carry the offspring."

The Kael frowned. "Both sexes carry the young in this species?"

"No. But the male biochemistry is conducive to the growth of the
offspring. We have been able to adapt the lower section of the digestive
tract, the rectum and anus, to serve as womb and birth canal."

Garon blinked, too stunned for a moment to react.

"You--" he sputtered in outrage. "You are growing my offspring in a
shit hole!"

"Kael, I assure you there is no need for concern," the creature said,
with a hint of distaste in its voice at Garon's emotional outburst. "What
is waste to one biological entity is fuel to another. If we provide the
surrogates a carefully controlled diet, their natural metabolic processes
break down the nutrients to create energy for themselves, along with a
substance that provides the appropriate nourishment to the offspring. The
natural membrane that surrounds the offspring as it grows provides the
needed atmosphere. It is a logical and symbiotic approach to the problem."

Garon took a deep breath and tried to calm down. "And how are they
born? If the males do not normally give birth."

"The muscular action that normally expels waste is powerful enough to
deliver the child. We use a drug to stop this reflex while the surrogate
is pregnant. When the offspring is sufficiently mature, we stop the
medication, and the surrogate is able to give birth."

"I'd like to see these surrogates."

"Of course. The laboratory is only a little further."

"I want to see *everything*," he said.

There was a challenge in his voice, but the Marak responded without

"Order is always our objective, Kael," it said. "We will not bypass any
step of the process during this review. There is a new shipment of this
species just arrived. You will be able to see the modification procedure
the males undergo in order to become viable surrogates. This way."

The Marak punched in an access code, and a door slid open, leading to a
large cargo bay. Garon followed the creature inside. A Marak shuttle sat
on the landing pad.

"The ship has just docked," the Marak explained. "You can see the
future surrogates as we unload them."

As if on cue, the heavy titanium cargo door of the ship swung open with
a loud metallic groan. Two Marak lumbered down the gangway and took
positions at the bottom of it. They were armed with lightning rifles, the
perfect weapons to control behavior, designed to cause excruciating pain
without inflicting any actual physical damage.

The first prisoner appeared at the top of the gangway. He blinked in
the bright light, disoriented. A Marak guard quickly pushed him forward.
He stumbled a step, regained his balance and made his way down the rest of
the gangway. At the bottom, Marak guards instructed him to stand off to
the side. He meekly obeyed, his head down, his hands crossed in front of
his lower body. He was a good head taller than the Marak, muscular,
superior by far in physical strength. But Garon suspected he'd already
felt the blast from the lightning rifle and realized that his strength
meant nothing in the face of the Marak's superior technology.

The rest of the captives began streaming out of the shuttle in an
orderly procession and lined up on the tarmac. They all appeared intent on
covering themselves, just as the first one had.

Garon could not understand how this feeble attempt to shield themselves
was going to do them any good. They were the most oddly vulnerable looking
species he'd ever laid eyes on--soft, fleshy and exposed. He'd never seen
anything quite like it. And yet, they did not appear weak, exactly.
Although they were by no means as large or as physically powerful as
Garon's own race, they were still quite physically impressive. They held
themselves straight and proud. Whenever they moved, there was the play of
well-developed musculature. It was a most interesting contradiction.

"They have no exoskeletons?" he asked his host.

It shook its head. "Only an epidermis."

"What protects them in battle? Or from the elements?"

"Normally they wear garments made of plant and other types of fibers.
We remove them as a matter of security and to make it easier to monitor
their physical condition."

"Why do they hold their hands in front of themselves like that? Is it a
military stance?"

"Apparently, it is taboo in their culture to be seen by others without
wearing garments. It seems especially important to them that the genitals
are covered."

The Marak motioned to the guards, and the guards ordered the prisoners
to drop their hands to their sides. The captives hesitantly obeyed.

This species' delicate looking genitals made them seem even more
vulnerable. Garon found it oddly arousing, the way this being's sex was so
prominently and openly displayed.

"The phallus has no carapace to protect it?"

"No. It is always exposed. When the being is sexually aroused, its
phallus becomes engorged, as does the male phallus of most species.
Otherwise, the phallus rests limply between its legs."

"And what is that hanging beneath the phallus?"

"The male gonads. This species has them on the outside of the body."

"You have to be kidding."

The Marak regarded him with a look of confusion. They did not have the
concept of humor in their culture. It had no idea what it meant to say
something in jest.

"How do they protect themselves in battle?" Garon wanted to know.
"Would they not be constantly at risk of an enemy trying to destroy their
ability to bear offspring?"

"We found children among them. And there were no males whose genitals
were not fully intact."

"Very strange."

Garon stared at them. They were so very different from his own people,
but beautiful in their own way. He began at one end and walked down the
line, inspecting each one. The creatures kept their heads bowed, their
eyes lowered. He could hear their nervous breathing. He could feel their

Near the end of the line, one particularly caught his attention. He
stopped to take a closer look. These creatures came in many different
shades. This one was pale. He had a tousle of golden hair on top of his
head, a patch around his genitals, and a light dusting all over his body.
He put a hand against the creature's chest. He could feel its heat and the
wild pounding of its heart. He tilted the man's chin up so he could see
his eyes. They were pale blue with dark centers, wide and bright with
fear. He lightly stroked the man's cheek with his thumb. The man trembled.
His skin was the softest thing Garon had ever felt.

"The next step is modification," the Marak said. "You can watch as we
perform the procedure on this one." It indicated the golden-haired captive.

Garon nodded. "Yes, I would like to see that."

The Marak gave a sign to the guards, and they pulled the golden-haired
man from the line. They held him tightly beneath the arms, making escape
impossible. He tried a different tactic, sagging heavily, making his body
dead weight, trying to resist being taken away. The guard quickly jabbed
the lightning rifle into his ribs. This made him much more cooperative.
The Marak dragged him from the room, down the corridor, to the medical bay.
Garon and the researcher followed.

Inside the operating room, the guards ordered the captive to lie on the
table on his stomach. They restrained his arms and legs and then pushed a
button on a nearby console. The table shifted so that the captive's legs
were spread and his buttocks positioned high in the air. A Marak doctor
stepped over to him, carrying a long, slender probe made out of some sort
of shiny silver metal. He parted the captive's cheeks and introduced the
probe into his anus.

"Hey!" the captive yelped with outrage. "Get that out of me. What the
hell are you doing?"

The Marak doctor did not answer or stop what it was doing.

"They always resist having anything inserted into the anus," the Marak
researcher explained to Garon. "The males even more so than the females.
We believe this may be another taboo in their culture."

Garon rolled his eyes. The Marak were the most brilliant scientific
minds in the galaxy, and yet, they couldn't grasp the simple emotional fact
that having something forced into your body against your will was a
violation, no matter what your culture.

The doctor pushed a button on the control panel, and the instrument
buried in the captive's anus started to hum. The man's eyes widened, and
then he began to shriek.

"This enlarges the anus," the researcher explained. "So that it can
accommodate a Krill phallus without tearing, and also to make birthing

"It must be painful."

"We block the nerves to prevent the worst of the sensations from
registering. But there is no way to completely avoid discomfort. They can
feel what is happening to them, and it causes distress."

The man's face had turned bright red from his screaming.

The procedure went on for several more minutes. When it was completed,
the doctor removed the probe from the man's anus. From his vantage point,
Garon could see that the opening was much larger than it had been before.
It was really rather a grotesque procedure, but necessary to prevent
another disaster like the one they'd had with the Vilasians. At least,
these beings would be able to withstand intercourse with Krill males.

The man lay crumpled on the table, his back heaving. The doctor allowed
him to rest for a few moments before instructing the guards to turn him.
They positioned him on his back, with his feet fastened in stirrups, his
legs spread wide. They again restrained his arms again and added a strap
across his chest to keep his upper body stationary. The man's belly
rippled with fear.

The doctor ran a scanner over his torso. The instrument mapped his
internal organs. When the doctor found the correct spot, he took a device
and held it against the man's skin. There was a flash of red light as the
instrument made an incision. A moment later the light flashed again, and
the incision was closed. The man did not flinch. At least this procedure
was not painful.

"A gland was just implanted in its bladder. It will turn the
surrogate's liquid waste into nourishment for the offspring. Now, there is
just one final step remaining."

The doctor moved between the man's legs and positioned what looked like
a black box around the sack that hung below his phallus.

"What is that for?" Garon asked.

"Too high a level of the male sex hormone in their blood can cause
miscarriage. We amputate the gonads as a preventative measure to protect
the offspring. This instrument removes the outer structure called the
scrotum along with the testes."

The black box made a faint buzzing noise. The doctor put its hand
beneath the man's body, pulled away the machine and caught the severed
gonads with a soft plop. The man strained to sit up to see what had been
done to him, but the bonds kept him in place. Garon wondered if the
anesthesia blocked all sensation or if perhaps he could feel the loss of
that soft weight between his legs.

The doctor carried the amputated scrotum over to the sterile work area.
He weighed it, punched some data into the computer, put the scrotum into a
container for cryogenic storage and tagged it with the man's identification

"You don't just discard the sex organs?" Garon asked.

"That would be wasteful," the Marak replied. "Perhaps we will find some
use for them."

A cold chill went down Garon's spine. It was true that he had done many
things in the heat of battle that he could never speak of in civilized
company. There was a great deal of blood on his hands. But he had always
honored his opponents on the most basic level, as one man pitted against
another. He had always treated them with the dignity his warrior's code
demanded, offering the defeated a quick and merciful death. Whatever else
might be said of his people, they did not torture or mutilate on the
battlefield. And while he might need the Marak to save his race from
annihilation, he could not watch the cold and calculating way they
harvested this man's sex organs without a wave of revulsion coming over

The doctor carried the clear container with its grotesque contents over
to the cryo unit. The man on the table frantically turned his head to
watch, trying to see what the container held. The doctor sat it down on
the counter while he punched in a code to open the freezer. This gave the
man a plain view of the receptacle.

Garon could not imagine what that must be like, to find out that you had
just been castrated by seeing your dismembered gonads prepared for cryo
preservation. He shuddered at the thought. He had never been more
relieved that his own sex organs were buried deep in his pelvis, shielded
by bone and muscle and body armor.

The golden-haired man stared at the container for several long moments.
Garon could not imagine what a monstrous reality that would be to wrap
one's mind around.

The man began to shake his head. "No," he moaned, as if in physical
pain. "No. No."

The doctor placed the container into the cryo unit, secured it and
closed the door. The whooshing sound of the hermetic seal caused the
golden-haired man to flinch.

"No!" he said, more loudly, with greater determination, refusing to
accept the loss of his sex organs.

He thrashed his head back and forth and pulled frantically at his bonds,
desperate to sit up, to check between his legs.

"No!" he yelled. "You fuckers! No! You bastards! You-- Aaaaaah! No!

The researcher looked perplexed. "The nerve impulses are blocked.
There is no discomfort. And yet, they always scream."

"He's just been emasculated," Garon said dryly. "That's not something a
man accepts without a rather passionate objection."

The Marak blinked at him, without comprehension. Garon thought they
really must not have gender. They probably just constructed more of their
own kind in one of their workshops whenever they needed them. They had no
idea what it meant for a man to be unable to spread his seed, to know that
his line would die with him.

"Whatever objection he may have is perfectly pointless," the Marak said
dismissively. "The procedure has already been performed. He is a
surrogate now. He has now choice in the matter."

Garon doubted that the golden-haired man would have been comforted by
such logic. He watched the man flail and scream until he exhausted
himself. Then he began to cry, huge, trembling tears that spilled down his
cheeks. Garon had to turn away. He couldn't watch such misery and know
that he was the cause of it.

He couldn't afford to feel anything for these creatures, not when using
them in this way was the key to his people's very survival.

The doctor called the guards back. They released the restraints and
hauled the man off the table. Garon half expected him to lash out in rage.
But the Marak jailer pressed the lightning rifle against his back. The
threat was clear. The golden-haired man sagged in defeat as they dragged
him from the room.

"Where will he be taken?" he asked.

"To a holding cell. He will finish healing overnight and be ready to
begin service tomorrow."

"I'd like to see these cells."

The Marak nodded. "Of course."

It started for the door, and Garon followed, resigned by now to always
being on the heels of his host. They went down several long corridors.
The Marak stopped at one of the doors and punched in the access code. The
door opened, and the noise from inside the room hit Garon like a slap
across the face. Aisles of cages, stacked three high, lined the room.
Each was filled with a newly castrated male. Their collective wails
reverberated off the metal walls like a desperate requiem.

Garon walked the aisles, looking for the golden-haired man. The faces
of some of the captives were red and swollen with fears. Others were pale
and drawn with shock. All were profoundly distressed.

Garon located the golden-haired man near the back of the room, huddled
on the cold floor of his cage, cradling his mutilated genitals in his
hands. He sobbed uncontrollably. Garon watched him for several moments,
but the captive was too distraught to notice. Finally, Garon turned away
and went to rejoin the researcher, feeling weary and saddened.

The Marak was talking into a comm device when he returned.

"Kael, this review will have to be terminated for now. My attention is
needed elsewhere. We have prepared quarters for you. We can reconvene in
the morning."

Garon was in need of a break, so this change of plan was not entirely
unwelcome. And yet, the Marak's presumption rankled him.

"That was not our arrangement. And I do not have time to waste," he

"Nor do we, I assure you. But this cannot be helped. You may stay, and
we will continue in the morning. Or we can terminate the proceedings

"Is this how you treat all your clients?" he asked.

The Marak stared at him blankly.

He sighed. "Very well. Have someone show me to my quarters."

The Marak nodded, and then spoke into his comm device. A moment later,
another of its kind appeared.

"Come this way," it said.

The guest quarters were down a level, at the end of a long corridor.

"There is a food dispenser," the Marak told him, indicating a panel on
one of the walls. "The computer should be able to provide you with
anything else you require. But if not, there is a comm device here." It
pointed to a button by the door.

"Thank you."

It nodded and left. The door closed automatically.

Garon looked around. The accommodations were much as he had
expected--adequate and depressing. He scanned the menu list on the food
dispenser and found a traditional Krill stew. He pressed the button, and
the food appeared. He took the bowl and sat down in the most comfortable
chair the room offered. Of course, the stew tasted as if it had come from
a food dispenser. The flavors were muted. The consistency was all wrong.
But he was hungry, so he ate.

Afterwards, he lay down on the bed to think. He wasn't sleepy, and
there was little else to do. The Marak apparently considered entertainment
to be irrelevant.

He thought about the golden-haired man, his creamy skin, his eyes that
were the same bright blue as the great mountains on Krill. To his shame,
he felt the telltale tightening in his groin, the heat of arousal in his
belly, and then his penis began to uncoil from its carapace.

Garon liked to believe that he was a very different sort of Kael from
his father. He had never found it proper to take pleasure in another's
suffering. Under his command, the excesses of his soldiers had been reined
in. They kept order on the conquered worlds, but they did not ravish them.
Garon understood what his father had never been able to see. Forced
slavery, unnecessary violence, casual injustices perpetrated against
vanquished worlds--sooner or later, these things always came back to haunt
you. Garon had vowed there would be no more Vilasias under his rule.

He had to wonder where all his high-minded philosophy had gone when it
came to species #4587.

He didn't wish them ill. If it had not been a matter of survival, he
would have let them come and go in peace, with safe passage through Krill
space. But it *was* a matter of life and death to his people. And surely,
that took precedence over any notion of justice. Didn't it?

And why did just the thought of the golden-haired man heat his blood and
make his penis stiffen?

Garon sighed. Was it simply because this was such a lonely place that
he could finally admit to himself what a lonely man he had become?

This had not always been the case, of course. He had been young once
upon a time, filled with hope and prospects. He was next in line to become
Kael, and that had placed the world at his feet, many worlds, in fact. His
was a carefree existence. The only pressure, if you could even call it
that, had been the need to choose an appropriate mate, a female of good
reputation and prominent family who would be able to carry out the duties
of Consort with grace and dignity.

He found it a most agreeable obligation.

He had gone from reception to party to ball to festival, meeting and
flirting with every young women of marriageable age and noble birth. It
had been like wandering through the most wonderfully verdant garden, and he
was the lucky gardener who could pluck any blossom he chose. All he had to
do was reach out his hand and take what he wanted.

His father had given him the traditional coming-of-age speech. He had
passed along to him the knowledge of how men and women coupled. He had
also given Garon some advice about love. He had said that Garon should not
try too hard to find a wife. He would simply know the right woman when he
saw her.

Garon's father had proven so very right. Garon could still remember
that moment as if it were yesterday. He had walked into the reception room
in her father's house and saw Jaina standing there by the window. Sunshine
streamed into the room and made a halo around the sleek, dark planes of her
face. He lost himself in her loveliness, totally, gratefully.

He forgot his manners completely and neglected to greet Jaina's father or to send his own father's compliments. He had not waited to be presented
to the family. He had gone straight to Jaina's side and introduced
himself. She was more delicately built than most females of their kind, and
he towered over her. Something about that touched an erotic place in him.
She really was a flower, both fertile and fragile, and he had never wanted
anyone more than he wanted her.

She smiled at him, bemused. Her eyes were wide and dark and mysterious.
He stared at her, and she didn't look away. Flower that she was, there was
a spark in her, too. She was not dazzled by him or his status, as so many
others were. She kept her back straight, her gaze level. She understood
her own worth, and she would not downplay it, not for a future Kael, not
for anyone. It only intensified his passion for her.

He took her hand and clutched it, far more passionately than was proper
for a first meeting, holding onto her slim fingers much longer than
protocol allowed. And that finally did cause her to lower her eyes, not
out of shyness, but with a sense of embarrassment for his unseemly

In that split second, he knew beyond any doubt that this was the woman
who would be the mother of his children.

It had been so sweet, after the many days of wedding ritual and revelry,
to finally be able to lie with her in the marriage bed. He had held her
and soothed her and entered her with extreme gentleness and care. And it
had been so good, the exquisite connection of being inside her, feeling her
heat, having her completely surrounding him, the safe haven to which he
would entrust his little seedling. When he had come inside her, she had
cried out, the tears streaming down her face in surprised joy. This was
the moment all Krill females waited for, when she would accept her
husband's offspring and carry it for him in her body, when she would truly
be a woman.

When the doctors came the next day to check on Jaina, however, they
found that she was not pregnant. Jaina looked crushed, but Garon was not
entirely disappointed. It meant that he could take his pleasure with her
again, something that would not have been safe if she were already with
child. He quickly sent the doctors away and took Jaina to bed again,
savoring their lovemaking, believing it would be their last for many
months, until after she had delivered and weaned their first child.

But Jaina still did not get pregnant.

A few months later, they learned the devastating truth. Jaina, like
every other Krill woman, had been rendered incapable of conceiving.

After the diagnosis, Jaina would not let him comfort her. She would not
speak to him, would not allow him touch her or even to remain in the same
room with her. It quickly became clear that she would never forgive him.
It didn't seem to matter that he had never been to Vilasia, that he had not
infected her, that she would have been barren no matter whom she'd married,
that it was his father's military policies that had brought such terrible
destruction, not something that he himself had done. She had suffered the
loss of the most sacred thing a Krill woman could ever hope to gain, the
thing that gave a woman's life its most profound meaning. She had to blame

They had never been intimate again. Under the circumstances,
intercourse would have been an affront to her. They never spoke about her
infertility, not once in twenty years. She would not confide in him about
her suffering. She did not trust him to understand, even though he, too,
had suffered the loss. Even though he was just as devastated.

Jaina had managed to hold herself together for a while, at least enough
to discharge her duties as Consort. The two of them made the required
public appearances. They held hands and pretended to be something they
weren't. Jaina gave speeches to Krill women's groups and urged them to
have courage, to stand by their husbands, to wait for a cure. To anyone
who didn't know her, she seemed the perfect model of long-suffering

But eventually the strain became too much for her. She slowly lost her
mind. No matter how many doctors or counselors he called to the palace, no
one was able to stop her steady decline. For years now, she had been
locked up in a suite of rooms in a distant wing of the palace. Every month
or so, he forced himself to check on her. She no longer recognized him
when he stood by her bedside. When he looked into her eyes, they were dull
and blank. The spark he had loved so much had long since been

Garon had not touched a woman since that last time with Jaina. With no
hope of offspring, it would just be sex, and he would not demean his wife's
suffering for the trifle of physical pleasure.

He had not even felt the stirring of desire for as long as he could
remember. But now, just remembering the golden-haired man's pale softness,
his mountain-colored eyes, his warm, musky scent made Garon's penis stand
erect and fully aroused. He ran a finger along the length of it and
shuddered. It had been so long

He began to stroke himself, even though he practically never indulged
this way. It had been drilled into his head since he was a child that his
seed was precious. Each microspawn he wasted masturbating or having
frivolous sex with an incompatible alien was a future Kael that died before
it had a chance to live. A thought that morbid tended to put a damper on a
man's libido. Garon was impeccably disciplined when it came to his wants.
There had been perhaps three or four times in his life when he'd brought
himself to orgasm, and each time he'd felt the most intense guilt
afterwards as he cleaned the wasted seed from his belly, knowing it was a
child that would never be born.

For similar reasons, he had never dabbled in sex with other men. It was
not taboo in his culture, as it was in many others, for members of the
warrior cast to take their pleasure with submissive males. Even a Kael
could indulge such tastes, as long as he fulfilled his manly obligations by
marrying and creating offspring. But Garon had never understood the allure
of man-love. He preferred the soft, pliant nature of females, their
delicacy, their mysteriousness.

But the golden-haired man-- well, there was a softness to his species
that touched on all Garon's erotic hot spots. He imagined having the
beautiful surrogate beneath him, naked and fertile, legs wide flung, eager
to take Garon's cock, the pale, receptive body ready to accept his seed and
shelter it while it grew into a precious child.

It was the thought of impregnating the golden-haired surrogate that
finally sent Garon over the edge. He gripped his cock, closed his eyes
tightly shut and came in shuddering waves. As his orgasm subsided, he
flopped back down on the bed and rested while his breathing slowly returned
to normal. He felt his penis soften and retract. His belly was sticky
with semen. He sighed and used a corner of the bedclothes to clean

He commanded the computer to shut off the lights, and he turned onto his
side. He had been sleeping by himself so long that even a night spent on
the Marak space station could not make him feel more desolate than usual.


Early the next morning, the Marak came to his quarters, so they could
continue the tour. Garon had already dined on what passed for breakfast,
and he was eager to finish the inspection and be on his way.

"We will begin with the breeding suite," the Marak informed him and
turned to lead the way.

The Marak showed him into a small control center. It pushed a button,
and the visor on the observation window retracted. Garon could see into
the large room. There were rows and rows of surrogates in the process of
being bred by Krill warriors. The surrogates were bent over padded
benches, legs spread, their wrists and ankles cuffed to the supports of the
bench, their posteriors high in the air for easy entry. The men flailed
futilely at their bonds. They screamed and begged to be set free, their
faces bright red with strain.

Garon watched his warriors in various stages of coitus. Some were just
getting hard, their phalluses unfurling from their protective carapaces,
glistening with natural lubrication. Others were holding their surrogate's
cheeks apart, positioning their cocks for entry. Some were riding hard,
holding their surrogate's hips as they pistoned in and out of them. Others
were yelling out, their faces distorted by pleasure, as they climaxed and
filled their surrogates with their seed.

This was the ultimate reward for courage in battle--to be sent here, to
have the chance to replicate one's genes. However, the warriors would have
no legal claim to the resulting offspring. The children would be placed
with the oldest and most respected Krill families, with all due
consideration given to those who had been politically useful in the past.
Such was the reality of governing so large an empire. The downside to this
arrangement was that the warriors felt none of the usual attachment a Krill
male felt for his mate. There was no room for tenderness con in this Marak
assembly line. So the warriors went about breeding the surrogates as if it
were a visit to a bawdy whorehouse.

And the surrogates all screamed in terror.

The Marak seemed to sense Garon's unease. "They are not being
physically harmed," it said. "Perhaps there is a little discomfort, but no
pain. From what we've gleaned, it is taboo in their culture for a male to
be sexually penetrated. That is why they scream."

Its voice was flat, emotionless. It saw nothing wrong with a mass rape,
as long as its objectives were served. How could a creature like this
possibly understand what sex was supposed to be? What the act of
procreation meant to Garon's people? The Marak had its job to do. That
was all it understood, all it cared about.

But Garon could not pretend he did not know how very wrong this was, how
completely un-Krill-like. A Krill man did not treat the mother of his
child like a cheap prostitute. The connection between a man and his mate
was tender, respectful, a life-long bond that was mutual and loving. New
life should not come from an act of degradation. The future should not be
created by force.

"These circumstances don't help matters," Garon said.

"What do you mean?" the Marak asked.

"Why do they have to be chained like that? Why do they have to be
positioned in such a humiliating and uncomfortable way?"

"The surrogates refuse to cooperate, so the restraints are necessary.
This position is the most efficient for guaranteeing pregnancy."

"Couldn't there at least be some privacy?"

"That condition is not necessary for successful procreation."

"But it *is* necessary to keep this from being a traumatic experience
for the surrogate."

"That is not our objective," the Marak said. "The emotional state of
the surrogate is of no interest to us. We only care that they produce
healthy offspring."

Garon sighed. He had known that the Marak would say just this, but it
was still frustrating. Sometimes, talking to Toorah was like talking back
to the computer console, a totally fruitless waste of time.

At the bench nearest the observation window, the Krill warrior roared as
he came inside his surrogate, a dark-haired man. He pulled out and
stumbled back a step. A Marak security officer led him away. A Marak
technician hurried over to the surrogate and pulled his cheeks wide apart
to examine him.

"When they become pregnant," the Marak explained. "The anal ring turns
bright red."

"Stop it!" the surrogate screamed. "Get your fucking hands off me." He
thrashed helplessly.

The Marak removed its hands. Apparently, the surrogate had not been
successfully inseminated. The technician signaled the Marak security
officer at the door. Another solider was shown in, his thick cock already
unfurled, bobbing lustfully in front of him. The security officer pointed
out where he was to go. The soldier strode eagerly over to the surrogate
and mounted him without ceremony. The dark-haired man sobbed pitifully as
he was once again ridden hard.

Two rows away, another technician unbuckled a surrogate who apparently
had been made pregnant and led him away. Tears trickled down the
surrogate's face. Seminal fluid ran down his legs. He walked gingerly and
held a hand to his butt as if he were in pain.

"You said they could accommodate a Krill phallus," Garon said,

"They can," the Marak answered. "That one is simply sore, not injured.
Not every surrogate is compatible with every Krill male. We went through
six of your warriors before we found one who could impregnate this
particular surrogate."

"You made him have intercourse with six men, one right after another?"


"That's barbaric."

The Marak looked annoyed, if that was possible. "Kael, I assure you
that if we could perform some diagnostic test to predict which Krill would
be compatible with which surrogate we would do that. As you know, we prize
efficiency. But we have not been able to identify the factors that
determine compatibility. Until we do, our only recourse is trial and

The door opened, and security officers dragged in the next surrogate to
take the place of the one who had just been escorted out. It was the
golden-haired man Garon had fantasized about the night before. Two
security officers held him tightly by the arms, but he still fought,
cursing and spitting at his Marak captors. One of the security officers
held a lightning rifle against his neck and sent a jolt of white-hot pain
through his body. The golden-haired man screeched loudly and sagged in
their arms. Garon admired the man's courage for fighting back, but it was
pointless to try to resist the lightning rifle. It used your own pain
receptacles against you, spreading the worst agony imaginable throughout
your entire body.

The security officers dumped him onto the bench and began securing the
restraints. Somehow, the golden-haired man found the strength to try to
kick them away.

"He has spirit," Garon remarked.

"From their ship's records, it appears that his function was to help
defend the people onboard."

"So he is a warrior."

"He was. Now, he is simply a surrogate, like all the rest."

The security officers finished securing the golden-haired man. On both
sides of him, there were others of his kind, perhaps men he had known,
perhaps even friends, screaming as they were taken against their wills.
The golden-haired man shouted insults and fought futilely against his
bonds. He watched over his shoulder as another Krill warrior was admitted
into the room and pointed in his direction.

"Fuckers! You stay the hell away from me," the golden-haired man screamed.

Garon found himself tensing as the warrior strode over to the surrogate.
The Krill warrior began to fondle the man's ass to arouse himself, so his
penis would emerge and harden.

The Marak noticed his reaction. "You have some interest in #04631?" it

"I-- Well--"

Garon could not frame the words. He did not enjoy talking business with
this creature. He certainly wasn't about to admit his most intimate sexual

"We could make this surrogate available to you if you wish," the Marak

"What will it cost me?" Garon asked, sarcastically.

"Nothing, Kael. Consider it a gesture of good will between our people."

The Marak spoke into its communication device. A technician hurried
over to the golden-haired man and directed the warrior about to penetrate
him to another surrogate. Security officers unbound the golden-haired man and dragged him from the room.

"He will be kept in the holding area until you have returned from the
tour. As I mentioned, not all surrogates are compatible with all Krill
males. If you wish to stay another night, we could bring him to your
quarters this evening, and if he proves suitable, we will prepare him to
depart with you tomorrow."

"And that's it?" Garon regarded the Marak with suspicion. "You won't
want anything in return for this-- goodwill gesture?"

"Only that you remember the source of your good fortune when this
surrogate provides you with many offspring."

"What would your terms be to release all the surrogates to me?" Garon

The resources of his people were already strained, but he could not bear
the idea of leaving the mothers of their children here in this baby-making
factory, the slaves of these cold-hearted *things*.

"That is not open for negotiation," the Marak told him.

"I would be willing to make a generous offer. Surely, there are other
assets of the Krill Empre that you've admired?"

The Marak shook its head. "This species has proven itself very
versatile. We are investigating future uses for them. We project they
will have produced enough offspring to rebuild your planet's population in
ten years, and that will fulfill the final terms of our agreement. This
species' longevity is much longer than that. We believe there will be many
other opportunities to generate profit from them."

The Marak's bland, matter-of-fact voice as it discussed the future
exploitation of this species made Garon ill. But there was little he could
do. He needed the Marak to restore his people's future. He would have to
make his peace with the fact that the mothers of that future would never be
an honored part of Krill society, would not enjoy loving and respectful
relationships with the fathers of their children.

"But the golden-haired one is mine, right?" Garon said.

The Marak nodded. "Yes. We will make this one surrogate a gift to your
people, but it will be the only one."

Garon sighed. "Fine," he said. "Now, can we move on? I've seen enough

"As you wish, Kael," the Marak said.

It closed the iris on the view screen and led Garon out of the control
room and down the hall.

"The next step in the process, of course, is gestation," the Marak said.
"The surrogates are housed in communal dormitories. We find it efficient
to group together first-time mothers with those who have already been
through a pregnancy. They are able to educate one another and help with
the adjustment process."

The Marak punched in an access code, and the door to yet another control
room opened. Garon followed the researcher inside. The Marak spoke to the
technician seated at the console. It hit a button, and a display screen
flickered on. It showed a large room with rows of cots. There was a
common food dispenser and eating area, as well as a place to exercise and
bathing and toilet facilities. Everything was in plain view of the Marak
monitors. There was no such thing as privacy for these surrogates.

"We have ten dormitories, each one with its own observation center.
From here, we can monitor the daily activities of the surrogates. They
follow a carefully designed regimen of exercise, rest and nutrition, to
ensure the health of the offspring. Gestation takes six standard
interstellar months. It encompasses three distinct phases which we call

The Marak continued to talk, but Garon was not paying attention. He
could not take his eyes off the screen.

In every art museum on Krill, the walls were filled with representations
of fertility, images of nude figures, their bellies beautifully swollen
with approaching motherhood. The focal point of every Krill house was the
family altar, on which proudly stood as statuette of the Goddess, in all
her bounty, her figure lush and ripe, powerful with life-giving energy.
There was nothing more sacred to the Krill people than the ability to bear
new life.

During the past twenty years, these icons had seemed to mock his people.
Garon himself had stopped meditating in front of his own household altar.
It made him too bitter, given everything he had been through with Jaina.
But now, the Krill were fruitful once more. Garon had never seen anything
more beautiful than these mothers. It didn't matter that they were not of
his own kind. Their round bellies filled him with the most intense joy.
If it had not been for the Marak, he would have let his tears flow freely.

The surrogates were all at different stages of gestation. Some were
hardly showing; others were clearly approaching term. They all seemed much
less afraid than the new arrivals Garon had seen the day before. They
chatted companionably amongst themselves as they went about small
housekeeping chores. Those most pregnant rested on their cots. They
possessed that serene glow that Garon had always associated with pregnancy,
something he had not seen for many years. It moved him deeply.

"The surrogate you witnessed being successfully bred will join this
community. You will be able to observe how the surrogates assist one
another in adjusting to their new station in life. This species is highly
social. We have found studying their interactions most fascinating."

Garon frowned as he noticed an extremely young looking surrogate rush to
the toilet area, bend over the bowl, and begin to retch.

"Is he all right?" Garon asked with concern.

"Yes. His health is perfectly satisfactory. Nausea is a symptom during
the first bimester of pregnancy. The surrogates may also experience
fatigue, light-headedness, back aches. These symptoms are normal and

An older man knelt beside the young surrogate and rubbed his back in
comforting circles. He murmured to him in a low, soothing voice. This
tenderness amazed Garon. There was a saying among his own people: "No room
is large enough for two pregnant Krill females." It seemed the surrogates
had no such trouble getting along with one another.

Another group clustered around a surrogate who was feeling his baby kick
for the first time.

The surrogate's face was bright with wonder. "Oh, my God!" He pressed a
hand to his belly. "Feel! It's moving!"

The other surrogates each took a turn feeling the baby move and offering
the mother congratulations.

"They seem--" Garon shook his head in disbelief. "Happy."

"There appears to be a chemical process that takes place sometime during
the second bimester, a hormonal reaction of some sort, but we haven't been
able to isolate it. This creates an emotional bond between the surrogate
and offspring."

Garon watched the surrogate tenderly stroking his pregnant belly,
enjoying the feeling of the child moving inside him.

"They love their children," he said, his throat constricting with raw

"Whether they love their children or not is of no concern to us," the
Marak said, dismissively. "The emotional bond is simply a convenient
side-effect, one we had not foreseen, but are happy to exploit for our
purposes. It motivates the surrogates to be scrupulous in following their
prenatal program. And that enables us to provide you with healthy
offspring on schedule."

Garon did not look at the Marak. It was the only way he could keep from
strangling it. Instead, he watched the mothers. They *did* love their
children. That was clear to him. And Garon was abandoning them here to
live under the tyranny of these *things* who honestly believed that a
mother's love was irrelevant.

Garon forced himself to push away the thought and focus on the
surrogates, on the wonder of pregnancy.

"What is that swelling in the chest area?" he asked.

"It's another side-effect of pregnancy," the Marak said. "In the
females of their species, this is where the glands are located that produce
nourishment for their offspring. When they are pregnant, the glands swell.
Their infants feed from those darker structures on the chest, called
nipples. For some reason, this swelling also occurs in the males, although
they lack the glands the females possess."

Garon frowned. "Is this where our offspring are supposed to feed?"

"We considered that option," the Marak said. "But it was too difficult
to adapt those structures to the needs of your offspring. The nipples are
too small and the wrong shape to suckle a Krill infant. As you remember,
we implanted a gland in the surrogate's bladder to convert its liquid waste
into nourishment suitable for Krill offspring. After the gonads are
removed, the surrogate's phallus shrinks. By the time the surrogate
delivers, it is the perfect size for the offspring to suckle. You'll
notice that the phallus is swollen and appears erect the surrogates who are
approaching term. They start to produce nourishment in the third

"It's just amazing," Garon said. "It looks almost exactly like a Krill
female's nursing organ."

"Yes, the similarity is quite remarkable," the Marak said. "It's the
correct size and shape, and even in roughly the same area of the body.
This is yet another reason the members of this species make such effective

The Marak's comm device buzzed, and it spoke into it.

"The new surrogate is ready to be introduced into the community," the
Marak informed him.

Inside the dormitory area, a bell sounded. The surrogates all jumped to
their feet and hurried to form a line.

"They train well, all things considered," the Marak noted. "Once
they've been impregnated, they become particularly docile. Their emotional
bond with the offspring aids us in keeping order. They know a blast from a
lightning rifle could harm their child, and so they are careful to behave
and avoid such repercussions."

Garon stared at the Marak in horror. "You would kill one of my

The Marak returned his gaze coolly. "No, of course not, Kael. But the
surrogates do not know that, and so the threat is quite effective."

The door opened. A Marak guard escorted the newly impregnated surrogate
inside. The man was crying, and he still looked as if he was in pain.

"Get in line," the guard instructed him.

The man appeared to be in a mild state of shock and stood frozen. When
he did not immediately obey, the Marak guard pushed him roughly forward.
The man stumbled, and another surrogate quickly reached out to steady him
and help him get into line.

"#39681 is assigned to this dormitory. You will explain the rules to
him and see that he obeys."

The Marak left, and the door closed behind it.

"Come lie down," a tall, hugely pregnant surrogate said the newcomer.
"We'll get you cleaned up, and then you can rest."

The surrogate helped the man over to a cot.

"They-- Oh, god. They--" The man cried harder. "They raped me."

"It's okay," the other surrogate soothed him. "Just lie down." He
helped him onto the cot. "There you go."

The dark-haired man curled into a ball on the bed. The other surrogate
ran some water in a basin, found a washcloth and brought it over to him.
The surrogate sat down on the cot beside the weeping man and gently wiped
away the seminal fluid from between his legs and cheeks. The dark-haired
man flinched, but he didn't resist.

"That's better." The motherly surrogate tenderly stroked the man's hair.

"Did they do it to you, too?" the dark-haired man asked, his mouth

"Ssssh," the surrogate said. "It's over now. Try not to think about

But the dark-haired man only grew more upset. "Did they do *that* to
you?" He pointed to the other surrogate's enormous belly.

"It's not the way you think. Everything's going to be just fine.
You'll see."

The dark-haired man froze for a moment, and then his eyes went wide.
"Oh, god. Oh, my god. Did they do that to *me*, too?" He shook his head
desperately. "No. No! Not *that*."

"It's going to be okay," the other surrogate assured him. "Try not to
get so upset. You *are* pregnant, but it's going to be wonderful. I

The man stared at him in disbelief. "*Wonderful*? Do you even know
what you're saying? Or have they totally brainwashed you? We're *men*,
for god's sake. It is *not* wonderful. Those disgusting *things* fucked
me in the ass against my will, and now-- Now, I'm-- " His whole body shook
as he cried.

"This is my third baby," the surrogate told him. "I was upset at first,
too. I thought it was unnatural, disgusting, everything you're thinking
right now. I hated them for what they'd done to me. All of it. The sex.
And the pregnancy. But once you give birth-- Well, it's the most
indescribably joyous thing you can ever imagine. It changes how you see
things. And it has nothing to do with brainwashing. I swear."

The dark-haired man wouldn't look at him. "I don't know what's wrong
with you, what they've done to your mind. But I still remember what it
means to be a man, what it means to be *human*. And I don't want this
*thing* growing inside me." Tears streaked his face. "I don't care what
you say. I'm not like you. I'm *never* going to accept this."

"Maybe you can learn to think of it as an opportunity instead of an
outrage. A chance to experience something you never could have experienced
in your old life. Because the fact is that you *are* pregnant. You *will*
give birth when the time comes. And when this baby is weaned, you will do
it all over again. That's just the way things are now. You're going to
have to make your peace with it. Or they will hurt you. And your baby."

The dark-haired man sobbed into his pillow.

"Okay," the other surrogate said. "We'll leave you to yourself for a
little while, give you a chance to calm down and think about what I've just
said. We can go over the rules when you're feeling better." He got up and
rejoined the other surrogates who were gathered a few feet away. The
dark-haired man went on crying.

"He'll be okay in a few days," the motherly surrogate assured the
others. "You all remember how it was in the beginning."

The other mothers nodded.

"We'll let him sleep for a while, and then make sure he eats something."

Garon frowned as he watched. "This one does not seem particularly
pleased to be pregnant."

"It's part of the normal adjustment process," the Marak said. "New
surrogates are resistant at first, but they quickly accept their altered
reality. The other surrogates help facilitate the transition, as you can

The Marak's comm device buzzed again.

"There's a mother ready to deliver in the birthing suite," it said. "If
we go now, we can witness it."

Garon nodded eagerly. "Yes. Let's go."

It was only a short distance to the birthing suite. The Marak hurried
into the control room, and Garon followed closely on its heels. Inside,
there were a number of technicians. Each one sat in front of a console and
monitored several birthing chambers.

"No one attends a surrogate while he is in labor?" Garon asked.

On Krill, birth was a celebration. A pregnant woman's family rushed to
her home when they learned she had gone into labor. They waited in the
great hall and entertained friends who wanted to be on hand for the happy
event. It was considered a great honor to assist the bringing of new life,
and only a woman's closest kin, usually her husband, mother and sisters,
attended her in the delivery room. They helped divert the woman's
attention from the pain, eased her burden, and physically supported her
while she delivered the baby.

"Labor can last many hours, Kael. It would be an inefficient use of
resources to assign a technician to each surrogate for that length of time,
and besides, their attention is only necessary during the critical end
stage of labor. We monitor the surrogates very carefully from here and
give them instructions as needed. If there is an emergency, a response
team is quickly deployed. But most deliveries transpire without incident."

"I rather doubt the mothers see it that way. You don't think they're
frightened? That it would make them feel safer to have someone with them?"

"First-time mothers do tend to exhibit signs of nervousness, but they
still manage to successfully birth healthy offspring. That is all that is
relevant to the achievement of our objectives. But perhaps you will be
reassured to know that experience does assuage their fears. Once they have
been through the process the first time, they are much calmer during
subsequent births."

The Marak led him from console to console, so he could watch the
surrogates preparing to give birth. In one room, a short, red-haired
surrogate walked around the perimeter of the small birthing chamber. He
was apparently between contractions and moving around to stretch his legs.
His belly hung low, and he held his back to help support the weight. He
was singing softly to the baby, something low and melodic. Garon guessed
it was lullaby.

"This is his third child," the Marak said. "He's only at the beginning
stage of labor. His contractions are still ten minutes apart. I'm afraid
we won't have time to see him deliver."

In another room, a surrogate squatted, practicing breathing exercises as
he rode out a series of contractions.

"This is a second-time mother. His labor is well underway and should be
very easy. We may be able to come back and see this birth after we witness
the one that's about to occur now. If you'll follow me to the last

Garon followed it to the end of the row and took a place behind the
Marak technician at the console. The surrogate was a mature male with dark
eyes and light hair. He appeared to be rather panic-stricken.

"Do not be alarmed, Kael," the Marak assured him. "This is a first-time
mother, and he may become very emotional. But all vital signs for the
surrogate and the offspring are within acceptable tolerances. There is no

"Help me," the surrogate begged. "Please, god. Help me!"

His face was bright red with strain, and sweat beaded along his hairline
and above his lip. His legs trembled as he squatted. His belly rippled.
His organ was dark purple and swollen. It stood straight out from his
body, and milky droplets glistened at its tip.

"Make it stop. *Please*, make it stop!" he pleaded.

"Can't you at least give him something for the pain?" Garon demanded of
the Marak.

"Pain medication at this stage might harm the child and impede delivery.
This surrogate is very close to giving birth. The worst of the
contractions are over, and according to the instruments, his anus is fully
dilated. It's almost time to push."

At that moment, the surrogate froze, and his eyes went wide with terror.

"Oh, *fuck*! It's coming out my ass. I *feel* it. You bastards! What
the hell are you going to me?"

"Surrogate #45128," the technician spoke calmly into the comm port.
"Soon, you should feel your sphincter pulsing open. This is a sign that
it's time to push."

The surrogate shook his head. His face was streaked with tears.

"No!" he said, emphatically. "Just cut it out of me. Please! It's too
big. It can't come out my ass. I can't take it."

"Surrogate #45128, remain calm. Do you feel your anal muscle opening?"

"Yes! And it hurts! My ass is killing me. *You're* killing me. I'm
going to die. Oh, god. I'm going to die."

"Surrogate #45128, you are in no danger. But you do need to push," the
technician instructed him. "Just as if you were having a bowel movement."

"Just cut it out of me! Please!"

"That is not possible. You have to push. The sooner you cooperate, the
sooner it will be over."

The surrogate took a deep breath, pushed and screamed.

"Aaaaagh! Oh, god. Oh, god. My ass is ripping apart."

"Stay calm. Continue pushing."

The surrogate panted for breath and then pushed some more.

"God! Get it out of me. Just get it out. It's too big. It's tearing
me up inside."

"Keep pushing," the technician said. "It's almost over."

The surrogate held his belly and wailed loudly as he pushed as hard as
he could. And then, Garon could see the offspring's dark head begin to
emerge from the birth canal. The surrogate saw it too, in the reflective
surface of the wall. He screamed in terror.

"Push!" the technician commanded.

The surrogate grunted and gritted his teeth as he made one final heave
and pushed the baby all the way out.

Two Marak technicians hurried into the room. The first went to the
infant and used a surgical instrument to free the baby from the natal
membrane. It attached an environater to the child's neck. The baby took
its first breath and then started shrieking.

The Marak researcher turned to Garon. "Congratulations, Kael. It is a
female. Your people have another healthy offspring."

"Is the surrogate going to be all right?" he asked.

The birth had left the man's anus torn and bleeding. He moaned in pain
as the other Marak technician attended to him.

"The technician will repair the muscle and administer pain medication.
The anus will be just as strong as it was before. This surrogate will be
able to give birth to many more offspring."

The technician helped the mother onto an anti-grav gurney. The other
Marak carried the infant from the room.

"The offspring will be cleaned and given a complete physical in the
natal health unit. If there are no problems, she will be returned to her
mother in the nursing suite."

Garon nodded. He could not trust himself to speak. Of course, he had
held each of the weaned infants that had been delivered to Krill, before
turning them over to their adoptive families. Being Kael did have its
privileges. But to see his children actually being born, to witness their
first moments of life-- Well, it nearly overwhelmed him. It had been such
a long time since he'd seen little hands balling into fists, little eyes
squinting as they took in the world for the first time, little feet kicking
with the sheer joy of being alive. Nothing had ever been more beautiful,
on any planet, in any far corner of the cosmos. He was certain of it.

"We can make a stop at the natal unit if you would care to examine the
offspring for yourself," the Marak said.

"Yes. I would. But first, I want to see that other mother deliver."

"Very well."

The Marak led him back to the appropriate console. The mother had
already started to push. His face was set in an expression of intense
concentration. He breathed rhythmically in and out as he pushed. He held
his cheeks open with his hands and felt for the offspring. As the head
crowned and the child started to emerge, he guided it the rest of the way
out and gently cushioned its landing. The mother slumped forward in
exhaustion. Marak technicians responded as they had to the other birth.

"How would you describe the level of pain you are experiencing?" the
Marak asked the mother.

"Um, about a five, I think," he said. "It definitely hurt a lot less
than the last time."

The Marak nodded and administered the appropriate dose of medication.
The other Marak had already freed the infant from the birth sack and was
about to take the baby away.

"Wait," the mother said. "Please. Can't I just hold the baby for a

The Marak technicians exchanged a glance. Clearly, this was not the
usual procedure. But Garon felt certain they'd been instructed to
encourage the emotional bonding the Marak found so useful in controlling
the surrogates.

The technician laid the child in the mother's arms. "It is a male," it

The mother smiled blissfully down at his baby. "He's so beautiful," he

They allowed him to cuddle the child for a few minutes, and then the
Marak took the baby back. "He will be returned to you in the nursing
suite," it said and left the room.

The other technician carefully examined the mother's anus and then
mended it. "Is this degree of pain management sufficient to your needs?"
it asked.

The mother nodded. "Yeah. It's really not too bad. A lot better than
last time."

"You will be transported to the nursing suite now," the technician said.
"The offspring will join you shortly. You will be able to rest while the
offspring nurses."

It helped the surrogate onto the gurney.

"It's a boy," the mother said, sleepily. "I had a little girl before.
I'm glad it's a boy this time."

"An equal distribution of males and females is advantageous to a species
that reproduces by sexual means," the Marak said.

Garon supposed this was its notion of congratulating the mother. It
pushed the gurney out of the room and took the surrogate to the nursing

The Marak researcher turned to Garon.

"So you see, Kael. Birthing does become easier for the surrogates.
Most are even eager to become pregnant again, to make up for the loss they
feel when a child is weaned. Of course, they still dislike being sexually
penetrated, but their personal preferences are of no concern. Artificial
insemination is not successful for your species. So to become pregnant,
the surrogates must engage in intercourse."

"Perhaps they could learn to like it if it were more personal and less
brutal," Garon said dryly.

This seemed to rankle the Marak. "Our methods are efficient, Kael. The
contract stipulates simply that we are to deliver healthy offspring. *How*
we do that is completely up to our discretion."

The Marak's comm device buzzed. It pressed a button and talked into it.

"Both infants have already cleared the natal unit," it told Garon. "Our
physicians found them both to be in perfect health. We can observe them in
the nursing suite. Come this way."

They took a lift down three levels. The Marak punched in yet another
access code, and they entered the nursing suite. Inside, individual rooms
opened off a long hall. Each room had a large window through which the
nursing mothers and their babies could be observed. A Marak technician
rolled along the corridor. It stopped at each room long enough to record a
few notes on a data pad.

The nurseries were fairly comfortable compared to the other Marak
facilities. The floors were carpeted to protect toddlers from injury, and
the walls were painted with cheerful, colorful patterns to help stimulate
the neurological development of newborns. There was a small bathroom where
the mother could bathe the infant, as well as take care of his own needs.
Dominating the space was the traditional nursing couch that all mothers on
Krill used. It was the perfect design to allow the mother to rest
comfortably while the baby suckled. Krill newborns required
around-the-clock feeding, so mothers and children slept together until the
baby had been weaned.

"The infants are weighed daily to ensure they are receiving sufficient
nourishment," the Marak said. "The surrogates are also monitored, to be
certain they ingest the correct balance of food supplements and liquids.
If a surrogate is not producing enough nourishment, we can usually resolve
the problem by adjusting the diet."

Garon nodded distractedly. He was too busy walking along the hall
watching the mothers with their children. Each scene filled him with
tenderness. There were infants of all different ages. Their mothers held
them just the way mothers on Krill did, cradled along the thigh, the baby's
head resting on the mother's belly. In one room, the baby could not have
been more than a few days old. He suckled hungrily, but his vision and
coordination were just beginning to develop. The nursing organ would slip
from his mouth, and the mother would have to gently guide him back to it.

"That's it," the mother said as the baby started to suckle again,
tenderly stroking the child's back as he nursed.

In another room, the mother and child had fallen asleep together. The
mother's arm was curled protectively around the infant. The child's hand
still clung to the nursing organ. Another mother was up walking around,
carrying a fussy baby, rocking the child in his arms, humming to her softly
to help soothe her. One child was already crawling. The mother squatted
on the floor and held out his hands. The baby scuttled over to him. He
giggled when his mother picked him up and kissed him.

"Look at you!" the mother said proudly. "Aren't you a clever baby!"

At the far end of the hall was the new mother whose delivery Garon had
just witnessed. The technician was trying to get him settled with the baby
on the nursing couch.

"The offspring rests like this," the Marak explained as it positioned
the child on its mother's body. "And you must help introduce the nursing
organ into the offspring's mouth. Like this."

The Marak guided the infant to the mother's teat.

The mother watched in panic as the child started to nurse. He shook his
head frantically. "I don't think that's right. I shouldn't-- It can't--
Not from my *cock*."

"Your anatomy has been appropriately altered. This structure no longer
serves as a sexual organ, but as a means for the offspring to derive
nourishment from your body."

"But it *hurts*. My *cock* is sore."

"Your nursing organ is sore because it is swollen with nourishment for
the offspring. Allowing the offspring to nurse will decrease the
discomfort. It may even begin to feel pleasurable."

The child suckled hungrily, one hand curled around the mother's nursing
organ. She stared up at her mother with large, serious eyes.

"I feel like a pervert," the mother said. "Where I come from this is a
really, *really* bad thing to do to a baby."

"You must learn to adjust your perceptions to fit your altered
situation. The offspring must nurse. It is not being harmed. If you do
not allow the offspring to nurse, it will die. You don't want your baby to
die, do you?" the Marak asked.

The mother watched his daughter nurse, as if mesmerized by the sight of
her drawing sustenance from his body. He stroked her head, a little
tentatively, a little shyly, but with great tenderness.

"No," he said. "I don't want anything to happen to her."

"Then you must take care of her. Make sure you hold her where she can
reach your nursing organ. We will monitor your progress in case you need
help. And provide additional instructions when necessary."

The man nodded. He curled his arm around his daughter and held onto her
more protectively.

Garon imagined for a moment that it was the golden-haired man, cradling
their child, nursing their baby. An intense jolt of longing hit him hard.
He had not felt anything remotely like it since that day long ago when he'd
first seen Jaina. He just wanted to finish up these unpleasant dealings
with the Marak as quickly as possible, so he could get started on a new
life, with his new mate, the life he had been promised by his heritage and
denied by the capriciousness of fate.

"That concludes our review, Kael. I trust you are satisfied with our

"Yes," Garon said, grudgingly. "It does appear-- effective."

"Then let us complete our transaction. We have drawn up the appropriate
legal document for the transfer of the agreed upon planets. All we need is
your signature code to conclude our business."

The Marak offered him a data pad. Garon accepted it with a sour
expression. He quickly reviewed the terms to make certain nothing had been
altered or added, but the Marak were known as honest, if shrewd, dealmakers
for a reason. Everything was in perfect order.

Garon entered his signature code. "Remember that if you fail to deliver
offspring as promised--"

"Yes, of course, Kael," the Marak said. "If we default on our
obligations, we forfeit our compensation. We understand the terms of the
contract. We will not fail to honor them. And that includes our offer of
surrogate #04631 for your own personal use. If you still wish it."

"I do," Garon said. "I wish it."

He would have liked to sound neutral, even indifferent. But he could
not keep the longing out of his voice. His need was too great. He could
not hide it from the Marak, as much as it shamed him to show any
vulnerability before a creature such as this.

"Then we will bring the surrogate to your quarters upon your return
there," the Marak said. "Is there anything further, Kael?"

"No," Garon said. He gave a formal bow, as Krill custom demanded. "The
people of the Krill Empire offer thanks for your service on our behalf."

The Marak inclined its head. "It has been most enlightening, I assure
you. I will have one of our security personnel escort you back to your
quarters. Your transport will be cleared for departure at 0900 tomorrow."

Another Marak materialized and led Garon through several long corridors,
onto a lift, and finally to his sleeping chamber.

"Is there any thing further you require?" the Marak asked him outside
the door.

"No. Well--" he stammered. "There is a surrogate--"

"Yes, Kael. The surrogate is en route to your quarters. Is there
anything else?"

"No. Thank you."

The Marak nodded in acknowledgement and departed. Garon went inside to
wait, rather nervously. He paced from one end of the small room to the
other until the door chimed.

"Come," he said, his heart pounding.

The door opened. A Marak guard dragged the golden-haired man inside.
Garon had to admire the surrogate's fighting spirit. The man grabbed onto
the doorframe and when the Marak tried to pull his hands free, he bit it.
Garon was less amused when the guard jabbed the lightning rifle into the
man's neck and fired.

"Aaaagh!" the man screeched and slumped to the floor.

The guard raised the rifle to administer another jolt, but Garon grabbed
its arm.

"Enough," he said. "Leave us."

"Kael, this surrogate is rebellious. He should be returned to the
holding area to have his behavior modified."

"That will not be necessary." Garon escorted the Marak to the door.
"Thank you."

The Marak did finally leave, but only hesitantly. Apparently, it took
its duties as disciplinarian quite seriously. Or perhaps, it was concerned
for Garon's safety. Clearly, it would not be good for business if one of
their most important clients was murdered by their merchandise.

When the door closed behind the Marak, Garon turned back to his mate.
He approached him slowly, trying not to alarm him, and offered his hand.
The man studied him suspiciously before finally reaching out and allowing
Garon to help him to his feet.

The golden-haired man held his arms awkwardly in front of him. Clearly,
he was embarrassed by his nakedness. Garon found it ludicrous that the
Marak could have imagined the surrogate posed any danger to him. Now that
they were alone, the man's rebelliousness completely drained away. Garon
could feel the anxious quickness of his breath, the trembling of his body.
He had been fighting back out of fear, not malice.

"You are cold," Garon said gently. "I am sorry. These Marak think only
of efficiency, never of comfort. If we were on Krill, I would offer you
garments to wear, as your customs dictate. But I am afraid we will find no
such amenities here on this space station."

The man kept his eyes lowered and did not respond.

"I am Garon, Kael of the Krill Empire, leader of my people," Garon said.
"What is your name?"

"Ian," the man mumbled.

Garon smiled. "Ian. That sounds like a word in my own language. It
means generosity of spirit."

"I don't want this," Ian said, softly, desperately. "Please."

"I know this is not what you would have freely chosen," Garon told him.
"You were not raised to be submissive. Anyone can see that." Garon could
not keep himself from touching. He ran his fingers lightly down the man's
arm, feeling the muscles. "Nature has not designed you for it."

"So let me go. Please. Let us all go. We'll never come near your
space again."

"I wish I could. But it's too late for that. You're already here, and
I can't allow this opportunity to slip away, not when my people need you so
much. We're dying, and only you can save us. Survival sometimes forces us
to do things we wouldn't otherwise consider."

The man made a soft, strangled sound of distress.

"But I am here to offer you a choice, about how you serve us," Garon
told him.

The surrogate looked up, surprised. And Garon was amazed once again at
the bright, clear blue of his eyes.

"What kind of choice?" Ian asked.

"You may either stay here under Marak control or return to Krill as my

Ian shook his head. "No. Please. You don't understand. I'm not-- I
don't-- There has to be something else."

"There is not," Garon told him firmly.

Ian's expression twisted into a sneer. "Is that why you had me
mutilated? You like to fuck other men, but not if they still have their

His voice was belligerent, but his eyes betrayed his misery. Garon felt
for him, and he was ashamed of what his people had become. Perhaps, there
was some way, in time, he could make it up to Ian. Perhaps, his own
doctors would find a way to restore his manhood when he had finished
bearing children.

"I would never rob a man of his most precious treasure for something so
trivial. We need you to carry our young. The Marak assure me that this
physical alteration was necessary to make pregnancy viable."

Ian stared at him. "Pregnancy?" he said, in horror.

"Yes. I want you to bear my children."

"But I can't! Do you get it? I'm a man. Like you. I don't-- I'm not

"You are. And you will. If not for me, then for some nameless soldier
who just happens to be next in line."

Ian shook his head, his eyes filled with tears. "No. Please. God."

"But I want you to have better than that. I want to take you back to
Krill where you will revered as the mother of our people. You will be an
honored member of my court. And you will have anything you desire that is
within my power to give."

"How about my freedom?" Ian said, bitterly. "Or my manhood?"

"Anything else."

"And if I say no?"

"Then you will stay here."

"And get fucked?"

Garon cringed at the brutality of the language, but he could not deny
the truth. "Yes," he said.

"And get knocked up?"


"And have those things watching me every moment of every day? Zapping
the shit out of me if I don't follow orders quickly enough?"


"So I don't really have a choice, do I?"

"You can choose to come where you will be cherished. That is not such a
bad option, is it?"

"I've never--" Ian blushed. "I don't know how."

Garon gently touched his face. "I will show you. And I won't hurt you.
I promise that you won't ever have to worry about that."

"Will you want-- Now?"

"To see if we are compatible. Yes."

"You want me to--"

"Go lie down," Garon told him.

"Are you going to tie me up? The way they did before?"

"Of course not. You are to be my *mate*. I will never treat you with
anything but respect."

The surrogate laughed, without any humor. "I've seen how your kind
'respect' us."

"I cannot argue that point," Garon said sadly. "The scene you witnessed
earlier--" He shook his head. "It's not supposed to be that way. I swear
on the honor of my ancestors that it will never be that way for you."

The surrogate hesitated. Garon could easily read the conflicting
emotions in his face. This man was no fool. Clearly, he realized it was
in his best interests to give himself to Garon, to become his mate. But
his warrior's pride made it difficult to acquiesce. Perhaps, in some ways
it was easier to be forced than to choose.

"I will give you a good life," Garon told him solemnly. "I promise you
this. Far better than the life you'd have here. All you have to do is let

Garon stroked his hand down Ian's back. He meant it to be a comforting
gesture, but Ian trembled at his touch. Still, he did nod.

"All right," he said, his voice very soft. "I'll do it."

"Thank you," Garon said.

He took Ian's hand, led him over to the bed and had him lie on his side.
Garon lay down next to him, his chest pressed to Ian's back. The intimacy
was very arousing, and his cock quickly unfurled from its carapace and
hardened. Ian's body tensed when he felt Garon's erection against his

Garon kissed Ian's shoulder. "Try to relax," he said. "I promised not
to hurt you. And a Krill never breaks a promise to his mate."

He reached for the vial of lubricant on the bedside table. The
ever-practical Marak thought of everything. He squirted slippery stuff
onto his fingers.

"Pull your leg up to your chest," he said.

He could feel Ian's breath quicken, but the man did as he was told,
giving Garon access to the tender places of his body.

"Just relax," Garon said.

In that talk Garon's father had given him when he'd come of age, he had
said: "To be a true man, you must become an accomplished lover to your
mate. To be an accomplished lover, you must be patient." So even though
Garon had already waited so long, he schooled himself to take his time with

Garon slowly stroked and teased the entrance to Ian's body, waiting for
the man's muscles to unclench, for his heart to stop pounding with terror,
his breath to quiet a little. Only then did he dip his finger inside and
begin to explore the inner mysteries of his mate's body. Ian tensed again
at the intrusion, but Garon continued to stroke him gently. Eventually,
Ian relaxed again. Garon added another finger and reached deeper inside
him, spreading slickness, opening him up for penetration.

When he touched a certain spot, a slight protrusion, Ian gasped and
stilled. Garon froze. He started to pull his hand back. A Krill man did
not hurt his mate. Ever. But then Ian rocked his hips back, forcing
Garon's fingers deeper into his body, brushing them against that same spot
again. Ian made a soft, throaty sound, and Garon realized that it was
pleasure, not pain.

Garon kissed the back of his neck and began to stroke that little button
inside him. Garon could feel the blood pounding in Ian's veins, the heat
rising off his skin, as he twisted his hips and met each thrust of Garon's
fingers. Garon had thought the procedure the Marak had performed on Ian
would prevent him from being able to experience sexual pleasure, but
apparently, he had been wrong. Ian's cock was erect and straining, flushed
with need.

Garon had never expected to find the male form so erotic, but the notion
that Ian's phallus would soon be swollen with nourishment for their child
sent a shock of want all through his body.

"Touch yourself," he whispered in Ian's ear.

Ian instantly froze, and Garon could feel the hot burn of his
embarrassment. Garon understood this reaction. A man who had never been
trained as a submissive would find it a terrible betrayal that his body
could find enjoyment in possession.

Garon kissed his shoulder. "Bodies react to being touched," he said.
He gently fingered that electric place, and Ian bucked up wildly, trying to
get more of the sensation. "Would it really be better to feel pain?"

Ian made no answer. Clearly, he would have liked to ignore his body's
responses. But he just couldn't. He whimpered with need, took his own
cock in hand and started to pleasure himself.

"That's it, my love. Just give in to it."

He withdrew his fingers. Ian moaned in protest, despite himself. Garon
pressed his cock against Ian's entrance. He could feel Ian's heart speed

"Calmly, my love," he said.

He began to enter his mate's body very carefully.

"Slowly," he said.

It had been so long since he'd been inside someone, not since that last
time with Jaina. He'd almost forgotten how amazingly good it felt to have
his cock enveloped by the sweet, hot tightness of another person's body.

"Gently," he said, as he worked his cock further inside.

It was as much to remind himself as it was to reassure Ian. He needed
so much, and the urge just to plunge into Ian's welcoming warmth nearly
overwhelmed him. But a Krill man did not hurt his mate. Garon gritted his
teeth and forced himself to go slowly.

Despite his care, there was still pain. He could feel it in the set of
Ian's body. He could hear it in the sounds he made. Virginity never
yielded itself without a fight.

But slowly, Ian's body began to open to him. Garon kept moving deeper
and deeper inside him, until he was fully sheathed. He stopped for a
moment, to take it all in, the steady throbbing of Ian's pulse, the spicy
scent of his sweat, the fierce inferno of his flesh. It was the first
moment of peace and satisfaction Garon had enjoyed in twenty years.

And then the need came crashing back to him, and he had to move. He
began to thrust gently in and out of Ian's body. Soon, Ian's grunts of
discomfort became surprised "oohs" of pleasure. Garon angled his strokes
to hit that little button, and Ian responded wildly, pushing back against
each thrust, taking Garon's cock deeper inside his body.

Ian's cock had softened during the initial pain of entry, but it quickly
hardened again. Ian stroked himself in time to Garon's thrusts. Garon
could feel Ian's thighs start to shake. And then Ian was bucking
uncontrollably, yelling out his pleasure, coming hard.

Garon had never been inside a man's body before. He could not have
imagined how Ian's orgasm would cause his muscles to clench around Garon's
cock, squeezing and massaging his own climax out of him. He roared in
ecstasy as he emptied his seed into his mate's receptive body. His orgasm
was so intense that he lost touch with reality for a moment or two. When
he regained himself, his cock had softened, and he carefully withdrew from
Ian's body.

Ian's shoulders shuddered, and his back hitched. He was sobbing. Garon
could understand his sorrow. Ian was not designed by training or
inclination to be the object of another man's pleasure. He had never felt
a man come inside him before now. How it must have shocked him that he
could come from being penetrated, that he could actually like it. In some
ways, that might be more painful than being raped.

So Garon let him cry. He would be patient with him, as befitted a Krill
man, especially the Kael. Eventually, he knew Ian would come to accept his
new life. There was just one thing, though, that Garon needed to know.

He put his hands gently on Ian's butt and parted his cheeks.

"No. Please!" Ian begged. "Not again. Not now. Please!"

"Sssh. Hush, my love," Garon said. "I am not going to penetrate you
again while you are still sore from the first time. I just need to see.
To know."

And there it was. The telltale sign. Ian's anal ring had turned bright
red, just as the Marak had said. Garon had to blink back tears. His mate
was pregnant. At long last, he had the one thing he had wanted more than
anything else in his whole life.

"Is it-- Am I--" Ian asked.

"Yes," Garon told him. "But don't worry. Everything's going to be all

"Oh, God." Ian cried harder.

Garon held him as he wept. Ian did not relax into his embrace, but he
didn't he pull away, either. Garon felt the light flutter of hope in his
chest, finally, after everything. He knew Ian would come to accept him
eventually. He was certain of it. Maybe, he would even love him some day,
once they had children together and shared that unbreakable bond.

When Ian had cried himself out, he fell into an exhausted sleep. Garon
listened to the soft intake and exhale of his breath. He'd never felt more
wide awake in his life. He gently caressed Ian's belly, marveling all over
again at the softness of his skin. Soon, he would be round and swollen
with new life, as Garon's heir grew inside him.

Whatever guilt Garon had felt toward Ian's species fell away from him at
the though of holding his own child in his arms. If he was doing wrong,
then he would gladly pay the price for it in the after life when he stood
in final judgment before the pantheon of gods and goddesses. Until then,
he planned to savor every moment he had with his new mate. He intended to
love his children as no children had ever been loved before. He wanted
everything he could get of the sweetness this life had to offer.

After all, he had waited so long.



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