The drone wasn’t military. Though marked with Alliance security symbols, it had been configured for inspection and manipulation, not suppression. Fearing even to breathe, Sparr watched as the drone picked up the recently extruded strips. It floated back. At last he could exhale. The entire planet had turned into a trap.

Sparr turned to leave, then paused. Whoever was printing the DNA strips had also sent the military drone to Shong. They were no friend of his. Before leaving he replaced the vine. As before, the machine slipped into its broken cycle.


“You don’t know anything about Mineral’s mass exception, do you?”

Sparr stood in his suite’s living area, watching as Tracee, naked and grinning, dripped water onto his floor.

“Nnnnnnnnope!” she said, smiling even more. “I made. That. Up!” The brunette took a step backward toward the bedroom, then another.

“And you just used my water ration for a shower, didn’t you?”

“I… might have?” Tracee took another backward step, then ran, flinging herself giggling onto his bed. “I’m kinda drunk,” she laughed.

Sparr watched, equally amused and aroused. Tracee had a sweet, compact body. Short but shapely legs led to a round ass, flat belly, and slim, playful breasts. A messy, brunette bob tossed around her pixie features. Like her, Sparr was at least a touch drunk. Like her, he was ready to fuck.

After dimming the lights, Sparr approached the edge of the bed. Tracee was smiling at him invitingly, but brought up a hand when he got close. She spoke into the hand as if speaking into a particularly decrepit microphone.

“Approaching planet Alain,” Tracee said. She mimicked a burst of static, then resumed. “Beginning exploration of the surface.” Kneeling on the edge of the bed she began unbuttoning Sparr’s shirt. When it was mostly open she pressed her face against his chest hair. “Mmmm,” she whispered, before pulling back and resuming her character. “The surface is rugged. Beginning search for natural resources.”

Sparr laughed. “Explore all you want.”

Continuing, the brunette popped loose the last few buttons. As Sparr wriggled out of his shirt, she got to work on his belt. She fumbled with it. “I’ve encountered resistance,” she said, laughing so hard now that remaining in character was impossible. Tracee worked at his zipper. “Multiple defensive systems. Might have to use my- oh, shit!” Sparr’s cock swung free.

“Target in range,” Sparr said, grinning.

Tracee flopped backward onto the bed, pressing her hands against her face and laughing. “I mean, shit, Alain!” Her breasts jiggled.

Sparr tugged off his shoes, trousers, and boxer briefs. His cock was half hard, laying against his thigh at an angle. “Abort mission?” he asked, already knowing the answer.

“Space cadet Rask never aborts a mission,” Tracee said defiantly. “Come here, Planet!” She rolled to the far side of the bed, making a space.

Sparr joined her, settling onto his back. He stretched out, resting his head on his hands. “Resume exploration then.”

Tracee rolled back to lay close to Sparr. Teasingly, she drew her fingers from his shoulder to his chest, then across his abs, stopping just short of where his organ lay. She repeated, this time stroking his arm. She squeezed his bicep. “You should play Thraxx the Thrasher next time.”

“You’re saying I have brooding eyes?”

“Brooding eyes are overrated,” Tracee said. She wriggled lower on the bed. “This thing though…” She stroked his cock. “You’re kiiiiiiinda big.”

“You say that to all the guys.”

“I do, actually.” She shot Sparr an unreadable expression, her lenses dark. “But sometimes it’s true.” She crept lower. Before Sparr could think up a witty response, Tracee’s mouth found the head of his cock and swallowed it.

“Faaaawk!” Sparr groaned. Warm, wet pleasure shot through him.

“I’m gonna get this thing,” Tracee said. The brunette popped him back in her mouth, sliding her lips as far as she could. She pulled free again. “This fat thing.”

The next several minutes were a storm of delight as Tracee licked, sucked, and teased Sparr’s cock. Facing away from him, she first encased the head of his cock in her small mouth, popped it free, then circled the head with her tongue before repeating the process. Just when he thought she would continue, the brunette turned to face him. Keeping her nearly opaque lenses focused on him, she gave his cock a long, slow lick.

“Mmmh,” Sparr muttered. “That little mouth.”

“Small? You want me to stop?”

“No, no, fuck, don’t stop,” Sparr gasped, hastily. “So good right now.”

“I know,” she said, smiling wickedly. Wriggling lower yet, Tracee nudged Sparr’s legs apart. Her tongue flicked forward.

“Shiiiiiit!” Sparr groaned, as sweet, wet, warmth found his sack. He dared a look down. Tracee, her lenses still focused on him, drew one ball into her mouth. Somewhere hidden behind her lips, the girl’s tongue darted and probed. “Oh fuck.”

“So… you like my small mouth?” she asked, coyly. The brunette blew a gentle breath across his balls, already damp with saliva.

“Yeah, fuck, do the other one, too.”

Tracee complied, drawing the other ball past her lips, sucking and tonguing it gently. After she let it pop from her mouth, the brunette slid and flicked her tongue all around his sack. Sparr was nearly delirious, his chest heaving.

“They’re plump,” she said. Again, she ran her tongue in a wet circle around his balls. “How much cum is in there? When’s the last time you popped?”

“Nhhhh,” Sparr groaned. “Two weeks, I think.”

“Ooooh, you’re ready to unload, aren’t you?”

“Overdue.” Sparr was ready to jump her, but didn’t want to interrupt the magic she was working on his balls.

“Mmmm,” Tracee moaned softly. She crawled to lay alongside him, one hand gripping his cock, her lips pressed against his ear. “You want that pussy?”

“Yeah,” Sparr groaned. Her skin was soft and inviting, the swell of her breasts warm against his chest.

Tracee flicked her tongue into Sparr’s ear, jolting him with pleasure. “You gonna fuck me good?”

“Yeah,” Sparr repeated, delirious with lust

“You’re going to,” she said, her body grinding against him. “You wanna go deep with that thing? Work me over hard?”

“Fuuuuuuuuuck!” Sparr moaned. Her small hand stroked and fondled his cock with exquisite skill.

“You wanna hit it?” Again, her tongue darted sweetly into his ear. “Bend me over and-“

“Yes, yes, goddammit!” Before Tracee could tease him further Sparr flung her onto her back. He loomed over her.

The brunette opened herself to him. She bit her lip suggestively. “Take it.”

Groaning with lust, Sparr plunged forward. He was barely in control, teased to the brink by Tracee’s oral talent and filthy talk. His cock found her, the slick, welcoming center. He pushed, withdrew, and pushed again. In fewer strokes than he could have imagined possible, he impaled her.

“Owwwwwww!” Tracee’s head snapped to the side, her hands clawing at his chest. “Oh, you bastard, fuck!”

Even through the fog of lust, Sparr caught a note of distress. “What? I’m sorry, did-“

“Don’t you dare stop!” Tracee’s brow was knotted in pain, but her mouth opened to a perfect O.

She was impossibly slick. Sparr pulled almost entirely free, staring in disbelief at his already saturated shaft, bursting with veins. Again he drove forward as Tracee writhed beneath him. “Fawk,” he groaned. “That thing is tight.”

Their session transformed from its playful, laughing start to something more primal. As the witty banter melted away, the pair embraced and consumed each other. Tracee clutched and scratched at Sparr, pulling him ever harder into her, encouraging his selfish use of her body. Sparr tore into the brunette, happily burying his shaft as deep as her petite frame would permit. She was helpless to do more than offer her body.

“Yes, yes, don’t stop,” she groaned. Her lenses glinted, even in the dim light. They were at once mysterious and erotic.

“That little body, fuck!” Sparr had long since given up trying to guess which partners would readily accommodate him, and which would struggle. He had bedded tall, athletic women who had all but fought to keep him from penetrating them, while other, more petite lovers happily welcomed him into their depths, wriggling against the mattress while he impaled them.

“Yes, yeah yeah yeah,” Tracee panted. Her body rose and fell to meet him. “Use it, hit it.”

Warning bells were ringing, begging Sparr to slow. He liked to think he had respectable staying power, but going all out into Tracee’s slick, tight pussy was quickly dragging him toward the edge. Eager to prolong the session, he slowed.

“No, no!” she groaned. “No, I need it hard tonight. No slow grind, Alain!”

“I’ll cum,” he gasped. “Fuck, that sweet thing…”

“Cowgirl then,” Tracee said. She wriggled free. For a moment, the two faced off, Tracee’s dark lenses boring into Sparr. “On your back.”

Sparr took advantage of the transition to catch his breath and draw back from the edge of release. As they switched places, he admired Tracee from a different angle. Her body was sleek and ripe. She had to be nearing thirty, but had a girlish quality to her. Sparr watched her breasts quiver as she climbed on top and lowered herself into his cock.

“Mmmm yes,” Tracee sighed, “this will do.” She wriggled briefly before she found the perfect angle. She lifted her hips, let them fall against Sparr, then repeated, building toward a steady rhythm.

“Yeah,” agreed Sparr. He settled back, enjoying the sweet sensation and enticing view. Tracee’s brunette bob tossed and danced around her face, sometimes swinging forward to hide her features, sometimes flipping back to expose her slender neck.

“The dick is good,” Tracee said, bouncing against him. “Really good.” Her eyes slid shut.

Sparr settled in for a good session. He always lasted longer in cowgirl. Women on top rode in a position which suited them, not their partner. “Enjoy it,” he groaned. “Take as much dick as you want.”

“Mmmph,” Tracee groaned. She was riding him at her most athletic now, her ass and thighs slapping against him. “Ahhhhhh.”

Time slowed. What was probably just a few minutes stretched out into a seemingly unending coupling of two bodies. The room echoed with sounds of Tracee’s cries, Sparr’s moans, and the sound of their bodies colliding. The petite brunette began to tremble as fatigue caught up with her. Sparr reached out to grip her upper arms.

“Yes,” she panted. “Hold me. Hold me and fuck me.” Held up in part by Sparr, Tracee continued to ride him as aggressively as her fading strength would allow. Droplets of perspiration dotted her skin.

Sparr watched as Tracee turned the corner to orgasm. Hidden beneath the tremble of her fatigue, a growing shudder began to emerge. Her pussy clamped down, eased, then clamped down again. Slitted eyes clamped shut as her mouth opened. He wouldn’t be far behind.

Finally, she collapsed upon him, shaking with exhaustion. “Oh fuck,” she groaned. “I can’t… Please… finish me… use me!”

He understood. Still gripping her upper arm with one hand, he locked onto her shoulder with the other. Mercilessly, he slammed her down onto his impaling cock, pulled her back, and slammed her down again. Tracee’s little body shook.

“Yes, that!” she moaned. “Harder, finish in me!”

The brunette lay against him, spent from her efforts. Sparr was happy to take control, to satisfy both their needs. He drove her down onto his cock, grinding up and into her. Again and again he used her like a puppet, warm and passive in his arms.

“Oh god, Alain,” Tracee groaned. She scratched at him. “Harder.” Her pussy clenched. “Harder!”

“Tracee, fuck!” Sparr was at his limit. Tracee’s pussy was deliciously slick. Her athletic assault on his cock in cowgirl had been arousing. Her complete surrender, offering herself up for his use, was on another level entirely. “I’m… I’m going to-“

“Fuuuuuuuuuuuck,” Tracee cried out. Her body jerked with orgasm, helpless against him as ecstasy tore through her. “Oooooh, my pussy!”

“Guhhh,” Sparr moaned. He came, hands locking the brunette in place. A gusher of hot cum shot into Tracee’s already dripping slit. “Fuhhhhhhhhhhhhh!”

“Alain, pleeeeeease,” Tracee sobbed, shuddering with release. Her face was pressed against his chest.

Sparr bucked wildly, coaxing every drop of pleasure from the compact body held in his arms. His balls contracted, blasting out two weeks of cum. “Yesss…” he groaned. He shuddered, lost in the throes of ecstasy as Tracee twisted against him, lost in hers.

The two embraced long after their orgasms slipped away.


Sparr left the factory behind, taking with him more questions than answers. Someone who had been aboard the Odysseus was sending out drones, reviving machinery, and dabbling with something they should be leaving up to him. The collection of DNA was the specific domain of K2 Genetics. Did they think him dead? It wasn’t a bad assumption. If the Alliance crew had found Kaybe to be as inhospitable as Sparr had, they might have written him off. Still, only his employer held rights to the planet’s genetic resources, at least for now. None of it made sense.

The afternoon passed uneventfully. Sparr encountered few other travelers, mostly traders in small groups. They either eyed him nervously, or made no acknowledgement of his presence at all. Toward evening he began to grow nervous. The question of how he might safely pass the night weighed upon him. He had no idea whether or not the dusk hounds favored the increasingly swampy terrain, and little interest in finding out.

Finally, as dusk arrived, he reached a town. In response to the swampy terrain, Racas largely had been built on stilts. Some of the structures were appealing, with solid walls, windows, and compact but decorated gables. Far more were disreputable, leaning awkwardly, with gaps in the walls, or seemingly too close to the rotting soil below. A network of elevated walkways connected them. Toward the far side of the little town, Sparr could make out similar walkways stretching to reach a brackish lake. There, barges of various sizes were tied up, or hauled onto the muddy shore. It was as uninviting a place to rest as he could imagine. He had little choice.

A small throng of townspeople and travelers were entering. Sparr joined them, passing along a single, wide walkway. After less than 20 meters it opened onto the town’s modest square, itself raised. He identified two likely inns, marked, like those in Vonde, with a simple drawing of a bed frame. The first looked promising, with a high roof and a sturdy, carved door. When Sparr approached, a man in a crisp uniform appraised him skeptically.

“Twenty tokens, if you’re looking for a bed. Five for the meal,” the man grunted.

Twenty-five tokens would nearly deplete his funds. “Do you have HoloVision Plus?” he asked, before turning away, leaving the man staring in confusion.

The second inn was grim in comparison. The roof was flat and low, the stoop marked with soil. As Sparr considered the establishment, a man lurched out of the flimsy door and staggered to the rail, clearly drunk. Like others that Sparr had spotted, he wore curious, baggy trousers fastened just below the knee. His ankles and calves were caked with dirt. The man eyed Sparr vacantly before lurching away.

The inn was just as cramped as it looked from the outside. The front room was crossed with beams low enough to threaten Sparr’s head. A small fire, little more than embers, did nothing to chase away the chill. A woman Sparr assumed to be the innkeeper, oddly, sat on the other side of a barred window.

“I’m looking for a bed for the night,” Sparr said, half-crouching to be seen.

“Ten tokens for the room,” the woman said. Her eyes took in Sparr with interest. Perhaps sensing his hesitation she added, “I can give you a bunk for five.”

“I’m on a budget,” Sparr said. “Three tokens.”

The woman snorted, jabbing a finger in the direction of Sparr’s chest. “You’re with the Origin. You can spare five tokens.”

Sparr had forgotten that his shirt was decorated with the Origin seal. “Five tokens,” he agreed, “and a bowl of… soup?” A strange but not entirely unpleasant smell reached him.

“Stew,” she grunted. “Five tokens.”

Sparr reached for his pouch, then stopped. Each token represented the ability to fabricate a piece of colonist-era technology. So far the only one he had deemed potentially useful was the electrical part, but he had forgotten which of the tokens it was. With each transaction he would reduce not just his funds, but the ability to make those parts. There was nothing to do for it. He passed the innkeeper five of the common, silver tokens, then took a seat.

Near the fire, two men and one woman that Sparr took for locals sat in brooding silence. Like the drunk Sparr had seen earlier, they wore the same short pants. He surmised that they were fishermen. No doubt their work involved stepping into the muck to check traps and load their boats. Each had been drinking, but unlike their friend, were still alert. They watched as Sparr paid his tokens, was served a bowl of stew, and seated himself.

Either the stew was surprisingly good, or Sparr was hungrier than he realized. It consisted mostly of the rice-like plant he had seen from the road, some sort of vegetable pulp, and a few chunks of shellfish. He prodded a bit of the meat, isolating it on his spoon. It resembled an Earth crab, although darker fleshed than any Sparr was familiar with. When he tasted it, the crustacean was just as sweet.

The bunk, on the other hand, was barely adequate. The room, which contained several other bunks, was at the end of the building, both darker and more damp than the rest of the inn. It sloped discernibly, giving Sparr the impression that at any minute it might slip away into the swamp below. A single window could have broken the gloom, but by the time he settled into the room, the sun was long set. Sparr tucked his pistol into the waistband of his trousers, and slipped into dreams.

Communicator out of range.

“What?” Sparr pulled himself groggily from sleep, momentarily uncertain of where he was. The walls of the cramped bunkroom swam into focus. An unpleasant draft rolled across him.

Communicator now out of range, his implant repeated.

Sparr sat up, clutching at his waist. His pistol was still in place, but his survival pack was missing from underneath his bunk. The thief, whoever he or she was, had stolen it right from under him. His eyes shot to the open window. “Shit!”

For the second time in less than a day Sparr cursed his own inattentiveness. He leapt up, tugged on his clothes, and, with considerable difficulty, squeezed through the window. Whoever had stolen his pack was smaller than he was by far.

“Last bearing?”

One hundred sixty degrees.

Sparr had crawled out onto a derelict walkway that bordered the inn. With only the light from Cheddar to guide him, he tried to orient himself. “Shit,” he said again. If he went to the right he would end up back at the square, hardly a likely destination for a thief. Instead, Sparr took off to the left, moving as swiftly as felt prudent on the narrow walkway. Unless he was mistaken, one hundred and sixty degrees would take him toward the docks he had seen the previous evening. He was developing a theory about the thief.

The town was a maze. Even during daylight, Sparr suspected, its raised alleys would be difficult to navigate for a newcomer. At night it was all but impossible. The man more used to ships’ corridors and residential compounds on Earth found himself lost among the dim, irregular buildings. Again and again, Sparr would emerge from an alley to find he had taken a wrong turn. Each time he doubled back slowed him. He could only hope that the thief would slow or stop.

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