The Star Fleet Series
Bride of the Sun God
It was almost noon before Thar arrived at the Xenology office. He had questioned three Sun Priestesses the previous day and this had been so strenuous that he slept late. When he got to his office he found his assistant, Ensign Zoe Latour, working at her computer. He paused to admire her. Zoe was wearing the regulation uniform, but she must have had it custom made because it looked like it had been sprayed on her voluptuous body. She also had a stunningly beautiful face, and this combination never failed to arouse him. So far questions of military propriety had kept him from making any advances, but his resolve grew weaker every day.
"Good morning, Thar."
Thar broke out of his erotic trance and replied, "Oh, good morning, Zoe. What are you doing?"
"I'm checking the list of equipment that Ms. Erig requisitioned for her visit to the planet yesterday. She had enough weaponry to conquer the place. I expect that she was disappointed that she didn't get to use all of it, but why did she expend three incendiary devices?"
"I don't know. All she was supposed to do was look around a bit and ask a few questions."
"I've heard whispers about some of the things she's done, especially on the more primitive planets. 'Ruthless' doesn't come close to describing it. 'Vicious' is closer, but that's still not strong enough. Of course, she's paid a price; once I saw her naked in the medical office, and her body is a mass of scars. It's marked her face too; she looks so hard and cruel. I'm surprised that you and she have a relationship, because I've heard that you prefer softer, more compliant women." Zoe clasped her hands behind her neck and pushed out her chest.
Thar gulped and quickly sat down behind his desk. He tried to keep his mind on his work, but thoughts of Zoe kept interfering. He was glad when it was time to break for lunch; he wanted to go to his quarters and change his underwear.
Thar had just entered his quarters when there was a knock and Zoe entered the compartment and casually locked the door. "Thar, I have a question about something I saw when I accidentally activated a scenario on the holodeck the other night. It featured a woman who was captured by desert raiders. They tie her hands and feet and leave her in a tent, and she squirms and wiggles until she comes. This seemed so phony. I don't believe a grown woman could be kept immobilized by some rope, and it's not possible that it could be arousing. You've been to many places and seen a lot of strange things; do you think that holodeck scenario was realistic?
"Well, ah, it could be. I've heard that some women find restraint arousing, and it may be possible to tie someone so that they can't release themselves."
"I don't believe it. I'll bet that I could get loose no matter how tightly I was tied, and it wouldn't be a turn-on. Let's try an experiment; here's some rope, use it to tie my hands." She handed Thar a large coil of soft rope. "Wait a minute, I don't want to muss my uniform." With a few deft movements Zoe stripped down to her panties.
Zoe's story didn't fool Thar for a second, but he was not a bit reluctant to play along. He turned her around and tied her hands palm-to-palm. He tied her elbows and pulled them together until Zoe gasped. She wasn't thin, so Thar's ropes put plenty of strain on her arms even though her elbows wouldn't meet. If she were truly a beginner this was rough treatment, but he suspected that she was not nearly as naive as she pretended.
He sat her on the edge of his bunk and crossed and tied her ankles. Then he rolled her onto her stomach and looped a doubled rope around her bound ankles and forced them towards her head. He ran an end of the rope under each armpit, over the shoulder, and tied them together at the back of her neck as he pushed on her legs. When he finished her back was arched and she was starting to moan. "There you are, Zoe. See if you can get loose from that."
Thar was right; Zoe did have previous experience with bondage. When she was at the Academy her boyfriend liked to tie her up, but he was so afraid of hurting her that she was always able to escape. This was the first time that she had been tied by somebody who knew how to do it, and she knew in a flash that she wasn't going to free herself. She squirmed on the bunk, and the friction on her nipples caused them to harden.
Thar said, "Here's something to help with the arousal". He looped a rope around Zoe's waist and tied a taut-line hitch. He rolled her onto her side and tightened the loop around her waist so the knot was in her navel; the hitch kept it from loosening. He put the end of the rope between her legs, around the wrist ropes, and back to the front where he pulled it tight and tied it off after centering it in her slit. After a moment's thought he rolled her back onto her stomach. Zoe squirmed, gasped, and moaned. She could feel her panties getting damp.
Pami Erig tried to open Thar's door but it was locked. She knew the lock code, so she punched it in and entered the compartment. When she heard the gasps and moans her face hardened into an expression that would have been recognized by many of her previous opponents, if they had still been alive. She looked at Thar's groin, where his erection tented his trousers, and snarled, "If your prick was soft and wet you'd be a dead man right now."
"Wait, Pami! Zoe just wanted to find out if she could escape if she was tied up. That's all there was to it." This explanation sounded implausible to Thar even while he was saying it, and he glanced around furtively to see if any weapons were handy.
Violence was postponed when the ship's annunciator called all field survey officers to an emergency meeting in the wardroom. Thar was careful to stay between Zoe and Pami as he urged Pami out the door. She gave Zoe another glare, but let herself be crowded out into the passageway. Thar followed and locked the door behind him. He heard a cry of protest from Zoe, but that was a minor problem right now. He stayed close to Pami until they reached the wardroom.
When all of the available field survey officers had assembled Captain Goda spoke: "You all know that we haven't been able to contact Sonji Regan since she reported that she was at the employment agency in Manufru, and information obtained by Erig and Mahoon indicates that she was forced to become a Bride contestant. A few minutes ago we received a transmission from her communicator, and we now have a confirmation that she is in the Temple of the Sun God in Lanudu."
"Did she say anything, Captain?"
"No, the transmission only lasted for a few seconds, and nothing was said." Captain Goda declared, "We are going to rescue Sonji, no matter what it takes. The First Directive regularly gets bent if it interferes with an operation, and if we have to trash it now we will. I've alerted the Space Marines, and they will be ready if we need them."
Thar objected, "The temple is huge and we don't know where she is. If we have to search room-by-room the population will become alarmed, and it is also possible that the priests will kill the contestants. We have to put somebody into the temple to locate Sonji before we can attack."
"You reported that only the contestants and their attendants can enter that part of the temple. How do we get around that?"
Erig spoke up, "We have to impersonate a contestant and her entourage. We need a Guard, an Attendant, and the Bride. I'll be the Guard, Mahoon can be the Attendant, and I have a perfect candidate to be the Bride. But we don't have much time, and there are problems: We don't have the costumes we need and we don't know what they look like in detail. Also, Brides are from specific districts, so we can't just show up at the door of the temple as an anonymous entry. What we have to do to get around these problems is find a real contestant group and persuade them to let us take their place. I checked the surface surveillance scans and the AI is still tracking several contestants; those costumes make them easy to locate. We were hoping that one of them would be Sonji, but it does mean that we know where to find somebody to switch with."
Captain Goda ordered, "Very well, Ms. Erig, that is what we'll do. You and Ms. Mahoon enter the temple and find Sonji. You'll also decide the optimum time to effect the rescue, since this is so dependent on unknown conditions. Carry what weapons and equipment you need, and you are authorized to use as much force as you think is necessary. Who's the Bride?"
"Ensign Latour. The Bride has to be beautiful, and she is at least that."
Thar protested, "But Zoe isn't a qualified field surveyor yet! She's hasn't had field training and she won't know what to do."
Erig replied, "Don't worry, she has a very passive role. I'll take good care of her."
Thar was afraid he knew what that meant, so he pleaded with Captain Goda, "Let me go with them, at least until they enter the temple."
"No, I need you for other duties. I'm sure Erig and Mahoon can cope with any crisis."
Captain Goda continued, "This meeting is over. Thar, you stay here for the briefing of the Space Marine officers. The rest of you are dismissed."
Erig and Mahoon left together, and when they were in the passageway Mahoon said, "This sounds like fun, Pami, and I'm glad you asked for me. But what's happening between you and Thar? The last person who received that scowl was that bandit you were torturing."
"That scum has been two-timing me with that Zoe slut, Swa." Erig appeared to be, and was, self-sufficent and sure of herself, but not too many men were attracted to her, and she was easily wounded by rejection. She had really loved Thar, so his betrayal was worse. She swore to herself that this would be the last time she would let a man hurt her.
Then she had a pleasant thought. "Thar is going to be in that meeting for some time, isn't he?"
"Yeah, those meetings with the Marines can drag on for hours. Why do you ask?"
"No reason." Erig smiled. Mahoon was glad that something had cheered her up.
* * *
Time was running short. The contestants had to be in the temple by sundown tomorrow, which meant that the exchange would have to be made tonight. Bridium's surface had been continually scanned and the AI was programmed to search the images for the costumes worn by a Bride and her attendants. Erig and Mahoon entered the surveillance compartment, and Erig asked, "See anything that looks good, Hal?"
The surveillance technician replied, "Yes, Ms. Erig. There's a group on a canal boat to the southwest of Lanudu. They've been easy to track because they spend a lot of time on top of the cabin. I guess they want the sunshine; this is the only time of year that there's more sun than clouds, which is lucky for us."
"Those boats travel all night. It's going to be hard to make an unobtrusive switch on a moving boat. We'd have to take out the boatmen and any other passengers, and then there'd be a mysteriously abandoned boat left behind."
"Most boats do travel all night, but this one will have to stop. The canal merges with a river, and the river is blocked by a low dam. There's an opening the boats go through, but it's like a rapids, and the helmsman needs daylight to run it. This boat won't get there until after dark, so the passengers will spend the night at an inn and take another boat in the morning."
"This sounds good. Is there any other group that looks better?"
"No, ma'am. All of the other groups are traveling by coach, and we don't have an exact fix on their location."
"How built-up is the area? We're going to have to land the shuttle close by."
"It's sparsely populated. The area is mostly marshland and there isn't much agriculture."
"All right, we'll go with this one. Map out a place where the shuttle can land and all the routes we'll have to take; we don't want to end up floundering in a swamp. Swa, you round up a crew and I'll get the equipment assembled. Find some Marines who'll do as we tell them."
The shuttle launched from the Interloper after sunset. Erig and Mahoon again used the parasails; they would land first and check out the shuttle landing zone to be sure that no locals were around when the shuttle touched down. They launched from the shuttle and on the glide down they circled over the landing zone, a high spot in the marsh, and continued on to land a few hundred meters from the inn. They didn't detect any hidden observers and the shuttle landing proceeded as planned, almost a kilometer from the inn. The support team was six Space Marines; if all went as planned they would never be seen by the local inhabitants.
Erig and Mahoon were again disguised as Espians. They concealed themselves outside the entrance to the inn until the canal boat arrived, and then entered just before the passengers and found seats in the main room. Their timing was perfect; the passengers thought that they had been there all along, and the innkeeper thought they arrived on the canal boat.
The passengers entered the inn and most of them ordered food. The Bride group was among these, and when they had finished their meal Erig and Mahoon approached them. Erig said, "Excuse me, but I noticed your costumes. We heard about the choosing of the Bride, but we are recently arrived in this country, and this is unusual to us. Could you explain what it means?
The Guard answered, "Of course. Please sit down."
Erig and Mahoon sat down and Erig said, "Thank you. We are enjoying our tour of your country, but talking to people we meet is the best part. Can we buy you drinks? She beckoned to the serving wench and ordered a round of beers. She asked, "What part of Bridium do you hail from?"
The Guard answered, "We're from Exaihu, a city southwest of here."
"Does every city have a Bride in the contest?"
"Some cities have more than one; the contestants come from districts. Our district is Exaihu 3."
Erig said to herself, 'Thank you! That's what I needed to know.' To the Guard she said, "I suppose no one wants to be Bride. Is that why your contestant is chained?"
"That's the way it started, but now most contestants consider it a civic duty, and the chains are just a traditional part of the costume. She's not really restrained; show her, Cala." The Bride's wrists were in bronze cuffs attached to the front of a bronze chain around her waist; she pressed a button on a cuff and it opened.
The beer arrived and there was casual conversation while it was consumed. The Guard bought a round and the talk continued. Finally Erig said, "Thank you so much for talking with us. We're going to bed now. See you in morning."
"We'd better do the same." Everyone went to the desk and rented rooms. Erig and Mahoon followed the Bride group all the way into their room. The Guard opened her mouth to protest the intrusion, but before she could say anything Erig and Mahoon used their phasors to stun all three. Once they were stunned they were injected with drugs to keep them unconscious. Erig contacted the support team and directed them to the window of the room, which was located on a secluded side of the inn. Four of the Marines watched for intruders and the other two caught the Bride group as Erig and Mahoon dropped them and their luggage from the window. They would be kept sedated on the ship until the contest was over.
Erig and Mahoon managed to sleep until two hours before dawn when the shuttle landed and the support team contacted them. They were bringing some equipment and the costumes, modified to fit. Zoe was with them. She moved stiffly and had trouble climbing the ladder to the window; she held her arms like she was in pain.
Mahoon noticed that Zoe's wrists were red and chafed. She asked, "Why are your wrists all chewed up, Zoe? Have you been playing tie-up games?"
Zoe glared at Erig. "I don't want to talk about it."
Mahoon shrugged. "Whatever. Here's your costume."
The three women dressed in their costumes. Erig, as the Guard, had the most to put on. The bronze armor had been copied in plastic, as she had instructed. She hoped her other instructions had also been carried out.
Zoe put on the gown and sandals of the Bride and she liked the way she looked; the bodice displayed her breasts to maximum advantage. When Erig moved to put the chains on her she said, "No way!"
"It's part of the costume, Zoe. The chains are just symbolic; you can open them by pressing these buttons." She demonstrated by closing them on her own wrists; when she pressed the buttons the cuffs opened.
Zoe was mollified; she allowed Erig to cuff her hands in front and lock the chain around her waist. She wasn't happy with the chain connecting her ankles, but she decided it was too late to object. She made Erig demonstrate that those cuffs could also be opened by pressing the buttons.
The three Star Fleet officers were waiting at the canal port when the boat arrived. The tickets had been found when the real Guard's effects had been searched, and the boatman let the group on board after only a glance at them. They took seats in the cabin; there were other passengers so they didn't talk. Erig unobtrusively activated her communicator from time to time so the ship could track them.
There were a few minutes of excitement when the boat went through the opening in the dam, but the rest of the trip was uneventful, and Erig and Mahoon took turns sleeping; Zoe slept for almost all of the trip. When the boat arrived in Lanudu they hired a carriage and a short ride took them to the temple. The driver knew which of the many doors was the correct one; they went through it and found themselves in front of a desk occupied by a middle-aged woman in the red gown of a temple official.
The official demanded, "Show me your certificate."
Erig handed it over; this document had also been found in the Guard's effects. The woman said, "Exaihu 3, huh." She checked the name off a list and used her pen to mark the certificate and the back of Erig's hand with a cryptic symbol. "Here's your receipt, and you now have the custodial obligation for your district's contestant. Do you know what that means?"
"No, this is the first time I've been a Guard."
"You are now personally responsible for your contestant. You have to be with her any time she isn't chained in her room and you have to make sure she gets to where she should be. The judging takes place in the Tabernacle, and you stay with your contestant from when it starts until she has been disposed of; either to a cubicle, the high priests' quarters, or the sacrificial altar. And remember this: If you do anything wrong you will be executed. Understand?"
Erig nodded. The official said, "Good. This woman will show you to your quarters."
Their equipment was contained in a carpetbag. Erig picked it up, but before they moved the official called out sharply, "Wait! The Guard must always be ready to defend the Bride, so she cannot carry anything except weapons. The Attendant must take the bag."
With a smile, Erig passed the bag to Mahoon. Mahoon accepted it with a grimace; the bag was small, but the equipment it contained was heavy.
They followed another woman in a red gown up one corridor and down another until they were deep inside the temple. It would have been a long walk for Zoe's chained ankles, but the official pushed her along in a small, two-wheeled cart; she had to sit in it with her knees against her chest. Finally they reached a corridor that was dimly lit by oil lamps mounted on wall brackets. The corridor had many doors on both sides; most of the doors were open, and small groups of Guards and Attendants were scattered around.
The official opened a door, lit a lamp mounted on the wall of the room, and waved them inside. They entered a room about three meters on a side that contained a bed, a couple of chairs, a small table, and a washstand. A door in one corner led to a smaller room, one meter by three, that had a pallet on the floor and a bronze collar attached by a bronze chain to a knee-high ring set in the wall. "You two share the outer room and the Bride goes in here."
She wheeled Zoe into the closet-like room, dumped her on the pallet, and locked the collar around her neck. The length of the chain was just long enough to let Zoe stand up. The official took a key from a hook and gave it to Erig. "Here's the collar key."
Zoe protested this crude treatment, but the official ignored her and said to Mahoon, "Come with me and I'll show you where to get food and where to dump the chamber pot. You got here just in time for the midday meal."
Zoe struggled to a sitting position and pushed the buttons on her wrist cuffs. They moved freely, but nothing happened. She pushed in a button and tried to pull the cuff open. It was still locked on her wrist. She shouted, "Hey! I can't get these cuffs off."
Erig strolled to the door and calmly viewed the distraught woman. "They won't open? Something must have broken inside." She made a mental note to give a bonus to the technician who had rigged the buttons so they would only work once, just like she asked him to. "We can work on them later. In the meantime, just relax and enjoy. I know how this turns you on."
Yesterday Zoe had spent a very long time hogtied on Thar's bed. It had been fun for the first couple of hours, but after that pain had swamped pleasure. Right now her enthusiasm for bondage was at a low ebb. She pleaded, "At least take this chain off my waist."
"Sorry, Mahoon has the key. You'll have to wait until she gets back."
"You've got the key to the collar. Surely you can take it off."
"I could, but I won't. You heard what that official said; a Guard would be executed if something went wrong, so she would never risk letting the Bride loose. If I let you go now it would compromise the disguise. Stop whining. If you want to be a field surveyor you have to learn to take the pain with the pleasure; it's not all fun stuff like looting and burning."
Zoe continued to plead and argue, so Erig closed the door to the closet and bolted it shut. Zoe screamed and yelled when she found herself locked in the dark, but Erig had no trouble ignoring her.
Mahoon returned to the room carrying a tray loaded with food and drink. "Here's our lunch, Pami. They have a good selection, so I only took things I recognized." She put the tray on the table and asked, "Why is Zoe yelling like that?"
Erig piled some food on a plate and started to eat. Between bites she explained, "She wanted me to let her run around loose. I told her that it would compromise the disguise, but she didn't like hearing that at all; I got tired of the noise so I shut the door. When I finish eating I'm going to scout around the temple. You can feed her after I'm gone."
Mahoon ate her lunch, and when Erig left she unbolted the closet door and took the leftovers in to Zoe. "Here's your lunch, Zoe."
"How can I eat while I'm chained up like this?"
"I'll feed you."
"This is so degrading. Erig is responsible, and I'll see to it that she pays for all this."
"Zoe, were you born stupid or has your brain atrophied because beauty has greased your slide through life?"
"That's not fair! I didn't do anything wrong."
"Zoe, Erig loved Thar, and she was deeply hurt by what you did. You are in her power and she has good cause to hate you. Is it smart to antagonize her further? Also, she is the ranking officer here and you do call yourself a Star Fleet officer, so don't you think you should obey her orders? Those are two excellent reasons for you to shut up and do as you are told."
Zoe didn't say anything, but it was obvious to Mahoon that she still believed herself to be grievously wronged. When Mahoon offered her a spoonful of food she ate it, but she was not happy. She pouted, "Being fed like this is so humiliating."
"I can put the food in a bowl on the floor and you can root for it. Is that your preference?"
The expression on Zoe's face made it obvious that she had added Mahoon to her enemies list. In her thoughts Mahoon lamented the decline in the quality of Star Fleet officers, but she didn't say anything, because she knew it was impossible to shake Zoe's faith that Zoe was the center of the universe. When Zoe had been fed Mahoon bolted the door to the corridor and stretched out on the bed. All this strife was making her tired.
Mahoon was awakened by pounding on the outside door. She got up and admitted Erig, who said, "I had quite a tour of the temple. I even got to see the sacrificial altar. It's very ingenious, in a gruesome sort of way."
"What do they do? Rip out the Bride's heart and offer it to the Sun God while it's still beating?"
"Nothing as crude as that. The sacrifice takes place on the roof of the Tabernacle. They have this giant mirror, it must be over two meters by three meters, and it's made from hundreds of little squares of polished silver. All of them are set so they reflect to the same spot. The whole thing is mounted on trunnions and counterbalanced so that it's easy to rotate. It's flipped into position exactly at noon, and the sunlight is concentrated on the Bride. The priest who gave me the tour has seen a lot of sacrifices. He said that the mirror produces enough heat to burn a hole in the Bride's chest and kill her in just a few minutes."
"Ugh. What do they do if it's cloudy? Give the Bride a raincheck?"
"No, if the Bride isn't sacrificed exactly at noon on the day of the solstice it doesn't count. The high priest declares that the Bride has been rejected by the Sun God, and they have to do some penitential ritual. Naturally, the Bride is declared to be impure and she is taken to a quarry outside the city and put to death by stoning. This is rare though, because this time of year is a brief interval between the end of the winter storms and the start of the summer storms. According to the priest, there hasn't been a rejected Bride in the last twenty years."
"Did you find Sonji?"
"No. But I saw only a few Brides. Most of them must be kept chained in their room; this is even more likely for Sonji, because she was kidnapped."
"So what do we do?"
"We're going to have to wait until after the contest and get her out then."
"We can wait until then to get Zoe out, too."
"Yeah, if we wanted to get Zoe out we'd do it then."
Zoe was listening to all of this. She was beginning to believe that she might be in trouble.
It wasn't long before an official moved down the corridor announcing that it was time for the evening meal. Mahoon went off to collect their food and perform her other tasks. Erig sat in the room and enjoyed the silence; Mahoon must have convinced Zoe to behave herself.
When Erig and Mahoon had finished their meal and Zoe had been fed there wasn't much to do in the dimly lit room. Mahoon left to attend to Attendant duties and Erig prepared for sleep; she sighed with relief when she took off the armor. She was surprised that the complaints from Zoe had stopped; maybe she had finally realized that they wouldn't do her any good. She looked into the closet and asked, "Do you need anything?"
Zoe just shook her head, no. "Good night, then." Erig closed the closet door and bolted it.
Erig stripped and washed; there wasn't enough water to do more than clean her face and hands. She got into bed and pulled the blanket over her naked body. A few minutes later Mahoon returned to the room. Erig said, "Be sure to bolt the door."
"Got it." Mahoon bolted the door and stripped to her shift. "If we have to share a bed I'm glad it's as big as this one. I'm not bi."
"Of course you're not. And I'm definitely not bi."
Mahoon blew out the lamp and the room became totally dark. She removed her shift and slid into bed. Her bare hip collided with Erig's bare hip and she recoiled from the contact.
Erig said, "Don't worry about casual contact. If I wanted to have sex with you I'd do something like this..." Erig rolled Mahoon onto her back and climbed on top of her.
Mahoon opened her mouth to protest but the words were blocked by Erig's lips and tongue. When the kiss was finally broken off she managed to croak, "I thought you said you weren't bi."
"I'm not. I'm finished with men." Erig accompanied the words with fingers; one hand gently stroked Mahoon's right breast while the other explored between Mahoon's thighs.
Mahoon struggled, but then she realized that Erig's touch felt good; then it felt more than good as Erig's finger caressed the magic spot. She thought, 'Why am I fighting this when it's so arousing?' She returned the kiss and her hands mimicked Erig's hands. Erig started the action, but Mahoon caught up at the climax.
After several encores both women slept. It was some time later that Erig was awakened by a buzzing from the valley between her breasts where her communicator was nestled. She activated it and listened to the message. Then she shook Mahoon until she was awake. "Guess what, Swa? The ship just called to tell us that the shuttle picked up Sonji a few minutes ago. It seems that she escaped while she was on the boat, but she lost her communicator so no one knew about it."
"You mean we put out all this effort to worm our way into the temple and Sonji was never here?"
"Yeah, but it's not a total waste. Now we have a chance to get rid of Zoe."
"You're joking, of course."
"Oh, of course."
End of Chapter 2
continues in Chapter 3
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story continues in Bride of the Sun God