We have a problem, I thinks, he stated after closing the door to the bridge and activating the privacy sign and filters. It was just his second day of having over a dozen stowaways on board. Earlier there had been some emergency drills as well as some gunnery practice with both beam and projectile weapons.
What do you mean, Boss? Tess ‘politely’ asked, not about to guess which of several friction points she’d already noticed was bothering the human.
What’s your read on Cindy where I’m concerned? he asked with no inflection in his voice.
The rules I am operating under allow me to ignore questions of that type, she reminded him, not liking which problem he’d picked to work on first.
She’s terrified of you, Tess finally admitted.
But not all of the time, Neal pointed out.
No, just when you appear to surprise her.
Well, I don’t think it’s because she thinks I could toss her out the airlock on a whim, Neal muttered and received a ghost of a snort out of a nearby speaker. So the Captain isn’t what scares the hell out of her. That leaves me being a smelly old human, or male, he started.
Or her brand new ‘father figure’, Tess injected.
You think? Neal asked, looking thoughtful.
She has no problem with interacting with you when she knows it’s you, Tess pointed out. Like when you were helping her change her stance on the pistol range; it was later when you just touched her shoulder before you complimented her on her shooting, she looked like a kit that had been caught doing something very wrong and she knew the punishment coming would be extreme …
Just before that, what would you guess her emotions were? Neal wondered.
You have yet to have built me a psychic circuit, she reminded him with a hint of a huff. Still … pleased with how well she was doing, a bit of pride, growing confidence …
Do you think she was having fun?
And a touch of surprise tore it all away, Neal said, remembering how her next few shots had shown how badly startled and shaken she had been. No child should be that frightened of having a little fun. Do we have anything at all on her?
Only what she and her friends have said or commented on; her mother died when she was very young, still living with her father, no siblings.
Why do I get the feeling I’d want to pound some sense into ‘daddy’ for the way he’s raised his little girl? Neal muttered darkly.
If that’s the real source of the problem, Tess reminded him.
He sat glowering in the silence for a few minutes before he shifted slightly. Well, he eventually said, if I can’t pound the father, then I’ll have to settle for pounding on the daughter. Tess? Here’s what I need from you …
The next morning the teens found themselves in yet another new room, stepping up onto thick padding with plenty of ‘give’ under it. At Tess’s direction, they dressed in the padded suits they found – surprised at how well they fit each of them. Across the room they found heavily padded poles with extra padding at each end as well as some mouth-guards for a little added protection. As several of them had seen and used Pugil sticks before, a semi-training/sparring session was already underway when Neal got there, already wearing a matching padded suit. Weaver came in with him, but she was unpadded and she carefully laid down in the corner to watch.
The training/sparring had stopped when the adults had entered, but Neal waved them back to it as he went to get the remaining padded stick. After a few warm-up stretches and swings, Neal approached the group of furs. A little warm up and frustration relief if needed, Neal told them. Like being able to thump the one you think left all that hair in your comb – but only a thump – it was only a comb after all, he said with a grin, knowing there had been an argument among the foxtaur vixens over just that issue.
Several jeers and taunts of just who was going to thump whom had them paired up again. Neal gave them a minute before cutting in. He’d placed his stick between Calmmeadow and Dusk. They each stepped back a pace and Neal gave Dusk a wink before turning to Calmmeadow. Shi grinned and swung hir stick at his head, which he deflected up and forced hir to hurry to get it back down before he could nail hir upper torso. They ‘fought’ for a little more than a minute, both getting in a few good blows. Neal then stepped back and gave hir a half-bow before turning to Dusk. Having seen how this human moved, shi had a little better luck with hir opening moves, but shi was more than ready to go back to Calmmeadow when he was done with hir.
The foxtaur vixens, Graysocks and Redtail, were the next pair Neal crossed. Neal had to go easy on Graysocks as she wasn’t one of those that had ‘played’ like this before, but she got a bit of her own back at him by taking random swings at him while he was ‘battling’ Redtail.
Alex and Cindy had paired off as the only two bipeds when they had started. Alex had been teaching Cindy the basics because she’d never been allowed to participate in any of the contact sports in school.
Alex squared off and made a few test swings at Neal to try to keep him guessing before he tried a couple strikes – which Neal easily deflected.
You can do better, Neal told him as one of his counter strikes just brushed across Alex’s ears.
Alex grinned and redoubled his efforts, getting in a couple good thumps, but none anywhere near as hard as he’d hoped for. Finally he saw the opening he’d been waiting for and he swung at Neal’s head for all he was worth – only to leave himself open to Neal knocking his legs out from under him! As this had required Neal to drop too, anyone turning to watch too late would have found them both lying down with their Pugil sticks crossed between them.
Still breathing hard, Neal grinned through his mouth-guard at his opponent. Very nice. You were really getting into it at the end, Neal said.
Yeah, but you still beat me, Alex muttered, but he was grinning too.
Heh, I’ve had a bit more practice, Neal countered as he got up.
She’s totally green, Alex warned as he rose.
I saw, Neal agreed before turning to Cindy, his face hardening.
The teen vixen before him wasn’t a teen any longer, but a very small kit who knew she was going to be hurt and hurt bad. She had just watched him match himself against the taurs – and take Alex down! Fear rooted her to the spot, the padded stick slipping from nerveless fingers.
Pick it up, Neal’s voice was low but commanding, his eyes boring into hers.
She was visibly shaking as she knelt to recover the stick.
Try to hit me, he ordered. At her fearful headshake, he growled, You were taking swings at Alex – am I not good enough? SWING!
Her stick came up and hesitantly moved in his direction. He barely moved to brush it away. AGAIN! Like you mean it! he all but snarled at her.
While the other battles had slowed so the others could watch Alex and Neal go at it, the rest of the room was now frozen. Beechwood had started to move towards them, but Roseberry had pulled the vixentaur to a stop. I’m not sensing any anger from him, the chakat hissed at her.
What are you sensing? she half demanded back.
Control – tightly held. Why – I can’t tell. Just – wait, shi half warned / half pleaded.
The two in question never heard a word of it, so locked as they were on each other. At Neal’s demands, Cindy’s swings were getting harder – but still hesitant – and he was having no trouble knocking them away. All the time Neal was demanding more of her – her every attempt was found lacking.
No one knew how long it went on, but they all could tell the moment Cindy snapped. Neal had just brushed away her latest attempt at a strike and she had turned Neal’s deflection into power for her next swing from the other direction, with Neal being forced to put more power into his next deflection – which only added to the power she was able to use in her next swing. This one he tried to block – but Cindy’s Pugil stick slammed into his Pugil stick hard enough to slam it in turn into his head, knocking him off his feet and landing him flat on his back.
Cindy stood there breathing hard, frozen in shock at what she’d just done, the others frozen in surprise as Neal rolled over and slowly got up. With his stick in hand, they watched him roll his neck and test his joints before he turned back to the vixen.
His expression was still hard, but he found the terrified kit look missing from hers. There was a caution there, she had just nailed her recently adopted father and the captain of the ship they were on, but the overriding fear from before was no longer appeared to be controlling her.
As he studied her face, her posture and stance she wondered if she saw just the hint of something like approval in his eyes before he said, That was good. I expect you to do it again.
She brought up her stick as he moved his to the ready. Blows rained down on her, testing her blocks and forcing her to increase her speed. Sometimes she’d see an opening, a couple times she got a strike in, sometimes it was only a bluff to sucker her into dropping her guard.
The blows slowed as they both tired before Neal finally called a stop. The teens headed out the door for the showers, while Neal moved to plop down next to Weaver.
You stink, Weaver cheerfully told him.
Ah, come on. I didn’t do too bad out there – despite getting nailed by a little vixen, Neal countered.
Nailed my tail! From this angle I could see you flex your legs for your ‘fall’ – your stick barely touched your head!
Don’t you ever tell the others that, Neal told her. I needed to prove to Cindy that she wouldn’t be punished just for doing what I told her – even if that means I’d take the fall.
Was it really necessary? she half asked.
I think so. You can’t always just tell someone something’s different from everything she’d ever seen before; sometimes you have to show them. Hell, with a little luck, the others will learn from it as well – I hope so anyway, I don’t think I can do too many more of those …
Wore you out did they? Weaver chuckled.
Now I remember the advantage I had over my brother after they had a kid, I could wind the little stinker up and then give him back to his parents – too bad you’re in too poor of shape for me to just ‘hand them off’, Neal said with a half grin.
As far as stinkers go, you reek. Go hit the showers, Captain.
Two days as a denmate and already she’s nagging me, Neal muttered as if she couldn’t hear him. More proof that mated or married people are idiots and fools.
Snickering at him, Weaver got up while saying, This fool likes her idiot smelling sweetly rather than sweaty.
Yes my dear fool, just as soon as I can get my legs to move again, Neal promised as she left. As the door closed behind her, he whispered, How’d we do?
Remains to be seen, but it looks promising, Tess quietly replied before asking in turn, Do you want one of my gurneys? I was worried there for a minute that your pratfall wouldn’t have any ‘prat’ left in it …
I’d intended to use the strike before, but the angle she gave me made the dodge far too obvious, Neal admitted with a groan as he worked his way back to his feet. I’ll walk, can’t let the kids know they can wind me this easily.
As if your current ‘walk’ isn’t a dead giveaway, Tess pointed out as he half-staggered to the door.
Most of the teens were done with the showers and fur driers by the time Neal entered.
You look pretty beat up there, Captain, Mike commented as Neal started trying to get out of his padding, his bare skin showing the still-forming bruises from some of the strikes that had made it past his guard.
Neal let out something between a snicker and a moan. Believe it or not, I’ve been worse, he told the equitaur.
Just not in the last week or so? Alex asked with a grin as he came around the corner, his fur still damp from the drier.
The two furs helped Neal shuck the rest of his padding before nudging him towards the showers. Neal now leaned his shoulder against a wall with his rump mostly on a bench, water jets of warm and cool water playing across his back. He was almost asleep when the jets stopped their random play and tapered off. The scent of one of the available shampoos struck his nose just before a warm sponge was pressed into his back, the unseen hands working it up and down and across his back and shoulders before pushing it over his shoulder and letting it fall into his lap.
Thanks, Neal said as the water jets started back up and rinsed off his back. He turned, but there was no one there.
What the hell was that? Beechwood was half demanding just as Mike and Alex joined the rest of the teens.
What was what? Alex asked with a grin as Cindy walked in behind them. Are you by chance referring to our brand new adopted father pretending to beat on the smallest of us?
Didn't look very pretend to me, Beechwood told him.
Mike shook his head. I had a better angle than you did. None of his strikes carried any real power – he was pulling his punches with Cindy, he countered.
Easy enough to prove, Alex told them, turning to Calmmeadow. Any human-made bruises? he asked. At hir nod, he turned to Dusk, Graysocks and Redtail and got nods from them as well. And I collected my fair share. Cindy?
Only the ones you gave me, she admitted.
So, we know he can get past our guard and leave a mark, he pointed out. So I don’t think we can consider that a beating.
So what was it? Redtail wondered.
Watching Cindy, Mike said, I think it was to show us that even though he can pound us at will – he doesn’t feel he has to.
Why would he do that? Beechwood wondered.
Mike snorted. Most of us have been doing one of two things. The bold have been testing his limits and trying to see what we can get away with before he puts his foot down. The timid have been trying to not be noticed so as not to draw fire. My read on things is he doesn’t mind having to clip our wings if we overdo it, but trying to hide in the bottom of the nest isn’t going to cut it on the Folly.
So he wants us to try and kick his ass? Calmmeadow laughed.
Mike shrugged. Or he just wants us to do our best at whatever we’re doing, he suggested.
Still a little sore from his ‘exercise’, Neal went to bed earlier than usual. He was only slightly surprised when the door to his bedroom open again a little while later. Between Shadowcrest the first night and Quickdash and Holly the next, he had wondered if this was going to become a regular nightly event.
A biped not a taur, so that reduced the playing field, and the bushy tail silhouetted just before the door closed told him who was braving his bed this night. As with the others before her, Neal lifted the sheet so she could slide under it with him.
She was trembling as she lay down on the bed with her back to him, and then she couldn’t stop herself from physically jerking at his touch.
Neal felt her shaking and frowned. Without touching her again he quietly asked, Did someone dare you to climb into bed with me?
There was enough light in the room that he could see her shake her head, but that was the only response he got.
I can be walking around with a loaded gun and that doesn’t scare you – but a touch does … Who hurt you so badly, child, and how?
Like a flower blooming in reverse, she curled up into a tight ball with her tail firmly between her legs.
Neal frowned slightly before saying, I guess I should have laid out the ground rules earlier, but I hadn’t expected this much traffic – never mind that those before you were too young for this to matter. First and foremost, this is my bed. I sleep in it. I will never ask or force someone to join me in it. If someone decides to join me, they will do so of their own free will. Hugs and a little cuddling I don’t mind unless I’m very tired or sore. Anything more than that needs to be discussed and agreed to by all parties. Said parties can also change their minds if they feel they’re getting in over their heads. He paused before adding, Do you understand what I’m saying?
Her nod was halfhearted at best, and Neal took note that she didn’t uncurl from her near fetal position.
If it’s the fact that I’m your newly adopted father, that can be undone at your word. If you think all males only have one thought of the use of a female, then I’m sorry if that has happened to you – but it won’t be happening here – not on my ship. You may have noticed I didn’t say that there will never be sex on this ship or in this bed. I’d be an idiot to try to suggest such a thing. In case you don’t know it, chakats have a twenty-four day heat and rut cycle, not that most of them don’t like to play off-peak. I also know that you and the other females will need help during your heats. You guys get to go find yourself a willing partner, that’s none of my business.
Neal drew a deep breath before continuing, All of that said, if one of mine comes to me in need, I will not turn them away. But that is their choice – not mine – though I may turn them down if I think they’re doing it for the wrong reasons.
She hadn’t moved an inch during his little speech.
Neal waited a minute before nodding. That’s it. You now know the rules for this bed. Getting up, he reached for a robe hanging on the wall on his side of the bed. Looping the sash to hold it closed, he then pulled a second robe out of a drawer. This he draped over her form before rolling her into it and then up and into his arms.
There may have been a small ‘eep’ from within the robe as he carried her out the door and down the corridor to where Tess had opened the door to Cindy’s room. Gently laying her on the bed, he softly said, I’m not rejecting you, little one, but I don’t want you in my bed if that’s not where you want to be.
Having stopped in the break room for a snack and then brushing his teeth again, Neal has only been back in his bed a few minutes when the door almost silently opened one more time. She wore the robe he’d carried her in, and she stepped up to the side of the bed.
I – I could really use a little cuddling tonight, she softly told him.
No tickling – I’m still sore from earlier, he softly countered.
Agreed, she said as she slipped out of the robe and found the hook for it on her side of the bed.
And no teasing an old man about his morning wood, he muttered. Your younger siblings found it way too amusing …
The soft snort he thought he heard from her could have been in agreement – or of amusement …
Tess woke Neal at the usual time and he let Cindy have first use of the facilities. He bit back a chuckle that while she headed to the restroom in her fur, she had grabbed the robe before heading for her room.
Once dressed, Cindy headed out to find her breakfast.
Someone’s feeling chipper this morning, Roseberry laughed with a smile at the vixen as she came in. At Cindy’s raised eyebrow, shi added, I felt your terror last night. If it hadn’t disappeared as fast as it did you would have had some company.
He’s a better daddy than my daddy is, Cindy softly told hir.
Than your daddy was, Roseberry countered. By the time we get back to Bright Hope you’ll be of age, won’t you?
I-I hadn’t considered that, she admitted.
Consider it, the chakat told her. We’re all getting a chance at doing things we’d never dreamed of. If your home life was that bad, you now have two years out from under that to see what else is out there. A little quieter shi said, And that includes sex if you want. Tess gave us all clean bills of health – and us chakats can’t knock up you bipeds …
Cindy softly snorted into her breakfast, but she was surprised to find that the idea didn’t bring up the fear in her it would have just a single day ago.
Neal had dozed off for a bit after she’d left; long enough that only Weaver was waiting for him when he finally made his way to their makeshift galley.
I’m impressed, she told him as he warmed a meal. If I didn’t know better I’d swear that wasn’t the same vixen.
Neal gave her a wink as he said, If I have anything to say about it she won’t be the same vixen by the end of this trip. It will be a vixen ready to take on the world on her own terms and win.
I caught a little of it before the kids all took off. Just what did you do?
I just showed her that any yokes and shackles that may have been weighing her down were left behind on Bright Hope, and that she’s free to fly as high as she dares here.
And you’ll be there to catch her if she falls? Weaver asked with a grin.
Or Tess, or one of her new siblings – which reminds me, Tess? Where are Cindy and Alex?
Taking some of those tests you had me set up, she reminded him.
Let me know when they’re done, I have a little something in mind for them …
You asked to see us, Sir? Alex asked as he and Cindy entered a small office just off the bridge.
I have a little chore for you, Neal told him. The way you were moving yesterday makes me think you’ve had more than a little fight training.
A bit, Alex admitted. We live in a rough neighborhood and my folks have always believed it better to bail us kids out of jail than the hospital – or the morgue.
So, you were holding back with me? Neal asked with a raised eyebrow.
It wasn’t that type of fight, Sir.
And I’m hoping I never have to put you into that type of fight, but that doesn’t mean I intend to let you grow stale while you’re here. We’ll talk about keeping you sharp, even a little honing of your skills perhaps, but that will come later. Right now I have a more important long-range project for you to consider …
Her, I assume? Alex asked, glancing over at Cindy.
If you will, and if she will and can. So many parents waste so much of their time trying to childproof the world that they forget all about the world-proofing of their children. As you said, she’s green – easy pickings. I want you to help me change that. Cocking his head over at Cindy, he added, If you’re interested of course.
Cindy looked at each of their faces before simply nodding.
Alex nodded back, but he was thinking. Shall we start with an hour or so every other day?
Neal nodded. That sounds reasonable. Looking towards Cindy he smiled. Sorry, kiddo, but I see many bruises in your future.
And I hope to be returning them, she replied with a grin at Alex.
Anything in particular? he asked.
Start her with self defense. If someone tries to grab her, I want her to be able to break free and escape. And I don’t mind at all if she has to cause them some harm in doing so.
I’d better have Tess make me up a reinforced cup, Alex muttered, earning a blush from Cindy.
And some other padding as well as a practice dummy or three, Neal agreed. Get with Tess and she can help you two schedule where and when. Dismissed.
This story is set in a worldview and universe where the created morph females (and some of the non-created species females) have very strong ‘heats’, strong enough that they can become quite ill if they don't receive some kind of ‘help’ with their heat - or drugs, which don’t always address all the issues.
Copyright © 2014 Allen Fesler Redbear1158 (at) either gmail or hotmail dot com
Chakat universe is copyright of Bernard Doove and used with his permission.
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