Splashdown


© 2019 Snekguy. All rights reserved.

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Disclaimer:

This work of erotic fiction is intended for adults only. The story contains the following themes: femdom, light bondage, dubcon, biting, sweat, muscle, orgasm denial, long tongues, size difference.

CHAPTER 1: EE-4

The carrier left superlight, spraying a technicolor cloud of gas and dust in its wake as it punched a hole back into reality. Its massive, blocky bulk drifted idly as the residue slowly dissipated, a smear of brilliant color against the blackness of space.

Before it hung a lush, green world, snaking rivers and verdant jungles visible even at such great distances. The mixed crew of humans and aliens were strapped into crash couches, their landing craft nestled in recesses along its hull. They clenched their teeth around plastic bits, lest they bite off their own tongues as the dimensional transition wracked their bodies, their muscles twitching and convulsing under the stress.

The autopilot maneuvered the one hundred thousand ton ship, taking an evasive route while the pilot came to his senses, his addled brain struggling to reboot. Superlight travel wreaked havoc with the nervous system. Some people were more susceptible than others, the symptoms ranging from temporary madness and nausea to unconsciousness or blindness. Pilots were chosen partly for their resistance to the effects, but even they would take a minute or two to regain enough sanity to steer a vessel. The autopilot would take control during that period of time, performing evasive maneuvers to minimize the risk of taking incoming fire, as exiting superlight was when a ship and her crew were at their most vulnerable.

As predicted by naval intelligence, orbital defensive structures began to fire on the carrier at extreme range, unguided bolts of glowing plasma thrown by magnetic accelerators blew past the space where the vessel had been only moments ago. The ship's computer tracked the trajectories of the projectiles and compensated, chemical engines along the hull of the vessel flaring. Blue flame streamed into space as it heaved out of their path, single-minded in its mission to protect the crew.

The pilot stirred. Like crawling through wet concrete, his mind dragged itself back to awareness. He shook his head vigorously and examined the HUD display on his helmet.

Good, the reentry point was only a few thousand miles off course, they were almost exactly on target. The UNN Shiroyama was on a mission to deliver a contingent of human and Borealan commandos to the surface of Epsilon Eridani IV, the only habitable planet in the disputed Epsilon Eridani system and it had been heavily fortified by Betelgeusian forces. The Bugs had stormed the planet in a surprise attack and had erected formidable defense systems in order to dissuade a counter-invasion. Any battle group that got too close would be shredded by concentrated fire. The only option was to send in small landing craft that the anti-ship weaponry mounted to the orbital stations could not track in order to disable their ground-based control systems. EE-4 was a jungle planet, lush with exotic flora that would be dense enough to conceal the commandos as they made their way to their targets.

The pilot took the helm, allowing the auto-pilot to make minor corrections as he steered the mammoth vessel towards the planet. More crew members were regaining consciousness now, and winding trails of point defense fire snaked from the ship, destroying plasma torpedoes that were only now coming into range. Bright flashes of green light illuminated the darkness, reflecting on the ocean-grey hull of the carrier as it pointed towards its target.

They had to do this quickly. The closer the carrier got to the planet, the more accurate the enemy fire would become. Beyond a certain range, the Shiroyama would not have time to dodge those ship-killer magnetic accelerator rounds.

All hands, all hands, prepare for drive-by insertion. Repeat; prepare for drive-by insertion.”

The four main engines in the ship's stern flared to life, acceleration pinning the occupants to their seats as the carrier barreled towards the planet, covering the distance at an alarming rate. The green sphere grew rapidly to fill the pilot's field of view, the orbital stations that ringed it becoming visible. They resembled fat, grey rods with a central torus, suspended above the atmosphere like a swarm of giant spinning tops. Webs of organic matter clung to their metallic hulls like flesh to a skeleton, betraying their semi-organic nature. Pinpoints of light flashed around their central hubs as they fired on the speeding target, but it was going too fast for their weapons to track.

Collision warnings blared on the HUD, and the pilot engaged the superlight drive countdown. A colorful aura grew around the ship as its power plants were drained in order to charge the jump drive, the vast energies preparing to tear a breach in the fabric of space itself. As the jump countdown reached four seconds, he hit the emergency release on the docking clamps. A cloud of tiny landing craft broke away from the carrier, propelled forward by inertia as the giant vessel warped, then blinked out of reality. A cloud of red, blue and green dust expanded in its wake like a tiny nebula, the colorful smear of a celestial paintbrush.

The landing craft were small, agile shuttles with short, stubby wings for atmospheric flight. They fired their retro thrusters as they sped towards the planet, attempting to slow their descent. They weaved and banked, dodging fire that was still directed at the expanding gas cloud where the carrier had been only seconds before, punctured by torpedo trails.

They approached the line of defensive installations, blowing past them as AA fire tried in vain to track them. They broke formation, each arching towards a predetermined landing site on the planet's surface. They glowed orange as they hit the atmosphere, air resistance turning their hulls into bright beacons as they trailed fire.

***

Shuttle eight banked towards its landing site, the jungle canopy racing past beneath its wings in a green blur, the craft circling in an attempt to shed velocity during its descent. The pilot craned his neck to look back into the troop bay. His charges, half a dozen human Marines and three towering Borealans, checked their gear and loaded their XMRs. They carried modular rifles that could be customized to suit the physiology of any humanoid species, one needed only to choose a suitable frame for their stature, and then the weapon could be modified to suit their needs.

The three gigantic Borealans glared around the bay, their piercing, amber eyes intense and alert. They were descended from a feline ancestor, and they shared a few similar features, most notably the round ears that protruded from the tops of their heads amongst a mane of orange hair. They had a flat nose and a long, furry tail that trailed along the deck. Their three fingers and their paw-like toes were tipped with wicked claws, black and curved like hooks. They were clad in the ceramic armor that was customary for soldiers of the UNN, their sleeves rolled up to expose their furred forearms, marked with faded tiger stripes. They were perfectly suited to guerrilla warfare, and that was why high command had assigned them to this mission. They were ambush predators, evolved to thrive in a jungle environment.

Their human counterparts wore full-faced helmets and camouflaged body armor, with green netting disguising their rifle barrels. While not as naturally endowed as the alien auxiliaries, they were Marine scouts and no less dangerous.

The pilot examined the readout on the dark visor that obscured his face, noting that their airspeed and hull temperature were now at an acceptable level to attempt a landing. His computers scanned the dense jungle below and identified the heat signature of the control station they had been ordered to capture. The Betelgeusian installation was driving one of the massive weapons platforms orbiting above them. He steered the ship towards it. They would land a small distance away and attempt to infiltrate, intelligence had reported that the small buildings were not heavily defended.

As they glided towards their target, a sudden tremor passed through the vessel. Warning signals flared on the pilot's HUD, and he glanced to the left to see that his wing was gone. Fuel leaked from the jagged tear, igniting in a trail of fire behind them as the dropship bled like a wounded animal. A second AA shell rose from the jungle below, exploding beneath them and tearing out the belly of the craft. Wind rushed past his ears as his stomach lurched, suddenly weightless. The smell of smoke and blood flooded his senses as he tumbled end over end, the canopy rushing towards him like a green fist, and then his world went dark.

***

The pilot awoke with a gasp. He tried to breathe, but his lungs wouldn't suck air. He coughed and gagged, then vomited water, retching and coughing as he struggled to sit up.

Where was he? He was sitting waist-deep in shallow water. His fingers sifted through mud and weeds as he looked up, trying to take in his surroundings. Gnarled, twisted trees covered in moss and vines, the sky obscured by a forest canopy, bright shafts of sunlight penetrating the leaves. He gave himself a brief look over, he seemed to be in one piece. He was dazed, and his head was ringing like a bell, but he didn't seem to be in immediate danger.

He pulled off his helmet, its visor shattered like broken glass, and he ran his fingers over his face. Cuts and some tender bruises, but nothing life-threatening. He stood on shaky legs, his boots sinking in the silt. After scanning the area for a moment, he realized that he was in a clearing, dense forest encircling him on all sides. He was standing on the shore of a shallow lake. The shuttle had plowed through the trees, snapping them like toothpicks, leaving a trail of destruction that must be miles long. It had cratered and eventually come to a stop in the deeper water. Its ruined hull protruded from the surface, its still smoking engines angled into the air.

He must have been thrown from the cockpit. It was a miracle he was still alive, never mind unhurt.

Shit, the crew.

He waded deeper, marching through the lake, struggling through tangled weeds and aquatic plants as he went. Fortunately, the area where the shuttle was sitting was not so deep that he had to swim and the troop bay door was jammed open. He hooked his hands over the lip and pulled himself up, straining with the effort. The bay was partially submerged, the forward section and cockpit obscured beneath the muddy water. He could see the helmets of two Marines under the surface, still strapped to their seats. If they hadn't died on impact, then they would have drowned shortly after.

Most of the occupants were dismembered, their bodies torn apart by twisted metal and shrapnel, but one Borealan was intact. Her leg was twisted badly, and she seemed to be unconscious, but her chest rose and fell regularly. He could hear shallow breathing.

He climbed down into the bay gingerly, finding footholds between the seats, reaching the alien and unfastening her safety harness. He fumbled with the clasp, eventually succeeding in freeing her. The alien's limp body slumped sideways, but she did not fall out of her chair. He pulled at her arm, but she was far too heavy for him to lift. He tried shaking her awake, but there was no response. Frustrated, he slapped her face. Nothing. He slapped her again, harder, and this time she sputtered to life. Her eyes were wide and frightened, darting about as she tried to get her bearings. She grasped her twisted leg, a low growl of pain escaping her lips.

What...what happened?” she gasped, looking around the troop bay in confusion. She spoke with an odd, rolling accent, it almost sounded Russian.

We were shot down over the jungle. My name is McGregor, I'm...I was the pilot.”

Help me out of this chair.”

He took her arm as she climbed out of her seat, growling in pain as she accidentally put weight on her injured leg. It looked bad, a compound fracture maybe, she might have a concussion too. Together they struggled out of the wreckage, the drop into the water was a lot shorter for the eight-foot Borealan, McGregor supporting her under the arm as they waded to the shore together. He lowered her gingerly into a sitting position, then turned back.

I think they're all dead, but I have to make sure.”

McGregor returned to the crashed shuttle, checking the bodies that remained. There were no other survivors. He retrieved what undamaged equipment he could carry and then made his way back to where the Borealan was sitting. The giant creature was examining her leg with a worried expression.

Do you have a medkit?” she hissed through clenched teeth.

He sifted through the gear and found one, passing it to her. She took the white box in her large, furred hand and opened it, examining the contents.

What's your name?” McGregor asked. She ignored him as she injected a painkiller into her arm, her breathing slowly becoming more regular. She seemed to relax a little, discarding the syringe and leaning back as the sedative did its work.

How far off target are we?” she asked, craning her neck to examine her surroundings.

We were fifty miles out when we went down, we must have skidded for a few miles at least, I don't know in which direction.”

Find me a stick so that I can make a splint.”

Alright...”

He wandered away from the shore, and towards the jungle, the twisted creepers and gnarled trunks of the giant trees made it an almost impenetrable wall. It was gloomy inside, every so often a shaft of sunlight penetrated the leaves, but the illumination was poor. A twinge of fear crept into his belly as he made his way through the dense undergrowth. There must be Bugs in the jungle, they had fired on the landing craft from below the canopy. There would surely be a patrol heading their way to investigate the crash site, the fiery trail they had left would be visible for miles. They had to get out of the clearing and into the cover of the jungle as soon as possible.

He reached down and dug through the undergrowth, looking for a sturdy stick, but he couldn't find one. All of the broken wood was wet and rubbery on the muddy ground, nothing suitable for supporting a broken limb. An idea came to him, and so he returned to the crashed ship as the Borealan tracked him curiously with her feline eyes. He waded through the water, hefting himself into the troop bay again. After a moment of fruitless searching, he found what he was looking for, the XMRs of the dead Marines. Many of them had long barrels lined with copper rings, designed to accelerate a tungsten projectile to relativistic speeds. McGregor bundled the rifles into his arms and made his way back towards the shore, the Borealan watching skeptically as he unscrewed the barrel from one of the modular weapons then handed the metal tube to her.

This will serve you better than a stick.”

She nodded and took the barrel, sizing it up against her digitigrade leg. Her foot was twisted at an unnatural angle, and the flesh around the break was purple and bruised, a sure sign of internal damage. Her foot looked like the paw of a big cat, her stubby toes tipped with sharp, black claws. Pink pads were visible beneath, her orange fur extending up her leg until it reached her knee, where it faded into tan skin that looked remarkably human.

Give me your boot.”

What?” McGregor asked, confused by her request.

Your boot, give it to me.”

He hopped on one foot as he removed his leather boot, then passed it to her, planting his sock in the wet mud. It hardly mattered, they were already soaked through from walking in the lake.

She took it in her clawed hand then placed it between her teeth. The alien gripped her foot firmly, then in one determined motion, twisted it straight. There was a crunch of bone that made McGregor feel light-headed, her eyes flaring in agony as she bit down hard on the boot, yowling like a cat with its tail trapped in a door. He looked on with a pale face as she strapped the metal barrel to her leg with tight bandages, creating a makeshift splint. She lay back on the sand when her work was done, controlling her breathing and trying to work through the pain.

You good?” McGregor asked hesitantly.

I'll be okay. We need to move, soon. Gather up what gear you can carry.”

He nodded, and packed what he had been able to recover from the wreck into a rucksack. They had some emergency rations, self-filling canteens that absorbed moisture from the atmosphere, ammunition for the XMRs and two medkits. He retrieved his boot then slung his XMR over his shoulder, helping the Borealan as she struggled to her feet. She holstered her own rifle on her back and used a third as a rudimentary crutch, resting the stock under her arm with her hand on the grip. The muzzle break on the end of the barrel was wide enough to prevent the weapon from sinking too deep into the mud.

Together they hobbled towards the edge of the jungle, pushing through the dense foliage. The going would be hard for the alien, she struggled over protruding roots and thick bushes, wincing occasionally as her broken leg caught on something. McGregor did his best to help her along but she was so large and heavy, he couldn't support her weight or carry her in the way he would a fellow human.

They made slow progress, but after a few hundred feet her ears swiveled behind them. She froze, her eyes wide.

Get down!” she hissed under her breath. McGregor dropped into the foliage, lying prone on the muddy ground.

What is it?” he whispered.

Quiet, Bugs.”

He listened intently, then he heard it too. Chittering and buzzing, an insectoid conversation happening in the clearing. He pulled up his XMR, aiming down the magnified scope. The Borealan placed her hand on the barrel, pushing it down and shaking her head. McGregor tapped the scope and gestured to his eyes, indicating that he only wanted to take a look. She removed her hand, and he scoped in on the Bugs, glimpsing them through the leaves and vines. There was a small group of them milling around a short distance back the way they had come.

Betelgeusians, so named because they hailed from the Betelgeuse star system, were a belligerent alien species currently engaged in a war with the Coalition to which the UNN belonged. They were bipedal insects, about five feet tall with six limbs. Their bodies were covered in colorful, iridescent exoskeletons in shades of blue, red and green like lobsters or crabs. Or maybe it was armor, he could never tell. They wore elaborate helmets, mimicking the horns of beetles, and their visors (or were those their compound eyes?) glowed bright green. They were standing in the clearing, examining the downed landing craft. There were maybe four or five of them in view, all armed with various pistols and knives. As he watched, a sixth emerged from the troop bay. It dropped down into the water and waded over to its companions, mute save for the clicking on its mandibles.

If they were lucky, the bugs might assume that everyone had been killed in the crash.

One of the Betelgeusians gestured to the ground and crouched to examine the mud more closely. They must have found tracks leading into the jungle. Sure enough, the aliens unholstered their weapons, making their way cautiously towards the brush.

Now the Borealan raised her rifle too, resting it on a nearby root.

Follow my lead,” she whispered.

He trained his sights on the chest of the lead Betelgeusian as they approached the edge of the jungle. They were notorious for surviving headshots because their brain stems extended into their torsos, and so the best way to ensure a kill shot was to aim for the solar plexus.

He waited with bated breath as the Bugs drew closer, following the trail of broken plants and muddy footprints that the pair had left in their wake. The aliens scanned the trees, alert, plasma pistols raised as they tracked the survivors. Surely they should fire on them now? The Bugs were almost on top of them.

He heard the Borealan exhale, then she squeezed her trigger, the massive kick from her long rifle slamming her shoulder as the dampening springs on the railgun rocked back. A tungsten slug accelerated by an array of electromagnets in the barrel shot through the air at a fraction of light speed, hitting the lead Bug in the chest at an incredible velocity. Its chitinous carapace exploded, the exit wound spraying the other aliens with viscous, orange goo. McGregor opened up on them, his semi-automatic marksman XMR landing accurate shots on two others. They fell to the ground in a heap, their insect bodies twitching reflexively.

The Borealan fired a second time, and another bug went down in a spray of gore and shrapnel. The two who remained fired wildly into the jungle in a blind panic, attempting to lay down covering fire in order to retreat, but they were hit too. They went down hard, their segmented bodies broken and torn.

McGregor shouldered his rifle and moved up, ensuring that the bugs were dead. He put a round into the chest of one that was still twitching, but the rest lay still, the massive exit wounds caused by the Borealan's XMR leaking fluid and smoking.

They would be missed when they failed to report in, and then the rest of the Betelgeusian forces would know that there were survivors from the crash. They had to get as far away from here as possible.

These are dead, but more will come,” the Borealan muttered.

McGregor holstered his weapon and helped his alien companion to her feet. They struggled through the undergrowth, away from the crash site in a random direction.

So are you ever going to tell me your name?” McGregor panted, the strain of trying to support her immense weight leaving him out of breath.

It's Zhari. I was Alpha of my team, but they...”

McGregor had completed the integration training that all UNN personnel were required to go through in order to be deployed with mixed units, and he knew the basics of Borealan social structure. They were pack animals, highly social and regimented. There was always an Alpha who led the pack and commanded unquestioning loyalty, making the species well suited for military life. But they were headstrong, and they tended to clash with their commanding officers.

You couldn't do anything for them, that AA fire hit us from below. Intelligence dropped the fucking ball, these jungles are swarming with roaches.”

Zhari didn't reply. Her reflective eyes scanned the gloom between the trees, alert for any approaching enemy, or maybe some dangerous local fauna? Who knew what might be lurking in these unexplored territories, the jungles covered the entire planet. They hadn't been warned of any aggressive animals, but they hadn't been warned about the goddamned anti-air fire either. He wondered idly how many of the other landing craft had been shot down on approach, was the whole operation scrubbed? What should they do now? The silence of the jungle was getting to him, and so he decided to make idle conversation as they walked.

CHAPTER 2: KNOCKING HEADS

They marched for hours, struggling through the rough terrain, trying to put as much distance between themselves and the crash site as possible. Zhari's leg ached constantly, and her armpit was sore from leaning on the XMR stock. She wanted desperately to use another painkiller, but they only had a limited quantity, it would be foolish to expend them so quickly. Besides, she did not want to show weakness in front of the human pilot, McGregor. She eyed him bitterly as he strained to support her weight. Had he done his job properly? Could he have avoided the enemy AA shells? Had he been inattentive? Was he flying too low? Breaking some kind of protocol?

It was pointless to blame him, it wouldn't help them now. But as she banished the thought to the back of her mind and tried to focus on her mission, the resentment remained. The little human prattled incessantly about everything and nothing, it was grating and fruitless. It distracted her from her broken leg, however, and so she tolerated it, humoring him with her monosyllabic and dismissive replies. Did she owe him a debt of honor for saving her from the wreck? Not if he had first endangered her. But she couldn't be sure of that, and it was likely that the landing craft's black box would never be recovered so deep inside enemy territory. She would default to cold neutrality for now.

The forest smelled wrong. The signature chemical stink of Betelgeusians was obscured by the more powerful, unfamiliar scents of alien flowers and plants. She would not be able to rely on her nose here. The human seemed wholly unaware, perhaps they didn't have a sense of smell at all. The sun was beginning to go down as the planet rotated, the days here were short, they would need to find shelter soon. Her light-sensitive eyes pierced the darkness, seeking a cave or a rocky outcrop between the ancient, gnarled trees. Their trunks were rough and twisted, their roots making the ground dangerously uneven. Under normal circumstances, her people were agile and perfectly at home in the jungle, but this broken leg was the most inconvenient injury in this environment. The wound had transformed her into a stumbling, hobbling liability.

She tripped, but the alien caught her, his small hands wrapped around her upper arm.

Watch it, don't break your other leg too.”

A joke? Not funny. She ignored him and continued on, her clawed, paw-like feet kicking through rotting leaves and fallen twigs.

***

McGregor unscrewed the cap of his canteen and drank deeply. The jungle was humid, but even in the low light, the heat was crippling. His boots were full of sweat, and his clothes were drenched. He offered the canteen to Zhari, and she sat down on a giant root that broke through the soil, taking a long draw. Sweat made her muscled, athletic body glisten, dampening the tank top and knee-length shorts that she was wearing. She had discarded her combat armor shortly after hey had left the crash site, it was damaged, and its bulk had made the already difficult trek even harder. The fabric clung to her figure, it might have been attractive under different circumstances.

She wiped her mouth with the back of her furry hand and passed the canteen back to him, McGregor clipping it onto his belt to let it refill. The canteens had solar cells to power a condenser that would automatically replenish them over time, drawing moisture from the air. Moisture was plentiful here, they were practically swimming. He sucked air into his mouth experimentally and felt wetness on his tongue. Sunlight might be a problem under this canopy, however. If the canteens ran out of energy, then they would have to be filled conventionally from a fresh water source. Who knew where they might find one of those.

We must find shelter,” Zhari said, and McGregor nodded in agreement.

The area is pretty rocky, there must be caves around here. If we can find one, we can hole up and wait for help. If the other landing parties succeeded then a UNN fleet is going to pound those orbital defenses into space debris. They'll find us once the planet is recaptured.”

Zhari stared at him, an unspoken question in her amber eyes.

McGregor, our mission is not yet complete.”

He turned to her, a look of horror on his face.

What do you mean? We're MIA. Our ship was downed, our team is dead, you're injured. We don't even know which direction to go in!”

Our team is not dead, we are still alive,” she said poignantly. “My leg will heal, we must find the target and neutralize it.”

You're insane, did you get brain damage in the crash? What can a pilot and a crippled Borealan do against a whole army of Bugs?”

Zhari glared at him, her lips rising in a snarl to expose her sharp teeth. Her incisors were like razor blades, pearly white against her pink gums. He took a step back, wary of her, a million years of instinct warning him away from a dangerous animal.

What is your rank, human?”

Lieutenant...” he answered warily.

I am a Lieutenant Commander, I outrank you. That makes me your Alpha.”

McGregor began to protest, but Zhari unholstered her weapon, pointing the jagged bayonet that was mounted on the end of the long barrel at him.

The penalty for desertion is summary execution, carried out by the ranking officer.”

You can't be serious,” he snapped. “What purpose would killing me possibly serve? You can't even walk, you'd die out here on your own.”

She aimed the barrel of the XMR at his face, staring down the sights.

I'm deadly serious. Our mission is not over. If you refuse to fight, I'll shoot you. You've seen me shoot, you know that running from me is pointless.”

McGregor considered just kicking her crutch over the next time they were walking and making a break for it, but she was probably right. That was a high powered, long range XMR, he couldn't outrun a railgun slug. He crossed his arms and leaned against a nearby tree, its bark covered in old moss growth.

I guess you're in charge then, boss,” he chimed sarcastically.

We will try to find a cave,” she said, leaning on her crutch and rising from her sitting position on the root. “Keep moving.”

McGregor shot her a mock salute, then walked off into the trees.

***

McGregor dug through the forest, pushing past plants and shrubs, Zhari trailing behind him at a slower pace as she stumbled through the foliage. It was so damned hot. Sweat poured down his face, stinging his eyes and making his clothes stick to his skin. Fortunately, there didn't seem to be many insects here, which he found unusual. The jungles of Earth were teeming with them, maybe animal life had not progressed very far on EE-4? He climbed over high roots, his boots slipping in the wet soil, looking for some sign of rock protruding from the ground or a cliff face with an opening. He had seen odd stone pillars protruding from the jungle canopy when they had entered the atmosphere, they couldn't be too far away. There might be caves in their faces. He glanced up at the treetops, wondering if he could climb one and get a better view of their surroundings, but they were hundreds of feet high. He looked over his shoulder to check on his surly companion. Zhari was just about keeping up, he didn't feel like helping her along anymore. If she wanted to be the supreme leader, then she could make her own way.

***

Zhari struggled after McGregor, the stock of her crutch-rifle digging into her armpit painfully. The terrain was becoming steeper now, he must be leading her towards a mountain. She was exhausted. Her muscles burned, and her broken leg throbbed painfully, every step sending a sharp twinge up through her body. She had established dominance, and that was good, it seemed as if McGregor would obey her orders despite his complaints. Once her leg had healed enough to walk unaided, they would attempt to complete their mission, whether the cowardly human liked it or not. Through the trees she glimpsed grey rock, and shortly afterwards McGregor called back to her, waving his arms.

I found it! I knew I had seen mountains, there must be caves here for sure.”

She limped up the incline as he moved along the vertical cliff face, searching for openings. Far from being mountains, the structures were more like towers of solid bedrock, extending above the trees like giant pillars hewn from stone.

After a few hundred meters McGregor found what he was looking for. It wasn't exactly a cave, more of a recess in the rock with an outcrop that would protect from the rain, but it would do. It was just tall enough for Zhari to crouch inside. McGregor threw his pack into the cave and went off to gather vines to drape over the entrance in an attempt to make it less conspicuous.

Zhari sat down, wincing as the motion sent a flare of pain up through her leg. She set her crutch against the moist stone wall and reached for her rucksack, digging through it to retrieve another painkiller from one of the first aid kits. She pressed the needle into a vein on her arm, then relaxed a little as the medicine spread through her body, the sharp pain becoming a dull ache that could be more easily ignored.

She lay back on the cold floor and looked up at the ceiling of the recess. Water dripped from thick growths of moss, it was a little colder than the humid jungle outside, a welcome reprieve. She watched as McGregor threw armfuls of vines over the entrance, hanging them over the rocky outcrop. After a few minutes, there was a curtain across the opening, it would be a lot harder to see from a distance.

He pushed his way inside and sat down next to her, panting and wiping sweat from his brow with his sleeve.

That's about as safe as we're gonna get.”

She nodded in agreement, appraising their hideout. It was as much as she could hope for, at least they wouldn't have to sleep in the jungle.

How's your leg, boss?”

Was he being passive aggressive? It didn't matter.

It's manageable, it should be healed in a few days.”

McGregor looked at her, incredulous.

A few days? Seriously? It would take me months to heal an injury like that without medical equipment.”

Humans must be frail.”

You say that, but I'm not the one with a broken leg.”

She narrowed her eyes at him, and he raised his hands in a gesture of surrender.

Fine fine, you don't like jokes, duly noted.”

They sat in silence for a while, the monotonous drip of water hitting the stone floor echoing through the cave. The quiet became too much for McGregor, if this surly alien wasn't going to talk, then he would talk enough for both of them.

So, we have enough food to last until your leg is healed I think, and we're good for water. The Bugs probably won't find us in here, so what are we gonna do? Just sit in silence until you can walk again?”

Zhari considered for a moment, then answered.

We need to find out which direction the objective is in.”

And I suppose by that you mean I need to find out which direction the objective is in?”

She glared at him, her brow furrowed as she looked him up and down disdainfully.

Are you not a Marine, McGregor? Did you not sign up to fight?”

No!” he protested, “I didn't sign up to fight. I'm a pilot! My job is bringing Marines to and from the fight, not ground pounding with them. Do I look like a jungle commando to you?”

She didn't reply, her sharp claws clicking on the stone floor as she drummed her fingers impatiently.

Why are you so fucking uptight anyway?” McGregor exclaimed, crossing his arms and returning her cold stare. “Fleet Command already wrote us off, they'll assume we're dead. Why go on a suicide mission now? They won't expect our control station to be captured and they'll plan around it.”

Because those were our orders,” Zhari snarled. “Do you think I became the Alpha of my pack by being lazy and unreliable? Typical of a human to want to stay in his cozy ship while others do the fighting.”

McGregor rolled his eyes.

Oh here we go again, I've heard this spiel before. It's not my fault that your people never discovered superlight travel, and now every time a Borealan has a complaint we have to hear about how humans are cowardly and dishonorable for not wanting to disembowel their enemies with their own teeth like some kind of tribal savage.”

Watch your tongue, human,” Zhari snapped.

Watch your misplaced pride. What are you gonna do, hit me with your crutch?”

No, but I could shoot you with it.”

McGregor gave up and rested his arms on his knees, staring at the floor. They sat in silence for a few more minutes until he dared to speak again.

You had to complete the integration training on the Pinwheel, right? That space station they send all the aliens to? I thought the Borealans they put in mixed units were all socialized.”

Yes, they sent me there.”

He waited a moment, but she didn't elaborate.

So what, it didn't stick? Usually, the Borealans who have fought in mixed units are less of a pain in the ass than the ones who haven't.”

I completed the program as instructed, I learned human customs and how to interact with them on a professional level, but that doesn't mean I have to respect them. My instructor was fond of humans, too fond. She had forgotten the traditions of our people.”

What are the traditions of your people?” he asked sarcastically, “being an asshole?”

She chuckled and shook her head slowly.

You have spirit McGregor, I'll give you that. It's a shame that you only direct it towards antagonizing me, rather than accomplishing your mission.”

He unscrewed the cap of his canteen and took a swig.

Hey, as far as I'm concerned my mission is over. My orders were to land a commando squad on the surface of EE-4, then wait with the ship. Granted we came in a little harder than I might have liked, but I performed my duty to the best of my abilities. Nobody told me that I had to go traipsing into the jungle and shoot at Bugs.”

Well the circumstances have changed, and you 'did' receive orders to do just that, from me.”

McGregor sighed dismissively. He had encountered hard ass Marines before who treated their orders like the commandments of a vengeful God, but Zhari was going overboard. There was no way that they could take out that control center with just the two of them. Even if by some miracle they did, they would have no way to communicate their success to the fleet. All she would accomplish was getting the both of them killed for nothing.

Oh well, it would be a few days yet before her apparently miraculous regenerative capabilities healed her leg, maybe he could wear her down and convince her to just stay put until help arrived. If he didn't die of boredom first.

***

Zhari flinched as she rubbed antiseptic gel on her leg, the area around the break was bruised and swollen beneath her fur. Even through the painkillers, it hurt to touch it, but who knew what kind of exotic bacteria might be thriving in this hot, humid climate. She wiped the sticky residue on her shorts, then looked around for McGregor. He was sitting near the vine curtain at the entrance, peeking through, looking at the canopy or maybe the sky.

Come away from there. You might draw attention to us,” she complained, and he scooted backwards.

I've not seen any patrol vessels pass over us, have you heard anything moving outside?”

She shook her head, her sensitive hearing had not picked up anything. No large organisms breaking through the undergrowth, no ships overhead, no gunfire. Nothing.

It's weird. I expected them to send patrols after the squad that we killed when they failed to check in,” he mused, drawing shapes in the dirt on the cave floor with the tip of his finger.

Think hard,” Zhari ordered, her tone commanding. “What was our heading when we were shot down?”

McGregor considered for a few moments.

If we're here...” He drew a shape in the soil representing the rocky pillar, “and we came from this direction,” he traced a line with his finger. “Then the crash site must be around here.”

He paused, thinking hard.

I know that the rock pillars were to the right of us when we went down, I saw them while we were circling around. I had angled the landing craft...North West...when we started our descent, which means that they were to the East of us.”

He traced an eight-point compass on the ground and labeled the points with human letters that Zhari had trouble recognizing.

Survival 101,” he began, “people who are lost with no points of reference never walk in a perfectly straight line. We all have one leg that's imperceptibly longer than the other that throws us off course. That means that the rock pillar could be further North or South than we think it is.”

McGregor squatted over his drawing and scratched his chin pensively.

I reckon that the control center must be a couple of dozen miles North North West of us.”

Can you be sure of that?” Zhari asked, returning the gel container to the medkit.

Nope, but that's my best guess, boss.”

Zhari looked thoughtful, the wheels in her head were turning.

Humans evolved from tree-climbing apes, right?”

No no no. Don't even think about it. Those trees are hundreds of feet tall, I can't climb those.”

Very well...”

If the human could not, or perhaps would not climb the trees, she would have to think of something else. Scouting was going to be difficult, the human pilot was not trained in guerrilla warfare, he would not know how to move silently and remain concealed. It would probably have to wait until she was healed. For now, she was tired, and they should sleep.

***

McGregor was bored, and his back ached from sleeping on the hard cave floor. He picked up small pebbles from the ground and tossed them at the opposite wall, trying to bounce them off the stone and land them as close together as possible. Zhari's round, furry ears flicked with irritation at the sound. Her eyes were closed, she seemed to be meditating, maybe something to do with healing or managing the pain. He didn't know, and he didn't especially care either.

Will you find a less irritating game to play?” she chided.

He stopped throwing the stones and sat cross-legged, frowning at her.

Well talk to me then, make conversation, I'm bored!”

We have nothing of interest to talk about,” she replied dismissively, never opening her eyes. “You're like a kitten that needs to be constantly entertained.”

Sure we do, I want to figure out why you have a huge stick up your ass.”

A stick up my ass?” she queried. “Is that some kind of metaphor?”

Yeah, it means that you're inflexible and bad-tempered.”

Zhari shook her head slowly, her eyes still closed.

McGregor, is there some specific reaction you want from me? Why must you continue to provoke me?”

He tossed another rock at the wall, and it bounced with a loud click that echoed through the cave, Zhari's round ears twitching as she opened her eyes to glare at him.

I don't know,” McGregor replied with a shrug. “Humans tend to become uncooperative when you hold them hostage at gunpoint.”

She let out a long, drawn-out sigh, and composed herself.

Okay, fine. What do you want to talk about?”

Tell me about the Pinwheel, what was it like? I've heard stories, but they don't send Navy pilots there for training. Is it true that all Borealans working with the UNN have to complete the program?”

Zhari leaned back against the cold wall, her eyes glazed over as she reminisced about her training on the space station.

Yes, all Borealans who want to fight for the Coalition have to go. There aren't many of us, only a few isolated packs here and there. We're mostly used as elite shock troops in ground offensives and boarding actions. Human society is very alien, it can be jarring, and it takes a while to learn how to interact with humans. In my culture we have a strict social hierarchy, those higher on the ladder assert their dominance over those who are ranked lower. Humans recognize the benefits of this system, you employ it in your military, and yet you somehow separate your social system from it. It's a bizarre duality, contradictory. You think you understand how it works in one setting and then it changes completely in another.”

Interesting...” McGregor replied. “So what you're saying is that the entirety of Borealan society works like a military, with ranks and leaders?”

Essentially, yes. Those lower in the social order must defer to their superiors, and challenges are usually met with violence. If you can overcome your superior, then by definition they are not your superior.”

McGregor allowed his eyes to wander down to Zhari's belly. Her exposed midriff was covered in healed scars, discoloration and knitted tissue crisscrossed over her defined abdominal muscles and trailed below her waistline. They were faded and not disfiguring, but the evidence of violence was all over her body. Her muscled arms were equally scarred, a Coalition tattoo on her bulging bicep had a split down the middle where a claw must have torn through several layers of skin, destroying all of the ink.

I can see that,” he quipped. “No wonder you have to heal fast if that's the kind of damage you're subjected to.”

She followed his gaze and ran a clawed hand across her tight belly.

I suppose from a human perspective we are tough and we heal fast, yes.”

So is that why you don't like humans? Cultural differences?”

Zhari considered for a moment, shifting her broken leg to alleviate her discomfort.

It's not really that simple. The problem is that every human interaction is...provocative.”

McGregor cocked his head, confused.

How so?”

Humans insult each other as a joke, play fighting is considered affectionate. If you try to ignore them, they will reason that you are consenting and only increase their antagonism. Yet Borealans who lash out or attempt to assert their social position are reprimanded severely. I have seen humans launch unprovoked, mock attacks against one another for no reason, then after a short scuffle both parties laugh and reconcile. They have a compulsion to inject unwelcome humor into every situation. In Borealan society, even prolonged eye contact can be construed as a challenge.”

McGregor nodded his head, scratching his chin as he thought about it.

I guess that's true, there's a lot of banter, especially in the military.”

Every interaction with a human is an exercise in self-control and tolerance, it becomes exhausting. And that, McGregor, is why I have a stick up my ass.”

You said there was one Borealan who liked humans though, your instructor. What was her deal?”

Zhari looked away, and to McGregor's bemusement, her face began to redden. He scrutinized her as she started to speak again, her cheeks flushed pink with what might have been embarrassment.

Her name was Raz, she was the daughter of Patriarch Elysiedde, he's a big deal on Borealis. She was the Alpha of all Borealans on the station while I trained there, a kind of Matriarch if you will. She had a...human companion. I forget his name, but they worked together to train recruits and to bridge the cultural gap between the two species. There were Krell on the station too, but those cold-blooded lizards never start fights.”

What was so unusual about this Raz person?” McGregor asked. His interest was peaked, he sensed that juicy gossip was on the menu.

She liked humans, those who she confided in would tell you that she liked them a little too much. I did well on the Pinwheel, I graduated top of my class, but I encountered difficulties with human social interaction that prevented me from progressing in the program. One day Raz took me aside and told me the story of how she had come to be the station Alpha. It was...”

Zhari hesitated, shifting uncomfortably.

You can't stop there!” McGregor complained, “you have to finish the story.”

It was perverse. She had fraternized with her human companion, and in doing so, they had reached some kind of understanding.”

McGregor's jaw dropped.

You mean a human and a Borealan had sex?” He began to laugh, not only at the implication but at Zhari's palpable discomfort.

More, they were a mated pair, they lived together.”

McGregor slapped his knee, choking back laughter.

No way, I don't believe it. I didn't know that a human and a Borealan were even compatible!”

It's true, apparently. She praised humans for...well, she enjoyed their company. She suggested that I might do the same in order to better understand them.”

McGregor grinned mischievously.

And did you take her advice?”

Of course not! It's perverse,” she snapped. “Raz was a deviant, I don't want you thinking Borealans commonly behave like that. We mate all year round, and we do it recreationally too, but xenophilia is not something that we deem socially acceptable.”

So what did you say to her?”

I nodded and declined politely. She was my Alpha, after all, I couldn't voice my objection. But I worked hard to complete the program after that, and I got off the station as quickly as I could.”

McGregor stared into space, trying to imagine the mechanics of a Borealan and a human going at it. He couldn't deny that they were certainly attractive, they looked similar enough to humans. Same figures, same basic features, and they were always in great shape. But they had two feet over the average human, how would that work?

Anyway...the station itself was an impressive feat of engineering...”

***

Zhari went on to describe the Pinwheel to the curious human, the torus-shaped station with its central control hub linked by spokes, the impeccably decorated interior that mimicked a terrestrial planet with gardens and trees and a painted sky. He listened and nodded, but his mind seemed to be elsewhere. Had she made a mistake by telling him about Raz? What if this human too was a xenophile?

Truth be told, her final conversation with the instructor had rattled her. Raz had described humans as voracious, unpredictable lovers, unable to physically resist the advances of a Borealan due to their small stature. Zhari had taken lovers before, mostly some of the less subservient males in her youth who had attempted to challenge her position and lost. All Borealans were inflamed by the fresh blood of a defeated challenger, it ensured that dominant genes were passed on and improved the stock of the whole pack as a result. Humans were defenseless, they had no claws or teeth, their flesh was soft and pliant. Despite their obvious shortcomings they were constantly provoking and inciting in the way a cocky suitor might, it was confusing. Infuriating. It fueled her primal urge to sink her sharp teeth into their supple flesh, to taste their blood and to fuck them until they understood their place.

She had more self-control than Raz however, the daughter of a Patriarch was accustomed to getting everything that she wanted. Not Zhari, she was a career soldier, hardened by a lifetime of combat. She had enough discipline to bury these feelings and keep her focus on the mission. But Raz had planted a seed in her mind, a seed which now germinated, planting its insidious roots deep into every corner of her brain.

CHAPTER 3: BOILING POINT

I ain't climbing that tree, you crazy bitch!”

Zhari prodded McGregor with her bayonet, and he jumped, grasping his butt.

I'll stick you, you know I will. Now get up that tree and find out which direction the control center is in. It's the only way.”

You aren't gonna stick me, you'd be screwed out here on your own, your leg is busted.”

She jabbed again, and he dodged it, dancing around behind the gnarled trunk of the massive tree. He rested his hands on the moist, green moss that coated its surface and peeked around at Zhari.

If I have to come and get you this is going to get ugly, McGregor.”

I'd like to see you try, peg leg.”

She growled in frustration, the sound making McGregor's hair stand on end.

You'll have to come back to the cave eventually, I have all the food. When you get within arm's reach of me...oh I am gonna have some fun with you. You'll wish that you'd fallen out of this fucking tree.”

McGregor considered his options. He wanted badly to defy Zhari on principle alone, but she was right, better to just get it over with. She sounded serious, almost gleeful at the prospect.

He stepped out from behind the trunk and Zhari aimed her XMR at him, throwing a bundle of vines that they had collected at his feet with her free hand.

Get going.”

Fine, fine. When I write my autobiography, I'm gonna make you the villain of the story.”

He picked up the vines and coiled them over his shoulder, then heaved himself up onto a low hanging branch. Zhari kept her rifle trained on him the whole way as he climbed.

The alien trees had thick branches made from flexible wood, he didn't feel as if they would break under his weight, but they were covered in slippery moss. Everything on this God-forsaken planet was wet. He knotted the vines around his waist and tied the other ends around the branches as he passed them, cutting the line with a bayonet when he reached a new branch. At least this way he would have some security if he slipped and fell, assuming that the vines wouldn't just snap under the stress.

Eventually, the ill-tempered Borealan disappeared below the leaves as he entered the canopy proper. He pushed past thick foliage as he struggled higher, at least here there was always a handhold in reach, and the risk of falling was diminished.

It took him a long time to climb the massive tree, it must have been two hundred feet high at least. The plants on EE-4 battled each other for access to the sunlight, growing ever higher and spreading their wide branches ever further in an attempt to capture as much energy as possible. McGregor's muscles burned. Sure he had completed the obstacle courses in boot camp, and he had stayed in shape as part of his Navy routine, but this was grueling work. After some time he finally broke through into the sunlight, shielding his eyes as the sudden brightness forced them closed. He waited a few moments as they adjusted the glare, then he surveyed the landscape, blinking away tears.

Greenery extended as far as he could see in every direction. It was a sea of leaves, the wind blowing them gently like waves on the ocean. A few mammoth trees protruded further than the others as if they were islands seen from a distance, topped with forest. He breathed in lungfuls of fresh air, the oppressive heat of the jungle was lifted by the cool breeze, and he savored the relief. He shielded his eyes with his hand as he scanned, looking for a sign of artificial structures, anything that might stand out. Behind him were the massive pillars of rock, three of them protruding oddly from the treeline, hundreds of feet tall. They were also green at their peaks, some lucky seeds carried by the winds had found their way up to that privileged position, escaping the mad scramble for space that went on below.

Then he saw it. A metallic reflection, its glare standing out against the uniform landscape. It must be protruding from the canopy, a radar dish or some kind of antenna for sure. That had to the target. If the pillars were to the East, then this structure must be North West. He was right in his guess that they had strayed further North or South than they had realized. It looked to be about twenty miles away.

He hesitated, should he tell Zhari or just lie that he hadn't seen anything? Would she just send him up again until she got the result she expected? Most likely, she was tenacious and stubborn. She might also know that he was lying and that prospect frightened him.

He resigned himself to telling her and began to climb back down the tree. There was still time to convince her of the folly of attacking the control center with just the two of them. With any luck, she would see sense before she got the both of them killed.

***

Zhari wanted to pace below the tree, but her broken leg prevented it. She seethed, her face was red, and she was shaking. A combination of anger and arousal was threatening to push her over the edge. She had never encountered such blatant insubordination before, there wasn't even a word for it in the Borealan dialect. The closest approximation to the English word was rogue, a Borealan who went insane and separated itself from the pack, living alone like some kind of hermit.

The plucky human danced just out of her reach, taunting her, defying her. McGregor was inviting a terrible retribution that she could not deliver lest she injure or kill him. Worse, her loins ached and burned. She yearned to slip her fingers beneath her waistband and relieve herself, but he was always near, hovering around her and demanding conversation and entertainment at all hours of the day. Perhaps she could make the excuse of going to the bathroom, but she didn't want to be exposed in the jungle on her own for that long just in case a Betelgeusian patrol should find her while she was vulnerable and distracted. It was an impossible situation, and this loathsome human pushed her to the very limits of her endurance. The heat and the humidity weren't doing her any favors either. Unacceptably base and intrusive thoughts swirled in her brain, her body trying to calculate how best to obtain what it desired despite her conscious objections. It was driving her crazy. Her body, like the impudent little human, was in open rebellion.

She heard rustling leaves, and McGregor climbed into view. She watched him as he made his way down, hopping gingerly from branch to branch like a clumsy monkey until he eventually dropped down onto the jungle floor with a wet squelch, his boots sinking into the mud.

You miss me, boss?”

Did you see anything?” she snapped, wiping sweat from her brow.

Yeah, I saw it alright. There's a metal structure protruding from the jungle canopy about twenty miles North West of us, just about where I said it would be.”

Good, perfect. We can start making our way there when my break has healed. In another day or two, I should be able to walk without the crutch.”

McGregor examined her face curiously, concern in his eyes.

You alright boss? You look sick. You sure you don't have an infection or something?”

I'm fine, it's nothing.”

McGregor took a step closer to her, and before she could protest, he reached up on the tips of his toes and pressed the back of his hand against her cheek. His skin was cool on her face, and his touch was gentle, a surge of lust twisting her insides into a knot as she shivered involuntarily.

You feel really warm, you might have a fever. Do we have antibiotics in the medkit?”

Zhari grabbed McGregor's wrist, squeezing it painfully, and threw him back. He stumbled a short distance, then came to rest against the tree.

D-Don’t touch me! Filthy creature,” she snapped.

He stared at her, alarmed by her strange behavior. She was always pissy, but this was different, he had never seen her behave like this before.

What the hell is your problem?” he asked, shooting her an angry look. “I show concern for your health, and you freak out on me?”

He rubbed his wrist, damn, she had a grip like a vice.

J-Just stay out of my personal space. Borealans...I don't like humans touching me.”

Oh, so it's like a race thing? We sure have a lot to learn from the enlightened Borealans! Next time I'm in a wreck maybe I'll think twice before pulling one of you big orange fucks out of the fire.”

She leaned on her crutch and dragged her free hand down her face in an expression of exasperation, she looked as exhausted as he was, on edge.

McGregor, just...don't.”

He was angry, and he was tired of her shitty attitude. She had no right to complain when she was holding him here against his will, ransoming food to force his compliance, food she could not even have retrieved from the crashed landing craft without his help. Even her damned splint had been his idea.

He spread his arms in a gesture of defiance and advanced towards her, Zhari taking a step back. Her crutch caught on a root, and she almost fell, but she steadied herself.

You know what, shoot me. Do it. I don't care anymore. Fucking shoot me.”

He kept walking forwards, and Zhari took another step back.

You aren't going to do it, are you? You're all bluster.”

She raised a hand, almost imploring, and gestured for him to back off. She looked pained, sick.

McGregor, I'm telling you now, stop this. You don't...I can't...”

He felt a pang of regret in his belly. She was beside herself, maybe she really was sick? Was some unknown tropical virus altering her behavior? She had rejected his innocent attempt to take her temperature, what else could he do for her? He dropped his arms to his sides and stood still, watching her tremble.

I don't get you, Zhari. I just don't get you.”

She turned her back on him and hobbled back through the undergrowth, making her way to the cave. He let her go, figuring he would give her a few minutes to cool down, then join her and try to reason with her again. As much as he disliked her plan and hated her bossy attitude, he felt as if he might go crazy if he were left alone in this jungle. He couldn't just turn himself in, the Betelgeusians did not take prisoners. Zhari's incomprehensible behavior was making this whole ordeal more difficult than it needed to be and he resented her for that, but at the same time, he couldn't stand to see the usually proud creature diminished in this way. Her fierce pride was all that she had left out here.

***

Zhari stumbled through the brush, twigs and vines impeding her progress. She wanted to get back to the cave. The cool, damp space might help her regain control over herself. If her leg had not been broken and she could move with her usual speed and grace, she would have taken McGregor right there beneath the branches of the tree. Only the pain that flared in her swollen ankle had brought her back to her senses in time to prevent that.

Her mind roiled with guilt and arousal. She wanted him, it wasn't right, but she did. Every atom in her body ached for it despite the taboo. Was she no better than Raz had been? A deviant xenophile enslaved by her most base desires? The conflict threatened to tear her in half. She reached the cave entrance and pushed past the vine curtain, dropping to sit against the wall and discarding her crutch on the ground. She tried to meditate, to get her breathing under control, to slow the flutter in her heart. But the heat that flared in her loins would not abate.

***

McGregor walked up to the curtain of vines. He reached his hand out hesitantly and pushed them aside, sticking his head through to look around. Zhari was hunched against the far wall, his eyes hadn't adapted to the low light yet, and he couldn't see what she was doing. He stepped through gingerly and approached her. She was turned away from him. He placed his hand on her shoulder gently, careful not to startle her.

Hey Zhari, are you-”

Her hand reached over her shoulder and closed around his wrist, the Borealan turning her head to look back at him. She leered at him with her reflective eyes, like two burning points of light that shone in the darkness. It frightened him, and he tried to pull away, but her grip tightened to become painful.

Zhari, what are you doing? Let me-”

She stood up, looming over his shorter frame, and turned to face him. She looked insane, her eyes were wide, and her face was beet red. She was sweating, and he could swear that a string of saliva had escaped the corner of her mouth.

I-I've been thinking about it,” she stammered, rolling her eyes up and down his body as if she was sizing up a meal. Her gaze made him recoil, was she going to eat him? She was panting, he could feel her warm breath on his face.

It's not so bad if I only do it once, n-nobody will know.”

What are you talking about? Have you gone crazy? Let me go!”

She lifted him off the ground by his wrist, one-handed, alarmingly strong. He kicked his feet impotently, but all he could do was hang there. Her bicep bulged under the strain, and she gave him that disturbing, predatory look again. McGregor began to panic.

Zhari listen to me, we can talk about this okay? Just put me down, and we'll talk about it, yeah?”

It didn't seem like she was even listening to him. She was lost in her own head, talking to herself, and his shoulder was beginning to hurt from supporting his weight.

You deserve this really, don't you? You made me do it.”

McGregor's blood ran cold, did she intend to kill him?

Listen Zhari, I'll behave, okay? I'll do whatever you want from now on!”

With her free hand, she brought her shiny, black claws up to his torso. They tore through his flight suit, the fabric falling away in tattered strips to expose his naked chest. Zhari bit her lower lip as her eyes wandered over his body, her lids drooping and her gaze becoming sultry.

Not even one scar. Such clear, smooth skin.”

She swallowed noisily and ran her padded fingertips over his heart, careful not to cut him with her curved claws. It was beating like a drum, his fear and confusion vibrating up through her hand.

It's a service, really. You've never been disciplined the way that you should be. I think you want me to do it, that's why you provoke me, that's why you taunt me.”

He had no idea what was going on now, what was she talking about? He struggled in vain as the joint in his shoulder throbbed painfully.

Zhari!” he pleaded, trying to make eye contact in order to get her attention. “You're hurting me.”

If you were a Borealan, I'd cut you down to the bone for your insubordination. I'd scar you deep, and every time you saw the mark, you'd remember who gave it to you and why. Then you'd understand your place. Every scar on my body is a lesson learned, and you are...uneducated.”

She brought him close to her and leaned down to press her face into the nape of his neck. Her fluffy, orange hair tickled his nose, and she dragged her rough tongue across his skin. The warm, wet sensation startled McGregor and sent an involuntary shiver down his spine. Jesus, she really was going to eat him!

She closed her eyes and let loose a drawn-out sigh, savoring his taste.

You're always provoking me, teasing me, you humans. I wanted to stay away, I wanted to be good, but now I see that you need us. You need us to teach you. I'm not a deviant after all, I just want a semblance of order.”

He had heard enough of her rambling. His fight or flight reflex kicked in, and he swung his body, punching her in the face with all of his strength. He didn't have much leverage, but the shot connected and she dropped him in surprise as she brought a hand up to her cheek. He fell to the ground and turned to run, but she tripped him with a powerful swipe from her long tail. McGregor fell on his face, skidding in the wet dirt.

You can't help yourself,” she crooned, advancing behind him. “Let me teach you.”

McGregor scrambled, trying to get up off the ground and escape through the vine curtain. Zhari crouched and pressed her knee into the small of his back, the pain from her broken leg seemingly forgotten. It sent a jolt of agony up his spine, and he yelped, clawing up handfuls of soil.

I won't let you go, you're mine now.”

She flipped him over and lowered herself onto him, straddling him. She bound his hands together and held them above his head with her dexterous tail. He struggled ardently, but he couldn't break free. She was too big, too strong, too heavy. She held her face in her hands and stared down at him, a strange adoration in her eyes.

I've wanted this for so long, but I told myself that it was wrong, I suppressed my desires, and it got worse and worse. Then Raz whispered those perverse, wonderful...no. Those vile, horrible things into my ear. I couldn't stop thinking about it, about the things that she told me she had done.”

McGregor began to understand, an immense heat radiating from her groin as it pressed into him. Was she really going to do this? Had his disobedience really provoked this reaction from her or had she always been a ticking time bomb ready to explode under her own repressed lust for the humans she deemed so inferior?

You humans try to make Borealans live the way you do, follow your rules, behave the way you behave. But now I think you need to learn how to behave like a Borealan, you need to understand how to submit. We're bigger than you, stronger, better. But you don't respect us.”

Fuck you!”

He spat at her, and it hit her on the cheek. Zhari wiped it away with the back of her hand, smiling down at him.

You see? You don't know how to behave, even when you're completely overpowered. I have to break you in.”

McGregor struggled and fought, but he couldn't get loose. Her huge thighs were clamped around his waist, and his hands were trapped by her flexible tail, but not his legs. He kicked out sideways and jammed his knee into Zhari's bruised, swollen shin. She inhaled sharply and squeezed her eyes shut, freezing up completely for a few seconds.

He had expected her to release him or to shift her weight so he could wriggle loose, but instead, her eyes opened slowly to gaze at him with a kind of lascivious fervor. Her ragged breathing became more regular, her blush making her face practically glow in the gloom of the cave.

She wet her lips with her tongue and leaned down towards his face. He shied away, expecting some form of retribution, but instead, he felt her sharp teeth press into his neck. Zhari applied a gentle pressure, just enough to prick his skin, her hot breath tickling him. She brought her head a little higher and whispered softly into his ear.

It doesn't have to hurt, it can be a reward too.”

She sucked his earlobe into her warm mouth and chewed it gently. McGregor gasped and squirmed, trying to escape the sensation, but he was trapped. She licked his ear wetly then pulled back, eyeing his bare chest and considering her next move.

McGregor's body was confused, he wanted to fight, he was angry and afraid. Yet he felt his energy leaving him as his growing erection pressed into her crotch, warm and inviting through the thin, clinging fabric of her shorts.

Zhari dragged her claws across his chest, leaving red welts that didn't quite break the skin. He twisted and bucked, the conflicting stimuli sending his nervous system into overdrive.

You'll start to understand soon,” she breathed heavily, her hand crawling up her body to knead one of her sizable breasts through her sweat-stained tank top. She rocked her head back and rolled her hips, McGregor wincing under the pressure. She must weigh half a ton. Right now most of that weight was on her legs and not on him, but she could easily have crushed him if she had been so inclined.

Not to say that I won't hurt you. I will, because you deserve it.”

He didn't know what to do. His mind was failing him, and his body was bewildered, unable to decide if it should be aroused or in pain. He didn't know how she would react anymore, she was off the rails, unpredictable. He had to find a weakness and fast. She had seemed insecure about her attraction to humans, it conflicted with her sense of smug Borealan superiority. Maybe he could rub some salt into that wound? Would it shame her enough to bring her to her senses?

So, it's true what they say, all Borealans are xenophiles! I didn't believe it, but now I can see it for myself.”

No, no you're wrong.” She leaned down to eye level, so that her face was adjacent to his. “I'm not attracted to you, I just needed to...humans understand the power dynamic. You use it in your military, you obey your superiors like a Borealan obeys an Alpha. When you need to be efficient, strong and reliable, you behave like a Borealan.”

He opened his mouth to argue, but she covered it with her furry hand, her claws digging into his cheeks painfully.

When you're off duty you become unruly, provocative. You think the rules don't apply to you anymore, but they do. All of you, taunting me, begging for a scar to teach you your place. Defenseless and weak but protected by your loathsome rules and regulations. It defies the natural order, you dangle meat in front of me, but you won't let me taste it!”

She brought her fangs down and sunk them into his shoulder. McGregor groaned in pain, the sound muffled by her palm. The bite was hard, and her incisors punctured his skin, a trickle of crimson blood leaking past her soft lips. He felt her rough tongue rake over the fresh wound as she tasted it, drawing more out. She shuddered on top of him, pressing her groin into him, the pressure maintaining his confused erection. She raised her head, her lips red with his blood, and she licked it away gleefully.

Ah...human blood. Sweet, sticky.”

Her juices were soaking through her shorts, McGregor could feel the damp fabric pressing against his shaft. There was no going back now, no stopping this. She had tasted his blood, and he was powerless to resist her.

She pressed her puffy lips against his, forcing her long tongue past them. McGregor tasted his own blood in her mouth, the metallic tang prickling his taste buds. Her rough organ roved in his head, her kiss deep and desperate, wanton in its urgency. Her tongue was impossibly long, at least a foot of winding, prehensile muscle. It was wet with her viscous saliva, rough on the top like that of a cat.

It went on for too long, her larger lung capacity meant that he ran out of breath long before she did and he began to struggle as he started to suffocate. He felt her steely thighs close more tightly around him, and her hands came to his cheeks, cradling his head and keeping it in place. She was enjoying herself.

He closed his teeth on her tongue as he started to see stars dance before his eyes, his peripheral vision darkening, trying to make her pull away. She flinched and released him with a wet smack, a strand of saliva linking their lips. He breathed deeply, sucking in lungfuls of air.

Zhari held her tongue in her fingers, nursing the bite.

That hurt. A Borealan knows when they've been beaten, but you just keep fighting, don't you?”

She lightly traced the line of his clavicle with her hooked claws, making him flinch and writhe beneath her bulk.

I should cut you for that, but humans are so...fragile and soft...”

She bit her lip again as she gazed at his chest, as if trying to suppress some intrusive thought.

What would hurt me would wound you. A pity, you're so fresh, unspoiled. Maybe if I was careful...”

He shook his head, wide-eyed.

Are you scared of me?” she asked, the edges of her mouth curling into a sadistic smile. His brow furrowed, it was surely some kind of test, but he wouldn't let her break him. He had come this far, what were a few more bites and cuts in order to maintain his pride?

No.”

She beamed and leaned down again, nibbling his ear with her pointed incisors.

You should be.”

***

Zhari was on fire. Her loins burned and throbbed, blood pooled, engorging them. She couldn't think straight, her brain was boiling in her skull, and her erect nipples rubbed uncomfortably against the rough fabric of her tank top. McGregor writhed underneath her, she could feel his erection pressing against her crotch. She knew that he had wanted this, he was enjoying it, his complaints were drowned out by the beating of his heart and the pulsing of his member. She could hear his nectarous blood gushing through his veins. Was he being coy? Did humans secretly crave subjugation and the rule of order, but for some cultural reason could not admit to it? She would force honesty from his lips. She would make him admit it, beg for it, yes...

She would induct him into her pack, then he would have to follow her orders. He would understand, and he would behave, then the mission could be completed.

Because that's what this was all about, the mission, not her own gratification. She couldn't scar him, she couldn't rake her claws through his supple, pale flesh. It would pull apart like boiled meat, and he would die. The only option left was the sexual one, and it wasn't her idea, she wasn't a pervert like Raz. This was a last resort. He had brought this on himself. If he had respected the chain of command and had followed orders, she wouldn't have to do this to him. It was either this or summary execution for dereliction of duty. This was lenient really, it was compassionate. She was doing him a favor. If she happened to get some relief from it, why shouldn't she? Didn't she deserve some compensation, a reward for tolerating these little gremlins all throughout her training?

She felt a fluttering sensation rising in her belly as she remembered something that Raz had whispered in her ear. Zhari's face had burned as she had tried to think of something else besides the debauchery, the immoral self-indulgence of her mentor. She had said that humans had smooth, agile tongues, perfect for...

No, it was strategic. Such a base, filthy act would humiliate him, and maybe that would break his spirit.

Besides, he was enjoying this, the little deviant.

***

There was a strange look in Zhari's eyes. Her face burned hotter, her hands trembling as she took his hair in her fists and shuffled up his body, pressing her moist shorts into his face. His wrists were still bound above his head, her sinewy tail gripping them like a snake as she fumbled with her clothes. Was she trying to take her shorts off? She would have to stand up, and he could make a break for it while her weight was off him. She pulled down the zipper, revealing a tuft of orange fluff on her mound that tickled his nose. It exuded a familiar smell, one that threatened to ensnare his senses. He turned his head away, trying to resist his growing arousal. The zipper did not go low enough to expose her fully, however, she hadn't thought this through.

She huffed in frustration and stood up, releasing his hands from their bondage.

Was she letting him go? Surely not, but he saw his chance, and he was going to take it. He scrambled to get up, but he felt her furry tail snake its way around his neck instead. He brought his hands up to pull it away, but she increased the pressure, choking him. He fell back to the ground, struggling against the appendage. She lifted one leg and then the other, slipping her shorts off. Putting her weight on her broken leg didn't seem to bother her. If it did, she didn't show it.

She dropped the sodden garment on the ground and bent down, grabbing his wrists in her hands and pinning them against the soil. She uncurled her tail from his neck, and he gasped, coughing as he caught his breath. She rested her knees on his arms and wrapped his face in her silky thighs, pressing her mound down against his mouth, trapping him beneath her. She took handfuls of his hair in her fists and tugged, pulling him closer.

Use your tongue. Don't bite me, or I'll make you regret it,” she panted. She looked down at him over her protruding chest, two breasts that were each the size of his head rising and falling with every breath, barely contained by the thin fabric of her tank top.

She was glistening, beyond arousal. Her puffy, pink lips oozed juices down her thighs and onto his chin. The musky smell overwhelmed him, strong, but not unpleasant. He struggled, but there was no way that he could lift her off him, he had no leverage. She was kneeling uncomfortably on his arms, pinning them to the ground. He looked up at her past the tuft of orange fur on her mound, watching as beads of sweat rolled slowly down her toned belly, her rock hard abdominal muscles flexing as she breathed.

Come on...” she complained, almost imploring. She didn't sound like an Alpha in command of her underling, she sounded needy and impatient. McGregor wondered how much control over herself she really had. She tugged his hair, painfully this time.

Don't make me ask you again.”

He complied, pressing his lips against hers. They were almost painfully hot, slippery with her excitement, fat strands of it falling to his red cheeks. She shuddered, tensing up as he pushed his tongue past her opening into a tunnel of textured, tight flesh. She tasted of salt and metal. The Borealan squeezed his head between her soft thighs, hard muscles rippling beneath the fat, and he licked rhythmically. She strained to control her hips, trying not to grind into his face and smother him, but unable to keep still. She brought a finger to her mouth and bit it, screwing her eyes shut.

She had taken things this far, and obviously intended to take them further, she wasn't trying to teach him a lesson she just wanted to fuck. It was as plain as day, and the only one of them that she was trying to fool with her bizarre justifications and mental gymnastics was herself.

In any case, she wouldn't let him go now. The best course of action might be to simply satisfy her cravings, then deal with the fallout once she had been sated. Hell, her body was amazing, she was built like an Olympic swimmer. If he could gain the upper hand, then he might even enjoy this. How often did you get to plow a stuck up Borealan with a superiority complex?

With that thought in mind, and with a renewed will to fight, he probed where he assumed a clitoris would be. His lips found the swollen, protruding nub of flesh as he crawled his tongue up her vulva, tracing the folds and creases of her sex. He wrapped his lips around it and felt her freeze, her velvet thighs quivering against his cheeks. He held it in his lips for a moment, teasing her, then sucked it into his mouth and ran his tongue around it.

Zhari groaned, leaning forward, her abs curling above his face as he pressed the protrusion between his tongue and his teeth.

Damn it...not so hard,” she gasped, her fingers sinking into his hair and gripping handfuls. He ignored her warning and sucked harder, flicking the tip of his tongue over it and chewing lightly. He felt her body spasm, and she let out a stifled cry, adorable coming from such a proud creature. He didn't let up, continuing his assault on the most tender part of her anatomy as she shook and trembled. Her juices were overflowing, dripping onto his face and leaking down her inner thighs, coating them in a reflective sheen. How aroused could she possibly get?

McGregor jumped as he felt Zhari's fluffy, prehensile tail slide down past his waistband and wrap around his stiff member. It tickled his skin, the sensation was distracting. He gasped into her groin as the tentacle-like appendage tightened, squeezing him intermittently. It sent a shiver down his spine, and he felt the will to resist her recede slightly. He had to stay in control, because she wasn't. He could gain the upper hand in this fight, and that's what it was, a brawl. He had to win.

See? If you're obedient and you behave, I can make you feel good.”

Don't listen to her. Stay alert, stay in control, and you can win this.

Every lick and kiss was met with a squeeze from her tail, the fluffy appendage wrapped around his shaft as she ground against his face. Despite himself, the jolts of pleasure traveled up his spine, making his head spin. Better to finish her off quickly, before she took him along for the ride and he lost control too.

He sucked hard and bit her gently, drawing her clitoris out from beneath its protective hood and massaging with his tongue. She arched her back, her long tongue lolling from her mouth in an obscene display, her hands leaving his hair to seek out her breasts. She squeezed and kneaded them, squashing him between her thighs as she was driven to a great, shuddering climax. Every muscle in her body tensed, bulging from beneath her lustrous skin, made slick with her sudor. She writhed on top of him, her essence flooding his mouth as she came.

He spluttered as she panted and shivered over him, waves of her orgasm wracking her body one after another. He mouthed and licked her mound and thighs, every touch of his lips sending another jolt of pleasure coursing through her. He was amazed, either he was God's gift to Borealans or Zhari was wound up tighter than a recoil spring. Just how long had she suppressed these desires?

The Borealan fell off him sideways, curling up into the fetal position on the dirt floor as she shivered and whined. Her fingers strayed down to her loins as she rubbed and squirmed, her breath ragged as she drew out the last pangs of her climax. Had he succeeded? Would she even notice if he left now? He was disappointed for a moment, watching her writhe on the cave floor. His erection was straining against his torn flight suit, he wanted to come too...

No, escape was more important. He rolled onto his front and rose to his knees, intending to dash the exit, but he felt Zhari's tail wrap around his ankle.

I'm not done...you're still not obeying me.”

She tugged, and he fell to the floor again.

Damn it Zhari! You got what you wanted, now let me go!”

I want you to obey me.”

Bullshit, you've got it bad for humans, and you're taking it out on me.”

Zhari uncurled and rose to her knees, her hands resting on the ground as she panted, still shaky and flooded with seething afterglow. She began to crawl towards him, her breasts swaying in her tank top. He shuffled backwards, but her tail was hooked tightly around his leg. She tugged, dragging him closer.

Her claws hooked into his utility belt, and she began to pull off what remained of his tattered flight suit. She dragged the clothing down over his ankles along with his underwear and threw it aside, leaving him exposed.

She had that longing in her eyes again, a carnality that gleamed behind her amber pupils as she gazed at him. Her cheeks were wet and rosy, her breathing hard and heavy, the residue of her orgasm still dripping from between her pale thighs. She was incorrigible, unreasonable, but not insane. He knew that much at least, but she was so unreachable behind her wall of lust that she might as well have been on another planet, trying to reason with her would be futile.

Being an Alpha doesn't just mean hurting and punishing,” she panted, her eyes lingering on his groin. “Be good, do as I say, and I'll make sure that you're happy and safe. I'll make you feel good.”

She grasped his growing erection with her furry hand and stroked gently. McGregor flinched, sparks flew in his brain, and he felt his will to fight her being sapped. She leaned down and kissed the tip, her soft, warm lips pressing against his glans. He bulged to full mast, heat rising in his member as she looked up at him, a smug smile on her face. She planted slow, wet kisses on his belly, then on his hip, then his thigh. McGregor gasped despite himself, Zhari squeezing his erection gently between her fingers as he watched her, those soft lips creeping towards his manhood.

Maybe he should give in, this wasn't so bad...

No, if he did that, she would have won. Why did he want to win so badly? He couldn't remember, his brain was fuzzy, hazy...

Just wait,“ she whispered, her warm breath tickling the head of his cock. “When I'm done with you, you'll be on your knees, begging for me to lead you.”

She slid her puffy lips over the head, sucking it into her hot, slimy mouth. He bucked as he felt her rough, textured tongue coil around his glans, coating it with a layer of viscous saliva. She gripped the shaft in her fist and pumped slowly as she played with the tip, pressing him to the ground with her other hand on his belly.

***

It was so ugly and veiny, a brutal instrument with a scoop on the head that was clearly evolved to draw out the sperm of its rivals, a combative organ worthy of a Borealan. Zhari rubbed her thighs together restlessly as she imagined what it might feel like to thrust the brutish thing inside her. The heat of it, the sensation of the grotesque veins and its alien shape as it grazed her walls and penetrated the depths of her body. Her mouth watered over it as she rolled her tongue around the fleshy tip. Was this what had so captivated Raz? What had driven her to such depravity? She had been right about their tongues, smooth and agile unlike the rougher, clumsier tongues of her ilk. Would she be right about this too? Zhari's heart thudded in her chest, arousal seethed in her belly and made her erogenous zones ache for the plucky human's touch, but something nagged in the back of her mind.

It was her duty, this was part of her mission, right? Then why was she enjoying it so much? Usually, her lovers had already been defeated. They were submissive and bloody, unwilling or unable to resist her. Sex was an almost dispassionate element of their surrender. The blood, the fight, the orgasm. They were violent and exciting, but short affairs. On occasion, she would recruit an underling to pleasure her, but it was little more than assisted masturbation. They did what they were told to do, and they had no will of their own, lest their will offend their Alpha.

The human refused to submit. He wouldn't stop fighting, his will was strong, and he continued to disobey her. Sex with him had an unpredictable quality that excited her, his continued resistance only inflamed her passion. She wanted more, maybe more than he could give, but she would wring it out of him regardless.

Was she really doing this so that he would follow orders? Or had she suppressed and denied her unwelcome desire for the aliens until it had developed into a fetish, as McGregor had accused? She felt a surge of guilt at the thought that she might prefer this alien, this inferior animal, over the company of her own kind. But the taboo only fanned the flames of her libido.

***

McGregor's beautiful assailant pressed her head down, her smooth lips slipping down his shaft and kissing the base. She sucked hard, the hot, tight walls of her cheeks closing around him like a prison of wet silk as her tongue coiled and teased. He gasped as the head of his member pressed against the back of her throat.

She knew what she was doing, better than any human woman he had ever been with, it was almost painfully good. He realized with a pang of shame that she was no longer restraining him. Pleasure was his restraint now, his own traitorous nervous system was his shackles, the unbearable waves of sensation that caused his hips to roll and his back to arch were his bonds.

She moved her head up and down rhythmically, squeezing his balls gently in her soft hand. He writhed and his breath caught in his throat, his vision blurring and tiny points of light dancing before his retinas as he felt his orgasm mounting. She slowed as she felt his member throb and jump in her mouth, then pulled back, not wanting to finish him off too quickly. She closed her lips around his head again, licking and mouthing too gently to send him over the edge.

Damn it...why?” McGregor grumbled.

She pushed his member into her cheek and spoke over it, the vibrations of her mouth tickling him.

I won't let you come until you ask for it,” she mumbled, meeting his pained stare with her lurid gaze.

Damn it. He lay back on the ground, the soil cool on his naked skin, and tried not to flinch as she mouthed and kissed. His knees were trembling, and his balls ached. She had brought him to the edge and then denied him release, knowing that to ask for her mercy would be as good as surrendering.

I told you I'd make you beg, McGregor.”

I-I won't beg...” Indignation flared, anger revitalizing him and giving him the strength to hold out. She could tease him all she wanted, but he wouldn't give in, he wouldn't give her the satisfaction.

Zhari dragged both of her hands down his thighs, her claws leaving identical red welts in his skin, the sensation making him jump.

Oh I think you will, I can do things to you that will make your toes curl.”

Try me.”

***

The little human would not submit. Again and again, she thought that she saw cracks in his resolve. She expected the low whisper of submission to escape his lips, the long-awaited admission of inferiority. But every time she had him teetering over the precipice, he pulled back at the last second, denying her the satisfaction. It made her angry, but more than that it drove her wild. The fight for dominance and standing with other Borealans was swift. If the weaker party were to resist for too long, they might be seriously injured as the physical confrontation dragged on. She could not cut this challenger with her sharp claws. She could not harry him with blows until, beaten and broken, he acquiesced.

She could force him to come whenever she liked, but that wasn't the point. The point was to make him recognize her as his Alpha, the sole bestower of both pain and pleasure, punishment and reward. The human teased and provoked, pushing her buttons and inciting her, even as she punished him for it. It was as if some cruel deity had designed these humans for no other purpose than to torment her, but it was a sweet misery, she could never have guessed that it would be possible to be this turned on. She wanted more, she wanted that pulsing, brutish organ inside her. She wanted to fuck McGregor until her loins tore and he begged her to stop, but she wouldn't. She would break him, induct him into her pack, and make use of his smooth tongue and his ugly organ whenever she liked.

The mission? Fuck the mission. She wanted to own him, mind, body and soul.

***

Zhari crawled up on top of McGregor, pinning his arms to the floor with her iron grip. She hovered over his pulsing, twitching member, her juices dripping onto it and sliding down his shaft in fat globs.

This will finish you off,” she crooned, a cruel smile on her lips.

McGregor glared up at her, defiant, yet the anticipation of their imminent coupling made him jump and throb. She was impossibly wet, and despite his disdain for her Zhari's body made him ache. Her heavy breasts hung inches from his face, hard nipples protruding through her sweat-stained tank top and glistening beads of moisture rolled down her taut abs. Zhari leaned in and pressed the tip of his penis against her blooming flower, rubbing his sensitive glans against her slimy lips. He flinched as the hot, slippery silk dragged over his exposed head, a burst of sensation washing through his body. Zhari sighed, shivering as the hard organ pressed against her engorged clitoris.

He glanced up at her face, framed by her hanging, orange hair. She was beet red, her cheeks shiny with sudor. She gazed down at him almost lovingly, a deep and unquenchable thirst emanating from behind her yellow eyes. In that moment he wanted to give in. He wanted to let her have him, all of him, if it meant that she would drop her hips down on his cock and let him bury his face in her soft bust. His muscles trembled as the internal conflict rocked his body, what should he do?

His expression gave him away, and Zhari beamed at him, her pink tongue leaving her mouth to wet her soft lips before she gloated.

Just say it, little human. Speak the phrase, and I'll make all of your dreams come true, fulfill every one of your desires. I surrender, lead me, my Alpha.”

McGregor's face burned with shame, and he turned his head away to stare at the cave wall. Zhari leaned in to chew his ear gently, and he closed his eyes, trying to endure the sensation. She pinched his earlobe between her sharp teeth and tugged, feeling his member bulge and press against her moist opening.

Her hot breath warmed his ear as she whispered, her voice low and sultry.

Just say it...and I'll make you feel this good every night for the rest of your life.”

He had to endure, he knew that he could turn this battle around if only he could tolerate sex with her for a few minutes. But as her hot, inviting opening pressed against his swollen member, he wondered if he had it in him.

She brought one of her hands down and gripped him firmly by the shaft. He yelped and bucked at the sudden pressure, Zhari grinning and maintaining eye contact while sliding his organ against her vulva, rubbing it up and down at a torturously slow pace. Her eyelids drooped at the stimulation and her intimate gaze sent shivers down his spine. She couldn't keep this up for much longer, she was drooling over him, she wanted this as much as he did. Was it all a pretense to save face?

I-I won't say it,” he muttered.

Her eyes closed slowly, and she bit her lower lip, grinding gently against his shaft.

Then suffer,” she purred, forcing him inside her.

***

Zhari felt McGregor's thick member break through her opening, its slight upward curve pushing it against her weak spot. It sent a burst of unbearable pleasure up through her body like a solar flare, a moan escaping her tightly pursed lips. She forced it all the way inside her in one fluid motion, flinching as the scooped tip kissed her reaches, plunging her innermost depths. It was almost hot enough to burn her, engorged with sweet blood that pumped through the protruding veins, making it beat like a second heart inside her. She rolled her head back, her breathing ragged, and tried not to move too much as her fleshy walls contracted around the foreign shape. Her muscles tried to pull it deeper, massaging it like a tight fist gloved in slimy velvet. She could feel every twitch and every contour of the brutal organ, she could almost taste it.

The human fared no better, letting out a cry that flooded Zhari's body with heat and desire, along with a cruel inclination to force more cries from him. She wanted to play him like an instrument as he writhed beneath her, powerless.

But something was...wrong.

Her legs were weak and numb, the human's grotesque member pressed and scraped against places it should not be able to reach, pulsing and jumping inside her in a way that she could not control. He bucked and writhed under her, but even her massive weight could not keep him completely still.

A dangerous warmth began to spread through her body, creeping up her spine like some kind of venomous snake intent on reaching her brain in order to better disseminate its poison.

She moved gently, rolling her hips, intending to torment her little captive. His organ rubbed against her walls, her vision blurring and stars dancing before her eyes as the pleasure plowed through her mind like a plasma bolt.

This wasn't right, she was supposed to be in control...

Suddenly the human pushed his free hand under her clothing, pressing his fingers into her supple flesh and kneading, deforming her firm breast. She arched her back in surprise, which pressed his member against her weak spot again, the combination of sensations forcing an unbecoming yelp from her mouth. As she writhed, he found a tender nipple and pinched it, sending a jolt through her body that made her collapse forward. The motion brought her chest into range of his mouth, and he lifted her tank top, her heavy orbs bouncing free of their constraints. Her breasts hung tantalizingly, swaying gently with her ragged breathing. He raised his head and sucked a hard nipple between his lips, Zhari shuddering, feeling her strength leaving her.

Her lovers did what they were told to do, they feared her. This human was unpredictable, unafraid, and he fought her still. For the first time since her adolescence, Zhari felt that her position was at risk, that she might actually lose a fight. She should be worried, but the spreading heat in her belly and the sharp pleasure driving through her chest like a bayonet distracted her, clouding her mind and impairing her judgment. Another shiver crept up her spine, and she began to croon softly as the human pressed her nipple between his teeth and dragged his smooth tongue over its engorged surface.

The alien bucked, pressing his hard shaft further inside her, and she yielded. She tried to pull away from him, but her body would not obey her. Instead, she convulsed, pulling him deeper inside her with the rhythmic contractions of her fleshy passage.

Images of Raz's lewd face, her cheeks pink with excitement as she described to her the joys of her human mate flashed before Zhari's eyes. The guilty arousal that she had felt that day returned to flood her beleaguered mind.

***

McGregor squeezed her breasts, the soft fat giving way to firm tissue under his probing fingers. He sucked an erect nipple into his mouth and pinched it between his teeth, a little too cruel for regular coitus, but Zhari deserved none of his sympathy. She writhed on top of him, her muscular body dancing as if it was being held over an open flame. He tasted the salt on her smooth, wet skin and wanted more, biting her areola gently to make her gasp. He dragged his now free hands over her muscled back, tracing the indent of her spine with his fingernails. She squirmed at his touch, leaning into him as he thrust deeper into the warmth of her sopping loins.

She was incredibly tight, moreso than any woman that he had been with in the past, which seemed contradictory due to her larger size. The answer surely lay in her impeccably toned body. Her muscles were like steel cables, and her narrow passage milked him with powerful contractions, her strength and fervor reminiscent of a pneumatic pump. He felt the walls of muscle behind her silky, gooey flesh kneading him, straining to draw out his orgasm.

He was gaining the upper hand. Zhari was too turned on now, so enamored with living out her long-suppressed fantasy of tasting the forbidden human fruit that she was no longer in control of her faculties. It didn't seem like she was used to her lovers taking any initiative either, he could use that to his advantage.

He began to thrust faster and harder, trying to angle himself so that his stiff member scraped her g-spot, or at least where he assumed it to be. Her anatomy seemed pretty similar to that of a human.

It worked, and she gripped him tightly between her heavy thighs, moaning. He felt her close tightly around him, crushing him inside her in a convulsion of pleasure. The attack was a double-edged sword, and he joined her in a pained vocalization, pressing his face between her large breasts. Her flush, cool skin slid against his burning cheeks, as smooth as glass.

Zhari began to circle her hips, grinding into him and pushing him deep into her moist tunnel. She hooked a hand behind his head, delving her clawed fingers into his hair, holding his face between her cleavage. She clamped down on him, and he could feel every wrinkle of her textured insides as they dragged over his sensitive glans.

The proud Borealan wasn't going to give in without a fight, that much was clear. He would have to weaken her resolve further. McGregor reached down, his probing fingers seeking out the firm bud amongst her hot, slippery folds. He found it, pinching the engorged protrusion between his thumb and forefinger.

Zhari yowled like an angry cat, rolling onto her side as she convulsed. She locked her powerful legs around his butt and pulled him with her, desperate to keep him inside her. McGregor used the ground for leverage and flipped her over so she was on her back and he was on top. She peered at him through half-closed eyes, her breath coming in irregular, hot bursts. Now was the time to deliver the killing blow.

He reached up and grabbed a fistful of orange hair, dragging her head down into range of his smaller stature. He craned his neck and sank his teeth into her flesh where the shoulder met the neck, biting as hard as he could. It was strangely satisfying, primal. The sensation of his teeth sinking into her skin was gratifying, and his newfound aggression inflamed him, his member flexing inside her and pushing deeper. He broke the skin, barely, clearly human jaws were not strong enough and their teeth not sharp enough to seriously damage a Borealan. It had the desired effect all the same.

Zhari melted. She curled her limbs around him, shivering and trembling as he drew back, a strand of saliva linking his lips to the red mark he had left on her skin. Her amber eyes gazed up at him, adoring, imploring him to continue. He found her clitoris again with his fingers and rubbed, Zhari rolling her head back, her amber eyes bulging. He continued his movement, finding one of her nipples with his mouth and straining to support himself with his free hand as he nibbled and sucked.

Zhari was beside herself. Her insides quivered like jello as he pounded relentlessly, each thrust that drove into her soft, tender tunnel eliciting a soft cry or a muffled grunt as she struggled to maintain her rapidly slipping composure. She squeezed her thighs around him, pulling him into her harder and faster, trapping him in her crossed legs. He pinched her hard nipple between his teeth and mauled her clitoris with his fingers, moistened by her flowing juices, giving no quarter as he fucked her against the cold ground.

She brought her furry hands up to her burning face, trying to cover it, either ashamed or simply bashful. McGregor wasn't quite sure.

W-Why can't I b-break you...?” she mumbled through her hands, her voice wavering as he drove his surging member to the hilt. It dragging against her textured walls, lubricated by her dripping excitement, almost frictionless as their hips slammed together with an audible slap.

Her whole demeanor was starting to change now. Her taut body, slick with their shared sweat, was starting to slacken and yield with every thrust. With every bite and pinch, she was losing strength, her will draining from her like dark blood from a mortal wound.

Because I'm stronger than you,” he grunted.

N-No. I'm bigger, heavier, I-I could kill you with the tip of my- ah!”

He drove his erection into her weak point, and she bucked, lifting him almost off the ground as her spine arched and her butt left the floor. She fell back, dazed, and he continued. He was unrelenting, fierce. He had her on the ropes, and he wasn't about to let up now.

My body might be weaker, but my will is stronger than yours.”

N-No, I am a commando, I...”

He sank his teeth into the flesh around her nipple, and she shuddered, a lurid moan interrupting her complaint as she squirmed beneath him. He was getting close too. He felt as if he might collapse, her exquisite walls pressed around him so tightly that he felt as if his member was melting, but it was crucial that he hold on just a little longer. If he came before she did, he would remain her helpless plaything.

***

The human slammed into her, strong, vigorous. His agile little fingers sought out her tender flesh and pinched, twisting and teasing. He had bitten her as an Alpha would bite a subordinate. Her brain roiled with confused emotions as her body betrayed her, pushing up to meet his powerful thrusts and driving them ever deeper inside her, his crude organ's pulsating heat spreading through her lower body like a wildfire. Now he was truly challenging her right to lead, attacking her most sensitive areas and exploiting her weaknesses ruthlessly and relentlessly, as only a warrior would.

More than simple lust now, her loins responded to him, drawing him in. Her velvet walls massaged him, eager to receive the seed of the stronger party as such encounters dictated, for the betterment of the pack. She could almost feel her ovaries squirm as primal instinct overrode logic and her aching body accepted him. She knew that she could not bear an alien's children, it was biologically impossible, yet the dumb beast that was her body yearned for it.

Had she lost? Was McGregor her Alpha now? Her dazed mind was flooded with so many conflicting emotions. Guilt and shame, arousal and excitement, lust. She hid her red face behind her hands in an attempt to block out the maddening emotions, but it was to no avail.

Was he right? Was his will stronger than hers? Could this inferior, this alien, really overpower her and sully her most intimate places with his impure seed? The thought of it made her drool, it was downright licentious, depraved. She loved it, she needed it.

Surrender.”

***

Surrender to me,” McGregor commanded.

Zhari's eyelids fluttered as she stared up at him, and he felt her shiver as her breath caught in her throat.

N-No, I can't...”

McGregor leaned down and planted another bite on her sinewy neck. She groaned, pushing her mound up against him and biting her lip. Damn, Borealans really responded to that kind of thing. It was like scruffing a cat, they just shut down and froze. Her reaction emboldened him.

Turn over, on your face.”

W-What? What are you-”

He pinched her clitoris between his fingers, and her insides clamped down on him, a low whine escaping her wet lips.

On your face, do it,” he panted.

She opened her mouth to complain, but he ran his fingers through her frizzy hair, grabbing a handful and pulling her head forward. He pushed his tongue between her lips, and she gasped, meeting it with her own. They embraced for a moment, entwined together in a slippery, hot kiss. Then he broke away, catching her lower lip in his teeth and pulling it.

A tremor passed through her body, she brought her hand up to her mouth and bit her finger as if she was thinking hard.

Alright...” she mumbled after a moment, almost inaudibly.

She released her leg lock on McGregor and began to twist around to lie on her belly, keeping him inside her. He winced at the new stimulation, her taut insides spinning around his member as they clung to him like a latex glove.

She lay with her face on the ground, her large breasts squashing against the soil and deforming as she pressed her butt up against him, lowering her thighs to keep it at groin level. The firm globes were huge, and he sank his fingers into them as she squirmed, soft fat giving way to steely muscle. Forget a coin, he felt like he could have bounced a goddamned bowling ball off her ass. Her tail protruded oddly, about where the base of the spine would have been on a human. A small trail of soft fur extended a short distance up her back then disappeared into smooth, pale skin. He gripped the base and tugged it experimentally.

Ah, fuck! Don't...” Zhari exclaimed, but she sounded more excited than hurt.

Her reaction was immediate and entertaining, her tunnel closing around him like a vice made of slimy flesh. She arched her back into the air as her flowing juices leaked down her quivering thighs, falling to the ground in slimy strands.

He began to move again, finding that he was able to reach even deeper inside her in this position, the head of his member rubbing against some kind of obstruction in her depths. She flinched, letting out a low, primal groan that reverberated through the enclosed space. He gripped the base of her tail again and tugged hard, making her shudder, her inflamed loins milking his cock with their rhythmic contractions. He felt an orgasm welling, the intense, relentless stimulation was too much for him. He had to hold out just a little longer.

They moved more quickly together, her taut cheeks slapping against his belly, the unbecoming sound making her blush as she glanced back at him over her shoulder. Her ruby red face was a mixture of intense, wanton arousal and guilty conflict. Her furry tail coiled around his body and gripped him like a tentacle, using him as extra leverage for their rough, vigorous dance.

Surrender!” McGregor demanded once again. “I'm your Alpha now.”

He slapped her rubbery ass, and she jumped in surprise, yelping. She writhed and seethed, a strand of saliva leaking from the corner of her mouth to fall to the dirt. She grunted as he hammered her, a carnal, bestial noise that forsook her proud Borealan demeanor.

Fuck, McGregor...”

He pulled her tail again and reached his hand below her soft pubic fur, stroking her protruding nub of firm flesh.

It pushed her over the edge, and she climaxed violently, her impressive body wracked with waves of shuddering pleasure as she moaned into the soil. Her excitement flooded out of her in globs, sliding down the burnished skin of her inner thighs as her insides wrung McGregor's organ like the neck of a hated enemy. Her feet left the ground as she balanced on her knees, her clawed toes curling and her tail tightening around him almost painfully. Wave after wave of crushing contractions flowed through her muscles like surf on a stormy beach, dragging McGregor's orgasm out of him. He felt her come again as thick ropes of his warm emission poured into her, flooding her insides, flowing into every wrinkle and crevice like molten metal into a mold. She reached back and pushed his hand away from her loins, taking over and rubbing enthusiastically as she seized and shivered.

McGregor leaned over her, groaning as the climax blurred his vision and clenched his aching muscles. He felt like he was pumping his very life force into her eager tunnel, her grip on him hard enough that it almost hurt.

She came again, and again, and again. Through the haze of his lingering afterglow, McGregor was mildly worried that she would become dehydrated. Her athletic body tensed and clenched, her firm muscles protruding through her glossy skin, wet with sweat. Wherever his eyes wandered they were met by bulging muscle, her body like that of a Greek statue chiseled from a hunk of marble.

She fell forward, and he slipped out of her, along with a flood of their combined secretions that slid obscenely down her thighs. She rolled over onto her back, exhausted, her fingers still rubbing herself raw. Aftershocks tormented her beleaguered body, her twin rows of bunched abdominal muscles flexing and straining beneath her lustrous skin as she huffed and gasped.

She glowered at him, one side of her face wet with dirt, and for a moment he feared that some manner of retribution was imminent. But her gaze softened, and she averted her eyes as if afraid of him.

L-Lead me my Alpha,” she breathed, her voice husky and her tone sordid.

CHAPTER 4: RESCUE

McGregor leaned against the cool cave wall, Zhari's face buried in his lap as she knelt in front of him, his hand resting in her orange hair as she bobbed up and down. She sucked obediently, massaging his member with her tight throat, coiling her slippery tongue around the shaft.

Yeah, that's the spot...faster.”

Zhari increased her pace, lewd, wet sounds emanating from her lips. McGregor winced and forced her head down as she nursed dutifully, her efforts pushing him over the edge. She gagged a little, but held his pulsing member deep in her gullet, swallowing devotedly as her silken muscles drew out his emission. Thick wads of his ejaculate hit the back of her throat, her lips clamping around the base of his cock as she lapped at it with her long tongue.

After a moment she rose, running her tongue across her soft lips to clean away a strand of his pearly ejaculate that was clinging to them. She pulled his face into her naked bosom, wrapping her arms around his head as he nuzzled her soft skin.

Was it good?”

Yeah, you did a good job.”

She released him and planted a kiss on his cheek. Her long, furry tail waved back and forth, almost like the wagging of an excited dog.

Anything for you, my Alpha.”

She rested her head on his lap and shuddered contentedly as he stroked her hair.

Suddenly an explosion echoed through the cave, the two scrambling to their feet, retrieving what was left of their clothing and heading to the vine curtain to take a look outside.

McGregor motioned for Zhari to stay back and she obeyed, her round ears tracking him. He pushed his head past the vines and looked around cautiously. There were no Bugs, not close, anyway. He noticed black smoke rising above the jungle canopy in the direction of the control center. Zhari abruptly rushed forward, picking up her XMR and poking it through the vines to aim at the trees. A few seconds later McGregor heard the rustling too, her feline ears more sensitive than his own.

Something was coming closer, breaking through the undergrowth, snapping twigs and branches.

Through the treeline emerged a squad of UNN Marines, their signature black armor coming into full view as they stepped into the light. Zhari breathed a sigh of relief, lowering her weapon and walking out of the cave mouth. She waved at them, and they returned her greeting, McGregor hearing radio chatter as they approached.

Yeah control, we have them, two survivors from shuttle eight. Seems they lost most of their gear though, they're a mess. Affirmative, we'll bring them in.”

The leader of the squad, his face obscured by an opaque visor, walked up and shook McGregor's hand heartily.

We had one hell of a time finding you, son. That squad of roaches back there, was that your handiwork?”

McGregor nodded.

Damn!” the Marine exclaimed as he slapped his plated thigh with a metallic clang. “You did a number on those Bugs, I knew you had a Mad Cat with you when I saw those exit wounds, size of my damned fist. I bet having that Borealan with you made things more interesting.”

Yeah, you could say that. She's a handful,” McGregor replied.

The Marine glanced over at her, noticing the makeshift splint on her leg.

That's some fine field medicine, she need medical attention?”

Nah she's fine,” McGregor replied. “She broke her leg in the crash, but it's pretty much healed now.”

The other Marines stood around, admiring Zhari. She was a good two feet taller than most of them, and her ragged clothing barely covered her athletic figure. She hefted her bayoneted XMR menacingly, a few of the Marines backing away warily. McGregor realized with embarrassment that his shredded flight suit left his torso exposed and barely covered his lower body. He looked like he had been through a paper shredder, which wasn't too far from the truth.

Engines blared overhead, rustling the treetops as a landing craft circled over the canopy, searching for a clearing where it could set down.

So what the hell happened?” McGregor asked. The squad leader shrugged.

The roaches had AA hidden under the canopy, satellites couldn't fucking see 'em. We lost four landing craft before they had even touched down. So far you guys are the only survivors that we've found. We followed your tracks through the jungle from the crash site, the canopy is so thick that the rain doesn't wash the footprints away. When we came across the roach motel over there, we knew we were tracking survivors. The other landers accomplished their missions, opened up enough of a hole in the Bug orbital defenses that we could punch through. The fleet scrapped them, and the Bugs retreated to their holes.”

So...the mission was a success?”

It's looking that way. The Bugs have all gone underground, they scarpered as soon as the orbital defenses started dropping. There's still some cleanup to do, but I'd write this one off as a win.”

The sound of the engine died down, and the Marine put his finger to the side of his helmet, receiving a transmission.

Yeah, roger that. I see your beacon on my HUD, we're en route.” He gestured to McGregor. “Better pack up whatever you've got left, we're rolling out.”

Zhari, get our gear,” McGregor called. She nodded and jogged back to the cave, emerging after a few moments with their packs and supplies. The Marines exchanged surprised glances.

You guys must have really been through a lot together,” the squad leader said. “Last time I saw a Borealan move like that she was being tased by a drill instructor.”

Yeah,” McGregor replied. The Marine waited a moment for him to elaborate, then shrugged and beckoned to them.

Alright follow me, let's get you back to the carrier and see if we can't find you a hot meal and a bed, though I can't promise you won't have to share a bunk. She's loaded with Marines, we expected to fight a ground invasion.”

McGregor grinned at Zhari, and she returned his smile.

I don't think that will be a problem, sir.”

-THE END-

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