A Wild New World 4:
An Act of War

by Fur and Fantasy
NC-17 for M/F, M/M/F sex
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

Carmidin stretched out languidly as he met the rest of the team for breakfast early the next morning, their host's daughter bringing out large bowls of fruit and meat, giving the Silvercrests a shy smile before she went back for their drinks.

"Think you two are making quite an impression," he chuckled, taking his seat among the now very sizeable team. "Jaysa will be down in a bit ... Tealia went back to keep talking with the Hag?" He guessed, looking over at Xyanre as he made note of who among the twenty-four members weren't there.

"Before the party was even over," he nodded unhappily.

"Sata and Vince went home with one of the locals last night," Teli DeRay piped up.

"Where's Whitey?" Cayto glanced around for the snow-white Polar Bear female as Jaysa came down. "She's usually up before anybody."

"She actually crashed pretty early... I'll go check on her," Thomas offered, getting out of his seat. "Maybe something around here disagreed with her - never any telling how alien liquor's going to go down." He started around behind the stairs to go look for Tanya as the others started on their meal; she'd volunteered to take one of the ground-floor rooms, since the innkeeper hadn't been entirely sure the furniture upstairs could take her bulk.

"She's too good an officer not to leave a message if she went out exploring early," Carmidin glanced towards where the Panther had gone even as Thomas rushed back out, his thick, black tail fluffed out and lashing in distress.

"She's missing," he hissed as he got back to the table. "Bed slept in, but nothing disturbed except the sheets on the floor. Her clothes are still there too."

"On it," both Silvercrests were on their feet and into her room in a heartbeat. Their noses were the sharpest in the team after the Polar Bear they were hunting, but the sudden agitated activity around the ground floor room didn't go unnoticed by the locals.

"What's wrong?" A young man asked Jaysa quietly as the Wolves went over the room, trying to sort out the smells they had.

"One of my team is missing," he said. "She's not one to wonder without telling us."

"Native creature, not a local," Cayto offered. "Not enough of a soot smell to be one of them. And it'd have to be a monster to haul Whitey off, whatever shape she was in."

"Not to mention get her out without the guards seeing them," Carmidin flattened his small rounded ears. "Track her."

"Check the floors," the innkeeper said, his face ashen as he hurried into the room, dropping to his knees and inspecting the floorboards.

'Culluroned?' Thomas flashed Carmidin a sign as the two Wolves joined the Builder in checking the floor. 'He knows?'

'Or a common event,' Carmidin signed back, his glance around his team as they prepped for trouble. 'They are at war.'

Hidden weapons, the best the Alliance could produce, were shifted and double-checked while Teli stalked outside to alert the guards at the transports and double-check on them, her body language much more akin to the much larger Wolves than her short, slender vulpine one.

Furless fingers that knew what they were looking for found a tiny crack in the middle of one of the floorboards.

"Damnation!" The innkeeper exclaimed, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a knife. He jammed it into the crack and prized up the board, revealing a hole through the stone and cement beneath it. "Stay here," he warned them all, standing and taking off, shouting for help.

"Knucklers," his daughter whispered as she looked in through the door, a shudder passing through her. She hurried off to the next room, and they could hear her starting a search in there as they realized that the hole must have extended through most of the floor.

Ripping up more of the boards, they found an area plenty large enough to move Tanya through had been cleared out, and the boards above it cut and replaced with minute care just far enough from the edges that they wouldn't collapse when somebody walked on them.

"I'd been standing right in the middle of it and didn't notice," Thomas growled, his tail lashing behind him. "Just felt like there was a basement."

"The trucks weren't affected," Teli said as she hurried back in. "I recommend we stay in them until we can secure local accommodations. I called two MAQ in for us."

"Good," Carmidin nodded, once more grateful to have such competent, independent officers under his command. "Take four security officers to guard the non-coms and equipment. Everyone else is with me on the hunt."

"We're with you too," Keldina told him, coming in with a grim expression, she and Joran both wearing their crossbows, what looked like boilerplate strapped to their bodies, and four more similarly equipped warriors behind them. Besides the plates strapped to their torsos, they were wearing thick, simple helmets, and Keldina had what looked like a fairly standard blaster at her belt. She was the only one who had one though.

Perhaps she knew where to salvage equipment. To still be working after an estimated 100,000 years though ... an extraordinary accomplishment.

"If you want, we can go in after her on our own," she offered, "but I doubt you want to stay here while we try to find her."

"We have no intention of staying while she's missing," Carmidin confirmed with a sharp nod. "A few of our warriors and the non-warriors will be staying, and two more vehicles are coming. They will be safe places to rest until we are sure the inn is secure again. Thank you for coming with us on the hunt. What can you tell us of the Knucklers, and why they might have taken Tanya ... the big white female Bear."

"You don't know?" Joran asked incredulously.

"They're from the Wastes, remember? They might not have dug that far," Keldina frowned at her husband. "The Knucklers are monsters that live under the ground," she explained briefly, starting to climb down into the hole, followed by Carmidin. "They've dug out warrens everywhere we've known, it's why we build on top of stone and mortar. As for why they've taken your friend... new blood," she said grimly, looking around the tunnels, clearly half-expecting some sort of attack even out here. "That, or dinner. It could be either... or both, from what we've gotten from them before."

"They must have been quiet and very, very strong to have captured her without a great deal of noise," the Puma commented as he and his officers all pulled their blasters.

All except for Rosila Gimond, the short, stocky marsupial Harrisii that came down after him and was the group's walking combat monster between natural temperament and cybernetic enhancements. "Or managed to drug her."

"You know how hard it is to sneak up on a Polar," Sandy Milika, a large Brown bear, reminded him. "I still can't see it happening."

"I know," the Puma rumbled, every sense alert. "Everybody quiet. Hunt is on."

"Do you need light?" Keldina asked them quietly. "We do, but we don't need it until we're shooting."

"No," Carmidin shook his head in the darkness as his people fell into place without needing direction. The two Wolves were up front with their sharp noses making sure they kept on Tanya's trail. Right behind them was Rosila, ready and eager for action of any kind.

"We can see in the dark," Ashdra Balkin, a female Anubian Jackal, her smooth, coal black fur blending into the darkness so well even her eyes were invisible.

"See anything moving you don't recognize, tell us," Keldina whispered, the warriors traveling with them keeping their engines turned off, though they were sure they could be turned on in a flash if they needed to be.

One of the worrisome things down here, as their goggles helped them see in the darkness, was how well-made the tunnels were. Whoever had made it, they were good at their work... and they'd know the tunnels incredibly well.

The good news was that they apparently didn't bother with bathing very often. They could still smell the people who'd come through here ... two smells, very strong, along with Tanya's more subtle one.

Miles away, the great Polar Bear was throwing off the effects of the ether used to knock her out, and doing her best not to show it as her sharp senses came back on line and scoped out her situation.

First thing that hit Tanya was that they'd taken the time to strip her naked; her clothes and the bits of equipment she kept on her at night were all gone. She couldn't see anything, so she just closed her eyes. Whatever was carrying her apparently didn't need light that badly. She wished she could close her nose as easily; her captors reeked.

There was one, at least as big as her, heavily muscled ... but the loping walk it used made her wonder if it was used to walking on all fours or something, and it was having trouble since she was slung over its shoulder. It jabbered at a second scent, but she couldn't even begin to make out its language yet. It wasn't a language like the one they knew, at any rate.

Tanya worked to keep her body relaxed, following training to keep them ignorant of her condition until she had a chance to strike, or at least bolt. It went against everything she was to think of running, but she forced herself to conceder the option.

The one carrying her was huge ... could it be some kind of pack beast? The other scent the one leading it?

They navigated through the pitch-black tunnels, until she finally started to see a faint glow building deep inside. As the light grew, she realized that whatever was carrying her wasn't a pack beast ... it was some sort of person, hulking and huge, horribly deformed and following a small, hairless figure. Both of them were albinos, eyes huge and all pupil.

Even though they were clearly at home in the subterranean environment, they were designed much more like an arboreal animal.

She was over his shoulder, one hand around her ankle and the other across her middle over his shoulder. It was awkward for her, but better than some other ways he could have chosen. At least she had some wiggle room.

With quiet, trained timing, Tanya drove her long, dagger-like claws deep into the back of the one carrying her, aiming to puncture its lungs. She twisted over its shoulder, bringing her fore body up on her claws to try and drive her thick teeth through its neck even as she bellowed, calling for her teammates and threatening her kidnappers.

Her captor bellowed in pain, twisting with her to try and keep her from hurting him too badly. His skin was thick and tough, and he had a solid layer of fat and thick muscle beneath his furless skin; she drew blood, and a lot of it, but she didn't know how much actual damage she'd done.

The little one ran back, jumping onto her back as the big one tried to twist free. It tried to get its hands around her neck, up by the major veins and arteries there, but her own muscle and fat kept him from really getting enough pressure there to knock her out. It was annoying though, and when she pulled one clawed hand free to swat him away it cost her a precious grip on her larger captor.

The little one went crashing into the nearby wall with a bone-shattering splat, but now the big one had her on her back and was on top of her. His knees pinned her thick chest and his weight was nearly enough to suffocate.

Tanya snarled, bellowed and struggled against the force pinning her down. It was a damn rare creature that could pin a Polar Bear!

This one was a skilled wrestler though... it had done this before. Blunt teeth closed around her throat, cutting her air off further as meaty hands pinned her wrists. She could smell the rage and frustration in her attacker, and she wondered what the relation between he and the other one was... he could tell it was a he, too. Entirely too well, from the cock rubbing against her.

With a snarl for the male above her, Tanya twisted her hips, not with the intent of rolling him over or knocking him off, but to get one of her hind legs inside enough to drive the huge, curved claws of her feet into his groin.

He howled, rolling off her and clutching at his groin, but she could already see and smell a half-dozen more rushing up towards her from out of the faintly green phosphorescence of the tunnels.

"Great," she grumbled to herself and bolted the direction they had come, keeping on all fours so her sensitive nose stayed close to the scent she'd have to use to get home. It was slower going, but she didn't dare get lost. She just had to keep an ear on those behind her and be ready to turn and fight if they got too close.

She spun around just in time to stop the first one leaping towards her, throwing it towards the wall. She blanched beneath her fur when she saw the next one coming down the tunnel; it was even bigger than the one that had been carrying her, filling the tunnel and carrying a chunk of rock bigger than her head as a crude weapon!

With less than a heartbeat of hesitation to assess the situation, she rushed forward with a burst of speed that always surprised opponents and tried to drive her claws into its inner thigh - only to find that her opponent here was no slouch in a fight himself. The rock smashed down on the back of her shoulders before she could reach him, slamming her to the ground before a slab-like foot kicked the side of her head, stunning her.

She was grateful they didn't have any apparent armor or good weapons, but this one at least was damned good with what he did have!

Two more of the little ones swarmed around him, leaping onto her as he kicked at her head again, only to find out that it was damn hard to take down a Bear. She snapped at them with long, wide jaws and smashed one's ribcage flat to its spine with a great hand even as she struggled to her feet.

The big one smashed a meaty fist into her stomach, driving the wind out of her, then clobbered her across the face with the stone again. Blood filled her mouth as she swallowed a few teeth, her nose dripping crimson. The little one still on her started stabbing at her thick fur and hide impotently with a sharp flint blade - it hurt, but he didn't have the strength to get through her hide yet.

The rock came down on her head again, this time squarely on the wide flat top above her brain and the darkness of the tunnel was quickly replaced by the blackness of blunt-force induced unconsciousness.

Tanya woke up what must have been hours later, her left hand and right foot bound to rings mounted in the very wall of the stone room she was in, and she was sitting on a pile of bedding and furs that had seen better days. The rough-hewn chamber was lit by glowing fungus along the walls, and a deformed woman was nursing the massive lump from the stone slamming into her face, dipping a cloth into a bowl of strong-smelling water and pressing it to the wound.

She could also smell cooked meat somewhere nearby ... they weren't totally animalistic down here, whoever they were. Just mostly.

"You have a name?" Tanya asked in the local language of Aecra's Bluff even as she began an internal assessment of her condition.

The woman didn't seem to understand what she was saying ... wonderful. She did recognize it as talking though, and her eyes lit up with delight when she saw her patient was conscious. She started jabbering in something that sounded vaguely like the language she'd learned, but it would take her time to figure it out.

Time she wasn't sure she had. Her claws had been cut and blunted, she was missing several teeth... she didn't think she had any seriously broken bones or internal injuries, though she was pretty sure she was heavily concussed yet.

The woman got up, hurrying out and coming back with a crude bowl of heavily spiced, cubed meat and offered a piece to her on a short stick.

"Thank you," Tanya said before taking the meat off the tip of the stick with delicate precision, her dexterous lips removing it without making the stick move much. It tasted as spicy as it smelled, and was cooked to a very nice rare.

Her nurse kept talking as she fed her... she seemed to be taking a little care to speak in a way that Tanya could follow, to try and teach her how to speak. It wasn't long before she had the word for meat, or at least the meat she was eating, and other words that she was pretty sure were for her captor, and for what they intended for her.

It had taken a lot of control not to react very badly when she'd realized that the words she had might as well have been the words for 'breeding stock.' She supposed it was slightly better than 'fucktoy,' but not by much. There had been something in the woman's tone that implied there was a difference here.

"I am Tanya," she tried for a name again between bites of the meat, which was now a warm mass in her belly. She was sure there was something in it that was triggering the hormone response that had her sex swelling with blood, though she wasn't sure it was intentional. "What are you called?"

"Aura," she replied, indicating herself. She stood up, leaving the bowl of meat for Tanya. "Bring drink," she added, pantomiming drinking from a bowl before she left.

With only one hand free, eating was awkward, but Tanya wasn't about to pass up good meat that would help her battered body heal. She was licking her palm clean of meaty juices when Aura came back.

"Good food? Drink good too, clan drink," Aura got across through a mix of words and signs, lifting a bowl of faintly glowing liquid to the end of her muzzle.

She wasn't sure if it was a mix of the fungus or something else, but she did not think it was likely to be healthy, despite that these people no doubt drank it. But could she get away without drinking any?

At least she didn't have to fake the way her nose revolted at the smell, but when Aura tipped it a bit more, Tanya licked at it, testing the taste and trusting her tongue.

It didn't taste poisonous, though it didn't taste particularly pleasant either... like stale water, more than anything else. Probably what it was. Aura smiled as she drank it... probably making her a part of the clan, she'd gathered, then sat the bowl aside.

"Water now?" She asked. "Or drink enough?"

"Water, please," Tanya said, looking around and trying to figure out why she'd been targeted, and if she'd been targeted, or if it was just bad luck on her part.

After Aura left, leaving her to consider her new surroundings, she realized there weren't many options. Either the one who'd been carrying her had targeted her as the one closest to his size... or she'd just been a random target. Considering they were underground, it seemed likely as not that she'd been picked just because she was in the ground floor. She'd been under the impression that he didn't put people downstairs too often ... possibly because he knew it was possible this would happen to them.

But that didn't make sense with all the other one-story buildings she'd seen, or his having rooms on the ground floor. Was it something he knew could happen, and just figured it wasn't at all likely?

Any way it had gone down, Carmidin would be leading a heavily armed rescue force nearing a dozen down soon. There were sharp noses enough to track her, no matter how far she'd been taken. As it stood, she wasn't likely to get out on her own. There was no way she'd get out of these bindings on her own anytime soon.

She heard voices outside, some exchange about her, and then Tanya came in with another bowl of water, this time not glowing. She was followed by the same warrior who'd brought her down. He looked her over, his interests clear in his face, and then he offered her a bowl with mushrooms that smelled a lot like the spice she'd had on the meat.

A courtship gift, if that was the word for it, she was sure.

He almost looked like he was hoping she'd take it... maybe if she didn't...?

But no. She'd already eaten some, this was more of a formality, probably.

If it would get her unbound, free to move about when the strike force arrived, she'd done and taken far worse in the name of survival.

She lapped her tongue out, taking water from the bowl she was offered.

Aura let her drink about half the bowl, then she set it aside, said something to Tanya's new 'mate,' and left. He took one of the mushrooms from the bowl and offered it to her.

"Me Zantar," he managed to say.

"I am Tanya," she replied, eyeing the mushroom warily before wrapping her long, wide, dexterous tongue out and around it to take it.

"Tanya," he repeated. "Good fighter," he observed approvingly. "No running?"

She considered him before she nodded. "No running," she promised, though she had no intention of keeping it once help arrived.

"You run, we catch you again," he told her, reaching down and untying the knots carefully. His huge fingers were remarkably dexterous with this sort of work. "No fight me, either."

"You don't hurt me, I don't fight you," she made a counter-offer.

"Won't hurt you," he nodded. "I don't hurt mates. Not fun."

"Good," she unintentionally relaxed a bit, grateful to have her limbs free, even if she was wishing for one of those long, bushy fox tails about now to cover herself up with. "Why take me?"

"Don't know - I didn't take you first," he pointed out. "Just came when you fought. I caught you though, so you're my mate. Better than the other; he enjoys hurting.

"I hurt him pretty bad," she shifted uneasily, not entirely sure what to do. She expected him to try to mate her, but he didn't seem too inclined to yet. "You have other mates?"

"Not right now," he said, getting down on his knees next to her and touching her strong, furry shoulder lightly. "You're not like any of them."

It took a lot of her resolve not to pull away, but she managed. "Not surprised," she said as she looked him over, working out in her mind just how unpleasant this was likely to be when he did decide to stop talking.

Taking a look at his cock, about half-hard at this point... it wasn't actually as long as she was used to, so that would help. Thicker throughout, but not as thick as most male bear's flared tips... it might be unpleasant, but she didn't think they were all that incompatible. At roughly nine inches long and two across, she could handle him without damage. She would need to be well aroused though.

With an internal wince, she shifted to lean towards him and slowly wrapped her dexterous tongue around the hardening penis, trying to buy herself time to let her fingers work her arousal to the to the point he'd slide inside her easily It involved making sure she didn't breath through her nose; if she smelled him, she was sure she'd gag.

He groaned, pleasantly surprised that she was taking the lead as he reached down to rub her ears lightly, reaching down with one long arm to fondle her breasts as her fingers stroked her clit. He was soon fully hard, his deformed body unaccustomed to being pleasure by another.

He pulled her up, kissing the side of her muzzle as his hand slid down further, thick fingers joining hers in rubbing her clit and labia. He soon spread the lips of her sex, fingering her and trying to help her get wound up... it was almost like he knew she wouldn't be able to handle him without some help.

Which maybe he did. He was a giant among his own kind after all.

Despite the conditions, it wasn't much longer before Tanya moaned softly. The combined efforts of her mind and body to get her keyed up began to work. It wasn't as good as solo masturbation, much less someone she wanted to sleep with, but it was working well enough.

He kissed her again, spreading her legs and rubbing his rigid shaft against her slick lips. Then he slid down, slowly pushing his cock up into her tight sex... if the conditions and partner had been different, she might have actually enjoyed this.

With the two Wolves in the lead and the short, stocky Harrisii just behind them as guard for the sharp noses, the rescue party moved forward at a remarkable clip to the Builders, and not nearly fast enough for the PEF officers. Despite that, Carmidin knew not to push the Silvercrest's about it. He knew they were as desperate as anyone to find their missing teammate.

He also knew that they needed to focus. The scents down here were strong, and he couldn't sort them all out. They needed to focus to do just that... which made him worry all the more about the side tunnels and passages they walked past.

He looked over this shoulder to see if Keldina and the others were keeping up... and saw that two of their warriors were missing. Damn it, had they gotten lost?

"Keldina," he hissed, keeping his voice low. "You're missing two."

She turned, reaching behind her to confirm his words, then swore quietly.

"They're behind us then," she said grimly. "Be ready for another attack... we'll need a light soon."

"Anytime you want," he nodded. "Longcrest, guard the rear," he ordered the three members of the pride with them.

"Yes, sir," Longcrest Alosa nodded sharply and moved towards the back with her sister and sister's son.

"Can you tell how close we are?" Joran asked quietly. "Need to know if we can afford to power up."

"She fought back nearby," Blaze said without looking up. "I smell blood."

"Hers and theirs," Cayto added.

"More theirs than hers," Blaze reassured them quickly.

"She fought hard then," Keldina murmured. "Don't power up yet. Any bodies?"

"No," Carmidin shook his head. "Must have moved them."

The warrior behind him nodded in the darkness, then looked around. "Light's coming, and be ready to fight when it's on," she warned them, putting her hand on a small protrusion behind the clip on top of her crossbow. "Ready?"

"Ready," Carmidin nodded for his people as their weapons came out; new blasters, energized blades and compact multi-weapon bracers.

Keldina gave them another moment, then ripped the top off of the protrusion, a flare igniting as the chemicals inside were exposed to air. There was a shriek of pain and surprise behind them, and the Builders spun, the engines of their crossbows roaring to life, echoing in the cave as they began to build a charge, firing their first shots into the tiny figures that had just started to boil out of the tunnels behind them.

"Hand-to-hand, until you're charged!" Keldina shouted, the four warriors left moving to put themselves between the Knucklers and the Lions as two giants stalked out of the tunnels, mouths bloody, huge eyes squinted shut against the light burning on Keldina's crossbow. Now that they had the light, and saw how the four were preparing to fight, it became clear that their crossbows had bladed tips at the ends of the metal bow.

"Fire at will!" Carmidin ordered, causing the tunnel behind them to be blanketed in plasma and laser fire and a few incredibly small explosive charges.

Screams howled out of the maelstrom, before throats were seared and flesh baked. The Builders had barely had time to move out of the way before the hail of fire had started, and it was clear that Keldina, at least, was shaken by their destructive capacity.

"Spirits," she whispered harshly, before moving towards the front of the group.

"We have to hurry now, they'll know we're coming." She didn't bother to turn off her crossbow, letting the system reset and load a new bolt as they began to follow the Wolf sisters again.

"As you saw, we can defend ourselves well," Carmidin said, his officers on alert and Rosila Gimond just spoiling for a close quarter's fight as they moved forward as quickly as the Wolves dared to.

"Against an entire warren of Knucklers, who know these tunnels better than we know our town? Even odds at best," Keldina said grimly, looking down every tunnel they came to, alert for an anticipated ambush.

"I never said it was good odds, just that we had good weapons," he smiled slightly as the pace picked up significantly. "And that vibrating bundle of muscle up front is far more effective a weapon than anything the rest of us carry," he smiled slightly. "We must be getting close. Their noses are up."

They rounded a corner, and fond two more of the giants waited for them. Rosila lunged into the fray, extending her claws fully as she lit into the massive warriors. A slightly smaller one hurried around, trying to get behind her - only to have Keldina sink the blade of her crossbow into its chest. She pulled the trigger, and sent the bolt rocketing through the Knuckler's head, red and grey splattering the wall behind him as her flare started to burn down.

While everyone was on the alert for attackers, shooting them down when they appeared, PEF and Builder alike were having a hard time not be mesmerized, and horrified, by the bloody destructive hurricane in fur that was the Harrisii. She was small, but with every hit she ripped guts out, tore into muscle and vein, and screeched, howled and scrawed in psychotic delight.

As Keldina's flair dimmed, the PEF officers flicked on the small, bright flashlights on their shoulders and the ones to the side of their weapons. The lights lanced through the darkness as they slowly advanced, the glow of phosphorescent fungus visible further down the hall but resistance relatively light. A sudden bellow of snapped ever PEF office's attention in its direction.

"This way!" Carmidin ordered, the pace picked up as scent was no longer needed to track their teammate. He snapped off a single shot that hit a large Knuckler square in the head, dropping it as they followed the sounds to their source.

As they approached the room, another of the giants - the biggest one yet - hurled a huge rock out of the room. It smashed into Keldina, knocking her back against the wall, but her plate armor kept it from seriously hurting her.

"She's in there!" She gritted out, raising her crossbow. "Can't get a clear shot though."

"Rosila!" Carmidin snarled and fired at the giant, but didn't manage to drop him.

The Harrisii, now with metal spikes and blades protruding from her back and arms, barreled into the giant.

He met her with a meaty fist and a roar, twisting to hurl her into the wall despite the pain of the wounds she inflicted on him. Tanya dove out of the way, giving Keldina a chance to fire - and she pulled back the trigger on her crossbow, quickly emptying her clip as the mechanism on the side pistoned back to recock the string almost as quickly as it could fire. A few of the bolts slammed into the giant, but most of them missed, breaking against the back wall of the room.

With both Tanya and Rosila out of the battlefield, the rest of the PEF contingent opened up, riddling the giant with cauterized holes. He fought on longer than he had any right to, though soon he collapsed in a dead heap.

"We have to leave, now," Keldina told them, replacing her clip and loading the first round.

Carmidin nodded, his hand on Tanya's shoulder as he assessed his teammate's condition. Her face was badly battered, teeth missing and he had no doubt that she was bruised from head to toe under her thick fur. It was the semen all but pouring down her legs that really made him shudder. Physical wounds were so much easier to patch up.

"Blaster," the big Bear growled to no one in particular, and was quickly handed one. "Let's go."

"You all take the lead," Joran told them. "We'll be right behind you," he promised, helping Keldina and checking to make sure she wasn't too badly hurt before they all moved out, hoping to escape before they could be caught up with.

"Rosila, Thomas, one point," Carmidin ordered. "Longcrest, take up our rear."

"Yes, sir," various voices responded without hesitation as the Panther and Harrisii went up front, moving quickly as they backtracked by their own very fresh scent, and the three Lions took the position between the PEF unit and the Builders, though they did give an uncertain glance at to being in the complete rear of the column. Carmidin and Sandy, the two largest of the remaining officers, each took to Tanya's side to help her with the quick pace and protect the non-com officer from further attack.

As they fled, the Builders took single shots at any Knucklers who came up behind them, trusting the PEF team to deal with the ones between them and the exit. They continued their flight, noses and memory leading the way out as they went back into the darkness. Finally, they could see light from above, the entrance a welcome sight.

"Tell them to bring water when you get up there," Joran said briefly, the warriors all igniting their flares, positioning them so the phosphorous tips could start heating the rock. Keldina stripped off her pack, starting it up and ripping a hose off of it, making another small adjustment before leaving the small engine to work and build up pressure in the middle of the floor.

"Right," Carmidin nodded, leaving the Builders behind. "Joran said to bring the water," he told the first Builder he saw when he climbed out of the hole in the inn's floor.

Jano nodded, shouting a few orders to his daughters. They hurried out, quickly coming back with jugs of water that were passed down to the warriors. Carmidin and Jaysa both heard the hiss and sharp crack of stone as the water was poured over the heated stone, Keldina's abandoned pack already starting to hiss as steam strained its joints. The four Builder warriors still with them hurried back up, and Jano had his family quickly put the boards back in place... all but one. Joran carefully lined up a shot, then put a bolt through his wife's steam-pack. The barely had time to slide the last board into place before the pack exploded, making the entire floor jolt up, and creating a rumbling sound beneath the inn.

"Is she all right?" Keldina asked once things had started to calm down. She didn't need the visitor's sharp nose to know she'd had sex, and he had no doubt it wasn't her idea.

"I will be," Tanya insisted, earning her several uncertain looks from her teammates.

"Come," Tealia said firmly, helping Sandy wrap Tanya in a large blanket. "Let's get you to my room and see about your injuries."

Carmidin waited for them to disappear behind Tanya's door before he spoke. "She will be, but I'm going to try to convince her to go back to Fort Maric. They can fix her teeth there, and her mate is there. If she's too stubborn, I'll send for him to join us. She needs him right now, whether she'll admit it or not."

"I understand," Keldina nodded. "She's actually in very good shape for a Knuckler victim... should I speak with the Hag about something to make sure she hasn't conceived?"

"Tealia will give her a pill for that," Carmidin said easily. "And probably a few other things. She's a Bear, she's tough on all sorts of levels," the Puma said with honest respect. "I just hope she doesn't fight being sent home early too much."

"I don't know if it helps at all, but we have other people who've been through it before," Keldina offered. "It's been a while - they don't usually burrow up through concrete - but it's only been a year or two since the last attack."

"It might," he said. "I have other questions for you, about the Knucklers. Can we talk over breakfast?"

"If you'd like," she nodded. "Here, or at my house?"

"Your house," he decided, suspecting she'd be more willing to speak of other subjects there. "Thank you," he added and followed her outside.

"It's no problem," she reassured him, leading him out after a few words of explanation for Jano. "My sister should have breakfast ready for us soon anyways."

"What can you tell me of the Knucklers?" He asked as they walked. "How far they spread, what they want, anything would be useful."

"We don't know much about them," she admitted. "We've managed to capture one or two through the years, legends persist that in some places they live in relative peace with the nearby villages, but I don't believe them myself. What we've been able to find out is that they're practically everywhere... if you find a place the Knucklers aren't, they'll probably be there before long. I suppose you'd probably be safe; I can't imagine that they'd dig under the Frozen Sea to the Wastes."

"Our floors are also made of stronger metal than the trucks," he motioned towards the two vehicles sitting in an open spot near the inn. "It's rather loud to get threw. We do have construction techniques that would make it much more difficult for them to make it in. It would not be quick or easy to rebuild your foundations, but it would make it much more difficult for them to be burrowed under without notice."

"We'll consider it; thank you for the offer," she nodded. "At any rate, what we've been able to learn is that they call themselves the Knucklers. They seem to have come from the 'mother warren' to the north, where they found a place rich with magic. This batch apparently fled their last warren, three or four removed from the central one, where ever that is."

"How long as this group been troubling you?" he asked, forming a plan to get more useful information from a Knuckler.

"This group, or the Knucklers in general?" She asked after a moment to think about it. "This one's been kidnapping people here and there since I was a child. The Knucklers have just always been."

"It would be safe to say that they are a threat to all the Builder towns?" he asked as she opened the door to her two story home.

"Builder, Amza, and everybody else," she nodded. "We're back, Joran will be shortly," she called out.

"Breakfast will be ready soon - anybody hurt?" A young woman called down.

"We lost Cal and Renn, but we sealed the tunnel - it'll take them months to clear."

"Do you have any sense of how many of them there are in the area?" Carmidin asked, looking around her home with polite curiosity. It was clearly a warrior's home, decorated with trophies; hides and heads of animals she'd hunted, weapons taken from fallen foes. She had another blaster up on the wall, a full-sized rifle that looked like it was in moderately decent shape.

The civilization that had been here before must have been at least as advanced as the Alliance.

"Not really... from what we saw today, I'd say there has to be at least a few dozen, possibly hundreds," she answered after a bit of thought.

"Where did you get the riffle?" he asked, shifting the topic to something far more interesting at the moment. He knew Tanya would be well taken care of.

"I took it from my 'mother,'" Keldina said with grim satisfaction. "When I was a child I was stolen by the Amza, raised to be one of their warriors. It didn't take - I killed my 'mother,' stole that weapon and the one I took with me today, and made my way back to Builder territory."

"Then you do not know where they came from," he said with apparent disappointment. "Anyone who can build weapons like that we need to approach very carefully."

"I think it came from one of the Old Cities near the coast," Keldina offered. "I've never been there myself though. It's far too far from here for us to travel to, unless we manage to get an airship working."

"Are any of the locations marked on your maps?" he asked, his ears forward and curious.

"Not of the area around here, but I could give you a sketch of what I know... I'm not sure how useful it would be," she admitted. "Do you have any maps beyond here?"

"Yes," he nodded. "They aren't very detailed, but we have coastlines, mountains and major rivers to an extent. It should be enough for you to place a relative location. Is anyone here likely to know more accurately?"

"Not right now, but in a few days you'll be able to speak with some of our traders," she offered. "They're more likely to know, at least to be able to help pin down what I can get you started with."

"Excellent," he nodded as a young woman came into the room.

"Breakfast is ready," she smiled at them. "You must be one of the new traders," she smiled warmly and shyly at the humanoid Puma.

"Yes, I am Carmidin Sul, the leader of the warriors who guard our trading party," he bowed slightly.

"I'm Selia," she offered with a smile, returning the bow slightly. "I hope none of your people were hurt, going after your friend?"

"Little more than scratches," he assured her. "Tanya, the one taken, will be fine too, though I'm planning to send her home to recover with her mate."

"Is it very far to get back home for her?" Selia asked him, leading the way into the dining room, where fruit and fresh meat were waiting for them on the table.

"If the weather holds, it's not a long trip," he said easily as they sat down, and flicked his ears back, towards the front door. "I think Joran is here. Whether the weather will hold is another matter."

"I'll check on him," Keldina offered with a smile, heading back down to meet her husband.

"Especially if you're back in the Wastes... how could you travel that far so quickly?" Selia asked him, making sure the Puma had a plate full of fresh meat and a large glass of milk before she served herself, setting out two plates for her sister and brother-in-law.

"Our largest ships can travel very quickly over calm water, much the way the trucks travel over the ground," he smiled, waiting for the others to get to the table before eating. "Stormy water is passable, but not as easy. Why do you live with your sister, and not your parents or on your own?"

"Keldina and Joran are both warriors," Selia chuckled easily. "Since I don't have a mate yet, it was decided that they'd be better off with me here to help them than my parents would. Mother keeps the house quite nicely for our father, but if the two of them hadn't spent so much time out hunting together, this house would have been an utter shambles when I moved in."

"It sounds like they need you around permanently," he chuckled. "Or a third mate that likes to keep house."

"Maybe, but they've got a few prospects for the second one - I don't want to spend my whole life single, and Joran's a great guy, but I don't want to marry him."

"So do you have any prospects yet?" Carmidin asked conversationally.

"Not really," she admitted. "Not for mate material, at any rate. Most of the guys around here want to stay in town... I'll admit, I've liked the idea of traveling, getting to see some of the world. It'd not easy, but not that much harder. Maybe I'll meet somebody at the Gather."

"Keldina did mention that there would be traders arriving soon," he nodded. "Maybe you'll find someone. I expect you have time."

"Some," she nodded. "So, how about you? Do you have a mate waiting back home, or traveling with you here?" She asked him as she began to eat.

"My mate is with the expedition," he smiled and began to eat. "Jaysa, the Maned Wolf who heads the trading half of the team."

"Well, you both have very handsome mates then," she smiled with a wink. "Forgive me if this is being forward, but do the two of you share?"

"We do," he nodded with a slight smile. "You're interested?"

"I think so," she smiled back shyly. "You're quite handsome," she pointed out, "and Jaysa is too."

"If you sister doesn't mind, why don't you spend the night with us, see if you still have that opinion after some time with us, and the team," he suggested with a soft rumbling purr.

"If they minded, they'd be up here by now," Selia snickered. "Thank you; I'd love to," she smiled, leaning down and knocking on the floor lightly. "They've been waiting downstairs since Joran got home, I'm sure."

"Oh, they are, and they're beginning to get restless about breakfast," Carmidin chuckled. "I have sharp ears."

"It had better still be hot," Joran chuckled as he and Keldina came up the steps.

"It is, don't worry," Selia smiled. "You don't have to stay away when I'm flirting," she teased.

"No, only when you're doing it well," her sister smirked, the two of them settling in to talk and eat.

"General Sul of FCT-1 to Fort Maric," Carmidin opened the communication line with their planetary home base.

"Fort Maric here, General," a light female voice came back almost instantly. "What can we help with?"

"We've had an incident, a group called the Knucklers ... heavily mutated locals from the look of things ... kidnapped and raped one of my team. We got her back, but our medic is of the opinion that she should recover at the Fort, not in the field."

"Understood, FCT-1," she responded evenly. "Who is it?"

"Tanya Serenko," he said evenly. "Our linguist."

All four people in the truck for the conversation could see the wince on the other side even without a visual connection. Linguists were hard to come by for FCTs.

"Are you in a position to do without a linguist for a few days while we work out who to send?"

"Affirmative, Fort Maric," Carmidin said. "The situation with the locals is calm and we all know enough to get along."

"With respect to Tealia, I'm fine," Tanya protested. "I'll be fine for the next few days, at least."

"You know that's not a choice even Tealia gets to make," the voice from the Fort replied. "It's Doc Halisar you have to convince, and that's in person. You aren't the only linguist, Tanya, just one of the best."

"Can't you just send Talbrin out ... along with Doc Halisar, if you want, just until we can figure out a replacement if it's necessary?" She suggested. "Yes, the team can do without a linguist for the time it would take, but if they don't have to, why should they?"

"You can ask, but the regulations are quite clear," she apologized. "I'll transfer you to the Doc."

"It's not that bad to have a few weeks off," Jaysa smiled up at her with honest understanding. "It'll hit eventually."

"You don't...." she stopped, her words frozen as she realized that he did know what he was talking about when Carmidin reached back to squeeze his mate's hand. "Sorry," she mumbled, looking away from him.

"It's okay, Tanya," Jaysa smiled at her gently. "I don't make a point of bringing it up."

"Doctor Halisar here," a deep male voice broke into the conversation. "I understand there was some trouble?"

"Yes sir," Carmidin said. "One of my officers was assaulted and isn't very happy about leaving the mission."

"Hardly unusual," the Lion on the other end rumbled. "Is there reason I should bend the rules?"

"No pressing ones," Tanya admitted reluctantly. They couldn't even argue that they couldn't spare the vehicle; they were covered from that angle, at least for the time it would take.

"How badly were you injured?" "Dr. Halisar asked her.

"Mild concussion, drugged, all of which as been treated," Tanya offered. "I was barely hurt, physically, once I stopped fighting back. I lost some teeth and suffered some broken bones in my face, but again, it's been treated. I'm fine now."

"Medic supplemental statement," Tealia spoke up. "Yes, I treated her as best I could, but the broken bones and missing teeth weren't fixed. That takes more than anything I can manage out here. She'll need a real reconstructive surgeon to put her face back together properly, though she's not in any significant danger from the injuries."

"I think that rather settles it, Tanya," the doctor said rather pointedly. "I know Bears heal well and quickly, but that is not minor damage. Your team will get a new Linguist, and I will be on the next skimmer we can put in the air with your mate."

"Yes, sir," she nodded. At least she wasn't going to be ferried back... she'd have time to come up with an explanation for the people who didn't have to know. "Just let him know that I'm all right?"

"For as little as he's likely to believe me, I will," Doctor Halisar promised. "We'll be there in a few hours."

"At least I didn't have a chance to unpack before this happened," Tanya murmured. "I'll go prep a briefing for my replacement."

"Thank you," Carmidin said after turning the transmission off. "Tanya ... get well, recover your center. We'll still be exploring this world when you get back."

"You'd better be - I don't plan on being that long," she chuckled slightly. "Just make sure nobody else gets caught by those bastards. I think I got one of the nicer people there... consent seems to be a pretty foreign concept to them."

"I have little doubt that we're going to be authorized to exterminate them," Carmidin nearly growled. "They're pretty clearly a threat to us."

"That, I'm not going to argue about," Tanya agreed as they got up to prepare for her departure.

Rama looked up from the engine of the hovercraft she and her twin were inspecting, looking over at the people watching their work. "What sort of power system do you use for this? It can't be steam."

"It is not," Silvercrest Cayto, the unit's chief mechanic, said and stepped a bit closer. "Main power is supplied by a fission reactor; it runs on electricity, a lot of it."

"How does electricity make it do all those different things?" She frowned, looking back into the engine. "It can't be pushed against the ground to make it take off, or to move it around."

"Not directly, but it runs the fans and air jets that provide direction, and in enough quantity, it can create a field that pushes against the earth," Cayto explained. "It does create an air flow under it, and magnetic fields to assist the hover."

"But how does the electricity run those things?" Rama clarified. "I can't see how it runs anything."

"We could see if it was supposed to burn through something, or as a weapon," Roma called up, "but it doesn't make sense to move things with it."

"You know about magnets and air pressure, right?" Muku Sa'stay, a male Bat-Eared Fox and the unit's material engineer and architect specialist, spoke up.

"Of course," Rama nodded. "Lodestones and such."

"Well, a bar magnet has two ends," he said as he jumped into the truck and brought out a couple simple metal bars. "One positive, one negative. If you put the opposing end together, they stick," he said as he demonstrated. "If you put the matching ends together, they repel each other," he concentrated on balancing one magnet above the other to show them.

"So there's some sort of magnet in the bottom of the vehicle?" She asked with a frown. "What would it repel from?"

"Electricity can create a magnet from many materials, and what it's pushing off of is the magnetic field of the planet," Muku said. "A stronger electrical charge can create airflow without any moving parts, and that also provides lift."

"So you run it through the coils down here, like a lightning rod?" Roma called up.

"Yes," he nodded. "It's a simple principle that's difficult to make work."

"How do you create the electricity though? We've been using it to plate things, but that couldn't be enough to do anything like this."

"That's what the fission reactor does," he smiled a little sheepishly. "And that technology isn't one we share for free."

"Fair enough," Rama nodded. "Maybe we can figure it out on our own."

The scary thing was, they probably could, given enough to work with. He'd been seeing their work on the hovercraft, and they'd been making incredible logical leaps, grasping concepts they'd barely been introduced to unless he mis-read their technology incredibly.

"Perhaps," he said. "It took us many generations between when we knew how to build one in theory, and when we managed to build an effective generator. Perhaps you would show us some of what you have created?" he asked, hoping to have a legitimate knowledge of what he already knew, or suspected.

"Skimmer's incoming," Teli stuck her head out of the truck's cab. "Somebody go tell the guards so they don't freak."

"They were already told about it," Rama said, reaching down and pulling her brother up. "Come on, let's see what this one's like."

"It'll land near the trucks," Muku told them. "A skimmer is an aircraft."

"I'll tell Whitey it's here," Cayto said and headed for the inn.

The Engineers climbed out, looking up at the long, wide flying vehicle coming through, the huge wing keeping it aloft until it was in place, when it shifted to a vertical landing.

"That works the same way the truck does?" Rama asked, her huge eyes even larger.

"Nah," Teli shook her head. "That one's way simpler. It's just an aircraft."

"You've made several tons of steel fly through the air without anything holding it up - and that's simpler?" She asked him incredulously.

"If you had enough thrust, and something shaped to do it right," Roma murmured, clearly working it over in his head. "We wouldn't have anything like that yet, but we might be able to hybrid it...."

"The fuel is likely to be the sticking point for a while yet," Muku said as they watched the skimmer settle just clear of their group in the grass area normally used for gatherings. "But yes, as someone in our history once said, you can make a house fly if you get enough thrust behind it. It's true too."

"Or enough lift above it," Roma nodded. "You know... that's an idea," he mused. "If we could find a big enough deposit of lift-gas, we could float a house, tether it down, and then we could either move fast or stay out of Knuckler reach... enough of it, and we'd be out of Amza reach too."

"Birds," Rama said simply.

"What about... oh. Right. Never mind," Roma said, watching as an older male Lion emerged from a door that opened on the side near the pointed nose of the skimmer, and was followed by a giant white Bear that made Tanya seem small.

"Greetings, Dr. Halisar, Talbrin," Teli hopped down and strode over to greet them even as their attention focused on the Polar Bear emerging from the inn.

Tanya came out, hugging Talbrin tightly when they reached each other, curling her fingers in his thick fur as he held her, towering a head and more over her in protective dominance.

"Sorry to drag you out here," she murmured.

"Don't be," Talbrin rumbled, nuzzling her, careful of her injured face. "Let's just get you home and work on putting you back together."

"Right... the sooner the better," she smiled out the good side of her mouth, hugging him again. "This time, when I come out, I'm bringing you along... and not sleeping on the ground floor."

"Among other precautions," he rumbled in agreement and turned, guiding her into the skimmer to wait for the medic and doctor to finish discussing what had happened.

"There was one thing I didn't mention on the call," Tealia told the Lion quietly. "It wasn't a medical issue, but it's something to keep an eye on. She was given some basic medical treatment by her captors... not much, but it looks like part of it involved consuming something mildly radioactive. Not to a toxic level, I don't think, but it's hard to predict the responses."

"I will pay extra attention to that with her exam," he nodded slightly. "We saw the MAQs on the way here. They should arrive before midnight."

"Good," she nodded. "I think it's a safe bet that the upper stories are safe enough, but I think we'll all sleep better in our own armor."

"This is probably a ridiculous question, but I still haven't gotten a workup on any of the locals... did you administer any sort of emergency contraceptive?" He asked her quietly. "We've run into some locals who sound like they think our genes might be compatible with theirs, at least with some tweaking. If you're right about the rampant mutations with her attackers, their structure might be mutable enough to be compatible."

"Yes," she nodded, clearly surprised by the information. "You got a bunch of data that hasn't made it this far out."

"Shortly after you left, we were contacted by a group of locals," he nodded and handed her a datapad. "I brought a copy of what we got from them. While we have not verified everything we can, it seems that they have been honest with the intel."

"Technologically able to keep up with us?" Tealia asked, taking the datapad with the copy and skimming over it. "Call themselves Demons?" She asked, raising an eyebrow. "Seems ominous."

"Yes, it's an old name from their creators, and in several areas they are ahead of us," he nodded, speaking quietly. "They state that outside of the areas marked, they have no interest in expending and they are willing to trade good tech with us. Their medical tech is outstanding, if more focused on survival that maintaining a biological form. How are things going here?"

"Pretty well... though it looks like this is going to be helpful," she observed, considering the information on the local plants. "I've made contact with their local wise woman, and she's helping me with the use of some of the plants and animals, but this should help me sort superstition from actual use."

"As will the lab back at base," he chuckled. "I can take back a sample batch if you have one ready."

"Thanks," she smiled and darted back to the inn to get the carefully organized sample set.

"I said it wouldn't last," Blaze teased her leader as they came down for dinner.

"I never said it would," Carmidin countered as he walked up to the table with Jaysa. "But our choice is someone who's likely to travel with us."

"Does she have any idea what that's going to mean?" Cayto asked with a chuckle, taking a seat.

"Not entirely," Carmidin acknowledged. "But she wants to travel and she's interested in finding out if we're her ticket."

"Just how mercenary is her interest?" The shewolf asked, getting more serious as the others came down and took their own seats.

"Given she had the proposal thought out and approved with her sister before I even arrived and had it on the table within five minutes, pretty mercenary," he chuckled. "It's not a terrible attitude, just not the best."

"Not as long as we know it ahead of time," she nodded. "As long as she doesn't realize it's not worth the trouble a few weeks in."

"That's what we're hoping to work out while we're still here," Jaysa said. "Besides, she might not stay mercenary, if we do our part right."

"There's that," Carmidin nodded. "Besides, I've got a reasonably good feeling about it... she might be looking for a ticket out of here, but if she was that desperate she'd probably be gone already. She said she wanted to travel too, not just get out of her sister's house."

"So is she cute?" Muku Sa'stay asked with a wink and a grin.

"You'll be able to find out for yourself soon," the Puma grinned back. "She should be here any minute."

"Mmm... speak of the very cute devil," Cayto grinned, looking over at the door as Selia walked in. "That her?"

"That's her," Carmidin smiled, standing to help her into a seat politely.

"Thank you," she smiled. "Feels like I'm meeting the family," she chuckled.

"In a very real way, you are," he chuckled and sat down. "The lot of us spend more time with each other than we do with kin. Do you want introductions, or do you know who folks are?"

"I know a few of you, but introductions wouldn't hurt," she admitted. "I'm Selia; Keldina Longstriker's sister, and Joran's sister-in-law. I've been living with them and keeping their household since they married, and Keldina moved out of our home after she returned to us."

"I'm Carmidin Sul, a male Puma," he made an unnecessary but format-giving introduction. "A two-star General in the Gre'and Alliance's Planetary Expeditionary Force and the ranking officer on this team."

"We're the Silvercrest sisters," the sleek black female Wolf with a white blaze of a scar across her face added. "I'm Blaze, she's Cayto. We're both Wolves and she's the mouthy one. Most of our pack stays back at Fort Maric, but we groove on exploring too much."

"Yeah, our pack leaders are the Generals in charge of the entire base," the muscular tri-colored female Wolf next to her added. "We're both security officers, the warriors. I'm the unit mechanic too."

"By the way, you'll know when you've been accepted into their pack when miss mouthy gives you a nickname ... flattering or not," Jaysa snickered.

"He's just grumpy because I started to call him Scruffy before she gave him a better nick, " Teli giggled.

"Scruffy?" Selia giggled. "I don't know, I think it's cute."

"So do most of us," Carmidin winked and gave his mate a lick on the cheek.

"Yap," a big Panther male grinned. "I'm Thomas Carbin, most folks call me Tom. Though I have yet to get a consistent answer about whether it's because I'm a male feline or as short for Thomas. I'm a security officer too."

"You're the one who was making the rounds at the bath house the other night?" Selia smiled. "I heard you impressed a lot."

"Yes, that's me," he grinned, puffing up a bit at the praise he appreciated more than most. "It was great fun."

"He's our token sexeholic," Cayto grinned at him.

"Only when it's appreciated," Thomas countered. "It's not like you two don't make quite the impression too."

"And yes, there are stories to that," Cayto winked. "But not for tonight."

"I'm sure there are," Selia grinned back, before turning to Jaysa. "You don't mind my interest, I hope? It is in both of you," she offered.

"If I minded, you wouldn't be here," he assured her. "I do enjoy female company as well. But for the formal introduction; I'm Jaysa Tumrin, a Red Maned Wolf, and I'm an archeologist and anthropologist, among a dozen other specialties. I'm the head of the non-coms, the non-combatants on the team. I tend to do most of the talking when we reach a new city until we know what it's like."

"Like when you got here," she nodded. "You and Carmidin are in charge of the team then?"

"Yes," Carmidin nodded. "Ours is the final authority, and the final responsibility. "Teli DeRay," he nodded to the bright red, white and black vixen, "is my second in command, and a Red Fox. She's also in charge of the secondary crew and the vehicles when I am not around."

"You brought the trucks out," Selia nodded. "Sis was very impressed by vehicles that big that moved that fast."

"I'm not surprised," Teli nodded. "They are pretty impressive when you first see them."

"That is one thing about our job," Thomas added. "You never really forget how nice technology makes it back home."

"Well, there are the times when you encounter cities that have harnessed magic fully," a female canine, her sharply angular features and large triangular ears, her fur so short it was nearly invisible, and polished obsidian color making her the most exotic of the group, spoke up. "I'm Ashdra Balkin, an Anubian Jackal. I'm part of the warrior contingent as well."

"Well, the technology you have even here is already well beyond what we've got," she pointed out. "Very impressive, even if we do have some magic available."

"You do?" Ashdra perked up sharply. "I've never managed more than the simplest of rotes, but I love magic."

"Well, I don't, but the Hag has a little, and some of the Elders," she explained. "I don't know that much about it, myself."

Tealia made a quick, subtle hand signal to Ashdra that indicated that the Hag's magic wasn't real magic by their definition.

"The Elders definitely do, and even understand the difference between a psi and a mage," Jaysa added.

"What's a psi?" Selia asked curiously, sure that she didn't know the difference even if the Elders did.

"As Elder Reclin described the difference, a psi like I am has power that comes from within, while a mage draws power from outside themselves," Jaysa hoped it was an effective enough description. "Both can create many of the same effects."

"I... suppose that makes sense," she nodded. "Are they common, where you're from?"

"It depends on where," Jaysa took over as the keeper of the story. "Magic and psi are both common where Ashdra is from, it's why she's so fond of magic-heavy areas. Most Avians, bird-people, are from a land called Ak'aka'a that is rich is magic, but has no psi. Most of our lands have little of either."

"Ak'aka'a?" Selia asked him, pronouncing the word carefully. "What you call a part of the Wastes?"

"No," he shook his head. "Ak'aka'a is a tropical land. We are not all from artic lands, it is just our closest base and where this team considers home base."

"Somewhere you travel in your trading then?" She guessed. "How long do you spend traveling when you're doing this?"

"We don't, normally," he shook his head. "They are full members of the Alliance and the source of many of the dried fruits that have Jano and his wife so excited. We are explorers as much as traders. We go where we haven't been before and leave established trade routes to others."

"Well, you'll have your work cut out for you heading north," she warned them. "I'm sure Keldina's already told you about the Amza."

"Yes, but surely they do not control the entire world," Jaysa looked at her curiously. "We do most of our traveling by sea. It fairly simple to avoid even large expanses of territory."

"That assuming they don't piss us off enough to declare war," Cayto grinned viciously, only to demure quickly at Carmidin's disapproving glare.

"Well, if you're traveling by sea you'd be fine ... you just want to go up the mountain coast, rather than the forest coast. The Great River has a powerful current, it flows for miles off the coast."

"We'll keep that in mind," Jaysa nodded. "Do you know your way around Builder territory very well?"

"I haven't been traveling much, but I know as much about it as most of us do... the places you want to avoid most of all. I could get some decent maps of the area pretty easily."

"Excellent," Jaysa leaned over to kiss her cheek. "We would like to firmly establish trading routes with all of Builder territory before moving on. Have you heard much about the lands beyond Builder and Amza lands?"

"Only a little bit," she said, shaking her head, blushing a little at the kiss. "I've heard stories, but nothing major. A few of the other traders should be able to help you with that, though."

"I hope so," Jaysa nodded. "Sometimes traders resent competition coming in. We try not to put folks out of business, but you can never tell how folks will react."

"It shouldn't be too big an issue," she reassured them. "Most of them are willing as long as you're not selling the same thing they are. We all have our different resources - around here, we have a good number of aurochs, other places have more wood or steel, you know?"

"Yes," Jaysa nodded with a much more relaxed smile.

"That is a typical trading system," a relatively short, broad-bodied Raccoon male piped up. "What is this area known for, besides aurochs? Oh, and I'm Darmoth Kekkako, the unit economist."

"Aurochs, our work with heavy machines ... we've got the best weapons for over a week's journey," she said with some pride in the fact. "Since we've got more livestock, we're a favored target of Amza raiders, so we've developed to match. Since we've got open plains around us, we've had to focus on ranged weapons and covering distance more than on defensive gear."

"That makes sense," Carmidin said.

"How far are the nearest salt deposits?" Darmoth asked curiously.

"Rock salt is a long way off; a few weeks at least," she said easily. "We get most of what we use from sea salt though; we've got some settlements on the coast that process sea water, one of them just a day's trip from here. The salt gets collected for sale to other settlements, and the water gets used for drinking or machines."

That raised several eyebrows around the table.

"We're not used to seeing that kind of salt production until populations are much larger," Xyanre explained, intensely curious about the process they used. "Keeping the water when producing sea salt isn't usually an easy thing to do."

"Maybe not easy, but we've got good reason for it," she pointed out. "We use colossal amounts of water, and if we took it all from the rivers ... well, we'd be okay if we had the Amza's territory, but otherwise the rivers just couldn't keep up. And salt water isn't good for the machines, so we started boiling it and collecting the steam from that, condensing it into pure water, and transporting it between villages. I don't know exactly how the process works, but it works well."

"What do you use for fuel, to boil it?" Xyanre asked, fascinated that water had been given so much importance even as a chided himself for not realizing that a steam-powered society would.

"Wood, grass, dung, coal when we can get it... anything that burns, really. We mostly use auroch chips and imported woods, some places along the western coast use coal. Grasses are only used for portable things though; even the sawgrass burns up too quickly to be useful for industrial sizes, but if you're low on fuel while you're traveling it's not too bad to touch down and stock up in the plains," Selia explained.

"I'm guessing in something we haven't had a chance to see it," Carmidin said. "We haven't seen anything of yours that flies yet."

"We don't run the balloons very often, but we have one when we need to get a good view of the surroundings," she said easily. "You'll probably see one if we get word that the Amza are massing for a raid."

"If they do, they'll find out the hazard of crossing the Gre'and Alliance," Carmidin growled softly. "We do not tolerate such acts."

"What do you plan to do about the Knucklers?" Selia asked them quietly. "You're not going to try and wipe them out, are you?"

"From what we've been told, it's not possible," the Puma said. "We're going to do some serious damage though."

"It probably isn't," she agreed. "Just be careful if you're going down there, please? You've already seen the sort of ambushes they can set up, from what Keldina said. And there might still be some prisoners down there, too."

"We will be careful, though I have my doubts we'll send people down there before they're all but wiped out," Teli assured her. "Critters that live underground have weaknesses to exploit before you resort to combat."

"It would be safer... anybody still down there is already dead to us, so that wouldn't upset anybody, if they were caught by it," she offered quietly.

"We'll pass that on too," Carmidin said as Maria, Jano's wife, and two of the server girls began to deliver the meat-rich meal of strew, roast, vegetables and fruits, much of it cooked with an item or two they had brought for trade. "It's something a larger, specialized strategic force will tackle, not us."

"Makes sense," she nodded, looking over the meal. "It smells delicious," she added, smiling at Maria, waiting for the others to start eating before she did.

"Just wait until you've been traipsing through the wilderness for days," Cayto grinned at her, already happily digging into her portion. "A well-cooked meal and soft bed feel like heaven."

"A good reason to have somebody along who can cook," Selia grinned slyly. "Especially with fresh-hunted food."

"I don't think you'll get any argument from us," Blaze grinned widely at her. "Even better when the cook is cute."

"Hay, you don't know if she's inclined to," A buff, dark-furred Lioness elbowed the she-wolf. "I'm Longcrest Alosa, my sister is Longcrest Caberia and her son is Longcrest Pomrin."

"Yeah, and don't expect any action from him," Cayto added. "Male Lions with a pride name don't have their balls."

Selia blinked, clearly shocked at the statement. She glanced at the Lion with them to see his response, and looked back for some sort of explanation when she saw he wasn't pissed off about it.

"It's not normal for a male Lion to stay with the pride he was born into," Pomrin spoke up. "In the old days, an incoming male would kill us. As we became more civilized, we developed methods to signal the breeding males that we weren't a threat. Most choose castration."

"Males that want to stay don't have a breeding drive," Alosa added. "As far as anyone's said, it's not a real loss."

"It wasn't for me," Pomrin shrugged. "Not everyone was meant to breed."

"You had a choice, at least?" She asked with a frown.

"Of course," he nodded. "I had several choices. This was the one that appealed to me the most. I lost nothing I care about and I could remain with the pride I wanted to without constant fighting or hindering my aunts and sisters opportunities."

"As long as you had a choice about it," she nodded slightly, still a bit disturbed by it. "I've never heard about anybody doing anything that extreme, but in some places they'll do horrible things in the name of clearing out the old blood."

"We've seen that hold true for any number of reasons," Carmidin said quietly as they ate. "Anything that a person cares about enough is worth killing over, and some people don't have very high thresholds for what that level of caring is."

"And some people have ridiculously high ones instead," she nodded. "We've had both extremes, in the past."

"Extremists of any kind tend to cause problems," Jaysa nodded. "I love the food here," he added with an honestly appreciative rumble, his long-haired tail wagging quickly behind him.

"Jano's family are some of the best cooks in town," Selia agreed with a grin, working on her own stew.

"One of the best reasons to make friends with a place," Carmidin grinned playfully. "Anything that puts him in a good mood puts me in a good mood."

"Anything that gets you laid regularly does," Cayto laughed.

"As if that's a bad thing?" Thomas batted her with his long, thick tail.

"Are all you're people as open as you are?" Selia giggled.

"For the most part," Jaysa nodded. "Different people have different levels of openness, but we're fairly representative of what you'll find in the Alliance."

"So you aren't just with your mates most of the time?" She asked them. "More throughout the team?"

"Some more than others," Jaysa said. "Carmidin and I don't sleep around much, while we've generally agreed that the Silvercrest sisters and Tom have will sleep with pretty much anything that moves."

"And is willing!" Cayto added quickly with mock indignity.

"I figured that part," Selia reassured her. "You guys aren't like the Knucklers, in a lot of ways."

"Thanks," Thomas smiled at her. "So are you only into guys?"

"I've actually been with girls more often than guys," Selia admitted. "It's less trouble when you don't want kids yet."

"Quite true," Blaze agreed. "Do you think effective ways to prevent pregnancy would be popular?"

"If they tasted better than the tea the Hag can make, and didn't make everybody as grouchy, then yeah they probably would," Selia nodded. "The teas are the best way, but they do some nasty things to your disposition."

"It's a capsule," Tealia dug one out of her belt pouch. "They're tasteless and when taken correctly, effectiveness is measured in one failure per hundred thousand users. While some people do react poorly with bloating, irritability, weight gain or sporadic bleeding, they are a very small portion of though who take them. We've had some variant of the formula in use for almost four hundred years, so we can be confident in it's effectiveness."

"And you just swallow it?" Selia asked curiously, taking a look at the small burgundy capsule.

"Yes," the Ring Tailed Lemur nodded. "Your body breaks it down and absorbs it like it does food."

"It probably would be preferable," Selia nodded. "You don't have to do it at particular times?"

"Yes, you do," Tealia put the capsule away. "Every day at the same time. If you miss a day, it reduces the effectiveness. We also have pills for if you might be pregnant and don't want to be, but they do have more side effects."

"How long do you have to take them before they start working? The teas are something you're supposed to start drinking about three days before you can count on them," Selia explained.

"We recommend not counting on them for at least fifteen days, but it's effective for most within a three or four days," Tealia explained. "We have other methods if you don't have that much warning, or you aren't sure your partner is free of disease."

"What difference would it make if they're sick?" Selia asked with a slight frown. "Or do you mean you have medicines to keep people from catching a disease?"

"We do have those, but there are a set of diseases that are spread almost exclusively through sexual contact," Tealia explained. "They are frequently the most difficult to combat the spread of in practice and the easiest in theory."

"Spread through... how does that work, is it just because you're so close?"

"Ladies, please," Carmidin objected with a pitiful look and drooped ears. "Not during dinner."

"In a way," Tealia chuckled at the Puma's objection. "I'll explain more fully later, when the boys aren't eating."

"Right ... probably best for when I'm not eating either," Selia admitted. "How... long does it take for something like that to be noticed? We've never known about them."

"It depends on the disease. Most take from a week to month, though some take years or decades to emerge," Tealia said. "Like all diseases, they run the full gambit of severity and gestation."

"Whatever you have for protection would probably be a good idea to distribute, if you can," Selia offered. "We wouldn't know who might have one or who might not."

"Anyone who can part with a finger-sized vial of blood can find out, and it is strongly recommended for those who have sex for money or sleep around a lot for other reasons," she made a slight nod towards Thomas. "We know several fairly simple and inexpensive ways to prevent the spread of many disease that we can educate people of. We generally offer all three for free, just as a good business practice."

"That would all be real good to know about," Selia nodded. "You'll want to talk to the Elders about it, they'll help convince people. How long does it take to find out?"

"The full workup, a check for everything we know about and the common warning signs of many kinds of diseases we don't know, generally takes a week, though if we get a lot of requests, it can take two or three weeks. The labs can only process so many at a time." Tealia said. "The more we know about a population and the local conditions and diseases, the more accurate and sensitive our tests can become. Right now, they might not be incredibly accurate, but a year from now they will be reliable and within a few years we should be able to test for many conditions that are native to this area. We have many other tests, like one for pregnancy, that we don't offer for free, but are not expensive. That one lets you know in about five minutes, and you only have to be a week along to test accurately "

"You need to adjust them for the diseases here instead of in your Alliance?" She guessed.

"And for any quirks in your biology and physiology relative to what we know," she nodded. "We know you share much in common with us, but the obvious physical differences suggest there could be further differences."

"Of course," she nodded. "Uhm... how do you prevent the diseases you mentioned from being a problem?" She asked sheepishly.

"We have vaccinations, injections, that prevent many diseases, but the most effective method is called a condom," Tealia explained between bites of rich, meat-heavy, savory stew. "It's a rubbery jell that the penis is covered with. It sets in less than a minute and prevents both pregnancy and disease in almost all cases. When you're done, it can be rolled off."

"And we've got them, and know how to use them and teach others to," Carmidin added with a low chuckle. "Don't worry about that," he smiled.

"Okay," she nodded. "I hadn't heard anything about them, so I didn't know what would be involved."

"Besides, the odds you could get pregnant by either of us is next to nil, and we're clean," Jaysa nuzzled her jaw affectionately.

"I'm sure, but I can't be sure if I am," she pointed out, turning to give him a light kiss, her lips tickled by the longer black guard hairs around the tip of his mouth. "I wouldn't want you getting sick because of me."

"That is so unlikely," Carmidin said.

"He just hates to use a condom," Jaysa chuckled. "We will until your test comes back. Those will also tell us how likely we are to have children."

"That'd probably be best," Selia nodded. "One of these days I would like to have children, but this wouldn't be the right time."

"Does your culture have much of a tradition with a sire price?" a lean, athletically built Caracal female asked with a curious look.

"It's pretty unusual, but it happens once in a while," Selia shrugged. "Most of the time it's only done if a couple can't have children of their own, and they want to raise them."

"If you want children and stick with those two, you'll probably need to go that way," the Caracal suggested. "I'm Taliki SkySun, my brother's Su'nan SkySun. We're both in security."

"A sire price, or find somebody else at a Gather," Selia nodded. "Assuming that wouldn't bother either of you, of course," she added, looking at Carmidin and Jaysa.

"Not as long as there's an agreement about it first," Jaysa said, getting an agreeing nod from Carmidin. "We're not exclusive, but it is polite to discuss things that affect everyone before they happen."

"Of course!" She said quickly. "Bringing in kids without talking about it is never a good idea."

"Then enough of that for now," Jaysa grinned. "Kids won't be fore a few years yet. Why don't you tell us a bit about why you want to join us?"

"Well, you're both very handsome," she smiled. "And I've been interested in traveling for a while. Either one of you would make a very good mate, from what I've seen so far."

"Flatterer," Carmidin grinned at her. "Though I'll point out now that you don't need to be sleeping with one of the team to join us."

"Don't need to be, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't want to," she winked playfully. "Maybe it wouldn't work out as mates, but I think it's worth a shot if you're interested at all."

"Fair enough," he nodded. "Just wanted to be sure you knew you didn't have to, to join us on our exploration."

"I'm not that interested in traveling," she giggled, before turning to look at Jaysa. "If you don't mind my asking, how did you know it's not a good time for children?"

"I can smell it," he explained. "Compared to you, most of us have very sharp hearing and smell. The pheromones are off for it being your fertile time."

"Well, that's good to know then," she smiled. "I didn't think it was the right time, but a little extra assurance is good."

"So back to the more practical aspects of this," Thomas grinned at her. "Have you picked up any fighting or hunting skills from your sister?"

"Enough to make anybody who's had a bit too much to drink think twice about whether or not to take 'no' for an answer," she chuckled. "I'm pretty good with a knife, though I'm a lousy shot. Not that it stopped Keldina from trying to teach me until after I'd almost shot down an auroch... standing behind me," she admitted sheepishly to several snickers from around the table, and teasing pokes between teammates.

"Did she teach you what's not safe to eat?" Jaysa asked.

"My parents did that," she chuckled. "I was taught to be a cook around here, remember?"

"Yes, and I didn't mean insult," Jaysa said quickly. "In our experience, being a cook and knowing what green or berry that you find on the trail that you can or can not add to a salad or stew are very different things, or what fish or animal you catch is safe to eat. It's something hunters and scouts know more often than cooks."

"I understand," Selia nodded. "Here, it's always good to have a double-check, especially when the greens and berries are so varied - the hunters learn what animals will kill you, and most of what plants not to eat, but it's more important to know not to gather any brightly-colored frogs for them than it is to know that the brickle-berries are safe to gather, but the vines from them aren't."

"True enough," Thomas nodded with an approving smile. "We have often found that the larger the city, the more likely the people are enough steps removed from their food that they don't know. This being the largest city on the southern half of the continent, it's an important thing to check."

"We might be a larger town, but we still have to hunt for our food," she pointed out. "At least the food we don't grow."

"Have you learned how to do basic care for the wounded?" Tealia broke into the questioning. "I know you are not a healer, but the basic things like how to set a bone for travel, construct a litter, dress a bleeding wound, care for a pussy or poisoned one."

"I know the basics of how to take care of things when somebody's hurt after they get back, but not on the hunt," Selia explained. "When they make it back, I can help out enough to either get them to the Hag or make sure they only have to go once."

"A good start," Tealia nodded. "If you're up for it, it would be good to learn what we do for emergency care. Everyone who can help is a real asset if things go badly."

"I'm willing to learn," she nodded. "Be helpful if I ever do come back here, too."

"Yes, or anywhere you settled," Carmidin slid a hand along her thigh. "How fast do you usually pick up new skills, if you are going to?"

"Depends on the skill... usually I'm pretty decent after a week or so," she smiled, rubbing a foot against his leg lightly. "Some skills I pick up faster than others," she winked playfully.

"Some are more fun to study," Carmidin rumbled, sliding his hand further up to lightly tease her crotch. "So how body-shy are you?" he asked as Jaysa leaned against her and rubbed her other leg as he nuzzled her neck.

"Mmm ... enough that I'd rather get a room before you two go much further, but I'm open to an audience that's got a choice and is interested," she murmured, turning to kiss Jaysa lightly, spreading her legs a little bit to enjoy their teasing.

"Remember what the baths are like?" Thomas grinned at them with a playful wink. "Body-shy would never work in this place."

"But what about elsewhere?" Cayto grinned at them. "Have you been anywhere that does object?"

"Some towns might object more than others, but none that I've been too... just be sure you're in the Baths, and you can do pretty much anything you want, around here," she giggled. "Not sure about non-Builder towns... or about the Engineers, honestly, they're more shy than most of us."

"We'll keep that in mind," Carmidin rumbled and claimed a kiss. "Are you done with dinner?" he whispered in her ear.

"I am now," she whispered back, wiping up the last of her stew with a bit of bread and finishing it off. "So... you two for dessert?" She suggested playfully.

"I like that idea," Jaysa grinned and stood, watching as his mate swept Selia up in his arms with an easy grace and strength.

"Wooph!" She giggled, started by the sudden movement. She wrapped her arms around Carmidin's neck, holding on in case he did drop her, though she was reasonably sure he wouldn't. He wasn't as big and buff as the slutty Panther, but he didn't seem to have any problem with her weight.

"What kind of playing are you looking forward to tonight?" Carmidin asked her with a rather solid kiss as he carried her up the stairs with ease.

"Mmm ... finding out what the two of you enjoy," she said, kissing him back. "Being between you... finding out what you both taste like," she murmured lowly, kissing his muzzle lightly.

"Do you enjoy watching two guys?" Jaysa asked with a lusty grin and opened the door to the room he shared with his mate.

"Mhm," she rumbled, stretching out as Carmidin laid her down on the bed. "Especially if I'm not just watching," she grinned, toeing off her shoes.

"Well our favorite thing to do involves Jaysa moaning and writhing under me," Carmidin grinned as the two males kissed and undressed each other, taking time to show off and explore their bodies for their playmate.

"Mmm ... and does he like it when he gets a little attention at the same time?" She asked him, shifting to kneel on the bed before pulling her top off, fondling her own breasts lightly and putting off a show of her own when she saw the buys watching her even as they worked each other up.

"Yes," Jaysa shivered, arching back a bit when Carmidin slid his hand down the front of his pants to fondle than canine's hardening cock. "Kissing and fondling or sucking me off."

"Mmm ... all of the above," she grinned, sliding off the bed, stripping the rest of the way and walking up to him, kissing him tenderly as she reached down to fondle his cock along with Carmidin. Her fingers explored relatively small balls covered in mouse-soft fur as Carmidin pulled Jaysa's pants down to reveal a fully canine penis beginning to emerge from the softly furred opening above a small sheath.

"Sound good," Jaysa turned to kiss her while Carmidin finished undressing and came around behind her. He pressed against her back, rubbing his powerful, short-furred chest against her back and fondling her breasts as he slid his hardening cock between her legs, rubbing it's textured length along the swelling lips of her sex.

"Or I can take you while you work him," the Puma rumbled in her ear hotly.

"Carmidin," Jaysa reminded him with a soft tone, earning an annoyed scowl even as the Puma backed off.

"Spoilsport," Carmidin teased back and pulled out a tube. He squirted a bit of clear jell on his palm and stroked himself several times, spreading a thin coat of the jell along the end third of his cock, protecting himself from absorbing anything from her, and from him depositing anything inside her.

"Oh... just remember I'm a girl," she teased him lightly, reaching down with her free hand to press his shaft against her pussy when he came back. She kissed Jaysa again, licking his muzzle lightly as Carmidin pressed inside her.

"My preferred pleasure with one," he promised with a low rumble and lifted one of her legs to shift her hips. With an easy motion slid into her, moaning at the different feel of the hot, slick tightness. "I get ass all the time."

"Yes, he does," Jaysa agreed and kissed her, encouraging her exploration of his smooth, cylindrical cock, one that was very different from the one now sliding in and out of her with a slow, steady rhythm.

She moaned deeply, her fingers gliding up and down Jaysa's shaft, curiously squeezing lightly at the bulge she could feel starting to format the base of it.

"All of you different?" She murmured into his mouth.

"No," he nearly trilled in the rumble of pleasure and slid his fingers down her belly, eventually trapping her swollen clit between two fingers and rubbing the sides of it. "The felines are the same, canines are the same, bears and such. It goes by race."

"Mmm ... I like this combo," she moaned, squeezing down around the textured cock in her pussy, stroking the one in her hand and focusing more on the bulge that seemed to feel so good for him.

"Good," Carmidin licked her jawline from behind. "That knot will swell enough to lock him inside his partner, tie with them. It's a treat reserved for when we're sure we're in a safe place."

"Maybe while you're inside him?" She suggested, working the walls of her sex around him, stroking Jaysa faster as she scratched his furry chest lightly as they kissed, dueling tongues and stroking each other.

"Not after this morning's attack," Carmidin told her. "It's still too dangerous."

She shuddered between them, pleasure building between her legs. She considered pointing out that it was always a possibility, but she didn't want to bring down their mood, not when the results felt this good. She rocked between them, Jaysa's fingers and Carmidin's textured shaft, and felt herself starting to tremble inside as her orgasm approached.

"Not long," she whimpered softly.

"Don't hold back," Carmidin purred in her ear. "We have all night to play."

She moaned into Jaysa's mouth, tightening around the Puma's cock as she came hard, her body milking him hungrily and was soon rewarded by a roar and the erratic, powerful thrusting of his orgasm.

"I love that face," Jaysa moaned with a bit of a yip, his strength and balance the only think holding the pair upright. "Now you know why I love that cock so much," he added with a hungry grin. "My turn now."

"Mmm ... let me taste you while he's taking you?" She grinned, sitting down on the bed after Carmidin pulled out of her.

"If I get to taste you," Jaysa grinned, leaning forward to fondle between her legs.

"Mmm ... I'd love it," she rumbled, laying out on the bed, looking at Carmidin as he peeled off the gel condom and dropped it in the chamber pot, curious what he did with the pocket of fertile seed.

"Good," Jaysa grinned and slipped onto the bed, stretched out above her with his tail high against his back, inviting his mate to join them.

She rubbed the Maned Wolf's sides, licking his cock and balls playfully as the Puma to climb on the bed and rubbed Jaysa's hips with large, strong hands.

"Oh yeah!" Jaysa howled as Carmidin sank into him with a slow, measured thrust.

She took Jaysa's cock into her mouth, suckling the tapered length happily as she reached up to fondle both their balls, spreading her legs invitingly for Jaysa's tongue. It didn't take him long to loll his long, spongy tongue out and take a long lick of her wet sex, tasting her before plunging his tongue deep into her body. As she moaned, he began to thrust his tongue in and out of her body, lapping at the juices deep inside her.

She groaned around his cock, his knot pressing against her lips as she stroked and fondled the balls of both the males on top of her, loving the show she was getting of Carmidin's barbed cock sinking in and out of his mate's tight ass.

"I think I could get used to having a female like you around," Carmidin groaned at her attentions and the pleasure of his mate's body. "Cute, sexy, playful and skilled."

She beamed inwardly at the praise, a little too pre-occupied to thank him as she reached around his back, rubbing the base of his tail lightly to see how he reacted to it. With a deep moan his tail went straight up and his body stiffened.

"Yeah, good spot," he panted as he thrust into Jaysa, making the Maned Wolf shudder and whine with each stroke.

She grinned and kept up the pressure, pushing up a bit more, stretching her jaw to fit around Jaysa's knot and take his cock down her throat, swallowing automatically as she fought her gag reflex. That, combined with the previous teasing, drew a deep, howling moan from his throat and a thick stream of cum down her throat.

"Oh, baby," Carmidin moaned and thrust deep and hard, working himself to get off in the spaseming depths of his mate's body.

The sight of his seed leaking out around his cock when he roared was enough, along with Jaysa's skilled tongue, to push Selia over the edge, and she came a second time, her body squeezing down hard around the Maned Wolf's tongue as her juices flowed liberally.

Jaysa continued to thrust his tongue through her orgasm, though it was a bit more erratic thanks to his own, until they were all spent and relaxing.

"That was fun," Jaysa grinned, his well-squeezed tongue lolling out of his long, pointed muzzle.

"Oh yeah," she panted, catching her breath after getting his knot out of her mouth, giggling as he spurted a bit more of his seed onto her lips and chin. "Mmm... time for a bit of snuggling?" She suggested.

"Sure," Carmidin purred and pulled out of Jaysa's ass. "Girl in the middle."

"Sounds perfect," she grinned, snuggling up against him as Jaysa turned around, loving the feel of their warm, thick fur against her naked body.

A Wild New World 4: An Act of War

NC-17 for M/F, M/M/F sex
Het Level is HighHet Smut Level is High
Slash Level is Slash Smut Level is Medium
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

98 KB, Story is Complete, Series is in Progress
Written December 30, 2008 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Karl Wolfemann

Setting: Ayrth, Gre'and Alliance

Primary Races: Bear, Canine, Feline, Human, Mutant, Puma, Tazmanian Devil, Wolf

Contents: Furry. Het (M/F). Slash (M/M). Abuse, All Original Characters, Crossover, Foreplay, General Unpleasantness, Non-Con (M on F), Relationship (Cross Species), Relationship (Established), Sci-Fi, Sex (First Time), Violence

Pairings: Carmidin Sul/Jaysa Tumrin/Selia (M Puma/M Maned Wolf/F Human), Xyanre Ko'Pa/Reina Gold (M Red Panda/F Human), Tanya Serenko/Knuckler (F Polar Bear/M mutant Human)

Blurb: On their first morning in the Builder city of Aecra's Bluff, the team awakes to find one of their members missing.

Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.

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