Prologue

John said good bye to the Powers that be.

"Keep in touch," said John, and the girls all nodded.

"Oh, we will," they said ... in five part harmony.

John headed back to bed. The pillow was in the way so he snuck it out from under Sultry and she just gravitated to his chest again. Still asleep, she reached down and grabbed his shifter, sighed and snuggled.

She felt ... good.

Cassie was a great girl ... smart, sexy, innocent ... in a way ... the likes of which John had thought impossible, but ... she was unobtainable ... on a permanent basis.

To see her ... to be with her ... he had to go on a mission ... every time.

And that was what Cassandra wanted. Missions. Rescue a stupid damsel. Except ... they weren't stupid. Ornery, hard to get along with, opinionated ... yes. It was the sex. It was great.

Every Earth-man, dreamed of being so great at sex that women would shatter in seconds. Orgasms galore and no faking it. Lots of luck with that.

They don't fake it in the bedrooms of Crossroads.

"NO NO NO NO! NOT AGAIN!" was heard in the bedrooms of Crossroads.

"It's STILL up! I'm so sore..." The bedrooms of Crossroads.

"OH.MY.GOD!" The bedrooms of Crossroads.

"Drink this, he's still ready to go!" The bedrooms of crossroads.

"I DON'T believe it ... this can't be happening." The bedrooms of Crossroads.

Let me give you a little synopsis of evolution.

Propagate the Species

That's it.

An extreme example: The Spadefoot Frog.

During summer monsoons, the spadefoot is well-known for emerging from its subterranean estivation to breed in the temporary ponds created by the heavy runoff. Interestingly, the cue for adult emergence during these summer thunderstorms is not moisture, but rather low frequency sound or vibration, most likely caused by rainfall or thunder. Upon emergence, males begin calling to attract females. Their calls sound like the bleating of sheep or goats. One female may lay as many as 3000 eggs. Once the eggs are laid, they must hatch quickly into tadpoles before these shallow pools disappear. And hatch quickly they do—at water temperatures of 86°F (30°C) eggs hatch in 15 hours! Tadpoles must also metamorphose quickly—2 weeks on average, sometimes as little as 9 days—into froglets before the ponds dry up.

Fifteen hours to hatch. Two weeks of babyhood. Eat bugs until ready to burst. Bury yourself in the sand until next year and do it again.

Cassandrian males aren't interested. Cassandrian females have adapted. The species has managed to adapt. Get him ready ... get it in ... it's over. Not even enough time to think about painting the ceiling beige.

The species rapidly adapted but ... the time it takes to fertilize the egg hasn't changed. Low sperm activity. Low sperm motility. The species fell below half a million survivors. On ... the ... planet.

The female Cassandrian might not have understood ... half a million ... male ... female ... and what children managed to be born ... spread out over the surface of a planet the size of the earth ... Danger, Will Robinson!

And the males didn't care.

That's where the Heroes came in ... improve the breed.

Importing strange has always been in use. The Hutterites in Montana did it during the Second World War. The Elders sent the US born males of draft eligible age off to Hutterite Colonies in Canada and the Canadian Hutterite Colonies in Canada sent their conscription eligible males to the United States. Both groups were listed as imported labor and ineligible for military service ... foreign nationals. It didn't take intelligence to figure out who sired next years crop of babies.

So ... John was worried about the attrition rate. There was something going on he didn't understand ... but he could put it into words.

Honorable men from earth were being slaughtered on foreign soil. Alpha males. The kind of men who bred true. Honor, Duty, Country ... Civility and Chivalry.

In his 1945 "Notes on Nationalism", Orwell wrote that pacifists cannot accept the statement "Those who 'abjure' violence can do so only because others are committing violence on their behalf."

Every one of those men who was captivated and seduced by Cassandra and died for it was an honorable man lost to earth.

"Sultry," he shook her gently. "Sultry, wake up."

"Wassit?" she mumbled in her sleep.

He shook her a little harder, "Sultry Wench Shingle!"

It speaks volumes for the dangers involved in her upbringing that she was out of bed and curled up in a defensive ball as soon as Shingle was said.

"Don't!" she cringed.

"Sultry? Wake up."

"John?"

"Yes."

"I hate that name," she said. "There are memories...

"Can I call you Jack?" she whined.

"Yes, you can call me Jack, Jackie, Zack, Gata, Gato; Macho; Juan; sota Gato; Muchacho; Domkraft, Vinsch; Knekt; Kotte, Grenuttag; Gös; Asnehane; Tärning hissa, Lyfta, överge, Något; Höja...

"What?"

"All names for John and Jack ... you chose."

"You'd do that for me?"

"Sure ... if the name John brings up bad memories..."

"Let me think about it ... can I get back in bed?"

"Be my guest,"

She crawled over him ... she left a wet trail.

"What?" she asked.

"I'd like to invite you to dinner and a movie."

"Like a date?"

"Uh huh."

"Just that ... nothing more?"

"Just that."

"Oh my God!" she leapt from the bed and started pacing, "What am I going to wear?" she asked herself. "All I have is slut clothes and I don't want to give that impression. I can't wear Jeans or shorts or any of my dresses...

"Wait ... I have money ... a hundred dollars ... and a car...

"I can drive..."

"Sultry?"

"Jack?"

"It's 3AM."

"Oh, right. You want to sleep."

She started pacing her way towards the bedroom door, still mumbling to herself.

"Sultry?"

"Jack?"

"Come back to bed."

"Where do you intend on taking me?"

"Come on ... and we'll talk about it."

"I have veto powers?"

"Yes."

"Ok."

She climbed back over him.

"There's Peking City in Grundy and Serendipity in Grundy."

"What else?"

"Laura Shop in Breaks or Southern Smoke."

"Laura in Breaks is closest. I never been to Serendipity but I hear the food is top notch. Peking has the best buffet ever."

"Which?"

"I don't have to dress up for any of them," Sultry said. "Then there's the problem."

"What's that?"

"I am well known in Grundy and my reputation isn't the best. I've been to Southern Smoke and it's great ... but my presence there is suspect."

"Suspect?"

"Dine and Dash."

"Oh."

"Wasn't my idea and I didn't know what he was planning."

"So?"

"You're probably going to have to listen to the braggers," she said.

"Not in my presence, they won't."

"What?"

"My intentions are honorable," Jack said. "My! What big eyes you have."

"Honorable? Now I know you're crazy."

"As far as I know ... from personal experience, Thou art a good girl." Jack said, "And you will continue to be a good girl if I have to beat up half the young men in Virginia to shut them up."

"You're serious,"

"As a heart attack," Jack said.

"Why?"

"Let's just say I have looked upon you with recently educated eyes," he said.

"What does that mean?"

"That is something I hope you'll find out."

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