Going to War II, the Battle for Chaos
Caution: This Action/Adventure Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Fa/Fa, Consensual, BiSexual, Heterosexual, Fiction,
Desc: Action/Adventure Sex Story: Chapter 1 - The battles of Earth and Chaos are not finished. Rejoin William Wilkerson as the lines are redrawn in ways that will change his life, the lives of those he loves and the "Grand Adventure".
It was the middle of the night, and sleep had evaded me yet again. I leaned over the rail and stared out over the dark water. I was sailing aboard a ship, on Chaos. The torches on the ship cast a short distance, the problem is that it makes us a beacon on the water. It was not that much of a ship, but then the abilities of this planet hardly lent themselves to modern building methods. At least the air is cleaner smelling, this far away from the mainland.
The ship was the answer for avoiding the mountains on this part of the planet. It was more the passes through those mountains as that I was looking to avoid. Then, there is the risks here on the open sea.
I was working on the rescue of Sally Waters, a Damsel who taken by the same group that Hero Keith Van Gardner followed, when we had traveled together. Keith was a Staff Sergeant in the 75th Ranger Regiment, which was stationed in Afghanistan, on Earth.
I didn't know how that turned out after he had left me. I knew that someone had not allowed him to live, on Earth, when he had returned. I knew, because I received a small box, containing a letter from Keith. The letter was simple and to the point. He had requested that in the event of his death, the ring and the letter be sent to me.
In his letter, he told me that before he could rescue his Damsel, she had obviously died, as he was brought back to his Caretaker. I recalled how his plans were to break up this ring of kidnappers when he rescued her.
Since I had received the ring on Earth, I knew that he had died in Afghanistan, and not Chaos. It left me with the pain of losing a comrade in arms on Earth, a fellow Hero and a friend. The box and letter were locked away in my weapons safe, to be dealt with, another day.
Staring over the waters my mind slipped back, I had argued with Janice and while she wanted to impress on me more support to perform this rescue. I had a deeper sense of duty to Keith's memory. I set my mind to do this. There had been no budge in my position, and she had finally let me have my way.
Looking back at it now, as I passed over the dark and calm waters, I questioned my decision. Had I been right to do that, would it cost me the Damsel or even my life? Those were the core issues that kept me awake this night, and many others.
Of course, those were by no means the only thoughts preventing my sleep. It seemed life was returning to some form of normalcy on Earth, even if I had brought Mandy into it. Reflecting in my mind as I sat there looking at the calm waters.
JD had left. He'd been called back into the field with much consternation on his and Cal's part, because of the delaying the weekend in the woods. The desire burned for that pound of flesh, due me for the midnight express experience, kept my interests piqued. However, it had to be just more than Cal and I. There were so many of them, and JD was not one to be left out.
JD's parting words resonated within me about where I would find certain body parts, if he found himself out in the cold, on this.
The ship continued to sail on over the dark waters, as I contemplated the 'training exercise' in the woods. Years in the teams had left their sadistic streak well embedded when it came to training. The saying that 'pain was just weakness leaving the body', was more than just a cliché, it was a true way of life. A snide little grin passed over my lips at the thought.
Those cops deserved a lesson in humility, and I wasn't going to let that go, simply because they had pissed me off. Hey, so I am an SOB to be thinking about that still, but then: paybacks are hell.
I would have to wait for JD's return. That would keep the cops in a state of uneasy flux, never certain of when or what. It was clear that JD's new fieldwork was keeping him entertained, as there had been no contact from him. He would return at some point, to join us in extracting my pound of flesh. A deep chuckle passed within. Yes: hell to pay.
The night was calm and quiet as the ship sailed on towards the unknown. This was Chaos, there was no instant society here moving fast was relegated to Earth. It was slow and often delayed catching up with those who had Sally. I went back to my room, found my berth and settled in for the rest of the night.
I was awakened by pounding at my door. Then told to bring my weapons, and get up on deck. There were pirates chasing after us. Yes, it was Chaos.
The light was just beginning to crest above the water. Behind us, by about a mile, was a ship, and it was fast approaching. I looked over the men assembled on it. Even at that distance, I could see that the numbers of them made it obvious that we would be captured or killed if the pirates boarded us.
I walked up to the Captain and asked, "Can we outrun them?"
"No, they will come in behind us and take the wind from our sails. At that point, we will be unable to outrun them."
"So they will overtake us?"
"In less than an hour," he said staring at them and not looking at me.
"How can we stop that?"
"Not likely that we can, they have a faster ship. Look at all the sail they have."
I looked, and it was obvious, even to the untrained naked eye, that they indeed had more sail than we did. We needed to change that, if we were going to escape so my simple answer was to reduce the sails they had.
I left the Captain, and went looking for the boy who had awoken me, earlier. I needed him to find me some strips of cloth, and some oil and a brazier. I was going to see if I couldn't take the fight to them before they reached us.
That accomplished, I went back up to the Captain.
"Do you have a sea anchor?" I asked.
"Yes, but it does no-good for us to use it now."
"I want you to use it to slow us down."
"You want to die sooner, rather than later?"
"I want to bring them in closer, and for us to be able to put some distance quickly between us, when we cut the anchor free."
"Why?" He asked, now turning to look at me.
His face was worn and weathered for all the years at sea but his mind was keen. That I knew from our previous conversations.
"I will set their sails on fire. But, we need to have a burst of speed as soon as I do, so they can't board us."
Just then, the boy came forward with the strips of cloth, the oil, and the brazier of hot coals from the galley, as I had instructed him.
"I'll tie these on to the arrows and soak them in the oil. Then I'll set them on fire and shoot them at their sails," I said.
"They have to be awful close, for you to do that."
"A hundred yards, that is why we need to be able to release the anchor, turn to catch the wind again and sail away quickly." I had studied how the English longbow was built. I used that knowledge to construct it, when I had been delayed or stopped along the way, on this trip. Delays were always a part of Chaos and the rescue of a Damsel.
"You think you can hit their sails at one hundred yards?"
"Yes, but we have to turn away fast to stop them from boarding us. They will still have stolen our wind. We will need the burst of speed, or their momentum will carry them into us."
He looked me over for a minute and then looked back at the pirates. "We're dead if they board us, it is the only way."
"You just get us slowed down, and I will set them on fire," I said as I stirred the coals, finally getting a small flame.
He ordered his men to drop the sea anchor from the bow, to keep the line out of sight of the pirates. The anchor near stopped us in the water, and the other ship quickly closed the distance. The morning sun was now cresting the horizon, and I could make out the individuals that were the hoard of pirates on the deck.
When they came into the range of the bow I lit the first rag and fired the arrow in a high arch at the sails. We could hear them laugh as it went over their heads; but their Captain, who was standing forward, turned his head upward. He saw it land in the sails, and the fire erupt. He would have liked to turn from us then but his line was straight and the anchor had slowed us to a near crawl. They were still closing when the next arrow started another sail blazing
The third arrow was ready. I fired as I looked over to the Captain and nodded my head for him to cut the rope that tied us to the anchor. Our ship took off as if it was launched, when the anchor rope was severed. That quick burst of speed with the captain angling away from the pirate ship, was all we needed. The fire engulfed their sails now, and they were slowing. I continued to fire into the sails that were not burning until we were out of range.
The reality of what I had done became obvious. It was raining fire down on their deck as the rigging was starting to fall. There were no more boarders waiting at the rails as they fought to save their ship. I would have liked to stay around and kill all of them, but it wasn't meant to be, this time. The smoke would alert others to their plight, and bring more pirates.
We sailed away, leaving them to fight the fire, while we stayed alive to fight another day. It wasn't always about killing. Surviving was what mattered.
The memories of Earth kept me troubled. I needed to put them away, if I wanted to ensure that survival of Sally and I. Janice was right that I could not be distracted from the rescue. This was going to come down to a fight, and when that happened, I would be hell on wheels with any who stood in my way. The problem was the trail was cooling down. I was losing ground on trying to find Sally. Hell, if it was easy, everyone would be a Hero.
We sailed another week before we made port. The Captain had spent that week trying to recruit me to be his master of arms. He was persistent to the point of wanting to shanghai me, but I smelled them out the night before we were to make port. It was a quick fight, and I spent the rest of the night in his room. He spent the night stretched out, tied hand and foot, in front of the cabin door. He wasn't happy spending the night there. I made it off the ship, with him leading the way, at the tip of my sword.
Off the ship, and alone in the port, I released the Captain to return to his ship. I needed to get more information. I decided to pick some up at one of the taverns. I was aware that it would be easy to be shanghaied by any other number of people wanting to press me into service, but intel was the key, now. Finding an inn a short time later, I arranged for a room for the night. If it did not pan out here, I would stay a few more nights searching out the other taverns.
I was three nights visiting other inns and taverns and got nothing for my trouble. The ones I was after were disciplined enough to move out of the port town, before they stopped at a tavern. I went to a bank, and recovered my saddle. I also got the extra supplies from the vault, which had been locked away before the time on the ship. Then I headed over to the stables. Using the vault to lighten my load, when needed, was just a one of the things Janice had discussed when she finally agreed with me about the mission.
I had met Keith, inland from the port, and decided that he was on the right trail. I headed in that direction. It was akin to flying in the dark, but it was all I could think to do, now. They would have had to resupply, and someone had to have seen Sally. Her beauty was just too difficult to hide.
It was the third night out, after leaving the inn, and I was catnapping in the crux of a tree. That feeling of being watched for the past two days had taken me moving out of camp to listen. The night was quiet, too quiet.
Then I heard a twig snap. Someone was there; but the question was, how many someones? One man was always the easy target; but tonight, would it cost any who came after me their lives, or would it be mine? Those were the rules of Chaos: kill or be killed.
I watched as they crossed near me at various times. There were three of them, and they split up a short way outside the camp to come in from different points. They were nearly silent and working well together.
I wondered for a moment how their training was in battle, if they were this disciplined just stalking into the camp. Did I want to be in the tree or on the ground, when firing the arrows to kill the first one? The sound of the bow would give my position away but the angle was better from above. The small fire in the camp would show the silhouettes of them.
The one closest to me moved in first. Was he, the leader or the follower as he covered the ground into my camp? The sword was being raised. He cried out as the arrow was now deeply set in his back. I was out of the tree, and heading back away from the camp. It was two to one, and I needed to set another ambush. I did not know which direction their horses were hidden, nor if there were more than just the two of them, but we would now play this out in the woods.
We played cat and mouse until daybreak. It felt they were close, but they never got close enough for me to attack again. I lay in wait for a short time, hoping to attack one as he followed me. He didn't. I never stayed long in one place, either, as I thought they would want to work their way in, to attack me from two sides.
They faded away with the dawn, and I made it back to camp. There in the middle of it was a body. I had not missed, and the others did not make their way back to it. I took little time to quickly pack everything first and then looked the body over.
He was nothing remarkable, just another man from Chaos. But he had better discipline than any I had previously come up against. How was it that they were so well trained? Would I catch them unawares, again?
These were the questions that passed through my mind as I searched his body. He didn't have much more than his weapons. There was nothing that signaled him to be anything other than just another man of Chaos. I was certain that they worked, and trained, together I decided that they would likely not leave a fallen comrade in the field. I left a calling card for them when they returned, tied his body to a tree and took his head off with one quick blow.
It was an insult, and I counted on them searching for his head. This would be to my advantage, giving me some extra time to move farther away. It would also enrage them. However, when they are coming to kill you, whether they are enraged or not doesn't really matter.
What wouldn't I have given for a fragmentation grenade, to place behind his head when I left it in an outcropping of rocks? Returning from my little foray, I checked over the horse again, making sure everything was tight and secured. I did not want to be making any noise to give myself away, as I departed.
I worked my way through the woods for a few miles, paralleling the road, before making my way back to it. It was a day and a half before I came to the next town. They had not tried to find me that night, for some reason. Likely, the odds were not enough in their favor, at only two to one.
I spent a night at the inn to resupply and restock. Janice's words about going after Sally were in my head. Keith hadn't mentioned anything about earlier trouble, but I hadn't asked directly about it then, either. There was no tavern in this town, so I the spent night in the serving room. I listened to the discussions of those who drank, and got louder as they did.
I caught a break the next morning at the stable. The owner remembered Sally. She had made the impression that was common on Chaos for the women of Cassandra. They had been through over a week before: four men and her. They didn't say much and simply left heading away inland, as he remembered. After paying for the stable's services, I headed out.
As I was making my way, I questioned myself as to who were these three were who hunted me, if the four and Sally were more than a week ahead of me? Would and could I catch them? It had me questioning if I knew Chaos, or was this part of it simply more dangerous than other areas? Only time would tell.
I would add another horse at the next town. Changing over from one to the other would allow me to travel faster. The question would be: which way to go, when there was a fork in the road? For now, it was just woods and towns.
The feeling of being followed came back a day later. I would kill whoever it was that was following me, this night. It was a game of cat and mouse again, and I quickly tired of being the mouse.
They would be looking for me to be outside the camp, now, but would expect me to be within striking distance. I would go and search for their mounts, instead. My weapons would all be with me. I would trade all their mounts for my one. I would not need to get another horse, after all!
I set up my camp, and ate as much of the food as possible. I hated doing it, but I implanted some stones in the hooves of my horse. They could be taken out if my plan failed. The speed at which I traveled would be much slower; nevertheless, if my plan worked, I would be far down the road. They would be on foot, after the horse came up lame.
As soon as it was dark, I started out of the camp. There was no way to know if they were waiting for me. It took over an hour to go fewer than two thousand steps deeper into the woods, before turning. Then walking another four thousand steps before again turning and headed back towards the road. With my stride, I was just over two and a half miles from my camp.
I stopped and listened more. I needed a little help from their horses. If they were out here, one small sound that was out of place would be all that was needed. The night air was cool, but I was warm. Keeping your body tense while waiting to be attacked, using every sense you controlled to keep that from happening, was taxing. The side benefit was that it kept you warm.
Luck awaits those who train for it. I had spent years out in this type of situation. The sound a horse pissing, was golden. They were about one hundred yards ahead of me.
Whether the men who rode the horses were there, was another question. I knew where they had tied the horses, so now it was just moving slowly, and have a look, to see if they were there.
It took less than an hour to scout around and then get in a position to see the horses. There didn't seem to be any movement around them. But, there were four horses. Was there a guard left behind, or had all of them come after me, this time? Working my way around the horses, I decided the four of them had all gone after me. It didn't take much time to get the horses together and take them away. They were kind enough to have left them saddled.
I led them back and away from the camp. I tried to be quiet, but with the horses, it was just impossible. At the road, I mounted and rode back, away from the trail of Sally. Going forward was out of the question at this point, as they would have no doubt gotten to my camp and discovered me missing. As trained as they were, I would bet they would have two of them posted on the road when it became clear I had disappeared.
If it was my team that would have been what was done. It nearly escaped me that they might have done the same trick on their horses as I had. I dismounted and looked at all the hooves of the horses. There was nothing in their hooves. Were they likely to follow me? That was a given, except now they were ahead of me instead of behind, which effectively blocked my way forward.
It was a delay, but Janice's words reverberated in my head. The Damsel was expendable. I was not. Without me, there was no one to rescue her. I waited, off the road. When it got light, I traveled back the way I had come. It would add a day, and I would have to work all that much harder to find Sally; but it was, what it was.
Riding and changing off each horse on the hour had taken its toll ... on me, even more than on the horses. I was beat, and decided to stop. The four of them with only the one horse would not have been able to have kept pace.
It was a night of short battle naps, and listening.
It started to rain in the middle of the night, so I found better shelter under a large tree. There I spent some time searching the bedrolls, and started a small fire. Curiosity got the better of me, and I searched everything. I discovered they had placed all of their money with their horses, so it would not make any noise as they made their way through the woods. They were paid well, if they were indeed working for someone. I discovered just over two, and a half conchs worth of shells and pinches.
It dawned on me that they were bounty hunters or mercenaries. By Earth's standards, they were well trained. For Chaos, they were the deadliest yet. To stop them would mean my killing them and then work my way back on Sally's trial. In my search for better intel, I wouldn't kill them all until I discovered who it was that had hired them.
I built a tent to help keep dry. It was still wet, but there was the benefit of the rain-washing away any tracks I'd left behind.
The rain stopped at midmorning, just as I came into town. It would take days for them to get there on foot.
The idea of a hot meal and a bed at the inn was appealing. There was joy in spending the night in a soft bed after a warm meal. The bugs in the bed that had feasted on me were of little consequence, as bugs always feasted on you on Chaos.
I could have used a bath, but instead I spent the time resupplying. Janice's words and concerns were still weighing on me. Was I in over my head with these four hunting me, and possibly more? Well, the question was never about quitting. It was about how to bring death and destruction. That, on any planet, I was more than capable of doing.
My thoughts were now focused on how to ambush them, then to take one or more of them prisoner. I had to gather intel. Our little game of cat and mouse had gone to me, the last two times, but it took skill on my part to have it turn out that way. Luck would, at one time or another, eventually be on their side as they devised new ways to counter what I had done previously. Having to walk would have given them even more time to discuss what had happened, and how to change it next time.
Years of training taught me the need for reevaluation amid conflict. That is what I would have done, if it had been my team that was now walking. They would follow, and come after me again. No doubt they would be bringing more men with them. This needed to end, now, and leave whoever was behind it in the dark. Given the distance and my time spent in town, there was at best a day's lead, if they were indeed still walking.
They would need to resupply, but that would cost, and their funds were now mine. That would not stop them from stealing what they needed, and returning to the chase, though. My evaluation had me needing to go back out into the woods. I would take them out as they were coming here. Would they expect me to do that, given their training, or would they have let their guard down from the long walk?
I decided that four to five miles distance from town, would be a good place to ambush them. At that point, I hoped that they would be more interested in making it to town, than in keeping their guard up. There were four of them that I knew of, and they were on foot. They would be easy to spot. Nevertheless, they knew how to operate in the woods.
The need was clear for a Judas goat, much like the ones they tied out in the open, which would draw an attack by a predator. I would let it draw them in, and then I would kill them when they got close. By now they would have some sore feet, so maybe it would be a horse that could work best and I would add food for those empty bellies, too. Food, transportation, or shelter ... any or all of those would be attractive to them.
It dawned on me that they probably didn't know what I looked like. Oh, they had a general description, but they had never been close enough to look me over. I could use that. The need would be for different horses than theirs, and other supplies to help set the trap.
Of course, all of my planning turned out to be for nothing when I spotted what had to be them, riding in the back of an open wagon. There were four men who did not look happy, and had their eyes shifting all around. It was enough of a signal for me to know that these were my attackers.
It was certain that at least one of them would head to the stable, to see the horses. The others would come to the inn. Since there was nothing at the inn that wasn't replaceable if it needed to be abandoned, I headed over to the stable. There would be a small window of time to take him. The key was not to kill him. That would be the difficult part, and it would depend on how committed he was to stopping me.
Staying out of their line of sight, I worked my way out the back of the inn, and over to the stable. There I set the ambush to take him with as little noise as possible. They would come looking for him, no doubt, so there was only a short time to make it happen. The quick plan was for inside the barn as he came walking in. The others were heading into the inn. A few minutes in there, and then they were likely coming out here. He was not moving quickly impacting my time all the more. I decided that he would be the 'Judas goat', then. I would let his cries draw the others out, rather than taking him down in the barn.
Seeing them in the cart, I knew what they looked like now. This one made it to the corral holding their horses when my arrow flew, and it hit him in the lower back. He sang out, and the other three come pouring out of the inn.
They spread out on the street, willing to sacrifice another one of them to have the other two discover where I was. They didn't know about the longbow. I didn't disappoint them. I fired again, into the middle one at near 100 feet. That gave me at least three seconds if they came at me in a full run. Leaving the bow there in the hay to be retrieved later, I exited and moved out the back of the stable to the tree line behind. Now there were three ways for them to come after me. Their problem was they had but two of them to do that.
They took their time coming through the back door. I stood deep enough in the wood that they could not easily see me, with the shadows; but I could see them, twisting and turning trying to guess at where I had gone. Their partner in crime was calling out to them for help. Finally, they turned and walked back through the barn. Watching as they made their way slowly out of the building and then to him. They stopped and looked him over. Then one of them reached down and slit his throat.
It became a certainty in my mind to finish the two of them. I needed to leave whoever had sent them after me in the dark. The problem was that they would be on their edge now, and I wouldn't likely have an easy time of taking them, but they would go down.
They made their way back up to the street taking the body of the one they had finished off with them. They stopped and picked up the other man. My arrow had pierced his chest, and likely was buried in his heart. I went back into the barn, and retrieved the bow. Taking a new arrow from my quiver, I kept watching them. I walked around the back of the barn and towards the inn. I was in no doubt that was where they would head. They needed to fort up and find a way to deal with me. I was going to make certain that they were never going to have that chance.
They came inside, less than a minute after I had entered the inn. There was no pause in my action as my shot hit one coming in the door dead in the chest. These were the best on Chaos, and I was not going to give them any resemblance of a chance. He cried out and fell into the man behind him. He was barely to the ground when, sword in hand, I was filling the door. I pushed my sword towards his chest, as he reversed course out of the building. He released his grip on the sword he had been trying to take out, and I smelled the scent of death as the other one's bowels let loose. This one stared me in the face, no doubt waiting for me to kill him, also.
"Why are you after me?" I asked.
"There is a bounty on your head," he replied.
"Placed there by whom?"
"The captain of the ship. He wants you back or dead. Alive is his preference but he will pay, either way."
If he was to be believed it made sense, I had humiliated the Captain in the end. Nevertheless, there was no reason to leave this one to go back and find others to come after me. I ran him through with the sword and went about picking up the weapons they had. The other two had been loaded into the wagon. I tossed these two in there, dropping their corpses in the wood to rot.
I should have asked more questions but with the time and distance, we had gone, the trail for Sally was growing colder. My hope was that my trail was now just as cold if not, I would just have to kill whoever came after me again.
Their bodies dumped, and the possessions sold, I stopped in the bank and deposited half of the money in my vault. There was no reason to keep all of it. This way, if I ever needed to resupply, I only had to find a bank.
The problem now, was that I was almost two weeks behind the ones who held Sally. Another night was not going to change much, so I returned to my room. I had a bath brought up. I would be putting on my same clothes, but the bugs that invested me would be gone. I had the woman who brought the bath beat my clothes to help loosen the added bugs now living in them.
After bathing and donning my returned clothes, I had a dinner of stew and watered wine. I locked myself away, barricading the door, and slept better than in the last week. Keeping three of the horses would make for quicker time over the next days, because I would change mounts. It was still going to be a long time before I caught up with Sally.
I spent another six weeks, and was no closer, it seemed. It was like they had vanished off the face of Chaos.
I stopped in what best could be described as a city. There a larger inn where I took a room to rest, look and listen. Chasing after ghosts had my need to get off the road, and begin to work on gathering more intel, obvious. As least now, being the hunter rather than hunted, had me feeling better.
I recovered some money from my vault and treated myself to some new clothes. The old ones would go in the trash. At this point, I was beginning to look like the rest of the locals with my beard and hair growing out. I knew the itch intimately from the bug bites. They were always in the areas that rubbed or sweated heavily.
I spent my days talking to the business owners and my nights at the taverns. It finally paid off the fifth night. I heard a whisper between two men who passed of a cock burner. I watched the two of them the rest of the night.
Where they part of the gang that held her or did they only know where she was? It was difficult to tell, but they didn't seem disciplined enough to have been part of the gang that had kept me hunting after them.
They proceeded to get drunk and then left near closing time. The butt of my sword on the back of their skulls had them down in a heap I took them out to the woods for the night. I gagged and tied them in place, and then waited for morning to come. The night was warm and the bugs feasted on me, but I just sat and waited for the dawn. No doubt they would wake up at some point.
My mood after being gone so long was dark. Linear time thoughts had me months away from Mandy and Janice and by damn I wanted to be back with them. The only way that was going to happen in my mind, was with my finding and rescuing Sally. These two were my only lead at this point. Needing to know what they knew was important, but I would kill them for any treachery on their part. They had woken up and were looking all around when I stepped into their line of sight.
Before I could do anything, the pains hit me. It felt just like the ones when the Damsel said she was pregnant. The intensity was different, but they had my attention. Kevin had written about being taken back when the Damsel he was after had died. This was likely the calling card for that. It would allow me to store all my gear and take care of any business, but there was no doubt but that I would be back at Crossroads, shortly.
I removed the gags and looked at the two of them studying their faces. I removed their bindings and had them on their feet, walking in front of me back into the city.
"The cock burner I came for is dead. The two of you know of whom I speak. I have studied your faces and there will be no hiding from me. Tell me, your names and you're free to go."
The shorter of the two said, "I'm Randy and he's Jack. How do you know she is dead?"
"That I do know is all that matters. When next I come this way I am coming to find the two of you. Keep your eyes and ears open for any cock burners."
They scampered away. I stopped in the stable, settled with the owner, selling my horses and then went to the inn settled my bill and when to the bank. Any time I took a step away from going towards the bank the pain would surge. As I want towards it, the pains lessened. It was obvious that this was how the Powers That Be had a Hero return when the Damsel had perished.
Placing of my finger into the wall, the green light flashed, and my storage box appeared. I added my possessions into the vault box, closed it, and watched it disappear. I stepped into the portal, and Janice was there. She quickly took me to the healing chamber. I didn't feel any of the pains while healing, but once out, they hit me. The intensity was not the same as the ones when I had finished with a Damsel, but they let you know you were going to need to leave, and soon.
We spent some time in the shower, and Janice cleaned me up. I wanted to enjoy her body, but anytime making a move towards that, the pains would increase. There was no reward for a failed mission. That was obvious. Once she dried me off, and had me dressed, the pains intensity increased. She pulled me close, kissed me, and pushed me through the portal.
John was sitting there, waiting for me. It had been Mandy's idea for me to go to Chaos. She had seen my longings and knew what I needed to do. No doubt Beth had advised her that a Hero needed to do his duty. My receiving Keith's ring had made me want to go.
"I take it from the look on your face, that the mission was not a success." John asked.
"She died before I found her. The pains came, I needed to leave."
"That happens. What did you learn?"
"I need to work on my intelligence gathering abilities. It took too long for me to finally get any information about her."
"You chose a difficult assignment? There is a reason they have you progress up the ladder on missions, you know."
"It may have cost Sally her life."
"She knew the risks going in, and she died. It is not your fault."
John raised his hand cutting me off.
"'If if's and butts were candy and nuts, what a merry Christmas we would all have.' There is nothing you can do but learn from this."
"I take it..." I was cut off again.
"There are no Heroes, who survive for more than a few missions, who never have a Damsel die on them."
We talked for a while longer, especially about how long I had been there, and what had happened. The ones who had come after me piqued his curiosity, it was obvious. We would discuss that, in detail, later.
Beth and Mandy arrived a short time later, and we left together for lunch. My linear time had regained equilibrium, as it had been early morning when I had left Crossroads.
After the bland meals on Chaos, I ate with a newfound gusto. John watched as I finished my third 'lunch special.' Beth grinned at him when I looked over at her. Mandy just smiled and placed her hand on mine.
"You ate that way when we first came back from Chaos, after I was healed," Mandy said.
She smiled, as she just continued to hold my hand in hers.
I realized that everyone knew about why I would eat so much, now. John and Beth knew from their times together, and Mandy from our time, when I brought her back. Stopping, I smiled, and then I finished the rest of the food on my plate.
Beth whispered to Mandy just loud enough for me to hear, "He will eat like that for a week or more,"
Mandy whispered back, "I know. Janice told me it was not just the extra efforts that had him so hungry."
Then she giggled.
I had just finished and sat back when Mandy looked right at me and spoke in a loud voice, so that the rest of the restaurant could hear.
"'Take me home to bed, or lose me forever.'"
I grinned and realized that someone had been memorizing my favorite movies when I had her watch Top Gun. She loved the story line and we had watched it many times together since her return with me. I, of course, had also memorized the movie. I had used it to unwind from different missions, over the years.
I replied, "Show me the way home, Honey."
We had a glorious afternoon that stretched into evening. I held nothing back from her, and she held nothing from me. The tensions from my time on Chaos, though just fifteen short minutes for her, left my body as we celebrated our love for each other ... and the lust we had, also!
It was near false dawn, and I was awake. Mandy was lying with her sweet head on my chest. We had hardly slept for most of the night. Now I was awake, because of my pattern of catnaps on Chaos. There had been no decompression time on Crossroads, so I was still in battle mode.
That was when I heard the sound of breaking glass, from the window in the kitchen.
Edited By TeNderLoin