VALKA PANTED, her body hot with fever and soaked with sweat, while I knelt at her
feet. According to what I had been able to learn, the proper vessel in which to receive
an Ovor egg as it was laid was a shallow ceramic bowl. There was a stack of them
next to me, enough for the seven eggs Valka was expecting. I was as ready as I could
Only, it wasn’t going well. Over the past week, Valka had developed a fever, and
when she started feeling contractions, she sent a panicked call to my cubicle.
I had crossed the hall to her pod without even bothering to put on clothes. I couldn’t
believe how bad she looked. Didn’t the doctors care what was happening? They were
supposed to be taking care of her, vack them all! And now the eggs were coming.
“Portcon! We need medical attention here!” I screamed.
The floating holographic head that represented the interface to Port’s main computer
system said simply, “Medical assistance is en route, Ward Challers Dizen. Estimate
four minutes until arrival.”
Valka gave another grunt, pushing words past her teeth. “Too late.”
I saw a dark mass pushing out of her body, squeezing through. I held my hands up
and took it in my hands as Valka’s muscles expelled it.
The thing smelled terrible. None of the recordings I had found mentioned that. I
swallowed to keep the bile where it belonged and set the egg in a bowl with a white
cloth over it. The next one wouldn’t be long.
“Medical team has arrived,” said Portcon. “Opening pod access.”
The door opened, revealing a middle-aged woman wearing a greenish coverall. “Come
on out, make room for us.”
“She’s having her eggs now!” I shouted. “Someone has to stay with her!”
“They’ll be fine,” said the medic. “Come on out.”
I hustled to the door, and watched as the medic took my place. Another one squeezed
in alongside Valka’s reclining chair. The second one took out an injector and put
it to the inside of her elbow. Valka’s breathing immediately became less ragged,
and she relaxed back down onto the chair. I could hear a wet squelch as another egg
was born. My stomach took another tumble.
The smell only got worse. I knew something was wrong when the medics frowned and
shook their heads.
“What?” I cried. “What’s wrong?”
“Ward, you’ll need to either keep quiet or go back to your pod.”
I took a deep breath. “Okay. Okay.”
The medics worked in near silence, occasionally exchanging a word or two of medical
jargon that I couldn’t understand. Finally, they piled all of the eggs into one bowl
and began packing up their gear. Valka was still and quiet, her only movement was
the slight rise and fall of her blanket as she breathed.
“Is she going to be all right?”
“She’ll recover. Nasty infection she got there.”
“And the eggs?” I didn’t want to care about those eggs. They were a legacy of the
Scouts and the forced breeding program they had imposed on Valka. But Valka cared
about them. No matter how it had happened that she was bearing them, they were hers,
and she had been looking forward to this day ever since we had arrived at Port. She
cared about them, so I did too.
“Dead,” said one of the medics. “That’s what gave her the infection.”
“Dead? But how?”
“You two are the new kids—ex-Scouts, right?”
“You get in any fights while you were escaping?”
“Yeah. There was some fighting when we left.”
“Use the jump drive?”
“A few times.”
“Hyperwarp and jump drives aren’t the cleanest forms of propulsion. No good for developing
eggs. That’s probably what did it.”
I didn’t know what to say. Part of me wanted to be glad that Valka wouldn’t be burdened
with seven eggs to tend, but I knew that learning what had happened would devastate
her. Finally, I just asked, “How long will she be asleep?”
“The drug will keep her out for four hours or so. After that, she’ll sleep naturally.
You should probably get some too. Do you need a tranquilizer?”
“No, I’ll be okay.” I stumbled across the hall, through my door, and collapsed onto
my chair. With the adrenaline of the evening starting to burn off, I was bone-tired.
“Yes, Ward Challers Dizen?”
“Wake me up if Valka Parl wakes up, please.”
“I will do that, Ward Challers Dizen.”
I pulled the thin sheet over my body and tried to let the blackness of sleep wash
over me. One thought kept intruding, however. How would I tell Valka? What would
she say? I tried to comfort myself with the knowledge that whatever happened, I would
be there for her. It didn’t feel like enough.
Nothing was going right. We had all expected something to change when we reached
Port. We had expected there to be a tremendous outrage that innocent human lives
were being used as power sources for the new weapon system being used by the Scouts,
the one we were calling “egg missiles.”
Robert had tried to get the word out, convince people that something had to be done,
but it seemed like everyone was convinced that it either didn’t matter, that the
Scouts were despicable for a dozen other things anyway, or that we were lying to
try to stir up trouble. Robert said it was a credibility problem; he had been away
for too long, and nobody remembered him. The rest of us were complete unknowns.
VALKA’S RECOVERY took a long time. By the end of the second day, she was alert and
awake again, though not really strong enough to come out of her pod. She was well
looked after, with medical monitors installed in her pod and daily checkups by human
medical staff. I looked in on her often, but when she was resting, I went back to
My interest in history, which I had gained during my studies at the Academy, became
a need during those days of waiting. It was the only way I could distract myself.
There were many, many things the Scouts had never told us, things the Pirates knew
and were more than willing to share. I spent hours scanning the archives, sorting
through events I had never even heard of in school, and it was better than fretting
about things I couldn’t control.
One thing that particularly caught my attention was the true origin of the Scouts.
During the Great Diaspora, after the discovery of orgone and faster-than-light travel,
mankind’s government fragmented into a thousand individual colonies. Nobody had the
strength to hold all of the colonies in one entity. There was a constant, low-level
conflict throughout this era.
According to my studies at the Academy, the Scout Service appeared at this time as
a force that sought to quell the constant fighting with diplomacy and trade. The
records I found here, however, told a different story. One group, known as the Incorporates,
started conquering systems one after another. They had mastered a technology for
direct interface between brain and computer that allowed them much greater control
over their warships. Not only that, they were able to command absolute loyalty from
those they conquered by means of this interface. Whole populations were reduced to
blissful, mindless slavery.
Once the rest of the galaxy learned what the Incorporates were doing, the reaction
was immediate. The horror of it shocked them into action. Resources were marshaled,
technologies were shared, and great warfleets were dispatched to erase the Incorporates
from the galaxy. It was in this conflict that the Scouts, Fleet, and Merchants were
When the war was over, the leaders of the three services decided to remain in power.
They said it was to preserve galactic peace, but of course, it also preserved the
“emergency powers” they’d been given in the war.
After fifteen days, Valka had gained strength to wake me with a kiss on the lips.
I smiled. “Good morning. Feeling better?”
“Yeah.” Her face was bright, but there was an edge of darkness to it.
“I guess you know what happened to the eggs,” I said.
“I asked Portcon.”
“I would have told you, you know.”
“I know, but…I guess I didn’t see the need to involve you. I’m sorry. I should have
let you tell me.”
I sat up and put my arms around her. “It’s okay. I’m sorry.”
When I let go, Valka’s features had taken a hard edge. “Seven more crimes the Scouts
are responsible for,” she said.
“I have a feeling they’re not going to worry.” I sat up and hung my feet off the
side of the chair to make room for her. “Portcon? Breakfast, please. The usual?”
“Oatmeal with fruit is available, Ward Challers Dizen.”
Valka hopped up on the chair and snuggled up next to me. She caught my eye as I stared
down at her. “What?” she asked.
“I guess I’m not used to seeing you without that belly. It seems strange.”
She smoothed her coverall over her stomach, frowning. “I’m still kind of overweight.
All this sitting around isn’t good for me. I got more exercise back on Stakroya Station.
I also ate less.”
I leaned down and kissed her. “You know that doesn’t matter to me.” It was the truth.
It was Valka that I loved, not her body. The Scouts had transformed her into an Ovor,
a four-breasted race designed to produce large quantities of eggs, but that didn’t
matter to me.
“It matters to me. I feel like a lump.”
“Portcon says that the nutritional content of the food is calibrated to keep you
“Yeah, well, that may be true, but these pods are orgone collectors, right? They
probably want to keep us a little fat, because more mass means more basal orgone.”
“You guess? Look what they do to Merchants. Challers, you can’t trust these people.
Everyone is looking out for their own interests.”
I looked down at my own body. I had to admit that the muscles I had gotten during
my training with the Scouts were not as defined as they had been. “They’ve got a
gym up on the Boulevard. We could go together.”
“Yeah, have you seen what it costs? I know I have a lot of credits with the Port,
but I can’t spend it like that. I’m just going to have to be more careful about what
I eat. Ooh! It’s almost ten. Put your screen on. I want to see the Morning Summary.”
“It’s a program they put on every morning to show you everything interesting that
“Portcon, please display ‘Morning Summary.’”
Portcon’s face disappeared, replaced with a rotating logo and a dramatic voice. “Welcome
to Morning Summary for day 842 of cruise fifty-six.” The logo was replaced by a long
list of names, grouped in fours and fives under titles like David’s Destroyers and
Madden’s Marauders. “Please choose the Worthies for your report,” the voice continued.
“What is this?” I asked.
Valka snuggled close, holding my arm. “I discovered it last week. Those people we
saw patrolling the Boulevard? They call them Worthies. They have cameras following
them around all the time, and folks can watch what happens. Pick David’s Destroyers.”
I reached out to the hologram and waved my finger at that section. The screen cleared,
and an image formed of a man in a baggy white shirt and black pants lounging in a
comfortable, armless chair. He swirled a drink in one hand and smiled at a short-haired
woman who had just walked into the scene. She was similarly attired, though neither
wore the weapons we had seen Worthies wear up on the Boulevard.
A disembodied voice accompanied the scene. “The romance between Krinna and David
has continued since she signed up for his crew. It’s a good thing he convinced her
to join up, since with only two members, his crew would have been delisted this morning.
As it stands, he still has only ten days remaining to get back to four members and
keep his crew going long term.”
David took her hand and pulled her down for a passionate kiss, which she returned
with enthusiasm. She reached behind him and pulled out the knot that held David’s
shirt together, and unfolded the two triangular flaps to expose a hairless, muscular
“Are they going to have sex right there where everyone can see?”
“Uh-huh.” Valka squirmed closer and put an arm around my waist. “He’s been romancing
her all week.”
We watched Krinna run her hands over David’s chest, and the camera zoomed in to show
the effect her caress was having on his nipples. When it zoomed out again, she was
shrugging out of her shirt, revealing a back almost as well-muscled as his chest.
Soft music began playing in the background, a light tune that heightened the affectionate
tone of the scene.
“You like this guy,” I said.
“I mean, you like watching him.”
“Oh, yeah. I mean, his crew is about to be officially disbanded, and he’s completely
not concerned. In control. You don’t see that kind of confidence all the time.”
The point of view shifted again, this time coming down from above—a perfect angle
to catch David taking one of Krinna’s small breasts into his mouth and the look of
pleasure that came over her face as she arched her back.
I started off watching David, trying to figure out what it was that Valka saw, but
Krinna soon had my full attention. I had never seen a woman who looked like that
before. Even my mentor in the Scouts, Shirley, wasn’t as muscular as this woman.
I was attracted and repulsed at the same time. Something inside me said it wasn’t
right for a woman to look so masculine, but then I remembered the hermaphroditic
Chevalier newgens I had met at Scout Headquarters. I pushed that thought aside.
As Krinna reached down into David’s pants, Valka slid her hand past my waistband
and squeezed my swelling cock. “I’ve been thinking about you all week,” she said.
If watching David got her this worked up, I wasn’t going to complain. “Why didn’t
you come over?” I moved my hand from her shoulder down under her arm to cup one breast
through her shirt.
“I didn’t want to come over until I was ready.”
“Ready for what?”
“You know.” She pulled her shirt up over her head and threw it aside. “This.” Her
four Ovor breasts were full and round, tipped with thick, dark brown nipples. She
did have a bit of extra weight on her, but I barely noticed. By the time both of
us were fully naked, the couple on the holoscreen were naked too, rubbing their bodies
together as they kissed.
Valka leaned back on the chair, letting her legs fall to either side. “I want you
to pleasure me while I watch.”
I smiled and climbed up onto the chair, between her legs. Her pussy lips, which had
been kept hairless while we were at Scout Headquarters, were covered with fur. I
ran my fingers through it. “I don’t know if I still know how,” I said with a smile.
“Mmm, I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”
While I explored with my fingers, I heard the sounds of Krinna and David’s encounter
over my shoulder. Judging from his encouragements and her muffled responses, she
had something important in her mouth. I took it as my cue to get my own mouth involved.
I pulled her pussy lips apart. It had been too long since we had been this close.
Valka’s advanced pregnancy had made a lot of sexual activities difficult or tiring,
and I was elated to be able to do this for her again. I licked slowly, playing with
her inner lips, flicking them lightly with my tongue. As I gradually moved up towards
her clit, I felt tension building in her thighs.
“Vack, Challers,” she said between deep breaths, “I missed this.”
I chuckled. “So did I.” I hadn’t performed this act on Valka too many times, but
I knew how to pay attention to her reactions and adjust. With a light touch, I placed
my lips around her clit, drawing only just enough suction to be felt. She made a
soft, contented noise and touched my head, not pushing down or pulling back. She
was simply acknowledging that I was there.
I sucked harder, flicking my tongue at the tiny bud of flesh between my lips. “Ooh,
too much,” she gasped, and I backed off, licking along the sides of her clit.
“It’s okay. That’s much…mmm…much better.”
I slipped one arm under her body and drew my hand up to stroke the lower part of
her cunt. A brief flash crossed my mind of a black, sickly egg. I pulled back to
look. Except for the hair, it hadn’t changed all that much since I had seen her last,
making it easy to dispel the image from my mind.
The sound of David and Krinna’s sexual encounter changed. I looked over my shoulder
to see Krinna straddling him, flexing her thighs as she rose and fell, impaled on
his cock. I wanted to fuck Valka too, but I could wait until she’d had an orgasm.
I went back to my task with the goal firmly in mind.
Slipping my fingers inside her, I searched for the firm knot of flesh on the upper
wall of her channel. It was there, where I had found it once before. I hoped the
result would be as spectacular as the first time. With quick little strokes, I rubbed
the spot with my fingers while I licked the hood of her clit in the same rhythm.
I imagined a kind of circuit between my hand and my mouth, with Valka’s body strung
between. When my tongue started to get a little sore, I switched to using my nose
for a few seconds while I gave it a rest, and went back. When my fingers cramped,
I switched hands.
She did not disappoint me. Her thighs clenched around my shoulders as I worked, and
growling cries escaped her throat. I could feel her pussy tensing around my fingers
and even smell the musky change in her scent.
And then I noticed that the top of my head was wet. I pulled back and looked around.
Milk dribbled down from all four of Valka’s breasts, and droplets were scattered
all over her stomach. She looked down at me, grinning sheepishly. “Sorry,” she said,
when she’d gotten her air back.
I laughed. “Don’t be. I think it’s great. It’s like you’re ejaculating too.”
“I guess I am.” She took the lower pair in her hands and squeezed. Streams of milk
sprayed out. “They got sore after the eggs came and this made them feel better. Ever
since then, I’ve been milking myself. Port said that most women who get sick during
pregnancy never even start lactating, but Ovors might be different. The information
I climbed up her body, licking the droplets up as I went. “I could have helped, you
know.” The milk was sweet and warm, with just a hint of salt from her sweaty skin.
“I know. I guess I didn’t want you to see me that way.”
“I want to be with you no matter what, Valka. I don’t mind seeing you weak or sick.
I want to take care of you.”
“Okay. I’m sorry. I think I like the idea of you taking care of me.”
I sucked on the hard nub of her nipple and got a tiny squirt of milk. “Does that
“Good. I like doing it.” I sucked some more, and gradually felt the tightness in
her skin recede. I switched to the other.
“Mmm, that’s much better,” she said.
I went from breast to breast, gently draining her of the offending fluid. My hard
cock bumped her thigh, and when I finished, I shifted position to enter her.
“Oh, Challers.” She put a hand on my chest. “Please don’t.”
“An Ovor is always fertile. I don’t want to go through that again.” Her eyes pleaded
with me. “Please.”
I hung over her. If I pressed the issue, I could probably convince her to let me
fuck her, but we had both been through too much for me to even consider it. I sat
back on my heels, my cock jutting up from between my thighs.
“Here. Let me do this instead. Lie down.” She climbed off of the seat so I could
take her place, and then she climbed back on, straddling my knees. She transferred
some of the copious lubrication from her pussy onto my cock before wrapping her lower
pair of breasts around it with her hands. “How does that feel?”
“Mmm, that’s not bad. It’s not as good as being inside you, but it’ll do.”
Above her head, David and Krinna were cuddling on their chair. She sat on his lap,
sitting crosswise with his arm supporting her shoulders. Their soft demeanor contrasted
with the hard edges of their bodies. They both seemed too tough for such contemplation,
but there they were.
I returned my attention back to Valka. Her upper breasts bobbed hypnotically as she
moved. I brought my hands up to them, stroking their soft skin as she continued pleasuring
me. “They’ve gotten bigger, haven’t they?”
I watched my cock disappearing between her breasts. “Seems like a lot more…mmm…than
a bit to me.”
She looked down. “I guess.”
I gasped as the first jet erupted from my cock, arching over my stomach to land on
my chest. It was so soon it caught me somewhat by surprise. My stomach and Valka’s
breasts were splattered with semen.
“Feel better?” she asked.
I laughed. “Yeah. Thanks.”
Valka got a washcloth from the hygiene station and cleaned herself off. “You really
like me this way?”
“Yes. Of course, I do. Why do you ask?”
“I want to save up to get enough to use a gentank.” She climbed up onto the chair
and sat cross-legged, facing me, and handed me the towel.
“How much does it cost?”
“The price seems to fluctuate for some reason, but it’s usually something like a
I whistled. “Where are you going to get that kind of money?”
“Well, you know you don’t have to stay in your pod all day. That pays your basic
life support, but if you want to accumulate credits, you have to do more than that.
I’ve been looking around and there are a few jobs I could do.”
“How much would you get?” I finished wiping myself off and tossed the cloth into
the recycling hatch.
“Well, there’s a job as a data wrangler that would pay twenty-five an hour. If I
work ten-hour days, then I could have enough to use the gentank in about two hundred
days, given what we’re starting with.”
“Could you do it from your pod?”
“No, this would be at a data center a few decks down.”
“So you’d have to pay life support while you were away. Valka, that’s not two hundred
days. That’s a lot more. It might take years.”
Valka groaned. “I hadn’t thought of that.”
“I don’t mind.”
“I do! I don’t like this body. I don’t want to have any more eggs!”
“Maybe there’s a drug or something that will stop that.”
“There is. It costs ten credits a day.”
“That’s not too bad.”
“I don’t like draining our savings like this. I’m not making any income, and it costs
life support any time we visit.”
I looked up at the screen where David was walking along the Boulevard with Krinna
and another Worthy whose name I had missed.
“How much do Worthies make?”
“I don’t know.”
“Portcon,” I called. “How much do Worthies earn?”
“A Worthy earns shares of all the crisis and transcendent orgone that is generated
while being observed by Wards.”
“And how much is that?”
“It varies widely, but most Worthies earn between two thousand and five thousand
credits in a day.”
I turned to Valka. “That’s it, then. We need to become Worthies.”