16) Cat Torment

On a lower deck of the Kultaki starship, Anadia strolled into the ladies retiring room.

Cobishandra was already admiring herself in the mirror and applying glitter to her face scales.

Anadia stopped beside Cobishandra and looked at herself. She was wearing her finest gown and the black party mask. She removed the mask and began to examine the scratches across her face.

“The ball of meat had thorns huh?” said Cobishandra.

“Suck your mother’s tail!” A multicolored flush pulsated across Anadias soft scales.

“No need to get pissy, Ana! I know what you’ve been up to.”

“I have no idea what you mean.” Anadia moved her face closer to the mirror.

“Yes you do. You know it’s forbidden.”

“What … what’s forbidden?”

“Empathic telepathy, dear.”

“Situation suspensefully sizzling,” said Anadia.

“Well, I won’t tell Lance, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“If you do, I’ll squeeze you till your sex organs pop out.”

“Uuuuh. Sounds like fun, Ana.”

Cobishandra swished out of the retiring room.

Anadia stared into the mirror. She was having bad thoughts so she spoke them out loud to try them on for size. “Forbidden! Oh yes … forbidden! Like so many other fun things. Just because everyone is so afraid of having someone know what’s really in their mind … so … use a machine to communicate thought. Lots of security features on a machine. Yet it’s so easy to just tune in .. but … one risks breaking a big rule which is part of our cultural ignorance.”

Anadia had already broken the rule several times. She was curious to know the thoughts of those in positive polarity. She respected Boots, even though he had scratched her. What a spunky beast he was. So committed. Pheledra was committed too.

Anadia was a little afraid of Pheledra’s thoughts and was apprehensive about tuning into her. But, she had picked up a few things. Strange things that bewildered her. Why would Pheledra have such a strong bond with creatures of lesser consciousness? Where was her pride? How could she travel across the Universe with Nestingwave and not have sex with him? How could she have such strong feelings about a mate who was dead and gone?

Silly, she thought, I’ll find out more. Damn the rules!

“Ana darling,” Cobishandra called from the hallway, “Lance is asking for you. Better come along.”

“Okay, Cobi, I’ll be right there.”

She put on her black party mask and left the retiring room.

When Anadia entered the feasting hall, she saw several revellers passed out and more well on their way. Lance, Cobishandra and a few of their cohorts were preoccupied at one end of the hall. On one of the big tables, she saw a net tied at the top. A violet diamond lay inside. As she looked more carefully, she could see something huddled underneath an arm which protruded from the diamond. It was Boots. Several Kultaki were jabbing forks and knives at him laughing and mocking. Lance was leading the torment. Poor Boots was beside himself. He swatted at the jabs and tried to make himself small. He wanted to disappear.

Ambassador Lance saw Anadia and turned to her. “Where have you been? You’re missing out on the fun. Look at this fuzzy little shit. Thought he was so damn smart. Ha. We’ve got him now! We’re going to play with him for awhile and then drop him into the grinder feet first … but I want Pheledra to see it.”

“Wait a minute, darling,” said Anadia, “if we dispose of him, Pheledra will have no reason to stick around. I’m sure she hasn’t given up on her mission. She’ll just plow on through. As long as we have that fuzzy ball of meat, we can negotiate.”

“Ah yes,” Lance said thoughtfully, “negotiate, delay and perhaps … persuade.”

“Exactly.”

“Okay, I’ll tell you what. Bring me a large jar. I’m going to contact Pheledra and have a little talk with her.”

Anadia went out for a moment to fetch a jar. When she returned, the Kultaki revelers had Boots out of the net and were passing him around.

“What’s for dinner?”

“What’s for dinner?”

“A little ground meat?”

“A blood mush treat?”

“Pour in the sugar and make him sweet!”

They roared with laughter.

Two Kultaki had taken Violet out of the net and were disassembling her piece by piece and throwing the parts into a container.

“We’ll see how she ticks!” said a tall leathery technician.

CONTINUE: 17) The Horror

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